Pain

I can’t stand the pain
Spondylosis
Pinching back vertebrae
I can’t stand the pain
Knee arthritis
‘Cause I’m not who I used to be
Hey bloody knees
Tell me, do you remember
How sweet it used to be
When I could walk for miles
Everything was groovy
Now my joints are grating
And that’s one sound
That I just can’t stand
I can’t stand the pain
Of spondylosis
Aching thighs, aching knees
I can’t stand the pain
Of gravity on me
‘Cause I’m not who I used to be
When I was a young man
Everything was so grand
Now that I’ve grown old
There’s just one thing
That I just can’t stand
Can’t stand the pain
I can’t stand the pain
Of my leg muscles
Taunting me with memories
Of when I could walk free
I can’t stand the pain
And I can’t walk far
Unless my walking stick’s with with me
When we are together
I can make it round the shops
Like Woolworths. Oh sweet memories
But it’s just so wrong
That I just can’t stand
I can’t walk alone
Without a trolley to lean on
I can’t stand the pain
The spondylitic pain
That just keeps on haunting me
Hey hey pain
Get off of my back, please
‘Cause I can’t stand the pain
I’ll jump out a window
‘Cause I can’t stand the pain.

Rain

I’m living on the second largest sand island in the world. As far as I can tell, the only thing stopping it from washing back into the sea is a dense matrix of vegetation roots. I was thinking about this at 04:00 this morning, as I sat and watched the most spectacular show of lightning I’ve seen since I left the Kimberley.

I think that may have been the heaviest rainfall since I moved here. Now that I’m going nautical again I’ve started taking an interest in the weather, so I have subscribed to a few apps that keep me up to date with wind rain and tides. Watching the rain on radar, it was pleasing to see it was heading southwest to where it will no doubt be welcome in the Burning Lands.

The storm reminded me of the rain that fell while I was camped at Inskip Point, which resulted in the flood that damaged the caravan undercarriage. Also causing a huge sinkhole. This time, fortunately it hasn’t lasted as long and did not result in a flood.

I went through the archives to see exactly when that was, and could not find it. For months I did not write in my blog. Everything was posted on Facebook. Now lost.

What kind of journal keeper forgets to keep his journal – and worse – deletes all his notes?

How cool is modern technology? When I gained my navigation certificate, GPS tech was a closely guarded military secret. Now, not just a GPS, but my phone and my iPad can tell me where I am and can carry the tide tables and Marine Charts of all the world. When I had a set of charts for New Zealand alone they filled a cabinet. Now a full set of charts covering Australia and New Zealand occupy an imaginary space in a piece of plastic and rare earth metals smaller than my little fingernail.

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.

A Good Night’s Sleep

It is remarkable how much better one feels after a good sleep. I have not been sleeping well lately, something I ascribe to a combination of my state of mind and the weather. The days and nights have been hot and humid. Any slight breeze is a blessed relief. My daily swim at the pool, though giving me the exercise I need, and the heavenly release from the pain that plagues my gravity-stressed muscles and bones, is not as refreshing as before because the water has become too warm for my preference.

I have been going to the pool earlier in the morning to get there when the water is coolest, but it still feels more like a warm bath than a fresh dip. Maybe I should switch to the sea and risk the jellyfish and imaginary monsters. I’ve never understood why Australians, who claim to be so hardy in their sunburnt land, won’t swim in water cooler than their skin temperature. I still recall how astounded I was when I learned Katanning Shire would close the public pool if the temperature of the water was below 20 degrees.

On Saturday, I had completed my 90 minute swim and ridden my bike home again by 9 am. That left me nothing to do for the rest of the day but lay under my fan, nap and watch Netflix. The day was supposed to be one of my vegetarian days. I was planning to have dal and rice. On a whim I rode around to the butcher to seek out some more substantial sustenance. I’ve not had red meat in an age. I found a plump lamb shank, already marinating in a red wine sauce, just begging to be cooked and eaten. It fit perfectly into my 12V slow cooker with some celery, onion, tomatoes, and a large sweet potato, cut into chunks. By 7 pm it was perfectly cooked and ready to be deliciously overeaten.

In the afternoon the sky became increasingly overcast and the breeze cooled noticeably. The rain started in the early evening and continued all night. By Sunday morning it was still pelting down and the camp roads were all flowing streams of stormwater. The morning walk to the ablution block was also the morning shower. I had to towel off and change my clothes when I returned. I don’t have a raincoat. I should get one.

I did not ride to the pool. Nor did I drive. I spent the day reading Ursula Le Guin. I was so inactive that my self-winding watch actually stopped. I couldn’t understand why I was so hungry when it was only two pm and I had eaten brunch at eleven. But it was nearly seven. Time flies when you are reading a good book. I hadn’t even noticed how dark it had become as I lay under my reading lamp.

The rain continued. Then the wind came up. It buffeted the caravan until it rocked and creaked. It felt like being in a small boat in a storm. It felt wonderful. The breeze coming through the insect screen was cool and damp. For the first time in weeks I pulled my duvet over my body rather than laying uncovered on top of the bed under the fan. With a full stomach and snuggled in like a child, I had the best sleep I’ve experienced in a long while.

This morning, the outlook seems a little less bleak, though the weather hasn’t improved at all.

On the plus side, this amount of rain means the fire risk has been significantly reduced.

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.

Spotify

Today I’m listening to a Collection of Beethoven’s sonatas, played by various artists. Right now I’m listening to my favourite, Sonata no. 14, Opus 27, in C sharp minor. Also known as the Moonlight. Or mondschein.

My Spotify account is one of my treasures. For eleven dollars a month it gives me access to a Collection of music I could never afford to buy on CD. I have found almost all the music I liked in my youth. Classical, folk, rock, I have expanded my Celtic folk collection beyond anything I could afford to buy. Now, I am exploring what I missed. Spotify allows me to try new musical genres and artists. My musical appreciation development was stunted in the eighties but I am at last catching up.

Sad to say most modern music, especially hip-hop, leaves me cold but there is still some wheat amongst the chaff.

By clicking on the links above you can listen to my playlists, though you’ll have to put up with advertising unless you have an account.