Brides, Birds and Melatonin
Granny two days in is not the least jet-lagged. Hail to the wonders of the - in England - unobtainable hormone, Melatonin, in this case snaffled from Beloved Son. She is however a little overhung and weary from yesterday's wedding - which started at 2.30pm and ended at 11pm, boozy throughout. And on a beach - really. Poor bridegroom had stinking cold, which poor bride might come out with on honeymoon. Otherwise a good time was had by all. Though Granny is wondering whether an entire week closeted on the Barrier Reef with her family isn't going to have its trying moments.
Her family, she'd better explain, politically and socially covers pretty much the entire English class system. Her far left twin sister ended her life living in a farm-labourers cottage with a cowman husband. Her middling left little sister is - she proclaims - 'a suburban Sydney housewife and proud of it' (and so she should be; she is altogether lovely.) Granny herself is also somewhat leftish and belongs roughly she supposes to what are called 'the chattering classes' - ie the gabby people in the middle. Big brother on the other hand is life-long Tory, home-counties, and something of a blimp. Granny thinks she may have some trouble buttoning her lip for an entire week while he goes on about asylum seekers. Etc. He's too like her dad for one thing; she never entirely learned to button her lip with him. It's amazing how the rebellious adolescent continues to lurk in the 60 0dd year old. Her brother doesn't arouse quite the same amount of emotion - but it's there, it's there. As indeed her dead twin's rather sad daughter, also part of the family party is too like her mother for Granny's comfort. 'My mother and my aunt,' proclaimed sad niece in a bibulous moment. 'had a love-hate relationship.' Ouch. But only too true. They were twins and it happens.
Granny loves her family all of them; really. But oh the echoes, the echoes.
About Australia on the other hand she is quite unequivocal. She arrived here first 27 or so years ago, almost by accident and not enthusiastically. But fell in love with it straight away. A feeling renewing itself fast. The birds, the wonderful birds. The family spent two nights between creek and beach in a rented beach house. Next door a woman was feeding five kookaburras on her balcony at 7am. There were swamp hens on the lawn, flying overhead from one bit of bush to another went white cockatoos, rosellas, lorekeets, magpies, goodness knows what else. The noise was extraordinary. As it is extraordinary here, back in suburban Sydney. An English garden by comparison is like an Anglican parish church with a choir of piping trebles, all very decorous. Whereas an Aussie one - think a sonorous Russian cathedral taken over by a cacophony of charismatics all speaking in tongues, raucous, mellifluous, strident, everything you can think of but all loud and all out of time and tune. Decorous it isn't. But fabulous. FABULOUS. Happy Granny.
Beloved little - but not so little - sister says raucous Australian birds are just like Australians. She is one, by the way, so can afford that remark. Granny's not sure she can; she's just reporting it. Please note. And anyway she likes Australians. Almost as much as she likes their birds.
Labels: family stories