The Diva, the Artiste, the boatie, the pilot, the knitting author, the farm boys.
Amongst her many other ventures my Aunt wrote a book about Trafalgar Vale, or rather the garden she established at Trafalgar Vale ~ the house that she & I loved but that my father was less than enamoured of. It was accepted for publication & returned to her for editing ~ which has yet to be done! On her death the manuscript was passed along to me as the person most likely to want this peculiar memento. I did!
Behind the cousins under the fern tree is the family bathtub. This is the story of how it got there ~ in her own words.
When I had painted my way through the nether regions, eventually I caught up with the bathroom...& the bath.
What we were going to do without a bath was yet to be discovered, but out it was going & that was for sure! And a sure way to get people moving in our place is to make things so inconvenient as to stun them out of their lethargy.
Fortunately the bath was not heavy. Its looks belied its easy~going nature. By edging it through doorways & along the verandah, it very soon reposed dis~gracefully on the front lawn. The next thing was to dig a hole ~ not to bury it ~ but in which to sink it. The corner against Mr A's fence was the ideal spot. This operation was no easy task & had to be assisted by numerous buckets of water to soften the ground.
Mr A, on his side of the fence, was eaten up with curiosity & trying to watch me unobserved from behind a clump of bougainvillea. He was very particular about his side of the fence & carefully trimmed back any of our offending shrubbery & cassias. However, I had a few ideas of my own to work out. But quite obviously he couldn't work out what what that idea was, & as his sight didn't help, he came out from under cover & made his way along the fence making a pretence of hoeing as he came.
I passed the time of day in a distant voice & went on digging. Finally curiosity overcame his natural reserve. He leaned over the fence, stared fixedly at the hole & said; " What are you doing?"
"Making a water~Lilly pool," I told him blithely & he threw back his grey old pate & burst into a cackle of mirth.
"A waterlily pool! Ha~ha! I thought you were digging a well. Ha~ha!"
For the best part of the day he hovered round watching progress, keeping up the pretence of being busy on his side, but time didn't allow for pleasantries. If the job was to be completed before the family returned in the evening, things had to be kept moving.
When you take dirt out of a hole it seems to occupy more space than it did in it. By degrees I had boxed myself in, but that bath had to be got rid of by night! When I thought the hole was big enough I spread the heaps of soil into the uneven ground about the lawn, took the Queen Anne legs of the bath & lumbered it into the hole. Then I had to lumber it out again & have a second go. After several goes it rested neatly in place.
Now that the hard work was done, the next step was exciting. There were some big stones lying about the railway line & I collected these & heaped them around the edges of the bath so it no longer looked like a bath & we had a prospective lillypool. Only it didn't look like a pool; it was more like a grave.
And, lo & behold, the scene was set! One blue lilly in all its glory sat bolt upright over the murky water. Together we waited judgement ~ & then the lilly let me down. It folded up for the night. A little tired too it hung limply on its snaky stem & resembled a denizen of the deep emerging from its watery domain in the afternoon shadows.
Alone I awaited, tired, disillusioned & sceptical about the whole exhausting business, wondering how one could let oneself be so influenced by whim & fancy. And then home came the family, the 2 girls first, then the workers, but when Lyn saw it she shrieked: " We'll have a line up of cars outside the fence waiting for us to take our baths ~ unless of course, they think we're just statues on the lawn."