My partner is an extravert. Murray is energised by people and thrives on converting strangers into friends. Such a personality can tend to dominate, although my quiet persistence usually keeps us balanced. But at ‘Somewhere Unique’, we have come to realise there is another dominant extravert on the property – Mother Nature.

Recently we went away for two weeks, leaving a friend to housesit and to care for our three dogs. Our friend is very capable but we still made sure before leaving that all the chores were up to date, the house was well-stocked, the lawns were mowed, and that there was very little maintenance to undertake.

In our absence we had a fortnight of heavy rain combined with excessive heat. Up until this unforeseen weather the temperature had been mild and the gardens had been passively manageable. The wet heat, however, was the opportunity that Mother Nature had been waiting for. Suddenly weeds invaded the property like an army. Grass grew higher by the hour. Walking tracks disappeared and roads became gardens. And the pool promptly turned green, resembling a duck pond. Our friend was completely overwhelmed and, due to the relentless rain, barely had a chance to combat the unremitting advance of nature.

Now, the established division of labour between my partner and I is based on Murray having responsibility for everything that occurs inside the house, with me addressing everything external. This always seemed like a favourable deal to me – Murray cooks, cleans, and does the washing, while I just play in the garden and occasionally spend a leisurely afternoon circling on the ride-on. But the tables were turned on our return from holidays. Murray was greeted with a pristine interior and I was faced with 20 completely overgrown acres. The entire property resembled the lost city of Angkor Wat.

There was nothing other for me to do than to energetically tackle the undergrowth and overgrowth. The best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time and I applied this method to my sprawling acres of jungle. With the restful holiday a distant memory, I slashed the growth encroaching the driveway, rode the mower over every square of cleared ground, used the line-trimmer to force back the verges, and used the push mower for the tricky bits around the sloping entrance. There was blood, sweat and, if there were tears I will not admit to it.

And now ‘Somewhere Unique’ is fully reinstated to its former glory. In fact, it has not looked better for some time. After all the rain, the plant life is healthy and prosperous and the animals are making the most of plentiful food stocks. I, meanwhile, am now enjoying a brief rest while Murray continues to cook and to clean. All has returned to normal. Although, with experience comes greater wisdom. I will never underestimate Mother Nature again. I now realise that nature always prevails. And, for that, I am very thankful.