A Brilliant Day - by Trish MoreyYesterday was a brilliant day. It was 26C degrees, sunny and still after some light rain a night or so before, simply a perfect autumn day. But the weather wasn't all that made it perfect. For one thing, I was post manuscript, and just contemplating revisions. And that's a very nice place to be in a lot of ways - you have all the relief of knowing the editor hasn't rejected your ms outright and you also can recognise that after a break away from your manuscipt you can see where you editor is coming from and concede that maybe, just maybe, she's right. Especially when she's picked up on just about all those points you were kind of nnnh about. So it's a good feeling because you know you're going to make that ms better.
Anyway, I digress. Because what made yesterday truly brilliant was grape-picking. One of the mums at my girls' primary school has her very own small vineyard in a valley nearby, her vines surrounded by stands of magnificent candlebark gums that stretch white and waxlike into the sky forever, and her grapes producing some extraordinarily good, not to mention, prizewinning sauvignon blanc and chardonnay. And every year for the last few years she's asked whoever can make it to come in for a few hours on a couple of days this time of year to bring the grape harvest in. And for the last few years I've regrettably found myself on deadline and been unable to spare even a day. This year I was delighted to make it! At 9am we assembled, a ragtag bunch of many of the locals from the neighbourhood along with school mums, school dads and granddads, and one mum complete with her 11 week old baby in a pram.
Before long the early morning mist burned off and the sun rose above us, bright and turning up the heat. Wasps came and went, spiders and other insects were dispensed with or ignored, and hour by hour we steadily ascended the hill, filling buckets with fat round grapes, working, talking, a baby in a pram sleeping between the rows of vines, her mother taking her out to feed her in the shade of those same vines when she cried. We weren't fast, we weren't terribly efficient but we talked and time didn't matter. Instead of saying a quick hello or goodbye when passing other mothers in the school corridor, we got to talk - about how long we'd been married, about how we'd met our partners, about what high schools we'd sent our older children to and why. Instead of a quick wave to people we'd normally just pass while walking the dog, we got to meet their neighbours, discover mutual acquaintances and expand our local knowledge.
It was kind of like I imagined it must have been in areas of Italy and other parts of Europe in years gone by, with the whole village working together, stripping the vines of fruit, talking, laughing, enjoying the camaraderie of working in the sunshine, while a babe suckled at its mothers breast in the shade. It was like bonding with the past with the very best of community offered today.
It was a brilliant day, and next year I know for a fact I won't be too busy. Care to join me?