Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Europe doesn't want me ... but perhaps the EU has done me a favour!

I’ve been a resident of Yamba, New South Wales, for a week and a half now, and it’s starting, I think, to get a lot of stuff stirring in my head. Just starting. But stirring.

I keep thinking of all my elderly Victorian vocalists who retired (usually widow(er)ed) to Brighton or Margate or even Roquebrune or Eze-sur-mer … you know, Separate Tables country or the South of France with dwindling revenues. I thought that must have been such a comedown for them. But I understand a bit now …

Well, I’m getting on for elderly, I’ve tried the going-downhill South of France, and Brighton and Margate are dole-bludgers paradises nowadays …

I’ve kept zooming about until nearly my 70th birthday. But the European Union in its wisdom now excludes me, each year, after 90 days … I, who was born of an Austrian father and have lived most of my life in England, Monaco and France … I, who have (infirmity oblige) paid $10,000 to get there … but who, criminally, still have a passport from the land of my birth. New Zealand. So no more 'Grand Tours' and I’m looking around for another wintering spot in which to spend at least some of the XXX thousand euros until now devoted anually to Europe. I just may have found it.

Quiet: tick, Peaceful: tick; Small: tick; Warm: tick tick tick; Pretty (that’s putting it mildly) lots of ticks; Fresh sea air: more ticks … OK, no opera, but a grand masseuse, all the shops you need and ... restaurants? Chuckle. Oh yes. 

Here we go! A parade of pictures. It’s quite a change from my beloved Katz Orange and Asman… but I’m feasting …

Night out with my pal, Superharry. Yep, Superharry. He (again) scored the winning goal that put the local team into the area footy semi-final. Before heading back to Grafton to play … hockey. We got some nice eating in, just a wee lobster, with good beverage, in between …

And that evening little Foxy Dame (from Gerolstein) was running in Perth. I knew she’d come second. So we punted on her for a place  (the Boardroom and Bar has a TAB!) .., and yay, second!

Tom’s Chinese is a steep 100m up from Joe and Renée’s flat (that’s where I’m staying) so I checked in. And checked again in the next night and repeated the meal!

The star place for lunch (no, I don’t cook) is the Beachwood Café. With a Turkish flavour.  But this is New South Wales, so …of course … crab, prawns, squid, octopus …  but also peppered chicken livers, kofte, superior pasta … and a hostess who listens to your likes and dislikes, and even peels the tomatoes for your lunch when your false teeth can’t take the skins.

Well, for an (almost) 'elderly handicapped gentleman' who loves good food … and there's more where that comes from!

And, 200 metres away from my home, down the (steep) hill.  there’s a grocer who has Kichererbsen and soy, an on-site baker, a deli, a ‘bottlo’, a ‘fisho’ (prawns from the bay 14 euros a kilo) 

So tonight I’m sitting here tonight with nearly a kilo (!) of fresh prawns, brown bread from the baker, Redlands Emily bubbly, a lump of plain cheddar … as dusk falls over the winter landscape ..

And I’m thinking. Yes, I’m thinking … Could this be an habitual wintertime haven for me?

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