Gardens to dig: here’s the blank canvas view so I can show you as it improves this summer. Could it be any worse? Everything died whilst I was away in Europe during a drought summer, and I haven’t yet put it back together. I’ve bought a lot of seeds: night flowering tobacco, stock, lobelia, heritage tomatoes…

And now, I have a job to keep me out of trouble, as well! I just got a call from the State Library of Victoria, where I’ll be working part time as a program administrator during a six-month break from the thesis. I’m really looking forward to it. My brother works as an IT go-to guy there and loves it, so sometimes we’ll be able to take breaks together at the Vietnamese soup house over the road. And the people are lovely. When my interview was over yesterday, I was allowed in to see the Queen’s Hall (the old Arts library), which is now closed and empty save a few wooden desks and some enormous chandeliers. It had the untouched air of a deserted country mansion. I have such happy memories of curling up on the 70s carpet there, next to my favourite window, with an art book or ten.

Oh, and thanks to everyone for your kind birthday wishes and your comments on my break. It’s encouranging to remember that I’m not the first person who ever needed to do this.