With all the pre-Christmas functions and Christmas Day “done and dusted”, New Year’s Eve rapidly approached. A rock-country music infusion party was planned for the night, with two bands hired for the evening’s entertainment at the resort. The rock band would play their bracket, followed by the country music group and so on throughout the night to allow for no breaks in the momentum of the celebrations. Outside around the pool area gas barbecues offering a broad range of sizzling foods such as local seafood, steaks, sausages, ribs, chops, burgers and barbecued corn cobs, accompanied by a wide range of fresh, garden salads and tantalizing desserts catered to the madding, party-loving crowd. Portable bars also were strategically placed around the pool, taking pressure off the interior bars.
During our management meetings leading up to the event, I had suggested and fought for laser lights to be installed on the upstairs’ balconies to co-coordinately flash over and across the resort’s massive pool, but I fought a losing battle with the then Sales and Marketing Manager, who had a false god-like impression of himself. I also suggested that we do up the stage area that was to house the country band with hay bales, wagon wheels and a weather-beaten skull or two of bullocks. He cringed and readied himself for a further battle with me over this plan, but I won that round. One day leading up to New Year’s Eve, the Front Office Manager, who had become a good friend and co-conspirator, and I went off on a “beg, steal or borrow” expedition in search of the stage decorations. We’d borrowed the resort’s “ute” and, a few hours later, arrived back with its tray loaded with hay bales, a wagon wheel and two, much-maligned, sun-bleached bullock skulls. The look of disgust on Donaghy’s face, the sour Sales and Marketing Manager, made us laugh and more determined to achieve the desired “country” effect. To his chagrin, the decorations received great admiration from the party-goers on the night. Some people just don’t know how to have fun!
Andrea joined the revellers. He thoroughly enjoyed his first Aussie New Year’s Eve.
From the wide smiles on the happy faces of the jovial crowd they, too, enjoyed the evening, which had been hugely successful.
All good things come to an end and soon after New Year’s Eve, Andrea had to return to
Before he left Andrea arranged for me to meet with a group of Italian tourists who’d been traveling
One of my guests for the day was a dentist from
Not knowing quite what my group of wayfarers expected from the day or where and how exactly they wanted to spend their day, for a while I was in a quandary. Did they want to dine in a fancy restaurant for lunch? Were the very commercial tourist-directed stores on their agenda? Always preferring to attach a problem straight on, rather than work up a lather I asked them point-blank what they would like to do. With lots of head-shaking and “No, no, no’s”, I took the bull by the horns and then suggested that we buy some cheese, salami, olives etc., along with crunchy bread sticks, baguettes, liquid refreshments and with our “picnic” supplies safely in our possession, we find a few shady palm trees and she-oaks along the ocean front at Four Mile Beach. This was received with unanimous agreement. Outside the Post Office Hotel in the main street, some suggested we buy bottles of wine to help wash down our lunch. At that stage, my Italian friends had never heard of our ubiquitous, infamous wine casks. Shaking my head at their “bottles of wine” idea, I purchased a cold cask of dry white wine and a cask of red. They were suitably impressed. Running back into the nearby, small supermarket I bought some paper cups. What’s a true picnic without paper cups? Armed with our supplies we all piled back into the Tarago and headed to the beach-front.
My decision to “break bread”, washed down with wine at the foreshore overlooking the
Reluctantly, it was time to turn the Tarago around and head back to
A couple of weeks later, I received a telephone call from Giuseppe, Andrea’s father, thanking me extravagantly for taking such good care of his clients. He told me each and every one of them had reported back to him, raving about their “best day” spent in
My work at the resort, once more, took over my life. Long, busy days and nights, with some days extending up to sixteen hours, filled my time, leaving little left over for other pleasures except sleep. With only “Pushkin” my ginger cat to keep me company at home, I missed the liveliness of Andrea’s presence. With him in my life, my life was never dull. His natural exuberance and zest for living was constant, even when we relaxed together listening to music.
The telephone interrupted my reverie. Andrea’s voice greeted me from the other end, from across the ocean and land, he was returning to
To be continued....