It's been quite autumnal here in Western Australia. The days are cooler although I suspect there'll be quite a few more in the high thirties before the summer has truly done with us. The mornings are softer somehow - and it's not just because with daylight saving we are getting up in the dark so that by the time the family are leaving for work the sun is just coming over the horizon. I won't go into the energy guzzling idiocy of daylight saving at this latitude because if you're a regular reader you'll already know how I feel about that.
Instead let me describe a garden soaked but not damaged by storms and heavy rain. Everything looks fresh - leaves newly washed free of dust shining, roses covered in a riot of pinks, reds and yellows. The Mexican rose is rampaging over the pergola and side fence, its dainty hot pink racemes bobbing and buzzing as bees forage among them. Wherever I look I see a sudden burst of blossom. Petunias drape over the sides of hanging baskets and from the planter pot on the veranda, splash colour over the flower bed outside the family room. Pale yellow water lilies float in the garden ponds while rosemaries in different shades cascade over the rockery. Sadly the grapes which we would normally still be eating were quite literally burned off the vines by the 44 degree Celsius heat of Boxing Day but the strawberries in hanging baskets are still producing the odd fruit. Mostly though they are dangling runners in a curtain to the ground. Every evening the frogs sing their hearts out. And today I noticed buds on the potted camellia.
The regular Autumn visitors of flocks of honey eaters have arrived - New Holland honeyeaters with their vertically striped waistcoats, singing honeyeaters, black robbers' masks over their eyes, brown honeyeaters and, for the first time I can remember, brown-headed honeyeaters. When the first of these tiny birds flew past me I thought it was a large moth until it settled on the garden arch. They are all endlessly entertaining as they queue to splash in the birdbath then whirl off about their business of food gathering. We've had mudlarks and a sprightly willy wagtail pair as well - he with his pristine white shirt front and shiny elegant tuxedo jacket, she a little more subdued. They all join the residents - native red wattle birds, little wattle birds, magpies and ravens as well as the exotics - doves, Indian turtledoves and Rainbow lorikeets which are driving out the local Western Ringneck parrots (known here as twenty-eights because of their call). The lorikeets dispossess the ringnecks, throwing their eggs out of their nesting hollows and compete for the same food supply. Then there are the flyovers - black cockatoos, corellas, pink and grey galahs with the occasional ibis, pelican or heron on their way between wetlands.
And people ask me if I'm ever going to move. Why would I?