So sad that I'm old enough to remember when that was used for TAA, perhaps unwisely - grin. Still, I was singing along with an old Carnation ad the other weekend that I'd learnt when I was five and if you think that's sad, one of my friend's first words were: "Go Well, Go Shell". Marshall McLuhan eat your heart out.
So, the Australia Day long weekend. Most people I know sensibly stayed indoors this long hot summer weekend, but as it's the anniversary of my ancestor's arrival in this country via the First Fleet, and bugger anyone who tries to wash over this fact, I feel I ought to be out there doing and mother takes it very seriously, too. It's our big day out - which is of course why I didn't get to the Big Day Out. I used to figure the bands would always be there but Mother wouldn't. Turns out the auld witch is still going strong whereas as my fave musos are keeling over at an alarming rate. Oh well.
Saturday: accidentally left alarm on so I'm up prior to sparrow's fart but I do get to watch lots of Thunderbirds before my coffee and catching up with newspapers and magazines - I could read a book but I'm less annoyed when interupted mid newspaper. I'm using my Xmas cup because it makes a damn fine cup of coffee. It must be a combination of variables such as the ratio of coffee to milk it allows, the heat absorbed by the ceramics, the shape...whatever, it's the best cup for drinking coffee out of. Of course, after a tough week I'm onto my third cup and still sluggish, then at 11.45am it hits and I'm up and ready to scrub down the kitchen or whatever. While I'm idling awaiting orders I hear the tv start up with Slayerfest 5. Yay! Too late, oh commandant, because I'm suddenly a permanent fixture on the couch for the next six hours, dreadful I know but fuck it. During the afternoon Bro masters the art of making iced mocha lattes with his expresso machine and they're grand. Just like the real thing. So I'm enjoying his present, so sue me. Like I was going to let him get away with iced lattes for one.
Yup, no housework, no writing, just vegetating. Bliss. After Buffy it was Andromeda, alas Tyr has been reduced to Teal'c's role of just propping up the scenery. B1 and B2 indeed. Then it was tea and washing up and buckets on the garden because it was mighty hot and then I got to see all of Bridget Jones's Diary. Uniterupted. Loved it. Can't tell you the bit I peeed myself over because the friend it reminded me of will no doubt get huffy, but oh, too freeling funny.
Sunday. 4am rising, not quite as ouchy as I thought because it's only half an hour earlier but mother is feeling it but she wanted to come along and see the dawn baloon launch in the park with me. We wait for the taxi by moonlight - there are no buses - and are let off in the middle of nowhere, ie the vacant lot where I was born, by an incredulous taxi driver. But we're not alone. As we walk in darkness up through the park we hear the tramp of feet and the whispers of voices behind us and ahead of us and as we climb the hill then break through the trees onto the playing fields there are people filing onto the fields from all directions from the treeline, stirring the waist high mist about us. It's all very LOTR, let me tell you. It's the most magic moment of the day. We've all come here with a single purpose, about a thousand of us: to see the ballons laid out on the ground inflated and lift off as dawn breaks, which they do, a cheer going up from the crowd as each basket lifts off, to drift away idly towards the south.
It's just perfect. They had to have special permission to light up the balloons, too, in this time of total fire ban, ie no flames, anywhere, not even a match. After that, watching the ballons disappear over the horizon, the smell of the free breakfast washes over us, but the queue coils around the oval three times over so I decide I'll be smart and hike down to the only cafe I know that'll be open at this hour on a Sunday. Unfortunately everybody thought this too and there's a queue of equal size here and like two people on duty. Fortunately the manager is on the ball and in 15 mins the staff has quadrupled and we get seated and served and wolf down our enormous so called Canadian breakfast - it came with pancakes and maple syrup, not very patriotic but there wasn't an Aussie breakfast on the menu, and we made it to the bus stop with ten mins to spare, though my big breakfast doesn't settle, and refuses to do so for the rest of the day.
A long bus ride into the city and we get off in Bridge Street, trot down to the Quay and around to Farmers Cove, is it? Anyways, it's my fave spot for the ferry race but inspite of me slip slop slapping, ie slathered in sunscreen and wearing a freshly bought hat so loud and ridiculous as to attract grins and laughter all day, I suffered under the heat and sun - I actually gave myself sunstroke, again. I could feel it coming on but I was so determined to see out the race and this time they actually put some speed on so it didn't take so long. Alas the water police were out in force, and it took diddums about two hours to figure it was paranoia that had them out on the water en masse but they kept pulling anyone over for the slightest reason which meant my usual entertainment of watching drunken weekend sailors prang into each other and land in the drink to be circled by sharks was not to happen. Pout. No untimely whale breaches either - not the season for it, so it was all very dull. I gave up waiting for the tall ships race, which is really what I wanted to see (qv Aubrey/Maturin obessession), but I should have retired earlier because I was fried, Totally fried.
So, crankily shooing macaroni wearing tourists out of my way (how dare they diss the harbour on Australia Day. Fuck 'em) mother and I made a beeline to the Liptons iced tea tent and kept walking back for free samples until we felt we'd staved off imminent collapse. We had brought bottles of water but we'd drunk it all, already. Then it was four blocks on to one of the old pubs I used to frequent, still serving beer at 1988 prices (or at least not at the prices of that hotel up the Cross), with a lovely beer garden. Of course a whole swag of people followed me down the alley, so purposeful must have been my stride, so we had to drink with tourists hovering over our table like impatient magpies. Grrr.
Up to Bridge Street (to think I used to dash all the way up here and further when I used to lunch at the Quay, never returning until the canon fired. I miss those days) to the Museum of Sydney which was having a free day and selling off books for cheap. My backpack now weighs 30kg and the museum is so crowded we have to queue to see the D'Urbanville exhibition but it's well worth it. I read some of his notes on exploration and meeting exotic natives and mentally file them away for future reference. It's all very Aubrey/Maturin. Joy.
Then it's up Macquarie Street past all the shiny vintage cars on exhibition (I want to buy about half) to Hyde Park and the food fair. Moother drags me past most stalls but I manage a very nice merlot from a stand I think was named Hill or Mill something and I finally snag some Tunisian lamb snags and they're brilliant. Then it's some Catalan chocolate brandy cake to finish off - my fave cake in the world, though I only like three, this is number one (a german fruit flan and pavolva taking up the other pole positions - in spite of my girth I'm not into cakes, as a rule) and we finally settle down with our pink magueritas, just cordial this year, alas, and listen to Jimmy Little while leaning up against old fig trees. I swear my spine curves the way it does from a mispent youth and adulthood reclining against enormous buttress roots because this is the park where I used to lunch and write for a couple of years.
Then it was grocery shopping, picking up the day's papers, just missing the bus and finally getting home to a hot, hot wind again. I flopped on the couch and watched the fembot episode of Buffy then it was buckets on the garden and after that I tried to sit quietly but it was all too much so it was a shower to try and cool myself down, a lot of throwing up, another shower, then lots of lying about being miserable inbetween being sick. I think I saw eight minutes of Frogs and Lobsters all up - bugger, and lft my vcr to watch Queen of Swords because I was out of it.
Monday: a public holiday, thank frell. Slept until ten, watched Quincy, staggered to kitchen to make much needed cup of tea, then another and another. Read papers, had a bagel - a mistake, then watched some more Buffy, dozed, and repeated until the afternoon. Slept through tea, gave leftovers to magpies. Watched Roswell, the last episode of Season 1, the one where Kyle gets shot and Max saves him, heh. Then I turned onto the Dead Zone, fully intending to nod off again but I didn't - must have been all those Without A Trace ads. Whee! Then Sopranos, QAF and finally sleep - was startled awake just as I was drifting off by the melted blutak on a poster giving way just at that moment. Adrenal rush from being slapped with a large poster put sleep back at least an hour.
Tuesay: I'm at work. I hope they don't expect tricks today. At least massive dehydration has caused me to drop a dress size. Yay.