Every now and then the universe sends you a reminder to be thankful for the people you have in your life.

Yesterday I was sent a huge reminder.

My eldest daughter had all four wisdom teeth removed on Tuesday afternoon. It was a routine operation, she came out of the general anaesthetic without too much disorientation, seemed to be coping well with the inconvenience the local anaesthetic was having on how her tongue and lips were functioning, and went with James and I for a ‘sleepover’ with a family that we have known for many years.

Wednesday also went well, with Molly continuing to eat and drink, and the pain and inflammation meds were doing their job.

And then it all went pear-shaped on Thursday morning.

Having got up at about 5am to take a dose of tablets, Molly started to feel very unwell, and at about 7am she thought that she was going to be sick. She got out of bed to find something to vomit into, and her boyfriend, Simon, came to get us.

When I got down to the bedroom Molly was lying on the floor with her head in bin. She was jerking and not breathing.

I cannot tell you the pure panic and fear that flooded my body. There are no words to describe it, other than to say I NEVER want to be in that position again.

Every single thing I’ve ever learned about CPR left my brain. Everything except for “call the ambulance”, which I yelled out for James to do.

By the time he arrived with the phone on his ear I had turned Molly over onto her side, but she still wasn’t breathing. I knew that my brain had totally shut down and I was going to be no use to Molly in that state, so I made James give me the phone while I spoke to the operator.

I gave the operator our address and the details of the situation, and by the time she started asking me about Molly’s current state of health James had done the head tilt and open mouth part of the DRSABCD and Molly had, thankfully, mercifully, wonderfully, started breathing on her own again. But she wasn’t conscious, and we still needed the ambulance to come. Once we had established that Molly was really breathing on her own, the operator (the wonderful, calm, experienced, brilliant operator) rang off and left me to guide the ambulance into the house. I have no idea what they did in that room – there was barely enough space for the three of them and Molly – so Simon and I waited in the sunroom while James watched the ambos do their thing.

When I heard them ask Molly to sit up, my heart leapt, and when she got up and walked unsteadily to the ambulance, it sang.

James went in the ambulance to Frankston Hospital and Simon and I had something to eat and I had a shower. This sounds odd I know, but I also put on a slow-cooked chicken curry before we left! Based on our experience on Tuesday I was in no mood to get home and cook dinner after spending the whole day in the hospital!

In the end, we were home again in time for lunch. The doctors and nurses at Frankston Hospital took over from the Vic Ambo crew, and cared for Molly brilliantly. Their diagnosis was that Molly had suffered a vasovagal incident – that is, the nerve that controls breathing and swallowing in the throat stopped functioning as it should – it had shut down in fact – and that was why she stopped breathing. They were also quite mystified as to why Molly hadn’t been told to take the pain and inflammation meds on a full stomach. This is a question I will be asking the Epworth, the surgeon and the pharmacist!

The Frankston Hospital staff were very calm about the whole thing, but I have to tell you, I have been less than calm over the last few days.

What keeps going through my head is “What if Simon hadn’t stayed over?” What if Molly had been in her bedroom, with the door shut, and got up to be sick and collapsed on the floor – and we hadn’t heard any of it? Would she have started breathing again on her own? Or would we have lost her?

I feel like this is going to haunt me for a while. Damn, we were so lucky. We are so lucky.

But most of all I am grateful: to Simon for coming to get us; to the ambos; to the hospital staff; to our litigation-happy society that means that we get trained in CPR every year; and to whatever it was that made all of that possible.

Be grateful people.

Sometimes, you aren’t fully aware of what you are blessed with until its existence is threatened.

And, for your enjoyment, is a video of Molly telling us a story about being in post-op while eating jelly. You’re welcome.




The quest to reimagine our garden continues, with the planting of some more natives – this time around the pool area.

Flanked by the ubiquitous pittosporums, we have put in some Grevillea Olivacea and some Callistemon ‘Little John’ to screen the fence and provide some much needed flowers and nectar to attract bees for the vegies and fruit.

The Olivacea should grow up to about 8′ (2.4m) and the Little John will be a nice little shrub in front at about 1m.

The Pool - Before

The Pool – Before

The Pool - After

The Pool – After


And for those following along – here is the progress of the Tigerella and Black Russian tomatoes, and the Thai Chilli, from Diggers, in the side garden which used to look like this….

Side garden - Before

Side garden – Before

and now looks like this…

Tigerella, Black Russian and Thai Chilli

Tigerella, Black Russian and Thai Chilli

There is also an assortment of tomatoes to the left of this clump which includes Grosse Lisse and Artisan Mix. They are coming along slowly – mostly because the weather has been warm without the lovely rain we had at the end of spring.

It will be interesting to see what condition the garden is in when I get back from the UK and Europe in three weeks time! You can follow my OS adventure on my new blog.



Summer Gardening

If you follow this blog on a regular basis you will know that:

  1. I am a terrible blogger , and
  2. Our garden is full of pittosporum hedges, which are fine if used judiciously but overpowering in the numbers planted in our garden.

So, over the last few years we’ve been systematically removing selected areas to either create vegetable gardens or to get some flowering natives into the garden for the birds and the bees.

Today we removed the stumps of the pittosporums in the side garden, dropped in 3 bags of compost, and levelled out the surface ready for a bummer bumper* crop of tomato seedlings.

*Kudos to Wilhelmina for her fully sick proof-reading skilz!

Side garden ready for tomatoes

Side garden ready for tomatoes

Tomato seedlings bursting out of their tray!

Winter gardening update

A big weekend of digging holes (husband) and then filling them in (me):

In the front garden – moved the pot-bound strappy palm thingies (we inherited them so I don’t what plant they are) to a position along the fence in a group and popped in a self-rooted succulent that is everywhere in the garden and just seems to be indestructible.

Strappy things and succulents

Strappy things and succulents

Also planted two new Grevillea Johnsonii

Grevillea ???

Grevillea Johnsonii

to accompany the previously planted Grevillea Hookeriana and Correa Pulchella (Orange Glow)

Grevillea Hookeriana

Grevillea Hookeriana


Correa Pulchella “Orange Glow”










and moved two Osmanthus Heterophyllus Purpurea to the side fence to replace a couple of other “strappy things”.

I also moved the runaway Basil Bush from the veggie patch into a pot as it was encroaching on the broccoli and silver beet, moved most of the silver beet to another bed because it was too squashed in with the broccoli, and pulled out the root of one of the ubiquitous pittosporum trees that we inherited from the previous owners, and which we are gradually removing and replacing with either productive beds or flowering shrubs to encourage the bees and the birds.

I’ve been getting treatment for a pinched nerve in my back from Charlie Kornberg at Brighton Spinal Group (cannot recommend him highly enough!) and thought it would be a good idea to do all these jobs at once. Wrong! Spent the following morning in bed when I should have been at work. I totally overdid it – which Charlie had predicted would happen because I feel so much better now I’m getting the proper treatment.

Ah, well. The garden looks good and it makes me happy to do it. And that’s all I need.



Our compost bin has been giving me the pip, the irits, the ever-lovin’ shits.

It’s a rodent magnet, it stinks, it doesn’t bloody make compost.

And it’s got a lean. It’s not level. Which means that you can’t turn it properly without the bloody thing threatening to topple over.

So today, I fixed it. I dug out all the un-composted crap, the hay, the stinky, slimy lumps of pumpkin and mouldy bread, and I put it into the wheelbarrow. Miraculously, I found some compost at the bottom of the bin. It even had worms! I put that into a garbage bin. Then I dug out the dirt around the bottom of the bin to make it level, and I constructed a wire barrier out of mesh and some old roof-racks that have been sitting in the garage since James crashed the car.

I popped the bin back on top and filled it up with hay, then compost, then hay, then compost. Some of it was so gross. And it stank. But I kept going until the hay and the compost was used up.

And it is good!

Hopefully this works to keep out the rodents and starts making good compost that I can use in the veggie patch.