Well, you may have gathered that we've escaped for a few weeks respite from the heat. The jet-lag is fading - although the 3 am trip to the regional airport 180 kms away to deliver Primus for a flight back to Melbourne on Thursday did not help. All rather a blur.
We all went for the drive to the airport: Marius driving and Prima and I to keep him company. We arrived at Newcastle at 4.45 am, and had time for a coffee and bacon-and-egg sandwich with Primus before he left. It is 'layout' week at the magazine and he couldn't be away for the week we had booked. After we waved him goodbye, I asked Prima if she knew why I had come too, even though she had volunteered to keep her Dad company on the drive back. I told her: 'If you were all going to get killed in a road crash, I wanted to be with you.' She replied 'I figured it was something like that.' She knows me too well.
I am pleased to report we were not killed ... we got back to Forster about 7.30 am and all went back to bed. I didn't want to wake up at 11, but we were going out to lunch to celebrate Marius' mother's birthday so I was forced to. Last night I went to sleep at a more sensible hour and woke up this morning at 8.30, so I am getting there. Jet-lag and the 7 hour time change always knock me around.
The view from the front verandah:
I can hear kookaburras having a giggle in the garden; there have been currawongs chortling and the chainsaw massacre bird (don't know the common name) has been conducting a road crash from the eaves. It is chilly - winter time. We are all rugged up against the cold: no swimming.
This is the first time I've been back since my father-in-law died nearly 18 months ago. Marius was here in December, on a long-planned trip, but I was in hospital in London so couldn't come. Marius' uncle has come down from Queensland to see us too, and when Primus was here it was a bit of a family reunion. It feels a little odd not having Ron here, but at the same time he is everywhere: he built the house and after 58 years of marriage, his life is so inter-twined with Joan's that it doesn't really feel like he's gone.
Joan is a great tidy-upper and during the week he died we were helping her have a clean out. Still, there are a few hats hanging -- Ron was never out without a hat -- and photos of him. Some of his tools are still where he left them hanging on neat rows. Marius locked up the ones he wanted to keep. I am pleased that we tell stories about Ron and discuss whether he visits -- Joan says she is sure he does sometimes. He is not the 'elephant in the room'.
He would have loved lunch today. We had fish and chips, prawn culets, salad. Perhaps devoured is more correct than the weak 'had'. The fish is 'flake', which is actually shark. Boneless, sweet, light and very tasty. I was brought up thinking only halibut was fit for fish and chips but I never see it now; I think perhaps it has been fished-out with the cod.
No need to eat for the rest of the week then ... sadly, being Australia, there were no mushy peas.