“Osbaldwickiana” ? What’s in a name anyway? Well, in this case, quite a lot. Osbaldwick is the name of a village in Yorkshire, England. It happens to be the burial place of Mary Ward, a Catholic Englishwoman and foundress of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, otherwise known as the Loreto Sisters. Unfortunately for Mary Ward her death in York came during the English Civil War when the Parliamentary Army had besieged York, where she lay dying. Because she was Catholic no churchman in his right mind would bury her. Eventually, however, after her death the few sisters who were with her found, in Osbaldwick, “an Anglican priest who was honest enough to be bribed”. He duly conducted the funeral service and buried her … although where her body is now is anybody’s guess! But that’s another story for another page.
Because we appreciate the subversive nature of the sixteenth century Osbaldwick Anglican clergyman’s actions, our house in Darwin is named Osbaldwick. But looking that up on the web takes you anywhere but here. So, in order to get our own identity, our web ID is Osbaldwickiana.
Besides, it suggests, a certain mix of madness, subversion and je ne sais quoi. But now I’m just showing off!
As its title suggests this website explores my wonderful whimsical world. At times this world coincides with what people like to call “the real world” but not too often, I hope, for the good of one’s soul or sense of humour.
The header says it all really. This is the garden. I’d like to say it is typical of Darwin but it’s not. Some of the plants are typical tropical plants growing in all their usual profusion but the inhabitants are something else!
Working from left to right, let’s explore. At the top of the rock path (built by me to prevent my neighbour Gary from sliding into the inevitable face full of mud as he helped build the garden from its pristine state) we have Takreem holding the “Welcome” sign. Obviously a meerkat, he’s a relative newcomer and he fits right in. Next to him is a very young Jan, long before she became the Loreto sister she still is. Our garden brings life to the Loreto house in Darwin where we live and base our various activities. But this is her dressed as a flower girl for her sister’s wedding. At the foot of the path, sharing a seat that says “WAITING” (but not for what) is Bernard and the frog. Bernard talks rather as lot once he gets going and can sound a bit self-important. He’s not a lot like his namesake actually in anything but looks. But he reminds us of Father Bernard Shah O Carm.
Moving east as it were, we come upon a family of meerkats who keep watch over the garden. Keeping watch over them is one of a number of Buttons. Three in all – well actually the one Button in three poses. If she had her way there would be more of her. There is a sign in the house that says: “In this house the dog is in charge”. She knows it. Button is a Maltese X West Highland terrier. In the middle of the garden we have the bronze bird with outstretched wings (and a green patina to make it interesting). It is protecting the Duck family who waddled in one day and never left. They are a bit bemused by the abbreviated personage beside them … GumBootHat. That’s a genuine Akubra those boots are wearing! What’s more it’s MY genuine Akubra! It’s the hat I usually wear – keeps off the sun and a PhD bonnet is SO pretentious for everyday wear.
The windmill used to indicate wind direction and speed and stuff like that but it is in need of some oil. Next to it Chogymho is working at his laptop. He looks a bit startled – but that may be because the image on the laptop screen is the coast at Ocean Grove, Victoria. Finally we have Button in her Santa guise and Gwylf the giraffe keeping a tall eye on her.
When I, too, am not in the garden I may be reading, listening to music, driving … planning the next piece of writing – or the next church service. Hanging out with friends to share good conversation and good coffee takes up a lot of time too. I don’t know how I ever had time to teach English, Geography, History and Religious Studies to senior high school students both in Victoria and in Darwin. I know I made time to read for two PhDs. Other people think that was hard work. I guess it was, but it was also so much fun. I promise that I’m not going to do another one though. If I study anything more I suspect it will be more theology. Having been born and bred Presbyterian in a family whose religious heritage incorporates Catholic, Anglican and Reformed, I am now a member of the Uniting Church in Australia and worship at the Darwin Memorial Uniting Church which has an exciting living history of its own.
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2019 update ….
“We” have become “I” since early 2017, when Jan lost her unequal battle with persistent ill health.
Sadly that also meant a move for me to new digs – but, apart from the loss of my beautiful garden, and the subsequent loss of Button (to meliodosis we think), I’ve settled very happily into my new terrace villa at Pearl (back in Fannie Bay) with its diminutive gardens front and back. However, I’ve kept the name “Osbaldwick” – and the sign the Jan’s big brother Jim made for us. It’s still on display.
After a suitable time of mourning for Button and at the insistence of my friends I have become the proud – sometimes exasperated – single parent of a dependent dog, Ollie. He is about two and a half years old now and very energetic. I think that, as a rescue dog, he is happy to be here. He is also a Maltese cross – but crossed with quite what, we’re not sure. He seems to be all terrier though.
Needless to say, there’s still a load of stuff to be sorted following the move. It will happen …. sometime.