Day 16

Twenty-four hours of hard. The power crashed last night at 11pm. K texted me,  I ran up to the main house and switched on the generator, saying it was just for half an hour, hoping against hope that J&T could sleep through the racket. Then I dropped to sleep on the sofa, and woke at 3 AM to find the power crashed again. GG thinks the Aldi box fridge is the culprit- too big a burden on these sunless days. So I packed all the chicken and fish into the main freezer, and the frozen veggies and bait into the box fridge, and switched it off. Veggies are Ok for a while unfrozen, and for all we know, fish mightn’t mind their bait smelly. Might indeed love it.

RM’s huge barge arrives unexpectedly at 9 AM with our ton of firewood in big bulker bags that crowd the jetty. He’s to take away old junk – amazing how junk accumulates around these properties – old  rusting tools, rusting trolleys, gadgets, whippersnappers, 44 gallon drums, water tanks too full of holes to be good for burning off, old pipes,…he’ll pick it all up when he’s back in a day or two. Yelp. So soon! I’ve got to get it down the cliff onto the jetty in a day or two. Meanwhile, I’m to pack some bags of wood into the flying fox, and wheelbarrow the other bags to the woodshed.

Meanwhile, we have to go to the chemist at Brooklyn again, this time for meds for me. I have to admit to  PTSD from my childhood ; my sumptuous, violent mother:  Dad left with  my brothers wen I was almost 14, to avoid a murder taking place, he said. For a long time I thought he’d come back for me, as he promised. He didn’t. I think he forgot that promise. Now, I’m almost glad it happened that way, for  I know that sometimes, children can be good for some mothers- they ground us.

Meanwhile- I thought this a brilliant idea- after thinking about J’s house, why don’t we find a warm airbnb house that’s got air con and on the grid and move there for June- July, the freezing months?  K loves this task, looking at airbnbs, so she set to work, and within 30 minutes had found a house at Woy Woy, so nearby, we’ve food shopped there. It was educed from $15,000 to  an unbelievable $1600!
“Grab it”, I said.
She’d barely finished hallooing in joy when I’d paid the deposit.
We were accepted! Yay! then suddenly refused. Just then a friend rang and explained.new laws in NSW make it illegal to leave your home unless you’ve got a second home, and people must not move to country towns. Except that this was just going up the road.

On the way to the chemist we saw B at DB’s: he and Brutus promise again to come soon and cut our fallen trees, so I can burn off before summer.

At the almost empty marina shop, besides gas and petrol, we buy expensive chicken, expensive sweet potatoes, expensive zucchini again, expensive lettuce again. I suppose this is the price of staying safe. I see another customer gawkily opening the fridge doors with his elbow, and that prompts me to do the same, elbowing the slide on the door. But will i ever learn if the person in front of me isn’t doing it? . At the kind-hearted chemist, I worry about his fingers on my cardboard packet of pills- then  remember on Norman Swann’s Corona Cast this morning,  he spoke of research that shows the virus lasts on cardboard only 4 hours, not 4 days as we were first told. Thank goodness for good research.So i won’t handle them till night time, 7 hours away. So glad we’re not in the city, doing these calculations all the time. “Oh gosh- did I stand too close to her?” ” Did I touch the seat?” “Did I  hold the handles where he touched?”

We hear that in Peru,  women and men aren’t allowed out at the same time in the day.

“Why?” asked K. “In case they Kiss?”

I shrug. Maybe men tend to crowd women-if we’re pretty, that’s a problem, and  if  we’re not pretty, we’re in as much danger because we’re invisible.They could run over us and not notice, like a road runner cartoon.

I begin to load wood, then on an afternoon tea break, i fall asleep. I wake to find GG putting dinner on the BBQ, and run to J’s to ask for a sprig of rosemary for a change from our usual mint, oregano,  thyme. J says she would love some mint- I’ll  plant some in a little pot for her- one of those little pots left over from my many plant failures. Our mint is becoming an aromatic carpet outside the veggie garden next to the woodshed, with no persuasion from me. The wild animals leave it alone.

F and S come out to their balcony to talk – I’m delighted, but it’s an illegal meeting of 3! – and I apologise for our generator racket last night.

Then I find out that their power had crashed at midnight too- so they didn’t hear our generator over the racket of theirs!

I still haven’t heard from C and he’s still not answering his phone or my text. I fear he’s in hospital. My dear, dear friend. I always see him in my mind’s eye when we worked together  in SBS as subtitlers. He’d come to translate Greek, his home language, but stayed on in the job of editing translated subtitles from any of 113 anguages into more usual English, and making sure the subtitles were only 22 characters every four seconds. Someone- we never know whom – considered that any more than that, they were too fast to read. We endured , giggling together,  the silly commands from uncomprehending  bosses out of their depth, for it was the early days of SBS, and pubic servants were dragooned from the most unlikely departments to work in the exciting new television channel- public servants from Fisheries, from Main Roads, from Waterways.  These unlikely bosses would tell us the we mustn’t waste time viewing the film we were translating; once, in trying to follow this command, and working with a very poor translation, I thought I was editing the subtitles of a fishing documentary and  substituted all sort of words suitable to fishing, only to be told, when at last I was allowed to talk to the translator, (talking to translators was also decreed to be a waste of time) that what I’d been working on was a  feature about a trombonist.

I long to hear C’s clever voice, full of disbelief and amusement at the absurdity of the world, again. He was the only person I wanted to talk to when Trump first came to power. I thought his coming to power was the most astonishing thing in the world.  Till now.

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