Before we continue, an addendum. I know addendums go at the end, but this is my blog and I won’t do what you tell me (to be sung to the tune of ‘Killing in the Name of’). I need to give you the background context in which this tale of adventure and mud was composed. I arrived home Sunday evening to be served reality, cold. That Man packed his bag for China on one side of the bed while I unpacked mine on the other.
Also, ‘unpacked’ is a euphemism for ‘did not unpack because No. 1 daughter was having the meltdown from hell and took 2 hours to calm down. If you missed Part 1 and can be bothered to check it out, go here.
Monday morning, 6am dawned, 13 degrees and raining buckets, a week of full time work, two tired kids, and no groceries.
China. My nemesis.
However, adrenalin. Chemical manna of the Gods. If you can power a small solar-powered car on this stuff (not scientifically proven, but I’m calling it), then it can certainly propel one small Kim right through a working week alone with the girls, and out to the other side. I hoped. Fervently.
You will notice though that Part 2 of this post took a reaaaaally long time. The adrenalin ran out, and the wheels fell off. The Kim went SPLAT. Anyway, here I am again, mostly upright, and blogging on my phone on the train. Commitment, no?
Back to the Green, green, green, Day on the Green. Where was I? Sitting in a coach, jiggling like a busting 3-year-old boy holding his little footy frank with a bladder full to bursting, without a footy frank to at least HOLD. God help me. I forced my way off the bus, squelched through the ponchos and the mud, and danced a jig to no music in a portaloo line in a field before suggesting that all the men in front of me PEE IN A BUSH. I mean, what good is a hose if you’re not willing to use it?
Can you pick the surgeon, the editor, the lawyer and the accountant from this lineup?
Eventually, decompressed, drenched, and having lost my friends, I floated round the field without a care in the world because I was in a FIELD of WINE with NO CHILDREN and an EMPTY BLADDER. Plus I’d napped on the bus. Happy, happy day.
Where were my friends? The accountant, with a finely-honed ability to save and invest wealth, had stored all her credit cards and cash loosely in the bottom of a shopping bag, and was set. The lawyer pulled on her sunglasses, in order to see her way through the driving rain. Not so much for the cool, more for the prescription lenses. The surgeon with her drenched arms poking from her poncho was helpfully laden with bottles of wine, all the better to warm us with.
We were reunited. It was the 90s again. Hot tub time machine – I told you.
Damp in body but not in spirit.
One of us tried her very first spliff (I can’t tell you who in case it’s later used against her in a Court of Surgery) and was hugely disappointed when I told her she’d just asked for a puff of someone’s rollie.
We traipsed through the mud numerous times to the wine cattle shed (so-named because we were herded in to metal gates to collect our wares like moo cows.) There was a 1-bottle per person purchase limit, and a complete bar shutdown of 7:30pm, so stocking up was serious business. It’s possible the editor said ‘moo’ to security as she walked by and was directed to her gate. Possible, but not confirmed. Moooooooooooo.
Targets acquired. Mission complete. Bar is OPEN.
One of us took a shining to a small child (perhaps the one without children??) and forgot ‘child’ was not in a zoo or behind glass as she pointed and made faces and commented on ‘child’s’ cuteness. Eventually ‘child’ came out from hiding behind ‘mother’ to make cute faces back at the scary lady who kept pointing at her and smiling. Do you hear what I hear? Yes, it’s the sound of ovaries, whispering in the night…
One of us took a poncho for a walk on the sole of her gumboot, attracting stares. She felt confused, knowing her fly could not be undone when wearing a raincoat. Some Irish guys finally pointed out her hitch-hiker. Oooooh Irish accents – keep them talking. ‘Yes, I know it’s there. It’s deliberate. He’s my friend Bob. Bob Evans. I take him everywhere.’ Well played, Editor. Well played. You did not just make your embarrassment a drillion (to quote my daughter… a very large number) times worse.
We ran out of white wine so poured red on the top and made rose. We were getting cold in the rain so poured wine on each other to warm up. The accountant safely stored her sunglasses in a garbage bag, so we could later carefully throw them away in a garbage bin. We ate blueberries at midnight on the bus, dreaming of hamburgers. And when we emerged in Federation Square, bleary eyed and hoarse from telling Bernard Fanning we loved him, you know exactly where we went, don’t you?
It was not the Golden Arches. It was the other one. Hot pickles at midnight have never tasted so good.
Emo alert: stop reading now if it will hurt your eyes. I compare these friendships, sustained since high school, to my burger that night. Don’t be mistaken – they’re far from cheap. It’s often in fact an odyssey to find that elusive burger when you need it most. I didn’t find these girls until my last years at school, and now they live all over the country and NEVER ANSWER THEIR PHONES. But they are a constant presence, and in my mid-30s I’m learning how precious they are as life gets hard.
They’re the midnight, belly-filling, sleep-inducing comfort that I know is not out of my reach, even if it’s in France being all fancy calling itself a ‘McRoyal avec fromage’. I love you mental guys. And HOLY HELL do I love a burger. Mmmmmm burgers.