The Art of Sucking a Long Weekend Dry

January 30, 2007 at 3:51 am (Uncategorized)

Apologies if you clicked on the link to the Dymocks Building and were taken to the bookshop. I have fixed the link now, so either click here for a virtual tour of the subject of yesterday’s post, or enter the site from the corrected link in the post.

Meanwhile, the glorious weather continues unabated. This is good news, because a great friend of mine, her baby bump, and her boyfriend hit these shores from London next week. Fingers crossed the meteorologists have a fine reception forecast. Mornings here at the beach are great. I’ve been for a run, a swim, and a little tootle on my bike, which I’ve decided to name Daisy. She now has a little detachable wicker basket sitting up front, and a heavy duty lock to ward off any thieving types. I love my bike.

Daisy came along just in time for the long weekend. Friday, Australia Day, we ended up staying in our own courtyard, reading the papers and drinking coffee whilst I shamelessly self-promoted myself to accommodating family and friends (I had a travel feature on PNG in the long weekend edition of The Sydney Morning Herald… which means a pay day, yippee!) . Then we opted to throw open the doors to the usual suspects for afternoon beers, the drop-in being alive and well in these parts. So we kicked back with a few friends, went for another swim, rolled out some snacks, played some tunes, and slurped back a couple of cold beers. Perfect.

Llew had a surfboat rowing carnival out front on Saturday, and a big one it was, too, with crews coming from all over Australia. It was too crowded on the boardwalk for Daisy, but I did do one heaving, hot, reluctant lap around by foot. It was an airless scorcher, but that turned out to be the calm before the proverbial. As I fell into the ocean, sweaty and exhausted, the southerly arrived to wreak havoc right along the beach front. Sand in the eyes, tents uprooted and tearing through the air, soft drink cans, burger wrappers, and plastic bags sailing overhead with none of the charm suggested by the latter’s graceful dance in American Beauty. Nope, this was just rubbish in a wind tunnel.

After the southerly passed through on its northward march, we did get the bikes out and went for a bit of a cruise around the ‘hood. This is when I discovered Daisy is more than just a pretty face – she was taking those hills like a pro. It didn’t take long for us to decide we’d earned our reward, so we went to a new bar on the beach front, Henry Afrikas, for a drinky poo. Comfy couch, tasty morsels, cold tap beer, killer views – tell me, please, what’s not to love? Then there was just enough time to get the bikes home and quick change before dinner with friends. We wandered down to Will and Toby’s for a drink, and then thought it was our civic duty to sample the Henry Afrikas upstairs restaurant.

A bit of a mixed bag, to be honest, but what a cracking spot. The service was present but a trifle incompetent, the food derivative and unexceptional, but the wine, laughter, and conversation flowed, and we spent the night looking over the towering Norfolk Pines and the inky surf, lit up by the moon on a lovely starry night. Not a bad way to kill a few hours, not bad at all.

As if that wasn’t enough, we had a repeat performance of the coffee drinking, brunch eating, paper reading, post-swim towel drying out in the courtyard in the morning, a big fat bike ride mid-afternoon, pies and sauce on a garden seat on the scenic walkway to Shelley Beach late afternoon, then home again for a barbeque and catch up with some old friends. Once their 2 year old son announced, very firmly, that it was time to go home, Llew and I waved them goodnight and curled up on the couch with ice-creams to watch one of the better films of 1991: Night on Earth, by Jim Jarmusch. And so that was our ‘Three Days on Earth.’ As long weekends go, it was a beauty.

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