Sunday, April 27, 2008

Restless energy

I don't know if it's the season, but I've been filled with a restless discontent lately. The house feels small, the dustbowl garden overwhelming and bare, the kids bickering is grating on my nerves, and while the deadlines are looming, the writing isn't flowing. Life on the whole is good, I must point out. Indigo Girls was spotted by a friend as the national number one bestselling teen book in Angus & Robertson. We do love our little house, our area and our gorgeous neighbours. Fred's birthday party was a smashing success, and proof that this is a fantastic house for entertaining - the french doors open, adults attracted to the veranda and kids scrambling all over the property. And I have booked and paid for mine and Fred's tickets to my sister's wedding in England, which includes stopovers in Hong Kong and Helisinki and a week in a Paris apartment - we'll be away for most of September.

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 cupboard study that a studio is off the cards. I wish we had a guest bedroom though. And more space inside for Fred's gymnastics so I wasn't constantly telling her off for jumping and running and shouting inside.

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.


  1. I really really love Sundays. That to me is a perfect Sunday. I recently made a vow to get out of town every weekend (usually Sunday). Today, I got as far as the docks to the fish market but it was an unusual weekend (Inlaws in town).
    Your first winter in the house will be new and you'll learn how to work the house and space .. X

  2. Anonymous1:20 PM

    oh i lurv winter pyro season.
    our trip to castlemania last august was filled with winter pyromnia.

    our sunday was 26 degrees, out to the park, husband flying away for work and brekky-tea.

    i decided against doing anything constructive, on account of well, no good reason, and then settled in to ice my swollen neck and drool over dancing on commercial telly.

    today it is snowing in the mountains, and very cold.

  3. That sounds like a very Tassie sort of Sunday, driving about in the country, in and out of cars and cafes, poking about with plants and looking at animules, whinging from the 4 yo in the back seat... Well done for getting into the garden. Wish I had the mojo for gardening - ours just defeats me too whenever I think about it. xx

  4. Anonymous10:37 PM

    I just really enjoyed this post. I can't really put my finger on what I liked most.. but I just got lost in it.

  5. Anonymous4:39 PM

    you've probably already done something with your
    >wheelbarrow loads of dead branches
    but if you haven't (burnt them) bigger branches (logs) make hiding places for lizards, insects, etc in the bush.

    I'm very envious of your bush block :)