Birds and Bums

These days the sun sets at around 5pm here on Widder Island, and after an intense day of writing, on novels and blog posts and assorted commentings around the interwebz, my brain was in sore need of fresh air.

The rain had temporarily stopped bucketing down so I bundled up and headed out for a brisk walk along the lane to the other side of Widder Lake, taking a brolly, just in case.

The end of the road is also a turn-around, so them’s wot are lost have the means to do an about-face without resorting to a 17-point turn. As I walked through the scraggly trees and leaf-denuded bushes between the road and the path nearer the water I could see a single car parked to one side of the turn-around. They seemed to be minding their own business so I minded mine and turned my attention to the assorted flocks of ducks, geese, and swans, swooping in from across the mountain and down onto the lake. (I assume these are late leaving for parts south or are really, really keen to head back north for the summer)

One flock, geese, I think, but the mist and the gloaming made it hard to see anything too clearly, caught my eye as they came over the ridge and started their descent … then with equal grace swirled around and rose back into the sky.

Around and around, they spiraled the length of the lake, widdershins-wise, dipping low, and then, almost without any effort at all, drifting back up again.

There were no predators around. The bald eagle clan who live on the other side of the lake were salmon fishing along the river a few kilometers away, and all the human farmers who considered the flocks ‘pests’ were snug inside their houses. This flock looked like they just wanted to soar for a while before settling down for the night.

As I watched them I wondered if they did it for the pure enjoyment of flight. Not in an anthropomorphized kind of a way, but within their own avian concepts of joy.

Eventually the rain started again. I popped my umbrella and began to wend my way home.

I did a quick scan of my surroundings, as one does when one is alone with the wild things, including a fleeting glance at the turn-around where, you might remember, a car, apparently minding its business had parked. Lo and behold, there, next to the car, shining through the darkening mist and rain I saw a perfectly naked peach-shaped bum.

I quickly redirected my fleeting glance back on the path in front of me and ambled home whilst ruminating on how the birds and the bum complimented each other in a delightfully irreverent, and dare I say, cheeky, way.

I suspect that whoever was in the car decided to take advantage of the dark and nip out for a bit of a pee. I hoped she didn’t see me. It’s nerve-wracking enough to risk one’s naked bum in the open, in the dark, to empty one’s bladder, but being observed doing so, is another matter entirely.


Coco the Community Cat dropped in this afternoon. She and Mirabeau oversaw my writerly endeavours with an appropriate amount of interest.

Mirabeau – “Do you think she suspects?”
Coco – “None of them suspect. Relax. All is at it should be.”

A Bee in the Washing Machine of Life

Today I’ve been reorganizing my bedroom. This is a direct result of having more storage in our shiny new shedIt is a prerequisite of such activities that sheets, blankets, and any other soft furnishings not nailed down, must be washed.

… including the covers from my hot water bottles

The only thing I am willing to admit I miss about summer is sun dried washing. Unfortunately, by this time of year our backyard is shrouded in tree-shade until about 3pm where the sun dips under the fir trees and has a moment of brilliance, until it swiftly sinks behind the hills on the far side of Widder Lake

As a counterpoint to the ‘bench-by-the-lake-in-summer’ picture I posted at the top of my last post, here’s the same bench, a few winter’s ago, all snug in the snow, with the ‘blocking-the-clothes-drying-sun’ hills in the background

With my arms overflowing with bedclothes and other sundries, I negotiated the narrow trail that was all that was left of the hallway after the stuff to be relocated to the shed had vacated my room but wasn’t quite out the back door yet.

I plonked the load down on top of the dryer, got the water running into the washing machine next to it, and measured out the soap to get the whole operation underway, when I saw a forlorn little critter clinging to the side of the drum, probably freaking out at the sudden crashing waterfall threatening to obliterate it.

A friend of mine back in Oz, on certain occasions when she was feeling down, would say she felt like a lost sock in the washing machine of life. Referring, of course, to the single sock that inevitably shows up when you take a load of washing out of the machine, and that you can never, ever again, find the other one.

I suspect the wee beastie felt somewhat the same way as I gently nudged her into the shallow plastic container reserved for removing spiders from study windows and shower recesses, and carried her out into the soft autumn sunshine, hoping the warmth might revive her.

‘Dear Hive Queen. All hail, O Mighty Honey Provider. I think I am in a different dimension.’

I watched as her little head sank lower and the pulse in her abdomen slowed and slowed, and slowed. Her wings were all folded in on themselves.

I wondered if she had flown her last mission.

There was nothing I could do. Her fate was beyond me.

I checked on her now and then over the next little while. She hadn’t moved.

I came out one last time before we closed the back door against the evening chill and …

… Bee-gone! 🙂

I wished her well and hoped she had many more adventures before the Great Washing Machine of Life finally claimed her for its own.


For almost of my time here in Canada I have lived in apartments. In OZ, the closest I got to an apartment was when I shared a duplex with two women who were in a rather intense and unusual relationship – but that’s another story.

Apartment living is not for the faint of heart. If you’re unlucky enough to be somewhere in the middle of the building, you are surrounded by the sounds smells and energy of your neighbours.

If you are somewhere above the ground floor then you are also isolated from the immediacy of the outdoors. You can perhaps open your patio doors and smell the roses, or admire your hanging tomato plants. I’ve actually known some folk who manage to grow almost all their summer greens on their 9th floor patio.

Mrs Widds and I always had our trellises of scarlet runner beans, and managed to claim our share of bounty before the first frost hit.

Our beach – to the left of the boat ramp

I grew up in the wilds though. Where rain fell so hard that it hurt. Where drought ravaged the ancient land and left desiccated skeletons of animals and trees as its legacy. The Australian bush is scruffy, harsh edged and harbours nasty stinging and biting things, large and small, that can kill you in minutes.

An apartment in the city never quite won over my heart, even though I liked living there.

Now I live on an island in the middle of a lake! I step out my front door and am greeted by a sea of green – which reminds me, gotta cut the grass! – rather than going through several fire-doors and an elevator to get outside.

Our various rooms are at different ambient temperatures, depending on their use throughout the day, and I feel like I am participating in my home environment rather than having been another component of a closed-in and controlled climate.

I suppose that as Summer draws closer, more people will inhabit their seasonal abodes but right now, the quiet is blissful. Mind you, on our street there are two lads who are in bands, but they are respectful and only occasionally rehearse at home, and then it’s in the afternoon and/or early evening – très civilised!

Our beach – to the right of the boat ramp

Apart from feeling like it’s rained every day we’ve been here (not really but it feels like it) I find myself responding to the rain differently. It splashes over the ends of the gutters and falls like a curtain in front of my window. The ground squishes when I walk out to get the mail. (The asphalt pavements in Vancouver never squished)

The most wondrous thing I’ve noticed (or reconnected to) is how immediate this rain upon the Lake is. It begs to be responded to without the buffering of apartment walls, door, or neighbours.

I must put on my wellies, go splash in the puddles, walk to the lakefront, and watch the mist tumble down the mountain, across the lake, and up the shore to where I stand, until nothing is left but a memory of Avalon


“Don’t threaten me with love, baby. Let’s just go walking in the rain”Billie Holiday


The move was horrendous. Here are the salient points.

~ It was raining. really, really raining, with an occasional lost snowflake dropping in just to chortle at the state of affairs.

~ Moving-truck driver challenged a chestnut tree to a duel. Chestnut tree won and truck lost its side loading door. Completely. Ripped the thing right off.

~ The half-loaded, and doorless, truck is unloaded, in anticipation of replacement truck’s immanent arrival. Large raindrops have joined the snowflakes’ gleeful chorus.

~ Accidents happen. Movers seem to be dealing with it, so we head off to the lake, in anticipation of new carpet arriving, before our possessions. (The original carpet is a gruesome combination of 70’s sculptured yellow and 4 decades of hard usage) – ‘scuse me, I have to take a moment to mourn that the 70’s was so long ago. Le sigh!

~ We wait.

~ Still raining.

~ Still waiting.

~ Carpet arrives and we roll it out before our possessions turn up.

~ They don’t.

~ We wait some more, and have expensive cell-phone conversations with new moving truck driver who appears to be lost. How can someone work in the moving business not have a map?

~ Owner of moving business, states, and I quote, “What do you want me to do about it?”

~ Eventually we drive into town to guide the driver in.

~ Still raining.

~ Unloading starts. We discover they have left behind our rather expensive bicycles … not in the apartment, not even in the building foyer. Oh no. These idjits left them OUTSIDE the building.

~ My bicycle is modified to compensate for the missing half of my right knee, and therefore expensive to replace.

~ Only be the grace of Herself, and the fact that the neighbourhood is a very bike friendly place, are our bikes still there after 2 hours. They are rescued and are to be delivered by the idjit who forgot them, several days forward from this one.

~ Mover tries to charge us for the extra time it took to complete the job. He survived the encounter only because he still had to deliver the bikes.

~ Five days after the move, our bikes arrive.

~ Move is complete.

~ Still raining.

~ A week after the move, the sun is shining, the lake is all blue-green and shiny. Widdercat has ventured forth past the front step. It’s a good day.

~ I wonder if I’ll ever figure out why there are so many more bolts and screws than I’ll ever need to put the bookshelves back together again.

P.S. Will have pics of lake when I find the camera – the one in my cell phone refuses to speak to me.


“It’s been a long time since I’ve written old-fashioned sword and sorcery; I’m hoping it’s like riding a bicycle”Lynn Abbey