The lead-up to the Christmas/New Year season had been a busy one at the resort and therefore a busy time for me organising the many and various functions, The Sunday before Christmas Day the owners of the resort hosted a party for their lawyers, accountants, business associates and the like. For the day, I decorated the large, main function room and the al fresco area alongside in different themes, depicting the foods of the countries. One section was set up to reflect a French patisserie, another thrilled and teased offering Italian delights (not Andrea), particularly foods from
The bounty of local seafood graced an area decorated with fish nets, large clam shells, glass buoys, even a small dinghy graced the tables offering guests a wide variety of fresh seafood delicacies. Next to the seafood display a wooden buffet-hutch and country-style dining tables offered typical Aussie tucker such as lamingtons, pavlovas, mini-meat pies, bite-size sweet corn fritters with a mango-chilli dipping sauce, hot damper, bowls of tropical fruit salad, Neenish tarts and lemon meringue pies. With lots of sweet talking and fulfilled promises of promoting his work, I coerced a
Outside on the paved courtyards, shaded by dense, verdant palms, the area had been transformed into a miniature
The plant nursery came to the aid of the party, not only in supplying the orchids and tropical flowers but also in supplying halved, empty, wooden wine barrels, some of which I lined with hay and filled with red wine. Others were lined with thick, heavy-duty plastic sheeting, filled with ice to keep the champagne and white wines cold. Beer was kept icy-cold in large ice-filled eskies strategically dotted around the function area.
I even roped Andrea in for the day, to be paid on casual rates, to help man the eskies. Fritz, the food and beverage manager, kindly agreed to him working for the day. It not only earned Andrea some cash, but it gave him invaluable experience in a small area of Australian hospitality and tourism.
By the time, Boxing Day, arrived I gratefully grabbed it by both hands and held on tightly, as it was to be my only day off from a couple of weeks prior to Christmas until after New Year. A “No Vacancy” sign, together with “Gone Fishin” and “Do No Disturb” signs were put up on the front and back doors of my townhouse. Andrea took over the reins, not allowing me to lift a finger all day. Late in the afternoon, we strolled the beach hand in hand. A most pleasant surprise awaited me when we reached the southern end of the beach. Andrea insisted we sit awhile on the low sand dunes under She-Oak trees, between the beach and vacant parkland to the rear. Unknown to me when I was taking a nap earlier in the afternoon, he had driven down to the parkland and hidden an eskie filled with ice, champagne, cheese, olives, salami, cherries, apricots and crackers. In a well-sealed container were a couple of crunchy bread rolls. Andrea, like most Italians, if not all Italians, loved bread. Bread became a staple in my household, more than it had ever been. Hardly a meal went by without bread as a main part of it. About the only time, Andrea didn’t eat bread was with a meal of pasta.
You can imagine my surprise, when he arrived back to where I was sitting, with an eskie in his arms! I was agog as he opened its lid and took out a bottle of champagne. He laughed at the look on my face as he handed me two glass flutes. That was probably one of the most thoughtful, romantic gestures anyone has ever done for me.
To be continued...