Sunday, May 30, 2010

Cockatoos, creek, work

What with going to the gym these days, and gadding about in Europe, and then being sick, and finishing up a big semester, I've not spent much time along the Merri Creek the last few months. So for how long have there been black cockatoos there? I went for a walk on Friday afternoon, and at first thought there was a murder of crows in the tree on the opposite bank, but then I saw a flash of yellow. (And as I realise, the Australian ravens tend to go about in pairs, as I know from seeing them perching on the top of the huge Norfolk pine two houses down.)  Anyway, I think they were yellow-tailed black cockatoos. There were about a dozen of them, moving from tree to tree, hanging upside down and generally ... creating (scroll down this page and click to hear their call). And I've just seen a few more this morning when I rode up to let the chickens out at Ceres.

This creek is full of surprises. I've been living on its banks for sixteen years, as its vegetation has been improved and refined, and de-Europeanised. I hated it when they cut down the willow trees (J used to sing at them in his pram when we would walk along), but since then I've probably seen more birds; and apparently the willows were dreadful for erosion of the banks.

Normally P does the fortnightly morning run to Ceres, but once I'd got out of bed it was pleasant enough riding along the creek. And now I'm back at my desk, it's good to think of those cockatoos busily working their way through the trees along the water.

Now that teaching is over, and now that I have the all-clear from my editor to do the final revisions of my book (and write the last chapter) more or less as I see fit, I'm preparing to fire up the cylinders for a final onslaught. I have to hold all the ideas in my head at the same time, to ensure the balance and sequencing of the argument is right. I had a quick read through the other day. Having a few months' break from it was good (try telling that to the ARC!), and overall it's not looking too bad. Let's see how much I can get done before I leave for Siena in July.

Today will be a pleasant clean-up day: washing, ironing, running Joel to band rehearsal, sweeping up piles of bright yellow leaves from the garden, catching up on email, then the afternoon at a friend's retrospective art exhibition where J, the drummer (the artist's son) and the bassist will play, then a dusk trip up to Ceres to put the chickens away. Then tomorrow? Chapter Seven:

3 comments:

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

What's happening in Siena? Wil you have any time to be a tourist?

Stephanie Trigg said...

The Chaucer congress is meeting in Siena this year! Great papers; great people; and apparently a beautiful city. I'm staying in a little hotel that prides itself on its resident pastry chef, so breakfasts should be good! I'm there for nearly a week. I'm also giving myself a few days in Rome as a tourist before hand, and am projecting a trip to Florence afterwards. Not too shabby, eh?

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

Siena is indeed gorgeous. Wonder if they coordinated the conference with the Palio, which is as OTT medieval as horse races come.

There's also St Catherine, who is quite spooky.