Sunday, October 28, 2007

~ a hostess of unalloyed magnificence

Often, you have no idea how entangled you are with humdrum of daily life, until you step outside it. I've just spent an elysian weekend in Shoreham with Polly, Jenny, and various components of her family.

Jenny's mother, Di, recently sold her half share in a house down there, which had been in the family since the Seventies. It's been thoroughly renovated since, but still retains its special charm and its healing properties. We had only one night, but it did the trick, releasing the sour stale air from the grossly over-inflated balloon that was my soul.

The artist Joy Peck once owned the house and left her mark with a half dozen beautifully painted windows and a fridge that beggars belief it is so lovely - even if it no longer operates. Joy is very ill now, closing on an end to her earthly residency.

Di is a hostess of unalloyed magnificence. Ostensibly in celebration of her daughter Sarah's birthday, she prepared an extraordinary feast - prawns, trout, chicken - which in combination with alcohol & THC made for an evening of refined decadence. [In stark relief to the other coarser kind.]

Most of us wandered down the seaside track afterwards. It was a black night lit only by stars and a small white dog. I talked to Polly about the stars. About the planets that orbit many of them. About the alien civilisations that must exist out there, but which we will probably never meet.

- There's always astral travel, offered Jenny

Polly was frightened of the dark and we took the opportunity to explain that everything was the same as it was when we'd been down there earlier in the day - except there was no light. She told us she had once seen a 'skeleton with red' in the dark. Then we explained how the imagination can create monsters from the shadows of trees and branches... You forget what a young mind might or might not know. It's awe-inspiring that we are the ones gifted with the responsibility of educating her.

And then I think of the ecclesiastical vermin in the US who indoctrinate their young with creeds of fear, hate and mindless obedience ...

On that same walk, I thought I heard an owl. I went to say - that's a powerful owl - but I thought again and went to say - that's a boobook owl. What I actually came out with was - that's a powerbook owl. Jenny told me it was a seagull.

Over dinner, Di reminisced on the subject of deluxe cigarettes. She spoke lovingly of a brand named Passing Clouds which her husband had once smoked. They were oval, rather than cylindrical, and came in seductive pink packaging. She believed their provenance to be Greek. Her daughters spoke of gold-banded cocktail Sobranies with their delicate pastel shades of blue, green, pink and yellow. I remembered the filtered Gitanes I use to smoke, the swirling blue figure of the gypsy on the packet. Luxury cigarettes aren't what they were, at least where I live. Perhaps it's my age, my level of jadedness or my social status, but more likely it's the new outlook on cigarettes as ushers of death...

Allow me to be corrected by a brief look on the web. In 2000, Treasurer,
'the world's most expensive cigarettes' were released in Britain at something like AUD40 for a brushed soft-metal packet of twenty.

Stumble Upon Toolbar DiggIt!


Anonymous said...

Hi Sam, what a perfect way to spend the weekend, being by the seaside with loved ones, walks along the beach, breathing fresh air, the smell and sound of the ocean, fine wine&'erb AND someone cooking for you, what more could you want?! You're so lucky to have a place to escape to when the burbs get you down.
Love Amanda

lily was here said...

Warm & lovely Sam! Everyone should paint their fridges and rid sterile kitchens of those white & stainless steel monstrosities?!! Those paintings are absolutely gorgeous.

My memories of Shoreham (Pt Leo my usual weekend surf beach & holiday getaway) - high school camp, sneaking someones dad's Woodbine ciggies behind the cabins at night & a friend blitzing everyone with 'Yesterday' on the piano in the rec room.

I recently started collecting old & unusual ashtrays, something that will become a thing of the past.

Will laugh for a long time about the powerbook owl..are you spending too much time near the computer? :)

love Sue