My mother-in-law lives in the most beautiful place. We’ve been staying with her the last few days. In a valley of lifestyle blocks, not too far from town. It’s crisscrossed with stands of trees, eucalypts and pines, green against the blue, swaying and leaning, surfing the restless wind. Tall and old they sigh under the breeze, like water over the cobbles of a creek, like swells washing on a shingle beech. Or at least they would sound like that if you could hear them. Instead, from sunrise to set, all weekend, every weekend the sound you do get to hear is petrol powered lawn-mowers, and mulchers, and power-tools. Each as soothing as a dentist’s drill. The neighbours battling nature. Great. Talk about trying to get away from it all but bringing it all with you too.
February 20, 2010
February 19, 2010
…for myself as I’ve forgotten my delicious password. Martin Wolf in the Financial Times. Also a very good read on government deficits if that’s the sort of thing that interests you.
February 5, 2010
February 4, 2010
Earlier than usual, while the setting sun was still splashing orange around the 21st floor, I said my goodbyes. There weren’t many; 18 months on my own designing reporting tools – I never really got to know the accountants I worked amongst. This had been odd and awkward at times but now it just meant I got out of the building sooner. Down to the street where the large articulated buses lurched off on their stop-go journey into Sydney’s north. By then, I imagine, I was stifling the urge to sing.
Over the harbour bridge, past the buildings, glowing blues and red in the twilight, lined up on either side of the water, like opposing football teams. Through North Sydney, the old familiar route, warn by the commute, the morning haze and the exhausted journey home, now alive with lights and shops and bars. Just this once, the beginning of the road! Southwest, then west, then north, and east again in the end. Great big swathes of Australia in front of me. Travel, of course, never quite takes you to your dreams. Never quite works out as you planned. And I’m pretty sure most of my giddy thoughts on my way home that evening weren’t ever realised. While other things, which I spared no time for at all, like the slow return of disease, were shortly to intrude. But such is life. I still made it to the Outback, to the lonely Walls of China, to Uluru, to Palm Valley and Mataranka. And Darwin and the Kakadu. To Karumba and Wipa. And Noosa in the end. Limping along the way. But more than that I got to drink and drink of that feeling, as the bus took me to the northern beaches on my final evening of work, of everything being wide open, possible and unscripted, which is maybe even best of all.
February 1, 2010
Life has a funny way of connecting the dots. Were it not for spreadsheets I would never have made it to Greenland. It was my ability to make spreadsheets whirr that got me the job in the investment bank. And it was the money the bank paid me that bought me the tickets on boats and planes north to the arctic circle.
Were it not for my ex-girlfriend’s sister getting married. I would never have flown from London to Boston, over Greenland late one day, when the sun was pulling shadows of mountains over plains of icing-sugar snow. And if I hadn’t seen that view, from miles above, gazing out the window. I would never have dreamed of going there in the first place. And if I handn’t stumbled across the fact that it was actually possible to backpack round Greenland, by chance when browsing the shelves of a books store off high street Kensington I would have never even thought to actually try and follow that dream.
Speaking of heights (high altitude, high latitude) my vertigo (which isn’t actually fear of heights) has gone. As quick as it came. And I’m very happy about that.