We’ve left behind snow and winter coats and landed in Australia. Felix is having a ball hanging out with my parents and brother, visiting my grandparents and exploring the neighbourhood, but possibly his favourite thing so far is the duck pond.
He finds the ducks chomping up the bits of bread he throws them utterly hilarious.
Well, close. I took these photos two weeks ago. Last week we went down to the harbour again, and I told Felix we’d look at the ducks. But there were no ducks, and no swans, and no seagulls. It didn’t stop him pointing repeatedly at the water, saying ‘du! du!’ On the way back through the park, though, we saw pigeons, which also count as ducks in Felix’s book, so it was ok after all. And tomorrow is Wednesday again, hurrah.
There is other stuff I need to write about, like Felix turning 10 months old and growing cleverer and funnier by the day, and the wonderful trip we had with my parents to Kangaroo Island last weekend, but I’m too tired right now and I cannot resist the ducklings. In fact I can never resist ducklings. We saw them this morning at the duck pond, along with another group of five stripy yellow and brown ones. When I first saw them I was confused because it feels like the wrong time of year for ducklings. After more than eight years, I think I’ve internalized northern hemisphere seasons…
We got back on Monday night. It was freezing. I have never been in a house so cold. The sheets were crisp with cold, even our clothes in their drawers. The floor was slippery. The toilet seat burned. We put the heater on in our bedroom and shut the door, and snuggled in with extra duvets, fleeces, thick socks and make-shift hot water bottles.
There we are, fluffing our feathers.
It was so cold that our refrigerator and freezer had decided there was no point staying on. Which meant it was warmer inside the freezer than out of it, and all our food had defrosted. I kept the fire going all day Tuesday and once it warmed up a bit it kicked into gear again. Also the pipes under our shower are broken.
It’s been regularly -10 for the past couple of weeks. Tomorrow, for the first time in ages, the forecast inches up to a comparatively toasty +5. It is with great reluctance that I turn my attention towards my phd for one final push. I walked to the harbour this afternoon, but the sun slid behind the islands all too swiftly.
This morning, the snow was thick and powdery and it creaked when I stepped on it. I made new footprints. It snowed all night and most of the day. When it stopped, I watched two magpies making a nest in the tree outside our window. Black and white, like everything else. They fussed with the twigs.
I hurried off to the harbour to see if it had all gone white. Only some of it had, but it was still quite a sight. Snow is a novelty to me. Not much of it where I come from. This afternoon, as it fell thick and fast, I stood by the window, entranced. The fat flakes moved as the air moved – you could see the wind! The flakes fell down and up and sideways. I watched them filling up the landscape, covering the flat shapes. Like colouring in, but opposite.
Feeling restless this evening, I scrubbed the bathroom. It’s just this weather – you can’t stay out in it long. You can’t ride your bike. (Comfortably, anyway.) But – how lovely it was, this afternoon, to feel the article begin to make hesitant sense, the tree branches by the window plump with snow, as bits of sky twirled and tumbled for hours.