Saturday, April 19, 2008

Exterminator for Hire

So after five years of an aversion to reading the newspaper, I can actually absorb a whole page on Saturdays, usually the previous week's edition of the SMH, and not just the movie reviews either.  Today I read all about PM Rudd's totally groovy speech to Peking University.  Obviously my Getup contribution drove him to the edge.

I felt a bit confused when fellow Buddhists were apparently going ape in Lhasa, understandably so, I know how  being pent up for years on end can make you want to leap the barrier, although according to my Facebook confidant, there is talk of them actually being Chinese soldiers (seen above holding robes).  Today I popped over to Bondi in record time, using some of those lucky punk karma lane changes that you can do off peak. On the way there I see a Sydney cab driver do something original - talk about politics.

Free for the arvo, I get to my pregnant friend's birthday party - afternoon tea, innocent enough, and there are twelve adults and twenty under 5's.  I left my children at home because I could.  There was a riot going on.  That'll teach her for having baby number two.  I experienced a zen-like calm owing to the fact I was the only parent with a pass-out, and as a random act of compassion I offered the birthday girl and her one and a half children a lift in the Kombi.

Little did I realise that at the exact latitude and longitude of my VW was an extremely functional 70's three tier bookshelf (our books are currently stacked on the floor) and a very cute toddler bed (a perfect upgrade from a cot) of the roadside chuckout variety.  It was a case of pregnant birthday friend with child(ren) in the rain V's free furniture.

Guess I've matured.  I gave up the furniture and got a nice packet of assorted creams for my sacrifice from birthday girl.  Mental note to self:  there are better roadside dumps in Bondi than any other part of Sydney.  My theory being a/more backpackers coming and going (especially this time of year - yay for the locals) and b/more aspiring Good Weekend readers who have turfed out those unpretentious hardy veneer shelves on coasters for a nice bit of Chinese-made IKEA Billy.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Ask a donkey for directions

My first blog. Oh well, I got that far before the kids interupted me... This shall be the last time I mention them as I have just now decided it shall not only be about me and what I get up to in my VW but what I get up to minus my children.

One can dream.

So I announced this week that I was going to abandon my responsibilities and skive off up the highway to a yoga retreat and experience some peace & quiet. The cost 'by donation' made it a very attractive getaway option. Me and my 1971 Kombi Volkswagen hit the road with a half tank of petrol, ipod and my most floaty trousers on. As I hit Freeway 1 at a cracking 80kmp my fleeing was synchronously heralded with 'Wide Open Road' by the Triffids.

I knew I was lost when the road ended in a silted creek, three donkeys and a farm gate (damn google maps). I still felt optimistic because if anything happened, like a flat tyre, I would have to deal with it minus mobile reception (bad) and my two kids whining in the back 'when are we going to get there' (very bad).

I went back to the main road and followed the big sign that said 'Yoga Retreat' and just when I decided to give up and head for Wisemen's Ferry pub, I saw the turnoff and was now destined for vegan food instead of a meat pie and schooner.

After that first episode of letting go of the outcome, I came upon the retreat and was greeted by a second opportunity to gain enlightenment - a man in orange robes wielding a jackhammer and doing some damage with it (with a whipper snipper accompaniment). I'd only just fled the overactive renovators of the suburbs in the hope of hiding in the forest for a bit of silence, so you can imagine how fucking zen I felt, but being so grateful for a day pass I actually did managed to see the funny side and presented myself to reception. They were a tiny bit surprised that I was 3 hours late but I enjoyed letting them think they were molding a total loser.

I joined a half hour meditation and relaxation session which felt uh, relaxing, and then it was lunchtime. It was a congealed mass of beans and root vegetables (a/ I didn't have to cook it, b/ it was free and c/possibly slimming judging from the regulars who were dining as if they were part of the 'slow' movement).

After washing my dish (only one!) and patting a real python that slithered across the path, we had a yoga class that was quite easy and simple, except I was a bit distracted by the leader's lack of underpants clearly visible beneath his Thai fisherman's trousers. I must train the mind further.

I ended up heading home before a thunderstorm hit and stopped at a roadside vegetable shed to buy up strange country offerings like mini pumpkins and massive bunches of flowers for $2. Normally, if in the car with my husband driving whom I'll refer to in future as MSP, I would have to throw myself from the moving vehicle at 130kph if I wanted to experience the slow country pace. Now that I was driving solo meo I could stop and photograph silly post boxes, buy useless but artistically shaped pumpkins, ask donkeys for directions, and wedge my ipod earplugs in and sing all the way home as loud as possible to the Indigo Girls.