But I can never get sick of the delightful city that is Melbourne…
This time, the calling was my mental Moroccan travelmate, KTed’s 30th! And nothing was gonna stop me from bein’ a part of the shenanigans!
So I organised a doggit-sitter [and companion-cum-father-figure-I’m-told in the form of Oscar, the 4-yo black lab!] for the little man in the brown 70s tracksuit [that would be my chocolate labrador puppy!], took Friday off work and maximised my w/e by getting the earliest flight possible! The fabulous KTed met me at the aeroporto, collected another friend, Leonie, who arrived from Sydney within the hour, and roadtesting the new Celica [sex on wheels, apparently], we were set for a girly w/e to boot!
After a quick catch-up natter en route and post offloading gear, ’twas time for the present giving… I had a special gift for Ted, because, well, frankly, she’s a very special person [in general], and like a soul mate to me [I frequently proclaim that we were sisters in a past life in Iran!]. We met in Dublin, and after knowing each other less than a minute, Ted ‘sabotaged’ my Moroccan holiday, and invited herself along! And, bloody glad she did! A few more years in Dublin, sharing all sorts of adventures [many just in the pub], some very personal times, and the rest, as they say, is history…
Anyway, she returned to her native Canberra November 2002 and tragically, her family lost their home in the bushfires the following January. While for a traveller, it’s a lot easier ‘starting all over again’, and material possessions are never as big a deal to the ‘transient’, I can’t imagine what it must’ve been like for her family who lost their whole ‘being’, the ‘family home’ they worked for, the years of sentiment that can never be regained. And while ‘memories’ are oft more powerful/significant than the material, of course it means a great deal to have a few souvenirs around the place to show for your travels, without necessarily being ‘trophies’. So, basically, Ted lost every travel photo, every momento, everything, including a ‘pendant’ she’d bought as ‘a gift to herself to protect her heart’ when she was with me earlier in the year… and I remember how special it was to her and her reasons for buying it. Cutting the story short [no, really!], I accidentally stumbled upon the EXACT same pendant some months ago, and immediately decided, she had to have it again. So, I bought it then and have been DYING to give it to her! And, yay! I think she was more than happy to see it again!!!
After a quick belated brunch, and as Ted had booked herself in for a ‘new do’, so legged it down to the ‘salon’, Leonie and I stayed on, had a coffee and, for her, a DIVINE lemon tart, and a raspberry & white choc muffin for moi [grrrrrrrrwl!] and before we know it, we’re in a deep, emotional conversation about two people dear to us that passed away this year – my best friend from high school who was taken WAY too early by leukaemia, a 25-yo colleague of hers who simply ‘didn’t wake up one day’ – her death still a mystery… Near-strangers the two of us [we’d met once in Dublin but ‘heard all about each other’ via KTed], are virtually dripping tears into our coffees, before embarrassingly admitting, ‘oh my, where did this all come from?’! Then again, PMS/the ‘need for cake’ should’ve told us! Still, it was quite funny, and oddly ‘liberating’ once it was ‘out’! We then walked off the cakes and ended up in the fabulous Laundry, for a swift arvo beer and a laidback peruse of the local streetpress… intermittently interrupted by Bob, a very friendly Jack Russell who was quite taken by my lap!
Beginning at 3pm, this quiet beer led onto something of an ‘accidental’ session [all the good ones usually are!] Well, I mean, we were STILL waiting for KTed, who’s hair appointment stretched to a record 5.5 hours [I know!], so we popped into her ‘local’ and sampled a few more pots of Carlton draught. EVENTUALLY, the fabulous new ‘red-head’ rockchick-lookin’ KTed appeared and joined us for a few more. The pots turned into jugs, the few of us turned into a crowd and before I know it, I’m drinkin’ vodka and ready to dance!!! Fortunately, given ‘tomorrow’ is the big party, we’re somewhat ‘sensible’, so go for a quick bite down Brunswick St [walking distance, god I LOVE Melbourne!] and are fed and in bed by midnight…
Saturday is a day of preparations and dammit, KTed even has a spreadsheet of errands – bloody Virgos! However, we need breakfast first and there’s not a drop of milk in tha house! So, KTed and I head to Safeway’s to grab some milk, bread, eggs, mushies and return to cook up a storm. Before long, she has to head out to the airport again to pick up her sister, Jane, and friend, Lisa, so I’m left to play Mother Hen Ted [as Ted says – a strange one for me, that’s f’sure, but I’m feeling very inspired, and very bloody schtarvin’!], so I cook up a storm while the troops head out. KTed’s flatmate, Vanessa, and I fill the void, have a cuppa and a natter in the sunny courtyard, leaving some breakfast for the others on their return. And when they do, it’s like a bloody women’s convention! There are 6 women in the house, each with a crazy energy of their own, in varying degrees – it’s a noticably amazing dynamic. I suddenly feel like I’m in Fried Green Tomatoes or Steel Magnolias, y’know! Great craic, altogetha, Ted!
Oh, I should mention, whenever ‘Ted’ and I [also known as Ted] get together, the faux Oirish accent comes out and EVERYONE is called Ted…
So, we ‘divvy up’ the list and set off – Ted, Jane, Lisa and I hit the Queen Vic Markets for ‘fresh mint’, watermelon, strawberries, passionfruit [though we discover they’re not in season so opt for kiwifruit] for ‘the punch’ and buy an assortment of ‘extras’ for ourselves – me, a stripey, though ashamed to describe it as such, a hippy-esque yoga top/jumper type thing and some stripey knee-high socks [just ‘so’ Melbourne, dahling!] and we’re done! ‘Nes and Nones’ hit Safeway for ‘chips, dips, chains, whips’, and alcohol to boot! Then Eamon, the Irish guitarist who is providing the entertainment for the night, turns up w a barbie, to which I comment, ‘it takes a bleedin’ Oirishman to get us a feckin’ barbie!’ Well, Ted, that’s very Irish isn’t it?!
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Then there’s just the gas and ice and I think we’re sorted.
In the meantime, I have a tarot appointment. Yes, yes, not something I do often, and I don’t like to ‘tempt fate’ while I’m ‘going through something’, but rather, prefer ‘once I’m out of the turmoil’ and have a new perspective/clarity, then I like to mess with the metaphysical a little… So, I’d made a HUGE decision that morning about my life, which I won’t go into here, but let’s say, big changes on the horizon for Ging, and just thought I’d get some confirmation/affirmation – yes, yes, I can hear you cynics, paying someone to tell you what you already know/what you want to hear. Pretty much. And of course it was great, just what I needed…
On the way back I had a wee browse through the shops [having promised myself this wasn’t ‘a shopping weekend’ this time], but come on, people, it’s Melbourne, that’s what you do. And, er, having run into Nones, Jane and Lisa, who were ‘keen for a shop’, I joined them, and, er, bought just two more tops – gorgeous they are I must say! Ahem…
We grabbed a bite at ‘our fave cafe’, Delish [where KTed, Nones and I were they day before] and while the girls sensibly lined their stomach w ‘real food’, I’d had such a huge breakfast, all I was after was a dirty big piece of Chocolate Orange Cake. Oh my. Oh yes. Sex. On. A. Plate, as I alluded to in an earlier post.
Back to the house and the preparations, few as they are, continue. We fill the gorgeous claw-foot bath w ice and bevvies, tag-team on the showers, rip out the party food and it’s all go! Before long, we’re all glammed up, guests start arriving and the fun begins… A full house, a crazy night, the music begins, and within a short space of time, I pop me knee out! Oh yes. V. embarrassing – of course everyone ‘assumed’ I was just a drunken lout, but no, my dislocatable knee quite enjoys this, so before I knew it, I was on me erse!!! I blame ‘Blister in the Sun’, NOT, the copious amounts of strawberry, mint, champagne and vodka punch we were imbibing! Ahem… There’s RICE [rest, ice, compression and elevation] and thankfully, there’s enough blood in my alcohol stream to numb the pain – certainly curbed my dancing for the rest of the night, though! As the night goes on, everyone decides they’re a karaoke star [and I won’t deny being an INTEGRAL part of this! Well, come on, I’m not afraid of the stage now! he he he!] and have a right ol’ laff!
Okay, so I won’t go into the whole thing, but let’s just say I met some fantastic people, a COMPLETELY inspirational kindred spirit [Matt!] or two [Gen!], and the party did nay end ’til 10am. I know. But don’t worry, I was in bed by 6. And out again by 10, when Nes needed it back!
Still drunk, I scooted down to Foo Doo’s for a fab breaky, nearly-falling asleep on the table and reading the magazines cover-to-cover w/o actually taking anything ‘in’, just turning each page on autopilot y’know! On my return, Jane and Lisa were braving the clean-up – you could not see the floor for empty bottles, cds and, er, a scattering of bodies! I managed a SOLID 3-hr powernap on the couch, and when KTed and ‘the new beau’ waltzed in around 3pm, I was ‘up in a flash’ and alive again!
Whilst we initially said we’d defy the ridiculous notion of ‘the hair of the dog’, before long, omigod, we’re in the local again! A few pints of Guinness, ad the Oirish accents were ‘out’ and we were suitably ‘relaxed’ again. While everyone described themselves as ‘rough’, I actually felt quite good, if a little giddy!
Now, how much of a dickhead am I? Seeing as I’d taken Friday off, I thought, ‘no, I won’t take Monday off as well’, but I will ‘elongate’ my weekend by staying ALL of Sunday, instead of having to rush off to the airport, etc… and fly to Brisbane EARLY Monday am. So, working backwards, having to be in work by 8.30ish, I booked a 6am flight, and working backwards again, had to be up at 4, cab to the airport at 4.30 and all will be well… Hmmm. A little ambitious I hear you say? Well, I didn’t have a big sesh, was virtually packed and in bed by 11, so it wasn’t completely inconceivable, despite EVERYONE going, ‘you’re mad’! People say this to me frequently, so I thought nothing of it!
I set my mobile alarm for 4, Ted books a cab for 4.30 and I go to sleep. My alarm doesn’t go off. Oh shit. FORTUNATELY, I was in that half-awake-half-asleep paranoid mode in fear of missing my plane, so, SOMEHOW, woke up and looked at my mobile, which glared at me: 4.25! Aaaaaargh! ‘Shit. Fuck. Shit fuck. Shit shit fuck fuck’ I says, as I realise I’ve no time for a shower [blaaaargh!] so quickly change into my ‘laid-out’ work clothes, chuck my other clothes in my suitcase, trying NOT to disturb the other two floor-sleepers [unsuccessfully I imagine – sorry!] and then try to shove my sleeping bag into the ‘sleeve’ that’s invariably too small for the damn things – particularly if you’re in a state of hurried panic, which, let’s face it, I was! I’m doing all this in the dark, btw!!!
I haul arse outside where diligent cabbie is a-waiting and off to the airport I go. $40 later [bejaysus!] I queue w all the other morons getting a stupidly early flight. I am so zonked I can barely concentrate, but am highly amused by the ‘whingy’ couple behind me who reek of that ‘been married forever and are just at each other for the sake of conversation and/or out of habit’! Him trying his hardest to ‘please’ and find her a place that sells coffee ‘to get your morning fix’ [here here!], while she’s whinging about being asked to move in the queue, ‘because we’re being told to!’ she snaps at him! Oh my. Please never let me succumb to that…
I must say, it is very slow service, but hey, it’s 5am, so I can empathise w these people who begin their EVERYday at this ungodly hour! I don’t empathise, however, w the ONLY place that sells coffee not being open yet! Help! Dammit I bet they’ve got coffee in the Qantas terminal. Damn the cheap Virgin flight! Killing some time, and rather necessarily, I go to the bathroom in an attempt to make myself, er, at the very least, ‘presentable’ and hope Hudson’s is open by the time I’m out. I took ‘forever’ cos I was still reasonably uncoordinated, but no, it’s still closed. And what’s worse is you can see people setting up, so you KNOW it’ll be open soon – though not soon enough! Dammit if I have to board first, then wait til we’re airborne before I get served a shite cuppa I’ll be ropable! In fact, I’m already ropable!
Oh great caffeine gods, how I love thee. With 5 minutes before boarding the rollerdoors are wound up and I must say, the three or four eager beavers that we are, must look like addicts as we pile in! If there were more than 3 or 4 I can safely, if embarrassingly, admit, I’d be damn elbowing my way in! I order a cappuccino and apple & cranberry muffin to go! Yay!
Life is good again. I arrive back in sunny Bris w/o a hitch, jump, er, hobble, to a cab, am driven [mad!] by a rude toff, to my sister’s place, where me car awaits, jump in w/o first stopping in to say hello to my sis, and make it to work ‘vaguely’ on time!
Within ten minutes, everyone has told me I look like shit, but I plod through the things that ‘need’ to be done, but ensure I’m outta there by lunch.
Happy Birthday KTed – what a weekend, may there be many more!!