Hi-ba! How-ba are-ba you-ba to-ba day-ba?
Good-ba? Me-ba too-ba!
Yes, imitating Fat Albert's speech patterns amused Sapphire and I nearly 24/7 on our two week drive-through holiday of New Zealand's north island.
We both loved the challenge of adding 'ba' to every single word we spoke during the tedium of being stuck behind logging trucks and single lane bridges and simply enjoyed the spit-soaked hilarity that imitating speech impediments as fast as you can always provides. At least for my daughter and I but not, I suspect, for Love Chunks, who tended to look at us both convulsing with laughter as though we were unsightly stains on the brand new seats of the rental car he needed to return without incident or additional costs.....
"But Dad, wait until you hear us sing Abba's 'Dancing Queen' like Fat Albert: 'You-ba can-ba dance-ba, You-ba can-ba jive-ba, having-ba the-ba time-ba of-ba your-ba life-ba, Oooh-ba Oooh-ba Ooooh-ba.....'"
Sadly, he remained resistant to our pleas to join in with our frivolities. He may also have found a soulmate feeling equal dismay in Laura, our Lord of the Rings tour guide, when I decided to pose in the very spot of Rivendell that Orlando - nay, Legolas - did, albeit wearing plastic elf ears and shoving the tip of Frodo's 'sting' blade up my nose in jest.
Or perhaps it was when we were in our fairly-blah hotel room in Napier, still getting over the utter excitement of seeing some badly painted art-deco buildings, the over-priced fur socks at the o-possum shop or somehow finding three wineries using a scandalously inaccurate map only to find that they were all shut until the summer season that we gave up, returned to our hotel room with cheese and crackers and he turned on the taps to fill up the jet-propelled spa bath: the real highlight of our stay there.
Imagine, you fellow parched Aussie readers out there: water so plentiful we sank up to our nipples when walking on the always-sodden grass and the concept of the four-minute shower timer merely an interesting anecdote mentioned to front desk staff at check out time!
"Kath, I've added half the bottle of their bath gel stuff, so it should bubble away for you and Sapph quite nicely."
And so it should have, if I'd been mature and left it at that. But nooo, I wasn't prepared to wait ten minutes to see the water levels rise and the bubbles with it; I had to add the rest of the tiny freebie bottle and the entire contents of another freebie bottle I'd swiped from the previous hotel as well.
When Sapph and I eased ourselves in - elbows keeping every part of our nervous bodies out of the water except our arses which were the first parts of our anatomy forced to endure the hellish assault of flesh-peelingly hot water - the magic button was eventually pressed and the jets pulsated. "Ooooh, this is nice, Mum! Look, I've got a bubble beard!"
Bubbles, bubbles and more bubbles appeared, rising higher and higher until Sapphire had to stand up, and my glass of rose (from the Napier region of course) had disappeared under the white creeping clowd along with the taps, the folded pile of towels and our pyjamas.
"Er, Love Chunks? Are you out there?"
He was, and walked in slowly, the "What have you done?" still on his lips as he saw the quicksand of detergent moving past him in its determined journey from across the bathroom floor, out of the wet area and towards the mini bar fridge. "Where's Sapphire?"
"Oh she's in here somewhere. Aren't you Sapph. Sapph?"
Still, I learned that there's a surprising amount of soaking capability in paper drinks coasters, face flannels and the contents of our week-old dirty clothes bag. And quite a lot of cheap laughs to be had in blobbing on the bed in front of Sky NZ telly watching a ten year old episode of 'Hypnotize' and photographing flavours of Whittakers chocolate not yet available in Australia.
"Hey-ba Sapphire-ba - Want-ba a-ba few-ba squares-ba of-ba choccy-ba?"
"Yes-ba please-ba Mum-ba!"
Sapphire's first comment on seeing this photo she took of me (forsaking glamour for warmth during the Bay of Islands cruise) was, "YOU can dance, you can ji-ive!"