Showing posts from June, 2011

A Stranger in a Strange Land.

There’s a Blackbird on the lawn, a Common Mynah on the roof line. There’s a Magpie on the back fence, but it’s not a crow, it’s a type of butcher bird. Parrots flash overhead, seeking winter gum flowers. House Sparrows flick from under the eaves to feed on silver birch seeds. A late to bed possum hurries, fleet footed, along a wire. My birthday moves from spring to autumn during the course of a single plane flight. It snows in June. For year after year it barely rains, then in capricious novelty it floods. At Christmas I worry that it will be too hot to sit in the garden. The forest trees keep their leaves all year, and on a hot summer’s day the woods smell of childhood colds, night-time vapours, last night’s pyjamas. A few sky bright shards of childhood memory linger. Skippy. Rolf Harris. People with skin so black that the light seemed to sink into them. Australia seemed so far away that it may as well have been the moon. Manchester was a long way away, Melbourne impossibly so. I only

......went up the hill.

The wind that blew the clouds away had a harsh, cutting edge. It sliced through you. It made you wear layers. It made you wear a hat. On that windy night we saw the first sparkle of stars. A few patches of cloud were still fleeing before the breath of the wind; they promised more rain, but it never came. A kind of gunboat weather, all threat, but no action. Under a cold, broken, patchwork sky, we drove north towards Bicheno. The rivers were still filling from the recent rain; they strained at the bridges and flirted with the idea of flooding. The tyres hissed on the wet road, fields shone with water, ditches were full. In places the road disappeared entirely. Even in the car you could smell water and damp leaves and freshly turned soil. We ate a meal of quiet exceptional ordinariness in a shop that was for sale, and where it was clear that the staff had long since lost the capacity to smile. Just metres from the sea we ate fish that seemed to have been caught just before the fall of th