Left Brissie yesterday after a great week in town. We were berthed at Dockside, under the Story Bridge – where K had his boat (note relief at use of past tense). Our arrival was happily heralded with a butterfly escort up the river. They and crew braved my strains of ‘Viva Bris-vegas’ and excited commentary: “look, that’s the road to the airport” and “ooh, the old wool stores, they’ve been converted into fancy-pants apartments”. Clearly, I’ve been away from city life too long.
The week we were in Brissie was also The Birthday Week. Which included a small gathering for birthday jazz and wine and tapas and comedy. Followed by more birthday wine, followed by birthday chocolate (why does Brisbane’s only dessert bar close so early on a Sunday night?). Which was inevitably followed next morning by a brain fuzz. Followed by self-talk in the vein of “oh dear, I’m either terribly out of practice or really getting old”. Followed by the realisation that this must also mean I’m not a real sailor, because everyone knows sailors are all old lushes. The birthday carousing was followed by a post-birthday cook-up of home-made baked beans. Followed by… (I think this is where I should stop).
Also used the week to stock up on wine and books (my cabin is now the boat’s unofficial wine bar with library). And had a haircut and went to the markets and ate out lots. Also went into my former work and talked lots about life after desk to people stuck behind desks. (It’s hard not to feel guilty, sometimes.) Then my old boss asked me back and laughed, knowing my answer which was left unsaid. (More awkward guilt.) Also found out I've accrued more leave while I've been on leave, so got paid some more. There are some good things about government.
Also diagnosed the severity of my disconnection from cultural life. I looked up what movies were on. And realised I had not heard of any of them. Repeat: any of them. I went online to see what Margaret and David had to say. Then made a really ordinary choice and saw that Jesse James movie which, though beautifully shot, is really long and s-l-o-o-o-w. And sort of sleep-inducing after two months of nil moving images and lots of night watches. Naturally, this led to more self-talk about being old.
Caught up with friends. Most of the conversations started with “I didn’t recognise you, you’re so brown”. (A great antidote to previous self-talk.) Jewellery designer friend Ren and I hatched a plan for a collaborative exhibition next year. Which will involve further purposeful wandering – to collect found objects. I’m being cagey on purpose, in case we don't do it. Still in the craft realm, I’ve squirrelled my fabric stash aboard for use over xmas.
Article in map magazine came out yesterday so am celebrating being published travel writer. Raced around town on first mate’s bike (after returning my car to its minder) to hunt down copies of the mag. Happily, the editors snipped very little, making just style changes to text but using only one (the least favoured) of the six photos I submitted. Which I guess is okay since the pay-per-word doesn’t even get close to AJA recommended, let alone cover images. Ah well, must start somewhere.
Other news is I got paperwork to start logging time towards my coxswain’s. Not that I could fathom skippering a commercial vessel but it’s a great way to learn skills for my own boat… one day.
Have also spent wads of time with skip's 15-month-old… which has lead to finding myself of late morning still unshowered, making paper planes out of The Australian and talking in a funny voice (badly). Bound to continue until Sydney, where bub and mum get off.
Also had camera diagnosed… the good news is it’s a manufacturing fault with the lens and not a result of anything I've inflicted on it during two months at sea. The bad news is it will cost a current week’s wages to get fixed. Which can only be done in Melbourne. And it will take as long to send it down as to sail it down. Managing to force a smile through all this with the new compact digital, acquired in Cairns. Have just posted the first pics – including me with the toona and me (above) in perfect balance (camera in one hand, G&T in the other). A theme emerging? Well, it was Birthday Week.
Tonight we’re anchored in the Gold Coast seaway, waiting for the wind to ease before heading south. We've had the guy who painted the boat and his partner sail with us from Brisbane. He told loads of stories about his life as a private investigator. She reckoned the galley was an awful colour. Funnily, they live in Cheltenham. It's a small world.