The trip from Byron Bay to Kingscliff isn’t very far and I was there around 11 on the morning of 12 July. I left the car and the Tardis in the street and rang Anne Gabrielle’s door bell.
“ ‘Allo”, said a very French voice. “C’est Veronique,” I said and she laughed as she let me in. Two kisses, one on each cheek and a big hug. Then we got down to business – the drinking of the champagne.
Anne Gabrielle lives in a very sweet resort style apartment block. Her apartment is tiny: one bedroom with a bathroom (with washing machine and dryer) and walk in wardrobe, and a living area which includes the kitchen, also tiny. She has an enormous balcony which is really like a large room open at one end because it is roofed over by the floor of the much larger apartment above. Here she has a dining table and chairs, a day bed and lots of beautiful potted tropical plants.
The view from the balcony is lovely. Her flat is on the first floor so you are looking through palms to the swimming pool that winds its way through the gardens and also includes a spa to the side to the pool and a communal BBQ area.
I first met Anne Gabrielle in Brisbane in 1961. I needed a French tutor. At high school, I had gone the Maths and Science route, then gone on to Teachers’ College. I then decided to go to University at night and do an Arts Degree. Turned out I needed a language other than English to qualify for entry. So back to night school to study French. I met Anne Gabrielle at a party. She had just immigrated to Australia with her English husband. We got talking, she offered to tutor me and we’ve been friends ever since. She is now eighty-two and losing her eye sight but still the same person, just a bit frailer.
The next few days were a lovely combination of sightseeing, wining and dining and catch up talks. Bastille Day, 14 July, of course we celebrated in one of the nicest restaurants in Kingscliff, Bablou above the Kingscliff Hotel. Sarah, one of Anne Gabrielle’s daughters joined us for lunch and we enjoyed it immensely. Lovely food and excellent wine. Not cheap but worth it. And Sarah surprised us by insisting on paying for it.
After lunch, Sarah drove us along a bush track to the mouth of Cudgen Creek which flows through Kingscliff. A lovely spot and I took some photos of the cloud formations over the river. A lovely day and one of several.
|Not as sunny as we hoped but a great spot!|
Next stop, three kilometres up the road to spend a couple of days with long-time friends from Ocean Grove who now live in Kingscliff, Sue and Yolana.
Saturday 16 July, I left the Tardis outside Anne Gabrielle’s place and headed up the road for a couple of days with Sue and Yolana. I arrived late afternoon and of course that was perfect timing for champagne. Then a lovely Malaysian style dinner (Yolana is an expert at it) and a gentle evening of catching up.
The next day, they were hosting a sit down lunch for 18 people. I was at least able to help with the preparation and table setting etc. The lunch was a tremendous success. Yolana and Sue had prepared so much food, all of it delicious, and all the people were delightful and interesting. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Then of course we had to clean up when they all left but well worth it. We were all pretty tired so it was early to bed and sleep like logs.
Next stop Brisbane.