Monday, 5 November 2018


It's been 2 months since Hamish died and I'm still struggling. I have never missed a human being as much as I miss my darling little pooch. I have really missed people when they have left my life but it has been more of a cerebral thing. What I miss about Hamish is more tangible and physical - I just want to hold him and I'm devastated that I can't.

In the last months of Hamish's life I had to carry him around a fair bit. He was blind, his heart was failing and he tired easily. But every night after his dinner - which he was still enjoying at that stage - Hamish would give his favourite toy Fred a hard time and let out his excited little poodle bark. No matter what I was doing I would stop and play with him for a few minutes because I knew I would regret it if I didn't. He couldn't sustain any more than that and would collapse on his bed pretty quickly.

I had to carry him outside to have a wee, carry him to the car to go for 'walks' - which consisted of me trying to make him move a bit so his body didn't seize up entirely - and hold him on my lap in the car as well. He used to rest his head on my shoulder and I would wrap my arms around him. I think he felt secure and safe.

Often when I picked him up I would smell him. Each time I made a mental note of that smell. When he was dying I held him and breathed in as much of him as I could. After he had died I put patchouli oil on him as a way to mark the occasion and create a new olfactory memory. Since his death I sometimes put on patchouli oil as a way to try and bring him back - but it doesn't really fulfil the need.

The thing is - I just want to hold Hamish against my chest and smell him and I can't. He isn't physically here. His little body is buried under a metre of sand with Fred on our new block. I kept photos of him on my phone and every day I look at them. I touch the screen but I don't feel his soft white fur or his warm body - just glass. There's a barrier now, between him and me - a barrier I can't cross, that I will never be able to cross. Every so often I just start crying and my heart hurts. Even with my lifelong obsession with death, my spiritual understanding and enquiry into it - which includes a 40000 word thesis on the subject - the physicality of Hamish's passing reduces me to this. 

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Hamish Frantom 2.4.2004 - 6.9.2018

I am really struggling with the passing of my beloved brave little Hamish so this will be short.

After a period of ill-health, during which Hamish tried so hard to stay positive and stay with us, I called the Roving Vet on Thursday 6 September. He had not eaten for a week and it was clear the end of his life had come. The vet was wonderful and Hamish's passing was dignified and peaceful. I held  him against my chest while the sedative took effect and for half an hour after he had died. His heart to my heart.

Burying him was our first job on the new block. Hamish had held on at my request because we are 'camping out' on a friend's 6 acres just out of town and had nowhere to bury him. I was adamant I didn't want to leave him at our previous home on the hill. He was gone within 2 weeks of settlement of the new property. Loyal to the end.

My heart is broken. I miss my little friend more than I can say.

Saturday, 4 August 2018

are we there yet?

Well.... we are not quite there yet. Things are still moving - but slowly. 

We got word on my birthday (a few weeks ago) that we had sold the house and had 21 days to find somewhere to live and move out. After a week of frantic activity we were told there was a holdup with paperwork - family court and titles - and that settlement could be 2-6 weeks. Needless to say I have been very stressed - which is probably why I got the flu soon afterwards and still have.
The past 15 months, since we put the house on the market, has been an emotional roller-coaster ride. We switched agents about 5 months in - after our 3 month contract expired and the agent didn't inform us I figured he wasn't very pro-active. The new agent hired her photographer and got great photos and a drone video. In the first couple of months we had 9000 hits on the website. Our place had the most action the agent had ever seen on a property. We had regular punters through. Each time we cleaned the place up and put stuff away we hoped it would be the last. It gets really exhausting - we are pretty neat people but not so great at cleaning things like windows. I doubt many people actually live like that but it's what you have to do when you have your home on the market.

We've had the place 'sold' 3 times but each time there has been a problem with finance. When the royal commission started the banks began playing hardball. As it progressed they got even meaner - asking for ridiculous amounts of paperwork and knocking people back even when they had large amounts of equity. I actually think they are punishing us and the government. The Australian economy is built on housing and the banks play a critical role so basically - 'you fuck with us and we will bring the economy to a standstill' - which is pretty much what has happened.

So we wait. There have been a couple of positives though. The long lead in time has allowed us to keep researching the best options for the next place. It will be a very modest 'shed' design (Aussie architecture at its best) on a few acres with as much solar passivity and as many environmental features as we can buld into it - including a composting toilet, solar power, double-glazed windows and double insulation (at my end anyway). Robin has been absolutely amazing - taught himself Sketchup so he could do the plans, completed short courses for a builder's licence and white card (yes, they are compulsory now), done heaps of research on the best affordable environmental design solutions, created a spread sheet with all the costings and much more. The extra time has also allowed us to find somewhere private to live too, while we get plans passed by the council, clear some bush, build a driveway and move a caravan there. 
The idea is to build within our means, set ourselves up for 'retirement' (which for me is a mirage that moves further away the closer I get to it) and cut down our living costs (because the bloody government keeps us all on the treadmill paying for utilities and rates. Forget about the homeless - Australia is fast becoming unaffordable for the majority of its own economic middle class). 

Given all the false starts - I won't feel really comfortable until settlement has gone through. Fingers and toes crossed.

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

collage: art for our time

I keep coming back to collage and I think I know why. Collage is the perfect artform for our Post-post Modernist era because it enables, actually encourages, the artist to bring disparate elements and ideas together in one image.

Collage is art made by sticking different materials together, a collection or combination of various things. It has links to Deconstructivism and DADA – 2 favourite genres of mine. DADA arrived in the early part of the 20th Century as a response to the ideologies that contributed to WW1. DADA artists were critical of the dominance of rationality and believed that the order of civilisation was in fact an illusion. The events of WW1 made it clear to them that nobody was actually ‘steering the ship’. DADA artists embraced ‘chance, accident, and improvisation’ and used a method of randomisation to deconstruct artistic practices and social norms.

Collage has to be one of the best ways to express and counter the collapse and disunification we are witnessing today all over the world. This method of creating art – new from old – has also been made easy because of the internet. Negotiating this aspect of an art practice is an intellectual property nightmare, but it is also an exciting way to make art and for me, to make social commentary.

image: Photoshopped 'hand-made' collage by author.

Monday, 2 July 2018

buy me that pub

Been having fun with some original photos of local architecture. Just love the daggy randomness of country towns - unsophisticated bliss.

images: Photos taken by author on an iPhone and tweaked in Photoshop.