Patches of Brilliance

… my year in a bush hut

The book in brief (Synopsis)

Patches of Brilliance by David Mason-JonesThis is the true story of an enforced year out from the rat race for our average middle class Australian hero. Facing a total reverse of his fortunes, partly as a result of the ‘Recession Australia had to have’ and partly through his own fault, our hero retreats from the home he once owned to his last remaining asset—a bush block near the river, just out of town in the Hunter Valley.

There he lives with nature for the next fourteen months and experiences the full cycle of seasons. His home is a three metre by three metre (10ft by 10ft) shed built from rusting corrugated iron sheets. He has no door, no electricity, no sewage, no phone and few comforts. Despite this, the whole trauma turns out to be a surprisingly charming adventure.

There were plenty of set-backs and these were deeply frustrating. And yet, contrasted with these, there were moments of pure and simple joy, humour, friendship, fulfillment, insight, the rewards of fatherhood and contentment.

The book concludes with the unusual advice that everyone should take some time out and live in a hut in the bush at some stage of their life.

This book was twenty years in the making, ever since the events in the hut took place in the early 1990s. For those who worry about these things, the book has a happy ending with the hero recovering fully from the emotional and financial failures of the so-called recession we had to have.




I really enjoyed ‘Patches of Brilliance’. Thanks for sharing the story of your year in a bush hut. Written with elegance and honesty about a period of hardship endured with ingenuity and grace. I admired your self reliance and lack of self pity. But I most admired your commitment to maintaining a close and loving relationship with Sarah and Amanda. And shed a few tears at your joy when they went on to live their own independent lives.




In early 1967 in company with David Mason-Jones and two other seventeen year olds, I left Perth to enter the Royal Military College , Duntroon. I caught-up with David recently at a commemorative event in Adelaide and shortly afterwards he surprised me with a copy of “Patches of Brilliance.”
This is a fascinating story of David’s retreat to a small shed in the Hunter Valley following reversals in his financial and personal circumstances. But this is not a tale of defeat or descent into depression.

Rather it is a story of renewal, the nature and value of friendships, simple pleasures, and a beautiful relationship between two young girls and their Dad.

I suspect that “Patches” will prompt all readers to reflect, remember and consider, and thus in part at least to follow the author’s advice that we should all live in a hut in the bush at some time.
Great read, thanks Old Mate.