Thursday, 30 December 2010

Here comes the sun

The sun has finally returned from its Christmas vacation and is shining with such joy I am thinking it must have got lucky with the moon or something while it was away. Of course the heat is making everywhere very steamy (which is rather fitting if the sun has indeed been trysting with the moon) but it’s nice to see some blue sky again.


Now I have never really been a bird person (apart from appreciating them as a snack for cats) but I have been quite amazed at the variety I see as I take my daily walk. This morning I saw kookaburras, cockatoos, rosellas, lorikeets, galahs, Ibis', two nesting curlews, magpies and a couple of noisy miners. There is also a family of tawny frogmouths nesting in the garden who manage to pull off the very tricky fluffy-but-solemnly-wise look quite convincingly. (I mean who has ever taken something fluffy seriously? Apart from Alf the cat that is!) I might have to invest in a pair of binoculars soon which I can then employ to good use back in Basel by watching the surgeons across the window - to ensure they properly scrub and don't use their surgical equipment to trim rogue hairs.


Yesterday in celebration of the sun I went with my parents to Coochimudlo Island where we energetically circumnavigated the whole island before rewarding ourselves with ice-creams. Both parents then decided to nap on the beach while I went and inspected the shore for crabs and dugongs. Plenty of crabs to be seen but no dugongs apart from the colorful mural of one on the toilet block wall.

It's now new year's eve and I am sweltering in the shade. I may need to bath in a pool of mojitos just to cool down.

bring back the trousered sheep

Each morning I have been going for a walk - or at least a wade - around the streets where I grew up. A lot has changed and I can't say much of it is for the better. Places which used to be fields filled with trouser-wearing sheep ( well one sheep in particular called Gilbert who liked to wear a pair of jeans as he grazed) have been replaced by nondescript houses and manicured lawns. Fortunately there are still some natural areas left such as the paddocks down the road and the hillside by the river. These wild patches haven't changed at all which makes them extra special amidst all the other 'progress'.
I miss the sight of trousered sheep though.
Perhaps next time insomnia strikes I will count them in my sleep.

Friday, 24 December 2010

losing time

I seem to be suffering from jetlag quite badly this trip. Admittedly it has been a few years since I last did the trip between Europe and Australia but this time I constantly feel like I have been hit about the head with a wet sack. I'm not sure why this is. It may be the fact that I was quite tired before I even boarded the plane in Zurich or maybe it is because I spent 15 hours sitting next to a man with such bad breath that every time he breathed (which unfortunately happened rather too regularly for my liking) my whole body was enveloped in a dark and deadly mist! Of course it could just be plain old time difference at work but that sounds rarver boring. Why let facts get in the way of a good excuse.

Fortunately my jetlagginess ( of course it's a words! I just wrote it, didn't I?) hasn't stopped me from getting on with the important tasks of seeing friends and eating donuts. Two days ago I spent a happy few hours with my old school pal ,M, and her two prolific painting girls. Honestly the number of masterpieces they were able to churn out over a course of two teas, one quiche and a chocolate biscuit would have shamed even the greatest of Masters. I was lucky enough to be given two finished pieces complete with magnets to take home for my fridge. Thanks be to little H and little S.

I have also spent time with J, the wise woman and world's greatest instructions repeater, which involved another close encounter of the artistic kind when her two twin boys decided to draw on themselves in the seclusion of their bedroom. Quite Pollock-esque really. I felt a little guilty scrubbing away all their work but being the excellent scrubber I am I just focused on the job at hand. I also got to impress her five year old daughter with tales about a hairy goblin who lives in the Black Forest and my vast array of super powers which include counting to ten in Italian and lifting my bag with one finger. I love talking to children. You can let the imagination go and they believe you too. Being an adult is sooooo over-rated.

Now I am back home - ready to nap again. It is raining outside and all I can hear is the sound of frogs greeting every raindrop.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

under the banana tree

Today I walked home in the rain. I actually got so wet all my toes started to squelch, my hair began pasting to my face and my dress got the best clean it has had in months. This is not nearly as dramatic as it sounds as I am no longer in Basel (where walking in minus 5 would probably prove less joyous) but I am actually back in Australia for a 3 week break.
I like walking in the rain despite the obvious wet factor. The grey sky makes all the trees look luminously green and all the birds come out to bathe which makes the whole experience quite beautiful. A couple of cockatoos sat on a branch and had a good laugh at me as I passed but they're just jealous because they could never look as dishevelled as me in their wildest dreams. ( The secret desire of every cockatoo I imagine after finding a fist full of seeds or hearing a really good joke about a galah.)

Of course my parents were horrified when I arrived home: You should have called! We would have picked you up! Fortunately they have never witnessed my socks'n'sandals ensemble which I like to wear when walking in the snow - and No my feet never get wet when I wear this combination. I have fiercely protective socks! I believe some of them even have teeth.

I am feel quite jet-lagged still to be honest. So I am just going to attach a few pictures of green-ness to fill in the spaces before I wake up.

The picture here is actually of the banana tree in my parent's backyard where I spent many an hour as a teenager writing really bad poetry about a Dutch boy - when my dad wasn't finding enormous pythons wrapped around its palms that was! Honestly I believe the snakes were less scary than my rhyming

zum beispiel

Under the tree
Woe is me
How can it be
That he don't love me

Ah happy days!

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Dream lands

The other night I visited the most beautiful place I have ever seen. I only saw it for a few minutes but I have a feeling I am going to return to it. I believe it has been created as a place for me to go. Of course in the cold light of day I can't find the words to describe what it was like but that won't stop me trying. I believe it was a mixture of various places: the Torres del Paine in Chile, Wadi Rum In Jordan, and some of the back roads near where I grew up. The landscape was stark and majestic like the Scottish Highlands with an enormous lake in one part which created the most incredible high, grey waves. There was also a valley surrounded by cliffs or mountains or trees (I am not sure which) that rose up into the sky before curving together like magnificent whale bones. It had a latticing effect across the sky which created the most extraordinary shades of light over the valley. At the time I referred to it as ' a natural cathedral' and I think I must have had Gaudi's Sagrada Familia in mind.

Whatever this place is I know it has a significance that perhaps I am yet to understand.