Hello from the house of fluff. The fluff is everywhere. It’s all over the carpet, minutes after I’ve vacuumed. It collects in heaps on the stairs. It sticks to my mascara and I spend the drive to work batting my eyelashes like a starlet, trying to remove almost invisible fibres whenever the traffic lights turn red.
There are three possible causes: it’s October, when poplar seeds float all over the city in fluffy drifts (no); I have a phantom golden retriever living in the house and she’s moulting everywhere (also no, although I would like a golden retriever); or it’s winter and we’re back to faux sheepskin slippers, Aran jumpers and fluffy blankies and they’re generating indoor snowdrifts.
You guessed correctly, of course. It’s winter. The fire is on. George-the-Sydney-rock-orchid is back indoors. Consuela the succulent is the worse for wear because I left her outside too long. I’m a terrible potted plant mother, but I’m hoping a spot on the kitchen bench near the window will revive her.
We’re halfway through the year, m’dears. I think it’s time to take stock. Here’s my list.
Rebounding: This week will be the last of seven busy work weeks, so I’m flagging a bit. But for instant after-work revival I truly recommend dancing on a mini trampoline! Put on a shuffle playlist and dance your socks off. (Actually, take your socks off first. Safety tip.) Restores the spirits, revives flagging energy and plants a big grin on your face. Sooooo good at the end of a tiring day.
Reading: Oh boy, I’ve been having trouble with books. I bought a stack and I borrowed a stack and none of them were any good. Sometimes reading has fallow periods. Do you find that? However hard you try, you can’t find a book you like. So I re-read this one, which I love: Less, by Andrew Sean Greer. Arthur Less is an endearing character, so sweetly unaware of his own qualities. I wish I could have him over for dinner regularly.
Watching: This lovely film, Maudie, on SBS on demand. Sally Hawkins, you squeeze the heart. Also watching El Embarcadero: lurv, mystery, drama and plot twists aplenty, set in the Albufera in Spain. And what a cliffhanger! Argh!
Spending time: In the writing nook, my eyrie, whenever I can. Ideas arrive. Words tumble out. Sentences get a good polish. You need fire in your belly to see a big creative project through, and that fire has definitely been lit.
Noticing: So many bulbs pushing their way up through the soil already. The garden will be a green and white marvel in spring.
Coveting: Gus Leunig’s art. And his dog.
Learning: About art therapy. Doing a little online course. Nothing too taxing.
Creating: Doodles. Watercolours. Little drawings. It’s fun and absorbing.
Loving: Friendship. Comforting, supportive, surprising, and I’m always grateful.
Drinking: Tea, lots of it—especially enjoying a mug of Yorkshire Tea on those golden mornings when you wake up early enough to steal back a bit of the day by taking a cuppa back to bed.
Also drinking: A delicious espresso martini (just the one) on the verandah of a heritage cottage that was once the harbour master’s house in Tathra. Now it’s a restaurant called Fat Tony’s. Tony is actually very fit and very charming, and the food is wonderful too.
Discovering: Places on the Sapphire Coast and inland that I’m now in love with. Tathra, Wolumla, Candelo, I’m looking at you. But one place in particular affected me profoundly. I leapt out of the car and ran to the water’s edge. In Pambula, at that beautiful spot where the river meets the sea, I was moved to tears. I can’t remember a place ever having that effect before.
Dreaming about: One day having a little house on a block of land in the Bega shire, and a creative life in a connected community. It’s always the same dream, really.
Thinking: That back in January I talked about moving the important things into the centre of your life. What I’ve realised over the past six months is that you have to keep doing that. The mundane stuff has a habit of pushing the important things aside. Making time for creativity, connection and learning (which are my important things) takes sustained effort.
Baking: These biscuits. They’re very forgiving. You can make them gluten free. You can play around with the flour to almond meal ratio. You can use icing sugar instead of caster sugar. You don’t have to cream the butter and sugar. Melting the butter and chucking in the rest of the ingredients all at once works just fine. If you’ve forgotten to buy almond essence and it’s getting late (and you’re already in your pyjamas, so there’s no way you’re going out to the shops) you can just double the amount of vanilla. They’re so quick to make, your colleagues will be happy when you take them in to work, and everyone will get covered in icing sugar. (Makes a change from fluff.)
Looking forward to: Serious downtime in July! Nearly there!
How’s your year going?