On Saturday, I took Bumblebee for a bit of a road trip, leaving Best Beloved at home with the kitties to get his essay done (he's studying to get the Extra Handy badge for his Public Servant merit sash).
Our goal was his godmother's 40th birthday party. My friend Manthy was the first non-medical person to touch Bumblebee, and this was quite an unplanned thing; my mother (birth partner of choice) fanging it on the road to Canberra only to arrive too late, my father, in Canberra on business, too green-gilled to hold my hand, despite being officially licensed to kill (war being more palatable than birth, for some reason). We rang M, and she was there like a shot, bless her. Unfortunately, soon after she moved to Wollongong, and for a variety of factors, one of which is that both of us are self-absorbed artist-types, she hasn't seen much of B in the ensuing years.
So I thought that this would be good for Bumblebee, in a variety of ways. We booked a cheap motel room, threw some odd bits of clothing in a shared bag, and drove to the Gong, ready for anything.
Of course, the party was lots of fun. M is a musician, and teaches drumming and dancing, so the attendees were a lovely bunch of people who cheerfully helped make a no-dig garden as a birthday present, complete with accompanying gypsy-style music played live by those who brought their instruments.
No-dig gardens are very easy to set up when you get all the ingredients and invite a large bunch of willing helpers to set it up. I'm quite inspired.
Here's the garden in progress, with musicians under shelter in the rear. More photos at flickr.
The woman in the green dress is someone I hadn't seen in years. We shared a house together at university 20 years ago, and it felt like This is Your Life when I saw her (and another friend) walk in the door, looking just the same except with the same crow's feet I see every morning. It was fun to catch up.
Here's a little video that has hardly any vision because I was sitting in the half-dark listening to everyone play later in the evening, and my phone doesn't cope with darkness. The main thing is the spontaneous music, played by people who jam together in different groups, but happened to be in the same space that night. I didn't know most of them, although I chatted to one fellow at some point, and he turned out to be a member of Waiting for Guinness, whom I enjoyed at Woodford one year.
Manthy herself has a number of music projects on the boil at any time, one of which is called Mahri Autumn. She's just released an album under that name, and as a celebration of her birthday, I have two copies to give away to anyone who is interested. Have a listen on her website and decide if you like what you hear, and then email me (don't put it in the comments!) & let me know if you want one (don't forget your address). The first two emails will get a CD, but I'll only post to Australia, sorry. FWIW, my favorite song is Jack. It's my new jogging-on-the-treadmill song at the gym.
In fact, here it is:
Enjoy. If you like it and I've already given away the CDs, buy one directly from her. I don't think it's in any stores.
There was masses of delicious (mostly) Greek food, and birthday singing. Manthy sat through us all singing Happy Birthday to her, and then, in typical conductor style, made us all stop, hum in tune, and then made us do it again, drumming us through it. Classic M!
Of course, while B enjoyed the gardening and running around in daylight, as soon as the sun went down, he & the other kids discovered that they all had gameboy consoles with them, and suddenly there was a game circle inside, playing together wirelessly, ignoring the adults and the pleas to join in with the music etc. Sigh.
Yesterday we had brekkie on North Beach, drinking smoothies whilst watching old war planes circle the city for ANZAC Day, and then drove southwards to have lunch at Berry with my lovely aunty Sue (in torrential rain!) and then up the cliff face via Kangaroo Valley, into the (dry) Southern Highlands for a cuppa with Bernice (who lent me the new Brenda Walker to read, which I've gulped down overnight, and am determined to buy my own copy) and then home to a big lamb roast and Dr Who.