This weekend I visited a little event in the leafy suburbs of Sydney known as Jazz In The Pines.
I knew nothing about this event, but was whisked away by a friend and her housemates from an extreme hangover (shakes and all, folks, trying not to bleurgh in the car. Haven’t felt like that for a while. Wasn’t great.) We got a little picnic together and off we went, on what would have been a lovely drive in the sunshine if it wasn’t for my aforementioned affliction.
On arrival, however, we had the dawning realisation that ‘Jazz In The Pines’ was not some cool festival type event where everyone has a trilby and oversized sunglasses, but was in fact, a retirement event. We were about forty years under the mean age of all other attendees. But hoo, hey, you think this would sway us? Nuh uh, we took full smug advantage of the fact that we didn’t have to sit on chairs, and rolled out on picnic blanket between the youngest group we could find (two men in their forties/fifties. One with a quite sensational tache) and a couple of ladies knitting.
And it was lovely. It might be getting bloody cold here, but the sunshine in the day is still beautiful, the jazz was very good, and what with having a hangover, I ate as much as I could all day. I was only disappointed that there were no more offerings but tea and cake for sale. Especially as the cakes sold like, well, hot cakes, and there was NO LEMON MERINGUE PIE LEFT FOR ME. But the considerable amount of tea we consumed in place of alcohol left us with a rather similar effect, so by the time the raffle came on, we were, er, buzzing.
Everyone had received a ticket on entry to this raffle, so we sat with our sweaty fingers clutching these tickets, waves of competitive, tea soaked euphoria flooding through us. We really wanted to win. Every number that was called out was met with an excited gasp, and followed by a collective groan as the prizes were claimed and none by us.
I’m not entirely sure why we were being so competitive. Definitely none of the oldies were, and we couldn’t even see what the prizes were. But I believe words such as ‘we’re going to smash this competition’ and ‘the best thing that could ever happen, EVER, would be to win this.’ We had become reckless caffeine abusive hoodlum. It was a good job that most of the people around us were deaf.
As the competition neared to a close and we started to lose hope, the number of one of the men near us was called, and the one with the sensational tache held up his ticket with a smile and went off to collect his prize, amidst our claps and whoops and ‘COME ON YOU LOVELY NEIGHBOURS!’ shouts.
He returned with a piece of paper in his hand and we all craned our necks, meerkat style, and asked what he had won.
‘$25 off my dry cleaning bill,’ he replied, with a fairly bemused smile twitching that incredible tache.
Absolutely brilliant. This, I could not stop laughing about. So much in fact, that I had to make a trip to the toilet (tea is a diuretic, you know). And while I was in the toilet, what could I hear called out over the microphone, the very final prize on offer, and it was ONE OF OUR NUMBERS!
I had a rather excited jig in the toilet and was stared at with wrinkly astonishment as I burst out of the cubicle and bounced back to the group. (I also washed my hands, which I didn’t want to mention for the sake of it being a pretty unnecessary detail and ruining the flow of the story – after all, I want you on the edge of your seats about whether we were also going to receive $25 DOLLARS OFF OUR DRY CLEANING BILL. But in not mentioning it, I fear you may think that I forgot to wash my hands in the general hum of excitement. This was not the case. I washed them AND danced AND grinned like a mad person at the lady waiting for the loo.)
We did not win dry cleaning. In fact, we won four tickets to the Powerhouse Museum, which I haven’t visited yet. Pretty cool prize actually. Although tache man and friend did not seem so excited about our winning prize.
Anyway, it definitely made a cracking end to a cracking day, and we left full of talk of how we were going to start cleaning up at bingo.