Friday, 20 January 2012

Jottings from the Tropics: 20 Jan 2012

I’ve been stuck at home for a few days — you couldn’t tell, could you? — so today I went into town to have coffee with a friend and catch up on the local news. One of the best places for such activities is the bakery. (This is true of all country towns, but our bakery is the best on the Tablelands.) I was a little disappointed that they hadn’t made a batch of vanilla slices —each one over 300 cm3 of custardy goodness and a visual treat to boot — so I took a photo of the pie selection instead. Who needs them there fancy restaurants in Cairns when you’ve got this?

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Before I returned home, I picked up my mail from the post office. Among the letters was a Christmas card, which had been sent from the UK by airmail. It had come to me via Canada. I can only imagine that someone at the sorting office had confused Queensland with Quebec. Still, it travelled around the world and arrived within four weeks. That’s not bad going.

Friends in Melbourne, who admit to being slow in sending out their Christmas cards, once made a special effort to post them early. They were surprised and dismayed to discover that the cards still turned up several weeks late. Apparently, they had been delivered first to Goroka in the New Guinea Highlands, before being redirected to their original destination — the east coast of Scotland. It is an easy mistake to make.

Having said that, I love Australia Post. It’s a darned good service.

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Not much rain today. The brush turkeys are taking advantage of the break in the weather to do a spot of sun-worshipping. As I type this, about half a dozen of them are sprawled out in the garden, some on their backs, others on their sides. It looks like the world’s cheapest military re-enactment.

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When the wind shakes the rainforest canopy, it sends down showers of copper-coloured winged seeds — samaras — from the tulip oaks (Argyrodendron). These germinate almost as soon as they land. Other wind-borne seeds are drifting around, including at least one type carried along on white plumes. I have yet to catch one of those. I might have to break out the long-handled insect net. As you know, collecting seeds in serious business.

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