Nov 14, 2014

O! for a muse of fire, that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention.

You can imagine that, many miles away from civilisation, parked at the remotest end of a huge campsite, and deprived of transport by a mystery car fault, I was slightly concerned at our predicament, and I expect that it showed. Although in the high thirties heat sweat was in profuse supply no matter where you looked, some of my sweat was anxiety-related.

Nathan, amateur (in the nicest possible way) mechanic and car-fixer-upper admitted to being outside his classic car comfort zone, but offered helpful suggestions such as immobilisers or alternators and Lyra with her little playful fingers was in the firing line as theories went, but after running my sweaty fingers through the actual car manual and coming up stumped, I decided to take a chance take a chance take a take a chance chance and phone the Mazda garage which services our chariot, a risky move late on a Friday afternoon.

Nice Xavier, no doubt a hoopy frood who really knows where his towel is, suggested that the behaviour that I was describing to him was indicative of a flat battery which caused me a slight bout of relief and soon I was cruising the campsite looking for jump-leads.

I didn't have to cruise very far as the next-door polyester metropolis looked through their trailers-full of equipment and located what looked suspiciously like a set of jump-leads in Gibbo's trailer. Gibbo was away for a swim though so I would have to wait for his return.

I settled down beneath the shade of Marion's enormous sun-brella as the others went off to the river in all those other cars. I lay down, and gently experienced my tender ribs while looking up at the sky hoping in vain for a cloud to form, and eventually closed my eyes just a little, just for a short while.

When I woke up I thought that well actually that since Jumping Gibbo hadn't shown his face, and it was actually really quite warm, and that even if I did get a jump what would I do, since the battery (if it was the battery) was evidently knackered and no garage would be open to replace it, that I should probably stop lying underneath Marion's enormous sun-brella and go for a swim.

So I walked, yes walked the fifty metres to the river, arriving of course at the precise moment that everyone else was leaving and stood just short of knee-dip in the water which was frankly a little turgid with the muddy upwellings of the Mary River and not really inviting me in for a swim. Nevertheless there I stood, standing in the water, enjoying being cool from the knees down and the feeling of not-so-hotness slowly spreading even to the line around my head where my hair met my hat.

And as the sun westered in the sky and shade crept across the water we headed back to find our company of campers was completed, the final peripatetic professor professing to have proceeded providentially. Apparently Professor Claire and her family had stopped off at McDonalds.

So we men, working in a team of men, erected the final polyester pleasuredome (it was kind of square actually) in a most manly way, only resorting to the instructions once in our attempts to perform the colour-coded pole dance and work out where the front of the palace was supposed to be.

And hey presto, before we knew it it was beer o'clock, followed closely by sunset which made fire essential, though Nicole mysteriously wasn't involved. Then as darkness gathered and the campfire roared, flickering over the tents assembled all around, shimmering on the slightly dishevelled bodywork of the assembled motorcade, playing on the faces of the score or so of campers, barbecue o'clock struck and a procession of frankly ridiculous amounts of food made its way from the outsides of people to the insides of people, and a guitar appeared, and there was the strumming of notes and the buzz of light conversation and the crackling of embers.

Eloise was friends with everybody and everybody was friends with Eloise. Lyra moved around having a jolly nice time when she wasn't scaring the pants off all those maternal types with her too-close relationship with the fire. Oh, and she decided to visit the next-door camp and check out their fire too, and their tents, before anyone noticed.

Maybe she was looking for the jump leads.

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