For some bizarre reason, I had been under the impression that once we moved out of our house, we would have far more time...yes, well....
This week has flown past, we are now in another apartment – a lovely old Queenslander in Toowong – and we have the two remaining cats with us, so we are a complete family again. Every morning I cry when I get up and there is no Guinny to walk, but we will not think about that. We can almost see Rupert's office from here, as it's a two minute walk – but luckily, considering it's not one of the most attractive buildings in Brisbane – it is hidden by a beautiful, spreading Poinciana tree in bloom. Poinciana's are my favourite tree – even when not blooming – and they are one of the things I will miss most, with their bright, oval green leaves and fiery blooms.
So, in the last couple of weeks, I have played my last concert as concertmaster of Brisbane City Pops Orchestra and was given a three year National Trust Membership and managed not to burst into tears on stage. I have had my last gig with Brisbane String Quartet, playing for the first time at Victoria Golf Complex, (which turned out to be a case of music, bow and stands V gale force winds) against a stunning backdrop of the city at twilight. And I didn't cry much.
Over the weekend we visited Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary for the last time. We first went to Lone Pine on our third day in Brisbane, with a one year old who threw a tantrum because I wouldn't let him eat the Kangaroo food or pooh. This time, the same child was more interested in discussing the pitfalls of communism, as we walked around the kangaroo enclosure in 35 degree heat, expecting intelligent discourse from me, when all I was really interested in was getting to the cold water.
Lone Pine was our home from home for many years. For the first eight years we were in Brisbane, we had family membership and I took one of the children there twice a week, on average, as it is right next to the Brisbane Montessori School where they all started their primary years. We have many wonderful memories of farting koalas, thieving bush turkeys, being chased by emus, having my expensive sunglasses pecked to death by lorikeets, children getting worms from eating said kangaroo pooh. It is a wonderful place, with its fat, wriggling platypus, the raucous cockatoos, the dinosaurial Cassowary loping around his enclosure, the kangaroos (not that different to the kangaroos I saw on my daily walk at home, but more exciting in an enclosure, of course...?) the rat-like Tasmanian devils with their Beatrix Potteronian cute factor, the weird and wonderful and beautiful snakes, doubtless plotting evil in their painted cells, the sheep shearing show (yes, and witnessing an audience of one hundred people of every shade and ethnicity, hypnotised into complete silence by the sight of a man shaving a half asleep sheep, makes you realise quite how Tony Abbott managed to be elected Prime Minister (well, not really, but perhaps makes it a teeeeeeeny bit easier to have an inkling of understanding)) the Bird of Prey Show, (where the presenter ends every sentence with a question mark, so you're not sure whether you're actually being informed by an animal expert, or taking part in some sort of weird quiz game ( as in, “this is our beautiful Fish Eagle, Iluka?” “The Barn Owl's primary food is mouse?”) ) the beautiful shaded walks and cool, turtle filled pools, the whistling shrikes and laughing kookaburras. It is hard to believe we will probably never visit again. Maybe one of the girls will come back one day and work there, talking in questions?