Coffee for two.

coffee for two

coffee for two

“Coffee dear, here it is darling. Sleep well?” “Yes, like an angel. How’s the day looking?”. “Oh, a bit pale.” “Trust you to come up with a limp answer, cheer up Gerard, you’re not dead yet.” “Easier said than done.”

This is the normal start of most days. A kind of repeat routine doing the rounds at millions of households. A waking up ritual all over the world. Of course amongst us retirees there is no urgency to jump out. They are not getting ready for the 6.45am bus and train to work like most people. We are wearing the laurels of well earned rewards of having caught trains and buses to work for decades. We can now sleep in.

I remember well the silence of workers in transit to work. Especially Monday mornings. Boy, was it glum. I, on the other hand was always happy for a Monday to arrive. I used to smile on Monday mornings. Sundays in my suburban outfit of western Sydney was unbelievably dull. It was more than dull. It was deliberately dead and limp. They were joy-killer of days.

The demon of Noontide was never so strong as on Sunday’s Australian suburbia in the nineteen fifties up till the first coffee lounge opened on a Sunday some decades later. It was a true revolution. Unbelievably, drinking beverages in public on Sunday did not strike down anyone, despite dire warnings from the saviours of our morals from Sunday pulpits…Shaking the Rev. Murphy’s hand after the service would be as exciting as it could possibly get on most Sundays.

We don’t want those dirty European habits to come to our shores, some shouted still in the late nineties. I remember a true to her tea doily Anglo lady complaining about all those ‘loafers’ sitting around sipping a latte on a Sunday. True enough. They should be mowing the lawn or clear the gutters while repenting lusting after some illicit and unlawful joy.

Even today, remnants of those feverously restrictive practices are still around us. Alcohol drinks can only be bought at ‘licensed’ premises. It is not as if you can buy a bottle of wine together with a packet of butter. The binge drinking excesses here might well be a result of never really having been at ease with joy and leisure with friends around. I remember buying wine for my mother at the greengrocer in Holland when I was 15. No one thought it was anything special. The last time we travelled back to Holland it was not unusual for a trolley to be wheeled through the trains offering coffee with croissants as well as a Heineken and a rookworst.
I doubt it could ever be possible here, even today.

The local train Bowral to Sydney taking two hours, doesn’t have water on board unless you want to drink from the toilet tap! I don’t know what tourists make of our abstemious beverage habits on public transport. I suppose on the Afghan train, Adelaide – Darwin, a distance of almost 3000kms, there surely would be a cafeteria on board or are tourists expected to bring their own jam sandwiches and cater for hydration needs?

How’s the coffee this morning, dear? Nice and strong? I did not sugar it!
Yes, it’s good. How’s yours? Good too. Very good. Oh, that’s good! Good.

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29 Responses to “Coffee for two.”

  1. Andrew Says:

    8am is the new 6am in my life, Gerard. And much better it feels too. In my home country Sunday was totally dry at one stage – none of the pubs opened for fear of eternal damnation. Now everything is open every day. I am much in favour of the Sunday morning coffee and Sunday Times ritual. I miss it. Follow that with a pint or two and a wonderful roast, a game of bridge perhaps later on. That is how life is supposed to be lived. Debussy allegedly wrote a nice piece called ‘On hearing the first lawn mower in Spring’ but I’ll give the Sunday morning mow a miss, thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. auntyuta Says:

    Wasn’t there a time when you were not allowed to work on a Sunday? One day a week should be a day of rest and all this. But I cannot see why you should not have a drink or a cup of coffee on a Sunday. I always loved outside alfresco places and missed them the first few years in Australia. Things have changed for the better: Now lovely outside venues can be seen just about everywhere in Australia.🙂
    Mowing the lawn on a Sunday? I do not think this is a good idea.
    These days Sundays do not seem boring to me, not at all. However
    as a kid I very much loved the stimulation of school and being able to talk to my friends. Sunday was the only day when we did not go to school. Oh, how boring this was. I could not wait for Monday to arrive!

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Sundays have morphed now into life and people getting together. I also could not wait for the Sundays to get over with so that I could see and talk to people on a Monday.
      I remember the shopping strips to be all closed up on Sundays with the only life just a couple of dogs scratching their fleas and the cricket score filtering through suburban homes..

      Like

  3. berlioz1935 Says:

    When we arrived in Australia there was no coffee or drinking culture. Luckily we brought our own culture in this regard. We knew when drink and when to stop. Now one gets a good coffee anywhere and alcohol is available too. Still, they don’t know when to stop. The next thing you you see them on the telly fighting the coppers.

    There was once a letter to the editor in the SMH in which a lady complained, “What is it with those people, they fly to Europe and when they come back thy want a table and chairs on the footpath.” Yes indeed we are going downhill ever since. But with our good PM in charge now he might be able to turn back the clock.

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  4. gerard oosterman Says:

    We are now more cosmopolitan than Italy with a range of foods and cafes unequalled anywhere. I noticed that our economy has picked up somewhat mainly due to an increase in shopping and outdoor dining. Hopefully, our PM is not going to dampen all that joy with so many businesses closing down because of ‘economic rationalism’ and his obsession with unions instead of taxing our resources like they do in Norway.

    Like

  5. gerard oosterman Says:

    Yes, I noticed Fortescue got a big hit yesterday. Another big hit on the way today.

    Like

  6. Nick Ryan Says:

    So if Sundays be a day of rest, when do the people who serve you have their Sundays?

    Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      They stagger their rests. A Sunday every day.
      By the way. Has anyone seen our resources boom anywhere?
      Yes, we all know Australia has been riding high on the resources boom but where is the evidence of that boom?
      Have our educational standards improved? Are the queues at public hospitals any shorter? What about our public roads, the dual highway Sydney-Brisbane finished now? Has Sydney got its second airport? Are our incarceration rates lower? The internet speedway? Where is this fast speed?
      I remember landing in Norway’s Oslo a few years ago and there was talk about a second airport. I went there last year, lo and behold the airport was there.
      What happened to our boom? Where is it?

      Like

      • berlioz1935 Says:

        Good question, Gerard. The proceeds have ended up in the pockets of the few. They invested this money in real estate and have driven prices up. First home buyers have no chance at all to ever buy a blog of land.

        The mining boom went right past the general population. If they wouldn’t talk so much about in parliament we wouldn’t even know it had happened.

        Like

    • berlioz1935 Says:

      Gerard is right, you stagger the day of rest and you pay them accordingly. I worked for years on a roster that included weekend work. I did not complain. Have you looked at the Jewish Sabbath? It is an important day of rest and spiritual renewal. So should our Sunday be. In our society we have completely lost the art of quiet relaxation. We are always on the go for excitement.

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  7. Nick Ryan Says:

    I am on call 24 hours a day 7 days a week etc, so I make every day my Sunday then I don’t have to worry about my Sundays LOL You know the nature of my work Gerard, nothing for 2 months, so 60 Sundays in a row then 4 x 24 hours straight, thanks to the weather.

    I spend every evening under my Stax headphones or between my Zu’s, that’s my daily R&R.

    Sausages for BBQ again soon? If you want a drive H & G I am now on 30 acres just outside Goulburn.

    Like

  8. petspeopleandlife Says:

    Yes sir, good coffee in the am used to be one of my greatest pleasures. Now i can’t drink even decaf for it speeds up my heart and causes to to be even more erratic. Growing older has so many do nots. Oh well.

    State wise, there is a Starbuck coffe shop of at least 5-6 in a town of 100k. Good coffee too. Much cheaper to brew your own and can even buy a latte maker for everyday home use.

    Yes it is wonderful not to be getting up before the crack of dawn. Retirement does have its perks.

    Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Things must be tough not being able to take a decaf. I can’t eat vegemite. I have no allergy to it but the colour is just too reminiscent of something else.
      I like strawberries or better still raspberries.
      I have just built another shelf. Shall I climb a tree and beat my chest?

      Like

      • petspeopleandlife Says:

        If you climb the tree then we will need to call you Mr Ape Man, the one who found his inner shelf self whike sitting in the “tree of life.”

        Oh and I’ve not heard of vegemite but I’ll use my imagination to figure out why you can not stomach the food. Yes, strawberries and raspberries are very good for you- loaded with antioxidants, etc.

        And yes, I hate the fact that I can not even drink something as mild as decaf coffee. As I wrote- it is hell getting older. I am a coffee lover from the time I was very young. My parents let me drink coffee as a kid and I was very healthy.

        ~yvonne

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      • gerard oosterman Says:

        Did you ever read a book “The Tree of Man’? A good read Yvonne. I wish I could cure you from not being able to enjoy a good coffee.
        Getting old has its problems but so does being young and foolish. No good regretting what is past nor fear what is to yet to come. Enjoy your moment that is now.

        Like

  9. hilarycustancegreen Says:

    I had an intermittently European childhood, so I too find the the restrictions you talk of very odd. They long ago disappeared in the UK, though here the abuse of alcohol is a problem, which I suspect is the hangover (sorry) from the earlier view of drink as excitingly wicked.
    Go listen to Charles Trénet, Les Enfants S’ennuient Le Dimanche, it’s a perfect reflection of the weekend blues.

    Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      It seems the Sunday blues were suffered by many. I used to call it the Sunday afternoon gloom. It is odd. Even now, as soon as the Sunday passes 1pm, people scamper and the streets empty themselves. They hurry home, close the curtains and a blanket of thick nothingness seems to settle on the streets and suburban roofs.
      As a young migrant boy (reffo) I spent the Sunday afternoon sauntering through the empty streets to the railway station and get my ‘workman’s weekly’ train ticket. The excitement knew no bounds.

      Like

  10. Lottie Nevin Says:

    Sunday is as dead as a dodo here in Spain. The only places that are open are cafes, bars and churches of course. Weirdly, you can buy beer and wine at most petrol stations but you can’t buy cigarettes. When my children were young, Sunday lunch was a big ritual in our house. It was the one meal of the week when I could guarantee that their father would be sitting down to eat with us all so I pulled out all the stops and made a big roast (generally from our own lamb, pork or beef) and always a crumble of some sort.
    I’ve always enjoyed Monday mornings as I suffer from Sunday-itis, a sort of end of week blues that descends most Sunday evenings. I don’t miss the Monday morning commute to work one little bit!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Big M Says:

    Gerard, I’m amazed that here, in Italy, one can go to the corner store, train station, or even the fish market and purchase a wine or beer, without collpsing into drunken debauchery!

    Like

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