My tribe

Australia Day

Australia Day.

The Husband left early for the hospital to round because even on public holidays people are sick.

I slept in, then dragged myself to the gym for a half-hearted exercise session: 17 (slow), boring minutes on the rowing machine followed by step-ups onto a bench to make my butt work, crunches on a ball to remind my abdominal muscles they exist and some tricep dips with a 7kg weight to fend off tuckshop-lady arms. I’m wondering if it’s too late for that.

Later we drove The Socialite to a party. She took a bottle of vodka and a pre-cut lime. I hoped her current exercise and healthy eating regime would stop her from finishing it.

Because we were on that side of town I insisted we wander down Oxford Street in Bulimba. The hostess told us we were welcome to stay for coffee when we reached a river front cafe at 11:03. She said breakfast finished at 11am and lunch didn’t start till midday.

Our coffees took 15 minutes to arrive, enough time for us to watch a dozen or so fellow diners be served bacon and eggs. I’m thinking the staff didn’t really deserve their 15% public holiday surcharge.

Determined not to go home, I encouraged The Husband to keep driving. He likes driving.

Eventually we landed at the bay, where hundreds of people congregated in parks along the foreshore. People played and walked dogs and mucked about in the muddy mangroves. It was glorious.

We ate calamari with chips and salad in a waterfront cafe with counter service. The line was long because the i-till was playing up. When it was my turn to be served the young woman had to reboot it. She told me she couldn’t add the public holiday discount (she meant surcharge) and winked.

At the table beside us six or so shimmering young women in shoe-string straps and sandals were celebrating someone’s citizenship. “They can’t deport you anymore!” one of them said and they ordered lamb and vegetable pie from the specials menu.

Feeling bad about my chips I insisted we walk along a jetty after lunch. We walked past families on picnic blankets  and couples in camp chairs in the shade of pandanus trees. At the end of the jetty an Australian flag had been attached to a fishing rod and rammed into the rocks. We watched boats sailing back to the yacht club.

In the afternoon I did office work (there’s no escape) and made a gluten-free orange cake. Then mushroom sauce with garlic and white wine and cream. And roast pumpkin and potatoes with steamed green beans with butter and white pepper. The Husband cooked steaks on the barbie.

Uncle Mark, who has coeliac disease, came for dinner and we talked about the Father-in-Law and the Buffoon in the White House and the questions being asked around 26th January.

Uncle Mark, who liked his cake, returned to an empty house.

Angela Bensted Bw 1x1
Angela Bensted is a Brisbane-based freelance writer who likes to listen first and struggle with syntax later. She pitches stories to magazines and helps businesses produce compelling copy for print and online.
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