I spent the morning writing. Yamba has been a rich place to mine and refine ideas from raw materials into the stories I need to tell. "Head Full of Whispers" alone had six of them. This morning I drafted some ideas, only one of them enthusing me and the others might well stay as dot points but at least they are no longer "whispers".
Sue was late to the beach and initially missed connections with family but the tribal drums soon beat rhythms of meeting places and she was able to find Mandy & Joel at Turners Beach. By the time they had toed the water and played at beach babes and then wandered back into town, I joined them. As always with Mandy & Joel, the conversation was swift, interesting, often funny and with that enveloping warmth the best of family brings to the table. We probably enjoy their company more than anyone else we know. For me, Joel has become a good mate (despite being a Manly supporter) and Mandy the intelligent, witty, funny little sister I never had. Time with her warms my soul.
After this morning tea/lunch time interlude - its not always easy to tell on Yamba Time - I was able to secure a place for "Head Full of Whispers" at the Yamba Bookshop. The proprietor, Helen Anderson, is a strong supporter of independent publishers and authors and welcomed the opportunity of stocking my second collection of poetry. It also gives me a convenient excuse to return to Yamba in three months to check on returns.
We had many good intentions for a long walk during the afternoon but I became lost in creating words and Sue in reading them so sunset was nearly upon us before we realised that much of the day was gone. We made it to the glass walled bar of the Pacific Hotel in time to watch blue become pink and then black on the eastern horizon, as the sun retreated to warm some other place, leaving the moon to ignite silver sparks on the rolling high tide below us. A Taylor's Cab Sav helped accentuate the view. Sue watched the ocean as I watched the people gathered to worship with beers and phone cameras, their conversation punctuated by the silences of Google searches to win one argument or another.
Dinner was steak cooked on the Weber which now lives on our balcony. Like the completely reworked kitchen, its a new addition to our two bedroom flat on Clarence St, just behind Main Beach. Now in our eighth year in the same digs, we are always surprised to be paying the same tariff as that first year, especially when things change. Last year it was a flat screen TV but the change this year smacks of preparations for the owners to retire here. A farming couple from the New England Tablelands, its seems unlikely that such an investment as a new kitchen would be made unless occupancy was imminent. Next year may be a new place and a shock as most places are $200 dearer now.
We spent several evening hours with family at Mandy and Joel's place. It was the usual round of cut and thrust. The eldest, Lance, accords himself full local status after being a wannabe who arrived annually from Melbourne for many years. He is the reason we started coming here eighteen years ago. For all the Gibbens, it was their childhood home, back in the day. Lance is developing the full blown aging surfer/hippy look but the personality needs more change to keep pace. The hard edged cynic still lives inside the long hair and hair band. In order to honour his new appearance, we all wore hair bands last night, a fact not noticed until my red plastic strip showed prominently in my white hair. It doubled as a show of strength for St George, who showed none of the same losing again last night. The evening devolved into half an hour of discussion which started with confident statements saying Monty Python films aren't funny when you watch them now and ended with us all wetting ourselves as we quoted from "The Life Of Brian" and "The Holy Grail".
The dark cloud on our evening was news from Sydney. Sarah had been assaulted in a robbery attempt on her suburban street in Dulwich Hill. The outcome was subsequently better than it might have been but I'm sick of Sarah having to be tested by these ordeals. My sleep was difficult and ended by a dream I haven't endured for ten years.
Tea ... writing ... patience ... and eventually sunrise.