My heart is heavy

Australia voted yesterday. There are two parties that could expect to form government ~ the right-wing Liberal Party and the more moderate Labor Party. The Liberals have been in government for quite a few years, and what a chaotic, mean spirited and clueless Government it was. The Labor Party was consistently ahead in the polls, although the leader, Bill Shorten, who happens to be my Member of Parliament, was always behind Scott Morrison.

So, I was quietly confident, and quietly excited, because the Labor Party was talking about policies that would give some hope to the issues we face. They talked about closing tax loop holes that would free up money to be spent on cancer care; the Liberals called it a Retirement Tax. Labor had policies and ideas to do something about climate change. The Liberals, who have a rotten record on climate change, wanted to know where the money was coming from; Shorten rightly pointed out that we couldn’t afford not to act.

And so it went on. Labor proposed ideas, the Liberals harped on about high taxes and ‘you can’t trust Bill’.

Watching the count last night was a shock. Not only did the Liberals return to government, but with a bigger majority. They won seats. Morrison is hailed as the Miracle Worker, winning the unwinable election.

Meeks has more detail on her blog Meeka’s Mind.

To add to my woes of the last 24 hours, there was no Democracy Sausage at my Polling Booth 😳 and our teapot had an accident (yes, I am looking at you my Lovely Fella!).

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I had a restless night last night, despairing over what this says about us as Australians and as world citizens.

This election has been a choice, and I feel that voters have chosen self-interest rather than a better future for us all. The Liberals are no friends of the environment. Malcolm Turnbull was dumped as Prime Minister because of the climate skeptics in his party. The huge Adani coal mine will go ahead and the nonsense of ‘clean coal’ will be investigated. The talk about ‘future generations’ is simply talk.

My mind spun last night, and then got stuck on one thought ~ I felt powerless, without control. So, I need to take control of the things I can, starting with my garden.

Why the garden?

  • It brings me joy, digging and planting brings me peace, and I need that.
  • There’s exercise too, well known for regulating mood.
  • In my little patch I can encourage pollinators and microorganisms and birds and butterflies. The world needs havens for these.
  • It helps me monitor seasonal changes and moon cycles.
  • My veggie garden is in the front yard, getting maximum sun, encouraging others to see that even a little bit of soil can grow something. Many vegetables are very easy to grow.
  • Because it is in the front yard the Fella and I can do a little to help foster community. We often have conversations with people walking past. Indeed just yesterday I had a chat with a neighbour originally from Lebanon about rosemary. She told me that it made a very soothing tea for colds. Last time I wrote about my garden I told you that we have a system with another neighbour ~ her veggie scraps for our excess produce.

Fired up, today I went to the local nursery and bought:

  • pea straw for compost (organic, but in a plastic wrapper ~ go figure that one)
  • Zoopoo ~ compost from animals’ waste at the zoo!
  • Red mustard seedlings

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  • Seed potoates
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I don’t plant them very deep, and then cover them with mulch
  • Spring onion seedlings
  • Garlic
  • Seed packets of turnips, pal choy and swedes

Already growing are the peas, an earlier sowing of garlic and silver beet.

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We are heading into Winter, even though the weather is still warm and dry, but things are still flowering in the backyard.

Nerines

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a corn flower

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a foxglove (yep, that’s a bath at the back of it….don’t ask….)

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the white correa

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and who can resist a dandelion?

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The pots are doing well (can you see my new Japanese fish kite?)

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and the worms seem happy in their little worm farm. (This photo looks a little strange….the washing is hanging on the line a couple of metres behind the worm farm, not dangling in it!)

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There are other ways to help the world too, but my little patch of healthy garden is an important start for me. Let me leave you with this quote, where Leonard Woolf, husband of Virginia Woolf is speaking:

I will end… with a little scene that took place in the last months of peace. They were the most terrible months of my life, for, helplessly and hopelessly, one watched the inevitable approach of war. One of the most horrible things at that time was to listen on the wireless to the speeches of Hitler—the savage and insane ravings of a vindictive underdog who suddenly saw himself to be all-powerful. We were in Rodmell during the late summer of 1939, and I used to listen to those ranting, raving speeches. One afternoon I was planting in the orchard under an apple-tree iris reticulata, those lovely violet flowers… Suddenly I heard Virginia’s voice calling to me from the sitting room window: “Hitler is making a speech.” I shouted back, “I shan’t come. I’m planting iris and they will be flowering long after he is dead.” Last March, twenty-one years after Hitler committed suicide in the bunker, a few of those violet flowers still flowered under the apple-tree in the orchard. Leonard Woolf, “Downhill all the way: An autobiography of the years 1919 to 1939” 

53 thoughts on “My heart is heavy

  1. I too had a restless night. Australians have largely voted for “self interest” but they don’t seem to realise the Libs are not actually for them. Those who fear “the leechers” on the govt and are actually supported themselves via FTB A and FTB B and subsided child care and education and health. Adani will kill the reef and the rivers. Smug-mo will continue with “How good is that…” emptiness. And our young will not be able to afford to live in Sydney.

    So, I turned off the news on my iPhone. Didn’t turn in the TV or the radio. And like you, went into my garden. Put together my new worm garden. Did a little weeding. And watered my sweet peas.

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    1. Self interest is such a short sighted lens through which to view the world. You are right that the Liberals won’t work for so many people, especially those wanting jobs out of the Adani mine. I can’t see many eventuating.

      Thanks for Morrison’s new nick name ~ Smug-mo. My partner comes up with some good ones, but that’s the best.

      Our gardens are the winners out of all of this!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Think about Police Point and things will seem less hopeless.
    My thoughts are that most politicians have agendas I don’t share to a greater or lesser extent, and it’s a matter of finding the best of a bad bunch. I don’t think we managed it this time, but to my mind the alternatives on offer weren’t much better. The job of governing us should go to someone principled, efficient, foresighted and compassionate. Not a polly, then; probably a person who doesn’t really want the job!

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    1. Very astute, Kate. Perhaps an efficient, principled and compassionate Quilter might be the perfect person! Interested in the job?

      And yes, Police Point is an excellent distraction. Only a few more sleeps now.

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  3. I’m sorry to read this Anne – except for the gardening bit – I don’t listen to the news and this is the first I gave heard of the outcome of your elections. Take heart though – I think history shows us how change comes first from the people, the NGO’s, the volunteers, the quiet rebellion of the little folk who otherwise don’t seem to matter. Plant gardens, vote with our dollars, when looking for the truth follow the money trails and don’t believe anything they say. We have to learn to think for ourselves and we have to stand bravely in our truth and speak it. Political rhetoric and political spinning is for the ignorant. Keep on gardening, keep on walking and keep on talking to your neighbours. Leonard Woolf was right 🙂

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    1. Wise words, Pauline, and thank you for them. it is easy to forget that change comes in so many different ways, including from the actions of so many people, who, as you say, are little folk who don’t seem to matter. Including gardeners!

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  4. I haven’t been following your political situation let alone my own…(NZ) but from my Aussie friends posting on f/b – it’s not favourable the outcome at all!
    I think your garden is the best bet, love the worm bins adjacent to the clothes line…and your tenacity to keep ‘on growing’ – the teapot is another kettle of fish all together; hope you find a fabulous replacement; maybe one with feather designs all over it…

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    1. The worm farm has the added advantage of being close to the back door ~ very handy. It is very satisfying to know that the plants are putting down their roots into to the soil, just doing their thing, with a little help from me. As for the teapot….one with feathers would be fantastic.

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  5. I know just how you feel – I have been very depressed over the state of things in the UK for the last 3 years, Brexit has bought nothing but chaos and nastiness and people still vote for horrid Nigel Farage who wants to sell off the NHS and cares no one jot for the ordinary people. Your “Liberals” seem very unpleasant indeed. Neo-Liberals might be a better description. I don’t know a lot about Australian politics, but I was listening to an obituary of Bob Hawkes the other day and thought “He sounds like a really good bloke”, shame he’s died.

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    1. It is so difficult to understand why people would vote for someone like Farage, but I can understand why you have been depressed about Brexit for the last few years. How will it end? Will it ever end….or will the discussions about Brexit continue forever?!
      The death of Bob Hawke on the Friday before voting was something else that would work in Labor’s favour. Hawke was a lion of the Labor Party, and along with his treasurer Paul Keating, changed Australian society and economy. I thought that all the obituaries would remind people that Labor has been very successful in government, and able to bring about change. Not to be….

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      1. I am guessing that the Liberals have been creating a climate of fear (about, say immigrants) and that’s what people response to rather than hope and the desire to improve people’s lives. That’s what these populists do to ensure support. In Britain the Brexiters lie and lie and the BBC (state broadcaster) reports what they say without comment – it’s poor journalism at best and propaganda at worse. I can’t bear to listen to the radio anymore. Just before the 2016 referendum a female MP Jo Cox was murdered in broad daylight because she’d been campaigning to say in the EU. They’d think that would have influenced voters but Leave.eu continued their campaign on social media despite an agreement to halt all campaigning for 3 days. I’ll have to stop now as I can feel me blood pressure going up!!

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        1. This is an excellent summation of the Liberals too. Jo Cox’s murder should have made people sit up and think, but, as you say, the Leave campaign continued on. In the same way, so many of us thought that the massacre in Sandy Hook would bring about gun reform in the US, but shockingly that didn’t happen either.
          Just as well we have our paint brushes ~ and you do such wonderful work with yours!

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    1. I’ll take comfort where I can! Thank you! The Liberals have a way to go to show they are serious about women. And Tony Abbott loosing his seat is another silver lining.

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  6. It’s always so depressing these days when you have an election. We are tearing ourselves apart in the UK with brexit, the rise of xenophobic behaviour, the near collapse of our government and parliament making no sense at all. On top of that we now have EU elections for MEPs!! So focussing on what you can control is such a healthy way to go! Good luck with the veggies!!

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    1. How bizarre, to be having EU elections while somehow finding the way out of Europe. As Emma says above, you have been dealing with the terrible tangle of Brexit for three years now. So yes, let’s garden, and create art, of course!

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  7. I know your feelings exactly – so many mornings I have been almost unable to function because news from the polls… Brexit, Trump, the re-election of our Conservative government (well, with the help of the DUP). We’re just about to hold elections for the European parliament and, I have to confess, that I consulted a tactical voting web site to help me make my choice because it felt like the only way things might change (not that MEPs are going to be able to do much) and to register my total opposition to the likes of Farage (or Farrago, as I like to think of him).
    So, to the positives… the amazing increase in renewable energy generation in the US despite Trump’s commitment to ‘clean coal’, the publicity that Greta Thunberg is getting, Extinction Rebellion… and all the gardeners, repairers, fixers and bringers of kindness that I meet in person and on-line every single day.
    Sorry about the lack of sausage,,, some incentive to get a community thing going next time? And the teapot – repairable with Sugru perhaps? And if not, hang it in the garden as a nest box.

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    1. I had hoped we might buck the trend of shifting to the right, so that there would be a small light. Obviously that didn’t happen. Tactical voting sounds very canny, but surely it is way too late for intervention from the European Parliament? As for the environment, maybe there is hope for it by leaving parliaments and prime ministers and presidents and governments behind and dealing with it ourselves. Greta Thunberg is an excellent example.
      As for the teapot….I think it will become a pot for a succulent. 😀

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  8. After various shock results in the U.K., not to mention the U.S., in recent years, I don’t think anything could surprise me any more in the world of politics.
    Love the quote from Leonard Woolf.

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    1. Isn’t the Woolf quote good? I have been waiting for change to use it. I think part of the dismay is watching the train wreck unfold before us, like watching the states of the US gradually turn in favour of Trump. Meanwhile, the irises are quietly growing!

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  9. Like the others I despair of the political system. I remember a quip which I think was about a US presidential election ‘If someone who WANTS the job they are obviously unsuitable’. I cannot change the system or the self-interest of voters. So like you I tend my garden, think about how I live my life and try to build my community. May your veggies grow, your neighbours stop to chat and little by little maybe the world will change.

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    1. That’s a beautiful blessing! Thank you! Your blog shows the deep love you have for your patch of the world .
      Kate mentioned ‘not wanting the job’ as the necessary criteria too. However, it would be a rotten job if you want it, and even worse if you don’t.

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  10. I empathise with your comments about the election result, and worry for the life of the Barrier Reef, and our wildlife, our waterways and our countryside. Fear of so much drove this result; and working in the garden with nature is so calming……watching the new growth after recent rains, the three chrysalises of the swallowtail butterfly neatly camouflaged in the lime tree, the blaze of autumn leaves as their pigments change……..
    Thank you for sharing your garden Anne, especially the worm farm and the clothesline which made me smile! .

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    1. I despair about the Barrier Reef, and as you know, Menindee on the Darling River holds a special place in my heart. So yes, let’s celebrate the recent rains, and growing veggies and the changes to the autumn leaves ~ and collecting them to put into the compost bin!
      The worm farm looks grungy but does an excellent job!

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  11. Greeks love to vote-they wouldn’t dream of staying at home. But, I’m getting less and less keen. All my life I’ve voted for what I believed to be the lesser of two evils, hoping to see some change ( I was never really keen on anybody). I’ve come to the conclusion that all politicians are the same. They only care about being re elected, and getting rich in the process. I’ll still vote if I’m in Greece, but with no great hopes, and won’t change my plans (as I used to) if I’m not. Depressing, isn’t it?

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    1. I love the idea that Greeks see voting as a chance to get our and socialise. it’s how it should be, a celebration. But then you are the heartland of democracy! Do you have compulsory voting? I always take an active interest in politics too. I think it is important to be well informed. Maybe ignorance is a factor in the election results.

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  12. We have the “honour” of voting next week. Belgium is a democratic country (I don’t agree) but we are obliged to go voting whether we like it or not. I am disgusted with politics all over the world at the moment. They have just big ego’s and no brains. And I don’t understand all these voters who keep voting for the one’s with the biggest mouths and the one’s with no hearts nor brains !!

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    1. I so agree ~ big mouths and no hearts nor brains, but mighty good publicity campaigns! We have compulsory voting too, which I think is a good thing. It is a hard won right, and I treasure those three minutes of democracy (even though I am in a very safe Labor seat, and my vote doesn’t really count). I wonder what will happen in Belgium….

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  13. I grieve with you. It certainly seems like the world is well and truly going to hell in a hand basket, once and for all. Gwennie spoke truly when she said it seems voters the world over are voting for the biggest mouths and the least brains. I treasure and delight in the exuberance of my little flower bed but find the greatest peace stitching color into this world gone dark and dreary.

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    1. We will hang in for the days when they vote for the smallest mouths and the biggest brains! Won’t that be a day to celebrate? Your stitching does bring light and colour, and your quilting! maybe we can heal the world one plant and one stitch at a time.

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  14. I admit I was surprised at the outcome of the election. I foolishly felt that the environment would win this time. I don’t understand how those in power can’t see this. My father would give them a right telling off and probably make them do a few hard days work for the first time in their lives!
    However I love the story of your garden. I delved into Anne of Green Gables and stitching!

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    1. Don’t we want to give them all a golly good telling off! (My Fella frequently does this, but usually just at the TV!) We can only hope that businesses and individuals flow around the Government and take on climate change themselves.
      Anne of Green Gables ~ that really is comfort reading ☺️

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  15. Your description of morning-after shock is exactly what I felt when I woke up to Trump as president–literally sick to my stomach and heart. I think your antidote makes a lot of sense and the quote you ended with is perfect.

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    1. I was thinking of your Trump election while I was watching ours. It must have been heart breaking to see that wave of Republican wins across the States. Thank goodness for gardens! The Woolf quote is very nice, isn’t it? And I love irises.

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  16. I’m with you…and not to sound too gruesome, but I find encouragement in your post in that you’ve shown me it’s not just us Americans who are dealing with this crazymindedness and powerlust.
    And that whole tradition of ‘Democracy Sausages’ that I first heard about via your blog now having vanished…I wonder if it’s kindof symbolic of the disruptions on the lives of everyday Aussies.
    Keep on keepin’ on, Anne.

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    1. Americans, British, Australians, and so many others ~ a world of us despairing of the worlds we live in, but determined that we can do better.
      I am sure other booths had sausages, just not at mine 😞 but we do have another teapot ☺️

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  17. I have followed, as best I could, the Australian election for I have a number of Australian friends, including you and Andrea (Meeka). I was surprised and disappointed in Morrison’s win and I’m sure the letdown you felt was similar to that I experienced on the night of November 8, 2016. My heart goes out to you. I have another Australian friend who like you, did not support Morrison and is disappointed, but believes him to be a fair man of integrity. I don’t know enough about him to make that judgment, but I hope he’s right. Time will tell, but I truly have my fingers crossed that this doesn’t turn into a disaster for your country. The populist movement, or nationalist movement has given us Trump, the UK Brexit, Brazil Bolsonaro, and others.

    Your garden is beautiful! I have no green thumb … in fact I am not allowed to touch the few flowers in our tiny postage-stamp yard! 🤣 But I love the way yours looks and I can see that it is tended with love.

    Hang in, my friend! Hugs!!!

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    1. Lovely to have you here, Jill. I always read your posts, although I don’t often comment. I admire your ability to call out behaviours that make our world more mean-spirited and dangerous.
      I am not sure about Morrison. His rhetoric is aimed at the middle class, self-funded retirees and coal workers. leaving young people, pensioners, unemployed behind. As well, he was a very aggressive immigration minister, rigorously maintaining off-shore detention centres. So, as you say, fingers crossed!
      And it is just as well they are crossed and not working in the garden, if what you say is anything to go by ☺️

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      1. Thank you, Anne! I did not start this blog with the intention of it being political, but … you know what they say about “the best laid plans of mice and men …” Yes, in addition to what you say, I was reading an article by a climate scientist who said, “We’ve lost Australia”, so I presume he isn’t an advocate for aggressively addressing climate change and tackling tough environmental issues. Time will tell. Yes, I definitely have a black thumb. My mother-in-law once bought me a plant that she said was so hardy that even I couldn’t kill it. Two weeks later, it was dead. Sigh. 🙄

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        1. I will keep posting garden photos so that you can enjoy them vicariously!

          That’s an interesting comment you heard about Australia being lost. We have had fears for the Great barrier Reef for a while. Wouldn’t it be a disaster if that was destroyed on our watch?

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          1. Thank you, Anne! Your garden pics are a wonderful reprieve!

            Yes, it would be a disaster, as are the melting polar ice caps, the mountains of plastic in our oceans … sigh … we have not been very good stewards of our planet, have we? And I wonder if, even now, it is too late? Have you been following young Greta Thunberg? I am in awe of that young woman!

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  18. Ugh, I saw the results of your election and shook my head in despair. I can’t understand how we keep hearing that the majority of people stand for “liberal” issues (environment, equal rights, worker’s rights) but then these blowhards come in and win elections. It’s frustrating and does leave me worried that we’ll never climb out of this hole. Speaking of holes (see what I did there?) your garden looks amazing! Mine’s a complete jungle right now. And I love the idea of zoopoo…I’m not sure why our zoo doesn’t do this.

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    1. Think of all the creatures that are living in your jungle….does it make you feel any better to think of it as a biodiversity hot spot? 😄
      Shaking our heads seems to be the general reaction. There has been a lot of talk and analysis, but there doesn’t seem to be general agreement about what went wrong. I imagine it was the same when Trump won.

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  19. I’m late… catching up on blog reading… but I’m glad I didn’t miss a wander through your garden. I actually saw your post right after the election but I was so miserable I couldn’t read it, or comment. I worked as a polling place assistant and the writing was on the wall as we counted… the mood was sombre. Similar to the previous Australian Federal election, and Trump in the U.S. no-one I know wanted or expected the outcome. I had a little cry the following morning… tired and disappointed… but I’m happy we’re in good, likeminded company in our silo… it is wonderfully comforting.

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