On the Easter weekend, we went rural. Well, a little more rural than usual. We first headed to Mapleton, where we stayed with some friends, and took a little walk to visit the spot in the bush where they got married. I detoured from the path and got stuck in some mud. My walking shoes will never look the same. The husband peered at me as I flailed around with one foot lodged in the ground, and said “What are you doing?” in a disapproving tone, like it was a new and eccentric hobby I was experimenting with. First the ukulele, now getting stuck in mud. Will it never end?
I got to have a little browse in the local secondhand bookstore (if we’re visiting somewere and there’s an open secondhand bookstore, there’s always time for a browse – one of the lessor known laws of physics), and found an old copy of a collection of James Tiptree Jr short stories (a generally out of print sci fi author). I took it back and the baby (currently nicknamed The Rodent) decided to have a nibble. Mmm, tasty science fiction.
“Do you think motorbike riders like each other?”
“No. They shoot each other.”
“No, I don’t mean gangs. I mean, when they’re out on their bike and they see another bike rider – do you think it gives them a warm comforting feeling?”
“Like they’ve peed themselves?”
We drove further north, to hang out with Andrew, Esther and family, including their new baby. He vomited on me several times during the weekend, which I think was either a sign of favour, or his way of saying, “Could you stop whirring me around in the air like a toy, madam?” I am fond of the astounded, gleeful expression babies get when you fly them round like little fat wingless birds. I could do without the curdled milk landing on me afterwards though. And the horrified howling when you try and wipe said curdled milk from the baby’s face. Oh, the torture of having one’s face wiped.
We spent an afternoon together on the lawn drinking wine, sketching and playing music. Unfortunately my talents at sketching and music are not improved by the consumption of wine. I have brought home a terrible pencil sketch of the garden, and a much more impressive drawing of a rocket done by the toddler. We played and sang our way through my unwieldy songbook folder that I drag everywhere. Esther has one of those gorgeous bluesy voices that I envy terribly, knowing that I will never sound like that. But I am content to harmonise (or attempt to do so). “Not everyone has to have a lead singer’s voice,” says the husband philisophically. “Think of John Lennon.”
We’re going to do some recording before they leave the state again – Wade in the Water, and Why Worry, a mellow Dire Straits song that we’re plotting to turn into a power ballad. I have harmonies in mind.