GORDON SANITAIRE by Gordon Urquhart (XXIV)

A Winter Interlude

First there was the car journey, undertaken in an off-roader, where Nancy was driving and your humble correspondent was passangering and the chilli cashews we like were in our hamper, along with a selection of cheeses, fruits and wines. When the Professor recommended no driving for three months after my knee operation I reluctantly consented to follow doctor’s orders, but I admit I am an impatient passenger. Although proximity to a chilled bottle of Grosset Polish Hill Riesling and four different bries from King Island managed to sooth me somewhat.

Lakmé played on the Land Rover’s stereo and Nancy stepped on it and I watched the sedate scenery go by as we made our way in style to Berrima. This area is beautiful at this time of year and we always make the effort to spend some time on a little vacation when the months are cold and the days short. The Southern Highlands resembled a little slice of Scotland, as it tends to do, with much soothing greenery, and days were bright, and hard, and cool, while nights started chilly at dusk and went south from there.

We always say at Bracken Lodge when we are in the area and Tommy the proprietor greeted us on arrival with the key to our usual room. It’s a small room, a kind of cabin, with little more than the basics – bed, bathroom, cupboard, TV – but it’s clean and comfortable and you sleep so soundly in air that fresh all you need is warm sheets and soft pillows. Nancy and I feasted on our hamper and tasted our wine and watched some television. We made a kind of indoor picnic of the food items we had brought.

Later we put on our overcoats and wandered down past the other rooms, huddled to each other against the cold, to spend some time at the main lodge. No-one was in the baronial drawing room or in the bar or in the billiards room or in any of the other spaces where a guest may stretch his legs and warm himself by the welcoming glow of a fire. This meant that Tommy’s second in charge, a polite, tall Austrian chap named Otto was completely at our disposal. We ordered drinks at the bar and Otto served us in the music room. He brought me a Dalwhinnie with ice and water separate, to be added to taste (the way whiskey ought to be served), and he brought a piña colada for Nancy, and he brought a slice of chocolate pecan tart with ice cream for the pair of us. We sat on chaises and ate and drank and enjoyed the fire while Nancy repeatedly thrashed me at backgammon (I blame the knee). On a far wall there were portraits of three baroque composers and I could tell from the look on Bach’s chubby Teutonic face that he was not impressed with my craven performance. That didn’t bother me though, not in the slightest, as I was doing just exactly what I wanted to do: not a hell of a lot, nothing more important than spending time with my better half, which is in fact very important indeed.

Published in: on July 23, 2012 at 8:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

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