I got a divorce today

Well, not exactly. I signed the legal papers with my wife in front of a JP and they will be filed in a court hearing in Cairns. Neither of us will attend as there are no disputes or child custody issues as our kids are grown with kids of their own. We got together at her place to fill out the forms and both of us admitted sadness at the passing of a chapter of our lives. Just to put that in perspective, we met in the late 1950’s as our fathers were associated in business, met every Sunday at a sailing club and spent the summer holidays together at Llanbedrog in north Wales. More than 55 years of history together. I still have some sailing trophies we won together. But we have been separated for about 17 years now and when she suggested we formalize the current reality, I had to agree. Outside the JP’s office, we had a final hug before departing.

We have 2 girls in our marriage who have produced 4 grandchildren, so we will still have connection and communication. I am pleased to say our marriage breakdown was without rancour or blame. We both realised we were part of the problem. For anyone out there with a relationship breakup, seriously look at your own part in the breakdown and do your best to forgive theirs. I offer you a historical example of the Trojan wars as the wrong way to go. Helen was abducted, male pride was offended and 7 years of war and slaughter ensued. Though the legal fee of $900 is nearly enough to go to war about.

I am always keen to achieve efficiency, so took the opportunity to combine getting a divorce with collecting timber for the reconstruction of the sauna as both happened in Ravenshoe. Many guests have lamented the destruction of the sauna and I have finally got round to begin the reconstruction. The scantlings for the framework are now on site. I have reconnected power to the site for power tools. My first priority is to my guests , my second to the care of my grandkids and the third to projects. So combined with limited weather opportunities, the sauna could take a while, but I hope to have it available for you this coming winter.

This post seems really short so I thought I’d tag on something entirely different and more important. Young children’s access to natural spaces. This has been provoked by internet articles about UK children being denied access to outdoor play areas in tower block developments. Yes, kids being denied a chance to play on a few square meters of grass in the sunlight. By council planning regulations, the areas are designated as play areas. Because of preferential tenant agreements, some kids can’t play there. I think that horrific and choking to a child’s development who are denied any access to the natural world, albeit a miserable strip of grass. My outrage is prompted by my recent experiences with my grandkids. During this long hot summer, they have often asked to go down to the creek. There they have played naked in the water, shaded from the sun by the dense rainforest canopy, and had exciting times. I was fearful that Philip, the younger at 2 1/2 years, would find the terrain too difficult and hurt himself, but he proved me to be the wuss. After a little coaching about traction on the rocks, where dry rocks give good grip, wet rocks give poor grip and permanently underwater rocks, covered in slime mold are as slippery as ice. I could see him learning by the minute. Within a hour he could predict which rocks he could run over and which rocks he had to use the bum crawl on. In the turbulent creek with the water cascading over his shoulders, he made his way down between the rocks to the pool below without me hovering over him. You may think me reckless to expose my grandsons to risk of injury, but for them to accurately assess the risk, meet the challenge, feel the sensory stimulation and feel the joy of success is priceless.

Today we are facing a generation of kids who have little access to the natural world, who will have little connection with it and hence little concern for it. For each failure of the ecosystem they will have a technological fix to restore human comfort until collapse, where there is no fix. That is the dystopian future I hope we can avoid.


  1. Peter says:

    It’s more complicated than that, I think. We spent our very early years in an urban environment; apart from a couple of municipal parks, we went, alone, to play in a chemical nightmare near the River Mersey. We played on an enormous and vertiginous heap of coke next to a factory – my knees are still scarred. We took ourselves off, alone, to a lake a longish bus ride from home, camped in the woods and swam and rowed a (sinking) boat on the lake – you were bitten by a pike I think. But I think the main reasons that kids now are denied these excursions is the modern idea that all kids must be protected against all risks, at all times, under threat of punishment of everyone connected with those kids, and even removal of those kids from the family home. Kids will always find somewhere to play, as we did. but in the UK they are no longer allowed to.

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