The Jaeckels are on board the Schnelle Reise and are sailing down the west coast of Africa. I’m not sailing anywhere, either in reality or in my writing. I’m not miserable, just kind of stuck. Perhaps my writing is mirroring the tedium of being on board ship for long months. I’m trying to decide if I should jump ahead and start writing about the Jaeckels’ arrival in Australia then double back to fill in the details of the voyage. I’m a bit choked there too since someone asked me what was going to happen to them when they got to Australia – “would there be a bushfire…?” No, I’m not planning a bushfire…aw did that spoil the surprise? Really it’s not that sort of book and bushfires weren’t really that common here. But I am trying to work out exactly where the book is going. I try to write as often as I can because I feel much calmer and happier on days on which I have managed to write something. I do think though that perhaps I shouldn’t have told anyone that I was writing a book. It just irritates me when people ask about what is going to happen or even worse, how it is going. And then I turn curmudgeonly, if that is a word.
So let me tell you about a few other things instead. The council hasn’t given us an extension of our building approval, they have simply told us that they haven’t yet decided that we haven’t failed to meet requirements. And they don’t anticipate deciding until the end of December. The end result once we translated all the double negatives is that we have a bit of breathing space. Really there’s not much left to do in which the council is interested, but finding the time is tricky. Mr Blithe is back at work, the builder has wrapped up all the big jobs and left us to our own devices and it’s just Blithe Boy and I during the day.
The outside of the house is being painted as I write. Peter Painter is the quietest of all the tradespeople so far. He arrives at 6.30am, has a cup of coffee while looking over the valley then I hear the creaks of the scaffolding, the flare of a match lighting the first of many cigarettes then only the intermittent sweep and thump of brushes. Once he has finished the outside transformation will be complete and we will be entirely on our own. I only wish that I could write as effectively and change things as efficiently as he. And that my book would end up the sunny literary equivalent of daffodil yellow and sky blue.