In Essence

And there are times
To simply hold you close
Be still
Breathe your breath
To know you live
To know you’re mine
To know you love me
As I do you…..

Deo Gratias
It is enough


For Jamie and Claire

Southern Cross Station

Waiting……waiting for the Train

Sitting at Southern Cross station, amidst the dirt and din of trains roaring in and out again. Tramps, travellers, drunks, junkies, students, tourists, families, people from all nationalities pass through here, going somewhere, going nowhere…..
And all the while hardy little sparrows work their way around the platforms, living on our litter.

March, 2013

A Historian’s Viewpoint


I FELL IN LOVE WITH JAMES FRASER through Claire’s eyes; as the main narrator she describes him in such fine detail, I know the essence of the man….through Diana’s descriptive prose and my very keen sense of smell, I too could pick him out of a crowded room of men, simply by his smell……a mixture of coffee, whisky, gunpowder, horses and manure, his sweat…..the deep male smell of him. His long graceful bones, the way his mane of copper russet bronze and auburn hair, lifts in stray wisps about his face, because he is either fiercely animated, or like a lions mane, falling around his shoulders in the frenzied passion of love making.
The quirk of his mouth, his wry humour, courage, honour and accomplishments.
A unique talent for absorbing both people, learning and languages into his life.
A man of big passions, ferocious loyalties and all encompassing generosity.

I FELL IN LOVE WITH JAMIE through Claire’s eyes, until so deeply absorbed in the “more real than life” story, Claire fell away. I was Claire…, loving, breathing him in, waiting for him to return from battle, from hunting, from visits with neighbouring Cherokee or working alongside him, and healing him.

AND THEN I FELL IN LOVE AGAIN, through Roger’s eyes. Roger knows Jamie when he arrives at Frasers Ridge….Roger, the “dog with a bone” Historian, has been hearing Claire’s story, researching Jamie’s History…..Culloden, Ardsmuir, Helwater. He has already developed a relationship with Jamie, two hundred years before he meets him (Yes my mind gets tied in knots too)!!! Before Claire leaves Inverness for the second time, Roger finds her fast asleep in the Reverend Wakefield’s Study, clutching the Ardsmuir Prison Records to her breast, her heart….he has a deep affection for Claire, and says to her sleeping figure, and to the long dead Jamie, “I don’t know who you were mate”, he whispered to the unseen Scot, “but you must have been something, to deserve her.”

And then there follows the catastrophic mess, through Lizzie’s mistaking Roger for the monster who has violated Brianna…..we know what follows, and once the two men have come to terms with each other, something beautiful happens.

ROGER AS NARRATOR won me over in a completely new way. He sees Jamie from a very different perspective. There’s understandingly, in the beginning, lingering resentment, but that changes subtly to begin with, as the two men take the measure of each other. I’m often brought to unexpected tears, by Roger’s reference to Jamie as “the big Scot.”
Why should that make me cry??? I think it’s the knowledge of how much suffering that big body has gone through….and, for some reason those words are a trigger for tears.
Roger refers to Jamie’s “panther like grace”, he wants his approval, and can’t help the jealousy he experiences around Jamie. One vivid description is of Jamie standing back, eyeing Roger dispassionately, as though he were buying a bullock at the saleyards. This comes about when Roger asks him “Teach me to fight.” There’s some brilliantly witty dialogue that follows with Jamie telling Roger he had his first sword at five…..Roger had a toy train with a red engine at the same age. But Roger is equally stubborn, also a man of learning and finally a deal is made. He describes his first experience with “the art of the sword, with Jamie Fraser as his opponent, as like fighting a cloud.”
But Jamie develops a strong affection and respect for Roger, and during the Ritualised Ceremony of The Fiery Cross, when Jamie calls out to him, “Come stand by me, Roger Jeremiah, son of my house”, there is a fierce pride and a belonging, a love for his Warrior Father-in-Law.

There is too much to include here. Roger as Narrator, brings James Fraser to life, in vivid detail that naturally is completely different to Claire’s. A man’s observation that also at times is unemotionally clinical in his Historian’s viewpoint of Jamie.

I LOVED JAMIE FRASER EVEN MORE, viewing him through Roger’s descriptive narration.

MargaretArlen ©️. Wednesday Writings
Spring, Central Victoria, Australia 2019.

References from Diana Gabaldon
And thanks to the talented Vera Adxer for her fabulous Art.



AND WE DON’T……we can dream, adore, respect, applaud, long for…..but all we ever know of this beautiful young Man, is what he allows us to see. Fiercely, he looks into the lens….no sunny smile, no sexy smoulder. He is and always will be an enigma, to me.
A consummate performer.
I look.
I Love.
I turn away.
A friend once said to me “the biggest gift I could give a Celebrity is to walk right on by, to leave them be.”
I love this photo, it’s as real and true as the beautiful smiling face we’re all accustomed to.


Best Friends

“They fight like cats and dogs”…..whoever first said that didn’t know much !!!

ELIAS & EERIN, chilling out together in the shade of the Fernery.
Elias, the Golden One, a creature of mystery, seduced his way into our lives 2 Summers ago when I was foster caring Little Cat. Every evening he would appear in my garden, rake thin, bold but tentative. Every night for a few short weeks, I would run him off the property, or if he appeared in my garden, shoo him away, waving my hands in the air, “go, go, I do not need another cat”, and he would run, then turn, pop his head up amongst the flowers in the garden, so charmingly, I would be at once annoyed and bewitched.
Cats !!! The final surrender happened one Evening while I was playing with Little Cat. Being a rather dour creature, who had come to me for Sanctuary, I was trying to bring playfulness back into her life.
Picking a long grass stem with a soft feathery seed end, I would wiggle it back and forth till she, unable to resist, would roll on her side, batting at the seed end….playing. And then Elias came, slinking low along the ground, he lined his body exactly behind her, like one long cat, and began to play. This tactic won me over completely, it was so clever, bold yet cautious, and on that night I gave in and fed him.
The rest is History. I don’t know where he lives. He comes and goes freely. I feed him twice daily, worm and flea treat him, and have tended his wounds when as a young inexperienced male, he was badly hurt by another Tom. He is still a full male, and of the 3 cats I now live with, the most affectionate. Sometimes he’s gone for days, and I fret and worry for him. Life on the streets, is fraught with danger, from people, cars, and especially other cats….and then, there he is, sitting neatly, a small pale golden Sphinx, waiting patiently for me.
Eerin shadows me night and day. If I move, she moves. Outside, inside and back again. But if Elias is here, hanging out on his favourite chair in the Fernery, Eerin will stay outside, just to hang out with him.
And at dusk, as we go walking, very often a pale golden streak will appear, trotting like a tiny pony, then mad dashes ahead and back, circling around Erin’s body, rubbing against her flanks, then side by side they run together, he hears a car, jumps a fence, disappears and I marvel at his beauty, his alert survival skills. The car passes, he rejoins us trilling, rubs his face against Eerin, I run my hands up the length of his golden tail, a jaunty flag, waving.

And here they are, Eerin fast asleep….Elias jumps down from his chair, drops beside her, stretches full length, his tail draped over hers.

Oh, how I love them 🧡🙏🧡


Series, A MALCOLM, Season 3

Reworking my way back from the beginning, waiting for this episode, as I just watched Jamie, “apparently betrayed by his sister Jenny” being hauled off in a wagon by the Redcoats, for his time in Arsdmuir Prison….

I’ll force myself to wait, as I’ve done so often before….making myself endure the pain of separation, because THEY had to….so, I must suffer with them.

A Malcom has some awkward moments when my inner critic was screaming “EDIT,” that simply didn’t work, and then there are other moments as Jamie and Claire rediscover their passion, their original bond, where I am held speechless, with the daring beauty of their joining….the two, now one.

The above was a scene of such tenderness, almost painful lovemaking (Jamie’s face, reveals all the agony and tumult of those lost years…passion, possessiveness…..jealousy)…..”You’re mine” etched into every line of his beautiful face. And she, Claire, open, vulnerable, holding him….knowing what he’s feeling.

These are the OUTLANDER moments, where I cannot look away, yet feel I should quietly turn, step aside, and close the door.
Caitriona and Sam have disappeared…..Claire and Jamie are alone, utterly embraced in their private cocoon of sexual joining, of coming home to each other.
Cameramen, Directors, Makeup and everyone else crowding that room, including millions of viewers, are gone….irrelevant, unheeded, forgotten.


Like an incurable addiction…….There will never be enough.


Summer, 2021


AND LIKE small
We still think
We have time
Time for change
Time to move
Time for Love

But that’s a lie
Is it not???
Time is finite….
And one fine day
Or darkening night
Time will say….
It’s up
That’s it
You’re done!!!

And no one
Can change
What happens

Death who walks
Beside us
Now takes hold
And carries us away….

And no body
Can do a thing
About it !!!

MA. ©️. Summer 2018

Photo by Stuart Edmondson.w


Series, Episode 511, Journeycake…..

Season 1 seemed for so long like the pinnacle of Outlander, with whatever followed, no matter how brilliant, never quite reaching that first extraordinary peak.

But Season 5, has ventured further than I could have possibly expected.

Having waited SO long for the DVD release, I have watched it countless times….finally deciding to go right back to the earliest beginnings.

The start of everything…..the reason we all reach out to each other across the planet, to say “Oh yes !!! Me too !!! 

And wonder at the people we know who don’t get it.

YET SEASON 5, goes where others fear to tread. Breaks down our culture’s dreary stereotypes, and shows us the Frasers in their 50’s, now Grandparents, and still holding that great passion for each other…..

Still very much in love.

These scenes I’ve chosen are deeply affecting…..visually beautiful with that perfectly soft lighting that so often makes Outlander’s indoor scenes resemble Old Master’s Paintings. I am so touched by the fact, that after all these years together, Jamie still wakes up if Claire leaves their bed.

“I guess I feel lonely wi’out y’, Sassenach.”

From the Wedding night, and all the time since….this is how it is.

We see him, having fallen asleep while reading, fully dressed on top of the bed….we watch Claire applying her special perfume, unaware that he has fallen asleep…..she turns towards him, but there’s no resentment, just acceptance…..and later, she wakes, hot and sweating, going to the open window to lean out and breathe in the cold night air.

We see Jamie, stirring….his hand reaching out into the empty space beside him. We see him swing his legs off the bed and go to her, embrace her.

Inhale her scent…..the beauty and shared humour of them holding each other, inhaling each other’s scents.

But it’s these simple few words that pierced my heart with longing, for such a man ….

“Ohhhh, y’re wearing your special perfume….you wanted me, and I fell asleep, I’m sorry,“ and Claire’s soft response….”You were tired.”

And then, of course, all that follows.

The depth of understanding, their ongoing passion for each other.

We watch, we yearn, we laugh, we burn with them.

Blazing like twin stars through the open window out into the night.

MargaretArlen ©️ Spring, Central Victoria

Quotes from Diana Gabaldon

Stormy Weather

As the Auld Gods
Roar across the skies
Birds cheeping
Frogs croaking
Dog and Cats inside
Fearful of the cataclysm!!!

Not I
This stormy weather
This rooftop music
This longed for change
This coolness
On my skin
This balm from heat.

Yet no wonder
If the animals flee
With sounds like great rocks
But for me
The Gods are speaking
And I sit still
And listen.

MA©️. Summer 2018

Kindred Spirits

A MEETING OF STRANGERS…..or, the 2020 effect!!!

Late yesterday, just before dusk after a very hot day, I took my dog into the Forest. There’s a good swimming hole which has been created by 4WD’s bush bashing, now full of clean water after last week’s rain.
Eerin’s not a swimmer….she likes to wade up to her armpits, wading and lapping at the same time. Then she climbs out onto the muddy bank, throws herself onto her back and rolls ecstatically among the reeds….partly drying off, and collecting some mud to go.
We then return to the Velodrome, which also serves as our local dog park.
Even if everyone else has gone home, there is an abundance of smells that need marking (pissed on), nose to the ground she inspects the oval of grass while I walk around the outside, on the flat concrete pathway.
Cyclists sometimes arrive and go whirring past on the high sloping walls….we don’t bother them, nor they us.

Yesterday was different. As we left the water hole, I saw a man coming directly towards us, his dog, a Border Collie known to both Eerin and me, running ahead to greet her. We waved, then they headed one way, we, the other….only to find he had done a circuit outside the Velodrome and was heading straight towards me. So, we said hello. I mentioned I often met his wife and their dog while walking in the forest. He observed that my dog had a beautiful gait, which I have often written about
…..she has the movement of a wolf….an easy lope which I love to watch as she moves ahead of me. When he asked about her breed and I said Koolie, he had never heard the name. “They’re one of the oldest breeds in the Country, I said, and told him a little of their history…..then made a casual comment saying how great it was not having to wear masks outside anymore.

“I never have, he scoffed at me….”only when I have to inside supermarkets…..Covid is a farce, it doesn’t exist….it’s all a Government scam.”

FIRSTLY, I am always underwhelmed by people who attempt to lecture, or patronise me. A moment of consideration, and I told him I absolutely disagreed with him, that the evidence was overwhelmingly convincing, apparent (for anyone with an actively working brain), inside my head.
“So, I won’t argue with you….dogs are a much easier subject. Her ancestry originated from our earliest Scottish settlers, sheep farmers who brought their Blue Merle Collies with them, and the German Lutheran farmers with their work dogs, called Tigers (Teegers).

Back on safe ground, with me realising I had accepted his offered hand shake (we are all still practicing social distancing), I had been caught off guard by this dying, but very appreciated form of connection…a strong handshake (no limp fish or sweaty palms), so I was both gratified and thinking about the hand sanitizer in my nearby car.

But I had mentioned Scotland, and as he again referred to the Covid scam, I looked straight at him, this total stranger and said “Scottish….stubborn as rocks.” I liked him. He was tough looking, but openly friendly….he draped his hands over the Velodrome fence, and discussed family Ancestry, joking about a dreary family gathering where not much concerning bloodlines was discussed….”just a lot of old buggers whinging” he grinned at me.

We continued talking…a strange, unexpected intimacy. He mentioned a book he’d read just last year, on past lives, written by a highly respected Psychiatrist…..I finished his sentence, mentioning the Authors name, telling him I had just ordered it from our local Library. The ease of conversation was uncanny as we discovered more and more coincidence, synchronicity, and a sense we both shared of being strongly affected by our “living dead.” A sense of them wanting to connect….me, “wanting to complete what they were unable to finish.”

And then we parted ways….he walking along the outside path, Eerin sniffing grass and me walking the inside pathway.
Before veering off into the Forest, he once more leaned over the railing above me, and commented on my dog’s beautiful movement….”Yes” I said, I’ve written about it, “the hour between dog and wolf, this time of day when the veil is thin, when you are aware that your domesticated canine is no longer there.”
He looked at me and said. “I apologise for my earlier arrogance,” and then left.

Spring, Central Victoria, 2020