Helen Townsend Subscribe Helen Townsend's Atom Feed

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

I've been a writer forever and have had 22 books published. Now I'm writing short stories and I love it. See them on my website and please comment. I love feedback. And of course short shorts here.

March 28, 2013
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Look Ma, no eyebrows

My mother went through hell with her eyebrows. Plucking, numerous depilatory creams, eyebrow pencils, eyebrows dyes were all disasters. When she was a teenager those thin arched eyebrows of the 1930s were all the rage. Hers were lush and thick, so she tweezed away and got skinny eyebrows, albeit lopsided and surrounded by red raw skin.



My dear friend

One of my very closest friends was diagnosed with cancer this week. We don’t know what the future holds, but the very word cancer strikes fear into my heart. I’m at that age where friends get sick, some have died. I don’t want that to happen to this warm and wonderful friend. I love her too much. I don't want her to have this disease at all.



My name, a sad mystery

Helen is my second name. My first name, Julia, was ditched soon after I was born. Julia was my great grandma’s name, Helen was my Grandma’s. I thought Grandma must have wanted a baby named after her and had held sway. I loved her passionately, so I liked sharing her name.



The New Girl

Our 27 year old son, Mike, was bringing his new girl, Lucy, home to meet us. He’d sung her praises so fervently it made us wonder if she was going to be his true love, the forever one.

“Invite her to the family dinner,” I said, “so we can all meet her.”




I want to understand what the Mexicans are saying and for them to understand what I’m saying. The phrase book with the CD is too basic. I understand my Spanish lessons if they’re in English, but unfortunately, putting lo, se, adios, alli, ayer and the word for potatoes into a sentence and making myself understood is beyond me.



To my beloved from Mexico

OK, I went to the Cantina. It wasn't like the cantinas in Hollywood movies. There's some drinking and fooling around, but really, it was good clean fun.

Okay, I have trouble remembering it. I had an itsy tequila. There was a big pot with pork crackling and ribs in broth.



Mexican Sardines

It’s Mexico City, Saturday afternoon, and I decide to see the Palacio de Bellas Artes. I walk down to my local Metro and of the 20 million people in this city, a lot of them seem to be there on the platform. The first two carriages, reserved for women and children, are filled with men who look like



Burying the body

We have Labradors like other people have children. I know you’re not supposed to rank your kids or dogs, but Lucy was the best - a relentless retriever, a childminder, a seriously crazy horse and eccentric dog. When she was dying the vet came to give her the last rites and the fatal shot.



Oh god, my hair!

It was a time when I was as mad as a meat ax, neurotic as hell, especially when it came to my hair. This was despite the fact I had long, wavy, beautiful hair. Which I hated. It was the 80's, so I decided to to fix the problem and have a cut and a perm.



A moment of grace

What is grace? A tender moment? Something beautiful? A spiritual revelation?

Not always.

I was 20. My partner was at home nursing his hang-over. I was struggling home in martyr mode with our weekly shopping, a big box of groceries with the bread balanced on top, plastic bags hanging off both arms.