Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Memory loop

This morning after I'd dropped off the car for its regular service, I wandered down to the nearby Hutt Street Precinct for a protracted mooch and dawdle in flâneuse mode till the garage should call and let me know the car was ready to be picked up.

Some time later I found myself passing a narrowish restaurant frontage: old black-painted wooden door, delicate little old-fashioned door-knocker in the shape of a little wreath, ancient art nouveau leadlight panel above the door. All incredibly familiar. I peered inside and recognised it as the restaurant that four of us went to for dinner the night our English Honours results came out in 1976; we'd hung out as a gang all year, and had planned the dinner as an act of solidarity no matter how well or badly each of us turned out to have done in the exams. And we did.

The restaurant was Neddy's, which had been opened by the now-legendary Cheong Liew the previous year, and was already one of the earliest signs that Adelaide was about to transform itself into a city of excellent restaurants, with radically new fusion-style cooking and an equally radically new emphasis on fresh local produce.

I found a near-empty cafe in an old and not-too-tarted-up building, ordered a hot chocolate and had just sat down with my novel when the music started up: Jimmy Barnes, another Adelaide boy, singing 'Flame Trees'.

... and I'm just savouring familiar sights
We share some history, this town and I ...

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