White flag

It’s been as expected a hectic time with a flurry of people and hazy wine filled evenings. My 3am jet lag wake up is as regular as a newborn’s nightly clock. 

It’s weird, I know it, but I can’t relinquish my travel clothes and am still living out of my modest rota of choice. Maybe it’s the fear that if I wear something different the trip is really over that has me clinging to these clothes.

It was a good decision to come home. But I was unprepared for the shock of emotions that came with it. I have no plans and no idea what happens or where to go next and it disturbs me more than I realised it would. No plans and no money. I have to reconcile myself with the thought that this is entirely my own doing and choice. The holiday is over, and real life is stepping in once again. I think it’s time to unpack and let go of my trip and what I’ve been faithfully holding onto.

And while I’m at it, letting go of a whole bunch of other stuff too.

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Ruby slippers

16 months, 11 flights, countless trains and buses, endless cities, $14,000 poorer (and a little bit of credit card debt…) and a million and one memories. Time and money well spent.

Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home.

Dawn breaks

The fog is nestled into the trees, sitting low and soft. The sun is breaking. Pink and orange light is blooming over the clouds. Far off in the clouds there is a shape of a lone figure who looks as though he is swimming freestyle, as if he could swim forever. The clouds and sea meet on the horizon until it’s hard to tell where they separate. We duck lower still until cars begin to appear on the roads, early risers on their way to work poor buggers. Yachts with their sails upright bob gently in the harbour. The light is different here, the sky seems bigger and I feel as though I am seeing Aus for the first time. Familiar landmarks are easy to spot – the bridge, opera house and the botanic gardens come into sharper focus and with a bump, suddenly we’re on the ground.

“G’day!” the sign says for the tourists. It’s tacky but today I’m fine with it, happy to embrace the sentiment. The next sign is for returning Aussies, “Welcome home!” That one has me in tears. I take a deep breath and peep around the door to the arrivals hall. I’m spotted straight away, Clare’s here to meet me along with my Dad and sister. My sister comes running towards me, ignoring the no entry barriers bearing a sign with “Welcome Home Kate!” Surprise everyone. I’m back.

Foraging

It’s crumble weather. I’ve picked the apples, they are growing on the tree in the backyard, now I just need some berries. On my walk through the fields the other day I noticed a local picking berries at the hedge. Turns out they were sloe (blackthorn) berries for making sloe gin. You add a whole heap of berries, a ton of sugar, water and then let the whole mixture do its thing for a few months until its ready, in time for Christmas. (I know, I know. I mentioned the unmentionable Christmas word). Tucked into the hedges were also a shining jet black crop of wild blackberries so I went back the next day and picked enough for our crumble. And just a little extra, in case. The crumble was buttery and crunchy, the fruit sweet and light. Just the right thing for these miserable grey days.

Ramble on

My Mum discovered this fab walk through the paddocks near the old town when she was here and I’ve been going most days. Heading out early in the morning while dew still clings to the grass it is calm and still but slightly creepy in some parts, especially when you catch every spider web strung tautly between branches and grasses, snagging them free with hands and worse, face. But then you re-join the track through the fields of wheat and crops, past the cows, following the trail through the woods which then spits you out next to the old farm-house. A rambling jumble of buildings and newly converted barns that just begs to be explored. From there the way home leads you to a road passing underneath the trees lining each side, lazy and full with leaves and then burst through at the end, as the trees fall back in order and the open fields take over again. It’s just me out here and the whistling birds and sometimes Moby on the i-pod to help things along.

London still

I’m back in London and I’m off to see Sarah in Oxford, my old roomie from Silver Star for a catch up. We spend a few days bumming about watching My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding (which leaves me in shock. It’s total car crash, chav spotting t.v), checking out Oxford and eating a great sweet potato, goats cheese and caramelised onion pie complete with mash, mushy peas and gravy at Pie Minister   in the covered market. They use primarily local and organic ingredients. A fantastic place and a great find. And it’s ever so lovely to see Sarah again.

Little people

You just have to love these two little chaps. Oliver is now walking (and getting very fast) and Owen is off to big school. My little cousins have grown up so much in a month!

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