Sunday, November 18, 2018

A visit from Paul

Paul arrived in Brisbane from Scotland a couple of weeks ago. He now has a business in Scotland but Brisbane is still home to him as he grew up here and still has friends and family here. With a bit of financial help from me he makes the long trek out here every year, bringing one of his three little children. This year he brought his 3 year old daughter Primrose.

He brought with him three bottles of "Silent Pool" gin plus some cans of a British tonic water called "Fever Tree", both of which are very dear here but top quality.  Britain is the home of gin -- and tonic water (containing quinine) has been a very common additive to gin since colonial times, when it warded off malaria. Paul and I are both gin drinkers so it was good to get a new perspective on what is available.

I was most impressed by both the gin and the tonic water but was a bit unimpressed by their price here so I looked for alternatives that would deliver a similar taste in combination. 

And I found one that worked for me anyway. Cascade Brewery is a brewery established in 1824 in South Hobart, Tasmania and is the oldest continually operating brewery in Australia. As well as beer, the site also produces a range of non-alcoholic products. And their tonic water is a sophisticated product, with much more in it than just quinine.  So I paired that with my usual Tanqueray gin and found that the combination was pretty much what I was after. The tonic came in small cans so a finger of gin plus a can of cold tonic made a very nice highball

Some of us had never met Primrose so that was eagerly awaited.  And she did turn out to be quite a character.  She is actually rather aggressive but I suspect that that is mostly because Paul is very indulgent with her.  Jenny had little trouble reining her in and her mother no doubt does the same in Scotland. She climbs over Paul a lot so she clearly is a "Daddy's girl".  Having had such a bond with her father will help her confidence throughout her life.  She will always know that she can be loved.

Breakfasting with Primrose

At the end of the day (to be rather cliched) I suspect that Primrose is born aggressive.  Personality generally is mostly inherited. So it looks like she got most of her personality off Paul, not her ladylike mother. Paul is very assertive. I am too, which Paul has always related well to.  Paul has channeled his assertiveness into productive ways so Primrose in adulthood should do the same.

Paul had an active schedule of visits while he was here but he and I managed to fit in two or three breakfasts together and I also got to see him at the various family activities arranged for him, including some of Jenny's excellent dinners.  He had a big private chat with Joe on one occasion which reflected how highly they think of one-another.  Joe does not say much when he is part of a group. I used to be like that and I still can be sometimes.

Paul and I had one breakfast together without Primrose present when we got to cover a lot of issues, both family and political. Unlike his usual style, Paul mostly listened when I offered my observations and explanations.  Paul always listens to me and we have always talked a lot.

Von arrived a couple of days before Paul left as she wanted to meet Primrose.  Jenny had on a big chicken dinner for her arrival and I was pleased when Von swept into the room looking gorgeous all in black and gave me a big hug.  Von and I have never chatted a lot but have always liked being around one-another, sometimes quite silently.  She knows that I understand her and I know that she knows.

The last actual function of Paul's stay was a BBQ at Ken's place on Saturday.  Ken doesn't do much hospitality that I know of these days but his eldest son was an obvious exception. Timmy was there too with his attractive fiancee so I took the opportunity to tell funny stories about what Timmy said and did when he was little: Including the famous "two cents for blood" stories.   He was a great little kid in the day.  Fortunately he is good humored so I don't think my stories bothered him.  It may have helped his fiancee to understand him better, however.

Paul's flight out was tonight so a few of us went over to Jenny's place to take one last opportunity to talk with him and see Primrose.  Jenny made us some excellent ham sandwiches for lunch.  Joe, Kate and Von were there.  Over lunch we spent a lot of time talking about old times, when we were all a lot younger. 

I gave Paul a very small going away present: A can of "Cascade" tonic water.  He might be able to get it in Britain.  Australian beers are very widely available there.

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