This morning after I got up (at ahem 10.00 am - Well ... I was up writing and re-jigging my blog until 4.00 a.m.) I went straight to the swing-seat we got for Christmas and sat there in my 'jamas, dressing gown and bare feet, listening with joy to the crickets. Yes! Crickets. Yes! It was actually a warm and sunny morning. However, I am alarmed at how many signs of autumn there are ... wax-eyes visiting the berries on our cotoneaster bush, ripe plums on the plum trees ... Ripe plums means it's time to make the plum sauce my brothers and sisters all crave. But surely that doesn't normally occur until well after the end of January? The world has gone mad. ABM brought out a cup of tea and sat beside me, but he couldn't hear the crickets at all. He could hear the high-pitched chirp of the sparrows, but nary a cricket's chirp. Selective high-range hearing? What's with that?
I asked S again about the seagulls in Japan and he said that yes, there were seagulls in Japan, but the crows are the front-liners in the battle for food scraps. The seagulls over here in our crow-less land, don't know how good they've got it being the unchallenged kings of the picnic playground and car-park scraps. I think the only other bid that would challenge them would be the magpies, which have gradually worked their way down the country through the decades. In Southland when I was a child, there were no magpies south of Christchurch. It's different now. However, the magpies seem to prefer open country to built-up areas, unlike our friend the seagull.
M was telling us yesterday that the last time he went surfing, a seal came up to him. Seals are a bit of a nuisance to the local surfers as they (not surprisingly) see the black, wetsuit-clad surfers as a threat - another species of seal to challenge perhaps? - and try to upend the surfers by swimming underneath their boards. This time, however, M (almost by instinct he said) spoke sternly to the seal. Much as he would to his dog Jedi if she was being bad. "Hey!" he said eyeballing it and pointing his finger at it,"Cut it out!" And much to his surprise, the seal swam off.
S and I went for a walk along the beach from St Kilda to St Clair tonight. He is away back to Japan tomorrow. I don't want to think about it. It was 8.30 pm and the sun was beginning to get ready to slip away behind pearly cloud. The tide was out. The wind was very cold and brisk in our faces. We talked about how on tv tonight it was mentioned that it was the coldest December in 60 years. S reckons we in NZ should just get used to the fact that we don't really have seasons like they do in the Northern hemisphere. He said it's like turning a switch on or off in Japan - whereas here in NZ, it's more diffuse. He could be right. I believe in listening to the younger generation - perhaps they have a handle on the world that my generation are beginning to lose hold of. Maybe it's all different now. Maybe our summer is more February - March. (I jolly well hope so, otherwise we've missed out altogether this year.)
We walked as far as the posts - the wooden groynes that must be about a hundred years old now. I know I said I wouldn't be posting photos, but seeing as I have on hand a photo of those very posts, I will post it here.
I spent several hours today basking in the sunlight. Like a cat, I followed the sun - first outside on a deckchair, then inside curled up on the couch where the sun poured in through the windows. I read the last of 'Luca Antara'. I didn't want it to end. That's when you know you're reading a good book. I want to talk a little more about it tomorrow, after I have processed it a bit more.
As for my writing. I haven't written anything for a very long time ... I can feel the weight of unwritten material heavy inside my head. After S goes back tomorrow, I'll be able to concentrate a little more. I can hear him packing his bags as I write. It's not particularly a happy sound. Yet it is a sound I am not unhappy to hear. He's living an independent life and consolidating his future. In one of those dichotomies of life; I am glad and I am sad.