One of the best things about living in a 100 year old house is the garden which comes with it.
We have 9 camellia trees, of varying sizes and shapes. They have struggled mightily over the last few years - not enough water, too much sun, a 48 degree day which burnt their leaves off in 2009 and so on.
But this year they have come good. And are thriving.
These camellias come from the tree outside our study:
Here is one I cruelly picked before it had a chance to properly open:
When I took botanical illustration classes 5 years ago, camellias were the flower I turned to first:
You may be wondering what any of this has to do with hairdressers.
Well, a few months ago my hairdresser noticed something not quite right on my scalp. She scolded me and said I must go to the doctor. It was a basal cell carcinoma, and a little operation a few weeks ago and 10 staples in my head later, it is all pretty much gone (we hope).
You may say - of course she should have mentioned that. But I think that many people wouldn't bother. And she did and I am grateful. And it happens that I have a history of skin cancer in my family so I do need to pay attention to such matters.
I have not actually sunbaked since I was 15. But these things do keep appearing on my pale surface. It is a real issue in Australia. The sun is just so strong, and it penetrates you like the heat from an oven. And leaving aside the health risk, growing up in Australia in the 1970s with white skin was not that easy. No one knew of the dangers of the sun. It was quite normal to spend the day on the beach and burn one's skin to a crisp and watch it then blister and peel. And there was no proper fake tan (remember Sudden Tan, which came in a foam tin and made your skin go orange) and lots of taunts from school friends newly returned, honey coloured, from Noosa. Now of course we have Cate Blanchett and others to admire. Then, one had to really turn the other cheek.
So, for bothering, Gloria, thank you.
And I must mention an upside of my paleness. Not as many wrinkles as I would otherwise have. At least that is what I tell myself. And whilst I don't go as far as Nicole Kidman who apparently 'wears a hat to cross the street'* (oh right so that's why her skin is so perfect), go to Little Augury here to see in art and photos how wonderful a parasol can look.
Happy winter sunny weekend to you all.
* this is what Naomi Watts, her friend, once said in an interview.