Athletics wrapped up at 11.00, and we had an hour to reset ourselves before going up the mountain to Ferntree for a combined birthday party for Paul (
The kids had a fantastic time. It was about 34°, and there were water bombs, sprinkler runs, sprinkler dancing, and eventually I was convinced to hold the sprinkler directed at the trampoline while a number of young people bounced on it. Michael found a small pond and spent a lot of time poking it with a stick. At one stage he asked me, quiz-style, "What is an arthropod that stings but is bigger than a wasp?" Knowing he is scorpion obsessed, I got it right, despite being stunned a little by the question. Later there was pass-the-parcel with James the fiddler providing the music.
The garden is very large and rambling. The kids took themselves off into distant parts of it and amused themselves, and the adults got to sit on haybales, drink and chat and listen to the banjo player and fiddler get to know one another through the course of "Duelling Banjos", "Molly Malone" and other standards. Very pleasant.
Scout's and Harry's grandparents John and Lynn were visiting from Victoria, and Lynn did all the cooking. The food was magnificent, and it just kept coming all afternoon. John and Lynn had a vineyard/restaurant/home at Yarra Glen that was all but destroyed in the Victorian fires 12 months ago. They have been living in inner-city Carlton since being burnt out, but next week they move back to Yarra Glen, into a tiny 8-square cottage next door to their property. Some of the vines survived and they are going to try to keep their wine label going.
We had to tear ourselves away about 4-ish to get home, into fresh clothes and head out to Moonah for the next party. Which, come to think of it, is what we did last time we visited Ferntree. This time it was a barbecue dinner and cocktail soiree for Susan's 40th. At my first try I made a terrible mud-coloured cocktail, about a pint of it. After that I let Elf give hers to me, after repeatedly making them and finding them too strong.
Another set of grown-ups, another set of kids. Marcus made a friend, and together they invented a game involving bouncing on (another) trampoline, and impaling large apples off the tree on short sharpened sticks. Fortunately this yard was smaller and rambling, and they were discovered before too much damage was done. Michael again did his own thing, and made a beautiful delicate sculpture from cane rods, an old CD and some wire. I took some photos with someone else's camera and will hopefully get them at some stage.
Again the food was lovely, piles of barbecued lamb, pork and chicken. Susan had a great time, we left her laughing her head off.
Cameron and I had a short talk about politics - both of us shaking our heads in wonder that for the first time in our lives we are considering the Liberals a palatable prospect at next month's State election. He would never be able to actually tick the box, after a lifetime of antipathy, but I'm thinking they might deserve a try. It's strange how your scorn for politicians your own age, at 40, is completely different to the scorn you felt for politicians at 20. David Bartlett is the first Facebook premier - which might go down well with the youngsters but I don't like it. He has an online poll for his Facebook friends, on how he should be conducting his campaign. Yuk.