Today I did not hang myself because of a day out with mum and Pip, with movies and shopping and good company.
But the photo isn’t about that; it’s one of the most thoughtful Christmas presents I’ve ever received, and I wanted to tell you about it.
Newcastle Art Gallery built a funny little building out the back when I was six, and started running art classes there. I think it was only meant to be a temporary installation, but it lasted for more than a decade. I must have gone to half a dozen different art classes there, from papier mache sculpture classes (I made a man swimming freestyle) to cartooning (where they asked us to draw without leaning our arm on the table and suggested that trees didn’t actually look like broccoli).
Well, the pavilion was deconstructed a few months ago and I made some offhand comment on Facebook about how sad that was, and if only I was in town I could salvage a piece of it.
My cousin must have seen that, because next time he found himself cycling past the (un)building site, he took some of the refuse away with him. Looks like it might have been a floorboard or something. He’s an artist himself, and he has carved the wood into a little monster for me. I love it dearly, and it will come back to Melbourne in a few weeks to live in my garden and frighten visitors.
My great-aunt was astounded at how happy I was to receive it. “Fancy that,” she said, “give you a plank of wood and you’re over the moon!”
Here’s a song very much in keeping with the spirit of this blog. I heard it played live tonight.
Enjoy it. And play it LOUD.
The sun here boils like August’s Tuscany
And burns the skin like September’s Greece
This summer rain falls in Edinburgh
And floods the paths of Göttingen
I crossed this street in Budapest and Amsterdam
I felt this wind in Uppsala and Bruges
The skyline’s lit like Berlin, Athens, Prague
The tides shift in the Thames, a Danish beach
Australian Customs stripped our luggage bare
To check no scraps of foreign lands had gone astray
I ticked the box marked Nothing To Declare
But they smuggled themselves here somehow anyway.