something old, something new
What a week… Tuesday saw the annual arrival of two ducks that make a stopover in our pool for a day or two. This has been going on for many years now and to honest, I am not sure if these ducks are the original pair of offspring of. They do look rather plumper than in previous years and it is nice to see them prosper.

The jasmine had made an explosive return. It is foaming over our fences, back in all its perfumed glory, bigger and better than ever before. The ivy the deepest green I’ve seen in years and even the bird of paradise, long dormant, has finely produce a magnificently plumed head. We had just about given up on it flowering. Friday night we, my wife and I, ventured into Melbourne’s CBD. But I’ll come back to that…

On Saturday, we had some people come a tidy up our bedraggled drive, gardens and yards. Something that I would normally see to, but this year it just all felt too overwhelming, I am still not quite myself since being hospitalised earlier this year with pneumonia. The two guys did a magnificent job. Our home never looked better and I am now, even more, less inclined to do the job myself…

Saturday night we had friends over for dinner that lasted until the small hours. Conversation flowed as freely as the drinks and a very pleasant time was had by all. We ate drank and made merry and the hours floated by. I woke up Sunday morning still feeling somewhat tipsy but a gig with a  two o’clock starting time expected I get over it quick.
The Sunday afternoon we headed out to Newport Bowls. Thankfully it was a hugely successful first-time appearance for The Heinous Hounds and there is no doubt we will head back that way again.

So overall, nothing that unusual, except for two very different outings. Seems the universe is trying to tell me something. I am not sure what it is, perhaps that it may be time to change d I’ll me of my habits. For me, it has been like stepping through a time portal.

Friday night I was invited along to an evening of polite discussion over club sandwiches, cheese platters and wine. The venue was The Savage Club. I never knew of its existence and stepping over the threshold of the club was like stepping into a Sherlock Holmes story. The visual impact was only outdone by the sound of a group of men, secreted away in some anteroom, gathered around a piano singing songs that may have been written by Gilbert and Sullivan. The effect was one of powerful nostalgia.

The club itself seemed vast. I did not get to explore it all, but not through any lack of desire. Open fireplaces and walls decorated with all manner of tribal artifacts, it was like a museum in that regard. There were oil portraits of the ‘leading lights’ of the past with political satire cartoons scattered among the spears, clubs and shields. The leather chesterfield couches were inviting and exuded the promised comfort that can be offered only from having had years of experience in doing just that. I almost felt like lighting up a cigar or a pipe laded with shag tobacco stored in a Persian slipper – but I don’t smoke.

Apart from the distant chorus, the atmosphere was one of still and quiet. The evening passed all too swiftly. Conversation was polite and respectful and witty, but I didn’t say much because I was too busy absorbing the surroundings. I was content to just listen and study the company I found myself among. It was an older crowd made up of men and women, all very well spoken and all of whom gave off a palpable sense of academia. A few younger people were there as well, but it was the elders that determined the flow of the topic. The overall feeling was one of warm security and mutual respect. It was very old world and I do admit, I felt quite at home in it.

My Monday’s are usually spent recovering from the weekend and this Monday was no different, though I did manage to devote a couple of hours cleaning out the pool. I have to earn my keep, you know.

Tuesday I had prearranged to have lunch with a couple of old cohorts of mine. We decided to meet in the city as it was an easily accessible for all of by public transport. When we do lunch, no-one is fit to drive by the end of it. To my surprise, it had been determined we would dine at the Kelvin Club. Another place I had no idea existed. It was not quite as earthy as the Savage Club, but I was first to arrive and since I needed to be signed in by a member, I was invited to sink into a very welcoming armchair and warm myself by the open fire. I was served a very well-matured single malt scotch and if nothing else happened, I would have been content with just that. Again, I was being seduced by old-world elegance and charm. There is something so very satisfying about dark wood panels, deep brown leather couches and full-sized billiard tables. 

It was quiet in the club. We were the only three dining for lunch so we had the run if the place. There is nothing like the companionship that is shared among old friends. We have known each other for thirty years. All the highs and lows that life will pitch at us, we had seen them all. We had laughed and cried and our good-natured teasing was as satisfying and robust as the bottles of wine and food itself. The food was delicious, by the way.

There’s just no knowing sometimes. I have lived in Melbourne on and off since the mid 80’s and still, there is so much I don’t know about this city. Experience is all. Experience is a knowledge acquired. Knowledge acquired is a good thing.  

 
I am looking forward to more of the same. I can imagine twenty years from now doing just this. Rendezvous over lunch, reminiscing over events now dimmed by time, as are our eyes. The thrust and riposte of companionable discourse. These clubs have lasted this long, I see no reason why they should fade before I do. Elegance, etiquette and charm are three things I will never tire of.
 
Good friends, I will cherish forever.