Practicing with The Professor

Finally, after two weeks of sitting in our driveway, we’ve given the Punchmobile (aka Gloria) her first test run. Next week we have to take Mr Punch to Stawell for three days of performances so The Professor (aka Ken Harper) thought it would be a good idea to test drive our new home. Traditional Punch and Judy artists are known as ‘Professors’. There’s a lot to know about manhandling both puppets and caravans.

Yesterday evening we drove down Eastlink and set up for a couple of nights in a caravan park in Dromana. It’s a very modest beginning and we haven’t brought Mr Punch along with us. It’s enough to figure out how to handle Gloria without having Mr Punch and his mob along.

Last night the Professor and I ate fish and chips on the beach. As we sat looking out over the still, silvery waters of Port Phillip Bay, listening to a busker strum his guitar on Dromana pier, a middle-aged woman in a hot pink dress wandered past us. She sat down in the sand with her back to the sea. That’s when I saw the snake. Draped around her neck was a two metre python. It was only when she started to stroke it that I realised it was alive. It moved slowly, sinuously writhing its way through her straw-blonde hair and across her shoulders. They seemed a very companionable pair but it was a weird moment. There is so much circus and drama in the real world, so many stories that you can only get a small intimation of by venturing out of your ordinary life.

Kirsty is an Australian author of books for children and young adults.

“Every adult was once a child and the child inside them never completely disappears.”

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