In the Augusts of my childhood*, the memories are all windy. Windy and bitterly cold. But this weekend past felt unlike an August weekend at all, full of sunshine and airy lightness that made me realise September is just a few weeks away. I even got a little sunburnt, I do believe. It was a weird contrast to my winter-dry hands, so chapped that I've been going through the handcream like there's no tomorrow**.
Saturday was a gorgeous day, Ruth's birthday, and the Doulos was berthed at Portside so we went to Hamilton to explore it together. After navigating the Scary Security Scanners (the people weren't scary; the scanning, however, was. What were they scanning for, precisely?), we climbed aboard for a Journey of Exploration and Discovery. The guided tours were booked out, but we got to see a lot of this amazing vessel just by navigating the public-allowed areas. I had no idea the ship was as old as it is (you must visit the website if you want to know precisely), so its timber trims and air of venerable age were a happy surprise.
The on-board bookshop was crowded with people and no wonder; everything was incredibly well priced. Obviously, this ship's ministry takes seriously its job to provide literature to the world. I found some great bargains and will tell you more about them when I've read and listened some more. We had coffees out on the open-air cafe deck, and watched in amusement as a skywriter wrote "Sorry R-" in white smoke trails. Had someone forgotten to buy Ruth a gift? The valiant little plane continued its mission and soon we all saw that the apologisee was not Ruth at all. Wonder how it felt to have all of Brisbane witness the apology? And what heinous sin could the apologiser actually have committed? This remains an enigma.
We bought lunch at a bustling fish and chip shop and took our meal (in very cool brown paper bags) across the road to a park buzzing with people and Saturday afternoon happiness. We sat and chatted while we ate. Quite the perfect way to spend such a beautiful Saturday.
Sunday we prepared a picnic lunch and drove the sometimes winding road down to Mt. Tamborine and into the exquisite national park area. Some friends from our Western Australia days were across for a holiday and so we arranged to meet up with them there. It was another blissful day, cool in the shade, but warm for walking, and ideal for enjoying the tranquility of the rocky path down to the falls. It was lovely to catch up with our friends; it's always a unique feeling to see people from one life seemingly transported into another. I found myself missing WA again and eager for any snippets of news.
Monday was a public holiday here in honour of the Ekka, Brisbane's annual show. I've never lived in a state where they put on a public holiday for my birthday, and I was most impressed. We spent it as public holiday birthdays ought to be spent: slowly, with nice food, phone calls, and nice people. After dinner we set up bamboo torches and two small braziers in the park across the road, and roasted marshmallows with twenty-seven special people. The night grew long--and cold--as we sat around the fires chatting and laughing and telling unclassy jokes. Perfect.
*That felt remarkably like the first line of a novel.
**I recommend Eulactol's Hand Balm for Very Dry Skin. (Yes, that's really what it's called.)
Suzanne -- Do come and visit indeed! Tasmania is way south from where we live (about five hours of connecting flights), but once you're in the country, anything is close!
Caitlin -- I think you're right; Mum really does look like Andrea in that picture! Or perhaps Andrea looks like her? :)
Caitlin & Tegan -- thank you for your lovely birthday wishes--and also for the beautiful gifts that arrived yesterday! You will be hearing more from me about those :).
Melody -- thank you! xox