Day 17


GG says because of our failure, clearly the crabs aren’t running and the creek must be fished out. He might be right. He often is. Then there’s only the garden to feed us.
But which are the weeds and which the spinach?


I sowed the spinach seeds, admittedly out of date, along the stick.

My friend J and I have a video chat.  She’s a handsome gay woman with shining long hair,and one of those handsome faces that people say have “good bones”. She’s staying with her daughter’s family in the Blue Mountains, and they’re planting veggies too. I tell her of my spinach problem and she mentions an app that identifies plants.

Tomorrow, I’ll look it up.

I tell her of my trigger for coming here: of our prime minster inspiring everyone to go to the footie on the weekend, as if because he wished it, the germs would wait till after the match. I didn’t want to stay in a world led by him.

J has a strong feeling for country and animals. She tells me that once in a rat plague in the inner city, a rat in the night bit her on the lip. She felt it as a bolt of lightening. She went to the hospital and they cleaned  up the hole, and all was well.

“We forget we’re at the bottom of the food chain, not the top. The only reason we seem to be strong is community.”

She agreed that at first Morrison saw the crisis as a financial one, and had assumed like many leaders that he and his wishes ruled nature, but now nature has broken his certainties.
“He’s often been ashen-faced on TV.”
It’s humanised him, taught him. As it has us all.

Afterwards, I begin, not to soon, on the ton of firewood.



I look up from my work and discover a familiar face, the brother of PinkHouse S. He has a serious health condition and no immunity, and his doctor said to go into hiding – and where better than here? In two months, he’s going to come back for 6 months with a big store of food. 18 kilos of flour to make pasta, he says. We tell him we need to live off the land, but we’re failing badly. He laughs at our fishing problems and points to a tiny bay on the far side of the creek, beyond the oyster leases. When he was up here last, he canoed there , anchored and caught a fish that big – he shows us the length and it’s half the length of his arm.
From here to there and back- twenty minutes, he says. And straight away I threw it on the fire.

We’re silent with shame.

He adds:

They mightn’t be running at the moment near your jetty.
Do you mind if we try our luck there?
He laughs.
It’s not as if, if you catch one fish, there’ll be none left for me!

Just before I go in to help with dinner, I take F a tiny mint plant in a little pot. She leans on the rail of her deck and we chat. I ask to borrow her stretch of beach to shoot a video about how I teach creative thinking. ANU had been considering bringing me to Canberra to make it with their tech people. But I can do it with GG, and here. I need to draw graphs to show Martindale’s 1975 observation of the unusual brain activity that seems to initiate, or at least begin creative thought – and i’d been worrying how to do this with paper and pen but  today while I was loading wood and thinking of nothing in particular,  it came to me- I’ll draw the graphs in the sand. That’s how the ancient Greeks would’ve explained their mathematics, drawing in the sand. She’s delighted to lend her bit of beach, and  I have a pleasant realisation that we’ve become like old fashioned neighbours, easy, comfortable and ready to help at any moment, the sort of neighbour I’ve longed for all my life.

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