I realise it’s one of those topics we don’t talk about, but…

Now that I’ve (hopefully) piqued your interest with that incredibly inviting, leading, impossible-to-resist headline, I implore you to keep reading. Go on. I dare you. Because I need your Freud-y smarts!

According to a recent This American Life podcast, there are seven topics that should never see the light of conversation. Things like health, periods and money. And dreams. I totally agree. Hearing about people’s dreams is really pretty tedious. Unless – I believe – they are creative types. Then they have wackadoo dreams that you kinda wanna hear about. Especially when you meet up with them early in the morning (say, for a dog walk or a sneaky coffee and croissant), not long after they’ve woken, and that dream is still vivid and real to them.

I walked and talked with a fabulous lady-friend in the wee small hours this morn, and she’d just dreamt about being part of the Ghostbusters team. We walked past a father and son, and she had to do a double take to ensure they were safe, and she wouldn’t have to whip out her ghost-busting hose.

When I was on my way to meet her, I spied with my little eye… a worm on the footpath. I feel like I used to see worms on the footpath ALL THE TIME when I was a kid, but now, not so much. Is it because there are less worms in the world? Is it because the birds are more clued in and snapple them up before they wiggle away into the grass? Or do we just not see them with grown up eyes? No matter. This worm on the path gave me a split-second thought of “That worm… I dreamt about…” and then I lost it.

And then – as per the beauty of fragmented thought – a couple of hours later, it came back. And writing this now, I realise it’s a TOTALLY boring and not-to-be-discussed topic! Who really cares that in MY dream, I was drinking instant coffee out of a homemade ceramic mug and, as I took a sip of the scalding brew, I noticed a small air hole near the lip of the mug and in that air hole was a tiny grey grub. I couldn’t keep drinking the coffee (ew, could you?) and, to save him from the hot water of the dishwasher or the kitchen sink, I poked my fingernail into the hole to try to get him to budge. And budge he did. The tiny grey grub slipped out of the hole and into the coffee and as he fell, he grew and grew (in the time it took to fall from the hole to the coffee, he was already the size of an earthworm). And I could see him continue to grow IN the coffee (it was disgusting. He was kinda thrashing around like a carp in the shallows). I gave the cup to Rich and asked if he could tip out the coffee – and the worm – outside, which he did. But when he splashed the heinous, frothy, wormy coffee into the garden, out fell…

… an enormous, venomous door snake. Made out of floral, vintage fabric, but as poisonous as a dart frog.

#andtheniwokeup

misty water-coloured memories

Last year I read an amazing book by Stephen King called ‘On Writing’. For anyone who fancies themselves as a bit of a wordsmith, this is SUCH a good read. One of the tasks he sets is to scribble out a list – without really thinking – of your memories. Obvy not ALL of them, because that would be a totally massive mammoth type-fest, but to write down whatever memories pop into your brain. It’s a really interesting task and is a good way to flesh out the bare bones of ideas into stories.

Digging around in my incredibly well-organised desktop filing system (that’s a funny joke – HAHA), I came across my initial musings:

Technically my first day of prep, but still packs the same punch, no?

Technically my first day of prep, but still packs the same punch, no?

I remember the first day of Grade One at primary school. A girl in my class was crying beside one of the classrooms because her older sister Eve had been stung by a bee. I sat with her and told her it would be OK. Her name was Prue, and that was the day I met my first bestie.

I remember running laps around the school. I HATED any kind of sports when I was a kid – I struggled to keep up with the rest of my class. I remember being lapped by the other kids as I plodded slowly along… As I turned a corner from the basketball court around the front of the school, I ran into three older boys (I think they were in Grade 5 or Grade 6 – I would have been in Grade 2 or 3); they were the ‘tough’ guys, I’d seen them bullying other kids and I’d managed (for the most part) to avoid them. But as I rounded the corner, I accidentally made eye contact with one of them. I quickly looked away, but as I ran off, one of them yelled out “Who were you looking at??” and I called back “No one…” and he yelled “No one? You were looking at one of us. Who was it??” and I called back “I don’t know. All of you”. I remember feeling completely ashamed and terrified, because it had been a glance, in a ‘there are the bullies’ kinda scared way, and they’d made me feel like it was a ‘crush/love’ glance.

Not long after that, I remember walking home from school one day, and one of the afore-mentioned bullies came up behind me and started tapping a stick on the top of my backpack. “Makes a good drum, that” he leered, and I stuck my tongue out at him, not thinking. He pushed me up against a fence by my throat, and held me there. I can’t remember what he said.

I remember the heat on my neck under my scarf as I rode my bike to North Melbourne this morning. Today is cool, especially after the heat of the past few days, so I think I was being ambitious wearing a neckscarf on a bike ride in the sun. The silk kept the heat in, and when I arrived at the Red Cross for my volunteering shift, I felt warm and sweaty and out of breath [DISCLAIMER: this was not written today, but last year. But if I was wearing a neckscarf today and rode my bike somewhere, I think I would have written a similar post]

I remember how fast I rode my bike home the day I spotted Gus on the Lost Dogs Home website, and how frantic I felt when Rich didn’t respond to my text/email/call about our perfect dog being up for grabs. We got him though. Obvy.

I remember the slug on our back verandah the night of my mum’s funeral. And that my dad and I sat and watched as it slithered along a wooden paling, while we had a house full of people inside.

I remember my first day of work at my first ever job. It was a Saturday and I had scored the role of hair-sweep-er-up-er at the hairdressers. I agonised over what to wear, and how to do my own hair. I remember, just before I left home, spitting toothpaste into my hair as I brushed my teeth.

I remember a group of us standing beneath an air vent at work as smoke poured out of it, wondering aloud “Should we call the fire brigade?”. We did. I was told to get everyone out of the building (I was the fire marshall at my work, and for the first and only time in my fire marshalling career, I got to wear my safety helmet and blow my whistle). Three firetrucks screamed around the corner into Wellington Street, burly firefighters pouring out, running into the building with pick axes and hoses. Turns out the building wasn’t on fire. A belt in the air conditioning had snapped. That was the day I discovered my penchant for a man in uniform.

IMG_0381

This pic reminds me of the time I had a snake coiled around my neck in Morocco. You can literally see the excited fear in my eyes.

Which leads me to remember the day I met Sgt Joshua (aka Drazic from Heartbreak High, aka Callan Mulvey) from Rush – they were filming an episode right near my work, and a good friend  was the on-set nurse. I remember how hot my face got as she pushed me towards him to take a picture, and how tightly I gripped my coffee cup, and how giddy I felt. See? Men in uniform. Even a fake uniform.

I remember driving to Wye River with Imogen on a Friday evening a few years ago. I sat in the front with Gus at my feet; Rich sat in the back with Peppa the whippet. Peppa struggled on some of the curly roads, and was sick all over Rich’s lap (I still break into the giggles when I think about this: Rich saying “Umm, guys?” as we drove around a bend). I remember Rich only brought one pair of pants. Problematic. I remember the sky was clear when we left Melbourne, but darkened the closer we got to the coast. On our way through Lorne, I remember the rain starting to fall, and the gray of the sky. It was the perfect evening for red wine and stew and long talks about life.

I remember meeting a boy on the first anniversary of my Mum’s death, at a festival in Woodford. I thought I was SO cool and SO alternative and I met him in the Chai Tent (which I thought was the most incredibly bohemian place ever) and confiding in him that it was Mum’s anniversary, and him saying “Well, it’s been a year. You’d be over it by now, yeah?”. No.

I remember the taste of the white pinot noir (yes, white!) I had with lunch, with a very excellent friend, at a very excellent restaurant in Gertrude Street. The wine was good, the food was great, the company was THE BEST.

You should give it a go. Unleash the writing-remembering beast! You can keep going with it forever, or focus on certain years or ages or experiences. Let me know in the comments if you do – I’d love to read it.

lobster wars

Today I read an interesting (and, let’s be honest, kinda useless) fact about lobsters. They never die. Which is crazy to me. Obviously they run into issues with crustacean-lovin’ foodies and fishing nets and natural predators (if there are any sea creatures who can crack their uncrackable shells), but left to their own devices, the world according to Google states that lobsters will just live on and on, happily ever after for around 100 years.

Learning this fact then led me to do a couple of image searches on lobsters, which, in turn, left me wondering: is it possible that lobsters in the wild will live on forever and ever, growing bigger and bigger, until they overcome the human race in a people vs lobsters battle and take over the world? I wonder.

doglobster

This fact has nothing to do with this blog post. I have just enrolled in a Be A Better Blogger course, because (as you may have noticed) I’ve been a bit crap at this since The Adventures finished. Sometimes the daily humdrum of life doesn’t seem interesting enough to write about, and I feel like I’ve hit a bit of a wall.

I ran into an old friend on the weekend, who asked about ‘da blog’ and when I shrugged and squinted and said “weelllllllll….” she grabbed me by the shoulders, shook me, and said “WEMBOLINA!!! Just do it!! It’s like exercise. If you don’t do a bit each day, you lose momentum and you lose strength and you lose your ability. So write something every day. On a post-it or in a journal or ON YOUR BLOG but please, just DO it.”

So, in light of this lovely friend, and going to blog school, I’ve realized that I need to start thinking about THE BIG PICTURE. My big picture is this: I love writing and I love telling stories. It’s what I want to do. Like, DO do. Forevs. Until a book (or even a long-ish story) comes out. But then I get snowed under with work things, and I feel like, when I get home, I don’t have the brain capacity and I get caught up with dinners and pets and kids and thoughts like “I really should do something more productive” but, instead, fall into an episode of Parks & Rec or a book or a glass of wine. But writing (and blogging) needs to be a priority. It needs to be a job for me at the moment. I need to set aside time and do it. Because it feels SO good when I post something and I can see that you are reading it.

I think sometimes I feel overwhelmed because I feel that every post needs to be some big, long adventure or hilarious/ridiculous thing that I’ve seen or done, but really, it’s just little things. Sometimes it’s just a funny/blast-from-the-past clip from YouTube or a picture of my cat sitting in a box or a weird fact about a lobster.

taxi

Friday night at a friend’s exhibition in Docklands. Beers and good chats with good pals, good art, and a blinding sunset over the river. Whippets and dachshunds. Platform shoes. Dancing. Haddaway’s “What is Love” just as I was leaving, making me think that perhaps it wasn’t the time to leave, that I should stick around and do the robot with my bestie, and try to channel the awesome moves of Hanna from Girls, or Liz Lemon…

But I left. Took a stroll along the Yarra with two lovely friends and their black whippet, as the ridiculous gas towers at the Casino burst into flames in the sky. They hissed and sizzled and I heard the rumblings of a tram – my tram. Imogen said “You can still make it!” and I said “I never run for a tram” and I didn’t, and I missed it. Because I’m lazy and a derbrain and the city on a Friday night is a horrible place and I should have just quickened my pace and j-walked and I would have made it. But I didn’t.

We strolled a little further, and Tim and Imogen and Peppa the whippet left me at Southern Cross station – them to catch a train and me to hail a cab, bougie-style. I headed to the taxi rank, and a cab stopped in no time.

I try not to catch cabs. Taxis in Melbourne are usually not the most enjoyable places. I’ve had my fair share of rude, speeding, texting drivers, and mostly I prefer to walk. So last night, when an older gent with twinkly eyes stopped for me, I counted my lucky stars.

Last night was a night that I was so very glad I didn’t run for the tram, that I didn’t lazily hail a car as soon as I saw one, that I ummed and ahhed long enough before heading to the rank.

I hopped into the car, told him where I wanted to go, and looked out the window.

After a few moments, he asked if I was in the city the previous Saturday, for Melbourne’s White Night event (I wasn’t). We chatted about it briefly, then I asked him where he was from.

“Guess,” he said.

“I’m no good with accents,” I confessed.

“Persia,” he told me. He’d been living in Australia since ’89, first in Adelaide, but moved to Melbourne 3 years ago. He’d been driving taxis three months.

“What were you doing before then?” I asked.

“Bits and pieces,” he said, “When I lived in Persia I was a Sales Manager at an engineering company; selling parts to big companies all over the place, but you can’t get a job like that in Australia. My English isn’t good enough… so I do this.

“What do you do? Study at uni?”

I waved at my face, feigning flattery (I was!) and told him that, no, I wasn’t at uni, I work at a media agency, writing copy for websites.

“You’re a writer?” he exclaimed “I’m a writer! Well, I’m a poet. I’ve written four books of poetry that I’m trying to have published here, but so much of the meaning of my work is lost in translation. I write in Persian and it’s just not the same when it’s read back in English – it loses everything.”

He dug around in the glovebox and pulled out notebook after notebook of words, written in Persian. Curly cryptic squiggles dancing across tiny lined pages. The first poem, he told me, was about a canary in a cage, losing its’ desire to sing.

The crazy thing was that then, after I’d flipped through a few pages of script that I couldn’t read or understand, he said, “You are too good for what you’re doing. Have you written a novel? You need to write a novel. You need to think about your life, up until now, and you need to think about the one occurrence in your life that you always come back to, the one story you always tell, and you need to work that into a story. It’s like making a recipe, but without actually following a recipe. You need to start writing, and add a bit of this other story, and weave in some of that story, and then you need to read it back and cross things out and add a few more lines, and then you’ll have it. But really, you just need to start. Just sit down, and start. And the rest will follow. You must. You must do this.”

I pointed out my street, and thanked him for such a nice chat. Kinda jokingly, I said “Well, next time I see you, I’ll give you my novel!” and he said “Next time I pick you up, I’m expecting great things. I’m expecting that you’ll have a grant and you WILL give me your novel.”

It was such a strange journey, and one that had me buzzing with inspiration. I bounded (this isn’t a lie; I actually did) in the front door and declared to Rich and Beev “I’VE JUST HAD THE MOST AMAZING TAXI TRIP OF MY LIFE!!!” – it’s funny to meet someone in passing who just seems to understand so much, despite my giving nothing away about what I do and what I want to do.

And so, on this balmy Saturday night, I sit on my bed, with my dog at my feet, a glass of wine at my side, with a house full of teens, and I think, I’m gonna write this. I’m gonna try my hand at a novel. It was a goal for 2012 that never eventuated, but 2013 is the year. It doesn’t have to be anything – it just needs to be something. I just need to find that story. And I’m pretty sure I’ve got one.

Cheers to that

Cheers to that…

hello stranger

Well hello, don’t I know you? It sure has been a while!

Things got crazy in the second half of last year. I found not one, but TWO jobs I love (greedy, much?) – both different and fun and enjoyable, but busy and stressy and the learning and the meeting-of-people and the getting-my-head-around-things made me kinda lazy in my downtime. I found myself getting home from work in the evenings and collapsing onto the couch with some BH90210 (original, thankyouverymuch) and the creative part of my being refused to work. The cooking part of my being also took a backseat, and I stopped hosting dinner partays and subjected my family to meals of stir-fries and pasta, on repeat. The dog-walking part of my being also got slack, and even Gus’ big poochy eyes weren’t enough to get me motivated (rest assured, Rich has taken the lead on that one – boodoom ching!). I needed some time to realign my brain. Which I’ve done. And I’m ready for 2013.

Ol' Pooch Eyes

Would you believe these big ol’ pooch eyes weren’t enough to fire me up??

I’ve said before that, to be a writer, you need to write. I write for my job – both of them. But it’s so different writing for yourself. I don’t need to run this by anyone. It doesn’t need to be proofed by a client, and edited, and un-Wembolina-ed. And I’ve really missed that. I love the writing parts of work, but seeing a red line through things you’ve submitted can (sometimes) cut, just a little. I’m developing a thicker skin, but there’s nothing quite like writing for yourself. Knowing that other people are reading, and laughing at your super hilarious puns (I hope!) is also so very rewarding, and humbling…

Start-of-the-year apologies and promises are kinda boring and not really my style. I’ve neglected this here blog, but that stops now. Adventures will be had. Stories will be told. In-jokes will be made. Reviews of bad TV shows will happen. Lengthy ones. O yes.

If you read something somewhere here that you’d like more info on (like, where did we stay in Iceland? Or what sort of dog is Napoleon? Or what’s a super great reading list to take away on holidays?), or you’d like to borrow a season of 90210, or you just like a post, please let me know.

Well – I hope you’ve all had faboo starts to the year, and that you’re happy and well. Until next we meet, I’ll leave you with a photographic journey of GOOD TIMES TO COME!!

xx

Review of full series to come

This is what will be reviewed first. Mark my words!

We will discuss why Dylan would give Brenda a SIGNED photo of himself. WHY?

And why the frak was Steve Sanders considered a heart-throb with a hair-did (and face) like this??

And why the frak was Steve Sanders considered a heart-throb with a hair-did (and face) like this??

do you ever?

One of the most defining moments of my friendship with my bestie was a few years ago. We were out – walking and talking and sipping coffee and smelling flowers (we actually were…) – and I said to her:

“Do you ever get clicky head? Like you might have a metal plate in your skull and every so often your brain becomes a bit loose and clicks against the side of aforementioned metal plate?”

And she said to me:

“YES! ALL THE FLIPPING TIME!!!!”

We chatted merrily about our clicky heads, wondering what could cause it, wondering who else experienced clicky head, or if it was a secret click we shared…

Over the years, we have had countless other exchanges of ‘Do you ever…’ – mostly communicated to the other via text or email, or whispered in hushed tones, or preceded by “Don’t judge me, but do you ever….”.

Here is a compilation of ‘Do you ever…’s I put together not long ago. If I’m feeling a bit weird or sad (or on the verge of a hypochondriac moment), I look at this list and nearly always give myself a tummy ache from laughing so much:

– do you ever feel like you might vomit when you’re hole-punching paper?

– yesterday i ate a dry biscuit and got a hella case of CLICKY JAW??? do you ever???

– do you ever… always look at the clock at the same time? i seem to be in this weird trend of looking at the clock EVERY TIME it’s 11.11. doesn’t matter if it’s am or pm, i ALWAYS seem to catch it at that exact moment.

– do you ever… start unbuttoning your pants BEFORE you get to the bathroom when you’re at home? I do. And I just had to stop myself from doing it at work.

– do you ever… when you’re getting your brows waxed and you’re lying on the weird beauty salon bed with your eyes closed, feel like your body is spinning in a big circle? a bit like when you’re drunk? and the more you spin, the more you feel like you’re going to roll off the table, but because you’ve got wax centimetres away from your eyes, you can’t open them to steady yourself? i had that tonight. it was awful. it made me feel carsick.

– do you ever… get clicky pants? like there’s a click of fabric in your jeans that clicks every time you walk, no matter how high you hoik them up, or pull them down, or adjust or readjust them? my black jeans have a click in them that i can’t find…

– do you ever… think you might have chronic fatigue??

– do you ever… get a weird twitch in your back? a bit like an eye twitch, but in your side? i had one earlier, when i was leaning back in my chair…

– do you ever…. get so lost in thought that you poo your pants? this DIDN’T happen, but let me set the scene:

this morning i was on the tram and was thinking about an email axchange i had with a friend last week and was suddenly carried away into thoughts of dinner on victoria street and catching up and dogs with their tongues hanging out and gangs of sheep and SUDDENLY my nostrils were filled with the WORST egg-fart poo stink and i looked around and EVERYONE on the tram was covering their noses and i was suddenly struck with the thought: did i just poo my pants? am I responsible for this stench because i was so lost in thought that i lost control of my basic functions??? 

fortunately, this thought only lasted a split second and i realised that it WASN’T me and i promptly got off the tram and away from the stink.

but do you ever….. on smelling a stink, wonder if MAYBE it might be you?

– do you ever…. feel like you’re maybe a little bit psychic? like when you think ‘i wonder if there are any messages on my phone’ and you look at it and then it rings?

– do you ever feel like you should be wearing a seatbelt when you’re riding your bike??

– do you ever…. get halfway to work on your bike and feel something on your face and instantly think ‘OMG, there’s a huntsman in my helmet and now it’s ON MY FACE!!!’ and almost veer off the road but then realise it was just a piece of hair?

– do you ever…. get vibrating elbow???? i just had my elbow on the desk and thought that i got a message on my phone but realised it just my elbow doing weird things!!!

– do you ever…. wake up in the middle of the night, with your right arm completely numb, limp and unresponsive to an order from your brain to move, that you freak out, have a panic attack that some major/permanent malfunction has happened in your sleep, and that you’ll need to get it amputated?

This happened to me last night. It was utterly terrifying. It took several minutes of rubbing/banging my arm to get it to wake up. I was then too afraid to go back to sleep.

– do you ever… have days when you are ACTUALLY dyslexic? today i am having major issues writing ‘$5K’.

– do you ever… get a weird stabbing headache in your temple?

– do you ever… get hot stomach?

– do you ever…. at the top of a staircase, get struck with the fear that your legs have forgotten how to walk down stairs??? and you suddenly think ‘i’m going to tumble all the way to the bottom!!!’ but then you start walking and it’s fine?

– do you ever…. get a sore ear when you eat spicy food?

– do you ever…. find yourself leaning sideways in your chair? i was just writing something down and realised i was on a 135degree angle.

– do you ever…… get a GIANT weird pimple on your neck????? HOW DO THEY GET THERE??????????????????????? i have one the size of mount kilaminjaro….

– do you ever…. think to yourself “ouch, what’s that weird biting pain on my chest??? there must be a SPIDER biting me on the boob!!!!” and then look in your bra and discover it’s the searing pain of a big crumb from a tim tam?

– do you ever… get shooting pains in your shins???

– but do you ever get vibrating ovaries?????

– do you ever… Notice that a small fly has drowned in your drink but it’s too far down the glass for you to fish it out (and you don’t have a spoon or straw handy) so you just keep drinking? I did today. Yuck. Please don’t judge me.

– do you ever… …. press yourself just under your collar bone and nearly throw up? i think i have a weird muscle causing havoc there.

Me: do you ever…. get a throbbing rib cage?

BFF: Maybe you have a bird in there which snuck in while you were sleeping?

Me: that’s possible…. my ears keep clicking as well. maybe 2 bugs crawled into my ear and they’re high fiving each other.

– do you ever… experience an excessive amount of ear popping on hot days?

Some of these ailments/occurrences are shared, and others – well – we’re on our own…

Do YOU have a weird ‘Do you ever…’? Spill it!

BFFs 4 LIFE! In da snow...

Aarrrggghhhh!!!! Do you ever wear a snow hat??

up up and away

Twas a cool, dark morning one year ago, almost to the day. The morning of one of the most exciting and exhilarating adventures I have ever ever experienced. The morning that I rose at 4.30am, wearing my neckerchief and leather flying cap, and cycled maniacally through the dark Fitzroy streets, avoiding end-of-the-night revellers – drunk and stumbling onto the road, pashing wildly in alley ways, looking for cabs, looking for fights, looking for souvlakis – in the pre-dawn light.

I met Wa, my bestie, on a street corner near Gertrude Street (similarly attired in cap and scarf) and from there, we cycled through the slowly lightening morn to a hotel in East Melbourne.

No, it was not for a sordid 4 star hotel BFF tryst. It was not so we could arrive first at a neckerchief and leather flying cap convention. It was the morning we were taking a birds-eye-view of Melbourne in a hot air balloon.

We arrived at the hotel, and entered a foyer filled with people wearing polar-fleece and baseball caps and tracksuit tops, their necks weighed down by large SLR cameras. Balloon pilots were scattered about the place, with balloon-branded jumpers and clipboards and “If you fall out of the balloon we do not accept responsibility” forms for us to sign. Wa and I were herded into a minivan with six other eager adventurers (none had gone to quite the same effort as we had in the dress stakes) and we were off. Well, off to an oval in Prahran, soon to TAKE off in our gas-filled bag and basket.

When we got to the oval and our basket was lifted from the back of the van and the balloon laid out and the burner unit fired up, our pilot gave us a quick spiel on safety and landings and helped us all into the wicker basket. He attached a flashing beacon to a helium-filled party balloon and set it loose into the dawn sky, to see which way the wind was blowing (reassuring – I did NOT want to end up soaring across Port Phillip Bay) and to get a vague chart of our flight path.

Weirdly, it wasn’t until I was in the basket, with my elbows resting on its wickery side, that the following important points occurred to me: a) we were going to be up very very high, b) we were going to be up very very high IN A BASKET, c) we were going to have a large propane burner mere centimetres above our heads, and d) hellooooo, fear of heights, anyone???

I pondered these facts (with mild anxiety) as I gazed out across the park, distractedly taking photos of the other balloons slowly lifting off the ground, taking photos of Wa, taking photos of the trees, taking photos of the treetops – hang on – what was this? We’ve already taken off? We’re already above the trees, and the streetlights and the tram tracks and the hospital and – oh me, oh me – we’re floating high above the park now, actually too high to leap from the basket to the safety of terra firma and green grass. There’s no turning back now.

Lift off, we have lift off

Over the Royal Botanic Gardens, and the Tennis Centre, and the Fitzroy Gardens, the Freemasons Hospital, and over Gertrude Street, over the street corner I’d met Wa on a few hours earlier. Over my workplace. Over Brunswick Street. Over friends’ houses. Over MY house! I actually leaned over the side (not too far, mind you) and called out to Gus as we floated above my backyard, in the hope he’d run out and woof at the hiss of the burner, but no such luck.

Anyone for tennis?

O Melbourne, you luvverly city...

In the ayer!!!

Over familiar streets and shops, and then… into unchartered territory. Past the familiarity of my local hood and over Brunswick, and Coburg. Over a park with a lake full of ducks. Over backyards with crazy woofing dogs, running madly in circles. Over joggers. Over men in their dressing gowns, peering up at us from their driveways as they collect their Saturday paper. Over the drive-in, its huge empty screen looming large. Over factories, roofs passing underneath so low I thought we’d come to a stop on a square of asbestos-ridden tile. Over a park and an oval and, actually, no, we’re coming down. Our pilot tells us to brace, and we all lean against the side of the basket, as we were shown earlier that morning.

'Burban Streets

At the movies...

Wa + Wem = Besties 4 Evaahhhhhhh

And after three heavy bumps, we were on the oval and clambering out of the basket onto the dewy grass.

A trip in a hot air balloon is not nearly as terrifying as I had thought. In fact, it’s the opposite of terrifying. The silence, the gentle drift, the occasional roar of the burner – it’s calming and peaceful and slow. The world as it is seems to be all about how quickly you can get from A to B, and how instantly we seem to ‘need’ (and receive) information, and how everything needs to be mapped out and planned. Not knowing where you’re going to end up is exciting, and fun, and kinda highlights that we should focus more on where we’re at now – on looking around and learning and drifting and laughing – and less on our final destination. Don’t you think?