White Noise

I am a pluviophile. I love the rain. Especially tropical rain.

Walking in the rain, getting soaking wet…

My weather app tells me there is a thirty percent chance of rain. Considering it has been raining heavily for over ten hours , I consider the app to be 70% wrong.

I went to sleep to the lovely sound of heavy rain on my roof, and woke to it this morning. The kookaburra didn’t seem to mind either. He gave a rousing burst of song at 05:40 on the dot, just as I was pouring my first coffee. The frogs are happy too. I can hear at least three species announcing their sexual availability.

My neighbour’s coughing fit was without a trace of Strauss today, though I might have caught a phrase or two of Coltrane. He was soaked on his morning pilgrimage to the ablution block and back. I cheated, I went to the rear corner of my caravan where I am screened from public view, and peed into the stream flowing past my bicycle and through the fence down into the creek. I still got wet. And I still have to go to the ablution block sooner or later.

Last night I went to the Rangla Punjab Wednesday night buffet. All you can eat for twenty dollars. I tried a little of every curry as well as the raitas and pickles. Everything, from the rice and naan to the samosas and bhaji were excellent. The mango lassi was outstanding. That was extra, but well worth four dollars. I tried very hard not to overdo it, but I blew my calorie budget for the first time since I started counting them. I don’t regret it. I shall do it again, though not regularly. Perhaps only when Wednesday coincides with a special occasion.

Yesterday’s occasion was that I now have a recreational marine drivers licence (RMDL). What the rest of the country calls a skipper’s ticket. That I’ve had a boatmaster and coastal yachtmaster ticket in NZ since 1979 did not matter to Queensland Transport. I still had to pass a local course and get certified before they’d grant me a licence. Done and dusted all in one morning yesterday.

Now I can take out the tinnie I bought on line while drunk at Christmas. Kidding. I arranged to view it on Boxing Day. I agreed to buy it. Perfect for my needs, which is code for all I can afford.

Time to go fishing.

The First Cup

I would have given you all my Oolong
And I know you like to drink tea that’s strong
But I’ve just drank up all that I had
So if you want, I’ll try to brew again
Baby, I’ll try to brew again, but I know
The first cup is the weakest, baby, I know
The first cup is the weakest,
And when it comes to making coffee, he’s cursed
When it comes to making tea he’s worse

I still want you to to try some Earl Grey
Just to take the taste of chamomile away
And I think you should give chai a try
So. If you want, I’ll boil the jug again,
Baby, I’ll put the kettle on again,
but I know, oh
The first cup is the weakest, baby, I know
The first cup is the weakest
And when it comes to making coffee, he’s cursed
When it comes to making tea he’s worse

Midnight Feast

Article 365 of the International Code of Gustatory Regulation as ratified at the European Federation of Food Science congress, 2012, states:

Food eaten between the hours of 23:50 and 00:10 shall not be counted towards the Calorific count of either day .

Who knew that Stilton cheese came with cranberries?

Varanus Returns.

I made the last few hundred grams of roast rolled boneleless turkey thighs into a curry. With potato and peas. Something went wrong. It was a disaster. I can put up with most of my culinary mistakes, but this was inedible. it wasnt too much chilli. It was just gritty and bitter. I dont know what I put in too much of to make it so. I salvaged a few of the larger pieces of meat, rinsed them under the tap, and ate them. The rest of the curry I carefully deposited outside where the camp manager won’t see it. but someone special might.

Today I heard a familiar rustling sound. From the door of my caravan I peeked, careful not to disturb him. Or her.

And here (s)he is.

Varanus likes my crappy curry.

Seer

He sits in the dark cave of his cabin, with curtained windows. He is surround by artefacts and nick-nacks collected over eighty nine years.

The only light in the room comes through the doorway where I am standing. It is late afternoon and the sky outside is heavily overcast. I can barely see him, seated in an ancient Lazyboy chair behind a coffee table piled with the detritus of a man who does not move about much.

I knocked twice on his open door. “How are doing mate?” I asked.

He has suffered several strokes. His speech is slow and slurred from myotonic dystrophy. But I could understand him clearly.

He looked at me with clouded eyes, as if he did not recognise me.

“I know why you have come” he said. “You are seeking something you can never regain”.

I sat down on a rickety chair. It creaked under my weight.

“You cannot put the smoke back into the cigarette” he said. As if to accentuate his point, he drew a long drag on a thin, hand rolled cigarette and blew a cloud of smoke into the air. He coughed for a few moments then continued.

“Every experience is a new one. Even if you are doing the same thing again. The Laws of Entropy and Enthalpy will ensure that nothing will ever be the same. If you go back, you will be disappointed until you accept that you must go forward. If you buy a boat, you may enjoy the pleasant experiences it will provide you, but you must understand these are not the experiences of your youthful memory. Those have been guilded by time and fondness until in your mind they are no longer anything like what you really experienced. Go forward. Enjoy new sensations.

The molecules of air the breeze blows to touch your face are all new to you, and you will probably never encounter any one of them again. They will go on to touch other faces, to combust in a cigarette or a bushfire, or perhaps to combine with metal as rust, or be inhaled by someone and incorporated in their body, to be released as something new in the crematorium. They carry no memory of you. You, however, can carry a memory of them. That is your task. To experience, enjoy, and remember.”

He took another drag on his fag and had another coughing fit.

His eyes cleared. He looked at me with surprise as I proffered him my offering.

“G’day! How’re ya doin’?”

“G’day to you, O wise one. I thought you might like some of this spaghetti Bolognese I made. It’s low salt. You may want to add some. ”.

I handed him a fork. He started to eat.

“But I’ve been thinking, I live on an island and I should buy a boat”.

“Nah, he said, a strand of spaghetti suspended from the corner of his mouth. “Don’t like boats, rocking and splashing. Don’t even like fishing. Can’t stand the smell. Until they are cooked, with chips”.

He sucked on his cigarette while still chewing Bolognese. When he coughed, a bit shot on to the coffee table. He wiped it up with his handkerchief.

The Seer had retired. The old man was dining.

The old man turned on his television with the remote, and leaned back to watch the football. He had forgotten I was there. He burped contentedly, drew on his smoke and coughed.

I left quietly. As I did, “Buy the boat” he said.

I don’t know which of him said that.

A Visit from Varanus

Mehdi doubled the strength of my pain meds. I’m so grateful..

I’m having some of the more pleasant side effects I had when I first started taking Pregabalin though not nearly as strong. Strong enough however to think I should not be driving for a day or two.

That’s fine. There’s nowhere I need to go that I can’t go by bike. First thing this morning: to the pool! I’m permitted to swim again.

I’m probably being ultra-conservative about not driving. I was perfectly steady and in control on the bike. But as if to pat me on the back, Karma had me come upon a pair of cops on First Avenue stopping cars and checking out the drivers.

After my swim, off to Aldi for fresh salad vegetables. Then home for a brunch of salad made from lettuce, baby spinach, julienned carrot, cucumber, capsicum, tomato, and a chilli all coated in a generous dollop of my home-made aioli.

I took my salad outside to eat. I drank icy cold sparkling mineral water from the Engel. As I sat, I heard a rustling in the dead leaves behind me. At first I thought it was the bush turkey, come for the carrot and cucumber peel I’d put out. But no.

‘It was a huge goanna, a lace monitor lizard, Varanus varius. These are in my opinion the most attractive of the goannas. Their beautiful colours and patterns are perfect for blending in with the bush.

He, or she, was almost two metres long. It strolled past me and lay down to bask in a patch of sunlight behind my Toyota. Long tongue flickering in and out all the while. I got a crick in my neck watching it, but I knew that if I moved my chair it would be off. No chance to fetch the camera even though I’d charged the battery and left it handily by the door ready for just such an occasion. Never mind. I just enjoy watching,

Behind me – more rustling. I said “if that’s you turkey, be advised there is a goanna here. Come back later for the carrot”. But no. Again.

It was another goanna. On the other side of the fence. Same species. Smaller in size. I have two goanna neighbours! It was maybe two thirds the size of. Number one. Again, I have no way of knowing it’s gender. It wandered nonchalantly past without stopping, its tongue constantly tasting the air. It did not seem interested or concerned about us on this side of the fence.

Goanna number one, however, was very interested. It didn’t make any angry hissing sounds or seem agitated, it just got up and started along the hurricane mesh fence looking for a way through. As it moved along the fence it tested the gaps but could not find one large enough for it to push through. I lost sight of it behind the neighbour’s caravan. By the time I’d got up, fetched my camera and followed it, it was gone. There’s a hole under the fence behind Gaz’ place.

I wonder if those two are a pair?

Here is someone else’s picture of Varanus varius

Alamy Stock Photo.