GORDON SANITAIRE by Gordon Urquhart (XXXVII)

The Big Weekend

This weekend was not one of the best weekends. It was the kind of weekend which makes you want a rest after it. At least I can say it’s over – and just repeating that brief phrase to myself brings a sense of calm I couldn’t adequately describe, even if I tried.

Friday was the start: a cocktail party on the roof of the GPO Building in the centre of Sydney. White tie, tails (naturally), opera pumps of marvellous sheen; my wedding cake outfit needed an emergency dry clean, and it was only because Serge owed me a favour that he was able to give my getup a once over out of hours. (Serge is Abraham the Ugandan coffee importer’s brother.) I was stuck talking to a bishop for an interminable period. Bishops are always so grateful for any sort of company, and they tend to eat with such undisguised relish that it makes you wonder about the quality of their diet at home, and it’s all a bit dull and vaguely embarrassing. The champagne was poor, canapés lacked a theme, and I was tricked into successfully bidding for something I didn’t want at the auction. We now have an Arthur Boyd hanging in the main hallway, but Nancy isn’t sure whether it clashes with the colour of the walls or not, so the new painting might be finding its way to one of the guest bedrooms.

There was a breakfast on Saturday. The kind where there is banter about work at the table and a speech about work at the podium and nobody does anything more daring than drink coffee while they listen, so you end up leaving hungry. Afterwards I had to get in the car and race across the Bridge to pick up Nancy at home and then race again, north, to the offices of a real estate agent in Newcastle in order to arrive before they shut at midday. We had had our eye on an investment property in the Hunter Valley for some time and the agent told us if we couldn’t sign before Monday it would be gone. The Dell is only a small farm, a handful of acres, but it should prove a profitable rental for wine enthusiasts attracted to the area by the tasting opportunities.

In the evening Nancy and I dined with the other members of the Lawyers Care Foundation. Talk was of initiatives and money-raising ventures and causes both worthy and less-worthy. It can be exhausting to be so virtuous. The champagne was sedate and the brandy was impertinent, and that’s as it should be.

Early on Sunday morning our architect Ernest arrived at the house for a planning session, with his four assistants in tow. Our vision is to have a series of large rooms below ground, leading down to the edge of the Harbour, and Ernest is working hard to bring this vision to life. There has been another cost blowout, but these are expected now, and we’re happy with the progress he’s making.

At lunchtime on Sunday was the opening of Max’s new exhibition at The Gallery. Max went to school with the twins and so we’ve known him since he was a little boy. We never miss it when he’s got something new to show. The latest exhibition features works made from barbed wire and it’s all about asylum seekers. We bought a sculpture called Barbed Wire Canoe. It’s sitting on a table in the hallway under the Arthur Boyd.

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Published in: on October 22, 2012 at 7:44 pm  Leave a Comment  

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