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Another Good Friday in Glenelg

Thrice weekly I cross the river at the King Street Bridge, but today I turn left and jog along the Patawalonga’s bank past the boat haven. It’s already escalating from warm to hot, and the sky is cloudless with that autumn-in-Adelaide vibrancy and healthfulness. Sun-smart, I’m wearing my Glenelg 2019 Premiers cap, and this sets an expectant tone given the Tigers’ season opener later against Westies. The boys and I are walking down for the opening bounce.

Passing the former Buffalo site, home for decades to a full-sized replica of the ship that brought free settlers to the colony, it was also a family restaurant and in its nautical dining room I once heard a kid say, “This is the best buffalo restaurant I’ve ever been to.” The ship is now gone and makes the location less cluttered, replaced by welcome light and space and hope.

Exiting Wigley Reserve I pick my way along to Holdfast Promenade and the ocean which always surprises me by being right there, sparkling and benevolent this morning and, for a kid from parched Kapunda, a repository of awe.

There’s a fluid, manic blanket of kids at the Glenelg Foreshore Playspace, climbing and jumping and yelling while their caffeinated parents watch, judging when to intervene and get the offspring home before the final set of tears abbreviates the excursion and taints everyone’s morning. Peering into Moseley Square, all palm trees and swirling pavers, it presents as the village centrepiece, drenched in Californian hues and optimism.

The old jetty sits quietly, this truncated version (215 metres compared to the original’s 381) built in 1969, and somewhat utilitarian with its asphalt surface. It’s unlike the creaking, kindly wooden piers of coastal towns, but as my former colleague/ poet John Malone once wrote, jetties are an umbilical cord to the vast ocean.

Pushing my way through the South Esplanade there’s a paddle boarder seemingly becalmed in the shallows, contemplating a recommencement of her moderate early-Easter movement across the polished water-top. About me are streams of young mums with prams, and octogenarians on sea-facing benches trading fuzzy names, aiming to make and remake connections among their ever-closing circles.

Just before the Broadway kiosk the green park narrows into a gentle headland. I hear the cool room buzzing with vague menace, but the breakfasters’ chat hovers above it, and the cafe is bursting with our shared fortune and eggs Florentine and holiday cheer and pancakes with berry coulis and ice-cream.

Leaving the beach I now turn left up Broadway past the silent homes and a freshly-cleared block, mounds of sand waiting to again become submerged beneath concrete foundations. The foot traffic instantly eases and my ambling way is mostly unimpeded by dogs and bright clots of purposeful, aged ramblers.

There’s a prosperous row of businesses (florist, organic store etc) at the start of my final block. I glance in the butcher shop window and think of Dennis, the sociable proprietor who began as an apprentice, and later headed up a Melbourne franchise with a string of fitness centres before returning to his first love. Reflecting upon gyms compared to butchery he once told me, “The difference was the meat twitched instead of staying still.”

Yesterday afternoon to mark the beginning of many enchanted things, Claire and I went to the Broady beer garden for two happy hour drinks each- pints of Coopers’ Pacific Pale Ale (habit and brevity mean I still call it Session Ale) and crisp glasses of house white, and elected to leave the car overnight on Hastings Street.

I see it waiting for me now in the gilded sunlight.

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Sausage Roll Review: Orange Spot Bakery, Glenelg

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Such is my undying dedication to critical thinking with regard to contemporary baked goods that although it was already one hundred degrees (Fahrenheit is decidedly apocalyptic) just prior to midday I gritted my teeth, pushed through the punishing heat, walked in and bought their finest specimen.

Is $5 too much? In 2020 and enjoying life in my seventh different decade, I guess not. Of course, I then heard these sinister words.

“Would you like sauce?”

No, came my overly curt reply. I should’ve worn my patented anti-sauce cap to save her the bother.

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Back outside I found a table and chair on the footpath/sidewalk/pavement (delete as required). I had no competition. It was hot.

My sausage roll and I were ready for each other, like contestants on Perfect Match, except there’d be no lies about loving bushwalking and horse-riding and rock-climbing. And no Dexter to provide a compatibility percentage.

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I looked across the road and saw the Watermark. The extra-large, charisma-free, over-priced, charmless, mid-strength beer-haunted, pokies-riddled pub. I must get in there again soon I thought to myself. Especially around five on a Friday if I feel an odd need to receive a kickin’ from a high vis type who has been in there all day and because his jet-ski is about to be repossessed, is angry with the world, in a generalised, nagging, Cro-Magnon sort of way.

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I took a bite of my sausage roll. It certainly tasted like one. This was a promising start, but then again, if you hear “Hey Jude” on the radio it’s instantly recognisable although it mightn’t be the Beatles but some pale photocopy of a boy band, all clothes and choreography and clueless.

The aroma confirmed this but didn’t engage me. It sat there in my nostrils, but like me at a salsa party, there was no dancing, just a sullen inertia.

I think the pastry fundamental to the sausage roll experience and this was somewhat sweaty and fell just short of that most disagreeable state: oily.

The meat was of an appropriate consistency, but as the aroma suggested, lacked memorable character and arresting spiciness.

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Just over in Colley Reserve I imagined the big hole by the Patawalonga. Recently, the replica of the HMS Buffalo, proudly built in 1980, was finally demolished. In 2030, Mayor Chad Cornes will announce plans to build a replica of the replica of the Buffalo as it will “create exciting tourist opportunities” for Glenelg. Not any humans mind you, but seagulls and pigeons and exiled magpies. There’s nothing more likely.

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I continued with my meal, but like a small child found it no longer had my interest. If I was a toddler it could have been the day’s third apple out of which had been taken a solitary bite.

Safely home, I reflected on my sausage roll with Claire and we decided that I could be seeking higher meaning where none exists. Despite the endless awards – name a country bakery that hasn’t won a prize for its pies – the very best ones are the home-made variety. You know, those with the fork marks sealing shut the pastry, the fork marks that suggest love and family and hope.

Oh, how I love those blessed fork marks!

Yes, that’s what I need to do. Make some home-made sausage rolls. These will solve my existential crisis, and correct my view of the world on this hot, punishing day!

Right, where’s the mince and pastry and my precious fork?

Hang on. Just as soon as I’ve had a restorative nap and watched the cricket.

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