What colour is July?


I was listening to the author of a book this morning, talking on ABC Radio’s Life Matters, about how time slows down and speeds up depending on our state of mind and physical wellbeing. She debunked that oft-repeated theory about how time seems to speed up as you get older, the one that says that a year of your life when you’re eight is one-eighth of your life, but only one eightieth when you’re eighty. Follow the link for the brainiac explanation. She also described how time and memory can be “seen” or visualised by our various senses, a condition known as synesthesia. She used examples of people “seeing” days with different colours: to her, Monday was pillar-box red and Wednesday was orange.

So I wondered: what colour is July? So far, it’s been a bright, cheerful purple.

A Wimbledon purple, perhaps, with all our veggies eaten up.

There’s a website called Synesthesia Down Under. Apparently, people who suffer from this condition/have this ability are known as synesthetes.

This broom appeared the other day, in June, so I think that June might be kind of crusty yellow.

Or maybe the kind of whitey-green of the emulsified oil leaching into the creek from the fuel depot.

The waxing moon has brought higher tides. When it gets too high and the bankings get slippery I don’t go too far downstream, usually as far as the litter boom by Islington School.

Here, a group of cormorants sit in rows on the fence, drying their wings. They look like sulky teenagers outside the headmaster’s door. The white dots in the background are hard hats, a group of students getting their crane safety card.

With a low tide I sometimes walk down as far as Maitland Road, past the wrecker’s yard. Is that any way to treat a Kingswood?

On Saturday I saw what I thought was an egret, until I got closer. It turned out to be a domestic duck, the kind you get waddling around farmyards. She looked very uncomfortable and deeply unhappy. I haven’t seen her since, which is not a good sign round these parts.

Falcons and hawks patrol the area, not as many as in summer but enough to spell trouble for a lost duck. Coming out of the gasworks on Saturday I was set back on my heels by an explosion of feathers from the long grass and lantana: a brown goshawk had been so engrossed in reducing this pigeon to feathers and bones that it had failed to notice me.

Noticing things is not Jambo’s strong point. The world throws things up that puzzle him all the time. Take these two balls, for example. Which one to chase? Which one to guard from the other dogs who aren’t actually here but may well be at any minute? It’s all deeply perplexing, no matter what colour the month.

Not again!


Under no circumstances be tempted to stand next to this street sign: it’s the most knocked-over in Newcastle.

Sublime mornings and a waxing moon have brought high tides and millpond conditions to the creek.

The litter’s building up again, but the recently repaired boom by the TAFE is doing its job.

All it needs now is for the men in waders and armed with nets to actually pull the stuff out.

I’ve started noticing more and more Asian food containers appearing. What’s going on? Is there a new Asian supermarket upstream, or is this stuff that’s come off the boats and has bobbed all the way up to here from the coast?

I arrived at the Chaucer Street Drain junction just as the tide was coming in this morning, a powerful, steady surge.

Half a dozen cormorants were dipping and diving in the deeper water, with a heron and a couple of egrets stalking behind them. A new duck and her single duckling has recently arrived in the tidal pool. Jambo went to wish them a formal welcome to country.

The other duck still hangs around the Chatham Road bridge. I’m bewildered by this fellow. He either (a) is some kind of ninja duck who is so powerful he can afford to let me get so close I can almost touch him, (b) has been hit very hard with the stupid stick or (c) has some kind of death wish. Whatever, he’s also the happiest duck I’ve ever seen. I think he actually smiles.

There’s new graffiti in the gasworks. I don’t know much about art, but I do know that I’d rather look at this stuff than 90% of the mind-numbingly juvenile tagging that graces most of the area.

Oh, and this. Perhaps the most redundant labelling I’ve seen since “Caution: contains hot liquid” on the lids of McDonalds coffee cups.

Is that in case the kids think it’s some kind of lolly and try to eat it?