Currawongs are quite large birds - about twice as big as magpies. Glittering and black, they fly down to us when it gets too cold in the hills that are their homes. There is something rakish about them: they chortle and yammer and soil clothes on the clothesline, but they have the most beautiful bell like song that rings out like a celebration as they cross the sky.
I quite like spiders - mine, anyway. My house has daddy-long-legs: sizeable but having a fragile look, and harmless. Occasionally I sweep them down, feeling unpleasantly like the wrath of God as I wipe out their homes and larders. I also have Bruce.
Bruce is blacker, stronger than those, with bigger, hairier legs, and looks more threatening - tho' he's not. Over the years I've only seen one of him at a time, which is why he is named, and why I continue to see him as the same spider reincarnated, even tho' I've not only seen him dead, but on occasion have caused it....I've felt somewhat like Arthur Dent and the rabbit.
Bruce appears unpredictably: on one occasion he was on my leg in the shower. Flicking him off, I saw him balled into a tiny heap, saturated with hot water: well and truly past it. Half an hour later, when I went back to the bathroom, Bruce had revived and was attempting to climb the tile step to the exit. Repeatedly, he climbed, slid down the glossy surface, picked himself up, climbed again, slid down....Of course I put a towel down to give him a foothold.
Then a newcomer appeared outside. He was quite fearsome looking: about 12 cm long, and with a huge abdomen. His web went from the roof to a tree - close to 3 metres - and, unfortunately, above my route to my car. I consoled myself, as his web and he grew, that spiders have a firm grip on things and don't fall. Then, while I was typing away on the computer, Bruce fell onto my face, rather shaking my confidence in this.
Then the currawongs arrived, and in a wink the interloper was gone.
At my father's small funeral, 29 years ago, currawongs sang and rejoiced across the heavens, like a tribute. Both he and I couldn't have wished for better.
Kingsley, a 16 year old schoolboy, played the last post on his trumpet, arranged by the old soldiers assoc. I really still don't know how they knew that he was a veteran. It was not something that my father cultivated or even spoke of much. "It was a famous victory," he would quote.
K and Linda were together since way back then. She was a 10 year old in a netball skirt when I first knew her. They married young, and now, middle aged, live down "my" lane - a few doors from where L grew up - had two sons, the second of whom has Down's syndrome.
Living in a smallish town -20000 when I arrived, 60000 now - one can feel a little like a Miss Marple. Minus the murders, of course, because there was only one of those - ok, two - that I had any contact with, and there was no mystery about them at all.