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Surround Sound

It's the third day of summer and it’s still raining….

Under fire. The house is being dive-bombed by aeroplanes!

I have had a couple of rude awakenings in my time, but this one wins hands down. Usually the only thing you hear around here on a Saturday morning is the crash and tinkle of someone putting out the empties from the night before. I was quite alarmed then when planes started flying very low over the house. First they came from the right. Then they came from the left. Were we under attack?  Perhaps it was for the Royal visit. I read somewhere that our Danish Princess was in town and had a sister up this way.

They come around for another shot

Up and up they go.
Then they drop down in a dead stall
....and twirl over the rooftops.
 On and on droned the planes. Up, up and up went those magnificent men (I suspect they are still all men) in their flying machines, bright red against the grey clouds, looping the loop, twisting around, doing barrel rolls, peeling off, flying upside down, weaving in and out, doing somersaults and leaving smoke trails behind them. I should read the local papers more often. It turned out to be for the Mawson celebrations. It’s been one hundred years since Mawson led the Australian Antarctic Expedition. A magnificent squadron of ships under sail was in the harbour to commemorate his epic journey.

Looping the Loop
 The noise is ear -rendingly loud. I am glad it turned out to be friendly fire. Also that my my sister isn’t here. She would be climbing the walls by now and it’s not just because of the noise. This, like the fireworks at New Year, is exactly the kind of thing she would rail against. Money spent frivolously, for the amusement of a few while others go hungry, but when it’s a bottomless pit?...  and for how long?... No one minds helping out after a catastrophe like the Japanese Tsunami or the recent earthquake in Turkey – Australians are very good at that – you only have to look how people rallied after the Victorian bushfires or the Queensland floods. It’s when it goes on and on and with no sign whatever that it is making any difference. The child in me still delights in such things but my nagging adult says, “Time to put away the toys, boys” but I don’t want to think about that too much right now. 


They do eventually. As the  planes disappear  over the horizon, the sun makes a brief appearance and I become aware of another sound. A live band is playing somewhere close by and it’s not too bad. A mean sax – sometimes smooth, sometimes gnarly;  a bit of jazz. The pure cheerful sound spills down the valley and makes me feel happy again. I recognise a couple of tunes - Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five” and “What’s New Pussycat?”  I haven’t heard those since my sister and I were drinking illicit hot chocolate and eating toasted raisin bread  in Dino’s Crypt.  We used to spend our bus money to do it and walk miles and miles (yes, they were miles then) to school. The music peels back years in the same way that the smell of Christmas baking does. For an instant I see my sister before me – long black hair, grape dress; mod black stockings; winkle pickers on her feet. Its nice sound though. I should listen to more jazz.