The purpose of a vacation is to have the time to rest. But many of us, even when we go on vacation, don’t know how to rest. We may even come back more tired than before we left. (Thich Nhat Hanh)

Oh dear. Guilty as charged. I think I overdid it: three trips away in under three weeks. For those of us who live on the Southern Tablelands, a trip to the coast takes several hours, usually ending in a drive down a long and winding road. Whichever route you take, there’s always that last bit with the hairpin bends. I calculate that Little Black Car and I drove around 34 hairpin bends. Excuse me while I have a little nap now…for about a year.

But wait! No napping allowed because it’s back to work time and it’s busy and already two weekends are filled with obligations. Going back to work was a shock. “This is what I do?!” I thought incredulously. “This can’t be right. Who on earth thought it was a good idea for legions of us to sit all day in front of computers, shortening our hamstrings, our forearm tendons, our sight and our attention span?”

While I worked, I allowed my mind to escape into a Thomas Hardy‑esque fantasy of scything in the fields with my fellow villagers, stopping at morning tea time for a hunk of bread and a lump of cheese, washed down with a tankard of local cider. In this bucolic vision the sun (not the artificial lighting) was shining and the carthorses (not my co-workers) were snorting and sighing. Clearly I chose to focus only on pastoral loveliness and to ignore all the bad things that happen in Hardy novels, but it got me through the day.


That rambling introduction is my way of saying: I’ve got nothing. I felt the urge to write something and had planned to take you on a day trip to a historic town not too far from here, but that will have to be postponed because there’s nothing left in the tank, mine or Little Black Car’s. This weekend I’m dog-sitting in the country with my furry friends Mr Drooly Scrumptious and Ms Leaps and Bounds, and all I can manage is a walk around the garden and a few photos of interesting native plants. Here’s a picture of some kind of flowering pea (looking very much like a fairy toothbrush):


And here are some banksia pods, looking every bit as cunning as the Big Bad Banksia Men in May Gibbs’s stories:


Now, while one of us chews sticks and one of us snoozes with his head on his paws, the plan is to switch off, and to sit and look at the big sky while drinking tea and following some sage advice. I declare this afternoon a holiday.

Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the earth revolves. (Thich Nhat Hanh)