Sydney Road to High Street is a long walk with a stroller, but it was a good day for a long walk. The early Spring sunshine was warm without biting and a nice fresh breeze was making little shirred ripples on the wider parts of Merri Creek as we went south along the bicycle path. We picked it up at the Harding Street suspension bridge and followed it all the way to Arthurton Road, stopping at the Ceres outdoor cafe for coffee. The coffee was okay but their food prices are a little on the high side. The cafe was doing great business with a slew of tired-looking parents whose kids were tearing around in the toy-filled sandpit. William joined them.
Then along Arthurton Road past St Georges Road towards High Street. Music could be heard in the distance, waves of sound in turn growing louder and then fading, as distant music does on a blustery day. A little closer and you could smell the barbecue.
The annual High Street festival is more about music than food, but you wouldn't have gone hungry on Sunday; although it seemed a lot of traders were taking the easy way out and putting on sausage sizzles. Flames flared from dripping fat and clouds of fragrant smoke drifted over the shopfront verandahs.
We sat on some cool lawn in the shade of a pepper tree in the foreground of a red-brick Catholic church in a street off High Street and ate lunch. At the 'T' of the intersection, a band was blasting out noise from the 3PBS-FM soundstage at festival central. The boys sat in their stroller and ate little sandwiches and tiny cubes of cheese and shards of apple. We stayed there for a while, listening to the music. An hour passed and the shade moved and then we were sitting in warm sun and I almost dozed.
Sitting in the sun and listening to loud music with an almost year-old baby ... hmm, where was I the last time that convergence of circumstance obtained? Hmmm again ... the gearwheeled machinery of memory clanked about for a while and then ... ah, yes! Almost exactly thirty years earlier; a hot cloudless day on the flat treeless plain of Calder; a day-long concert: Santana, Little River Band and a resurgent Fleetwood Mac. I was nineteen and William and Thomas' much-older brother, now thirty, was eleven months old. I got drunk on a clear liquor called Cointreau. Liquid sunshine. Is it possible to remember a song you heard thirty years ago? Yes: Santana played a version of the Zombies' She's Not There, a three-minute pop classic to which Santana added twenty minutes of screaming solo guitar that soared and howled and dragged notes from all over the scale and hurled them into the sky, from where they rained down on the audience.
I think I fell asleep on the lawn. The music on the 3PBS-FM soundstage was more muted now, some kind of hip-hop. The boys had fallen asleep in the stroller and Tracy was suggesting another cup of coffee. We disappeared into the crowd on High Street and found coffee in a cafe called Peppercorn and then we walked home. The music faded gradually in the distance and was gone by the time we hit the Merri Creek bicycle path. We didn't stop at Ceres on the way and were home by four.