My mother (may she rest in peace) was a Domestic Goddess. Ask anyone. No one could hold a candle to her surgically-clean linoleum floors, her virginal linen press, or the moteless, french-polished piano.
Which is really saying something, considering we lived in the bush, besieged on all sides by mud for 9 months of the year, and dust for the other 3.
But such Godly cleanliness came at a price. And that price was an exacting, ruthless discipline of her three daughters that could see any one of them publicly crucified on the front veranda for days at a time (enjoying, I should hastily add, the excellent view) for the crime of entering said Inner Sanctum without removing one's shoes. We were expected to shower after school before even considering sitting on our beds and the family dog was trained from birth to not even look at the white (?!) carpet in the lounge room. I could go on, but you'd think I was exaggerating. Just think 1950s convent education. I used to refer to home as the Chapel Perilous.
And as I grew into a sullen, rebellious adolescent, I found myself increasingly associating high degrees of cleanliness and organisation with inner misery and dysfunction. I became the kind of parent who doesn't like to enforce too many rules. In a nutshell, if it's not life-threatening, or growth-retarding, the decision is theirs. (Not a parental philosophy I necessarily advocate, but the only one I have, although highly recommended for producing children with the domestic sensibility of Paris Hilton).
So, we live in a state of Controlled Chaos, meaning that I could probably locate something for you....eventually.....provided the dog hasn't taken a shine to it and stashed it somewhere. And I can always provide you with a lovely fresh teatowel....but it might be a trifle hairy. And I make great jam, but again with the hair. And I refuse to file....ever. Life is too short.
You get the idea.
But somewhere, in my nethermost recesses, I am still my mother's daughter, and GODAMMIT! I DO HAVE LIMITS!
I wonder, sometimes, that Mum doesn't swoop down from Beyond, a wooden spoon in each hand, and rip through these two like a dose of salts.
But she doesn't, and meanwhile, Dog and Child think my hissy fits are funny.
Which is a Good Thing, really.
ps. Before I leave you with the impression that I have a problem with Clean, let me reassure you, fervently, that the older I get, the more I miss being able to go to my mum's, and experience the stillness of mind that comes from being somewhere so utterly flawless. I really do. The last thing my mother did before she died was to clean the house from top to bottom and, even in my grief-stricken state, I still remember admiring how Zen the place looked.
Actually, it cooled down overnight, and we're all walking and talking again, but how hot was it yesterday in Melbourne?
A whopping 42 degrees celsius (that's 108, for you imperialists). The hottest December day for 50 years, although broken records are no longer impressing anybody. We've broken more records in the last 3 months, weather-wise, than we've had hot dinners. If I recall correctly, we had the coldest November day in living memory only a few weeks ago. It was hailing. Snowing, in the outer suburbs. We don't do snow here, as a rule.
What's sending us all batty is the fluctuation. Melbourne is legendary for erratic weather at the best of times, but lately it's been seriously showing off. And it's sending people completely nuts. Add to that the most awful bushfires to the north-east, which has left the city looking remarkably like Bombay on a bad day, throw in the usual Christmas madness, and you've got one whacked out city.
So what did we do on the hottest December day in 50 years? Well, we thought it might be hilariously funny to cross town and do a gig. Outdoors. That we were the only ones actually at, given that anyone who had the choice was sitting at home with the air-conditioner blasting, or hanging out by the water.
There was a breeze, but it was coming straight off the outdoor dunny directly behind us, hence the grim expressions. Ahh, the glamour of public life.
Although Felicia's gorgeous red shoes cheered me up. Mmmmm....red.....shoes.
And I'll take any opportunity to hang out with the Big Bear of Blues, Chris Wilson (aka Godfather of Mym), and I should post this photo, as it's quite a good one, and he spent the best part of his time heckling Tim for taking unflattering photos. One nice thing about having no audience is that you really are free to talk amongst yourselves. And bitch about how hot it is. And say rude things. And then bitch some more about how hot it is.
His Icon of Oz Rock mantle was slipping a little in the heat. But it was most awfully hot. Hot enough to make even the Most Patient of Bears humphy.
What head-up-it's-arse, over-educated-but-under-noused fund-raising committee decides it's a good idea to hold the end of year school bash on a weeknight, and then expects the kids to front up for classes the next day?
I ask you, would you send these eyes to school?
And these are having difficulty even stringing a coherent sentence together...
So back home they came with me, and I am madly revising my 'to do' list for today.
And treading very carefully. One careless sideways glance, and I will be drown-ded in a River of Tears.
Though, I should add, before the lawyers' emails start arriving, that they had a Simply Marvellous Time.
The fun's just beginning. This is celebration no.1 of, I think, 8.
Just flew in from Bilyana and boy! are my wings tired.
Much too tired to do anything but post pictures.
This was the most beautiful hair I saw at the festival. A festival where beautiful hair was commonplace.
And detail, because I just can't look at it enough. I have plans to do this to my own hair once it turns white (which shouldn't be too long, now)...
The girl herself was beautiful, too, but I didn't want to kill her high by sticking a camera in her face. I do try not to be an asshole.
The main stage area, where I sat (rather comfortably, crocheting) for six hours, spiritually willing Sarah to find me, because none of our phones were in network range, and I'd managed to lose allfive kids...
A stilt-walking phoenix I know from Nymagee, who rarely flies this far south....
There was fair trade coffee, and fluffy chai, so it was always going to be alright...
And truly excellent, healthy, clean food. Ever tried a nutella taco? They're trippy.
My Godson, The Polly Man, in his first (official) public performance, in front, on drum. A big moment, this. He was working it. He was working it hard.
A beautiful boy I saw dancing in the sun. He was extremely relaxed. I ask you, just what does it take to look this damn healthy?...
There were excellent eco-toilets. Clean, fast, fantastic. Don't forget your lavender sprigs.
And there were miles..
of hippie crafts. I was born and raised on hippie craft, and I never tire of it. I love the whole Colour Pride thing going on.
But this is what we saw on the way out. Looks like beautiful morning mist, right?
Wrong. It's haze. Smoke. And lots of it. That means bushfire.
Six bushfires burning, I'm told, in various regions around the festival. As June Carter would say, a Ring of Fire. Come to think of it, I had noticed a shitload of CFA firemen moving in and out on the shuttle.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
However, The Goddess protected us all, and, as far as I've heard, there have been no reported sightings of barbequed hippies anywhere in north-eastern Victoria this weekend. She also sent us a double rainbow over the main stage to kick the festival off, so we all figured we were sweet.
Oh, and she spoke to me personally.
She told me to have a bath the minute I finish this post. And to pay special attention to my feet, please. Curiously, just like my own mother would have.