It’s a sunny, slow and very lazy Sunday. I got to bed last night at about 4am having staggered 600 metres odd from a 40th birthday party around the corner. It was a good night, and if I’m slow today that’s why.
I nearly didn’t go. I love a party normally, but wasn’t in the party mood. Then I got a call, where are you, and so off I went. The theme was of a garden party, with a marquis set up in the backyard, a bar arrayed with dozens of bottles of wine as well as chilled bottles of Stella. Catering staff wended their way through the gathering offering salt and pepper calamari, lamb koftas, prawns, and so on. The weather lately has had a bit of everything, but last night it was fine.
The birthday girl is a lovely lady I met through the Cheese’s. She and her husband, and another couple, have been very friendly and have made an effort to include me even though I’m clearly the odd man out. They all know each other through school, each of them having kids in the same class. They’re typical of people in this area, good-hearted people, generous, kind, compassionate, liberal, and well-educated. Funny how those things go together so often.
By the time we sat down for dinner I’d had 4-5 beers, and it was about 10pm. I sat between the Cheeses, and had an interesting conversation throughout the meal with Mrs Cheese. Food went around the table, duck, fish, fillet steak, plus the odd salad. Wine was poured, conversations were carried out across the expanse of the table in the noisy enclosure. Then the speeches as the food was finished up, the father, the husband, then the birthday girl – all of them great, heartwarming at times, and at times amusing as good speeches of the type should be. Sitting there watching, listening, I remembered the basic decency of people. It was a nice reminder.
As so often on occasions such as this the back-end of the evening is vague. The night slides away, hours becoming minutes seemingly as you mix and mingle, as someone tops up your glass again and you meet new people to talk to. I might have made some potential new friends. A woman I met last night for the second time told me as she left what a lovely man I am – I was curiously touched by that, and surprised. Another wife I know has a great soft spot for me. And of course Cheeseboy and I spent a lot of time carousing.
I woke at about 10. Rigby was snuggled up close against me – I hadn’t even noticed. I felt vague, my head a little too big for my neck. I could taste the booze in my mouth still, and see it stained on my lips. A good long piss, a strong coffee and the newspaper restored some sense of order. I decided there and then I was not going to do much today. I felt like a slob, and was happy to be one.
I walked down the road in my shorts and bought some fixings for the day – some sugary soft drink (which I hardly ever drink), a bag of chips, a baguette and the necessary ingredients for a manly barbecue tonight. Manly means no salad. I got some chicken which I’m marinating, and some fancy sounding snags. I can’t wait. It’s one of the great things about an Aussie summer, the smell of cooking meat, and one of the great things about this place I’m staying in, brilliantly set-up for just that.