A Sandy Beach Almanac

You've landed at Sandy Beach, NSW, Australia: Lat. -30.15331, Long. 153.19960, UT +10:00 – local map & zoom Google map. I live in a cabin on this beach, 25 kilometres north of the traffic and shops of Coffs Harbour, 600 km north of Sydney. My intention is to post observations of Nature and life within 1 km (1,000 paces) of my South Pacific home.


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Monday, May 02, 2005

She sits on my head and rolls her r's

Four seasons in one day is quite enough. That's how it's been today. For a while I was freezing and then too hot, now it's dark and gloomy like a Winter's day. The only exercise I've had today has been layering and removing clothes. That's fine; I was ever of the opinion that if you're well you don't need exercise, and if you're sick you shouldn't have it.

The news is out, it's official: that was the hottest April on record. In Australia, that is. But it seems that climate change is being realised (in both senses of the word) all around the world. For so long, the amorphous, cranky, mercurial, mish-mashy environmental movement of which I've been proud to be a part for more than three decades, has warned, warned, warned. Our opponents are starting to laugh out of the other sides of their faces (fat lot of good that does anyone), although there are still denyers aplenty.

Here come da rain. I haven't flaneured past the letterbox (no mail, phew!) and the wheelie bin today. It's wheelie bin that kind of day. Once the temperatures drop below about 90 degrees Fahrenheit, I go into eleven months hibernation, you understand. The baby pawpaws seem to be growing well, about the size of avocadoes now.

Within eighteen hours of arriving here in a cake box, Elizabeth Gould flew around my head and landed on it, remaining for about one minute as I walked (glided, rather) around like someone who's just had a serious hernia op, then flew off with that beautiful Gouldian Scottish-sounding whirrrrrrrrrrr. It's been sagely suggested by a friend that Elizabeth mistook my head for the polystyrene one.

John Gould has never done that, but I am gearing up to taming both of them -- with Gouldian finches, the avian equivalent of nailing custard to a tree. However, I've read that sometimes people have met with limited success. When you're small and coloured like Nikolai the Clown, foolishly trying to look inconspicuous against a khaki Australian savannah, you need a reasonable defence adaptation, and for Gouldians it means hair-trigger reflexes and a deep and abiding distrust of anything that moves. Anyway, Johnny lets me get my face within just a couple of inches of his (if he sees a hand, he's out of there quicksmart), and Lizzie seems to trust Johnny's view on the matter of the Weird Big Monster. (This will possibly last until it's her turn to be mite-sprayed and then she'll justly call him a cad.)

Lizzie seems incredibly 'at home', and flies by quite often for a feed, but John's hanging in the bathroom all day. I'm not sure he likes having a sheila sharing his space. "I was here first, man." He's just sulking I guess, or maybe still combing his hair. He's been eating like a bird. On the other hand, Liz is eating like a horse. Soon she'll be asking if her butt's too big. I hope she doesn't also want to watch soap operas; I ain't getting a TV for some bird.

There goes the rain. I expect to be sunbathing before the hour's out. With four seasons in one day, it feels like I've plummeted through a wormhole into Malbourne, or 'Melbourne' as we who do not live there laughingly call it. That's pretty scary, because if there were a way out there wouldn't be anyone still in Malbourne, would there?


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