Apart from being immersed in a mental, emotional and physical layer of cocoa butter as my other love, GoneChocco has launched, I've just come back from a few days in South Australia visiting my parents.
Sapphire and I managed to snaffle some free flights. Yes, at the ripe old age of (almost) forty one, I finally earned enough frequent flyer point thingies to score two FREE flights to Adelaide and back. Mum was turning 69 and was not expecting a visit. For her seventieth, yes; but for her sixty ninth? No.
As we waited in the departure lounge, Sapphire noticed about 20 other ladies that could easily fit into the 69-year old category that my Mum, Pauline, belongs to. Shortish, blow-waved hair, gem-coloured t-shirts partially hidden under bright, multi-coloured blouses, Wilma Flintstone-inspired beads, coral lipstick, gold-rimmed spectacles, stretchy slacks and fawn Rockports.
Sapphire said, "Maybe they're friends of Grandmas? They could have been here to see something like 'Wicked' , gone to a footy game and visited the Queen Vic markets and are now heading home." Not a bad guess really, and we decided that a bunch of happy-faced, sixty-to-seventy-something old ladies should be called a Pack of Paulines.
Nearby hovered a group of old blokes in akubra-style hats (indoors), wrap-around 'blind man' sunglasses sold by the truckload in Anti-Cancer shops, arms folded over polo shirt fronts, ironless trousers and zingingly white sneakers. Ah, these were the husbands, comparing melanoma scars, golf handicaps and caravan lengths. If there was a Pack of Paulines, could these be (thanks Dad) a Jostle of Johns?
The real John and Pauline are much more than a pair of matching folding chairs and anodised travel mugs. Mum restores old donated toys and sells them as new for the Lifeline shop and Dad teaches 'Twilight Tech' to oldies wishing to unravel the mysteries of emailing their grandchildren.
At any given time we'll have a sulky baby drying out on the lounge in front of the heater or a newly-exfoliated Barbie (damn those blue biros and permanent markers) recovering in the laundry basket. It was a rainy weekend, so the newly-washed Elmos, Cookie Monsters and teddy bears were pegged on a clotheshorse to dry very slowly by the sea breeze that lifted up Dad's home-made window shades and rattled the windows.
I've mentioned Dad's beekeeping interests before as well as my scoffing at his subscription to what was possibly the least interesting bi-monthly publication ever, The Australiasian Beekeeper. But what did I see on his side table by the Jason Recliner? Sure, there were some Wingspans (he's a birdy twitcher from way back), Woodturners Monthly (those pepper-grinders have to come from somewhere you know) and the Australian Geographic, but surely this one finally snatches the crown from The Australiasian Beekeeper?
South Australian Bowler. That's right; a mere nationally-focussed magazine for lawn bowlers isn't enough; this one is only for South Australians. Every month. Yes, there's enough fascinating information, editorial comment, interviews match results and advertisements for ball bags and white shoes to produce a glossy every 28 days. I spent a very entertaining two minutes reading about the 'Senseless Attack at Tanunda' and wondering at the slightly psychotic cutting style of the layout person who removed the right arm of a champion bowler and left only his wristwatch against the yellow page, hovering like a stainless steel ghost......
But Mum isn't to be outdone quite so easily. On the side of her Jason Recliner, next to the pile of well-thumbed Australian Women's Weekly, Better Homes & Gardens and Burke's Backyards is this specimen that is also considered viable night time reading material:
South Australian Country Woman. This is published by the SA-CWA which is currently celebrating eighty years of service and, like SA Bowler, Beanie Kids and Michelle Duggar's uterus is released every month. I just couldn't bring myself to peer inside. Besides, only the cover was in glossy colour; everything else was tatty and grey inside.
Which is a similar colour to these headless goddesses that Mum stood contemplating as we scoured the nursery for some new pots to put her baby petunia plants in.
As she zipped up her parka so high that only her nose was visible, she said, "So are you missing the weather here in SA? Melbourne's such a cold place."
Trying not to laugh, I pointed at the nipples and said, "Oh I don't know about that, I'm as cold as they obviously are."
"Eeech eeech eeeech" Mum replied, her laughing sound always reminding me of a squeaky saloon door. "Let's go home, have a cup of green tea and something sweet to go with it, hey?"