September 18th 1983

posted in: The way back | 0

Val being plied with alcohol at Giovanni’s.

Considering the lateness of the hour we went to bed – 4 or so – we were up at quite a reasonable hour, tho’ Val, of course, went to work as usual.  We were assisted by Krell turning up, chiefly to say goodbye to Val – he’d left before she arrived last night.  And then, when Krell + Val had both departed, I was finally allowed to get on with snipping away at my Guardian Weekly while sitting in bed.  And then Tatiana appeared, with kids, so I finally surrendered + got up.  I had to anyway really, since there was clearing up to do.  Not much, fortunately – one advantage of having small, select parties, by accident or design, is that they don’t make too much of a mess.  It would have been a piece of cake, except that Tatiana was just sitting there in the sun lounge, so I had to make some token effort at entertainment.  It wasn’t as tho’ she was sitting there for my benefit either – she had some sort of arrangement to go with Mike + Irena to the beach.  So I just got on with my small chores around her.  M + I, + brat Jamie, did eventually appear – they had already spent time down on Balmoral Beach, had been there from a very early hour indeed.  So they all went off together.  I was invited, but had too much to do.

Finished clearing up, + went to meet Val at work.  We ate some lunch there together for once, + then walked to Paddy’s market, the main aim being to buy a pair of trousers.  Out of luck tho’, as there was virtually nothing in that line there, so had to settle for a pair of knickers.  And so I came home, once again to get stuck in to the snipping.  I think it’s worthwhile, as it’s good to have some record of what’s gone on in the world, but it’s also slow + tedious work.  Just for interest, the main issues over the past 3 months have been: the British election, US build up in Central America, a Libyan –backed invasion of Chad, + most recently, the Russian shooting-down of a South Korean airliner.  There were 350 people aboard, + the headline in one Australian paper?  “Russians kill 4 Aussies.”  Amazing. 

I was interrupted a couple of times in my self-appointed task, once by a phone-call from Patrick, to say goodbye – that was nice of him.  And another from Derek, basically with the same.  He had some feeble excuse as to why he hadn’t arrived last night, but said he would pop round in a few minutes, for 20 mins or so.  Which was very nice.  He was very hyper, very up, + full of news about his latest project, a short film called “Beach Games”.  It was a shame, but he could only stay for one glass of wine, + then had to go to collect his daughter.  He even had a phone call to remind him.  His wife hadn’t trusted him, since arriving at my place, to remember to do it, so she’d taken the phone no before he went.  What an amazing bloke.  Another one I won’t be seeing again.

Back to the GW then of course, until the time came for the final j with Mike – very mellow, very pleasant.  Which reminds me.  On Friday, to celebrate the final leaving, John Bush, Patrick + I sat in Bush’s little office, + smoked a joint.  It was, as j’s go, a rather pathetic effort, especially since we were all half-cut by now.  But it was the gesture that mattered. 

Anyway, once Mike had performed his usual trick + trolled off to bed, I continued with GWing.  Until 1 o’clock.  Val still hadn’t arrived, +, as is my wont, I was a little worried, especially since she had promised to be back early for packing etc, + as early a night as we could manage.  I rang her at Giovanni’s, + as I had half-expected, she was drunk.  Very drunk.  But yes, she was coming home soon.  3 o’clock it was before she made it.  And what a state she was in.  They’d broken open some champagne, it seemed, + she’d had her fair share, or rather more, of that.  But I suppose it was just as well, since I still hadn’t finished, even then, tho’ it didn’t take me too much longer.  And then I crawled in beside a very drunken Val to grab a couple of hours sleep.

We were off in the morning, + not a stroke of packing or clearing up had been done.  Not that I’m blaming Val for that – I’m glad she was able to have a celebration drink, + I had been indulging myself too, in my own way.  But we weren’t going to be fresh little daisies in the morning.

And so we are still in Sydney, though indulging in another farewell, Val’s this time. I suppose I should explain aboiut the GW activity, GW standing for Guardian Weekly. It is a weekly digest of the news, and I had been subscribing to it for quite some time. But I had decided, for some reason, that it would be good to cut out and keep a scrapbook of the news events that I had been taken with. Like I said at the time, quite a time-consuming task, and actually pretty near useless, as it cost time and effort and money to send them home, and I think they are still in the loft now, never having been looked at.

But we really are very nearly on our way again, heading north along the coast, perhaps looking for a boat along the way, but then stepping off into Asia, first stop Papua New Guinea.

Derek, incidentally, was another colleague from the office, but he was a film-maker in his real job. And no, never saw him again.

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