Sunday, 13 January 2019

Overcast summer day after a storm

The day before Sydney had had a violent thunderstorm that rumbled across the city during the afternoon and early evening. The claps of thunder had appeared one after the other like train crashes or like peals sent out by kettle drums in some mad orchestra.

With a friend I drove to Watsons Bay and we parked on the hill and walked down to the esplanade. We popped into a restaurant near the beach and ordered food. I had a duck liver pate with grilled bread and my friend had tempura fried zucchini flowers. For the mains I had a seafood risotto (which was very diminutive; thank goodness I had the entre as well) and my friend had prawn linguini. At the next table were three young woman aged in their twenties. One of them, who was sitting, like me, with her back to the bay, was telling her friends about her semester at the national university in Canberra.

After lunch my friend and I went for a walk to Camp Cove and ascended the stairs to the harbourfront walk. The path was heavily trafficked with people from Japan, China, Sweden; people from everywhere in the world seemed to be there taking advantage of the mild weather and taking in the spectacular views across the harbour to the city skyline. We walked past the stairs leading down to Lady Bay Beach and negotiated the circular path at the point. On the way back my friend asked about Nielsen Park, which we could see in the distance, and we talked about it for a short while, then headed back to the car and drove over there.

I parked the car next to Nielsen Park and we walked to the promenade. We sat on a wooden bench near the end of the elevated beachside path. There were three big boats anchored outside the nets at the south end of the beach. One was a flat vessel for drinking and dancing and they had loud music playing from a powerful stereo system that could be heard from the beach. Another one was a large catamaran that appeared unoccupied until two kayakers turned up at the stern. The third boat was an elderly cruiser that had about 15 people on-board. They were singing to The Police ('Message in A Bottle' at one stage) and there were four teenagers on inflatable craft that had been launched from the boat playing in the water nearer the beach.

We got back in the car after looking for shells, rocks and pieces of worn glass at the tideline. We dropped by my place then I drove my friend home and dropped her off in the street. I turned the car around and came back along the street attempting to get to the main road but I saw her standing waving at the kerb, so I stopped. She asked if I wanted to go up to her flat to have dinner. There was a parking space nearby and I managed to park the car there and we went upstairs. She opened the front door to her unit and invited me in and then set about making dumplings for dinner. She steamed them in a special saucepan and made a salad. Then she warmed up some chicken she had leftover from an earlier meal and we sat down to eat. After dinner we went for a walk in the park near her house and then I got in the car and drove home. On the way back, on Sydney Park Road, there was a random breath-testing setup and the cops pulled me over to run a test.

The officer who came to my window asked to see my driver’s license and then got me to count up to 10 while breathing into a small device that he held in his hand. My heart was racing by this time and I felt a little panicked even though I had not had anything to drink for several hours. The reading came up negative and I went home and put on the clothes dryer to finish the laundry that I had started in the morning. The rolling drum sounded a bit like the sound of thunder, on repeat.

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