It is getting very quiet at work as we head towards the Christmas break. One of my team is off on a pre-festive cruise next week so has tomorrow off to get ready and the other has decided to use up some leave by booking the next few Mondays and Fridays off, starting tomorrow.
I don’t mind, at least for the next week. Alone at my desk, I have half a chance of getting my assignment finished and to get some planning done in my head.
This time of year is marked by the blooming of the jacaranda trees. They are tall trees which sit all over the neighbourhood without attracting any attention all year, until suddenly they erupt in a burst of lilac flowers. They are like cherry blossom trees in the sudden and striking appearance of their colour, the fragility of the blooms and the brevity of the season during which they flower.
A few years ago, my brother flew in from Thailand a few weeks earlier than usual and said Perth looked completely different from the air – covered as it seemed to be in a blanket of lavender. I love the appearance of the trees, but there is one problem – the petals are fragile and fall quickly to the earth, and there is a jacaranda tree in the park.
As the petals lie on the ground, the bees descend and cover the flowers. Walking up the park, the ever increasing minefield, pretty as it is, becomes increasingly difficult to avoid with the dogs and I have already had one incident this year with Lucy surprising a bee on the ground and getting stung on the leg last week. This was on the opposite side of the park to the tree so was even more upsetting. Once again it coincided with a decision to walk to the park and meant I had to carry her all the way home.
Tonight I steered the dogs well away from the purple peril and kept them bee-free, but the evening was far from quiet. As we headed out and back towards the car, Archie lunged towards three crows on the grass. Two flew to the right but one was less keen to leave and hopped onto the fence to keep guard over something.
Lucy saw it before I did. It was a rat and judging by its lack of willingness to run at speed, an injured rat. That must have been what the crows were up to. Lucy lent in towards it and it reared up on its hind legs, which confused her momentarily but I was not about to let her get any closer. I know if she got the rat in her mouth, she would instinctively shake her head and break its back. I called her over. She looked at me while deciding if it was worthwhile disobeying.
Then Archie, who had been barking at the crows, saw the rat and all hell broke loose. Archie’s life mission is to rid the planet of a long list of things and right near the top are things that threaten his fence line. Archie will spend hours in the garden, sitting up on one of the garden chairs, watching the fence in case a mouse decides to dart along its length. Here was a rat in an open field within feet of his nose: he had hit the jackpot.
He started straining and lunging and Lucy, emboldened ducked in to sniff the rat again. The rat reared up one more time, then moved away with Lucy following. It was not moving at speed, which is why I thought the crows may have attacked it and why it has since reminded me of this from Father Ted. I could see not blood, but he was not sprinting. With Archie pulling one arm off, I managed to get Lucy on the lead with another and watched as the rat hobbled off while Archie practically had a nervous breakdown watching his quarry get away.
Just another quiet walk with the dogs, which possibly explains why sometimes, I like to get to work for the peace and quiet.