Free from the long slog of finishing my book, I can return to keeping notes on the glorious location I have landed in. Not that I didn’t notice before, just that all writing was to that one endless end. And of course it will carry on for months, revisions, queries, references…. But here, now, I can just record a couple of recent events.

The first is the arrival of black cockatoos to ‘my’ trees; they are rarer than their squawky white cousins and much much larger, the one perched in a nearby branch this morning must have been almost a metre. The black feathers are offset by a delicate pale green underwing, which becomes visible as they lift heavily into the air, like umbrellas in flight. Magnificent.


The other interesting observation concerns my new friend the household Huntsman spider. Spider sounds such an inadequate word, given its hand-breadth enormity (to UK eyes anyway). But after the first jaw dropping encounters, I have made efforts to appreciate its (no idea of gender) presence, recognise it probably does more housework than I do, tidying up flies, and to think of us as sharing the space. Also it doesn’t scuttle or make sudden movements for which I can forgive it anything. I was trying to remember the Roman idea of household gods (penares??) but my Latin is almost as ancient as the language. Anyway, the other day I noticed that it wasn’t moving much, then that it had aligned all its legs in a straight line. I wondered if it was dying ( they live a couple of years apparently). Later, it took on such a strange shape of complex angles and far too many legs that I reckoned it had got lucky and I was witnessing two of them copulating, though it did look unfeasibly awkward.  Only when I googled moulting was it confirmed that I had watched it climb out of its old self – which lies discarded on top of a bookshelf (not sure how to handle that, might let natural degrading occur) – into a new lithe body. Neat trick.

There is a link showing this evolution for those brave enough to watch