22 December, 2013

Talk at Christmas drinks turned to the ‘70s, with one couple reminiscing fondly about their first house, built for $25,000. It was decorated with orange vases filled with pampas grass, seaweed matting and quarry tiles on the floors, a flokati rug over pieces of foam to make a lounge, and a huge chianti bottle. “One day,” they said, “the girls were given a beach ball. They blew it up in the lounge room and before I could even say ‘Don’t throw that in the house’ it had bounced down the spiral staircase. It hit every step of the staircase and went straight into the chianti bottle. When we left that house six years later, we were still picking bits of green glass out of the seagrass matting.” I couldn’t make up a story that would evoke the ‘70s better than that.

Christmas drinks had to be inside, because it was too hot outside. It hasn’t yet reached that heat that sucks the breath out of you, that furnace heat, but it’s close. Cooler air slowly moved in once the sun went down, and we sat outside to feel the heat ebb away. Stars appeared in a hazy sky and we dragged the telescope out to magnify them into glorious brightness, transforming blurry constellations into shining dots that quivered around the edges as if we could see the gases burning.