Our Pet, The Wayward Child.

danapupsmallSome years ago, when we arrived in this small country town, I felt I needed time to settle in before I went about meeting the neighbours. However, our dog had other ideas.

One morning after letting our dog, Dana (a Pomeranian) out the back yard, she snuck out of a small space and began to examine her new territory. A man three doors up the road was in his back yard cracking a whip and once she heard that she bolted. As it turns out, she ran an entire kilometre away. Of-course not knowing what exactly happened until some time later, our entire household was in an uproar.

My husband ran around in the street behind in search of her to no avail. I drove around the nearby streets. I did the door-to-door with a photo of Dana which produced no success. Images went through my head of her being hit by a car or truck from the main road on which we lived. Perhaps some complete stranger had picked her up in their car and drove off with her. Maybe I watched too much television, but in desperation, I even picked up the telephone and informed the local policeman. Why not? People get reported missing all the time to the police. I know it might sound ridiculous, but an important family member was missing and needed to be found. Was that bewilderment I could detect in his voice?

I began to walk a couple of blocks away before I was approached by a man in a red car. He pulled over to the side of the road and asked if I had lost a dog. He told me a friend of his further up the road found a small dog and had taken it in. He offered me a ride up there. Now, I’m not one to take a ride with complete strangers, but desperate times call for desperate measures. When we approached the property, I was surprised. I had driven this far earlier myself and turned around, feeling that she would never have got so far. I was completely fooled, for here she was hidden under cover in the back of the man’s truck. The wayward child looked up at me with a forlorn look upon her face. I had almost given up hope of seeing her again, that I eagerly picked her up and held her.

The moral of this story? Buy a goldfish!

Have you ever lost a family pet? Were you lucky enough to find them again? Have you experienced an unusual way of meeting your neighbours?

Enjoy this article? Subscribe to my blog and never miss a post. You can also follow me on Twitter and Google+. You can also find me on Goodreads, Pinterest and now on Instagram.

Image © Debbie Johansson 2015

A Special Place.

A Special PlaceAs a child, my family and I would make regular trips down the south coast of New South Wales. I enjoyed being outside, and despite my fair skin, would spend many hours under the hot, Australian sun.

Back then, the caravan park in which we stayed was basic in its facilities. Toilets were little more than a hole in the ground. We were thankful for electricity, but we cooked on a gas stove until we eventually ‘upgraded’ and installed an old fashioned fuel stove outside. To have a hot shower, one needed to be quick; one needed to place a certain amount of money into a machine to get a hot shower that lasted five minutes. You needed to keep your eye on the clock and have a steady supply of loose change.

Campers could camp anywhere, and our caravan was perfectly situated directly opposite the beach. It was not uncommon to spend the morning at the beach, go back ‘home’ when you were hungry and then back to the beach again.

To break this monotony, my sisters and I would go for walks with our mother, either exploring rock pools or go on bush walks. It was here that I discovered the wonders of the Australian bush. One regular spot we would visit was a magical place for me. The trees were so tall and closely compacted, that it allowed very little sunlight to filter through. Images of Hansel and Gretel or strange beasts lurking further amongst the shadows entered my mind. We would always stop at one particular place and turn back, yet I always wondered what lay beyond in the distance, where the darkness seemed to go on indefinitely. The atmosphere and the silence fueled my imagination and I was always disappointed to turn back towards civilisation.

On the drive back to our true home in suburban Sydney, we would pass acres of farmland, and I could never decide where I wanted to live; country, bush or beach. I have since lived in the bush of the Blue Mountains and currently reside in the country (my last home the beach?), but there has always been the certainty that being out with nature is my special place. As a writer I enjoy the silence, being alone with my thoughts and my muse. Over the years I have discovered that setting and sense of place is important to my stories. These days, whenever I need to feel inspired, I just have to walk out my back door.

Do you have a special place? Do you enjoy the outdoors; maybe even ‘roughing it’? If you’re a writer, what do you do to find your ‘muse’? What do you prefer – the bush, the beach or the country?

Image by Debbie Johansson