Well, I have finally recovered from the little penguin houses, although perhaps not wholly. Does one ever. I find it's for the best if I don't dwell too long on thinking about them as relapses begin to loom threateningly on the horizon. So speak to me not of little baby fairy penguins which come out of their houses at sunset, standing stupidly on their ridiculously stumpy penguin legs, waiting for someone to come and vomit something yummy into their mouths.
My life would feel empty without the little penguin houses if I didn't take steps to fill it. Steps like acquiring my first ever pair of glasses (late December.) It was like being born again - as a defective nerd, admittedly - but I learned that actually, trees have leaves on them and clouds are not really that cloudy. For about two weeks I was rediscovering the world. It's a lot to take in when you are 37. That distant building perched mysteriously on a hill across the valley from the rooftop carpark on Greensborough plaza, which I had so often squinted curiously at, wondering if it was a distant farmhouse or a lonely Xanadu-type mansion, turns out to be only a big tin shed with three roller doors. The world of the poorly sighted is more romantic, but on the other hand it is rather nice to be able to read signs on the road at night when you are driving somewhere and don't know the way.
Another thing which has happened is that the visitor cats are gone. Albie went home without his voice, strange to say - when we came home from Kangaroo Island he'd lost his meow and it's never come back. I didn't know whether I'd be sad to not have them with us any more. In the event, when I took them back to their owner and their old home, they seemed to recognise it, and her, and straight away seemed happy, which made it much easier to walk away them. Plus it was not as if they'd died or anything. I felt a little disoriented the first few days without them - I kept looking toward Albie's chair before remembering he had left - but, if I'm truthful, I hardly missed them at all. Basil certainly doesn't. He's gone back to being an ecstatically happy cat.