Badger, badger, badger, badger......

The first week back after holiday should be easy in theory. In practice it can be a hard week to get through. Spring officially begins on September 1 in Australia, and I can see why - many of the trees are already in bloom, the lowest temperature at night has probably climbed by five or six degress in the last three weeks, and the midmorning sun is something to be afraid of once again. After the horror of 41° in the shade in Kyoto, the weather here seems pretty perfect however.
As we had to drive down to Nimbin on the Saturday, but were not in a hurry and didn't have too much to do, we decided to vary our usual route down the motorway, and instead swing inland at Nerang, and take the tourist road that cuts through in between Lamington national park and the coastal plain. As soon as you are out of Nerang, it's a really pretty drive, as the road climbs up almost to the level of the Lamington National Park plateau and then the view opens up across the Tweed Valley all the way to Byron Bay. It probably takes about an extra 40 minutes to get to Murwillumbah, but if you're not pressed for time it's definitely worth it. Oh yeah, and there's a cafe with home baked fudge cakes on the way.
We were looking forward to a reconfigured and functional bathroom at home, but it turns out that I hadn't quite asked the plumbers to do what I thought I had. I thought that I had asked for the shower and sink to be plumbed in, and that that would mean both would be assembled and connected to the water supply. Unfortunately, I wasn't specific enough in my email, and I now realise that the quote we received was to assemble and plumb in the shower, but only to run pipes to the sink, and not assemble it or plumb it in. Fortunately, the Ikea flat pack sink unit was quick and fairly intuitive to assemble, and by this morning, we had it set up and at least ready to plumb in to both the waste pipe and the water supply. We need to buy a couple of pipes and connectors, and we should be able to finish the job in a couple of hours.
Having been away in Japan, the house and garden and deck were all a bit of a mess, and there were off cuts, and pieces of fibroboard left by the workmen and the plumber which needed to be tidied away. This was sweaty work, which meant that we had to test whether the new shower was working properly. It's pretty powerful, and there's room for two.
In our absence, the local wildlife has taken up residence. As we arrived, we saw a large spiny lizard, sunning itself in the last rays of the sun, and several too-large-for-comfort spiders ran away as I loaded things into the basement. When we drove into the village to get bread, the joey that we saw two months ago with his mother was back, by itself this time. It has grown to almost 3 foot high, and developed a shiny silver pelt on the front. It's also more paranoid than before, pounding off into the bush as soon as it becomes aware that you're watching.
On Sunday morning, C went to clear some of the lantana away from the chicken coop. As she was working, she heard something rustling in the bush next to her - and when she looked, she saw a fair size snake moving through the grass towards her. Once she figured out it was no threat, she called me over with the camera. It seemed it was attracted by the scent of the chicken coop - which is quite incredible, given that it hasn't contained chickens for almost three and a half years! We watched it sniff its way along the ground, and then once in the centre of the cement chicken coop, begin to follow its nose up the wall, to exactly where the roosts were positioned. After a few moments, it figured out there was nothing to eat, turned around, and continued on its way into the neighbour's garden.
Disconsolately, we tidied, and packed, and drove off, back to Brisbane.
Our weekend however, was not entirely over. When we got two Sphinx rock, there was a local band playing of the cafe, and a fair crowd had gathered to watch them. They were called Channel Free; a funky five piece playing rootsy psy-dub, with an amped up didgeridoo, and a synthesiser doing interesting percussion effects. We sat in the late afternoon sun, on the grass by the creek - and didn't care that we'd get back to the city a bit late.

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