On The Beach – by guest contributor Bob Passier

On the BeachBob Passier and I live in the same suburb and regularly meet in a local cafe to discuss what is happening in our lives and the world. He is a wonderful storyteller.

This is the first of many stories he is going to share here with you, as a guest contributor.

On the Beach

It really doesn’t get much better than this.

It’s one of those beautiful early autumn afternoons that Sydney turns on for us almost every year. The sun was shining down from the clear blue sky bathing the world (or at least my bit of it) in a warmth which made me feel content with my lot in life. Not a breath of breeze. You know that winter is trying to sneak in, but it hasn’t been successful. At least not yet. Its turn will come soon enough.

In the meantime it’s the sort of afternoon that is ideal for doing just what I’m doing. I’m enjoying short swims – only short ones because the water, unlike the air is starting to lose its summer warm and while it’s great to be in, after a while it does start to get a bit cool for comfort. 

When I get cool, I do what the lizards do. I retreat to a suitable warm surface, the sand, a grassy knoll, or even the right sort of rock and I sit or lay there until the sun has done its bit and I’m enjoying the warmth again. 

The beach is sparsely populated today. That’s most likely because it’s Wednesday, and most of the working population are doing just that – working. I’m a bit lucky. Things at work have been pretty hectic lately. We’re a small but very vibrant outfit with a culture of everybody just picking up and doing what needs to be done and nobody carrying on with the  “It’s not my job” rubbish. I’ve been putting in a lot of extra effort over the last few weeks because things have been so busy that I’ve been working all hours just to get it all done. Truth be told, some of my motivation is that I’m just a tiny bit in love with my boss and I love to please her. She, of course is madly in love with her husband of twelve years and she’s more than a little fond of their three children.

Speaking of the boss, you could have knocked me over with a feather when at about 12.30 she told me all of my extra effort was much appreciated and that I should take $50 out of the petty cash tin and have the rest of the day off. Wow! Let me tell you, there aren’t too many like her around.

I couldn’t think of a better way of using the afternoon than spending it on Camp Cove beach. 

Two or three hours of Camp Coving and I’ll be ready for a couple of drinks at the Watson’s Bay Hotel courtesy of the boss, maybe some of their famous fish and chips and then an early night.

Camp Cove is a harbour beach and the water is very user friendly for those of us who don’t particularly like battling big (or small) surf. From the beach you can take in the activity on the harbour: the sailing boats with their spinnakers up battling it out in the regular Wednesday races from the Cruising Yacht Club; The odd luxury cruiser with the champagne set on board, their body language saying “Look at me, Look at me”. A couple of jet skis (didn’t think they were allowed in the harbour any more) making more noise than they ought to and giving the fishermen in their tinnies apoplexy.  There’s also the interesting boats: the working boats, the pilot boats, occasionally a cruise ship. There was a time when you would see cargo ships on a regular basis.

The container ships and the car carriers became a thing of the past when the government of the day decided they were too tacky to be seen by the waterfront residents so they were sent  packing  off to Botany Bay. The public disagreed and made a fair bit on noise about it. Many of us enjoyed watching the comings and goings of the working harbour which had been just that since the arrival of the first fleet. But when did governments care about what the public thinks.

I was into what I thought should be my last lizard imitation before heading to the pub when it became apparent that I had drifted off to sleep thinking of all theses things. I don’t know if it was because somebody had moved the nearby tree which was now shading me from the slowly weakening sun, or whether it was what sounded like a cry of distress which brought me out of my reverie and back to full attention.

It only took a moment to realize that there were only two people left at the beach. One of them was me. The other was a female in the water some way down the beach who was frantically waving something white.

I headed down the beach and as I came near to her she stopped waving frantically and put her white bikini top back where it belonged. She shouted to me to please not come any closer because she had lost her bikini bottom and would I bring her her towel.

Of course I would. And I did. More to the point I took a lot of trouble to ensure that I did it in a most gentlemanly manner so that her modesty was preserved.  She said thank you, I said you’re welcome and returned to my nest. It was time to pack it up and have that couple of drinks.

As I was doing so, she came up to thank me. If there was such a thing as love at first sight then this was it. Black hair, olive skin. I couldn’t tell much about the figure underneath the long flowing beach dress which I believe is was known as a caftan. It was the eyes that really did it. Blue green and sparkling in a way that said to the world, “I’m a girl who loves life. Come and enjoy it with me”.

I told her I was going for a beer and would she like one. She said that the least she could do would be to buy me one. I said that if she bought a beer I had a lazy fifty which would take care of some fish and chips. She said “sounds great”.

“And that, my dear children is how I met your mother”.

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