We just stumbled upon it. It was one of those grey overcast days again. The sun obstinately refused to come out. One of the disadvantages of life high in the clouds. It isn’t called ‘Highlands’ for nothing. As we drove somewhat listlessly to town, with Mr JRT Milo in an effort to cheer us up, perched between us on the console, we noticed the main street being blocked off. We remembered suddenly it would be because of the ‘big tulip parade’. It is the yearly event that draws many tourists from all over the place. Even as far away as from the country of tea and oranges, China!
The crowds were everywhere and finding a place to park the car would be difficult. “There is a place, but be quick, my Helvi commanded!” It had been raining. The parking spot was underneath at the shopping mall and next to stairs with water cascading down the overhanging slab of concrete. Still, it was better than nothing. “Are you coming too, I asked.” “No, she said, with strong emphasis on NO.” The morning had a somewhat curt start. We have spent so many years together and every nuance in words is picked up by our marital antennas forever poking up and on the alert. Sometimes, as was the case this morning, on high alert. I think it was wrong for me to have stated after the first coffee, “it is overcast again.” The ‘again’ was the banana skin for possible simmering discontent. I should have avoided the ‘again’ and I knew it.
Ever since my enthusiasm for the Currumbin Eco Village things have been a bit tense. You know how it is, the fear of uprooting, packing endless boxes and all those knives & forks and the books, the books! How to get the second settee out of the bedroom? No matter how the reassurance was stated that both of us would want to move and that Milo would never be abandoned, (no pets at the Eco Village), I had to tread carefully. Both in our seventies, moving would be traumatic. Still, people in their eighties jump out of aeroplanes or go snorkelling in shark-infested waters.
The word ‘again’ uttered earlier on was probably the reason for My H to chose to stay in the car with Milo. Another reason might well have been the cascading waterfall next to the car. I do tend to take rejections personally. Later in the afternoon when things were back to normal, my wife of over fifty years stated; ‘do we always have to walk together?’ The walk together would have been to the bank. I wanted to check if I had paid a bill twice on credit card. It had indeed turned out, I had paid twice. One reason I never or very rarely use credit card to pay bills. We always draw out cash, walk (together) to the post office and pay the bills. I was annoyed I now had to contact the supplier and arrange a credit back into the Credit card. This tulip festival parade would have to reverse the negative. The day threatening to grow very sombre indeed.
When going back to the car and avoiding the waterfall, H was doing a cross word. “I feel like a nice Barbequed sausage, I said, wilfully adding, “I am sure they are doing them right now”. This was adding fuel to the fire. We both generally avoid sugery or fatty foods but I do have an occasional penchant for a lonely sausage. “Oh no; you and your fucking sausage, is that why you wanted to come here, is that all you ever think off”?
I quickly retreated. We, ever so gingerly left the car and with Milo proceeded towards the crowds now lining the main street. A man on a scaffolding belted out the Parade’s coming procedures through huge speakers. He represented the local radio-station and made sure, his comments were peppered by referring to that. It was still another twenty minutes or so when it all stared to come along. The crowds, including many Chinese tourists were at fever pitch. Many were holding pink balloons. The pink balloons were sold to raise money for breast cancer. The marching girls came first, followed by WW 1 Horses and their soldier riders wearing slouched hats, blowing the bugle. Milo was nervous. It was all a bit much for him, especially the brown-grey dusty WW1 horses and bugle.
Next came a parade of dogs from the Council’s pound looking for a loving home. Rural parades are always on the look-out for things to include in a parade, help fill it out as it were. This Tulip related parade was no exception. There were old Buicks, Fords, Massey Ferguson tractors, fire engines and hospice nurses perched on a rooftop of a double decker bus. All of a sudden another parade of dogs on leashes. They were run past us and the Chinese tourists. They were from a local ‘dog’s obedience school. ‘Milo’s ears pricked up. Suddenly a huge German Shepard broke ranks with his brothers and sisters and went for Milo. Now, if there is one thing Milo is good at, it is showing absolute fearlessness of snarling huge dogs. Boy, did he teach this German a lesson. The owner did not have to pull his dog in line or into obedience, tail between his legs, he followed his mob of dogs ever so sweetly.
Now Milo, there is a good boy