home again

Also at the dog beach

We came home on Monday night, it was deliciously cool after the humid subtropics. Cool and dry. After the slightly dazed taxi ride from the airport, feeling all spread out after the cramped two hours in the middle seat of a Jetstar economy flight (only two hours but I always feel tense trying not to take up more space than I feel I should), we arrived home and the house felt very small. There were also big unseen spider webs running across rooms and a daddy long legs nest of spider babies under the mantel piece. But I was pleased that I had cleaned and washed the floors before I left, and changed the sheets. It felt nice and orderly.

The next day, as I was making text arrangements to pick Rupert up, I looked out at the long grass and saw a big rat running around the yard. It doesn't take long for the wild life to make itself at home. When we got in the car to go and get Rupert, the car most absolutely wouldn't start and I momentarily didn't know what to do. Then I called the RACV and it was sorted within half an hour. It was so good to see Rupert again. After we got home, the two of us had a big snuggle on the couch, his snout resting on my leg. Later after doing some shopping, getting a new car battery and having dinner, he sat on my lap for a long time. Then slept on my bed. It was so nice. I thought he might have had such a nice time at the dog sitters, what with other dogs to play with and two walks a day, that he might have forgotten us. But no, he seems happy to be a at home and as bonded to us as ever.

Yesterday was also coolish weather wise and we went for a walk down the creek. Grace was even OK with letting him off the lead for a bit. I was pleased that the walk I had struggled with six weeks again wasn't such a drama. I was a bit sweaty at the end and maybe a bit puffed considering that I wasn't walking that fast but not freaked out. A bit of an improvement. Today was pretty hot so we went to the Altona dog beach instead. Rupert had an awesome time and I wish I had gone for a swim, but oh well, I had a paddle and that was OK.

It is nice to be home but I am missing Betty and the family so much already.

swimming with the fishes (literally)

Up early and the beach is already in full swing

This morning we had breakfast at the beach and swam in silky clear water, with fishes swimming all around us. It was hard getting up at 6.45am but somehow by a bit past seven we were all in the Prado. There was some reluctance from one of the children but, oh well, that's the way it goes. We were at Noosa main beach well before eight and it was already in full swing. Luckily someone was already done for the day and pulled out of the car park just as we were going in. We had to wait for  a couple to finish their coffee and then we got a beachside table under the Pandanus. It was so beautiful. The children and Cam went off for a swim and Betty set up the camp stove and made fried bread and buttery eggs for breakfast. There were also peaches and Cam got coffees from a beachside coffee shop. Iced latte by the beach. Not bad, not bad.

After breakfast we all went for a swim. The sun was shining and there were little puffy clouds in the sky. Forest, boats, lifesavers. As we headed for the water, I heard someone leaving the beach exclaim, how lucky are we? The sand was already hot as we walked down to the gentle, slow rolling, greeny blue surf. I strode in past the waves breaking on the shore and clutching my sunglasses in my hand, dived under. Under, under with the salt stinging my eyes and up, sunglasses on falling into the perfect slow rolling surf. The waves lifted us up, floating head up in the gentle swell and just as gently let us us down, feet touching the sand. How delicious. How good.  I looked down and there were little fishes swimming in between all the happy people. You could see people coming into the water with a bit of the morning cranky, and they'd notice the fishes, submerge and bob around, transformed to smiling and happy. There were lots of people there, doctors and lawyers, accountants, architects and software developers (well that's what I imagined because, it's Noosa and there is a demographic, but there were other scruffnuts, tourists and retired people too). It was my first beach swim for the summer and I had thought we might not go (high tourist season, crowds, parking) but I am so glad we did.

In other news, Lisa kindly let me know that my comments weren't working. I tried everything I could think off, googled and pfaffed around. In the end, I had to get rid of embedded comments - which I think are the most aestetically pleasing. However, I think the comments are working again.   

living in the forest

Sunny mid day in the forest. Not quite so humid today but very hot in the sun.

I am sitting on the deck at my sister's house. A soft breeze is blowing through the forest, the ceiling fan whirrs overhead, the dog Tickle's nail click on the wood. The children are having lunch. I've just had breakfast, after an early morning walk, a long leisurely swim and hanging  on the deck in my bathers chatting with my sister and her partner and our kids. Dad went  home today. It's been great being all together as a family. Not always perfect, because well, there are three kids between eight and twelve and four adults telling them what's what. But yeah it has been really, deeply good. We have four more days here and then back to Melbourne where there is definitely no subtropical forest.

Dad has been taking me for a walk in the forest most mornings. We go early, before breakfast, before the heat. Tickle the dog comes too, running ahead, sniffig the smells, doing lots of wee. I hate to say it but she is better behaved than Rupert. She comes when she is called and doesn't steal your shoes. The forest walk starts off fairly level and then goes down to a lovely brown creek where the water level varies depending on the rain. It is then a very gentle climb until we reach the fallen tree that indicates where we normally turn back. The first walk was quite difficult and I dreaded the uphill return but I have gained a small degree of fitness and now it doesn't seem so bad. Indeed on the last walk we went a bit further. We have seen cyclists some mornings and the signs of horse riders but it is mostly just us and the dog. And the forest. It is green and lush and damp. It smells of sweetly rotting things with the occasional burst of something even sweeter. It is shady and not that hot but the damp equals humid and well, I sweat. Oh boy, do I sweat. My dad barely cracks a breath because he is super fit. By the end of it I am dripping and really looking forward to that moment of diving in the pool. Into the soft cool water.

Back at the house, the forest is all around. You can see it from every window, from the deck, from the pool. You can't see beyond it. Occasionally you can hear a distant lawn mower or a plane. The dominant sounds though are the insects, the crickets and cicadas (I think) and the birds. The forest is a deep presence here. It is both lovely and slightly terrible. It is lovely from the pool in the moonlight, your body semi immersed in the warm water, your arms resting on the concrete edge, your eyes looking to the stars, to the white trunks of the big gum trees. Not so lovely when the cat gets a tick or you get a great big leech like I did on the last visit. Or when there are a million bugs at night and you have to retreat inside and close the doors because the midgees get through the fly screens. Sometimes when it is very cloudy and humid, it also feels a bit oppressive, but I get that in the city too. However it is great when it rains and you are up on the deck listening to the thunder and reassuring the dog. Just now though, it is very pleasant and lush.     

Christmas, a day early

The pool, the pool, the pool

This year we celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve, as my sister and her partner were heading off for a festival. Grace and I are staying with her cousins in their house while they are gone. My dad is here too. It is actually pretty great. Hot and sweaty most of the time but great. It is a relaxing way to be with your family. Plenty of time doing ordinary things together which makes them feel special and time for conversations that can go over days. And there is a pool for when it is just too hot.

Christmas itself was quite relaxed although auntie Janet was prodded out of bed at 6.00 am so she could be a bleary eyed presence as all the presents under the tree were distributed and excitedly unwrapped.  You forget how excited kids get by presents, even if some of them are quite prosaic, for example the cousins got new electric toothbrushes and back packs which they had chosen, along with pool toys and sundry little things. Grace loved her poodle calendar and the google home mini has been a hit. Tonight after dinner we played games with it. The future telling game is quite silly but the trivia game was pretty good. I found myself saying thank you to it after it had told me something and Grace thought that was pretty funny. Her job is to keep finding out what it can do.

For lunch there were eleven of us and we sat down, out on the verandah, to lots of prawns and oysters with potato salad, a green salad, guacamole and corn chips, ham and bits of this and that. It was lovely without being overwhelming. Afterwards we had pavlovas that Grace made the day before and decorated with cream and fruit. Oh and chocolate. I forgot to put out the yoyos and white christmas that I had made but itdidn't matter. We had some the day before and today - it is nice having them for the time around Christmas. It is not necessary to eat every single Christmas food on the day.

So today, which was actually Christmas day was spent lolling around the house in the heat, going in the pool, eating leftovers, reading, watching netflix and staring into space. It is night time now, the children are in bed with Tickle the dog who looked a bit concerned at the thunder and it is raining lovely cool sub tropical rain. I will go to sleep to the sound and coolness of the rain. This is the bit where I get to say, life feels pretty good right now. I know it is holiday time and things will be different when I get back home. But pretty good right now feels pretty good.