The day draws closer to the time of our departure from the red dirt country of Mitchell in outback Queensland to the blues, greens and golds on our island home: Phillip Island in southern Victoria.
There is sadness in saying goodbye to so many good friends and neighbours; sadness to be leaving my river, the Maranoa; sadness to be leaving the wide open spaces and warmth of Queensland. On the other hand, there will be the pleasure of greeting our friends and family down south, and pleasure in our return to the island where beach walks with our dogs are a daily routine.
We are greatly relieved that 15 year old Katie Siamese is sufficiently recovered to be making the journey back with us. She isn't as nimble as she once was, however, she can jump up on to low chairs and she isn't in pain.
It's at this time of the year that I begin to feel the push/pull of the island. The mutton birds will be flying back to their rookery after the honeymoon phase, to lay their large single eggs en masse around 24/25 November. Every year it's the same, through the decades, through the centuries -- since time began.
It's a signal to me too, a signal to pack up and 'migrate' south to Phillip Island where we'll spend the summer tracking the mutton bird cycle of egg, to chick, to maturity, to their departure in April on their migration flight to the Bering Sea and Alaska.
That will be my signal too, the signal for us to pack up once more and leave the island -- 'fly' north to our home and friends in Mitchell, outback Queensland.
So the cycle of our double life continues.