May the wind always be at your back . . .

I think of them often, my Celtic ancestors.  Read their history.  Love their music.  Honour their sacrifices. Have a chat sometimes.


Green is still green, I say, seated in my garden.
Love is still love.
The Masters are greedier.
The poor are poorer.
There is an inequality in resources and wealth we’ve never seen the likes of. (Even more  inequality than that which caused the French Revolution).

As Jud and Proudie  Paynter from Poldark would say,
“T’int Right, T’int Fair, T’int Fit, T’int Proper.”

Since horses carted  you about and splashed mud on your frocks, I say to the ancestors, we have clogged the countryside and so, it is said,  it now takes longer to drive across London than when the motor car was  first invented. Progress. Bah humbug.

We are fatter than ever.  Ruder than ever. Soft.

Now we fly through the air, have eyes in space, yet despite our vantage points—and our advantages—we do not register that since the year 1970 AD, more than 40% of the world’s wildlife has disappeared.


Green is still green, but under the waves, the pink coral is bleached bone white. Calling time on the Great Barrier Reef.

In the past, in our ignorance, we made mistakes with fossil fuels and pesticides, but even now  The Silent Spring has arrived; the earth is warming; even now the meat industry is an “Eternal Treblinka”, we do nothing.  Nothing meaningful.  We look the other way.

We know better, but The Masters have barred the way to change. So we abdicate personal responsibility.  Because we have become like H.G. Wells’  Eloi. Docile.

Oh dear Ancestors, who sacrificed so much, how do we rid ourselves of this many headed monster called Greed?

. . .

Green is still green, She tells me.
Gaia will come.

Even Masters need to breathe and pestilence, plague and poisoned air will enrage and energise the people,  who will rise up and demand leadership that offers real change.

Our broken system of government  will be swept away. It is obsolete and serves only a small, dull, largely disappointing political class. We can do better.

Or we can perish. The universe couldn’t give a fig.

Plants will grow out of the eye sockets of us hominids who failed to heed  the cleverest man who ever lived, Albert Einstein, in this post-truth post-expert world:

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

So with those words,  I would like to sign off The Departure Lounge (Life with COPD) and promise my readers that Frances will post a note when I die. No time soon, I hope.

You have been wonderful and kind to engage in this blog, publicly, and through some  treasured  private emails. Thank you.

My palliative care doctor and the team have given me an opportunity to be well enough to take care of business (and have some fun). They gave me back my life and a chance to put my affairs in order.


Ross Peterson

Locally, I have walked this COPD journey for over 10 years with a man called Ross Peterson. He would be happy for me to tell you he was a gnarly old tradie, but he was so much more. Ross thought nothing of paying thousands of dollars for a stylus for the high fidelity music he loved. We met in pulmonary rehab, then two youngish people in their late 40s with the 70 and 80 year-olds!  But just as knackered.

We became mates. Swapped notes. Tried outlandish ‘cures’. He loved Jack Russells and we were surprised when Rosie, who we rescued from a puppy mill, turned out to be tan and white, not tan and grey!

Ross died suddenly on November 12. Our weekly phone calls  and emails came to an abrupt end.

His nephew said Ross rang only a couple of people – me and his bookie! Emphysema does that to you – isolates you.  But we had some fun together – both inclined to being a bit naughty.

I couldn’t go to Ross’s funeral in Sydney but I can acknowledge him here on The Departure Lounge as a funny,  loving friend and thank him for understanding what few others could.

I’m glad his suffering ended, aged 62. But I miss him.

Rest in peace Ross.



For my little sister Michelle: Let go your heart / Let go your head / And feel it now / Let go your heart . . .