Yesterday I went out with a new friend.
I very much value my old friends. Nothing and nobody can replace them. But sometimes someone comes along who is interesting and full of friend-potential.
Last week a stunning and very relaxed woman wandered past my friends and myself as we sat outside having coffee. Call me spontaneous or call me stupid, I went running after her to compliment her on her sensational stripey shirt (after all, how do you compliment a stranger on their aura?), and we traded numbers.
More recently, the precocious daughter of a friend rang her, and lined up a meeting for the two of us yesterday morning at The Entrance. As the Fates would have it, the Farmer’s Market was on.
I met up with Barbara (not Brahbrah from Flight of the Conchords, no matter what my daughter thinks!) at around ten, and we hugged briefly. Coffee and munchies seemed to be called-for, so we went to the cafe that features my Pet Waitress, the ever-bouncing, amazingly lovely Bianca, and ordered our preferences in coffee.
Despite all the recent rain there was a water-shortage: I tried and failed utterly to fill a glass from the ceramic water-filter. Oh, woe was me! I was forced to survive on a large soychino. This I washed down with a slice of banana bread, while my companion had a breakfast of her own composition: scrambled eggs on toast with two hash browns. As we ate we talked about a heap of things, including food processors and home-made potato cakes (the old expression for hash browns).
As usual when I get excited, my worst tendencies to interrupt, finish sentences and generally race through conversations emerged: it was delightful and refreshing that Barbara felt free enough to be able to pull me up on it without malice or inhibition.
We wandered through the Farmer’s Markets, and stopped at a brewer’s stand. She sampled a white port: Despite being a non-drinker I sampled a white chocolate liqueur (sensational) and a dark chocolate liqueur (only just less sensational). Having had very much less than half a nip in total of 17% strength, I was amused to feel slightly intoxicated. One of the unlooked-for benefits of being a non-drinker, apparently, is that if you decide to have a drink, it is cheaper to gain the same effect! I took the brewer’s card.
We looked at a lot of jewellery (“sparkly things” as I like to call it) and a lot of clothes as that appeared to be an enthusiasm of hers. Then we went past a stall with a lot of tumbled jaspers and agates, and for a mere four dollars I scored ten exquisite and interesting stones. I offered Barbara her choice: she demonstrated great taste by choosing a small piece of a peaceful green agate with clear quartz crystals starting to grow in it which had been tumbled smooth.
A guitar and clarinet duet was playing jazzy numbers softly in the park: as we walked closer Barbara started skipping a step, then out-and-out dancing. She has a graceful style of dance completely developed to dancing alone, a combination of line-dancing and what we at home call “dorky-dancing” and something else again harder to label. As she dances, her energy rises above her, making her seem even lighter on her feet and making her highly visible from a distance.
This was followed by more coffee and talking and laughter, then we started meandering along the waterfront along past the park and towards the lake’s edge. It was a very high tide, and at the lake’s entrance the water was actually lapping over the top of the stone seawall, and the nearby grass was salt-affected and brown. With the inevitable rise of the sea-level, this will spread extensively.
We walked past fishermen and boats, past pelicans and white and grey herons or similar water-birds. We probably walked a few kilometres around the edges of Lake Tuggerah before we turned around and headed back towards the Entrance. On our walk we had seen stagnant mud, the remnants of a burnt-out car, a loaded disposable nappy just left by some horrible mother, a heap of noxious weeds gradually overtaking native species – and we had thoroughly enjoyed our slow walk.
By the time we turned around my feet were trying to tell me that my shoes weren’t actually designed for walking in, but I knew I was within practical walking-limits. We celebrated with more coffee and Bianca teased us about it. I told her she must have been mistaken, as I hadn’t been in for ages. She told me that I must have about four hundred carbon-copies.
For some reason I actually really, really wanted an apple-and-celery juice, despite never having had that combination made for me before, so I scolded Bianca when she produced bottled juice for me to choose from. Never mind, bottled orange juice is wet, cold and refreshing.
It was well into the afternoon by now. Barbara wanted to go to the dance at night and asked me. I wanted to go home and plant the young herbs I had bought at the Farmer’s Market which had been bouncing along with me on our walks and check with my daughter about whether she was going to be home – if so, I was going to spend the evening at home.
Which I did, having a quiet time with my daughter and going to bed before nine o’clock. It was a long day and a fun day. The sorrel is doing well. The cool, new stones are happy snuggling into my collection of rocks. The memories of a delightful day will be with me always.