A Life of Solitude.

“No man is an island”, so the poet led,

Tho’ I ponder on that presumed refrain,

As I quietly lay awake in bed,

The small hours of the night ticking away overhead.

And I shall presume he included women,

Tho’ such things usually go unsaid.

But for a while back there, when gravely ill,

(And I will speak for others more stricken still).

An island I certainly felt..in a sea of pain,

Tho’ thoughts and comforting words,

Of close friends were given time and again,

But the pain…’twas MY pain..would always remain.

And for some; the pain of loneliness?

Or the loveless, wed in vain..?

The empty house, the unfeeling spouse?

Can comforting wisdom fill the void?

Or see televised braces of laughing faces,

Without a seeming care in the world?

When all sometimes needed is one reassuring word,

That is given so many times of late,

In banal, flippant gestures heard;

“LOVE the cut of that coat”, or “LOVE that orange cake!”

So perhaps we always an island remain,

Surrounded by ocean of the equally vain,

Crowding in suburban estates about,

To assuage a niggling, subconscious doubt;

That in the safety of a multitude,

Under one roof shelter from the rain,

We live out a life of dumb solitude..

Secure amid plenty of one mistaken refrain.

Harriet Morcombe’s Weekly budget diary.

2015 Household Budget Book - YouTube

Monday 8th.

8.am. Holiday, Queen’s birthday.

Up at 8. Fed cats and Fowls..Coffee and back to bed, up at 11.30.

Down to letter box to check mail..spotted by Mona from across the road….unfortunately…

“Harri!” she called to me…HATE that shortening of my name…hate it!

“Yes, Mona” I replied..and that’s when the complaining started..her old man of course..He’s taken up learning to play the violin in his retirement…”caterwauling” Mona calls it..and in the times when I am in the garden looking for some peace and quiet, I have to agree..wish he’d taken a shine to a church organ..oh well..perhaps it will lessen his penchant for the flagons of sweet sherry.

Never hear; “God Save the Queen” over the radio any more on her birthday?

Back in time for lunch.

Nathan up, on computer.

Made hot sandwiches for both of us.

Back to bed to 3.30.

Fed cats and put out enough for 2 days. Fowls enough for 3 days as tomorrow Joe is taking me to Pt Julia to do some work on the cottage.

Tv. At 5. to 5.30.

Cooked dinner. Tv. To 8.30.

Washed dishes. Bed.

Budget: In.                                            $   –   c.                                           Out. $   –  c.

From; Cw Bank, Colonades. –        450   –  00               Grocer – Pine Pt…   23 – 00                               

Food, etc..                                         138   –  95                Paper – cake etc..   13 – 00   ( Pt Vincent ).                             

                                        Bal’              311  –  05                Pasties – Drinks..    12 – 75  ( Pt Wakefield).

Accounts                                               59 –  60                Fish and Chips….      13 – 00  (Pt Vincent).        

                                                             251 –  45                Coles ; shopping..     77 – 20  ( Colonades ).

Others                                                 201 – 75                                   Total     $138- 95.

                                        Bal’               $49 –  10.

Tues. 9th.

Joe and I to Pt Julia.

I have to take the 7.43 train from Marino Rocks to Adelaide. Then the 8.40 Gawler train to Gawler Centre. Met Joe there..The day is cold.

We drive to Pt Wakefield & had pasty each & I had a small bottle of drink. Then on to Ardrossan.

At the hardware store we bought tin of paint for bathroom & R-p7 for taps, they were tight last trip over. Then to Pine Point for groceries & to Pt Julia. Unloaded & cup of coffee..cottage feels welcoming.

Joe to work on roof to put collar around chimley & to cut back branches of gum tree the neighbour did not like..he now wants another tree cut down??…..Joe and he “have words”…

I rub down bathroom walls, move everything out and began painting as high as I could. Joe came in and used some very bad language about the neighbour..I told him to shoosh that kind of talk…but like he’d listen to me at his age…But he is a good lad..at least HE takes me here for a bit of a break..not like my older sons..never see them save they want something..A son’s a son etc, as the saying goes..though my daughter looks after me at home..can’t complain.

At 3. We changed and drove down to Pt Vincent. Joe wants a part for a tap, but could not get it.

We had fish & chips which we took back to cottage..Man at fish shop laments lack of customers..says, ”You got to have houses BOTH sides of the street to make money in this game”.. his shop is on the foreshore.

Joe lit the fire. He had brought wood from his home in Sedan.

We stayed by fire and watched tv. till bedtime..must say the reception here is better than at home..programs just as bad though.

Wed. 10th.

Up just on 8. Very nice day.

We have cooked breakfast..bacon & eggs..coffee. Then started on painting. Joe up high and ceiling.

Took time out for walk to the jetty. Sea is calm and the cliffs are wonderful…mallee is beautiful here by the sea..Life seems so calm and peaceful.

We then tidied up at 12.30. I washed dishes, Joe swept floor. Packed up and left at 1.15. a lovely stay. Cannot help but think back on when we, as a family had so very, very little..Mum and dad brought us up in bag-tents along The River in the depression..I remember coating the children’s school sandshoes with whiting so as to hand them down to the younger ones..and the patched pants..now we have a cottage over on the coast…V. lucky….( thank you, God ).

Did not stop on way back as we had to make it to Gawler for the 3.17 afternoon train to Adelaide..or wait two hours for the next.

Just made it to the station in time. Joe had to run to flag the train down for me..touch and go for a moment..good job Joe is fast on his feet.

After an hour I arrived in Adelaide Station. Took the 4.24 Brighton train. At Brighton I had to wait 7 minutes for Noarlunga train. Home at 5.15.. very tired.

Had a slice of toast, then to bed.

Up at 9pm. For aspirin then back to bed.

Accounts.                                 $  –  c.

Brighton – Sunday Mail…     24 – 60

Cranio-Facial Aust’ ……         29  – 50

Stamps….                                   5 –  50 

                                Total…    $59 – 60

Thurs’ 11th.

Up at 6. But Nathan not working today.

Back to bed with coffee. Up at 7.30. Fed cats, made porridge, fed fowls. N. to airport to pick up Ben.

I took the 9.53 train to Noarlunga Centre. Sat next to Mrs. Clarke. Her husband is obsessed with his sailing-boat he has in the garage downstairs..Muriel complained that he spends more time with IT than her..”Get yourself a hobby” he said, so Muriel said she DID..”His name is Brian”.

To C-W bank. To P.O. to send $25-00 to Cranio-Facial Aust’, wouldn’t begrudge THAT charity..give more if I could afford it..so sorry for the poor children. Buy a book of stamps.

To chemist to buy train tickets. Shopping at Coles. Bought whole chicken on way out.

Train home..N&B on computer. They stopped for lunch. The chicken and bread.

I went for a rest. Up at 3.30 fed cats.

Tv. Till 5.30. N & B & I finished the chicken. Computer  for ‘them’. Ben off to bed soon. Tv. For me until 8.

Washed dishes. Bed.

Ben back from eastern states, stayed the night..Said he enjoyed himself, though didn’t talk about it. Ben’s a quiet one. Nathan to drive him back to Ben’s mothers at Crafers tomorrow.

Friday 12th.

Nathan to work.

Up at 5.30am. Made small lunch for N. as he is only working half-day on Fridays.

Cooked him breakfast & he left. Coffee for me & back to bed.

Up at 8. Ben up, he said he had slept for 15 hours, made coffee for himself then to computer.

I dusted and polished my bedroom furniture..gave special clean to my old writing bureau..haven’t written now for years…don’t know why I keep it..sentimental..strange how much I wanted to become a writer, now can’t even think of a story..the end of stories for me I guess.

Checked letters etc. and threw out those not wanted..Mother was a prolific writer of letters..could be cruel though, wrote on Rosemary’s letter when she gave it me ; “read then burn!”..What was it Father said..oh yes..” Irish women make good mothers but terrible wives”. Will keep hers, children may find them of interest in their later years.. those early days in the mallee..the depression.

Ben cooked himself some lunch. I had lunch. Rest.

Up at 3. Fed cats.

Down garden, weeding. Grass to fowls.

Tv. at 4.25 to 5.30. Nathan home.

Cooked dinner.

Tv. to 8.30.

Washed dishes. Bed.

Nathan drove Ben up to Crafers.

He stayed at Crafers till Sunday evening. Enjoyed the break from them..Not too long though I hope. Old age is a lonely age.

Saturday 13th.

Up at 7.30 fed cats. Fed fowls.

Checked garden. Ducked behind oyster plant when I saw Mona looking over to my place. Escape?..could hear “violin”. Porridge.

Washed clothes, then bathroom and toilet floors. Made lunch. Rest.

Up at 3.30 fed cat.

Tv. at 4.45 to 5.30.

Cooked dinner.

Tv. to 8.30.

Washed dishes. Bed.

Others-                                $  –  c.

Next weeks money…        50 – 00.

Bus trip…                            60 – 00

Bus club membership..   10 – 00

Tickets…                             21 – 30

Ardrossan Hdw/paint..    57 – 45

Petrol etc ..                        50 – 00

Church plate..                     3 – 00

                         Total…     201 – 75

Sunday 14th

Up at 7.30. Fed cats and fowls. Coffee.

Pulled up some grass for fowls. Porridge. 

Took the 9.30 train to Brighton for church..Met Mrs Aloia, she complained about her feet, shoes too tight but she wears one size too small..e’ fashionista she says..”poor me, poor me” she says. Train 10.56 home Had lunch, usual chicken noodles.

I had a rest.

Up at 3.30. Fed cats. Cooked dinner.

Phone call from eldest..asked if he could borrow money for tyres…(again)..of course I could..though it is a pity his non-working wife couldn’t hold up on her smoking at $75.00 a week (he says) so they could afford some things themselves…didn’t say though..have him in tears again.

Checked budget books etc.

Tv. at 5.30 to 9…..So tired.

Washed dishes. Bed.