Why so quiet? Some words, a lot of pictures

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My view, from the last few and also for the next few months

This blog has been more of a vanity project than anything else – there is plenty of stuff soon to be published in real outlets – but in the last week I’ve been both surprised and warmed to have received quite a few emails from strangers (and my mother, and you Mrs Blake) asking why it’s all gone so quiet on here.

So for those of you who care to know, some words and plenty of pictorial evidence of my recent existence here in Australia.

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Some of the activities haven’t been very sensible
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Lots, in fact
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Others, like sunset beach walks with the dog, are not to be sniffed at

I’m still on a war path to reach 30 places around the world before I’m 30. As it happens, I turn 29 on Saturday, and I’m going to spend it in Sydney, which will be another place to check off.

After that, I’m going to Cape Town to spend 10 days in a ridiculous PARTY house rented out by Ruda, from Team America, who I bonded with in Antarctica.

This is cheating really because I’ve already been to Cape Town so it won’t count on my list, but obviously this is the sort of invitation which is impossible to decline.

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I haven’t arrived here yet, but the Team America party in Cape Town has kicked off, and I’ll be there soon

Then I’m going to London to hug my animals, my mother, and some of my friends, to renew my beaten and battered passport, and sell a load of shit on eBay… (see, this is why I haven’t been posting stuff, it’s all too tedious).

And THEN I am going to return to Australia and base myself here for the next three months. But not stop travelling.

Why?

Lots of reasons really, but mainly because I don’t have anywhere to live in London, it’s marvellous here, and the next chunk of my travels involves Asia, which is closer to Australia than England. 

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I’ve been doing cartwheels on the beach

In Australia, I’ve been spending most of my time at my father’s house, which is nestled in a gorgeous cluster of steep, rolling, yellow-gold hills and overlooks the ocean. 

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Our sun dial, the ocean
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The rolling yellow-gold hills

My father left England when I was 13, so I barely ever see him. He’s like me in a lot of ways, though, (which goes along with my view that genes are so much more powerful than upbringing) so we’ve been rather a bad influence on one another.

He is a very scary lawyer who is consulting on various cases, and I am a writer who is supposed to be lighting a fire under my career right now, but we’ve both been working woefully little of late. 

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A day spent with my father wine-tasting at Hugh Hamilton’s vineyard in McLaren Vale. Please can I do this forever? Thank you kindly
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The day Mrs Perdita Shrimpton got a haircut

Our life here revolves around this:

  • Marvelling at the pair of eagles which dive through the sky around the house
  • Taking his charming dog to the deserted beach around the corner
  • Having long boozy lunches at vineyards
  • Commiserating – during whiskey-fuelled dinners – about our shared hatred for slow walkers, overhead lighting and dimwits who have too many children.
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One of the stonking great big local eagles I’ve been trying to photograph. They are really far away. It’s hard
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Look at that hooked beak!
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Weirdly, this one was taken on my Canon telephoto lens in a frantic hurry, one-handed, while on the phone to my brother. But it came out great. He’s looking directly at me!

This is definitely a very frivolous way to spend time, but as my father points out, he’ll be dead soon, and I’ll be going through boxes of his stuff and never will I ever think, “Ugh. I really regret those months I spent frittering time away with him in 2016.” 

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My father, and his dog

 

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My father, and his scary bike
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… on which I have sped through the hills

Other things I’ve been doing here?

  • Taking photos of things with my beloved Canon
  • Doing cartwheels
  • Grooming the dog
  • Befriending cats that aren’t mine
  • Discovering my favourite flower: the black rose
  • Spending time with my dear Australian siblings (Lucy, 16, Jamie, 14), and with my other brother’s best friend Mr B (27)
  • Oil painting (because I have developed a hopefully brief but very profound paranoia about writing)
  • Hugging semi-domesticated kangeroos
  • And weeding.

My father has this contraption called the Grandpa Weeder and it’s like a broomstick which has a claw and a lever on the end; so you go around searching for good, spikey, furious-looking weeds, and you crunch the claw into the ground, stamp on the lever, and yank the fuckers out by the roots. 

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The Grandpa Weeder, brandishing a recently yanked weed

I don’t know why but it’s one of the most satisfying feelings I’ve ever experienced. It’s cathartic, like crying; a purge, like picking a scab; and a relief, like finding something you momentarily thought you’d lost.

So if you want to reach me in the next few days, I’ll be here, marching around the hills with my Grandpa Weeder, deliriously wrenching angry weeds from the soil, and probably still a bit drunk from lunch.

Here is a selection of photos which further illustrate these happenings…

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The feeding of an animal who is free to roam endlessly, tame with humans, not there to be butchered one day = the ultimate happy place for Annabel (you can see on my face)
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Fond of neck strokes
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Suspicious of everything

 

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I dragged along my sister Lucy, 16, (right) for the feeding frenzy
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… I had to be torn from the kangeroo at the end of the day. Would quite liked to have just moved in with them
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A koala, perfectly illustrating my general frame of mind recently
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A pelican, perfectly illustrating my eating and drinking habits recently
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Lucy, who we had to take to the ER because she injured her eye. It’s fine now
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Littlest sibling, Jamie, 14
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Second littlest sibling Lucy, in a BAR with me
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Mr B, with Mrs Perdita Shrimpton
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Mr B, on the deserted beach near our house
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Tabitha, a tree planted fondly by my father recently
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Some roses, hanging out just outside the door
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Black roses – the most beautiful of all flowers
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A bird suspended in flight, which looks a bit like a penguin but which is actually probably a magpie
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Like this. Here is a magpie who frequents our land
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… Just the sort of thing Mrs Perdita Shrimpton would like for lunch
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What a lovely creature she is
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… And let’s not forget Harper, the great dane, seen at the feet of friends
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A dear feline friend I made (neighbour’s cat)
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The other dear feline friend I made (neighbour’s other cat)
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Arguably the best wine I’ve ever had
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Doctor’s orders…
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Seemingly happy cows
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… and on that note, goodbye for now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  


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