Friday, May 17, 2019

Aschenbach in Yamba

If one has to get old, and somewhat infirm ... and I suppose there is, in the end, no way out of it ... I think I may have found the where, the way and the style in which to do it.

I've been in Yamba, by the sea, for over week now, and have more or less got settled. I've had a massage from Amanda, a footcare session from Melanie on my poor, oedematic ankles, I've visited the Farmers' Market, Beachwood Café, Indian Fusion, Sandbar (often), Botero, the Dunes Café ... but mostly I've just sat at my wee desk, looking at blue sky and blue sea, and doing what I always do ... writing.

But today I started a new régime. Last year, the folk from the Dunes ran a delightful wee snack bar, the Kiosk, right on the beach. So nice, to sit there and sip a coffee... Alas, soon after my arrival, they closed for the winter, and then forever. But....!  This year, a new team has taken the Kiosk. I was watching developments, from New Zealand, and thought 'ooh goody'. Infuriatingly, when I arrived here they, like many other businesses in the town, were having a post-Easter-and-school-holidays break... But! Today was reopening day. So...

Down the path to the beach I and my walking-stick toddled. And I spent a glorious hour on the beach, under the, fortunately, slightly-shaded searing sun. I sat at the Kiosk and lingered over a nice coffee (one per day is allowed) and a lovely, soft, bacon-egg'n'cheese bun ... for which boss-man, André, kindly brought me a knife and fork ... and I watched paternally the young folk sporting in the surf ...

Yes, I thought, now I understand what Dirk Bogarde, in Death in Venice, was doing. Even though I am not a devotee of pubescent boys as a paradigm of beauty. Well, not if they aren't family! Chukkas,  nephew (he says it's great-nephew), Haz!!

My sweet brunch finished, I hoiked myself up and urged my stick down the beach. Crablo Kickasso, the Yambanese crab-artist who decorates the beach with his sandy artworks, hasn't got into gear yet (I saw a few sketches, that's all) so we headed straight for the sea, and I plunged my ballooning feet into the warm waves of the ... well, I guess it's the Tasman Ocean? (No, Renee says it's the Pacific).

Main Beach at Yamba has a verily complex system of tidal tugs and pulls. So it's not just a case of standing there and letting the waves wash around you. When you are a wobbly man (my stick is for my stroke-destroyed balance) you have to brace your calves for each tiny wave. And when a knee-high one comes ... and the sand is pulling away, destabilisingly, under your feet ... well, that's my exercise for the day! I didn't fall in the water ...

For fifteen minutes I paddled in the weenier waves. My feet and ankles loved it. Well, it's a proven remedy. I used to drive our horses into the wavelets, in sprucer days. And it did them good, so? Why not me?

And, as I waddled, I watched! Wonderful. The young (and some not-so-very-young) folk sporting on their surfboards and bodyboards ... what glides, what crashes and splashes, what laughs, what squeals ..

Yes, I could very well sit for a long Aschenbachian time, on Main Beach, Yamba, watching other folks have fun. When you, yourself, can no longer do it, how pleasant to watch others enjoying the sport.

This is one wonderful 'spot' .. maybe, again, tomorrow .. oh, yes, certainly, tomorrow ...

And the next day: Those who say 'don't try to repeat a good trick' are WRONG! I just did it all again ... fab Pork Miso Ramen at the Kiosk, with my naked ankles and legs soaking up the vitaminful sun rays ... a meeting with a cute black and white pooch who KNOWS he'll catch a seagull one year ... my walk in the water (pe-ri-lous, I couldn't remember whether it was the ninth or the tenth wave that was supposed to be the big one!) ... a hiya to my favourite surfie ... and up the hill to home. An hour and a half deliciously spent!

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