Clouds In The Head


The Virgin & The Satellite
2 October, 2008, 3:21 pm
Filed under: beauty & inspirationalitism

This season my big word seems to be “hoik”. It’s a chunky animal, your average Hoik, with sudden bursts of energy and a mating ritual that can lead to terrible back problems.

On the weekend we managed get the Virgin in position at last. Ever since Leon delivered her and helped us hoik her into temporary storage in the big shed, we’ve been treading gingerly round the lady, worried about her physical state and anxious for her Assumption, body and soul, to her next long term home. For decades she’d sat under a staircase in Rose Bay, getting sea-spray weathered, contemplating her infant’s deteriorating face, a white religious creature that was no longer wanted when the owner commissioned a new Bali-style garden. That’s Buddha Chic for you. Knowing Katya’s enthusiasm for all things Mariolatrous, from the basilicas of France to Virgin Mary Blue anythings, Leon offered her to us. Katya wet herself and shrieked yeah!

Leon’s good like that. He can get things, he’s got a great eye, and he’s a wonderful landscaper and rose planter. This year at the Show his roses even gave the Usual Suspects who always dominate the flower sections a run for their money (you know who you are, Usual Suspects, though fortunately you do not know about this blog).

But where to put her? I wanted to have her over near the studio, where the remains of the old shed are sitting. But I’m lazy. Putting her there meant fewer holes to dig or posts to saw. We considered cleverly subtending her in relation to Buddha, who already dominates the grape pergola. Katya eventually decided on a spot at the end of one of the long paths in the vegie garden. And she was right, again. With a floor of leftover pebble stones leading to her, in her grotto of corrugated iron bolted into bush posts from up the hill, Mary would be able to contemplate the bananas and raspberries and lettuce and broccoli for many years.

Luckily we had Jane & Brian’s trolley still. Must return it ASAP, especially after I blew up Brian’s chainsaw last week. Now, Mary weighs much. Maybe 200kg. And we don’t like to ask visitors to do the heavy lifting, so it was up to Katya and me to hoik her. We mapped a path across the lawn. Then squirmed her onto the trolley. Tipped her back, and “holy hell” we cried, crossed ourselves and set off. There were many adventures along the way. Or committee meetings, really. Trying to decide how to take a corner was a ten minute chat. She ascended pretty easily in the end, after a hairy moment or two where we were weighing the pros and cons of centres of gravity and the difficulties of walking with crushed feet.

There’s still some landscaping to do – rocks from the roadside will lie at her feet. Katya will have to get into the bondcreting: I suspect that this is the first time Our Lady’s felt the kiss of direct sunlight on her plaster skin. All the same, we haven’t seen the brown snake that was hiding among the potatoes until she arrived.

The very next day, who should come but Michael from Harboursat to put in our satellite dish. I won’t bore you with the dread tales of our internet problems – well I will, but not today – but here he is, a man with a dish and some wires. Nice fellah, put it up in a trice and it’s sitting on our roof looking very …

… big. It’s quite a dominant structure. Me and the boys are into it. To me, it’s an echo from my childhood, all that space race stuff, there’s still something scifi about satellites. Katya hates it. She thinks it makes our house look like a shed again. Specifically, like a mini NASA outpost. You enter the office expecting banks of computers and someone worried about the signal from Houston. I reassure her that in two years time it’ll be history. The whole country will have gone wireless — Next G with buckets of downloads will be cheap as can be — we’ll be VOIPing and Skyping and gaming till our hearts are content. Somehow that didn’t reassure her.

Oh well, two new additions have hoiked our family into spring. We hoik ourselves out of bed at the hoik of dawn and gaze at our two new inhabitants as they channel spiritual and digital signals onto the farm. Our eyes are a-hoik with wonder.

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