We spent the weekend in the Blue Mountains with Gwenyth and PK and Llama. Gwenyth and Llama are the two chicks Cate and I went cycling with last year in Italy.
Cate and I have stayed at the fabulous house Westhill in Blackheath before – with my children and grandchildren. It was designed by Glenn Murcutt who is one of Australia’s most exciting and innovative architects. He really likes corrugated iron.
The house is owned by a lawyer and a few weeks ago he emailed me and said we could not come because Blackheath had been devastated by a storm and the house and garden had been buried under a mountain of colossal trees which had been felled by gale force winds. While the house itself had not been damaged it was not possible to get to it.
I was of course inconsolable. Both by the thought that we could not use the house and by the thought that I may not get to see Llama in her underwear - which is always one of the highlights of my encounters with her.
However – he emailed again a week later and said that a path to the house had been cleared and that we should send the usual exorbitant amount of money and turn up.
It was a fabulous weekend. It being winter - Llama wore more clothes than I would have liked - but was in terrific shape - having just done a walking holiday in Italy – and had buns tighter than Rockmelons. She had also just conquered Chamonix – in more ways than one – so had some tales to tell.
It was my first close encounter with PK and I discovered that he can drink impossible amounts of red wine and Jamesons Whiskey without falling over. This might be because he is a sailor and has been practising for many years while rocking from side to side. This may be why my neighbour Jim in Sydney is so good at it.
It was also my first encounter with Jamesons and it is indeed a lovely drop. When I get the last of the fur off my tongue – in a month or so – I will try it again. In fact I will get a bottle on the way home.
I finally met Simon Cotter – a lovely gentle man – who Maalie regarded as his son – and we talked about Maalie’s last trip to Australia and the weird and wonderful ways which made him such a fascinating character.
It was a very special weekend filled with food, fires, wine and much laughter.
There was another massive storm with gigantic bolts of lightning and murderous claps of thunder. There were five Atheists in the house and God had his chance to kill us but failed miserably.
He sent a streak of lighting through a window – ten metres across a room - to strike an iron stove 10 centimetres from PK’s bum. PK – who is a failed Irish Catholic – and a terrible blasphemer - and thus a perfect target for extermination and eternal damnation – was at that stage half full of Jamesons and would have gone off like a bomb – taking us and the house with him. And a rich lawyer's house at that - what an opportunity!
God is either not there – does not care about us Atheists – or is a lousy shot with lightning - (although he is uncannily accurate in respect of golfers).
I have attached some photos of the fallen trees. Click to embigiate.
Next – I return to the place of my birth.