Well hello again…….

Where are your stories oceangirl, why aren’t you blogging, are you okay, Hey!, are you still around and other odd messages…..

I cannot believe my last post was June 2021! My absence it seems, has been conspicuous. I love writing my blog so I really don’t know why I haven’t blogged for such a long time. I did try on numerous occasions. It just didn’t come. It is as simple as that. Thank you for sending your messages. I am so appreciative of your care and concern x.

Now. To the task of catching up……..

The apex of privilege is that over the past few months I have ever so slowly learnt to give myself permission to just be. To lay in bed a little longer, to leave cat hair on the couch because it is after all my dear companions home too and to watch the night sky for what seems like hours because there is no reason for me to be inside watching TV except when Gardening Australia is on 🙂

I am no longer striving for unattainable perfection and I have set boundaries. No expectations, just gratitude.

Much has happened since my last post. There have been some life changes, good and difficult. Good people – such good people, happiness, sadness, inspired travel and more. My life is taking a gentler pace and I have let go of things that no longer serve me well.

My dear little gardening companion Zoe has passed. She made it to the wonderful age of 20 cat years which is the equivalent of 96 human years. Writing of her makes my heart turn to dust but then I remind myself that the grief felt for Zoe Clementine is born of love. Grief can be so varied and often it is not what we expect especially when it wraps around your heart like a fist. What an honour it was to have you as our lovely little companion for just over 14 years.

Zoe’s passing was gut wrenching but peaceful. Her little body was beginning to shut down and as much as it was heartbreaking, letting her go was the kindest thing. She went to sleep in my arms for the last time and for that privilege alone, we are grateful beyond words.

What a wonderful, tenacious, sweet, clever little cat she was. A great traveller and true adventurer along with being a voracious consumer of prawns and a lover of mature cheese. A delicate little cat with the biggest fighting spirit who adored being out in the enclosed vegie patch sunbathing regardless the temperature. Zoe was a little pocket rocket who had pretty much used up most of her 9 lives, she loved a chin rub and a gentle brushing and she loved nothing more than snuggling up. She could, when the mood took her, behave like a feline possessed, she could hold a grudge and she hated having her nail clipped. If cats had accents, Zoe’s would have certainly been French given her delicate features and jewel green eyes. She knew she was so loved and she will be missed for a very very long time……

The house is still a work in progress. More cracks appear in these old walls and the remaining ceiling of plaster and horse hair are sagging but I have a sturdy roof over my head. The garden is peaceful, lovely and continuing its transformation and the yields it offers up are fresh, nourishing and beautiful. The garden puts food on the table and fills vintage and hand-thrown pottery vases with beauty and that makes me happy.

Tom Tom and Boo (Thomas and George), those two wonderful furry beings are the best boys ever and love bugs personified, I became a vegan since my last blog post – I could never go vegan said every vegan before becoming vegan 🙂 and there has been some wonderful travel. All in all, everything is pretty okay in my little part of the world.

I don’t have it all figured out, I don’t think any of us are meant to but I noodle along regardless. Just one foot in front of the other and the path becomes more evident. I may not always know where I am going but no doubt I am getting to where I am meant to be.

None of us ever really know how the story will end but where was I in June 2021! Thats right. I was part way through writing about Robe…..x

Gratitude and The Sacred Monkey Forest…….

Before the world shut down, we travelled to Bali.  Time had flown quicker than a whisper, as we had not been back to Bali in just over 26 years!  Luckily, we spent eight days there and by grace of circumstance, we left a week or so before the pandemic took hold.


Most of my time spent in Bali was in, on, under or near the ocean.  For the most part, it was a beautiful blue.  Blue in the way one hopes the sea will always be.


please don’t hate me, we had a private beach……..

Almost every day was spent diving, swimming, snorkeling and beachcombing.  Being in places I could not have dreamt to be more perfect and eating the local food……. but more on that later.


I suffer varying degrees of confidence – mostly lacking –  and find navigating some tasks more difficult than others but I have always found great certitude in the ability to go it alone.  Happy in quiet solitude, I took a few solo trips and wanderings during our time in Bali and one was to the Sacred Monkey Forest.


We based ourselves at the southern end of the island of Bali.  At the quieter and more secluded Nusa Dua.  The Monkey Forest is located in Ubud, just over an hour and a half’s drive away.


Ubud is a lovely destination.  Surrounded by lush green rice fields, temples, small farms and steep rocky ravines it is a place you can easily spend a day, a week or longer. Its streets and markets are gloriously colourful and it is not only home to the Monkey Forest, it is also the epicenter of arts and culture in Bali.

522monkey f

Home to around 1,050 Balinese long-tailed Monkeys, this flourishing and secluded forest is protected and owned by the village of Padangtegal.


monkey considers career as official taster……..nails it!

I am forever charmed by this dense, beautifully green space of natural forest and its endearing yet often obstreperous inhabitants.  Along with its huge moss covered statues, shrines and temples, soft foliaged plants, walking tracks and trails it is an enchanting way to while away a few hours.


I have been to the Monkey Forest before.  The last time being 26 years ago and it was during that visit, I had an unnerving encounter with a large alpha male.   The memories of that experience remain but it certainly did not deter me from returning.


monkey comfort food – sweet potato, bananas, corn, local tropical fruit, coconuts, leaves and flowers which are bought in by the local villagers

Although I prefer a life well lived I am, to a fault, a perfectionist.  And trust me.  I can torture myself with the fixation of that perfection and that can be especially true of photos I take.  I often want to capture a perfect moment but to the credit of these delightful rascals, so quick and lithe and cheekily charming, they do not much care for the prosaic.  They will scamper and climb and they will not sit still so although I had many blurred and fuzzy photos, I did not care a dot.  I was just happily grateful to be lost in their world.

The not so blurred…….




Tips while you are there…….
  • Do not take any food or water bottles into the sanctuary and secure all other items
  • Respect their natural behavior – they are wild animals not pets
  • Do not attempt to feed the monkeys
  • Do not make eye contact
  • Do not attempt to touch the monkeys especially the babies – the monkeys are very protective and will attack
  • Allow yourself plenty of time
  • Wear respectful clothing
  • ENJOY!!
  • ENJOY!!!

I loved revisiting the sanctuary which is open daily from 8:30am till 6pm and costs 80,000 Rupiah (Indonesian), which is equivalent to a little over $8 Australian……best investment ever!


Truly human in my imperfections and in spite of my many flaws, I am still ever grateful.  We are all living in a world which is currently hurting and although not able to stem the flow of that hurt or end the suffering for some, the very least any of us can do is not take what we have or have experienced for granted.

No doubt we have all had moments where we have come undone, taken a brutal fall or found ourselves just trying to hang on yet somehow, even as physical distancing prevails and we await the world to return to some semblance of normality, everything still feels strangely alright……..x