The greatest joy of growing older is acquiring old friends, and it’s a remarkable thing when you discover that such friends have become even lovelier with age. It has been amazing to spend time with Lauren, to see her as a mother and witness the beautiful mellowing that has taken place. I doubt she realises how lovely she is, even though I tell her. It seems so natural to see her every day, and it makes me very happy; it will be a wrench to say goodbye, and my eyes well-up when I think of it.
Midway through our stay in Kalaru, we were joined by our mutual and very dear friend, Julie. Lauren and I first met Julie on a beach in Narabeen, some 13 years ago, and it was love at first sight! We were there to watch Julie’s fella (who was a friend of my fella) play in a band in a beer garden across the road. It was a glorious summer’s day and we were all feeling fine. Eventually, Julie and I ditched our no-good, band-playing fellas (Julie for her adorable and kindhearted husband, and me for the wonders of single life), yet we remain eternally grateful to them for bringing her and I together. And, lucky for Julie, when she got me, she got our beautiful Lauren too!
After my last post, wherein I allude to my fondness for the odd tipple or two, the question was asked whether I was drinking my way around Australia; well, I would like to state for the record, that yes, yes I am. The reason of course is that Australia is a very hot country and it is important to stay well-hydrated. As luck would have it, Lauren and Julie like staying well-hydrated too, especially with fermented grape juice of the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc variety. We make an excellent trio, and spending time together, hydrating and dancing under the stars, has been one of the highlights of my trip so far.
It is also a wonderful thing to make new friends. One of my favourite new friends is Lauren’s 3 (nearly 4) year-old son, Kash. By the mystery that binds people, we have taken a shine to each other. Mostly he’s a rascal, yet he’s incredibly charming with it; he gives me kisses and flowers and tells me I’m beautiful, usually such tokens reserved for his mum. One day, he asked me if we could please have a chat. I asked him what about, and he said we would have to wait and see. He then sat down next to me, thought for a moment, and asked in all seriousness, “Why do girls love flowers?” I explained why that was, and we spent the next 20 minutes chatting about girls and flowers and jet planes.
Kash’s older sister Charlize, is beautiful inside and out; she is sweet-natured and kind and very polite. It is her birthday today, and she’s reached the ripe old age of 7. To help celebrate her big day, her best friend from Sydney came to stay with us, as did her friend’s mum and little brother.
Sandy, the mum, is lovely, and her, Lauren and I got on really well. She is also a legend, as she drove the 7 hours to get here, by herself, with two kinds, in the rain and partially in the dark. She also tried all the funny food Kris (Lauren’s fella, in case you forgot) offered her; by funny, I mean oysters and muscles and eel etc. And, if that’s not enough, she’s is currently driving the 7 hours back, by herself, with two kids, possibly in the rain and later, partially in the dark. I’m really glad I got to meet her; she has a gentle nature and a great laugh (my favourite qualities in a person), and I look forward to seeing her again at Lauren’s birthday hoolie on Wednesday.
Today was not only Charlize’s birthday, it was also our last day in Kalaru. Tomorrow we’ll say goodbye to this glorious part of Australia and make the long drive back to Sydney; I have no doubt that a part of me will remain. This evening, before dinner, we all wandered over to the dam to do a spot of fishing. Colours deepened as the sun set between the distant hills, black cockatoos chatted nosily to each other and kangaroos watched us in earnest. Charlize and Kash both caught fish, and Kash would’ve caught an eel, if it hadn’t swan away with his lure. It was a beautiful way to spend our last evening, and something I’ll remember forever.