Over the Easter long weekend I spent a few days with Mum and Dad at their piece of paradise by the sea, in a town so rugged and wild that only the hardiest of plants and humans grow and survive there. Almost closer to Tasmania than Melbourne, this little secret is a mass of crumbling clay cliffs over-run by sea grass and daisies, sweeping views of a roaring, raging ocean (which terrifies me) and only a handful of houses- some of them original, state of the art asbestos shacks. The beaches are a long and abundant mass of the most golden sand- and a permanent sea mist creates a glaze over the town as you cast your eyes back towards groaning power lines, chaotic shiny leaf hedges and blooming agapanthus, during long beach walks.
Mum grows a perfectly beautiful garden there made up of an eclectic, well planned (but seemingly random) gang of species that she has carefully researched and nurtures to perfection. A little old gypsy caravan saved by my Grandmother sits amongst a plethora of sea daisies which flow over to a vegetable garden overwhelmed with kale, the sweetest of tomatoes and prickly little zucchinis.
The day before the Easter long weekend my sister got married, and suddenly I was the only one of four daughters to still carry our family name – Dad chuckled as he told me that I was now technically, an only child (a promotion I graciously accepted- oh, the opportunities!).
Over the weekend, the three of us spent a lot of time going for long walks and talking about the year ahead. The two younger of my siblings were (and still are) expecting babies, my oldest sister has two darling little boys who make my eyes brim with happiness, and I was planning my trip to Paris for as long as it may last.
On one of our walks, Dad sped ahead to fetch salad rolls from the store and Mum and I meandered up the cliffs talking non stop as I mused that I was salivating with hunger- all that fresh air had gone to my head.
Emerging over the rise and into the communal picnic area, I spotted a beautiful woman drawing on a Shisha pipe as her two male companions busied themselves over the barbecue. ‘That smells so wonderful,’ I thought out loud, as I dusted my shoes off and jammed them onto my sandy feet ‘have it, you must have it,’ one of the men insisted as he followed me up to the road, ‘and take one for your friend,’ he added. My ‘friend’ was looking back at me with a look of ‘please darling don’t eat all that mans lunch,’ but I was hooked. It was the most delicious chicken I’ve ever eaten.
‘Where are you from?’ I asked between mouthfuls. ‘Iran,’ he replied ‘the most beautiful country in the world.’ I explained that I plan to go to Iran in the next couple of years and told him that if the chicken in Iran was as delicious as his, I’d be happy to go next week. He advised that I wouldn’t be disappointed, and with that, I said my goodbyes and did a brisk shuffle to catch up with my friend.
Sometimes when I sit in my loft in Paris and listen to the sirens in the distance with the sun pouring in my window well beyond 9pm, I think of that man in his new home away from home and feel completely inspired by his happiness, far away from his home in ‘the most beautiful country in the world.’
Pictured: Notre Dame in beautiful sunlight moments after a pigeon had done a poo on my shoulder in the gardens behind the cathedral.