Welcome to Another Weekend Coffee Share!
Right now, I feel like I could poor a bucket of ice right over my head. Apparently, it’s 22°C and by rights I shouldn’t be complaining because the mercury is going to hit 36 °C later today. However, I’ll blame Zac the dog who is sleeping on my lap for blazing like a furnace and if it weren’t for him, I’d also elevate myself out of the chair and nab the remote control for the air-conditioning and turn it back on. Forget being stoic and developing resilience and grit. I want comfort!
The highlight of the last week was catching up with some school friends for dinner at the Butcher’s Block in Wahroonga, Sydney. Coincidentally, it turns out we were meeting up with our friend Natalie who moved to Toronto, Canada and I’ve always found it kind of nice that I get a window into my friend’s world in Toronto through our intrepid host, Natalie the Explorer. There were ten of us for dinner and a number couldn’t make it, which I think you really notice with school friends because we used to hang out in pairs, within groups and while some of these allegiances changed over the years, there were those friends who made it all the way through and almost became an institution. I went to an all-girls school and while that didn’t preclude a romantic attachment, I haven’t heard of any but we certainly had no boys to couple up with although there was the school gardener who was rather young, handsome, blond and considered hot property at least on the bus. Fortunately, none of my close school friends have passed away but a number keep to themselves and I haven’t seen some truly close friends for over 10-20 + years. Indeed, putting that into words really paints an awful picture and I feel almost honourbound to get fired up and do something about it. Not all of these friends are real social and of course “we’re all busy”, but I think sometimes we need to exit stage left and leave all of that behind…the lists, the mess, the family obligations and say I am going to see you. I am going to make room for that coffee with a friend, a dinner, a weekend away. I’m not going to let the people who matter most to me get drowned out by weeds. Of course, it’s a bit harder when they don’t make the time. Don’t feel the need or desire to have coffee with you or even to return an email or text. You are in the past dead and buried. Well, as they say, “that’s their loss”. What I will say, is that I truly appreciate our school reunions and the opportunity to make new friends or strengthen various friendships which sort of hovered beneath the radar back at school. While in a sense these school friendships are in the past, there’s something really special about them. Well, that’s what I think anyway. You’re thrown into a lift together and under each other’s noses, arm pits the works with these often very strange creatures called teachers and rules and regulations, especially in our case, which often didn’t make sense. I started at the school in Year 6 back in 1981 so we’re not talking about the era of the horse and cart here, but we had to wear leather satchels to school and we also had to use cartridge ink pens. While the satchel sounds bad, inflicting ink pens on kids when biros are freely available was sadistic. How could they? We weren’t allowed to walk on the grass. Couldn’t go into a shop in school uniform or talk to boys either (which probably should’ve gone at the top of my list of prohibitions!!) Thank goodness, we’d been spared wearing gloves, but we did have to wear hats, which I’m sure had nothing to do with sun protection, especially the Winter Tam-o-shanter which made for fabulous frisbees at the train station and it was nothing for them to take flight and go on all sorts of unplanned adventures on their own. Clearly, you had to be there to appreciate the place in all it’s glory, which is probably much the same for every school although for different reasons and why school friends become a kind of survival network. If you can get through school together, you can conquer the world.
So let me propose a toast to absent friends and an open invitation for them all to come home.
Meanwhile, I’m still writing up my posts from my houseminding stint in Sydney and still going on massive research detours. You might recall that I visited Watson’s Bay on Sydney Harbour and started reading Christina Stead’s novel: “Seven Poor Men of Sydney” which was set there back in the 1920s. Indeed, she lived there from 1911-1928. Well, I’m very passionate about biography and family history and so I started pouring through the old newspapers putting all that background together and was fascinated by her father, David Stead, who was a noted naturalist who was an expert in Australian fish and actively campaigned for the preservation of Australia’s native plants and animals at least as early as the 1920[‘s. He’s speaking out about koalas being killed for their furs, women wearing the feathers of exotic birds in their hats and I guess the thing that really struck me was there were tigers roaming through Singapore only 100 years ago. Indeed, his writings provide a terrifying reflection of a world we’re coming close to destroying. Yet, he was blowing the whistle over 100 years ago. Much not only to think about there, but to act on as well!
Meanwhile, the while all of that’s been going on, there’s my health which has been refusing to lie down in the background and is still trying to push me out of the way on centre stage crying: “Look at me!” Or, more pertinently “Listen to me” be it a cough, choke or shortness of breath. I think the increased prednisone is helping and the coughing has really calmed down a lot. I was able to catch the train to dinner and got through the night without mishap so I’m feeling pretty chuffed. I even got to wear my red high heels, although I managed to slip them on when I arrived and hide the dreaded flats in my bag. That’s the beauty of being first to arrive and the bathroom was conveniently right behind my seat. Surely, even I couldn’t trip over and break my neck taking only a couple of steps (You bet I could but thank goodness it didn’t happen this time.) Mind you, I could also ask why I felt compelled to wear the flashy red shoes at all when they were hiding under the table almost all of the night (Of course, I had to point them out, didn’t I ?!!)
This week I have more medical appointments, but excitingly it’s our son, J.P.’s birthday on Wednesday. He’s turning 19. My goodness time is flying.
Well, I’d better head off to bed and hope by some miracle it’s cooler in there than it is out here with the dog. I know I’ll be complaining about the cold before too long, so I’ll try to be thankful instead.
On that note, what have you been up to? I’d love to hear from you and look forward to catching up on your news.
This has been another contribution to the Weekend Coffee Share hosted by Natalie the Explorer.