As on other overseas trips together, Michael and I Â have already started to establish a routine of getting me up, showering and dressing me before breakfast, after which we spent the morning mainly doing our own thing.
In fact, today could be said to be the calm before the storm. Tomorrow, a German family, the Schneiderâ€™s, descend on us. The, Â father, Andy is a successful gynaecologist, who Michael has known since his early medical days in Melbourne. He arrives with his wife, Delia (a talented musician) and five children â€“ 10 years old Adrian,Â 9 year old Nils,, sisters Anika and Nora who areÂ 7 anÂ 5 respectively, finally there is little Laura, who is 2 Â½…. in fact, I recall meeting and Delia with Michael in Melbourne in 2007 when I think they only had 3 children.
At present Michael has not really workedÂ out how, where and on what, they will all sleep, although he seems quite determined that he’s going to end up on the floor, something which he gdoes, not infrequently, when he invites his many friends from various parts of the world to stay in whichever home he happens to be in at the time. From this you can Â gather that Michael is somewhat of an aesthete. I believe he would be just happy living in a cave, spurning the many creature comforts that most of us have come to expect, except in his case, he would require a voluminous library and a limitless supply of classical music.(and perhaps, whisky!). He reminds me of the opal mining cave dwellers, I saw, in the mid 50â€™s, in the Cooper Pedy, Â -1000 miles north of the Woomera rocketÂ range, truly in the ‘great bugger allâ€™ (as the Aussies describe it) in the centre of Australia. These cave dwellers were, on the whole a motley crew, whose past you did pry into assiduously if you valued by own Â physical well being. In short .a good mixture of assorted characters. Some, certainly were fugitives from the law, but the police seemed happy to leave them there where they would keep Â out of mischief. In addition, ,of course, there were genuine prospectors, amongst whom we counted ourselves., Many of these prospectors lived in underground caves, or dugouts, which they have created for themselves. Even 50 years ago. I could see the attraction in the little bunk bed Â surrounded on three sides with books;Â a goodly supply of tobacco (I smoked a pipe in those days)and a small kerosene run refrigerator to cool the beer. What more could you want in life.
Michael’s friend, Ruth, from Lindesberg, dropped in before lunch and we all went off to have soup at Annaâ€™s Cafe, in Loa. For some inexplicable reason it was closed so we returned and had a salad back at the farm, eating outside in brilliant sunshine. Michael then went off to Kopparberg (Copperberg) for a big shop up in preparation for the the hoards about to descend on us. Ruth kindly stayed behind to keep an eye on me and we spent the afternoon basking in the warm sunshine chatting and listening to music.
Then, after Michael had returned, as the sun was setting, we opened our evening bottle, not our usual champagne, but an excellent sparkling Cremant de Bourgogne Â to which I introduced MichaelÂ when he was last with us in England.
This makes a very passable substitute forÂ champagne and costs substantially less.. The wine is made from grapes harvested in the Bourgogne (Pinot Noir & Chardonnay), fermented in the champagnoiseÂ method . It is fairly described on the label, Â that.. the bubbles …. enhance its creamy and full-bodied style with a a hint of alrmonds and a long aftertaste. This was followed by a splendid roast lamb supper, eaten al.fresco, prepared by himself.
The evening was rounded off by the arrival of Lillimor and Leonard. Two people I met on my previous visits both of whom I have become very fond. LeonardÂ was a much loved schoolteacher in Loa until he retired and then took up his second love, that of carpentry,. he simply adores building things. Indeed, as we arrived from the airport, he was just finishing a fine ramp which Michael had very kindly commissioned, Â specifically to accommodate me at hisÂ farmhouse dwelling. Lillimor and Leonard were Â married at one stage and still live in the same house as great friends. Lillimor was the local bank manager until a second violent armed robbery forced her into retirement.
Loa is the only place in the world where I have been into a bank and had the manager emerge from her office to give me a big hug in the main hall. Imagine that happening in the UK! Lillimor isÂ a short round, cuddly kindly soul Â ‘with a heartÂ as big as her head. After Michael and Leonard had completed their business discussion about some building works, to my great joyÂ the inevitable guitar was produced and we were dutifully entertained with some deep and soulful Swedish songs and one or two jolly ones.. The end to a perfect day