Oh today was hot and still and humid. I was late to the chores and garden, which meant they were done under a scorching summer sun whilst the air hung damp and heavy. The lesson felt well learned for today – but will I remember next time I am slow to start – lingering over my coffee and book – probably not.
And nine months after slipping down the neighbour’s steep hillside, whilst looking for Rosebud our British Alpine doe, my left ankle is still terribly swollen and painful – a posterior tibialis tendonitis – walking is a daily progressive agony. I’ve tried eight weeks immobilisation with a moon boot. A month of physiotherapy. Review by the local orthopaedic surgeon – a lovely fellow whose practice and skills, as a colleague at the hospital, I have a lot of respect for. Expensive orthotics. Cortisone injection into the tendon – the only relief that provided was a few hours numbness courtesy of the local anaesthetic. Next up is a review from an ankle specialist in Canberra.
All a long way of saying, chores and garden done for the morning, I was ridiculously hot and thirsty and my ankle was throbbing. Flopping down in front of the fan, cross stitch in hand, was really the only sensible choice.
Only there was an unsettling stillness to the air. The cross stitch was listless and uninspiring. Everything, everybody was too hot and bothered and waiting for relief. Julian texted – fish and chips at the beach for supper? Oh yes. That would break today’s late summer fug.
But then it came. Thunder rumbling far away over the western mountains. Growling closer and closer. The air practically dripped with humidity. The heavy grey sky fell lower and lower and finally split apart over and over again with brilliant jags of lightning – some streaking straight to the ground in front of us, some whipping crazily across the sky like a strand of wind blown fairy lights. All fierce and powerful. And the rain. Oh the beautiful cooling rain. It fell heavy and straight, like a dark velvet curtain. Bliss.
Julian finished work and came over to the cottage. Fish and chips at the beach? It seemed a bit careless to venture out into such weather. Hmmmm. And then, just like that, the storm moved on. It was a sign.
We jumped into the car and set off to Bermagui – lovely fish and chips at the fishermen’s wharf there. Alas, the whole journey was driving into the same storm that turned out to be racing us to the coast. The lightning continued to splinter the countryside about us. The rain lashed the windscreen. The car bounced through sudden puddles. I squealed and clutched the door handle. Julian was calm and careful. This is always how it goes. And then, finally the forest thinned and we were there, at the beach. And the storm – well it continued to hurl itself out to sea.
We had juicy tender flat head tails and sweet scallops, salty chips with a dash of vinegar – and a special treat – rock oysters from the local oyster farm, seasoned with a splash of fresh lime. Washed down with ginger beer. Perfect.
We drove around to the long, lonely beach that runs along the Old Tilba Road. Hayworths? I can never remember. I love it because of the farm perched right on the edge of the honeycomb cliffs – a rather tumbledown house, a few wobbly fenced paddocks, a handful of cows. It’s the farm of my dreams. Can you imagine living above this beauty? Watching the sun rise over this water every morning? Having the beautiful wetlands right behind you with its rich colony of birds?
We didn’t walk far – my ankle has put a stop to lovely long meanderings along the beautiful beaches we live alongside. Just to the edge of the swell to say hello to the seagulls. Cast an eye over the shells. Marvel at the beauty of all that the sea washes up – soft worn colours and edges. Inspect a dead bird. Apparently a dead whale has washed up onto a rocky headland further along. Part of me is fascinated by this – I’ve never seen such a thing.
Then, the drops of rain returned. It was time for home.