Is anybody there?

Couple walking along a deserted beach

‘Is there anybody there?’ said the Traveller,
Knocking on the moonlit door;
And his horse in the silence champ’d the grasses
Of the forest’s ferny floor:
And a bird flew up out of the turret,
Above the Traveller’s head:
And he smote upon the door again a second time;
‘Is there anybody there?’ he said.
From ‘The Listeners”. Walter de la Mare,
1873 – 1956) English poet, short story writer and novelist.

Sometimes when I start my daily blog I wonder whether in fact there is anybody out there interested in the ramblings of an elderly English woman.  And then I look at the number of visitors to my site and the number of hits and tell myself these can’t be all family and friends.  So a big thank you to whoever is reading my blogs.

And sometimes when I sit down to write the blog I am confronted by a blank screen (the writer’s equivalent to a blank page in the typewriter) and try to think what I will share with you today.

So today building on the theme is anybody out there I picked the quotation from The Listeners.  From a very young age, I have loved Walter de la Mare’s poetry and still have a prized copy of ‘Come Hither” first published in 1957 and have spent many rainy afternoons stuck in the pages of this book.

When I was growing up poems were meant to have rhymes, stanzas/verses and meter.  I am reading much newer poets these days and a new favourite is James Rainsford.  Now for today’s post…

It is autumn here and the sun is shining brightly today.  In New Zealand, we are energy conscious and many people dry their laundry on clotheslines outside.  So today I can see my neighbour’s washing dancing on the line.

Washing on line

And when I look at the washing dancing in the notorious Wellington wind I think back to when my children were small and I too had lines of their washing out in the sun.

And then I started the memory lane trip once again.  I seem to be doing this a lot recently.  I thought about school days and how different they were for my children in three different parts of the world.  In Scotland they were very young, my daughter was in the first two years of primary school and my son only attended nursery/preschool.  They both started preschool at 3.

My daughter was 7 when we moved to Auckland, NZ and she attended the local primary school for a term before transferring to a school situated on the beach.

Takapuna Beach

The beach at Takapuna

Our house was on the beach and she used to walk to school along the beach, dressed in her school uniform, satchel on her back and shoes in her hand.  So different from Glasgow.

At 5 my son went to school in town and so had a bus ride to a school founded on the Scottish education system by a Presbyterian minister.  Some unnecessary information for you here – St Kentigern (or St Mungo) is the patron saint of Glasgow hence the name of the school – St Kentigern Primary.  He missed out on the walk along the beach but not the uniform or the satchel.

Then to Montreal where they both attended the same school.  I learned recently that the school was closed in 2006.  Here they learned to brave the winters and play winter sports.  In class, they learned more French but according to French friends I made while living in Montreal it was not true French and in fact, I often had to translate for a French friend from Paris.

Then back to New Zealand.  The children picked up where they had left off and all was stable for about a year and then we moved to Wellington.  So two new schools for the children.

But all this chopping and changing didn’t seem to affect them very much.  The grew up to be two well rounded, caring people as I have said many times before.

So on to today – Now occasionally I hang my grandchildren’s washing on the line.  Lines and lines of socks, underwear, shirts, pants etc.  Do they have more clothes these days or do they just leave them in a pile until their mother (or grandmother) lifts them and puts them in the wash?  Then when they are dried, the clothes are ironed or folded and put away to be worn again, discarded after wearing and eventually washed again.

Laundry in basket

And today’s quote –

“Have you ever taken anything out of the clothes basket because
it had become, relatively, the cleaner thing?” –
Katherine Whitehorn
, 1928,  British journalist, writer, and columnist














20 responses to “Is anybody there?

  1. I am out here….enjoying reading your daily blogs..where do you get all your pics? Being a visual person it makes the blog so much more enjoyable.
    hugs Phoebe.


    • Hi Phoebe. Thanks for responding and thanks for reading my blogs. Many of my pictures are my own. I have had some of them copied onto disc and plan to get the rest done when I get a ’roundto it’.
      Other photos come from They have a good range of photos that are free to use.
      Hope your well. Hugs to you both.


  2. Ah Judith you know you have a whole bunch of us out here! And uh yes…shhh..I have searched the laundry basket for..that which is cleanest!


  3. Knock, knock.
    Nice to meet you, Judith. Can’t quite tell how much you’ve been exploring in blogland from your casa. Your visit to my blogcasa brought me to yours.
    Enjoyed reading about your children’s various locations for schools. Hanging wash outside to dry is something I do even on my apt balcony in the midwest of Missouri.
    How we live our lives–that’s a lot of blogging ground to cover. Have fun!
    Eva aka 47wb


    • Thanks for dropping by. I love this blogging community and will keep writing. This post was ‘inspired’ by a friend who wondered why I would bother and who would want to read my blogs. Some friend.
      I love your blog on climate change. It’s amazing how quickly we have all put the oil spill into the back of our minds and it was only one year ago. The repercussions from that will be felt in many places and for many years to come. For my part – I am taking public transport rather than the car when I can, am not using the clothes dryer and using the dishwasher only when it’s full. All small things but if we all do some small things every day then it must surely make a difference.


      • Doing what we all can is the start of making a “difference” indeed. Thank you for your kind words.
        One does wonder about such ‘friends’ at times.
        Write, write, write. LOL.


  4. Found you from BridgesBurning. The great thing about blogging is being able to meet new people and “peek” into their lives. There is a community being built here, and whether people leave comments or not, your words will touch someone in just the right way, and in ways that may have a meaningful impact. Keep writing.


  5. Hi Tracy. I love the blogging community and will of course, keep writing. The post was ‘inspired’ by a ‘friend’ who asked who did I think was reading my blog and who would want to know my thoughts. As I said a “friend”
    Thanks for dropping in and commenting.
    I love Chris’ blogs at Bridges Burning and will now follow yours. Great work with the alphabet.


  6. By the way, I was really grabbed by what you wrote under “Meet…” My mom died a month ago from a rare form of dimentia and I too, will do everything in my power to not follow suit. Have a great day!


  7. I have been visiting and reading. I’m always a little shy about commenting at first, then I get over it after the first few. This seemed like a good time for the first one. 🙂

    I hang my washing out on the line to dry whenever I can. I love the way it comes back in smelling of sunshine and fresh air.


  8. Hi Robin good to meet you. I have visited your site and love the photography. Is it yours?


  9. I try to be conscious about the environment, recycling, etc. but hanging out clothes wasn’t one of the things I did or enjoyed doing. Recently that changed. I just posted on my blog about a clothes line and how much I enjoy having one now. Older and wiser, and having more fun with mundane daily chores. And a plus? I found your blog through your photographs, and the words New Zealand jumped out and bit me. I spend four months of my younger life (14 going on15) in Wellington and loved it. Went from winter to winter to winter! I hope one day to return. My brother in law lives there now. Thanks for a lovely post!


    • Hi Lisa and thanks for visiting. I have lived in Wellington for the past 40 years and really love it. I’m not wild about the wind or the draggy winter weather but as they say – You can’t beat Wellington on a good day”. Where does your Brother-in -law live? Hey perhaps I might even know him!


  10. Oh and I think you can rest assured you are being read!


  11. Judith, my brother in law used to live on the right side as you are facing Wellington from the bay, but they recently moved and I don’t have their address yet. His name is Jon King and he’s a teacher. They moved about four years ago to Wellington from England. I remember the saying in Wellington, that it was NZ’s version of San Francisco, the “Windy City,” and that you could walk around a full block and get a blast of wind in the face with each corner you turned! I lived in Oriental Bay when I was there. We had over 200 steps to go up or down to get to/from the house from the street. It had a lovely view and we lived in the “bach” to one side of the main house. I loved it!


    • Hello again Lisa. Wellington is really a beautiful city. When we first arrived here we thought it looked like San Francisco with the fabulous harbour and the houses perched on the hills around it. Oriental Bay has undergone a massive transformation in recent years. Most of the houses along the Parade have been replaced with top of the market apartment blocks. So some of the charm has disappeared. But it’s still a lovely place to walk. 🙂


  12. Oh well. Progress sometimes doesn’t live up to its name. Glad it’s still nice to walk around. I really liked it there and can barely recognize where I stayed when I look at it on google. At least the apartments must have wonderful views!


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