I'm sitting on the daybed in our studio looking out the window at the wind blowing through the enormous eucalypts and blackwoods and the leaves flying off them and fluttering to the ground. It's summer but it's cold. I'm warm inside but I'm unsettled.
A lot has happened over the past week. We cleaned out my grandparents' apartment and I was shocked to discover that without their presence their possessions and their spaces weren't special anymore. Glass jugs that had been filled with the most incredibly delicious mixtures of ginger-ale, pineapple juice and soda water every Friday night of my childhood, were now the same sort of glass jugs that line the walls of so many op shops. Their king sized bed which had always seemed so grand and luxurious, looked cold and uninviting. Their cupboards that were once filled with items my grandmother would reach inside for to look after us and make us feel special, were now filled with things we didn't want or need. It made me feel so sad.
I do have a few objects from their home that now sit and hang in my home and carry memories and feelings of their lives and the people they were and my enormous love for them, but without them the sparkle has rubbed off.
And it was lovely to get away from the chores and the endless lists, it was gorgeous to spend some time with Bren's parents, it was fun to stroll along the sand and swim at the beach and it was idyllic to have big chunks of time to play board games with the girls, read books, look in shops and just talk.
La la Land which Jazzy and I loved but Bren and Pepper didn't think much of. And the third night they went to see the new Star Wars and I read an entire book in bed. Uninterrupted. Such a luxury.
As I lay Dying which is one of Indi's VCE English books for this year. To be honest I found it quite difficult and often found myself reading bits over and over to work out what was going on. It did get easier and more understandable as it went on and I got used to the language and found some of the narrators more articulate than others, but still it wasn't what I would call an enjoyable read.
In the few days since I read it I have found myself thinking about it and wondering about what it would be like to study it.
Then the night they were all out I read Elspeth Muir's Wasted. I feel like this was a really raw, brave and beautifully written book. Bren says that whenever I read non fiction I become obsessed with the topic for ages afterwards. I guess I'll never look at bunches of smashed twenty-something-year olds standing outside pubs, or supermarket-sized bottle shops along the highways, or any alcohol fuelled violence in quite the same way again.
Elspeth's insight is heart-breaking and way too close to home. In the early hours of the morning, as I was lying awake reading the last few pages of her book, my sister Emily was scrambling under furniture, fearing for her and her friends' lives, as two men who were denied entry to the pub they were in for being too drunk, proceeded to get violent and aggressive, and ended up waving a gun around threatening staff and patrons before fleeing in a taxi.
I felt sick as I read most of the book, and then distraught about how easily my sister, who witnessed an act of drunk violence, could have been killed or injured. Terrible.
An article about the incident from The Age.
And then I started A Long Way From Verona. My mum gave it to me because she thought I'd like it. So far it's slow and old fashioned and sweet. Perfect.
When we arrived home from the beach we were so excited to find that our cucumbers have finally started fruiting. So far it's only one a day but I do remember from last year that a trickle very quickly becomes a stream. A trickle means cucumbers in sandwiches and salads, and a stream means jars of pickled cucumbers bubbling away on the bench, and then sealed in the fridge. I cannot wait.
We've also been enjoying the last of the strawberries and all sorts of other currants and berries in our cereal and as snacks.
And while we have grown and are still growing beautiful veggies this season, there are others that still shatter our confidence as farmers. That tee-pee covered in scarlet runner beans in the photos above, so far has just eight beans on it. (Actually only seven since lunch this afternoon). The vine has grown and woven its way up healthily, it has flowered beautifully, we've seen masses of bees visiting, it's been irrigated and weeded, and yet for some reason the blossoms are breaking off before they set fruit.
Like I said, we're trying to remain disappointed without allowing ourselves to feel like we've failed.
Fingers crossed that those red flowers that are still there, will produce so many beans we'll have more than enough to eat and store. Or at least eight more.
And I guess that's me, a bit unsettled, asking all the hard questions, over emotional and trying to finish this off quickly so I can cut into some fabric and get my sewing machine out. It's been far too long.
So how about you? What are you wearing, or wondering about, or working on?
I hope you have a gorgeous weekend.
Love Kate xx
ps my heart is with you Melbourne