Red Chair and Honey

Page 34

I’m still uploading the last sketchbook – only a few pages left to go. The scanned ones are in a set on Flickr. The left page is my beautiful, red, desperately uncomfortable Ikea chair (in the rental house in Auchenflower) and the right page is my father’s hands and a view past him to the living room (in my parents’ house in Hattonvale).

I have been house hunting, and on Tuesday morning before work I inspected a house which had bees living in its back wall, crawling in and out between the fibro near the rear door. You could smell the honey. The previous owner had “liked having them there” and his successors are trying to get the bees humanely moved out.

They were European bees, but when we lived out west we had Australian native bees – tiny and black and stingless and with a sad tendency to drown in the butter on picnics. My father, who was always acquiring interesting injuries while working, once drove up to the front gate with the chainsaw to cut down a dead tree that had the temerity to try to drop a branch on him. He came back a short while later with his arm – black and dripping – held out the window. My mother was used to him returning in this state, but was surprised when he held out his arm and said, “Lick this!” The tree was full of honey.

I’ve been keeping most things to the bare minimum lately, due to house hunting, but that seems to be coming to a head so I will soon put up:

All My Friends Are Leaving Brisbane

Jess and I saw this tonight, everyone else having fallen by the wayside. At the end of the movie, I fell down the stairs while walking and reading the credits, wrenching my shoulder, banging my knee and jarring my foot (this in addition to the pinched nerve in my other leg). Jess survived unscathed. We collected the third member of our household and came home to find the fourth unpacking, listening to depressing music at high volume and just finished drying the dog with a hair-dryer.

So real life in Brisbane is somewhat quirkier than the movie, which was patchy but (not unlike the vicar’s egg) very good in those patches. The soundtrack was brilliant, and there were the laughs of recognition (the RE – still corpse-purple – and the Botanic Gardens) and of genuine amusement (the Sesame Street theory of urban development). As is so often the case in romantic comedy-dramas the secondary characters (Tyson and Katherine) were more unique and appealing than the more neurotic, tortured main characters (Anthea and Michael), but it is a good sign that I remembered the names of most characters, and there were scenes where I thought – hey, I was really getting pulled in there. And although at the start I thought, “not gritty – it’s so overdone”, that grittiness was pretty low-key, and there were moments of colour and beauty that were a relief for a small film. The film also caught, subtly, the fact (especially at the wedding) that in Brisbane everyone knows or is connected to everyone else.*

However, if your friends ever ask you to be extras in their friend’s cousin’s movie, do. The most striking feature of the film’s Brisbane was the emptiness of it – as if all the friends and half the city had gone to London.

Off to have chai now.

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*E.g. my housemates are each others’ sisters’ friends and boyfriend’s sisters, and I am not as was thought the random person who answered an internet add, rather I am the family friend of the sisters’ father’s business partner, and one of my coworkers who was to have joined us at the movie has a boyfriend who shops at the same store we do and is my godfather’s son, and one of my client’s cousins, to whom my boss tried to marry me off, is already married to my third cousin, whose parents live in Taringa.