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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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…