Photograph of an Adelaide street's Jacaranda trees


Sometimes you have to put down the pen or turn off the computer, and get out into the fresh air. This is not really taking time off, because writers are always working, even when they're asleep. Anyway, today I needed to rest my eyes on something beautiful and, being November, jacaranda trees are in flower.

All of a sudden, familiar routes through the city have become a lucky dip, as side streets reveal tantalising glimpses of electric colour. For the duration of their short flowering season, even dull front yards and nondescript architecture will be transformed. Driving down streets lined with mature trees is like moving deeper and deeper into a heavenly blue tunnel. Pools of lavender-blue dot the pavements, the result of a constant soft rain of petals.

Each year at this time I spend an afternoon walking through the jacaranda streets. I take the camera, because I always stumble across beautiful patches of the city I've never seen before. The colours and textures of bluestone and sandstone, and the silvery grey of the brush fences that are common here, complement the colour of jacaranda flowers. Adelaide's traditional architecture seems to come alive at this time of year, and verandas in deep shade never look more inviting than when the sun beats on their tin roofs.

I managed to squeeze a mention of jacaranda into Nights In The Asylum and I am wondering whether to include it in the next book. For those of you in the northern hemisphere, here are some pictures of my favourite trees to offset the gloom of winter.