We have our daughter Kerry staying with us at the moment - all the way from Devon, England and her brother Vince was there from Melbourne to greet her too, and unfortunately Kerry is here for only a couple of weeks, which are already over half used as I write this.
It’s the first time we’ve “seen” her for over three years - that is, sitting together in the same room and chatting together, although we also see her most weeks when we talk to her through the wonders of Facetime.
But somehow that isn’t the same is it, although it is admittedly, better than not being able to see her at all, if we had no iPad.
I remember the time when we lived in New Zealand, sixty years ago and we made an “old-fashioned” phone call to our parents in the UK at Christmas time; the call time had to be booked about six months ahead, was only allowed to last for three minutes and when we did actually make the connection, we were all so wound up and nervous, that all we could think of to say were such inanities as, “What’s the weather like over there”, “It’s quite nice here, ‘cos of course we’re in summer instead of winter like you!”
And then, before we knew it, the three minutes were up and we at the New Zealand end, and I’m sure our parents at the other end of the ghastly line, set back with a feeling of “what a bloody waste of time that was”!
It used to cost quite a lot of money to do that too, not to mention the excruciating quality of the sound!
Now of course, we can call our daughter any time we like and it’s no different from telephoning our next-door neighbor, with the sound just as clear and with the added benefit that we can also see each other, perfectly clearly and in full colour too.
Not only that, but the call charge is included in our telephone rental, at no extra cost beyond what we pay anyway for our permanent hire of the line! And we can talk for as long as we like, without any meters counting the time!
But it is still not quite like having her here, in the living-room with us, or coming with us to near-by restaurants or pubs, or strolling along a local beach with her, or going for a little tour of the area in our car.
There is just nothing that can compare with personal contact, is there, from that sobbing moment of joy in the first instant of contact, until that sobbing moment of sadness when we have to part again, after an all too short time together.
But the bit in between is wonderful; we go out together, we do things together, we eat together and most evenings we have a few drinks together. Jacqui and Kerry chatting nineteen to the dozen all the time, while I act as the silent witness in the back-ground, unable to get a word in edgeways even if I wanted to.
The weather hasn’t been too kind for us, but then, it rarely is reliable at this time of the year – a little less rain would have helped though! Anyway, the mains things were the chatting, the eating and, (especially), the drinking.
None of us are great boozers but it’s nice to let go a bit when there is a special guest to help in the demolition process; pretty well the only alcohol was wine, nearly all of it from boutique wineries from our neck of the woods. These small vineyards do produce some really excellent wine; I guess that is their main way of competing with the big boys, who own thousands of acres of vines, producing many varieties of the stuff.
Kerry has visited us quite a few times in the past thirty years, so we weren’t too worried about doing a lot of travelling to show her places like Phillip Island or Lakes Entrance – she’s seen them all several times before.
No the main pleasure, apart from being with us, was for her meeting up again with our many friends, who she has come to claim almost as her own over the years, so many times has she been here.
Sadly, we are now within one day of her leaving us again, so we are all a little bit quiet at the moment, but at least we have many moments to look back on, even during such a short visit.
Let’s hope she is able to come out here many times more, in the future, (unfortunately Jacqui and I are a bit long in the tooth to make that very long trip in the opposite direction, these days!)
© 2022 Brian Lee