Those people

My earliest memory of dining out was in a cafe in West Bromwich, UK. The treat ended with my younger brother by three years having a tantrum; screaming and kicking on the floor surrounded by chips.

My addiction to going out to eat formed while undertaking hospitality studies in Worcester and Blackpool, 1980 to 1984. Overseas travel broadened my appreciation of fabulously foreign cuisines.

As a food service employee, I would groan internally about the guests who refused to leave, so that I could clear up and head home to bed.

My husband and I have become those people who literally spend hours chatting and supping over meals in eateries. The latest trend is starting with late lunch and continuing on to dinner. All the better when Stan is able to accompany us. He enjoys the attention from the staff, greeting them like old friends.

Our current favourites for double dining are Marinara Ristorante Cafe, Hawthorne and Patina at Customs House, Brisbane. Starting earlier ensures our departure well before the end of the evening.

Quelle horreur

The thought of being deprived of Google in Australia is monstrous! Fingers crossed we will not succumb to have to Bing things.

On a local level the winds of change grew to hurricane proportions. We signed up with a realtor, booked times for staging, photographs, and the first viewing.

Then the realty of the market dowsed our spirits. Everything is on hold until we can find somewhere suitable to live.

Deciding we will rent for a while, we are well beyond dirty, pest infested, rundown garrets. Is it unreasonable to expect air conditioning, dishwasher, covered outdoor area, space from the neighbours and undercover parking?

There are suitable rental properties however, as in stories of unrequited love, our advances are spurned. Why? We have an ‘inside’ Stan.

Grateful

We are grateful to be able to take our nine year old fur baby on the river ferries of Brisbane. Even for a three months’ trial period. It has opened up opportunities for discovery beyond our local neighbourhood.

Yesterday, setting off at around 10:45 am we walked from Morningside to Hawthorne Ferry Terminal. As with previous trips, the ferry person looked us up and down as we approached the vessel. Two greying middle aged men and their white fluffy dog. Inevitablely, the response to our friendly hello was a gruff ‘dogs out the back’. Why plural, none of our fellow passengers were accompanied by a bundle of joy. We duly trooped through the front outdoor and middle indoors sections to out the back.

The city of Brisbane is the state capital of Queensland. It is known as the Sunshine State because of its largely clement weather. Outdoor seats on ferries are highly sought after unless it is extremely hot, raining or both. There is little shade. We positioned ourselves next to the bulkhead, ready to stand for around 40 minutes.

One of the requirements for taking your pampered pooch onboard is the of application of a muzzle. Think man made fibre sleeve with Velcro adjustment and clip lock fastening, rather than wire cage. Understandably, Stan is not thrilled when this black contraption is strapped to his head. We took it in turns to soothe Stan’s discomfort.

The original plan was to journey to North Quay so that we could mooch around Roma Street Parklands. An early breakfast and morning exercise left us feeling hungry as we coursed along. We opted, instead to alight at South Bank 2 Ferry Terminal. So that we could avail ourselves of lunch at an eatery on Grey Street.

Before docking, in line with most previous trips, the ferry person engaged us in conversation. Remarking on how well Stan travelled on water. I find this change in demeanour to be a trifle unsettling. Perhaps we had passed some unpublished test or were experiencing exit relief, that we had not run amok.

After lunch we decided to head for Victoria Bridge, walk down Queens Street to Howard Smith Wharves, over Story Bridge to Kangaroo Point then catch a ferry home from Mowbray Park. Fortunately, one was pulling in as we arrived at the terminal. About four people got on ahead of us. As we stood looking expectedly at the ferry person they said ‘no space for dogs’. Again the plural, even though I could not see a single canine on board, no matter how much I craned my neck to see.

Catching the next service, in about 15 minutes, we headed home via Hawthorne. Three weary travellers, satisfied with a day of adventure, having walked for about 11 of the 20 km trip.

Child repellent

Whenever we sit down at an outdoor café table Stan goes into protection mode. Medium to large dogs, walking by with their owners and children around 75cm high receive the ferocious force of a guard dog.

Stan’s passion is intense enough to move tables and chairs with his lead. When Stan is sitting on one of our laps all is right with the world, peace and calm prevails.

Barking at other dogs started when we moved to Leichhardt, almost four years ago. Stan’s issue with children began after an incident outside the Pig and Pastry, Petersham. We were quietly having lunch when a young girl slapped him on top of his head, as she walked past.

Gift story

We have two sets of keys for our home. We gave my set to our friends so that when we fly back from Perth next Friday they can bring Stan home, ready for our arrival from the airport. 

The temperature in Sydney hit a sizzling 36oC earlier this week. With one of us sipping a cocktail in the pool I needed a way to get into the house. In good old fashioned style, a key under the doormat did the trick. 
The cool hall appeared gloomy after leaving the intense heat of the late afternoon sunshine.  I spotted a narrow striped object lying on the coir runner, about five inches long. A gift for me, I thought, perhaps chocolate? I picked the cylindrical parcel up. As I walked into the light of the dining room I noticed a corner of the white and gold paper had been torn. The name Stan was written on the paper, not for me then! Inside, one of his favourite treats sealed in a plastic wrapper. I walked into the study. On the floor lay a medium sized box containing more gaily clad items.  
As I sank into the cooling water, an Aperol spritz in hand, I relayed my journey through the house. We laughed in admiration at the stealth Stan had employed in retrieving his gift. It had been tucked deep inside the box. None of the others were disturbed.