Saturday, December 20, 2003

Being Out of Town

The speed of modern communications has not caught up with everywhere...of course. So here we are in the country with the slowest connection in the world, perhaps. Email takes hours to come in and one curses the endless spam which no longer is grabbed by the ISP or the secondary filter. it just comes and comes and comes....and comes. Right now I am waiting for 300 mails to come in.
Commuting from the country is a bit of a bore, too. I know Americans commute for hours every day and I should not complain. It is only an hour and a quarter from here - and when no one else is on the country stretches of the road, it is actually rather lovely. But then one hits the traffic and the last 40 klicks are vile.
These are the last days, however. And this the last weekend. The packing weekend when I prepare the house for its summer holiday tenants, the revenue which is supposed to pay the rates.
A lovely day today with friends B & Q staying - sharing pleasures in nature. We spotted a white-breasted sea eagle on the island this morning and had a lengthy good look at her through the high-powered scope. And then on Seal Island a mother seal and her baby - almost white, the bub. And paddling in the rock pools with the tide out, we found a wonderful crustacean worm creature and a happy crab, as well as lots of tiny hatchling fish. Later, at Waitpinga, we did some fly herding and Q caught some of the herded flies for identification under Bruce's powerful hand-magnifier. And we sat on the glorious beach in the perfect warmth and watched the Caspian terns and Pac gulls and silver gulls, and the seven fishermen in the distance, casting into the surf. And on the way home, Q pointed out masses of butterflies and we stopped to watch them, and found also a huge red ant busy on a gum bough and some tiny orb-weavers. And then, as we drove on, B spotted a huge bearded lizard displaying himself on a dead tree....oh yes, we saw kangaroos, too.
In the evening, after a huge dinner, we drove to look at the Xmas lights of Victor - and then generally repaired to rest. The boys had erected my long-awaited shed today. it now sits green and proud in the corner. Tomorrow I will start putting things in it.
But now - there are more of the masssss of short stories to be read for the paper's short-story competition. I have been reading hundreds a day, charmed to the core to think of all those people intent on the business of creative writing, even if a lot of them are immersed in the most lurid of purple prose.
Onwards to bed, to stack the folder on the knee and sit up, pen in hand, judging the good from the bad...sometimes pausing to marvel at a competitor, for often their descriptions of themselves are the most fascinating part.

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