Day 37

Written 24 April, 2020

We caught a fish! Now that our lives don’t depend on it- in a crab pot (not the trap) – a fish! A sand mullet – we looked it up! -very elusive to catch, we read, unless they blunder into a trap, as ours did. It’s 33 cm long and quite plump. So lunch will be a celebration!

Three hours later:  I pan-fried the mullet in butter, with lightly browned carrot rings, garlic and leeks. Nothing was wasted: we ate the flesh, the head and tail became a celery and carrot soup thickened with coconut cream, and the guts are in the crab pot. A vegetarian friend once said indignantly  that she wouldn’t take the life of a fish; but perhaps, as they said about kangaroos when I was in Ampilatwatja in the Northern Territory, the fish might’ve been happy to die for us. Who’s to know or even choose between these different life views. I love this land and like those old people, I want to believe that this land loves me back. it wasn’t where I fell to earth, (I’m quoting that), but after wandering the world, it’s my heart’s home. And certainly, we loved you,  dear mullet.


Meanwhile, by an odd co-incidence, a statistician friend had written last night, at the same time as Sophie sent her post, about the video I posted and more…

In the last 24 hours, somewhat unexpectedly I have been asked to look at measurement data for ancient crabs. There are a lot of crabs but a lot with missing body parts. So it’s a typical missing data problem. Overall, I believe that we are looking at factors influencing crab growth in prehistory. I have also been approached for my thoughts on the mathematical concept of infinity from a philosophical perspective…

 I have no problem with (you) saying lowering your level of brain activity can promote creative ideas. Where I have a problem is where we introduce another link into the causal chain, most notably the unconscious. It appears to explain how brain states are transferred into behaviour but from my scorched earth empiricist background there is no need for that extra step. Dark Freudian undertones and even your lovely fish struggling against the line don’t actually add anything to the explanation of what is happening. By definition they can’t be tested. It’s a similar role to God. God is everywhere and nowhere. No state of the world is incompatible with God. So in the absence of any other evidence, God is a redundant link in the causal chain. I admit that redundant link has emotional appeal.


And I wrote back to him in the wee hours:

I’m being naughty, taking up your time, but I  couldn’t sleep for horror – I just wanted to say that I went through the video scouring for a mention, even a mumble, of the word “unconscious”- and, thank goodness,  there’s none. Horror because “the Unconscious” has long left my thinking. Too much was given to the unconscious, as it was given to poor God. I gave up the unconscious about 15 years ago, when I read a paper arguing exactly what you said. Contemporary neuroscience leaves out the unconscious. it talks instead of remote memories, and though I depicted remote as far away for ease of explanation, there’s no suggestion in  neuroscience of literal distance- a better way of describing it is inaccessible memories.

He replied that he’d keep me up to date about ancient crabs.


Dy’s back! We let him settle in before we called a welcome, turn on his solar power plus his generator and bring his food supplies up his jetty and inside. I worked in the cabin- GG kindly gave it to me- we both love to work looking over the stillness of water- and drearily began to read on my rejected novel, trying not to reject it myself. The words of the reader were worming their way into my soul, but to turn it into a play, I mustn’t read with judgement, just with a sort of bower bird opportunism. That could play. That wouldn’t. That might.

I gave up at five, and went down to the 44 gallon drum and loaded it with dead ferns, usually good for fire starting. Dy had left the potting mix I’d asked for in the pergola, a little building I love, very close to the river, our taj Mahal, for GG built it for me before his body began to fall apart. I ‘d taken a writing retreat to Ialy and was jokingly threatening never to return. The only thing that could entice me back, I said, was a pergola. So when I returned – there it was!  it’s got a sideway lean, and the husband of my former friend said he’d never put a foot in it in case it fell over, but it hasn’t, 15  years later. I’ve sipped many a cup of tea there, dreaming over the creek.

On top of the potting mix, held in place by a trowel, was a joyful note:

I’ve got 40

He came out of his house and I called a welcome and a thanks, and how much did I owe hi,

“Let’s barter,” he said. I need ice. And I’ll b sure to ask you for something else soon.

He was almost dancing for relief, a different man than the one we saw leave.

He came towards me, speaking through a mask, which hollowed in and out with his breath. I said he couldn’t stay in a mark up here, away from the virus.

“It seemed polite,” he said, but snatched it off.

We yarned for too long, so darkness was falling as I finally lit the fire in the drum. To make up for lost time, when GG came down with a gin and tonic for us both, we burned off till about 9,, the flames leaping into the black sky. As it slowly burned down, to stay near for i was brought up never to turn my back on a fire, I loaded  up 3 flying foxes of firewood, for half a ton of it is still on the jetty. Afterwards, I was very glad to eat left overs fried up with rice cooked by K two days ago, shaking over it fish sauce and sesame oil- and it tasted good.







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