It feels like summer here. Claire’s sitting on my lap and singing to the lorikeets in the flame trees outside the window. The late afternoon light is the colour of Houghton’s White Burgundy.

We’re home.

We had breakfast at Petit Creme this morning with a mighty horde of well-wishers: Paul and Paula from the Moonbase, Squishy’s friend Shannon and the Sarcastic Mister Bennett, Michael and Rachel and Patrick and Uncles Barney and Big. I explained that we’d adopted Claire as a gesture of compassion towards the suffering nation of America. Her parents, I whispered, were Republicans.

My darling Bellboy, the pony on whom I learned to ride, turned thirty last November, and still looks about twelve. He patted me down for carrots and, finding none, turned his back on me and stared moodily out to sea. We had tea under the jacaranda tree with Thussy, and she gave Claire a kangaroo on a spring.

R: What shall we call him? What’s the Austrian for kangaroo?

Thussy: Kangaroo.

Lunch was in Duncan’s tree house overlooking Bungan Beach. Lauren made us chicken sandwiches, and Blossom the rottweiler drooled over Claire. Literally. There were great pools of rottie-saliva collecting on the deck.

I could totally live here. If I had DSL, and twice the bandwidth across the Pacific. And a private jet.

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