So, 18 months ago I last posted – and said I’d return “soon(ish)” ….. perhaps it’s time to start again.
Normally, I’d have no problem writing a post. Once the words start to appear on the page, they gain momentum and tumble out, willy nilly. But since we moved out of our home 18 months ago, I seem to have lost both the desire and the ability to put pen to paper (fingers to keyboard doesn’t quite have the same ring about it). I’ve thought about this, long and hard, and have come to the conclusion that it’s because we are no longer surrounded by bushland with the wonderful wildlife that lived and visited there.
The things that I miss most keenly, are some of the neighbours and the wildlife. Apart from that – zilch. I don’t miss the location, down a very steep hill, then down a long battleaxe drive. I don’t miss the heat in summer and the cold in winter. I don’t miss the lack of sunlight for 8 months of the year, brought about by 40 years growth of the trees surrounding the house. I don’t miss the leeches that would sometimes decide to take up residence – indoors. Although I do miss the geckos that lived on the brick walls, indoors and out. I don’t miss the oven that was a lemon from the day it was installed. I don’t miss all the things that were showing their age and needed repairing. I don’t miss the yard with the constant battle to keep the flourishing exotic weeds under control, nor the usually lost battle to grow anything else in the shallow depth of soil over the enormous sandstone ledge on which we had built. Surprisingly, I don’t miss the privacy.
I do miss the birds – rainbow lorikeets, crimson rosellas, King Parrots and sometimes Eastern Rosellas and black cockatoos that fed and played outside the windows, and filled the air with their calls. I miss the tawny frogmouths that sat motionless, close to the trunk of the turpentine tree – so well disguised by their colouring that it would often be hours before I noticed them. I miss the boo-book of the owls at night and the vast swarms of fruit bats that would cover the sky at twilight, on their way to feed. I miss the possums that visited us, often with their babies on their backs. I miss the echidna that honoured us by its presence when we least expected it. I miss the croaking of the frogs.
And I miss Judy and Tony, Michael and Ian – our neighbours. I miss the dull rumble and the way the windows in the house rattled when Ian played and replayed his favourite DVD with an earthquake scene, through his home made speakers which were each as big as our sideboard. It took me months to work that one out. I miss opening the door to find Michael there, holding a tray of Chinese delicacies, covered with a snowy white napkin, for us to try. I miss the glasses of wine that would appear over the fence when we did battle with the weeds down the hill.
I miss bumping into Judy at our letterboxes and swapping our news over a cup of coffee (or glass of wine); putting our heads together to write to the neighbours asking them to keep their cats inside at night to protect the possums. I miss the “homework” she would leave me in the letter box when I professed my ignorance of things such as contour maps, relative and absolute temperatures, or the finer details of possum behaviour. I miss the phone calls, asking me if I knew that my washing had been on the line for a week! I miss the “Atholie Steps” that Tony built to facilitate our passage through the yard; his laidback, gentle nature; his embarrassment at some of my jokes.
Next post, I’ll tell you what I love about our new home. But not before I respond to the emails that have been sitting in my “Reply” box – for months.