Goodbye Leyla

Last weekend we said goodbye to our old cat Leyla, who was aged 15 years and 8 months.

She had been with us since late 1998, when it was just me and my eldest son Tony, who was 2 at the time. We had moved to Alice Springs the weekend she was born, her mother Midnight was a Russian Blue belonging to relatives of mine, Sue and Neville Otto. Out of the three kittens the little black and white one was the most adventurous, so they named her Leyland after the Leyland brothers. As she was a girl the name was shortened to Leyla, which turned out to be an Arabic name meaning ‘dark as night’ or ‘black-haired’.

With one month of life left.

With one month of life left.

She was with us for many seasons, for the 2 years of fulltime work and single motherhood in Alice Springs, for the years of marriage and babies after that. She was with us when we relocated to Quorn and set about building our own house, and for those awful years of Edi’s illness and death, the grief that followed, and the murder and court stuff that came after that.

Over the past summer she slowed down a lot, and as the months and weeks went by she gradually stopped doing the different normal routine things. Finally she stopped eating, and a week or so after that was gone. The final days were awful, they dragged on but she held on to the point where we had decided to take her to the vet, but she wasn’t having that, and finally died last Saturday morning at 9:30am.

I will remember her as a young cat who got along with everyone, then an older grumpier one. For 10 years she was the only cat in the house, and when we got Misty, she was in a bad mood for a year. She liked to be top cat and managed to exert her seniority on all others. Even though Misty was bigger and tougher and she wouldn’t dare start fights with him, he would always let her eat dinner first.

The garden is rather empty without her, no longer will she inspect the grounds morning and evening. I will miss how she used to talk when things got too quiet for her, she would try to talk with one of her meows sounding like ‘hello?’ and sometimes I’d hear ‘Mum’.

She chose her own final resting place, a spot near the pond where she would head before she was too weak to do so. Goodbye Leyla old girl, and thank you for all your love

Leyla's resting spot (at left).

Leyla’s resting spot (at left).


A bit of autumn

Actually, we did get some nice autumn days in the end. It was mild and still, so still it seemed the wind would never blow again. Moths were thick around the house at night.

Golden rain tree - pride of China

Golden rain tree – pride of China

I even had a few autumn leaves. This golden rain tree has been in five years and is still only knee high (sigh). What I’m wanting is this:

Golden rain trees at Stone Hut.

Golden rain trees at Stone Hut.

May the 4th and 6th

On May the fourth, 2009, a couple of years before all the Star Wars stuff started appearing on that date, I began a garden. I finished clearing the last of the junk away in the area facing my kitchen window, and the first things went in.

On May the fourth

On May the fourth

Two days later, when my husband died, the area became Edi’s garden.

On my first morning as a widow.

On my first morning as a widow.

For three weeks, every morning I would get up at dawn and sit out there on those little plastic chairs and a have a cup of tea. I’d be out there for the half an hour before it was time to get the kids off to school. This little ritual made it possible to get through those early days before the real grief set in. Then winter came and it was too cold and dark to go out there.

Edi's garden after 1 month.

Edi’s garden after 1 month.

It is five years today that he died, and in that time the garden has come a long way. I wish I could say it was finished but there is a little stone wall that isn’t quite done yet.

Still one of the prettiest garden views I have.

Five years later (now).

It is now somewhere really worth sitting on those early mornings at this reflective time of the year.





Will just throw in a before and after shot of my kitchen window view:

Before - May 4th 2009

Before – May 4th 2009

After - May 6th 2014

After – May 6th 2014

Anyway, better go. Seeya.

May 2014


What happened to autumn?

Last day of April

Last day of April

We seem to have gone almost straight from summer to winter, as there have only been a few weeks of autumn weather in between. Just like Alice Springs.

Winter already

Winter already

The super hot summer meant we have had a good wet start to the sowing season here, and three days after a decent 18mm it is raining again! I am thinking about the lovely wood I was lucky to be given which is out there and wondering why I did not bring some in.

Wet again

Wet again

About half the time the block is still dry this time of year and doesn’t green up until June. This time last year my tanks were almost empty and I was praying daily that the water would last until the rains came again. And I was still watering my desperate garden.

12 months ago.

12 months ago.

Monty Don, what have you done?

One thing about tough years is that the good memories stand out, and one of the highlights of 2013 was when my mother borrowed the Monty Don’s Italian Gardens DVD from the library.

Monty_Don's_Italian gardens

Over the months that followed this DVD was one of the things that made life a bit more bearable; there was even an element of hope to it, that one day, as well as all of the shit being behind us, my own garden would be something special.

One of the things which caught my attention were the fountains in the different gardens shown, which I guess is a direct result of living in a mostly dry place. Towards the end of the year I hunted high and low until I found a little solar powered water feature, and  after clearing out the pond early this month it is now in place. Gone is the swampy frog sanctuary – oh, Monty Don, what have you done?

The pond, after

The pond, after

Goldfish and a bit of weed has been added back, and that seems to be all it wants.

New again.

New again.

I now see that my Edna-Walling-inspired brick pond was not really the right place for all the other pond plants, frog log etc… looks like I might be needing another pond!



Random acts of violets

The first violets are out and they have reminded me of the Boston Marathon bombing, which was about a year ago. Charley Boorman made me smile with his tweet, “So sorry To hear about the Boston Explosions. Our hearts go out to those who lost their lives. What a cowardly act of violets.” I do not know whether his dylexia was at work here, or whether it was one of those auto correct jobs, but the phrase racketed through my head for several days.

Random acts of violets

By the tank.

Somewhere in a Kate Llewellyn journal (Burning), I read that the scent of violets rises up when a saint’s tomb is opened. I would like to think that the same kind of thing happens to murdered people. God protect us all from random acts of violets.

Look what else came up!


In the ‘pink’ garden

After years of one crocus at a time I finally have abundance!

A few days later

Crocuses galore



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