Drinks in the Garden

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By: J Peterman

It was after I had had a start at Galleon, it was hot and I was hung over, it is one of the few places I know where I can order what I want in the morning: a Bloody Mary, lemonade and strong skinny flat white (all at the same time please), and the waitress/waiter will not blink. “Would you like another Bloody Mary?” the waitress plaintively asked, I am hopeless and they are good, they know the possibility of me.

I ordered another and headed across Acland Street. I had budgie smugglers and a towel in my bag, but the beach seemed a little excessive. Melbourne was, to the delight of the lazy print media, enduring a heat wave, so the beach would be filled with people and, as a general rule, I do not like people – Nick Cave got it right: “people just ain’t no good”. I went to the offy, picked up two cans of beer and headed to the Peanut Farm community garden.

There are tables at the gardens in the shade. I had brought a monthly, I had two cans of beer, in the shade I was rapidly recovering. A man; late thirties, navy blue open shirt, came and sat down next to me, it was hot and he sat under the shade, telling his two young children, perhaps 4 and 6, which plants to water. They sprayed each other and the occasional plant and seemed happy.  A woman; all young, short-shorts, and German, joined them for a spray under the hose and then drenched her hair. She didn’t mean to, but was, dear readers, a little hot just then…

I read and I drank and then the man received a call: “It’s great down here”, he said. He talked about property prices and I gathered he was from Sydney. He was talking to his friend: “you and [name forgotten] should really come down, [Name forgotten] would love it here, there is such a wonderful sense of community”.  He continued. I left. I had one more beer in my backpack and was longing for silence. “See you mate”, I said as I left. He returned my salutation and trailed off on his phone: “he was just a bloke having a beer in the garden. This is what I was saying. He brought his own cans! You and [name forgotten] should really come down here…”

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