That’s enough, thank you

I’ve spent more of my days on this earth treading Australian soil rather than English and yet, until the day I die I suspect, the month of May will always signal spring: buds in the hedgerows, lambs in the fields, new potatoes on my plate. Our April was beautifully mild, but May changed everything overnight. I consider myself a winter person and yet I had to agree with The Wife this morning, as we scuttled around the kitchen trying to drain the warmth from our mugs of tea, when she said, “That’s enough winter, thank you. Now I want summer back.”


Perhaps it’s a Newcastle thing. Our climate is so benign that we don’t handle sudden change well. If it’s boiling hot for a bit we always get a southerly buster to cool things down, but if that buster brings more than three days rain we all get sick of it. Most Novocastrians that I know have a wardrobe that’s suited for fair weather and temperatures of around 23 degrees; as soon as it varies by plus or minus 10 degrees we’re knackered. My kids insist on going to school in a T-shirt no matter what time of year it is or what’s happening outside. Bewildering.

I’ve been watching a pair of grey goshawks nesting in this tree for a few weeks now. I was a bit reluctant to reveal the location, for no good reason, but as a kid I was an egg collector (back in the days when this was considered a fine activity for young lad) and I still tend to guard “finds” like this.


It’s a beautiful giant on the edge of the Styx proper, between the fuel depot and the triangle of derelict railway land. At some point in the past a bunch of sleepers have been shoved down the banking and towards the creek and have come hard up against this tree, when it was much, much younger. Now they’re part of the tree.


I’ve looked and looked but I haven’t heard the goshawks since the cold winds came. The last time I saw them they were being harassed by a the black-shouldered kites, so maybe they’ve moved on to milder climes.

Can I come with you? Pleeeeease! I’m so cooold!

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