Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Anatomy of a proposal - The rest of the weekend

Saturday, 7 November
Yamba, NSW

The second best thing about coming back is that I am able to see Mum, Dad and Cass.

Cass doesn’t even know I am in Australia. Dad stayed overnight in Yamba, while Mum and Cass are to ‘meet’ him up there today for lunch. Cass must be thinking Mum and Dad have lost it with all this “Oh, it would be a nice little trip up there” chat.

So I’m driving down to Yamba today to meet them at the Pacific Hotel in Yamba for lunch. I’m loving being back amidst the Australian countryside, driving through all the cane fields and country where Clare’s family has lived for generations.

I call Meils as I travel down the Pacific Hwy – she was pretty stoked about the news, but as disappointed as I am for not being able to have time to go to Sydney and say hi…

About an hour in and I’m driving down alongside the Clarence River, digging the fishing culture and pelicans dotted along the way. I wonder if Penny is randomly in town with Josh and little Campbell...

I pull up a stump at a table next to the Pacfic Hotel’s grand glass frontage - I’ve got the whole of the Pacific Ocean and a bunch of surfers rolling around only a couple of hundred metres below. What a view!

And what a spectacular day. Perfect 2ft rolling surf…I just wish I had time to get the old sea tractor out for a spin.

Then Cass arrives. She has no idea what was going on – a wonderful moment when I tell her what I was in town for. And to see Mum again was divine – it had been such a long time. I swear Dad’s pushing out a bead.

We smash a mezze plate and a few drinks, slipping straight back into family mode. Skype really does rock – I reckon it goes a long way to helping keep that family familiarity.

Today is one day I’m really glad to be around in person though, as Mum has just found out Nan has terminal cancer. It’s not the nicest news, but I’m happy I can at least be around in person to hear it and offer support – as much as Skype rocks, a hug is something you can’t really do online.

We end up moving down to a pub just up the Clarence for lunch and coffees – Cass has been as snap-happy as a clapping Jap today. Our lunch is also attended by a pod of dolphins doing their thing in the river. Could this day get any more spectacular?

The day rolls by into the afternoon - sucks to have to leave my family yet again after just a teasingly short few hours. Jeez I wish I could be living closer.

I give Libby and Greg a buzz to let them know I’m just about to head off, Libby suggests Mum and Dad come around for tea…they accept! The dream stays alive. Party time.

And what a party it is. Greg CAN cook a steak. The BBQ is just brilliant, very Australian with all the traditional accompaniments – salads, bread, snags, top-quality meat, wine…

Clare’s Uncle Tom and Aunty Carmel are also staying with Greg and Libby at the moment, so it is a pretty full house. Clare's brother Nick has also randomly popped home for dinner, so we are able to have a good chat out on the deck, with his questions as to my intentions far harder than anything thrown up the previous evening by Greg and Libby!

With so many of the respective families home, it’s an excellent way to celebrate. The hard part now will be keeping the secret under wraps!

Clare would love this.