Old folk at lunch

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Dosas and an old letter


I put on a small dosa lunch mainly just for Von & Co. but I also invited Anne, Jenny and Joe.  Since Von is not always here in Brisbane, I like to see a lot of her and Hannah when they are here.

We had a good dosa lunch as usual and we all admired Hannah.  She speaks in intelligible sentences now and always looks beautiful, of course.  Young though she is, Hannah is an old hand at eating dosas, and having a Johnson appetite, she gets through them well.  At one point the proprietor was obviously a bit concrned about her eating a dosa and came over and asked her if she liked it.  She turned to him with a mouth stuffed full of dosa so that was an eloquent reply.

Joe joined in the conversation very well, which he does not always do. Like me, I think he prefers small gatherings. 

We talked a fair bit about old times but Von trumped all that by producing a letter I had sent her when she was a little girl.  Von is a great sentimentalist and likes to hang on to her past so she has a little treasure chest of mementoes of things in her past life, including two letters from me.  We have already seen one of those but she has now found another one.  I reproduce it below.  As you'll see, I used the pet names we had for one-another.

After lunch we repaired to my place for tea.  Except that most of us did not have tea.  I persuaded Von to see what she could do with my packet of Orzo -- an Italian coffee substitute.  Von was the only one who liked it so I gave her the rest of the packet.  I tipped my cupfull out.  Again we mostly talked about old times, including Sarah Ferrett.  I liked bold little Sarah but the twins have lost touch with her.

Another thing we discussed was the problems Von & Simon are having with renovating their Brisbane property.  The tenants left it in a mess and they are now trying to repair the damage and bring it up to a saleable standard.  Before I could say much, Jenny piped up with some very good advice:  Get it up to respectability but don't spend too much on that as the new owners may want to re-do the kitchen etc anyway.  I would have said much the same and Jenny has lived through a number of my renovation projects so she has obviously drawn her own conclusions.

Von also presented me with a selection of NZ groceries, mostly things she knew that I liked already.  I am greatly looking forward to eating them in due course

Simon was our source of wisdom on culinary matters.  As well as being a computer whiz he also does most of the cooking at their place.  He is thinking of making his own dosas.  I wish him luck with that!

Sociology, University of NSW P.O. Box 1, Kensington, 2033, NSW

29 March '90 

Dear Lady Von, 

Thank you for your nice letter. By the way, there is no such word as "dubble". It is "double". 

I was pleased to hear that you have been having fun with Nanna on the weekends. Nanna knows lots of good things for girls. 

Are you looking forward to going up to Cairns at Easter? I seem to remember that neither you nor Suzy like very long car rides. If you do not want to go to Cairns, I am sure that Nanna would let you stay with her instead at our pink house if you wanted to. 

Jenny and I have a very pretty house in Sydney. It has big rooms like our Faversham St house used to have and there are lots of trees in the street outside. I even have a very pretty fireplace in my room so I will be able to light a fire and keep warm in winter. 

I now go to work every day. Do you know what I do at work? I write things. I spend nearly all the time writing. But I still have time to write to a special girl like you. 

I hope to be back in Brisbane for a little while around the time of the July school holidays. 

Joey can repeat almost anything that people say now and he seems to understand almost everything. He still pronounces a lot of words in funny ways, however. Jenny used to call him "honey bun" and he thought she was saying "honey bum". 

Love, 

JOHNNIE

The other letter Von found among her treasures is here

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