Back-to-back solid gold this last one. Having my faves in town from Sydney and not even minding that I’m dusty from all the wine we had the night before. I got to show them the organic cafe where I spent half my teenage years, then took them for a drink at the Aristologist, bubbly orange wine on a rainy afternoon, local white wine and late pastries for lunch at my folks’ and then more wine at my new little house so they could see where and how I’m setting up this new life.
In the evening my sisters and I saw Nancy and Beth at the Dunstan Playhouse. I haven’t laughed or been so completely impressed or delighted by something this much in years. Megan Mullally and Stephanie Hunt are so wildly smart and talented, I could not love them more.
New morning view from THE HOUSE THAT I BOUGHT. That is mine. That I own.
Well, between the bank and my pretty solid mortgage arrangement for the next 30-odd years, anyway.
It’s been hectic and stressful, at times overwhelming and very emotional. Going into these things on your own is scary, I’ve felt alone and anxious near-constantly for a good month but I’m over the line now. And with a few boxes of things away and some lovely morning light streaming in, this moment felt pretty good.
Today was supposed to be a lot of things. Moving day was delayed till next week, then I thought I’d go into work for a few hours to get ahead of things, and maybe some yoga. But after working six days, and with another six ahead, tired after a lovely but late night out drinking with friends, and a cold and pouring-rain day closing in, I did none of it. I made potato and egg on toast, had a big milky coffee, watched some Harry Potter with the girls while Daisy practiced her finger-knitting (see above), and thanks to my friend Rach’s advice, watched three back-to-back episodes of season one of ER. It’s such a 90s comfort, I had a nap and listened to it rain heavily all day, and feel like this is a sign of what’s to come all winter long.
I’m not mad about it.
It was never going to be easy, but I prepared as best I could - French toast, two coffees, and a queue of excellent podcasts (thanks to Forever 35, The High Low and Highly Enthused). Having to brave Ikea, Target, Bunnings and Coles all in one day is some kind of headache in my book. But I move into my own place in a week, and I need a bunch of things - I got rid of so much before I put my life into storage a year ago, no use holding onto old pillows and grubby mops and brooms and draw liners and all the rest. It’s nice to start fresh, and having bought my very first home, I’m looking forward to having everything just so. All as I like it.
It was rainy but productive, and afterwards I went by Laura and Will’s house for coffee and some muddy garden stomping with their boys.
In Sydney for a few days and found time, come Sunday, for a few pints with my cousins at the Imperial. Honestly, these folks are some of, if not the, best people I know. I don’t miss living in Sydney at the moment, but I miss them. Running into Gracie in Redfern and Phoebs in Bondi, cups of tea and doing the Saturday quiz with Tessa, having front-step wines with Lucy and going to gigs with Flynn (not long after I took this picture of his excellent self (on my new favourite chair) we sang our hearts out to Kacey Musgraves at the Enmore, which was the best gig in forever).
It was one of those gloriously sunny Sydney afternoons, where autumn doesn’t feel like a thing and that first beer tastes like gold. We laughed a lot and I felt so glad to have that time with them, to have them as friends. It was our first Mother’s Day since our Gam passed away, and so good to all be there together thinking of her.
A lovely one, but then I always say that. I did an early morning walk with my sister and my dad, a solid hour about the Hills. Lovely winding streets, the leaves turning and falling and the sun making it’s way through boldly, everything English and deciduous, elegant and gold. And then rough dirt paths in the bush where it feels like nothing changes but everything’s in motion, nature’s other cycle.
Victoria and I had lunch in the early afternoon and talked about the hard stuff. I mean, life isn’t all lattes and fancy toast (though it’s that too). Things are difficult and sad and scary, there’s beauty and excitement and still layers and layers of grief and worry - the great joy and weight of all this change I suppose. Thank goodness for hearts and minds like hers, I wonder sometimes how people get through without friends this good.
I got home to this mountain house and spent an hour or two letting the light change. Reading and tidying and pottering - I love waiting till the very last to close the blinds and turn the lamps on. These autumn nights are getting closer.
Not fully a Sunday. But late on Saturday night, so very nearly the same thing.
I ended up skipping out on the Kurt Vile gig in place of beers with a good friend who needed a hug. But then as I was driving up the Hill to this old mountain house, my sister messaged that she and her hubby were on their way to a friend’s party nearby. In Adelaide, and especially the Hills, most things are nearby.
My old friend Tim Moore plays beautiful music and holds amazing gigs around the country, including, sometimes, in the shed behind his house in Summertown. I parked a ways up the road, in the middle of nowhere, vineyard and bushland on each side of the road and the smell of log fires in the air as I found the long dirt driveway. Inside it was cosy, there was red wine and beers and mugs of herbal tea for the taking, 12 or so couches by an open fire, fairy lights around the crate-stage and some of the nicest people going. The music was excellent, Tim especially - he played a really beautiful song about jumping an old freight train as it railed through our town when he was a teenager, and it damn near had me in tears. I thought of those long cold nights in the Hills that felt like this, when walking home or talking with friends was limitless, we were fearless.
Afterwards we all caught up and talked and laughed a lot under the persimmon tree as we were readying to leave. I love a long goodbye, when the chat is so good you don’t mind the cold.
I’d been reluctant to think about my birthday this year, not keen on anything too much or too big. It’s been an in-between time, but each year is a gift and what’s the use in having so many good friends close by if you don’t make it happen. And I do love this golden autumn light.
So I messaged a few old faves and we met at Brown Hill late in the afternoon, bags heavy with crisps and beers and climbed to the top of town. I love the view from Brown Hill, clear across to Henley and the gulf with the city sprawling between. I love how daggy and rugged it feels up there. We didn’t see many people, Margot the dog got to run her heart out, Soph made hot cross buns (thick with butter) and we all watched the sun till the very last moment it dipped behind the sea. I had a longneck of Young Henrys IPA and didn’t once feel homesick for Sydney. Rupert gave me half of his pomegranate and we all tried to keep Baby Eddie from eating too much dirt. Walking down at dusk was lovely too, I love that time of night when, as Georgia Blain puts it, you can’t tell ‘between a wolf and a dog’. Everything is dusty grey and you have to squint to make things out. I got Lola to hold a basket and swing it with me and even at eight she was rolling her eyes. But I must have made her laugh, because in the car on the way home she said to Ehren ‘I love Meggy, she’s so active’ which is about the best compliment I’ve heard in months.
Late on a Tuesday, and for the first time in ages I thought about writing. The weeks, and it seems, months, have crept by. The business of trying to build a life again is a slow one, I am finding. Much too much waiting - it’s hard for me to let things just be, though it’s always what I’m trying for.
In the morning I will be 38. I will wake up a year older. Another turn around the sun always brings reflection and introspection, and this mountain house I’m staying in right now sure makes for some peace if that’s what you’re after. A year ago I was packing up Douglas St, so happy to be well and no idea what was ahead. Things are more certain this year. Committed is a different kind of nice.
I’m still in-between things, which can make a milestone like this feel blurry. It isn’t that I mind. I’m happy finding the quiet moments; my library books in a pile on the bench, clothes folded again and again and spilling out of my old suitcase, finding the best mug for my morning coffee from someone else’s cupboard. A different house and a different country and so many since 37, but still me. Me being the rose geranium bar soap I’ve bought since I was 15 and the same comfy grey trackies I’ve had for five winters, the silver moon and star necklace Addy gave me by the bed and my worn leather Cuyana tote hanging on the chair. Messy lists on the back of envelopes, hundreds of messages and emails and notes to friends on my mind and a reel of pictures on my phone from the Sunday just past.