Day 60

Written 17 May, 2020


This morning white cotton wool felts the mountains, the river, the boats, the jetty, the boats – hiding it all, hushing it all, so you feel there’s no world anymore, only this room,  Once when we had to leave to get K somewhere, after half an hour, we passed three fishermen in yellow coats standing all in a row. Why? one had to ask. Another half an hour, and we passed three more men, thee more yellow coats. More of them! we said, and then we realised.

Pink House S is here to visit her brother. I’m making “cakes” of gluten free flour, pear from Homer’s box, no sugar but stevia, all to sweeten G’s mood after he’s cleaned out gunk from the bathroom sink S bend.

It’s bad enough having to do it myself, he’d growled when I offered to help. I wasn’t sure what that meant, so I added cinnamon to the cake mix. They turned out well.

I suggest we bundle up a few, and a pot of coffee, for S and Dy, he consented, and  we set off down the track to sit in the sun and chat. Pink House S is a anthropologist  who’s work is in indigenous ways, and one of the many things she knows is where the sacred art is around here. I love her company. She showed me ancient axe sharpening marks on rocks. We part, promising to meet for a gin and tonic tonight around our 44 gallon drum. Dy knows  about my lust for his chain saw and brings it over and teaches me how to use it and not cut off my foot, like my dancing partner Julei did. Now all the annoying logs lying in the garden are firewood, and GG, watching from the deck, promises me a present of my own chain saw. The pear cakes did their job.

K, who’s been poorly all week, begs to go off eating oregano 3 times a day- the herxheimer effect is too severe. We’ve  got her largely over chronic fatigue largely by the gut dsybiosis theory – every 3 months,  we have her tens of thousands of gut bacteria  listed by a US lab from her stool, we feed the lists of bacteria into the site devised and run by AI nerd Ken Lassesen ( and out spews lists of food, spices and herbs that’ll help or hinder.  It’s revolutionary personalised medicine, his brainchild and he presides over it for free. I’m amazed at such kindness from a stranger. He’s given her a life. Herxheimers are part of the cure, but there’s only so much she can take. So no more oregano, I agree, for a week. She’ll see how she goes. It’s all just trial and error. Nothing is certain, in anything. We know that now.

At 5.45, I make a fast dinner and I’m down on the track down on the river’s edge at 6.05, piling matted dry pine needles – the fuel on the ground that’s terrifyingly flammable in summer so we must burn it now- into the brazier and three of the logs of my morning’s chain saw triumph. Our guests arrive, careful not to fall into the river,  and PH S is a party all by herself, with her infectious laughter and sense of fun. Dy, a very practical, technical man,  after a few drinks says that he told M what was going wrong for them, but he  explains it by a metaphor of  two nails and one hammer, or perhaps it was two hammers and one nail, and something, maybe the hammer but probably a nail, had something wrong with it.

What did M say to that? I’m hoping it made sense to someone.

His answer is another deeply-felt metaphor about more hammers and nails.

All i can do is nod.

PH S says she ate oysters off the rocks for lunch, and she promises to show me how to harvest them. We’re to have an oyster morning tea tomorrow. Perhaps we’ll manage to live here.

Tonight, for the first time since we came, I sleep through the night without nightmares.


One Response to Day 60

  1. What’s a rat to do? Over there, it can see the jetty, the mountains, the fog, the pink house….but there’s no water anymore. No signs of life.

    The river is empty and the seabed is homeless. Look! A local crab scuttles quickly on top the grey mud with aimless attention – certain that it’s meant to be there but can no longer remember why. Accidentally, the moon and the sun are out together, one knows it got its times muddled up and each indignantly blames the other.

    Three yellow men wearing fish throw large rocks and pebbles from the edge of the jetty, waiting for ripples. The forgetful crab darting anxiously, dodging their grenades. Harry Potter rings through the valley, the sound waves desperately climbing up the walls of the basin, with all their might pulling themselves up over the ridge… but it’s no use, the waves fall back on themselves and rush back over their destructive path.

    What’s a rat to do?

    The horizon never speaks, no good. Her companion, Bonbo, is busy entertaining hypotheticals, stomping in the heads of innocent creatures for the sake of democracy. Nihilism is at an all time high, but who cares? The far side of the ridge is glowing, humming with protests and limited seating; talks of nationalism, hate crimes, greenwashing and all the while, no ripples. Silence. And then a cough. Silence. More silence, a cough will be replaced by a cough, and then a fever, and then a war. Grenades. Ripples.

    Stay in the pink house, stay on the jetty. Keep waiting for the water’s return. It will return. Keeping waiting to dance, to drink, to explode into a thousand pieces – into a billion, trillion, tiny little sequins. All a rat can do is wait. All a rat can do is sit for now, with a an aching back and an aching mind. All a rat can do is wait. So she waits.

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