Ever been to a posh, expensive restaurant and looked around to see couples who are fiddling with the napkins, sipping their wine, staring into space and actively avoiding eye contact with the person they’re sharing a meal with? Chances are they’re the married couples out celebrating their zillionth wedding anniversary.
This year, the 24th Anniversary of the night we met at Pat Dalton’s 21st birthday in 1985, money was short, so we decided to go for a drive in the country on Sunday afternoon. Without the kids. Now this is the most important, crucial element in this outing. No teenagers, fidgeting, fighting and farting in the back seat. That sort of thing tends to kill the mood a bit.
So feeling mellow and chilled-out, we headed off to Bindoon and then down and around the 70 kilometre winding scenic drive that is the Chittering Valley where the scenery was greener than Bob Brown at a Wilderness Society meeting.
The conversation flowed like it was 1985, unlike what would have happened entombed in a restaurant where we’d end up blowing the weekly food budget on a thimble-sized meal of wagyu beef, garlic mash with a sprig of rosemary for decoration – and then paid extra for vegetables and still been hungry enough for Macca’s on the way home. What is it with restaurants these days that only half a meal is included in the menu price?
Instead we lunched on spicy pumpkin soup, fresh bread – apple turnover with cream for dessert – and bought a bag of oranges and mandarins from the side of the road. The first ones we’ve had for a while that hadn’t been sprayed with carcinogenic chemicals and stored in a cold-room for 12 months.
When we weren’t eating, the conversation segued seamlessly from one subject to the other, and we shared the bonding experience of watching a cow give birth in a paddock by the side of the road, chasing the afterbirth with her mouth and trampling all over the calf in her efforts. It was a rare moment of nature, wonder and a chance to …