I’m slightly sunburned and somewhat sad, for my mind is back at Lorne amongst a tribe of Red Bubblers…..and my shoes are full of sand.
The prospect of a weekend away with two dozen artists, most of whom were strangers, both excited and daunted me. On the one hand, so much to write about! On the other, so many cameras to flinch from! And it was idyllic, in so many ways. Glorious weather contributed to our high spirits and pink skin, an amazing setting of A-frame bungalows set in lush greenery made me feel immediately at home, and the wonderful company made me laugh and laugh.
I remember…. – Jo O’Brien working overtime to organise everything, right down to presenting us each with showbags on our arrival. And when I bragged how I’m always early, so an 8:30 start would be easy for me, a knock on the door at 8:15 showed me up – especially as we’d schlepped all over St Kilda looking for Jo’s car the night before until past midnight. IN STILETTOS.
- Melissa Vowell taking a deep breath and booking a ticket from Queensland to Melbourne to share a weekend with total strangers. Two dozen of them. What a woman! Despite my tormenting her about the West Gate Bridge collapse, just as we were driving over it: both times.
- Being brave and posing for my first photo outside the laughably named ‘Guns & Roses’ boutique in Anglesea (more grandma than rock & roll).
- Jo’s cheerful Kelly Clarkson renditions in the car fighting for precedence with Mel’s “I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts”.
- Being attacked by tourist-savvy cockatoos on the balcony, planning a sumptous roast dinner with Dave Spencer around their plump little bodies. Well, one did befoul my t-shirt – he deserved roasting.
- Sitting around a picnic table with rich merlot in plastic cups (marked with our names, per Jo’s instructions, thank you) and Jess’s daisy chain in my hair, devouring fat juicy wedges of haloumi and ripe warm brie, watching our group gather for the first time. This delicious getting-to-know-you stage, each putting names to faces and tentatively breaking out our cameras, pens and paper, delighted not just me.
- The delight of Anne Van Alkemade’s gorgeous daughter seeing the ocean for the first time.
- Singing to Big Mama Thornton in our bungalow as Mel did everyone’s hair for our night out, the blues giving way to Duran Duran as the straightening tongs warmed and the wine breathed.
- All of us clattering along the streets of Lorne looking relentlessly for ‘the yellow pub’ on the corner…..which was brown.
- All of us spilling onto two huge tables as Jess and I lusted after coconut ice cream and Chris W and I lusted after Drambuie…why do all my stories revolve around my taste buds?!
- Mel being inspired by “The Princess Diaries” and giving us all a warm fuzzy speech about how awesome we all are…as is she. Now, a woman prepared to stand up in front of twenty photographers, most of whom had cameras lined up on the table like cutlery, is a woman to be reckoned with!
- Banning all and sundry from taking photos while I was eating…never attractive.
- Vanilla vodka, a ripe almost full moon, a midnight swim.
- Lining our hungover bellies with greasy eggs and aromatic coffee at Arab’s the next morning, swatting the persistent flies with our menus and arguing about music. Laughing with Claudia Phares about the glory of Nashville Pussy, being amazed at Jo’s disinterest in…well….most music, and being appalled at David Spencer’s dogged determination – in the face of all the evidence – to sing the praises of that wretched sourpuss, Bob Dylan. Du wisst, dass ich Recht habe, Dave.
- Watching with amusement as Bubblers sculpted sand into a mermaid tail for Jo, draped her in seaweed, and then a photographic frenzy ensued. Having not a smidge of skill in that area – up until last year my only camera was bought from K-Mart Boronia in 1988 for the grand price of $45 – I merely watched the dueling of the lenses from afar…though I’m pretty sure that John Robb won!
- Taking one of Jo’s spontaneous detours on the trip home. Sitting in an empty cafe in an art gallery, I made the most of three fabulous women who’d shared my space and my stories over the weekend: Melissa Vowell, Claudia Phares and Jo O’Brien.
- Feeling chills run down my spine as Mel read out my stories in the car, and feeling so honoured to read out hers. I’d never experienced that before, and it made me excited to get started on Julie’s wonderful idea of a Bubble writing group.
- Watching with reluctance as Melbourne drew nearer, still shaking the sand from my hair.
So…a weekend of lolling and laughter, wine and wickedness, with cameras raised and pens uncapped and such damn fun that plans for the next such adventure are already being mentioned.
I take it you’re coming?