Unguarded Moments


If you measure a life by the love you give and get then I am rich indeed

I was with my grandmothers when they both died last month


There are two less people in the world who have loved me since my first breath


I watched their last breaths
From the ends of hospital beds
Both were quiet moments
Silent and still and quiet and somehow beautiful


Death is one thing
Funerals are another
Learning to live life again is another


It’s in quiet solitary unguarded moments that I realise

I am no longer a granddaughter

I have no elders, they are no longer here. Not only not with me, but not here at all.


In quiet moments I remember that love I got. The love I gave.

The love that still grows between us who are left,

Between us all who received that same love and now share it with each other.

Yes I am rich indeed.


river photo


Lying on a picnic rug in the sun at a music festival on a cider farm in a forest.

I saw you standing there

With your fucking Ned Kelly hipster hair.

I thought I saw you maybe looking at me so I put my Blunnies back on and wander over.

G’day, did we go to primary school together? Yeah, hi! Wondered if it was you under all that beard. I used to have the biggest crush on you in Year 4. Ha! Nah I don’t remember you kicking me in the face at soccer. Ya drew blood? True? Classic!

We talk through one band then another.

We face the stage and stand closer so we can talk into each other’s ear and sometimes our shoulders touch. Once, when you laugh, your hand gently holds my elbow for a second. A tiny pale faced singer in a white tunic sings over and over

If you feel like taking flight…


We talk until it’s twilight. We talk until it’s dark.

We talk until we need to go to the loo then sit down somewhere. On the back of the composting toilet door someone had written in blue crayon

There will never be a more opportune moment…


We wander away from the main stage, past the pond and paddock with the big old oak tree in the middle, up to a little wooden shack with a band on the veranda.

There is moonlight on the paddock.

There are songs about stars.

There’s a fucking string quartet playing.


There was space between us on your picnic rug.

As the string section lifts us up

My fingers brush yours as you pass the tin cup.

My first ever whisky. Warm and tingly and lovely in my mouth, my throat, my chest.


We look at that old oak tree.

Then we look at each other.

We grin.



I don’t know how to think about these things

The things we cling to and call our culture confuse me

In our short history

The hardships we choose to remember turn to myths

This war story we tell ourselves


I don’t know how to think about these things

So I go the dawn service

I think about my great uncle

I listen to the trumpet

Everyone stands still

A silent ritual


Then a kid reads a rhyming poem he wrote about Gallipoli

Then the RSL rep says “If a dog attacks a 2 year old child it gets put down, but if a man attacks a child he only gets 2 years. Use your votes wisely. We’re dishonouring the memory of the sacrifice of the fallen heroes by becoming wimps.”

Then he says “Let us work together for peace and human kindness.”

Then he says “We’ve got a genuine First World War German Rifle so bring the kids and have a look at that over breakfast.”


I don’t know how to think about these things

So at home I listen to those war ballads

I read those online discussions of our national identity that we have every year

On January 26th and April 25th


I still don’t know how to think about

The things we cling to and call our culture

The hardships we choose to remember

These stories we tell ourselves




And the ANZAC legends didn’t mention mud and blood and tears
And the stories that my father told me never seemed quite real
I caught some pieces in my back that I didn’t even feel
God help me, I was only 19
-from ‘I Was Only 19’ written by John Schumann, originally performed by Redgum

But the band played Waltzing Matilda, as they carried us down the gangway.
But nobody cheered, they just stood and stared, then they turned all their faces away
And so now every April, I sit on me porch, and I watch the parades pass before me.
And I see my old comrades, how proudly they march, reviving old dreams of past glories
And the old men march slowly, old bones stiff and sore.
They’re tired old heroes from a forgotten war
And the young people ask, what are they marching for?
And I ask myself the same question.
-from ‘And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda’ written & performed by Eric Bogle

You’ve not been forgotten

Dearest Neglected Readers,

I have two small snippets of news which will have to suffice instead of a proper post:

1. I have deleted all of my online dating profiles. Oasis and RSVP hit the dust years ago, but after two less than impressive Tinder dates in Tasmania I recently deleted the app. Yesterday I deleted OKCupid. Both times I felt instantly lighter. It’s over to you now universe.

2. I have been avoiding writing. There’s a big story from last year I haven’t written about yet but I didn’t know where to start and it scared me. Tonight I finally sat down and pumped out 2,448 words. I haven’t got to the end bit yet. None of those words were about dates. It’s going to take me a little while to craft this story properly- I gotta get it all out first, then structure it, then cut the crap out of it so you’re left with nothing but solid gold. Ha.

So, three questions, loyal members of the DD community:

A) Will you still be around when I finish this thing? Even if it takes a while?

B) Will you even wanna read something that’s not about dates? It might not be funny either?

C) This blog has strayed far from it’s original purpose (I no longer live in the desert or go on many dates) but it’s youse who motivate me to keep writing, so I’m keen to know how far I can take y’all on this journey. So… *cue daggy voice over from a parent in the 90’s who has just discovered the internet* You’re invited to participate my first ever super fun online survey! You can tick more than one box! Box ticking bonanza!

I’d love to hear from you, so please click something on the poll above, comment away down below or join the convo on Facebook, just search for ‘desertdates’ on FB if that link didn’t work. So many interactive options!

Thanks y’guys,

Fondest Regards,


PS: I am gunna live in Tasmania for at least another year. Everywhere here looks like a real pretty picture, but here is just one:


How To Talk Someone Into Sleeping With You: The Art Of Conversation

Dear DD,

On a first date, how do I talk a girl into liking me, being my girlfriend or having sex with me?


Confused Men of Australia Inc


Dear Confused Men,

I’m so glad you asked! You’re already on your way. Here are some steps:

  1. Stop talking
  2. Ask a question
  3. Listen
  4. Repeat

Best of luck,



Dear DD,

Thanks, but what should we ask?


Somewhat Less Confused Men of Australia, Inc


Dear Somewhat Less Confused Men,

You’re getting the hang of it now! Here are some entry level questions:

  1. Ask me exactly the same question I just asked you.
  2. Ask me to tell you more about something you already know about me.

Here are some more advanced options:

  1. Duck to the bathroom and skim through my online dating profile, pictures, online banter – these are all good convo starters
  2. Go backwards. Ask about my childhood, studies, adventures, favourite memories.
  3. Go forwards. Ask me who I want to be, what I want to do.
  4. Go hypothetical. Ask what I’d do if I won a million bucks, if I were in a zombie apocalypse, if I only a week to live, could curate any music festival lineup, could have any six people to dinner, be anyone else for a day, have the perfect day or have any super hero power.
  5. Go deep. Ask me what I really give a shit about.
  6. Go well. Be polite. Be different. Be confident. Be open. Be kind.
  7. Go now. If we’ve been yarning for an hour, call it a night before you run out of things to ask. Leave on a high rather than waiting for a low.

I genuinely want to know who you are, but I want you to know me too. We can’t get to know each other if one of us monologues or feels like an investigative journalist interrogating all night. It should be like tennis. I ask you a question, then you’ve got the ball. You have it for a while then hit it back to me- both of us take responsibility for keeping the ball in the air. On a first date it’s pretty rare that we’ll be relaxed enough for witty repartee, but we can try to draw out something from each other that interests us enough to want to see each other again to find out more.

I am thrilled that you have the collective self awareness to incorporate and ask questions! I sincerely wish you all the best and I look forward to far fewer boring dates from now on!

With increasingly fonder regards,




PS: For tips on squashing small talk see here and here. 

Valentine’s Day: A Solo Survival Guide

Dear DD,

I hate Valentine’s Day. I just want to be able to leave the house without my own singledom slapping me in the face six billion times as the whole world celebrates what I don’t have.

How can I make it through the day without crying on the couch watching ‘She’s All That,’ or going on a jealous rampage, flipping candlelit tables and stuffing red roses into the drooling, lovesick faces of happy couples?


Grumpy and Lonely in Karratha


Dear Grumpy and Lonely of Karratha,

First up, I am truly sorry that you happen to live in K-Hole. I’m quite sure it’s the only reason you are single. Secondly, Grumps mate, I feel ya! I’ve been there buddy. You might be very Happily Single for 50 weeks of the year but the fortnight leading up to V-Day you become Pretty Uncharacteristically Desperate. That entire aisle of red love heart themed merchandise at Woolies, the ‘for someone special’ tagline added to every ad on telly, the overheard plans of people in couples, the romance novels on decorative display at the local library – all this noise can test even the toughest of lonely hearts.

Despite the fact that Karratha is now a city and not a shire (controversial!) there’s still no cinema for you to see ’50 Shades of Grey’ at, there’s no cool anti-capitalist hipster bands playing anywhere and you probably don’t have any single mates to hang out with either. They’re probably on the east coast being each other’s Valentines, going dancing and having a great time.

Soz to add to your (probably constant state of) FOMO but it looks like you’re gunna have to get yourself through this one. Don’t let small town syndrome strike you down!

Just avoid the Centro Mall. Avoid restaurants. Don’t attempt to circumnavigate the CBD solo and unassisted. It’s not the day for self-dates reading a book in a cosy café corner, that’s if the café has any tables for one. You’ll cringe at so many cute couples you’ll end up a cranky cynic hell bent on preaching anti-consumerism to waiters who aren’t flirting with you, they’re just giving you good customer service.

In fact, don’t just avoid the ‘CBD’ avoid Karratha. The only way you can truly escape is to get outta town. Here are some simple steps:

Step 1: Ask some old people where to go and head bush for the day. Tell someone where you’re going and pack plenty of water, fuel, swimmers, good shoes, hat, suncream and the unhealthiest snacks you can find.

Step 2: Crank your favourite tunes and podcasts in the car. Call up those east coast single friends with your hands free headphone set thing. Stop whenever you damn well feel like it. Take some photos. Pick those flowers. Get as many Cornettos and boxes of Pizza Shapes from shitty roadhouses that you want.

Step 3: Drive for at least an hour. See that country changing. Pull over and stand on top of your car to get a good view. Walk over to that tree over there. Sit on that nice rock in the shade then close your eyes and do some breathing in and out for a bit.


tree sunset karijini pilbara

Take off your shoes and feel the sand. Call out to the country if you want. Step into that waterhole slowly. Keep going. Slow though, so you can feel it tingling up your body. Let that freezing cold water cover you all the way up to your shoulders. Stand there shivering for a while. Look up at those cliffs and how those trees just seem to grow out of the rock.

See those little clouds in that big blue sky above you.

Listen to those birds and that silence.

Take a deep breath in.

Close your eyes.

Duck dive down.

Go on! Put your head under the water, I dare ya! I can 100% guarantee it will feel amazing.

Lie on your back for a while, faff around in the water for a while, then repeat Step 2 in the reverse direction and sleep happy in the knowledge that tomorrow your photos will win the internet and chocolate prices will be slashed.

You’ll be right, Grumps, you right.

Best wishes,