Monday, 1 July 2013

Yamba Day 2 - 2013

I will not eat soft cheese. I will not eat soft cheese. I will not eat soft cheese.
The first coffee moments

I'm looking up and to the left, hoping for an neurological imprint to prevent me from having further hostilities with a small, gooey substance which holds a contemptible, unrequited love for me. Up in the night, paracetamol fixed my stair-weary legs but my stomach and nose ran a conga line of discomfort whose origin lay on biscuit six hours earlier.

I'm moaning this morning and allowing Paul McCartney to whisper words of wisdom ... let it brie, let it brie ...

It rained yesterday, more off than on. This morning has reversed that trend and the palm trees are swaying under the onslaught. After nineteen consecutive winters here, you learn to accept the weather as part of the experience. Whilst some will give you dissertations over coffee about the inappropriateness of horizontal rain and blusters of wind, I remain weirdly fascinated when nature misbehaves. It has never bowed to the urging of others who wish to quantify and control: to blandify its desires. No white pills for this babe, nature. I can dig that. Watch it. Write down what it does. Note it for history but don't whine about it.

We stocked the larder, stopping at the fisherman's co-op so Sue could grab her feed of prawns, even if a day late. Across the road was "the murder house", named by Chris many years ago. We had passed the house as we left Yamba one year and three police cars were parked outside and uniformed officers were climbing fences and knocking on doors. I told the children as we reached Glen Innes that I had heard on the radio a double murder had been committed there that morning, a creative licence taken to occupy them on a long trip and it kept them talking all the way back to Tambar Springs. Ever since, its been "the murder house" in our family.

The ancestral Gibbens home somehow ignores time and still stands in its glorious fibre-asbestos glory on the corner of Freeman St. Two bedrooms and John and Joy and five kids to fit. Your maths is as good as mine. With development everywhere in Yamba, this double block defiance opposite the Yamba Mariner, with its matchstick house and lung cancer cladding, is remarkable. A symbol, perhaps, of their former inhabitants endurance.

Sue's sister Rose arrived yesterday from Brisbane and Flick and John left on the long road back to Melbourne. Just like Ronny Corbett, our time with them was too short. Rose arrived in a whirlwind of stories and breathless anticipation of time with family, arriving at our digs with red wine to share.

Our day was one of chores and encounters and the evening devolved, as usual, into the assembled family group, yarns and catch ups. Some had new girlfriends to display, others fresh twists to old news which revived understanding in ways the listeners had not guessed at in their pick-a-path beginnings, despite being there. Sue, as is often the case, was the most revealing. I have often said she is a shocker and just as often, have been misunderstood.

I profess to enjoying watching the Gibbens girls laugh. I can see the best of their Mum on their faces as their eyes squint, sometimes watering and everywhere on them, about them, the humour of the situation is unmistakeable. Hands bang down on thighs or table, reaching to touch shoulders or forearms as they seek permission to interrupt the laughter with a fresh addition, an anecdotal addendum which sends them off to a new set of hysterics. All this achieved without the "noice" sister to stoke the fires.

Small things about this group I guess but reportable, non the less.

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