Thursday, March 10, 2011

Happy Birthday Eglantine

I have been blogging for five years.
When I started, Fred was not quite three and Una was a babe in arms. We were undecided on a third baby.
I coudn't drive.
I had published two books and was writing Drift. Martin had recently quit his job and begun a Bachelor of Education.
We were living in a rental house in Emmaline St, Northcote after a brief failed foray into home ownership (wrong house, wrong suburb, wrong time). The Northcote house was both lovely and ugly, with pink walls and a wall of mirrors in the bedroom, and in the lounge room, walls painted with a streaky sponge effect the colour of nicotene stains. It had a fantastic grape vine covered outdoor area and for six months of the year, we kept our dining table outside. We ate sardines wrapped in grape leaves cooked on the barbecue that was hooked up to mains gas. There was an odd windowed bit in the lounge room that stuck out from the rest of the house where we set up our couches facing each other and it was a bit like being in the carriage of an old fashioned train. We had a dishwasher. Good times.

Since I've started this blog, I've written seven more novels. I've started and finished a Masters. Martin completed a degree and has commenced a new career. First Fred and then Una started school. My father-in-law and my half-sister passed away. My half-brother divorced and remarried. My sister married. My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. A niece and two nephews have been born, one so early it seemed impossible that he would thrive and yet thrive he has. As an added bonus my best friend from childhood also met a man and had a baby, extending the intimate circle of people I love by two (then they went away to Tasmania to live - boo). We bought a house that also constituted a lifestyle change. We've been to Palm Cove twice. I've been to New Zealand and with Fred: Paris, Helsinki, England and Hong Kong. I've learned to drive (last week I removed my P-plates). I've had a son. A black man became president of the United States, we voted John Howard out. Five years after I started this blog, Australia has a female Prime Minister.

If five years ago I had made a plan, it may well have looked something like: have third baby, get Masters, write more books, travel overseas, buy a house in the country.

Cancer and bushfires and grief wouldn't have been on the list. I would not have predicted a black President, a female Prime Minister.

Keeping up this blog would have been. I haven't always been the most regular blogger. I have never monetised the blog, partly because there is no such word as monetise, or there shouldn't be. I haven't leveraged it as a marketing tool or any of those clever things other people do. But it has always been my quiet corner of the Internet to record the domesticities of my life and to make stories out of the ordinary things that happen to me. It is a valuable keepsake, a map of my children's lives and the closest thing to a photo album I have.

You have come here and shared the journey with me, the unbearable sorrows, the conversations, the joy of daily life, and sometimes the tedium.

Thank you for reading.

Here's to another five years. Who knows what they might bring.


  1. And I have enjoyed reading the little insights into your life and work over the years, Penni. I remember when you blog was the only interesting one on the net.
    Thank you for sharing it with us. :)
    all the best
    PS Beautiful photographs!

  2. PS Happy Birthday Eglantine! I hope that cake is delicious. :P

  3. Eglantine's has always been the finest cake of all. So grateful for your lovely blog, Penni - and, among many other things, your amazing tales of imaginative children which make me so glad that mine were not the only whacky funsters around. They have little friends!! and that pure wildness lives on.
    I have just read Undine! so, six to go!! and it was brilliant. Lucky YAs to have you writing for them.

  4. OMG... my wife used to live on Emmaline St way back when I met her in the 90s. Enjoyed reading your reminiscences. Great photos!

  5. One of my favourite blogs ever. Congratulations on five years, Penni.

  6. And I've read every blog post you have ever written :)
    I always get a lift when I click on your blog and see a new title there .. has been a pleaure to follow along.
    And you forgot to mention that weird little bath in your emmaline street house ;)


    Five wonderful years!

    Can't wait for the next five :D

  8. wow, congratulations Penni and happy birthday Eglantine!

    Five years doesn't seem so long ago and yet so much has come and gone.

  9. Anonymous9:04 PM

    Once upon a time I had a temp job with good internet and nothing I supposed to be doing (bar the occasional bit of light photocopying) so I went back through your archives and caught up on the beginning. Then I did the same with mimi smartypants. It's a wonderful thing how a little bit of writing here and there adds up over the years.

    Thankyou for sharing your writing Penni.

  10. yay for five years of brilliant blogging, penni! what a full five years. thanks so much for sharing them with us all. xxx

  11. Happy blogoversary, Penni. I am truly in awe of how much you've achieved in the last 5 years!

  12. Of course the BEST thing about Emmeline St was, it was just down the road from our house!

    Happy birthday Eggy's Cake, and many happy returns.

  13. Happy Birthday. I'm sure there's a nice pun to make with cake, but I can't make it. Thank you very much for your blog. And for inspiring me to actually drive instead of just faffing about.

  14. Frangipani10:32 PM

    Lovely blog. Lovely pictures. You have such a full life. I finished radiation on Tuesday. Two months until I see the oncologist. Have been to the Botanical Gardens, Aquatic Centre, Zoodoo, new playground at Sandy Bay Beach and Salmon Ponds since then. Just a little activity every day.