Spring is settling in across the Huon Valley, despite last week's snowfall. The days are warming up so much we no longer need to light the woodfires, and the garden is heavy with blossom and thick with grass and daisies. Bees are humming among the blooms, and the air is full of the heady scent of jonquils. Daffodils, California poppies, irises, forget-me-nots, camellias, and lately an arum lily or two are scattered all around, weaving a woodland sanctuary among the huge oaks, the silver birches, the eucalypts and the fruit trees, and the children are once again busy digging, planting, cycling, shouting, running and discovering fairy gates within the lower branches of the trees. It's a magical time of year, with everything waking up to a whole realm of new potentials and possibilities.
I'm feeling it too. A slow unfurling and awakening, an inner warming up, a quiet receptivity to opportunities I haven't noticed or perceived before. Consideration and contemplation of new and different ways of doing things. And I'm also feeling a strong, silent pull to return more fully to the writing that has always sustained me, the writing that earned me a living for a good decade back in England before I switched careers, and before I became a mother. I'm wondering about new ways of writing and new ways of weaving writing into my present life, and like the garden, my mind is blossoming with ideas and inspiration.
Strangely though, all this springing has made me feel a little nostalgic for home. In so many ways, I couldn't be happier than I am here in Tasmania, but when the seasons change I sense a wistfulness and a longing for the northern hemisphere. On the brink of summer, I am thinking of the luminous green of England, the meadows and woodlands abundant with wild flowers and the low cooing of wood pigeons, the humming of bees, the scent of freshly mowed lawns, the ever-present possibility of rain and the beautiful scent that follows that rain in a summer garden. And the beaches of Suffolk and Norfolk which inspire distinctly English writers such as Esther Freud and Raffaella Barker. Listening to Kate Bush's Aerial, with it's ethereal, hazy, summer evening soundscape hasn't helped.
Recently two English friends of mine who live locally, bemoaned the lack of village pubs, stirring up another longing - for those quaint old evocatively named 16th and 17th century English drinking establishments, usually positioned on a slice of village green (in somewhere like Lower Slaughter, Little Sheeps Bottom, or Upper Pigs Ear...) where you can sit outside on a creaking wooden table and drink pints of beer with names like Old Peculiar and Old Roger..... And no, of course there aren't any where we live, here in Tasmania, which is a crying shame. So, we've decided to offer up our very own gazebo as a kind of private alternative. I'm already harbouring visions of jugs of Pimms with fresh mint, gin and tonics, local sparkling wines with strawberries, and homebrew for the menfolk, all served with a smile, in my very own back garden. Frocks might have to be obligatory, even if we are in Australia.....
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