It is the 26th of May. The tulips and daffodils are blooming, the lilacs and hyacinthe are perfuming the air with their sweet scent - NOT!
It is Fall in the southern hemisphere. The time of year when the wind sweeps off of Antarctica and "freshens" our days. The time of year when the European imported Plaine tree in front of my house goes into permanent shock and drops its leaves in one fell swoop not unlike the Womping Willow (did you get the Harry Potter reference?). It is also the time of year where I start to shiver and don't stop until December when the weather finally warms up. Was I ever Canadian?
It's not like the temperature plummets below zero, though it did hit 4.9c at 6:30am two days ago whilst I was out running, brrrrr. I have clearly been away from Winter too long. Our little house in Melbourne is unhappy with the colder temperatures as well. The single-glazed windows rattle and let the cold seep in, and the heating system results in sweater-wearing temperatures downstairs and a sauna-like atmosphere upstairs.
J and I spent yesterday raking up the Womping Willows ankle-deep detritus. I completed our front courtyard, drive, and sidewalk in about 45 minutes. J, working on my neighbours', took about 2.5 hours. He is being paid $20 to keep her place in good nick until her return from a trip to Canada (funny eh?). At each 20-minute interval when I checked on him, he would shoot me looks of extreme anguish at the child labour being imposed on him, and moan about his sore arm, elbow, hands, or right pinky. I sent him back to the job twice when he thought he was done - I thought otherwise, pathetic! But, I guess this is how the lesson of hard work, and earning your money is learned.
I'm in a temporary funk initiated by these colder Fall temperatures, fueled by my mum's imminent return to Canada, and fired by the barbaric murder of that young British soldier in London yesterday. I am aghast; lost for words and any inspiration at the horror inflicted in the name of religion.
This autumnal Sunday afternoon, my mum and I left the boys at J's footy match and headed into town to the Melbourne Arts Centre for an afternoon of escape with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. Led by the wonderful Canadian maestro Bramwell Tovey (who I've become a bit of a groupie for) and accompanied by the MSO Chorus, they were performing classics from the early to mid-20th century. A little Georges Bizet, a smattering of Ivor Novello, a heaping of Sammy Cahn, and a touch of Gilbert and Sullivan. It was marvellous and thoroughly spirit-lifting. I think it was the spontaneous dedication of Noel Coward's "London Pride" to that unfortunate soldier that has eased me out of my doldrums.
Tomorrow, I'll pull on my thermals, run again at 6:30am inhaling the intoxicating scent of fresh coffee and muffins as I pass the cafes on my high street, and be grateful that I'm not running in the snow. Then I'll put on my boots, throw on a scarf, don my new Fall coat, and smile into that Antarctic "fresh" breeze.