Like many people this year I am tired. I don’t feel like doing new things. I just want to stay quiet, take a breather and sparsely spread my activities among the days so that I have at least one thing to look forward to every 24 hours; keeping in touch with the outside world.
Thankfully the new covid-normal here in West Australia is almost as it was only a year ago. I have yet to wear a mask. I feel so blessed.
In a flurry of near-panic I left the UK on the day my home was sold, arriving in the nick of time before covid lock-down on one of the last one-way business class (economy was sold out) tickets available on the nonstop Dreamliner to Perth. My worldly possessions were contained in three suitcases – in retrospect, a most liberating experience.
Before that, an antique family chest was freighted off bearing hastily de-framed pictures, photos, a few precious crystal glasses and some books. It had a bumpier ride by sea. The package looked intact on arrival but on opening, the chest was splintered and the lid askew. Thankfully the contents were unharmed, and it won’t be too expensive to mend the chest.
My new abode with a little garden is only two blocks away from family in a lovely suburb of Perth on the Swan River. I am learning the hard way which flowers like sun or shade, but my pocket-handkerchief lawn sends me into despair and I’m fighting a losing battle against bugs.
Hitherto I’ve had no interest in plants, but I harvested my first home-grown lettuce leaves the other day and have sampled some juicy lemons. As you can see, the rickety metal arch I inherited is a work in progress; but the reticulation system we are allowed to use twice a week is a godsend.
Tiny Blue Gum lake sometimes fringed with birds lies round the corner. The village where I play tennis on pristine grass courts is a short walk through a nature reserve. My bridge club – fifteen minutes’ drive southwards – is where for the first time in my life I am having lessons; the Aussies are sticklers for keeping to the rules and I can no longer get by on luck or intuition. And at last I’m beginning to feel I belong – with a Certificate as an Equestrian Australia Dressage Judge (bottom rung).
When I have nothing better to do, I collate and edit my ancestors’ copious diaries and memoires.
Saffer Worldwide is a new free on-line magazine initiated by an old “Authonomy” friend. It will, if all goes well, start serialising my first novel, Breath of Africa in the New Year. You can read a taster on the last page of the November issue.
Mine will be a quiet Christmas with family. All are – thankfully – well and gainfully occupied in various places in Australia, Kenya and the UK.
May you all have a peaceful Christmas.