Midyim berry, or Austromyrtus dulcis (sweet southern myrtle): four stars for what is usually a four star fruit. These treats taste a lot like eucalyptus drops, with a hint of ginger. The tiny, hard seeds have a pleasant crunchiness. The fruits themselves look like spider egg sacs.

The fruit is native to Australia, but you are unlikely to come across it in your day-to-day life. It is not commercially grown, and I have never seen it available at a greengrocer. I have never seen it growing in the wild either, but it is apparently more abundant on the coast north of Coffs Harbour and up to Bundaberg. Your best bet then, if you wish to sample this fruit, may be to find a friend with a midyim berry bush and ask very nicely next summer.

Whatever was in my stomach wanted to get out. I opened my eyes and looked up at the ceiling. It sat or perhaps hung above me, suspended and motionless, completely unaffected by the rocking and jerking that I felt all through my body, from my spleen to my interstices to my bare skin chafing against the buckles and straps. At least one of my senses was lying to me. In the cornice was a spider web, full of old egg sacs and remnants from previous years. The contents of the web bobbed a little with the motion. Outside, the wind howled.

I unbuckled the straps, and let myself fall out of the bunk and onto the floor. I found my greatcoat and my scarf, which I wrapped around my head before climbing up to the deck.

We were still docked on the river T––––, poor weather having delayed our departure since commissioning the small vessel three weeks ago. I made my way over the gangway and onto the river promenade, crouching under the railing to escape the worst of the effects of the wind.

Some distance downwind, a crowd of five or six people was gathered at the edge of the river. They stood in a circle, surrounding something that sat on the ground. A child of around ten sobbed into their muck-soiled overalls. I approached, and saw that the focus of their attention was some kind of animal, lying limp in the centre of the circle. Perhaps it was a dog; I have never been much for recognising dogs. I knelt down and brushed the head of the animal with the back of my hand. My hand became damp, and I wiped the excess moisture onto my trouser leg. One of the men of the circle, none of whom I had given much attention, lifted me from my kneeling position and asked me to leave.

Further along, I found shelter underneath a walkway that ran between two sets of townhouses. Here, the force of the wind was somewhat reduced. The ground was covered in a sticky dew, but behind the townhouses was a garbage alley, where I found a relatively clean cardboard box in which I could sit and pass the rest of the night.