When I’m 84

the drip 3

I’ve had my Aunt to stay since the beginning of the month. She turned 84 just after her arrival from Albany WA.

I was a bit shocked when I first saw her, assisted in a wheelchair to the baggage carousel. Macquarie Bank/Sydney Airport Corporation certainly didn’t make it any easier to get her to my car, though she was better once she’d been able to pause for a moment and have a cigarette after the flight.

I don’t expect to live so long: I can scarcely afford to do so. Her visit has given me a foresight of what it might involve.

She is an undemanding guest. She mostly sleeps. Projected expeditions are nearly always abandoned or cut down to something more modest: she is reluctant to leave the car or walk for long.

I have slowed down to her pace.

One reason, she tells me, that she came all the way to see me (this is just a little unflattering, really: sometimes she even says “the main reason”) was because she wants to get back in the saddle with computers and the internet. She had a computer for a few years at the beginning of the century (and a rather racy hotmail handle to boot) but at some point it got a bit old and she let it slip.

Her attempts to wrestle with my home computer revealed just how temperamental it has become – mostly because the hard disk was too full. I have trimmed it down and now things are going much better, even if, in computer terms (think: cat years) you might say it is about as old as my aunt.

Along the way I have been rationalising old pictures and came across these three of “The Drip,” on the Goulburn River north of Ulan (in turn north of Mudgee and Gulgong. It is a beautiful place to which these pictures scarcely do justice, now threatened by the rash of coal mining which is ripping up the countryside around there.

the drip

I’ve been there more than once but failed to spot the Brett Whiteley “murals” (see also (1), (2) (3) (4)).

In the meantime, I went to hear Ingrid Fliter on Monday. She played sonatas by Haydn (Hob XVI.34), Schubert (D959) and the Chopin Preludes. I enjoyed the Schubert the most: the first movement didn’t quite “click” for me but after that she (and perhaps Schubert or maybe even just I) really got into the groove. The Preludes were an achievement but a different sort of experience. I wonder if I have ever listened through to all of them properly before? No 23 (in F major) bears an obvious relationship to the Op 10 Etude in the same key.

In the park across the road from my place the big excitement this week has been the ongoing confrontation over an evidently highly desirable piece of tree-hollow real estate. This has actually been going on a few months now but maybe the stakes are rising. A pair of cockatoos perch on the rim of the hollow and call/squawk/screech very loudly and aggressively at whatever it is that is in there. If they are trying to drive it out, it seems a counterproductive strategy – it would be a brave creature indeed that would face such abuse by leaving the hollow. This can keep going late into the night.

In the daytime, there is a man who plays the grand piano quite a lot from a house facing the park. He especially favours a splashy expansion of the Mozart Rondo a la Turca. This week he had the piano tuner round. That will be a very big improvement.

the drip 2

3 Responses to “When I’m 84”

  1. Andrew Says:

    Still being interested in in travelling to see people and being interested in computers is quite impressive for an 84 year old. Good on her, and even if she does not do all that is planned, she is still planning.

    • marcellous Says:

      Andrew, I quite agree. She still lives by herself and manages her own life, in her own way. Witnessing her here I am a bit amazed how she manages that: she really needs a bit of a hand (but of course only on her own terms – she has been single for most of her adult life). In truth her visit here is partly simply a break from all those daily tasks and responsibilities which I had sensed were beginning to get her down, so getting out and about and doing things is not really so important.

  2. wanderer Says:

    These segueing posts are especially enjoyable. Ulan I remember from visiting many years ago when a male couple experimented with interdependence in isolation (it lasted about 12 months) as being pretty rugged country (is there anything but?). It is Jimmie Blacksmith country isn’t it?

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