Java was cool. Back in the hills and away from the action in the city, he was, as is his wont when up here, spacing out on nature, the dogs, music and the ‘usual’. I, on the other hand, have had to balance keeping administrative imperatives up to scratch and helping The Dancer prep for the impending arrival of her Clan – just twelve of them for now, with the tykes making up the four generations that will be present together – plus the help they would bring along for the annual gathering during the Sinhala/Tamil New Year holidays. The dogs have sensed that there’s something going on, as their routines have already been put slightly off kilter, and although they do not enjoy too many folk (with the tykes to boot) occupying the spaces that they usually have unlimited access to, they will cope.

And so the first half of the contingent arrived and, after the dogs had settled down a bit and everyone got comfy, The Dancer and I walk little Mira – all four years of her – around the farm, as she is nutty about animals and had been anticipating this moment for the past week. However, although she wants so much to cuddle the baby pigs and fondle the chicks and ducklings, she refuses to get too close to them. It’s the same with the dogs for her. All the way up from Colombo she had been fantasizing about playing with Buster and the rest, but when she got down she was pretty much scared of getting anywhere close to them. We hope she will outgrow the fear.

Back inside, I get back to the mundane responding to mail and stuff that demands attention while Java starts his ritual – getting ready for the evening’s routine – and The Dancer is kept busy with her near and dear. Dylan is on WorldSpace’s RIFF doing It ain’t you babe, and the dogs are all curled up beside us keeping warm from the wet chill of the rapidly advancing twilight. It’s been raining up here in the late afternoons for the past few days after beautiful clear mornings, so everything is now damp outside and a coldish 17C and the crepuscular vibe is bringing out the cricket and frog sounds around the house.

Time to shower and get ready to join Java in the ritual that should get the night off to a reasonable start. Simon and Garfunkel are doing Flowers never bend with the rainfall, as I get ready to wrap up and head for the shower. The lyrics trail behind me as I leave the study…..

….It’s no matter if you’re born
To play the king or pawn
For the line is thinly drawn ‘tween joy and sorrow,
So my fantasy
Becomes reality,
And I must be what I must be and face tomorrow.

So I’ll continue to continue to pretend
My life will never end,
And flowers never bend
With the rainfall.