Tag: Music (Page 1 of 6)

Going on Holiday

This morning we had planned to leave at 10am. I am slowly realising that B and M plus toddler takes double the amount of time to organise. Thus, we didn’t leave until 11.30am.

This was after a night which included Small Z vomiting so copiously that she was limp, and then going to sleep, only to wake up coughing and unable to stop until about 11pm. Thus, our plans for leaving early were killed off before they even began.

M, struck down by a cold and traumatised by fainting the day before while having blood tests, was hoarse, slightly woebegone, but strangely zen this morning. Even when we finally left, drove 15km, and then had to go home again because I left my bank card behind, he barely flinched. He maintained this through the horrible traffic snagging us through the city and out the other side.

Small Z, on a three hour car journey, did not have her normal nap, but coped admirably – buoyed by my song and dance routines as we got closer to our planned stop in Malmsbury – home of one of my favourite all time cafes.

We finally reached the Maldon Folk Festival ticket office sometime before 5pm. I was comforted to spy a lovely Humber Supersnipe just as we drove into town. Small Z was thrilled by the sight of a girl with long plaits riding a donkey through the streets, and then kept asking where all the ‘muthic and danthing’ was that we’d told her about.

It was so lovely to finally find E, D and Small E (apparently unscathed by my babysitting efforts the other day) with their tent up and a caravan friendly spot. M and I have been SO looking forward to this weekend away – it already feels like a breath of fresh air, sitting on a camp chair (thanks, Rie!) and hearing music leaking up the hill from the performance tents. At least three nights in the caravan…couldn’t be better.

The campsite…

The campsite

Maldon Folk Festival 2009

Our trip to Maldon was great. The weather was HOT! It was a shock, as there was no gradual ascent to the heat, it just jumped from weeks of average-ish spring temperatures with lots of rain, to three days of about 30 degrees.


We and our lovely camping companions had a good time, although we didn’t get to see as much music as I had hoped. I felt evilly thwarted when we made the effort to get to the Anglican Church on Sunday morning (I should have realised, right?) in response to an advertisement at a few places of acapella. So we showed up. And it was hymns. One at a time. Punctuated by god-speak. A less stupid person would have been unsurprised (that was E and M). M and I left, taking Small Z, who kept being ‘shooshed’ by devout looking people as she kept shouting ‘Mooosic? Where moosic?! DANCE! DANCE!!’

We tried again later in the day. Same venue. This time accompanied by Mr H & Son. It had been advertised as a gospel concert. WRONG! We tried to join in, but Mr H was rendered insensible by myself on one side hissing “Are we supposed to be singing ‘Bringing in the sheep’? or ‘Bringing in the cheese?'” and Jack (aged 8) on the other, asking, “Are we supposed to be singing ‘Bringing in the sheets?'” When he could speak, he told us heathens that it was ‘Bringing in the sheaves’ – a hymn that Wikipedia now informs me ‘is a popular hymn used almost exclusively by Protestant Christians’ – inspired by Psalm 126.6 – we left shortly afterward.

But aside from the above two paragraphs, the music we glimpsed was excellent, and it was great just to hang out with some other people and their small person for three days. It was good to just be AWAY. We got to tour the home of their friends who live locally and marvel at their chickens, their garden and their lifestyle in general. We attended several cafes and enjoyed kicking back in the late Sunday afternoon shade at the main stage. Beer was drunk, toddler tantrums were refereed and there was bushdancing (where there was also some impromptu napping)…

Conked out...

Each time we’ve been to Maldon M and I have delayed our return home by at least a day. This time we did it with E, D and Small E. We aimed for Malmsbury, but there was nowhere to camp – though we all could have camped in the bakery for a considerable time – the pies and custard tarts were delectable! On the advice of the girl who worked in the bakery we headed for Kyneton, where the caravan park adjoins both the botanical gardens and the river. Divine.

In Kyneton on the air mattress

It balmed my soul to spend a night surrounded by greenery instead of dusty hot bushland (sorry Maldon). We drank gin and tonics into the night, and probably for this reason, E and I had good sleeps. If I had known what I was going to have for breakfast I wouldn’t have been able to sleep at all – I would have lain there wide eyed in anticipation.

On a slight tangent, I had read in Epicure a few weeks ago about the foodies street in Kyenton – Piper Street. So, on the morning of Melbourne Cup Day, that’s where we headed, fingers crossed that somewhere would be open. Ladel was open, but they don’t do breakfast. Very kindly, they pointed us in the direction of Slow Living.

Oh. My. God. Let it be known that this is the site of the best breakfast I have EVER had. (Are you paying attention, foody cousin?) It was nothing grand. It was entirely organic. It was two poached eggs, happy bacon, chunky heavy rye, two tomatoes, some spinach. Am kicking myself for not taking photograph of it. It was expensive, as cafe breakfasts go, and it was worth every single cent.

Parallel play on the plaid...

SLAM Protest Rally & Sleepers

I haven’t left this side of town for what seems like an a-g-e. Yesterday, this changed. M, Small Z and I drove into Northcote in the morning, and were gratified to discover that it took exactly an hour. An HOUR! An hour to civilisation, trams, coffee, chai made with leaves and hot milk, and…our actual destination. The first Sleepers Publishing CryBaby Salon.

I was glad to have had M there acting as my Manny, as I doubt Small Z would have stayed in the toddlers room for the entire session on her own. As it was, I was practically the only person in the room without an incy-wincy baby draped over me or crawling at my feet. Lawrie Steed interviewed Rachel Power, author of The Divided Heart: Art and Motherhood – a book I would have bought except for a cash deficit. Am now going to request it for birthday.

There was much discussion over the guilt involved with trying to pursue your artistic endeavours while still feeling like a worthwhile mother. A few times it was suggested that you have to try hard to just down tools, put your partner in charge, shove the expressed breastmilk in the fridge and JUST LEAVE. Something I have whole-heartedly aspired to, but am really really not good at doing. In question time I wanted to ask…but what about those mothers who have babies that don’t sleep without being breastfed and who won’t take a bottle? The sleep deprivation and the sheer brain deadening fatigue?! What do they do?!!

I think the response would have been ‘do whatever you can’. If you can grab 30 minutes a day to write or dance or paint, just do it. It’s good enough. It’s better than nothing. And it’s no crime that if, when those 30 minutes are there for the taking, all you can do is slump with a few chocolate biscuits and a cup of tea. Things will always improve.

I wondered also about the levels of difficulty – if you have come up with a non-fiction topic that you can focus on and research – is that easier or harder than writing fiction? Does the time you lack for contemplation weigh equally heavily on the fiction writer and the painter and the dancer? I suppose it all depends on the person, and what you allow yourself to do. Time to immerse yourself in your chosen artform shouldn’t feel like an indulgence, and shouldn’t feel like you are doing it at the expense of something else…the washing, the dinner… It’s this hardwired, burnt-chop mother thing that I think a lot of people identified with yesterday – the ongoing struggle to separate yourself as artist and mother.

And as Rachel Power said – the triumvirate of art, motherhood and WORK is the real killer. She spoke about the harmony that can come of the motherhood and art combination. When work is thrown into the mix, that’s the thing that sends it all off key. Just thinking about this makes me want to go and buy a Powerball ticket…

After visiting the nasally impaired, but mending Dr of Grass, we took the scenic route to Carlton via Coburg as Small Z slumbered in the back. And then moseyed on down to the front of the State Library for the Save Live Australian Music protest rally, where we met LIBRARYMAN (aka Mr H in work attire) and marched from there, through the city, and up Bourke Street to Parliament House. It was fabuloso!!

At the end, after a rousing rendition of ‘It’s a Long Way to the Top if you want to ROCK & ROLL’, there was a little too much speechifying – a great deal of which was generally indistinct to those further back in the crowd. I think they should have got people up to make a few pithy statements, got ’em off, and had a few more songs. But, whatever… We took our leave with the hungry small one, and headed home after a stop for lemon lime and bitters, some spuds and some pesto bread.

SLAM Rally

Note Small Z on M’s shoulders to left of banner…

SLAM Rally

Sing Song

Yesterday Small Z was in and out while I tried to work. She sang me a song she had made up, accompanying herself with Jeff Beck-like virtuosity on the guitar…

There’s no thunder again…
It started raining, started raining…
It started raining, started raining…
It started raining, started raining…

[fiddles with instrument *tuning*] And the rain started pittering pattering
Down on the other tigers and ligers
And it started thundering again
And raining…
And I went through the tiger door again*

[B: That’s a pretty good song!
She comes back for the encore…] And AGAAAAAAIN,

[* the ‘tiger door’ is the cat flap in our back door]

Other favourites on our YouTube playlist are…

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