It’s a phenomenal day here, not at all a winter’s day. It’s unseasonably warm, and people are in t-shirts and singlets. I’ve left the house completely overdressed. The beachfront cafes are, as usual, packed, and I wonder for the millionth time what it is they all do. I’m always amazed by the number of people slouching around Man Town in civilian clothing who don’t appear to have jobs to go to. Okay, granted, I must look like one of them, but actually I’m not, and I spend many more hours working at my desk than your average person with a job in the CBD. I’m not the only one who’s surprised. When Llew took last Thursday off to come to Dr F’s with me (not a day like today – pissing rain, in fact – poor Llewie!!), I could see his head swivelling from side to side in quite a manic fashion, and I knew he was madly calculating the odds of joining this throng of apparently self-employed or unemployed people.
“I always think Man Town ceases to exist when I’m at work,” he said, his voice full of wonder. “But look at this. Look at them all. What are they doing here?”
“I’ve given up trying to figure it out,” I admitted. “I have no idea.”
And today is no different. If it were all retirees, that would be one thing. But it’s not. And it’s not the great unwashed, either, people who are taking some winter sun for lack of anywhere else to be. No, they all smack of affluence. They all live in cafes. They all have designer sunglasses and white t-shirts and bling. Many do tote the ultimate accessory: a child. Parents of young children do account for a good proportion of these people, but I wouldn’t even feel confident claiming them as the majority. Plenty of them just seem to know something we don’t know. Anyway, there’s not much more to say about it than good luck to them.
Llew and I had another little excursion over the weekend. It didn’t start out as a very adventurous 48 hours – we had friends for dinner Friday night, and Saturday was just miserable, torrential rain, grey skies, so we blobbed and blobbed good. I read my book for hours – and at the moment that’s The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet, by Reif Larsen, which I am thoroughly enjoying (the twelve year old protagonist reminds me so much of a friend of mine… I’m just not sure how to break it to him…). – which was almost as delicious as the leftover lasagne from the night before (I’m into bastardised recipes, and this lasagne was a doozy in that regard and all the better for it; it was probably my best ever), which Llew served up to me while I lazed about in my pyjamas well past an acceptable hour. Glorious. It would be a candidate for the laziest day of my life, and I loved it.
We had to pull ourselves together mid-afternoon because we were due across town in Bondi for another dinner party (I won’t deny it, yes, there’s a lot of face-feeding going on… there’s been a sudden outbreak of socialising after months of hibernation… It’s weird how everyone seems to have synchronised their watches…). Llew wanted to hit golf balls at the driving range en route, so he dropped me at the Max Brenner chocolatier on Oxford St and I read my book, scoffed my Belgian waffle, and drank my dark chocolate hot choc in the back corner banquette that became available like it was destined to be mine. The only thing wrong with this cosy picture was the peculiar incompetence of the staff that seems to be a condition of employment at all Max Brenner stores. We have one in Man Town at the wharf, and Llew and I have been forced to leave without our coffees when we realised it was taking so long we were about to miss the ferry. You need a generous lead-time if you’re going to risk a visit. The cashier managed to grow one of the most extraordinary queues I’ve seen in quite some time by being otherwise engaged chatting to her colleagues about her break, her shift, and her Saturday night plans. And yes, standing there listening to this enraged me. I had my lazy day too, it’s true, but I wasn’t supposed to be at work.
Deep breath. Deeeeeep breath. Llew hit his little white balls into the middle distance, I accompanied T.S. a little further along his journey, and then we went to S and O’s place for a fantastic three course extravaganza. Homemade gnocchi in a blue cheese sauce for starter, delectable roast pork with THE BEST crackling I have EVER eaten in my ENTIRE life, and the tastiest of the tasty roast taties (potatoes), and other gorgeous roast vegetables that were a bit of blur as I sank into a contented crackling coma. Salty, crispy fat: sometimes there is no substitute. As I slid down my chair, wondering if it would be terribly uncouth to unzip my jeans at table (the answer is a resounding yes, but I was a little addled by the food and wine at the time and it truly seemed like an excellent idea). But O and S weren’t finished with us yet. There was one of my favourite desserts to come: citron tart. Made from scratch with their bare hands, the same hands that rolled the gnocchi. Talk about feeling spoilt – what a meal! And talk about raising the bar…
Gosh, here I am nearly 1,000 words in and I haven’t even arrived at the excursion this post meant to describe… I do get so sidetracked by the taste buds… well, tomorrow I have my procedure, and I think I’m unlikely to post live from the recovery room, so I think we’ll meet again on Thursday, when there will be much to discuss.