Sunday, July 5, 2015

Day One of Doing Nothing?

Grafton. Ahhhhhh.

Each time I go back to Berlin, I say: now, here, I am going to have a really relaxed time. Sit in the warm sunshine and write to my heart’s content. But, somehow, that doesn’t ever happen. There are always things to see and hear, and people to catch up with, and anyway this year there was no sun to sit in ... so I say, when I go back to New Zealand I will ditto ditto ditto. And the result is different, but the same … But this year, it will be all right. I’m in Grafton, NSW. It’s sunny, to start with. In the middle of winter. And yesterday was Day One of doing nothing.

Oh yes?

After I’d jet-laggedly slept much of the morning away, I remembered to reach for the computer. Gerolstein-bred Douchelette (Duchesse de l’amour) was racing at Timaru, New Zealand; better listen and cheer her on. Well, little Miss Temperamental behaved perfectly in the race (after putting on a rodeo show beforehand), zipped to the lead and ran them ragged in a decidedly quick time. Geoff and Jude Knight, her new trainers, have well and truly got her tricks under control and her ability is getting a chance to show. This will not be her last win, by a long chalk.

A quick duck into town, to re-purchase all the things they won’t let you carry in an airplane cabin, and then … a golfing date! It was nephew Eli’s birthday, and he had chosen golf for the day. Now, I don’t golf. I did once try. I started fairly and got steadily worse over the weeks and months before I gave up. Now, of course, I have a hand that doesn’t work properly and an arm and a shoulder which aren’t a lot better, so I can’t even swing a club. But I enjoy walking around while others hit the ball, which I would miss, anyway.

We had grand fun. Joe does things like pars and birdies, ever so consistent, and he put one ball in the cup from down the fairway, but all the others pulled out some grand shots in between the airshots and bloopers. To my surprise, Paul turned out to be a dab hand at chips and at wielding a five-iron. I had a wee go. You don’t need a backswing to putt. And there! I holed a one-metre one at second try. So I got adventurous and I tried a real shot. Four times. Two airshots, and two toe-shots. I resigned. 

But Rod persuaded me to try again, and blow me down I connected! Down the fairway the thing skittered – straight! – could I do it again? Two airshots later, I did! And there was the ball sitting on the edge of the green .. Well, I’m beginning to think that with ten or twenty years’ practice, and half a back-swing, I might even be able to do this!

Dark loomed as we came down the last fairway, and we headed for home. On the way, we stopped at the Grand Hotel. No not for a drink. For the view over the river. It certainly was delightful …

But out day was not yet over. A quick wash-and-brushup and off to Eli’s birthday celebration, at Joe and Renee’s house, with nearly all the Grafton-based family … a slap-up pasta and crumble dinner, with wine for the grown-ups …

Not even the Tour de France and Wimbledon rolled into one could keep me up when we arrived home. A splendid day. But scarcely a laze in the sun, and I hadn’t written a word. Oh, well, Eli doesn’t have a fourteenth birthday every day … on the other hand, it’s the local races Wednesday and Thursday, and Thursday evening Renee is taking us to a vernissage …

But today, all is quiet. The sun is shining, I’m at my desk, the sounds of Haydn resound in the underground where Paul is practising for his forthcoming concerts … Veronica has served us up the most scrumptious chicken soup … 2pm? Little nap, maybe … that bed looks sooo nice ... well, jet-lag, you know …

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