Strawberries in the Desert

Story telling from Australia

The last time

I had no idea when I wrote ‘Until the Next Time’ that it would be ‘The Last Time’. I began this weekly blog over three years ago to share the challenge and joy of gardening in Broken Hill, a mining town on the edge of the desert in Outback New South Wales.

Broken Hill is a fascinating place. Summer temperatures can soar to 45 degrees and winter nights can drop below freezing; dust storms can obliterate the noonday sun and rain – when it comes – falls in torrents; I’ve seen kangaroo and emu wandering the streets and I’ve seen locusts and other pests arrive in plague-like proportions.

I loved it.

DSC00933We no longer live in Broken Hill (although who knows what the future might hold) and I’ve found it increasingly difficult to summon the enthusiasm to blog about our concrete back yard in Sydney, so this will be my last post, for now at least.

I’ve met some wonderful people in this extraordinary blogosphere, whose stories and writing have inspired me, and I feel humbled and honoured that others have chosen to read my weekly musings.

But all good things must end, if only to make way for other good things, whose shape and form may as yet be ill-defined and only vaguely understood. The two fiction projects I’m working on – one nearing completion and the other no more than a raw start – need more time than I’m giving them, so I’m bidding farewell to blogging.

I will miss the humorous, wise, affectionate, knowledgeable and heartfelt words of people whose posts have regularly entertained me over the years, and I may yet come back.

For now I leave you with pictures of bulbs flowering in England. I planted them for family during a visit last November, tucking bulbs that looked like dry shrivelled nuggets of nothing into loose soil on a cold winter’s day, not knowing what would happen. And now look at them.

Big writing projects – the ones you struggle with yet come back to time and again – can sometimes feel like they’re buried deep underground, where it’s dark and lonely and the soil is cold. Yet the germ of an idea can eventually flourish and surprise you.

Thank you for keeping me company over the last three years, and may all your writing projects flourish.

I’m sure I will see you all again one day.

 

 

36 comments on “The last time

  1. Jeanette
    April 14, 2016

    Dear Deb, I will miss your blogs, but can understand it must so demanding of time, and most importantly, “thinking space”. Enjoy having some time to think about your garden and your next book. Very best wishes, Jeanette PS please let me know if ever you are planning to come back to our part of the world. Love to catch up!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • debhuntwasinbrokenhill
      April 15, 2016

      Thanks Jeanette, I have a feeling we’ll be back in your part of the world one day, until then all best wishes to you and yours.

      Like

  2. rluckie
    April 14, 2016

    Hi Deb have really enjoyed your writing about Broken Hill. I have wonderful and sad memories of the place. Our four grandkids were born there (was at the birth of one grandson) and our son died in the same hospital—I held his hand. We’ve shared with you the wonders of the landscape, and the unique resilient people who live their. Caught up with old friends a couple of days ago who still live there, their garden is no more with the water situation, their only hope a monsoon rainfall in Queensland that possibly might wend its way to the Menindee Lakes, a pretty forlorn hope. They’re working hard on tourism, a new ‘Priscilla’ show at the Palace for the Indian Pacific. For your readers, go for a week on the Explorer – a day train out Mondays and back Tuesdays, a wonderful train ride, a week of wonders, and a boost to their economy.

    I’ve loved your blog! I only managed mine for a couple of weeks, so thanks for the effort from one of your ‘mainly silent’ but avid readers. All the best to you both, know we will be meet again and look forward to your next book.

    Rae Luckie

    Like

    • debhuntwasinbrokenhill
      April 15, 2016

      Dear Rae, I know how much Broken Hill means to you and I also know how much you have given to Broken Hill. My own journey as a writer here in Australia started on one of your inspirational workshops in Broken Hill library – what a great day that was! And you’re right, that train journey is such a wonderful way to get to Broken Hill – and only $2.50 on a pensioner fare!!!! Thank you for being such a loyal follower and inspirational mentor, I look forward to seeing you in Bateman’s Bay later this year.

      Like

  3. Jack Burke
    April 14, 2016

    Hi Deb.

    Will miss this. However, we will keep in touch. Wishing all the very best for your ongoing projects and hope there will be many more. Thelma adores you books.

    Warmest regards to you and Clyde.

    Thelma and Jack.

    Like

    • debhuntwasinbrokenhill
      April 15, 2016

      Hello Jack and hello Thelma, what a shame we missed each other in Broken Hill by just a few weeks, maybe next time! Thank you for your kind comments and best wishes to you both and your family.

      Like

  4. cathmarriott
    April 14, 2016

    Will miss the blogs too Deb. You inspire me with knowledge that sometimes you can’t see where to put the pen next but that you keep looking at it and thinking and it will come. We are all like chrysalis hanging on a branch wondering whether the next move will be a moth or a butterfly. I don’t mind as long as they involve the garden – not someone’s musty old clothes! xo Cath

    Like

    • debhuntwasinbrokenhill
      April 15, 2016

      Oh Cath I never quite know where to put the pen next and you are one of the people who inspire me to keep trying. I love that image of a chrysalis hanging on a branch, hope we’ll get to meet up again one day. Love to you and your family x

      Like

  5. Amy
    April 14, 2016

    I was only just getting to know you here, Deb, and I’m sorry to hear we must bid you adieu, at least for the present. Wishing you every success in your future endeavors! xo

    Like

  6. Eliza Waters
    April 15, 2016

    A sad post for me to read, as I have enjoyed everything you have written. However, I understand the stages we go through in life, and when something else calls you, you need to follow. Perhaps you can let us know now and again how you are faring? Share a bit of your advancements and setbacks, how life is treating you? Wishing you all the best, Deb!

    Like

    • debhuntwasinbrokenhill
      April 15, 2016

      Oh Eliza it’s very sad to say goodbye. As you know, when something calls and it feels important then its worth heeding that call to see where it takes you. I will certainly be back at some point in the future and I wish you well on your beautiful seven and a half acres!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Nandini Ray
    April 15, 2016

    I will miss this blog and the reminders of that beautiful desert and the big skies. Thank you for keeping the memories alive and I look forward to hearing about the next endeavours. xx

    Like

    • debhuntwasinbrokenhill
      April 15, 2016

      Thanks Nandini, those big skies keep calling don’t they? Very best wishes to you too and I hope life has many happy times ahead for you x

      Like

  8. I’ll miss you, Deb. All the best for the future.

    Like

  9. monsoonwendy
    April 15, 2016

    Like very one here Deb I will miss the blog. Very much. Despite evidence to the contrary, we will keep in touch!! My emailing can increase a good one hundred percent I reckon! Excited to read about these two projects and look forward to you in whatever written form you come. Massive hugs. I leave Birtamod today to begin the journey home. Until the next time!

    Like

    • debhuntwasinbrokenhill
      April 15, 2016

      Dear Wendy, It’s sad to say goodbye to blogging for now, but I’m sure it won’t be forever. Meantime we will certainly stay in touch and I hope you have a very safe journey home. Look forward to seeing you in the not too distant future I hope x

      Like

  10. Gaye Priestley
    April 15, 2016

    Hope to see you in Berry or Birchgrove sometime.
    Best wishes,
    Gaye

    Like

    • debhuntwasinbrokenhill
      April 15, 2016

      Thanks Gaye, likewise! Give me a holler if you see me in the street, I’m often lost in a world of my own. I was regularly told off at primary school for daydreaming, wish the teachers had encouraged it, I might have made a better writer!!

      Like

  11. mrdjangozazou
    April 15, 2016

    I never believed you were in Australia at all, you know. You’re living in a bedsit in Blackpool and you’ve just been photo-shopping yourself into exotic backgrounds and making stuff up. Clyde’s really a bus driver on the no. 32 to Fleetwood and Maggie’s a cocker spaniel. Well, that’s all more credible than the news that you’ve been blogging for three years! Three years? How did that happen? I remember you telling me you’d started one, and that was surely only last year!

    Anyway, if I see you on the prom I’ll give you a wave, and in the meantime if your novel comes out with the title “A Bedsit in Blackpool” I’ll expect a credit!

    Like

    • debhuntwasinbrokenhill
      April 15, 2016

      Busted! How did you guess? Was it that last time we met on the number 32 that broke down outside Sainsbury’s, the day I saw you nipping in to buy a packet of custard creams? Our eyes met, you blinked, I blinked, my wig shifted and suddenly my cover was blown. All those nights huddled next to a two-bar fire in a bedsit in Blackpool were for nothing. But don’t for a moment think you will ever make me admit to being an undercover agent, oh no. Not me. My lips are sealed. That’s one secret that will never get out my little furry friend.

      Liked by 2 people

      • wendylockyer
        April 15, 2016

        Brilliant! I will miss your blog but see you soon!!!!

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Jeanette
    April 15, 2016

    Well, that post and Deb’s reply has given us both a huge laugh!!! Excellent.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Mala Burt
    April 15, 2016

    I will miss hearing about your adventures. I totally get the need to have time to think. I’m stuck in a writing project and need to sit and let the characters tell me what they want to do, but spring gardening pulls me into yard and I follow.

    Like

  14. pbmgarden
    April 15, 2016

    Best of luck with your new projects. I’ve enjoyed your writings and wish you good things ahead.

    Like

  15. Jennifer Farrell
    April 15, 2016

    Just keeping writing Deb – blog, books, plays, whatever direction it takes you – love your work.

    Like

    • debhuntwasinbrokenhill
      April 16, 2016

      Thank you Jennifer, that’s very kind of you. Like many writers I question what I’m doing but I can’t find anything else I’d rather do so I’d better just get on with it!

      Like

  16. Adele Hughes
    April 15, 2016

    Deb I will miss your blogs! But we will keep in touch some other way.
    Hope your project writings are brilliant as always.
    Love Adele xx

    Like

    • debhuntwasinbrokenhill
      April 16, 2016

      What an extraordinary three years it has been for us both! Hope you and your family continue to flourish (and grow!) and I’m sure we will stay in touch somehow x

      Like

  17. nantubre
    April 15, 2016

    Where is the ‘dislike’ button? I very much dislike that I won’t be able to read your musings any longer! You have no idea how I have enjoyed glimpses of your life on the other side of the world. Isn’t it odd how an inanimate collection of cables, wires, and satellites can connect individuals and provide a sense of closeness! Perhaps even camaraderie.
    Best of luck to you and may every dream come true. You have been a blessing to me.

    Like

    • debhuntwasinbrokenhill
      April 16, 2016

      Oh Nan you are such an inspiration and your own blogging showed me what was possible when you back yourself. You have been through so much and I’ve always admired your positive spirit and your wonderful sense of humour. God bless you and keep you and I hope we ‘see’ each other again one day.

      Like

  18. candidkay
    May 6, 2016

    Oh no! You’re one of the good eggs:). But I understand–and I wish you the best in your writing! Thanks for your support over the past couple of years.

    Like

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This entry was posted on April 14, 2016 by and tagged , , , .

I'm a writer based in Australia with a passion for gardening, remote places and people with a story to tell.

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