But even so as the weather gets cold, I am looking at winter approaching and dreading being holed up in this very small house with its single living area (dining, kitchen and lounge combined). I am sick of the wood fire already. I am beginning to hanker after large soft couches and ducted heating and rumpus rooms and parent's retreats and all those things we always said we didn't need in a house, even - god forbid - a giant flat-screen tv. We have some half baked plans for extending, but nothing will happen about that until Martin is gainfully employed - he will finish his degree in 18 months. And they're not big plans. Possibly building in a small adults only sitting area in one small part of the veranda, or if finances permit, a third bedroom. I am happy enough with my
So yesterday at the market Martin and I - barely able to think through the children's constant tired whining - bought three olive trees on a whim to plant up on a naked bank. Afterwards, inspired, I drove down to the hardware shop, bought gypsum to try and break down our heavy clay, some blood and bone and a couple of packets of discounted bulbs - mostly irises and daffodils, already fantasising about spring. I buried the bulbs - keeping my fingers crossed - into well mulched soft soil (the tenant who lived here before we bought apparently had quite a lovely garden but she removed it all before the house went on the market - luckily some of the well nourished soil remains, because so much of it in other areas is clay or dust). If I think about the whole garden I feel defeated. So I am concentrating on one spot, under the gum tree, though there were enough bulbs to cover a few different spots - good luck little bulbs - hopefully you will grow. About an hour after I had tenderly covered the bulbs raked the blood and bone into the soil, it rained. This morning everything was rich and dark and soggy. It seemed like a good omen.
Today we bundled the kids into the car and went for a drive in the freezing cold to Kinglake. It was the kind of Sunday drive I remember from my own childhood. Kids in the back, mystified, about why we drove such a long was just to pile out of the car, look at a view ('wow, you can see the city,' said Martin, 'wow, you can see a FAIRY CASTLE' said Fred), say hello to some rather antisocial horses, pile back into the car, drive down the road, pile out of the car buy some apples, back in the car, drive a bit more down the road, pile out of the car to an antique shop/nursery/cafe, to eat cake, drink tea, buy a lemon tree (memo to selves - stop hemorrhaging money), say hello to chickens and sheep and wander about a huge beautiful English style garden that had me hankering after pineapple sage and carnations, pile back into the car and then drive the scenic route home (extra driving? Are we mad?). To counteract the whinging that has become the soundtrack to our lives we sang Old Macdonald a lot longer than I personally feel comfortable singing any song for, and as well as cows and horses and ducks, Old Macdonald ended up with some mighty strange animals on that farm. Detoured to Eltham to fill the car and grocery shop with the small fistful of money we had left after filling the car and then home - oh we stopped about five minutes away from home to buy horse poo and then I had to walk the rest of the way as the horse poo had my seat. Lots of people with little fires around the place, tis the season to exercise controlled pyromania. We might need to have one of those fires ourselves soon. Wheee! A place where it is socially acceptable to BURN things.
Fred disappeared next door, Una, who had fallen asleep mid whinge, transfered from the car to the cot. Martin planted the lemon tree in the dust and poo. We drank a childfree cup of tea. Afterwards, still restless, I raked leaves and made little nests of mulch and leaves and bark around the trees, and carted wheelbarrow loads of dead branches from where Martin tried (unsuccessfully) to hide them to a spot where we HAVE to do something about them (like burn them - clap clap). Martin read Margaret Atwood novels and made the most delicious potato and leek soup, the girls sipped up every drop. After dinner Fed and I had a shower, then Martin had one, then Una had a bath in our shower water, I dutifully bucketed all the water onto the new lemon and olive trees and tried to revive the dead-ish thing in my flower garden, in the dark, by torchlight. Then of course it rained and rained and rained.
A good day in the end.