Monday, August 07, 2006

A Long Weekend

It’s amazing I’m not exhausted after last weekend. It was intensively sociable and I seemed to spend a great deal of time in pubs.

On Friday it was the funeral and wake for my friend Gavin, and Saturday was my birthday.

Gavin’s funeral service was very moving and his wake, as with most funerals, drew people out of the past into the present, either physically or through pictures in photo albums.

It turned out Gavin had photo albums, which depicted the past. There we all were, looking so much younger in the days of our socialising at the Dan O’Connell Hotel. It had people I’d almost forgotten, Gavin’s old girlfriends, for instance, long departed from the scene. I used to be very good friends with one of them, a New Zealander, who lived close by to us. I haven’t seen her for years. I think she must have returned to New Zealand.

We gave Gavin a good send off. The funeral service was a civil one in a funeral parlour and was handled with tact. We were all a bit tearful by the end of it. He was privately cremated and his ashes will be scattered in a country area he loved.

After the service we all adjourned to a pub close by for the wake. There was a decent crowd of people, which was good to see.

On Saturday it was a lunch engagement at yet another pub, the Rose Hotel in Fitzroy. Over the past year or so a group of the old Dan O’Connell crowd have been meeting up every so often for lunch in one or other of the many fine pubs who provide food in the Melbourne inner city area. As we are all getting on - most of us being 50+ - we don’t socialise as we used to. Hence these civilised catch-up lunches. With us all being such old friends with plenty of history in common, they are very pleasant and relaxing,

It was my birthday as well, but that’s neither here nor there, it just served as an excuse to get together. The Rose is an excellent hotel, cosy, with good food. The Rose was one of the local pubs involved in the summer hotel cricket competition of which the Dan O’Connell was a part. The Rose always put on a great barbeque at cricket matches - better than any of the other competing hotels.

I might expand on the cricket matches in a later post. Suffice to say, the matches were great fun and I learned the rules of cricket, though only as a spectator.

On Sunday, another lunch, another pub. This time it was with my brother and sister in law who decided to drive down from the country for my birthday. We dined at the North Fitzroy Arms. The food was excellent and the pub was friendly, so it was another pleasant outing with the added bonus of seeing my brother and sister in law, who, as they live 100 kilometres from Melbourne, I don’t see all that often.

Got home from lunch to more visitors bringing gifts. It is very nice having one’s birthday spread over a few days. And to cap it all off the weather was mild and sunny all weekend, a welcome change from the wintry conditions that have prevailed over the past few months.

The above photo was one I selected from Gavin's old photo album. It shows Gavin in a "come and get me girls!" position in the pool room of the Dan O'Connell Hotel. Sitting next to him is another old friend, known as Cheng Wah, fortunately still alive, but moved far away.

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