On Saturday, Melbourne was made out of soup. Sticky, steamy, grimy, sweaty soup. We waded through it in the afternoon to take a little look at Supergraph, an exhibition of affordable, contemporary design, print and illustration, at the Carlton Exhibition Buildings. Just inside the big front doors was a sea of giant origami mountains with drawings all over them. We were handed a giant sheet of cardboard and a black marker, and told to use them to make some art and share a secret. Madeleine got to work turning the cardboard her own brand of "art," while Mr B and I talked about secrets. Turns out there aren't many in our house, which is probably a good thing. We sat around trying to think if we had any, without a lot of luck. Mr B said, "Write something like 'I won lotto and I haven't told my husband' because then I can live in hope." I didn't, but I thought it was rather good.
Soon it just became too hot and sticky on the floor so, much to Madeleine's distress, we ended the drawing, added our paper mountain to the rest of the secrets, and took a wander through the building to see what else was on offer. Graphic prints, paintings, a lucky-dip of original artworks for $10. Craft workshops for children, a design-your-own melamine plate corner, coconut drinks. Giant metal fans in front of which we held our sweaty babies to cool them down.
Then, just as we were about to head out to see what was on offer from the little circle of food trucks out the side, the heavens opened. I mean they ripped apart and a team of titans threw giant-sized water balloons at us. We stood in the doorway and watched the downpour until it all became just too much for Madeleine; nothing would please her until she could dance in the rain herself.
After things finally eased up, somewhat, we put the kids back into the pram and walked home through the rain. The air still felt soupy, but it was more tomato-and-mint than potato-and-leek, if you know what I mean. A lot more bearable. Everything glistened: the blackened trunks of the trees in Carlton Gardens, the greasy cobblestone lane-ways, even the trams as they rattled past and Madeleine called "More? More?"
On the downside, by the time we got home the hair I'd had cut-short and straightened just that morning was a frizzy disaster. But that was a small price to pay for an excursion in the summer rain with my wonderful family. It was just a little bit like an afternoon out of Mary Poppins.