Australia Day 2018

Above: The house we leave behind.

I lie back on the couch and with my eyes half closed, idly rustling my fingers through a bowl of empty pistachio shells. They make a distinctive dry, slightly melodic sound, which is rather satisfying. I filter the shells through my finger tips on the off chance that I’ve missed some. The ones that remain, though, are firmly sealed, impenetrable to my finger nail. I manage to find one and prise out the sweet-salty nut. Rolling it around with my fingertips, I admire the exquisite bright limey green with its dusky rose husk.

A handful of pistachios translates to quite a bit of work. And leaves me with tattered nails! I idly wonder if anyone has devised a pistachio bowl yet, with a separate compartment to put the empties in. It would save a lot of hassle, but then again, I think I’d miss the rustle as I searched for that last one.

I didn’t get chance to buy groceries yesterday, and I’ve spent this morning alone, just me and my computer. Peering into the fridge, I unearth some stale cheddar (King Island, so that is a plus), one solitary baby cornichon swilling around at the bottom of a jar of vinegar, and some rather miserable looking strawberries, which I hastily ditch. Broadening the scope of my search into the pantry, I discover some crackers – with their crack long gone – and those pistachios.

A balanced lunch, right?

Did you know that the Queen of Sheba decreed that only royalty could enjoy pistachios? You and I wouldn’t have had a look in, banned from even growing a tree; she kept the lot for herself. 

But it’ll do. There’s lamb for dinner tonight, being as it is Australia Day and all, so this will keep me going.

Dearly Beloved (DB) has headed off to a Jag Club meet. Fortunately, he gets that his obsession with cars isn’t my bag –– nor are the club members my tribe – so he’s has left me here alone. Mentally I’m doing a happy dance and I’m revelling in the solitude. He’s going to try his luck and see if he can flog someone his baby – the car. Acutely aware that it’s not my baby, I’ve kept uncharacteristically and very diplomatically quiet, refraining from even bringing up the topic. Fortunately, he's realised that it’s not a practical machine for Norfolk Island’s pot-holed, winding roads. There’s one straight stretch along Queen Elizabeth Drive, where at a push you might get a car into fourth gear for 100 metres. Clearly, the island is not ideal Jag country, so it is going. And the money we get for it will go towards a more practical ‘Norfolk wheelbarrow’ – a small Suzuki tipper truck – perfect for chucking sandy beach gear in the back.

Irritatingly, our house remains unsold, and tomorrow we have the prospect of yet another ‘open home’. It’s important here to realise the distinction; it’s not open house, it’s open home. A small subtle difference, hopefully conjuring up warm fuzzies that will entice the prospectives to part with their hard-earned.

Open homes are a bit like showing your undies to the world; you know ‘they’ll’ walk through, critically running grubby fingers along your newly painted walls, scrutinising, planning, evaluating. They are always going to make changes; it’s a given.

Of course, you always put the lippy on when you’re selling a house. You aren’t going to leave the dog poop on the lawn, and wet towels on the bathroom floor. And even doing the washing up is probably a good idea. But did you know that people who are in the market to buy homes seemingly don’t use shampoo or soap? Nor do they use toasters, mixing spoons, or any other kitchen paraphernalia. Spare toilet rolls get whisked out of sight for fear of offending sensibilities. Special ‘display’ towels, preferably white, are folded and stacked with labels carefully tucked out of sight. And apparently, it’s now a thing for teenage girls to each demand their own bathrooms. We’ve three bathrooms in this house, all of which unsurprisingly need cleaning, and then there’s a fourth powder room, and still for some potential buyers it’s not enough!

‘The house is beautiful, it is exactly what we are looking for, but Aerial and Fleur can’t possibly share a bathroom, and we have to keep one spare for when their grandparents come to stay each Christmas.’

How many times will a four-person family all be relieving themselves at once? Jeez!

Yes, selling a home is personal, emotional and exhausting. In the final analysis, though, I don’t care about all that. If a bar of soap is offensive, I’ll hide it. If the toaster makes the kitchen bench look cluttered, well I’ll stick it in a cupboard. I just want the place sold. And more importantly, the money in our bank account so we can move on.