Well. We’re here.
That’s a snapshot of the road my parents live on, the road I used to walk down every day to get to school.
We had a lovely week in Sydney, playing tourist and seeing family and just stopping after what has been an amazingly stressful and busy couple of months.
We even found time to go the Museum and check out their exhibition on the Aztecs. Start as you mean to go on. I got the kids these masks at the exhibition and they spent ages plotting and lying in wait for their poor unsuspecting father to come back to the hotel we were staying in so they could leap out and scare him.
Then it was time to jump on the big train and spend a delightful 8 hours travelling through north western NSW to my home town.
Luckily I had a motherload of craft and art supplies in my bag – never leave home without an insanely large pack of felt tip pens, folks. Never. Plus I was also armed with 6 brand new Phoenix Comic collection books which kept all three kids largely quiet for hours.
All hail the power of The Phoenix. And most especially Neill Cameron, Gary Northfield and Jamie Smart because your comics have just saved an entire train load of passengers from my rampaging children.
And now we’re here:
The ancestral pile. Couldn’t be further from the experience of living in South London if it tried. In case you’re wondering, that big bottle thing in the first photo is a gas tank because we don’t have mains gas here. We also don’t have mains water or sewage or postal deliveries although we do have electricity and we now have a garbage collection service which is a revelation after an entire childhood of taking our own garbage to the tip and recycling depot in the back of a trailer.
Being back is mildly oxymoronic, for want of a better way to explain it. It’s so great to be with the family, spending time and hanging out. But this bit is the easy bit, the bit that still feels like normality, the thing we usually do when we come to Australia for 3 or 4 weeks. The bit that gets hard is when we’re not going away again and we have to work out who we are here in this space.
The girls should be starting school this coming week which will be good and extremely strange all at the same time. All three of the kids enjoying their cousins enormously and have been dashing about the place on bikes, feeding chickens (chooks) and harassing the family hound, Willow, and the pet sheep, Fred and Barney. Esme delights in collecting the eggs when she’s allowed and the look of wonder on her face when she carries them in, still warm, is a thing to behold.
Jake’s busy hunting for jobs and I’m buried in text books preparing an essay on the nature of elegy and elegiac poetry which is exactly as much fun as it sounds.
So, we’re here. We’ve landed, we’re finding our feet and now we just have to start running.