I visited Melbourne for my cousin Laura’s 21st birthday party, which was celebrated on Saturday 3rd May.
My parents and I departed Friday morning by train. My sister couldn’t come with us because she is just starting another elective for her university medical course – this time on Aboriginal health for which she is spending a few weeks in Alice Springs. However, she did accompany us as far as the station.
The railway line from Adelaide to Melbourne passes through the Victorian town of Nhill where my cousin Robert’s family live, and when we got there his daughters Kate and Leah joined us on the train (Robert and Katrina could not come as they had other commitments). It was a happy journey, and among other things included the making of plasticine dinosaurs.
Laura lives with my uncle and aunt, with whom Kate and Leah also stayed while my parents and I stayed in the nearby Waverley International Hotel. It was a very active weekend, and we spent very little time at the hotel when not sleeping. On Saturday we went into town to visit the public aquarium only to discover that it was closed for repairs, but we had a good time anyway — eating and playing and being together. The ice cream I chose for my lunch time dessert was half honeycomb and half blackberry, and wholly tasty.
The party on Saturday evening was loud and crowded, mostly full of people that Laura knows through church. I did my best to socialise; many of the guests tended to stick close to people they knew well, but I managed substantial conversations with two or three people and brief discussions with several more. In the communal birthday card – the big one placed on a table throughout the party and signed by guests – I wrote the following limerick:
There was a young woman called Laura
Who had a magnificent aura.
Its purples and greens
Were a sight to be seen;
No person of taste could ignore her.
I deliberately didn’t buy Laura a birthday present in advance of the party, because I wanted to use the weekend as a time to gather ideas and learn more about her requirements and tastes. I found the speeches at the party to be useful resource for ideas; I knew that Laura likes to see people having fun and has a taste for adventure, but I didn’t know about the spiders and had only an inkling of the bears.
Now that I am back in Adelaide I have wasted no time in ordering a birthday present for Laura, which will soon be on its way to her in a large parcel from America and should arrive within the next couple of weeks. I will not say what it is in public until after she receives it, but in the meantime if I am contacted privately by someone who knows Laura or me then I am willing to reveal all…
On Sunday morning my parents and I flew back to Adelaide, arrangements having been made for Kate and Leah that I didn’t inquire into. At the airport I bought myself a few things, including some new teatowels to match my newly renovated kitchen and a couple of CDs (Guardians of the Reef by David Hudson and The Distant Shore by Stewart Dudley). I got back home without drama.