In which H returns to Oz (for a bit).

Once again the last few weeks have been too crammed to write, what with thesis corrections to finish and H coming back from the UK for a month (and kindly bringing a bagful of my stuff home, seeing as I leave remnants wherever I stay) and a convoy of Whites to join for Cousin V’s wedding in Bundaberg.

As Cousin A had come up for the wedding and was staying a few days, we decided to make a night of it and go out on the town in Bris Vegas.  I had a lovely outfit from Review, purchased early this year but as yet unworn, and therefore needed an occasion in which to make it worn.  We glammed up and tottered (well, I did) to Cloudland, where SP joined us and then (being a Valley local), he took us to another two bars, and I, being very partial to cocktails, perused the drinks menu like a novel and licked salt and sugar off the rims of my cocktail glasses.

When under the influence of alcohol, I find it difficult to lipread, as it takes quite a lot of concentration and alcohol does tend to jeopardize one’s neural pathways.  So, being unable to converse, I have the option of sitting in a corner and rocking like a vegetable, which is a little boring, or hopping up and having a little dance.  Being a spirited girl, I invariably choose the latter, particularly as Cousin A was doing his groove thang too.  There wasn’t a dance floor as such, only a little area on the way to the loos, but we still got applause from some young ladies nearby.

Come 11pm, Sister needed to get home as she had to get the sprogs up early for school, and then we had to drive to Bundy, so she ushered us out.  I danced down the aisle between the bar and the tables and gave a random man a wink, then got caught up with the jazz music and started dancing with the band.  Sister gave me a minute’s worth, until it looked like the saxophonist and I were about to duet, and bundled me out.  I was perfectly happy, and kept on dancing on the pavement while the others found a taxi and Sister, also being under the influence of alcohol and similarly uninhibited, cast aspersions on a taxi driver in a turban which I shall not repeat here.  Suffice to say the Whites cast formality to the winds when they’ve had a few.

After that we met up with a few more members of the family – Cousin C and his wife and Parental Unit, and drove in a van to Bundy.  More of this in another blog.

After Bundy, H and I caught the overnight bus to Parental Unit’s, which was so disruptive I’ve vowed only to take it during the day in future.  It’s not that bad, as I can always pass the time by reading and I like the scenery; it just unfortunately takes 8 hours.

En route to the bus depot we got stuck in a traffic jam, and H decided we should get out of the car and run.  Niece stuck her head out the window and laughed as we trailled the car, which just at that moment freed itself from the tangle.  We caught up and got back in while the car behind hooted, and Sister thought better of sticking her finger up at the driver (as she has been known to do) in case he rammed her.

Finally we got on the bus with other sweaty passengers and H told me the bus driver said we would be watching a 3-and-a-half-hour documentary.

‘What on?’ I asked.  ‘Whale watching?’

‘It’s on the life of a Greyhound driver.’

The penny dropped.  ‘Oh,’ I said, ‘he’s joking.’

‘That he is,’ H smirked.

As we set off I asked H to call the taxi company to see if they’d still be open at 3am, which they were, and then to call mum to say she needn’t get out of bed to pick us up.

On arriving in town, H called the taxi company.  It took a while for them to answer the phone.

‘Hello,’ he said politely when a woman picked up.  ‘I’m just after a taxi.’

‘Why, has something happened?’

‘No, I was told to ring this number when we got into town to get a taxi.’

‘Well I guess I’d better come and get you then.’

It was then that H figured out he was talking to his own mother – he had dialled the previous number in his phone.  Dad subsequently arrived with the car, still wearing his flouro orange earplugs and, thank God, he had put some trousers on.

Poor Parental Unit.  It was funny, but also very wrong.

While at home, I wrote an essay for the Calibre Prize and more of my novel and swam and read and wished for a dog to talk for walks.  The sky brooded over the thought of rain and eventually decided to come up with the goods, breaking the heat with a storm.  H trundled around banging and hammering at some product he’d designed.  We had barely any fights with Parental Unit and watched some excellent DVDs – the original Stepford Wives (which was sinister), Capote (after which H told me not to write a bestseller until I was 80 otherwise I’d be crippled by fame), Bangkok Hilton (Nicole Kidman’s first film, and she was very good) and a wonderful indie flick called Eagle and Shark which was about New Zealand bogans.

And now H has gone back to gloomie olde England and I am very sad.


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