Monday, 26 November 2007


Friday night the heavens opened. First, a dramatic storm from the west then a solid wall of water from the north. We were all awake at 4am with the deafening noise of continuous heavy rain. Lying in the dark listening to wave after wave of drumming, two things were on my mind: our driveway and whether this was an omen for the election. If it was an omen, was it a good or a bad portent? Omens are so tricky that way.

The driveway survived but required substantial work. We were scraping roadbase off our front paddock and filling chasms on Sunday afternoon while fantasising about heavy machinery and truckloads of fresh gravel. Whenever we get heavy rain, I remember that our quiet dead-end road was once the main road to Minden and points west. The road washed out in the late 1880s in a rare cyclone and has never been “fixed.” Having seen our driveway and the gully left by that 1880s cyclone, I can understand the delay.

For the first time in several years our tanks are close to full and the garden is lush and green. I don’t feel like quite such a fool for having planted that magnolia grandiflora down the front paddock.

And as for portends and omens, as always it is how you look at things. In one way, it might have been a parting gift from the previously omnipotent John Howard. In another light, it could be seen as signifying change and a fresh start. Or the winds of change…Its effect was making election day slow and wet (not to mention how long it actually takes to vote “below the line” in a booth with the ballot paper curling up both sides of the booth, children underfoot and trying to concurrently count up from one and down from 65 to make sure you had a number in every box.)

Three of my four hopes for this election came about which is pretty good in the game of politics. Ironically, I have spent much of today reassuring people that the end of the world probably isn’t quite nigh even with wall to wall Labor governments across Australia at state and federal levels. I’m not sure how that came to be my job to be a Labor apologist. Perhaps I am the only person left of right that some people know.

Tomorrow, away from champagne of politics and back to the bread and butter of writing, although I’ve never thought they couldn’t be mixed.

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