I had thought I’d write a blog post for Christmas, but then was given the opportunity to pen a festive reflection for the Australian newspaper, so for now, all I’m going to do is direct you, via a simple click on this blue link, to that piece.

I hope some part of it resonates with you.


I will be back here with fresh words before year’s end, but for now, Merry Christmas.

May it bring peace.

Peace and more peace…

14 thoughts on “An offering. A gift.

  1. The cards I remember well. Passions you both shared I remember well. Peace to you darling girl. I will look for stars and weep for your flaneur then greet the new day with purpose. Thanks for the article.

  2. Dear Ailsa, thank you for “sharing” your recollections of Christmas with Peter., with us. It reminded me of some of my childhood Christmases. Happy Christmas. Michael

    1. Dear Michael,
      Thank YOU for taking the time to respond. So generous. I wish you more and more happy. More and more. Ailsa

  3. Ailsa: Thanks for the lovely – evening sky/first “star’ Venus? looking out across to the northern inside shores/cliffs of Sydney Harbour. Into which my First Eleven-transporting great x 3 grand-parents (Henry & Susannah) sailed almost 228 years ago towards the end of January in 1788. I am some 400+ kms almost due north of you now in Tamworth. My brother and his wife are visiting her family in France (Vendôme, Loir-et-Cher) some 200 kms south south-west of Paris. I am keeping their garden alive and from across town running errands for my mother following her recent St Vincent’s hip replacement op./St Luke’s rehab – now home into her final stages of exercising rehab – from day 2 apparently walking without any aid – now champing somewhat at the bit to get behind the wheel of her trusty steed and be her usual independent self. We are also engaging in a lot of reminiscence. It’s 50 years since I completed my Leaving Certificate at Tamworth HS and went off to study at Sydney – so it’s not only comforting for my mother but significant to me too – reviewing the early years growing up here (born and two+ y.o. when we moved from Sydney). There are people we know in widely divergent ways – we discover. An odyssey we took, my wife and I, earlier this year – RV (mobile home) from the north-west of the US through western and north-western provinces in Canada and into Alaska – a kind of independent driving but booked sites get-together with others in the evenings was led by Country Music radio man Nick ERBY – and his wife Lyn MORRISON. We did not know them until the initial gathering in Seattle. Do you know Jim HAYNES – I asked him – that first evening. Oh, yes, of course – he rejoined – calling in Lyn on the conversation. Lyn was a chicken-farmer’s daughter (her own reference) from Kootingal (where my mother and her two little boys lived 1951/1952 – she caring for an elderly dementia-affected farmer – for the roof over her head and some pittance allowing her/us in her recent widowhood a way to manage initially). And Lyn was two years behind me at Tamworth High). Nick nowadays is a celebrant for weddings – and – more soberly – for funerals – on the Gold Coast. I performed the wedding for Jim and long-term partner Robyn – he told me. I looked at him again – Christine and I were present at that wedding, I replied! As was Lyn, too. [!El mundo es un pañuelo! ?No?] (I can’t manage the pre-exclamaciones, desafortunadamente!) The local Tamworth Regional Art Gallery has become something of a spiritual centre for me here – and within its walls I have encountered exhibitions by Lola GREENO (Indigenous artist from Cape Barren Island north-east Tasmania – shell necklaces and kelp work and possum-fur creations), a Roy JACKSON Retrospective (1963-2013) (with curators Sioux GARSIDE and Terrence MALOON providing lyrical insights into his work – a contemporary/cross-over of fellow UK-born Ian FAIRWEATHER) and Magarita SAMPSON from Norfolk Island with the most amazing chairs – google her incredible work) as well as connections with friends from out of north-east Victoria (Benalla) and nearby Albury – and even to Laos. But – keeping the most moving of all till this last – a senior Gomeroi man, Len WATERS – born and raised at the Toomelah “Mission” – just across the Qld border in NSW – from Goondiwindi – living here in Tamworth since he was a teenager – who is leading cultural tours organised through the Art Gallery – to visit places within the region associated with Gamilaraay/Kamillaroi Indigenous ceremonies and gatherings – the two in which I participated with some 20 others were into the general Moore Creek area just to Tamworth’s north-east. Scar trees, Wave Rock – on the New England Gully Road – rising up from the back of Moonbi – and on the western side of Kootingal (there it is again) a fabulous (literally) red ochre rock art site – many figures painted on – easily thousands of years old! Len performed a cleansing smoking ceremony as we departed that site – having sung (literally – in “language”) in approaching the site – to let “the old ones” know of our visit!

    As children/young teenagers – my brother and I knew this region by hiking, climbing, caving, swimming – from bicycle rides to nearby towns. Even exploring the built environment – the storm water pipes lying beneath parts of the city – never mischief – just for the adventure of it all – but Uncle Len fitted over that known-scape another template which has totally transformed my sight. Insight, it might be called. Blinkers off – no more “through a glass darkly”!

    May you have the best of festive seasons, Ailsa – with good friends, family. Jaime

    1. Hello Jim,
      Such richness in your life, and in your ability to evoke place and story. Thank you, as always, for the gifts you bring, and for the curiosity and wonder you constantly experience and transmit. I hope that all that history and mystery come together to make it a really splendid sojourn for you, and that your 2016 is filled with ever-expanding moments. With every best wishes for more and more happy. Ailsa x

  4. Beautifully written, and another poignant piece of writing. I love how you craft your words to aptly describe your thoughts and feelings, and the world around you.
    Have a lovely Christmas Ailsa, as you resolutely point your face to the sun & the stars. May the New Year bring blessings, peace, and deep healing.
    Kind regards,
    Herschel de Kauwe

    1. Dear Herschel,
      Thanks for receiving the words in the spirit they were intended. Your note made me very grateful. Thanks for your wishes, and may they return to you, doubled. Ailsa

  5. Ailsa, A beautiful reflection on Christmas. What a wonder=full life you have led and are living now!. You have shared the spirit of Christmas; a spirit I long to return to despite the onslaught of a material life style becoming more and more complicated . Having faced open-heart surgery this year (second time round!) the surgeon suggested that now my heart is happy I need to go and do the things that give my spirit life. You reflection gives my spirit life. Thank you.

    1. Oh Helen, you are lovely. Thanks so much for your kind words. And I so hope that your heart is strong and that it will have more and more happy! May Christmas find you at peace, and with your spirit soaring. Ailsa x

  6. Thank you. I read this on Saturday morning and the tears welled up with the emotion of the piece and from the empathy it evoked. I had to find this site to let you know.

    I saw you “perform” Sinning at the Perth Writers Festival a few years back and just had to go and read a copy and have recommended it to so many ever since (I was just a room volunteer allocated to help so didn’t know what to expect and I loved your reading).

    Merry Christmas and I will think you skipping out into the day with your bag of stars.

    1. Dear Nicole,
      Thank you so much for this beautiful response. You have made my Christmas-Eve eve! I’m so thrilled that it touched you – that is all I can hope for and more. Connection. And I recall that performance of Sinning at the Perth Festival so well. It was my favourite ever – in my home town, on a stage I had performed on when I was nineteen! A real thrill. Merry Christmas to you too, and may you have more happy than you can imagine.

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