Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Back from the country

I've been away for a few days, taking advantage of today being a public holiday in Melbourne for the Melbourne Cup.  Here's what I wrote on 3 November:

I'm sitting at a big old wooden table in a room with a fire place, flowers on the table and rugs on the floorboards.  I'm at a country house and all the other guests are out at a wedding.  This is excellent!

I lost my way on the journey here.  The information on the maps on my iphone was accurate to a point and then it didn't seem to match what I was seeing out the window.  Instead of following my instinct, I followed the technology and went in a very big, albeit very scenic, circle.  Sometimes I think country roads and signs are designed to make sure you never find your way unless you're really determined - they stop the country turning into the city.

I met up with a friend from college in Kyneton on the way through.  We worked out that it's probably 20 years since we last saw each other, yet when I saw her walking down the street I knew it was her. It was as if no time at all had passed.  There was a lot to share and rediscover, including news from other mutual friends.

After university we went out separate ways and she moved interstate.  At that stage we wrote to each other regularly.  (It was the '90's.)  We shared the details of our lives in long letters, first handwritten and then typed on a computer.  Paradoxically, with the advent of email we lost touch, but found each other again through facebook.

We sat in the park talking while her eight year old son played nearby in the playground.  It was so lovely and we imagined our next meeting taking place in another twenty years:  I took out my mimed walking frame and instead of running towards each other with arms open, we creaked slowly, probably to the 4:30pm dinner sitting at the local RSL.

It will be sooner rather than later that we see each other again.  After all she was the person who taught me the word "aspic" when I was stuck on a clue in a crossword.  I think of her whenever I hear the word "aspic".  Doesn't really do her justice - she's nothing like savoury jelly.

After we said goodbye I drove out to the country house.  I found a note from the owners, Steve and Sue saying to call on arrival.  The problem was that I had no reception on my mobile phone.  It was a nice afternoon so I found a spot in the garden and read my book for about an hour, hoping that someone would turn up.  No one did.

I decided to drive back into town in the hope that I could find a phone box or spot with mobile phone reception.  I found what seemed to be the last phone box in town and scrounged sixty cents in coins - the minimum required being 50 cents.  The number was switched off or out of range and I had no more coins.  I headed back to a French delicatessen where the owner kindly allowed me to call from his phone.  (I gave him a gratitude card as I left - I don't know what I would have done without being able to use his phone.)

I drove back to the house and Steve let me in, showed me my room and the herb garden and how to work the fire.
(c) divacultura 2012

(c) divacultura 2012

Michael Nyman piano music is playing and the fire is down to glowing coals.  It's been a memorable day.

4 November

Waking up in a house full of friendly strangers is something I haven't done for ages.  I did it this morning.  I've never networked in my bathrobe before but that was the situation so I embraced the opportunity.

We sat out in the wild garden eating freshly laid eggs, laced with herbs from the garden, bacon, tomatoes and mushrooms.  The wit and conversation flowed until the other guests left.
(c) divacultura 2012

I then spent the day poking along the streets of Kyneton.  Within minutes I had bought a jar of locally made chilli jam.  A little while later a gorgeous French grey linen dress had been added to my wardrobe.

Pizza Verde in Piper Street served up a hot salami pizza with provolone cheese and a side of green beans in olive oil, lemon and parmesan cheese for lunch.

A spot of reading and a delicious dinner of fresh salad greens, avocado and roast chicken was the perfect way to finish a leisurely day.


To win one of three in-season double passes to see "Bachelorette": leave a comment at the end of this blog post telling us where you met your oldest friend.  Entries close Saturday 10 November 2012.  Winners will be drawn randomly, announced on the blog and contacted individually.

Good luck!

* Passes are valid even with a "no free tickets" listing at participating Australian cinemas.

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