Been quiet for a while (sorry Steve) – mixture of lurching to the end of term and recovery thereof and a sort of unsettled period around the 6 month mark of the ‘what am I doing here’ variety. As such questions are essentially unanswerable, it’s probably as futile a query here as anywhere but the distance from loved ones makes it poignant.

Anyway, emerging from that phase into something else – I resolved in a previous post to have more fun and last weekend’s trip to Sydney was just that: a play, a concert, two films and three meals with different friends – oh yeah and a quick race round the Museum of Contemporary Art. Came back completely invigorated.

It’s not that I don’t like Bathurst; it’s extremely friendly, got plenty of good coffee houses and recently the cinema has been showing some decent stuff (including the brilliant and very un-Bathurst Shame). On Saturday I saw a decent one-man life and songs show about John Lennon and sat up talking til midnight with friends. The nights may be freezing (4-5 below zero most nights) but the days are blue sunny and warm. I have nice colleagues doing interesting things mostly. Nor is that my status as a single older childless woman invites hostility or rejection; it’s just that I’m the only one in town. I’ve never lived anywhere so domestic and I feel like an ungrateful teenager surrounded by warmth and affection… like throwing something. Not sorry I don’t drink or smoke these days but I feel the need for some kind of bad behaviour.

There is also something odd (to me) about the construction of femininity here: lots of smart, warm women around, no problem, but most of the clothes and’ look’ (including v long hair for most older women) are very girly, the sort of frilly layering that brings out my tomboy, and there’s a powerful focus on recipes as the main discourse. Normally I like cooking but here I’m on strike. It’s shop bought cookies for me. I actually didn’t go to one bring a dish event because my lentil bake looked so awful. I know, I know, says more about me… but I’m more used to women talking politics than dishes. Interestingly the book launch for Charlotte Wood’s new book made it clear she’s writing about food as love not competition (must remember that). It was also heartening to listen to a woman trade union leader  at a friend’s the other night talking about the struggles she’s facing – very reminiscent of my 80s experience (made vivid by finally watching Iron Lady which I thought was way too soft on the gorgon and the havoc she wreaked). And the media political analysis is really lively – esp. critiquing the way the opposition leader Tony Abbott talks the economy down so as to justify the cuts he can’t wait to make when, as seems drearily inevitable, he wins the next election.

Anyway, spleen vented, I have decided to channel my inner adult and be grateful for the opportunities I am given here. I have a nice circle of friends to see films with or pop over and see; but not so many that I can’t get a night in. Yes the culture is less stimulating than Sydney and I am clearly a city person, but this is just perfect for someone who’s actually supposed to be writing a book (already overdue) not partying.

But before I get on with that – next week I’m taking a few days off to visit the Tropical North of Queensland – getta load of this: