I have a new water bowl. It’s is the lounge, which is considerate, considering how hot the weather has been. The only trouble is that my bowl has a tree in it. Liz’s has hung some shiny balls on the tree. I wanted to tell her that I don’t need my water bowl decorated but, for some reason, she was looking all misty eyed … and I didn’t have the heart to mention it. Never mind. It is a nice green water bowl. I just have to stoop low and crawl over a mound of paper packages to enjoy a refreshing drink.
The weather is warm and summery. Most days the sky is blue from end to end. Fortunately we have wooden decking and can lie in the sun and keep an eye on things. Life is pretty busy at the moment. Phoebe is working almost full time at the library and going out every night doing all sorts of busy miss-twenty-year old things. Seth is working full time for an environmental contractor which I think is code word for watering trees. Liz is busy getting ready for her master class with the author Alison Goodman and she is very excited about it. Priya is still at school, until Friday. That’s when my work begin.
Andrew has started a new job with Exxon Mobil (some people have to keep working). I don’t know what he is doing. He seems to spend most of his time in the studio spying on me. Yes, that’s right spying. That’s the sort of people they employ in these big oil companies. Andrew’s boss is in America now, so he is making the most of the work from home policy. No one consulted me about it, and I am finding it rather restrictive. For some reason Andrew doesn’t want me barking at birds or welcoming the postman while he is in international phone meetings.
Alice is busy packing. She leaves on Friday but we are trying not to think about it. Tomorrow night Jack and Ness are coming for her farewell dinner. It will be a Christmas Dinner complete with pudding and Christmas Crackers and farewell gifts. I am going to miss, Alice, even though she has made a concerted effort to discipline me. She is going home to see her dog, Toffee, who I gather is better behaved than me. I have tried to show her things are different in Australia — more egalitarian less authoritarian. I have made symbolic forays into her room to rummage through her rubbish in order to illustrate this. When she complains I remind her that’s what international exchange is all about, respecting difference and growing in tolerance. She has learned a great deal, thanks to me.
Tonight she is having a farewell party with her school friends. Sunday she had two farewells, one at Church and one at AFS. Tomorrow is the family party and then the countdown begins. I’m not going to the airport. Someone has to stay and take care of things. I may not be as well behaved as Toffee but I will make sure Alice’s bin is empty for Grandma’s Christmas visit.