As the Chinese year of the horse arrives it has brought with it a combination of solidly earnest work, galloping around, and figuring out which stable to call home. January holidays lingered and lingered and lingered much like the hot air that became trapped over Canberra; there was only a gradual easing of chilled out pottering about barbecue infested pavlova stoked swimming pool days. To be honest, after several days of not doing that much at all, things were crying out for a cool change – a change of scenery, and a re-acquaintance with the Kings Highway to the coast.
It was but a day trip, but the cloudy coastal skies parted just briefly at Depot Beach and the temperature was just about pleasantly perfect for that shoreline walk around to the sands of Pebbly Beach and back. They are no WA sands, but for being just a couple of hours away, they are a reminder of the good fortune of a capital location.
In the capital, February arrived and as predictably as floods in a flood plain people returned back to work and wanted some things doing. This is good, for the downward trend in my current account was keen for some reversal. It was a trend heightened by the cost of moving house, of finding a little flat to rent and paying a deposit and needing to populate it with some furnishings and trinkets and things to eat off, and using up petrol for trips to the shopping mall to buy these things, along with the odd frozen yogurt with lots of cookie dough bits. But I am now mostly there, with just a few further acquisitions to make it feel like home.
While it is pool-less and a hefty stroll to decent coffee, the blessing of this place is that it isn’t very far from where I have lived for all of my Canberra life. Nestled amongst the oaks and gums of the suburb of Red Hill, it is a place anticipating awesome autumn wondrousness, a spot from which to navigate a higgle-piggle of crescents and spill out into the foot of the hill itself. The hill that has been there for me for quite some time and continues to offer a concentrated release of nature.
And of course, the best thing to do when moving house is to coincide furniture-moving and setting up in 38 degrees with a few work meetings and presentations. Being busy is something I need to re-learn, and while I feel comfortable with the way things are heading, the alarming proposition of ironing a shirt (with the new iron from Kmart) for the first time in eight months can be a little much to bear.
So I’m still really just settling in, in many ways. Over the past week I have only spent one night in my flat – in between a work trip to Sydney and another, longer visit to that South Coast. It was a coast that offered little in the way of sun, but the temperature was ambient and the company was fine and there was plenty of opportunity to indulge in food and marginally walk it off on the sands of Malua Bay. And if these lazy days all became a bit too much, you could always pop into Batemans Bay to potter around Kmart again and grab a coffee.
Of course, as is tradition, the sun returned the day of leaving the coast. Luckily I was able to linger just slightly, and return once more to Broulee in the morning. The first place I ended up when coming down this way in September 2006, a place name plucked out of the air and a glance at the map. A spot in which you are always thanking your good fortune to be in. And wondering, um, should I have rented somewhere here instead?
Yet, not for the first time in my life, I ended up back in Canberra and returned to my new home and did some washing and started writing these words with a cup of tea and twirl and put on the radio and felt quite content. I think I will be quite happy here.