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She is standing there at the rails looking at me. She is doing that often these days. She is saying goodbye. Goodbye to me and the property, as she is moving to town. A shame really, I liked it with her. She is looking at me ever so sad. I don't know why she is moving if she finds it so hard.

Next week the people come to look at me. It's a woman and her daughter, who will take me away. I will be alright, of course. Kids will ride me and there are another three horses and hundreds of acres of grass.

But saying goodbye is sad. I am sad for her. But it is better for her to move, living all alone so far from town is not good at her age.

I remember the day she came to the farm. She'd come to buy the saddle for her daughter. But then she saw me. She thought I was so beautiful, a horse fit for kings. That's when she bought me.

And, yes, I have a few tricks, like to step aside when she wanted to get in the saddle and to walk off before she sat. It makes life more interesting.

She won't be there when I go. She's arranged it not to be around that day. She thinks that will be easier. I know she'll be thinking of me, and even four years later she'll be devastatingly sad to have had to let me go, and she'll weep for me. But life isn't fun, sometimes.

She's getting a bit too old to ride. But when she dies, she tells me, she'll be riding in heaven, all day and every day, in the sun. And she'll have all these horses with her.

My nanny has all these funny ideas. Sometimes, I wonder if she isn't quite there. Like she thinks she can communicate with animals, through mental telepathy. Not just animals, like cats and dogs, but insects, too, and snakes. Anything really.

She had saved one of these thin little wasps from drowning. And she stood there for a while communicating with it, looking at its eyes. Eerie that was.

And the snake in the duck's pen; a large tiger snake only two feet away from her two bare feet. She said it didn't look aggressive. It had risen up some. She said it looked surprised, like, "Shall we be friends, you and I?"

But nanny is scared of snakes. She went gently backwards out of the narrow gate of the duck's pond, to get her gun. By the time she came back the snake was gone.

Thank heaven, as you wouldn't want to shoot a friendly snake .....

I hear him at night standing at my window.
He is listening at the window,
At my sleeping.
Sometimes I saw in my sleep
And sometimes I yawn.
I can hear him walking up to the house
And hope he is harmless.
He's been doing it ever since I moved here.
I've learned to sleep through his visits.
So far he's visits have been harmless
But if one day he has enough of listening to me sleeping,
And what if he is wanting to come in
And wanting more?

There were seven of us grandchildren, and another three, but they live too far away to come often. My grandfather was always so very pleased to see us. His house was in the middle of the forest, a few miles from a small town called Mierlo. Grandfather was a tall man, he always wore a hat, as he was bald and he thought maybe we had not noticed him being bald, as he was wearing his hat also inside the house.

In the morning he came down and did his moustache. He had these long moustaches, that reached way past his mouth. Every morning he lovingly curled the ends over with a pair of hot plyers, which he heated on the wood stove. You could hear his moustaches crackle by the heat.

We loved him, he seemed a happy man and laughed a lot. He took us for walks, and told us stories. One of his stories was in the war time; how he went swimming in the river. As he looked down in the water he saw these German soldiers lying on the bottom of the river.. There were four of them and they had their eyes open.

Years later, we found out he couldn't even swim.

At night time, as we kids were noisy waiting for our food, grandfather would sit in his easy chair and play his recorder, loud and tunelessly. I think he did that so he wouldn't hear our noise.

In the mornings he'd take us to the local tip in the sand dunes, and we all searched for things he could use, such as old cans, cups, vases, and old lightbulbs. I think he could use anything, really.

In the afternoon, he'd sit at his little table in the sun and work with a sand and concrete mixture covering, with endless care, an old bottle with the mixture, and producing a piece of Art, with a rose on the one side and the head of a small devil on the other. Underneath, he'd write a few words of Latin and the date, 15 BC. He had a whole garage with these masterpieces.

Once a week he went to the pub and sold his bottle to anyone who'd have it, for five dollars. His bottles went like hotcakes.

I plodded on through the night. It was winter and my clothes were dripping wet. The logs were dangerously slippery. I was stumbling and falling many times, climbing and falling over logs. After the first half hour I'd lost all sense of direction. But still I wasn't worried, I loved this forest, and I was sure to find my way out again. I'd tied my raincoat around my middle but, as I kept on falling, I lost the coat and also my glasses. The moon had disappeared behind the clouds and it was very dark. I told my dog Caleb to take me home, but he wasn't listening. In the end I sat down and screamed for help for a while, in the hope someone would hear me, but nobody did. [ Elsa]

After that emotional outburst came the realisation that I would be spending the night in the forest. What to do about it? I sat there and tried to stop worrying and to think rationally. I needed a plan. Firstly, how to survive the night and, secondly, how to get out of the forest in the morning. I felt that I could come up with a plan but maybe I would not take into account all the possibilities and essentials. That was a concern. Then I had a brainwave. I suddenly remembered that I was a member of a writers workshop. If only I could pose my problem to them. Just think of the many and varied ways they would dream up for me to get out of my predicament. Of course, they were not here but I could, at least, imagine what each of them might write. Colin and Bev are both Sunday walkers so they would know how to walk out of this forest, and today is Sunday. Mary is bound to think up something at the very last moment tomorrow morning. And Jo has a colourful imagination, and Krista will come up with her surprising twists. Graeme will ask his friend Sherlock Holmes to apply his mind to the problem and, no doubt, he will say that getting out of the forest is "Elementary, my dear Elsa." Actually, when you think about it, being lost in the woods can be fun. [Graeme]

The girl was innocent sweet and lovely
When he moved into her life.
Life seemed good to him to have found her.
He hoped their love would last forever.

As life went by he loved her less and less.
As she became a burden
Weighing heavy round his neck.
He wanted to get rid of her.

As she clung to him
And didn't let him go.
And he saw how she really was.
He finally saw all of her ugliness.

She'd hidden it so well he thought.
To ensnare him, to hold him.
He'd been lucky to see it, to leave her.
This was the pattern of things.

As soon as his girl got to know him
He had to leave her.
As he couldn't be found out
To be an empty shell.

We were living in Israel.
When I was fourteen years old.
I went to school in Haifa and learned to speak Hebrew.
My friend was a boy who was a year younger than me,
Who had black hair,
And soft dark eyes.
And who was nearly as tall as I was.
His name was David.
He was like a brother,
We did everything together.
I think he was my soul mate.
A year later my father moved us back to Holland.
I did not want to go and I swore I would come back one day.
But then after some time we stopped writing.
And we each went our own way.
He went in the army, And I went to Art school.
It's a long time ago now.
Sometimes I still think of him.
But it was not my destiny to have married him.

Jimmy was born with a disfigured arm,
And a lame leg, that he dragged as he walked.
He was part-Aboriginal and had long fair hair,
That he wore in dreadlocks.
He was adopted by a woman who cared for him,
And loved him.
She made him an outgoing and friendly little boy.
Who laughed easily and was happy.
Jimmy moved about without hang-ups,
And you didn't notice his bad arm and leg.
He's left his mum's home in Sydney.
And moved to live in Franklin,
Where he lived in the bush in a shanty
Where he grows his marihuana.
Maybe he smokes and drinks too much
But he's making the most of his life.
He's happy and he'll stay happy always,
As that’s the way he is.