I think I may have found a cure for jet lag, although it's not for the faint-hearted. It involves packing for eight weeks away from home; attempting to deal with broken solar hot water tubes; catching up with friends, by phone and face to face; picking the lemon harvest (admittedly only one tree); collecting and processing mail held for the last six weeks; and then embarking on a two-day, 1400km drive through central western NSW. All this in the four days after a forty hour journey by air and bus back from Warsaw. There was no time for the mid-afternoon slump; the all-night TV binge; the doonah days; and the mournfulness that accompanied my return from Warsaw in early March.
It was a strange journey north. We always camp, J and I, and take three days at least to get to Queensland. This time, we decided on the unheard of luxury of a motel, partly to cater for my potential jet lag and partly to deal with travelling in the range of days around the shortest day of the year. Never, of course, because we are ageing and becoming fond of comfort. We drove the two evil highways, the Newell and the New England, which we usually avoid like poison. Both days, cloudscapes were our main delight, and the silhouettes of bare trees against the skyline.
And we talked. Although we shared an apartment for six weeks in Warsaw, we hardly talked at all, preserving distance to cope with unaccustomed cohabiting and with the fatigue accompanying intensive time with twins.
We arrived at my daughter's after dark, exhausted, but still managed to stay up yarning till after 12.
A new part of our year now begins. Instead of summer, we have a cold wind and a raging fire. Instead of twins we have two dogs, a cat, five alpacas, a dozen chooks and three roosters, mostly rescue animals. They are J's responsibility since I'm hopeless with animals. The cat has killed two birds since we arrived. The roosters have to be let out into the yard separately so they don't claw each other's eyes out. Two of the alpacas have already had a kicking brawl. The dogs create a periodic barking frenzy, and are vigorous in demands for a walk. Wrangling twins is beginning to look like a walk in the park.
My daughter lives 20km out of Stanthorpe and has very poor satellite reception for the Internet. While she was doing her degree she used to lurk in Macdonald's car park with her laptop so she could write and send assignments without taxing her patience too much. I have good reception on my SIM card in Stanthorpe down by Quartpot Creek, so I'll set up my office there a few hours a week, and most days I'll drive to the Lavender Farm hill, about 3 kilometres away. All I have to do is remember to head off with a fully charged battery. And in case anyone thinks we have fled the south coast winter, may I point out that it doesn't snow in Eurobodalla; the temperature doesn't drop to -6.7 degrees; and ice melts from the windscreen long before 10am.