Wednesday 6 April 2011

A shower but no rain

The shower head in tonight's hotel was set far too high. I wondered if it was John Cleese who used it last. Possibly Michael Parkinson - not Sting, not Cliff Richard, not Bob Dylan, definitely not little Beyonce or Dawn French. In the lounge here at The Richardson, there's a gallery of photos of the manager with, if not a galaxy, then possibly one of the smaller constellations of stars. More than the Pleiades, fewer than Scorpio. Maybe the Plough? Anyway, lots of famous people have stayed here, in Perth, near Kings Park (the Aussies don't do apostrophes for place names, by the way, just in case you were thinking I'd abandoned my life's mission to wipe out apostrophe abuse wherever I see it. When something as big as Ayers Rock has foregone its punctuation, the cause is lost.)

It's a lovely hotel, and we're in a suite serendipidously called Sandalwood (we're experts on sandalwood now, thanks to Mt Romance, which has scented my suitcase with their gifts. Experts on sandalwood and the woylies that go with it - yet another addition to the great Aussie inventory of small and quaintly-named marsupials: bettong, bilby, quoll, numbat, dunnart, tammar, bandicoot... every time I come, I discover a new one.) It's all very tasteful, and they have Bulgari in the bathroom and free internet in the office.

We ate at Opus, the fancy restaurant downstairs, and it was a fabulous meal, beautifully served. I've noticed that Australians do find it difficult to get the attitude right when serving (the Qantas steward who threw a packet of peanuts at me was the bottom of the scale) and Renata tonight was perhaps a smidge on the obsequious side: "Thank you very much, madame" each time she took my plate away. But she was excellent at her job, with recommendations ("Just a little extra indulgence?") and exactly the right amount of friendliness; and (though the bubbly young waitress was fun) I enjoyed being served by a mature person. Very European. 

You can tell from all the parentheses that it's been a quiet day: we've driven 300-odd kms back up to Perth from Stonebarn near Pemberton, and there wasn't much to see apart from some sweet little towns of the sort that feel the need to set up, for example, a small army of scattered scarecrows in order to persuade people to stop; and lots of trees, and a handful of emus. It was hot and sunny again, which means 100% sunshine on this trip - great for us, but the locals are hanging out for rain. Pft! Wait till we've gone: there's only tomorrow left.

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