Let's just back track a few decades on that garden scene. The jungle was an ordered garden then; something out of Brunnings Australian Garden Guide: garden beds along the fencelines, shrubs at the rear, and annuals in front nodding their flowerheads at their cousins across squares and arcs of lawn separated by prim neat pathways. Also, three fruit trees in the lawn, and two outbuildings painted in glistening Taubman's Ship Grey gloss.
We worked bucolic Saturday afternoons edging, pruning, raking by autumn, and watering by summer, while the sun dragged deep-etched shadows across the flat geometric lawns from west to east, angling farther south in winter, a mere sliver in the roiling height of summer when the heat slammed down from straight above. One year my mother planted a sapling at the west end of the garden. It will have purple flowers, she said.
I lived in one of the small outbuildings just about all of two summers. Oppressive heat was relieved by a sliding air-hatch in the low ceiling; one night John O'Donnell on 3XY's Sunday album show played an entire side of a new record, Dark Side of the Moon. Once, in the broiling small hours, my half-asleep brain heard distant, slow-motion traffic; but I woke and the muted, introspective notes warping across the heat-soaked miles were Coltrane. That was Chris Winter's obsession, in some other overheated far-away studio.
That time-standing-still summer I taught myself to paint, using my father's Winsor and Newton oils and pigs' bristle brushes and linseed and the little timber case they came in, and I gave up after three pictures (one of the three, detail, below). Then I was gone from there and did not return for many years.