Our weekend was quiet.
On Friday, I was exhausted. I could barely manage to cycle home, though I managed a stop at a liquor shop on the way. I sautéed some onions in anticipation of a beef stew to be made on the weekend. I must have eaten something; I certainly drank something (Sauvignon-Blanc, as is all the rage these days) as I propped my feet up in front of the television. It was my eyelids which really needed propping up; I was in bed by 8pm. My last conscious act was to telephone D from my bed with my mobile to ask him to turn the hotplate beneath the onions off. It was ridiculous, but I have a capped plan.
I meant just to have a nap, but if there was an alarm, I slept through it. I woke at about 1 am and after paying tribute to the Sauvignon-blanc went back to sleep. Perhaps I woke a few times in the late early morning but I was up by 6am. For me, on a Saturday morning, that is pretty unheard of.
I did the laundry (coloureds; woollens); I sautéed more onions; diced celery; washed up and had a bath. By about 10 am I was at the supermarket – things are still quiet on a Saturday at that hour. At the greengrocers I bought vegies and banana bread. Back home, D emerged by about noon and we had coffee and banana bread together. We decided to get to Newtown to replenish our coffee supplies at Campos Coffee (if you buy 4 bags they give you a nice little woven nylon-ish carry bag – we find them useful though perhaps by now we have all that we need.)
I contemplated a film at the Spanish film festival but then noticed a missed call from a friend St and a message inviting us to dinner with St and Kx at their relatively recently moved-to house in Rockdale. They are gym-goers and dine and retire early (the invitation was for 6) so this pretty much accounted for the day in prospect.
After a dash to Newtown (D checked out Vinnies but is disappointed at how expensive it is getting) we were back in time for me to have a short swim at Ashfield pool which is a short walk from our place. You can get a lane to yourself and it can also be sunny if you choose your time carefully so as not to clash with the shadow cast by the setting sun and the roof to the spectators’ risers. Two of the lanes (by then not in the sun) were taken up with the Korean children’s swim school which has now taken up residence. The children’s energy was awe-inspiring and the young male coach, I thought, rather handsome.
By about 5.30 we were on the road to Rockdale, with a stop off at the liquor shop again to buy a bottle as our contribution.
Dinner was splendid even and belied its billing by our hosts as low key: a clear chicken and corn and vegetable soup and rice-paper spring rolls with pork; chicken or duck with rice and a side of green beans; a dessert involving puff pastry, lemon curd, meringue and passionfruit. The only other guest was staying with them, so it was up to us to make the move to leave when they started to show signs of sleepiness at about half past nine.
During the dinner, D had affected plans to go out to Oxford Street, but by the time we were home it was a quiet after-night in front of the telly (an average-ish Midsomer murder; Chopin saved my life ) and the benefit of my previous early night was all-but undone – it was 1 am before I went to bed.
Sunday up at about 9.30 – I can rarely keep my body clock to any early adjustment. More cooking ensued: it is the time of year for winter stews so vegetables of one sort or another need to be readied for that. The whites were washed. After D arose, we headed to Dulwich Hill with a craving for The Valley Lebanese Bakery’s cheese olive and tomato pizza. Sadly, it was the day the proprietor’s parents hold the fort and the oven was already off. You have to respect a business that is confident of its success in this way.
D had dipped into Vinnies - he says the Dulwich Hill branch remains relatively true to the original spirit.
Emboldened by a few big cheques in the previous week, I bought some fancy bread and cheeses at The Larder, which was running a promotion with an appropriate regional cheese for each day of the Tour de France. Our choice, Livarot, was for Tuesday, when the race goes to Normandy. The other was a Gruyere which doesn’t make the grade for the Tour: the courtly proprietor told us that the race does go very close to Switzerland the week after next.
We then pootled down to Addison Road markets still in search of food. Who would have thought I would turn into a market-goer? D and I both find these markets very congenial - they feel quintessentially “inner west.” It’s hard to nail down, but children, dogs, bicycles and piercings all play a part.
We were back in Ashfield again just in time for me to steal another swim in the last lanes of the dying sun, punctuated by whistles from teenage girls’ water polo and a larger contingent than on Saturday of young Koreans. Back home, while it was still light, I mowed the lawn.
I cooked (even more) to Rossini (Lady of the Lake – the first Walter Scott opera) from Covent Garden on ABC FM. When the cooking did not require my immediate attention, I sat down to listen.
Dinner was the resulting chicken stew (with leek, mushroom, carrot, celery: it will resurface later this week as the quantity made was large) with a side of cauliflower ($2 each at present: it is the season) and some of the Livarot. Quinces, bought a while ago and probably past their best, were finally tackled (it’s a bit of a job to core and peel them) and furnished my dessert (D is not so keen on them). It was again too late for D to bother going to Oxford Street.
That is the first weekend in about 6 weeks that I haven’t gone into work for some part of at least one day and mostly some part of two or (on the long weekend) three. That’s good for the cheque flow (which helps for the fancy cheeses of course) but it can wear you down. It was good to take a break.