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I Feel Like an Old Railroad Man

I wrote this on Sunday morning, mostly from the comfort of a table in Dylans, Albany‘s best diner-café-restaurant thing. No affiliation besides lots and lots of childhood meals there.

For the first time in fourteen weeks, I’ve managed to go two days without needing to work on (or think about) university. The clichés of clean country air and peace and quiet have worked their wonders — I’ve even managed to have two good nights’ sleep in the face of a sleep-talking roomie, so things must be looking up.

Yesterday we went on a hired minivan for a wine tasting trip. (We also took a trailer for the wine, which turned out to not be overkill as I thought, but just enough kill.) Our hosts, David and Anne, clearly know their wine, and we went to a succession of outstanding wineries, most notably Xabregas just outside Narrikup. While the cellar is encased in barbed wire and looks like a viticultural Guantánamo, the wine is fantastic. It’s even more fantastic when you realise that the riesling on sale for $50 a case is actually an outstanding wine in its own right — thank $DEITY for clearance sales! (Like I said, we needed that trailer.)

The last place we went was Zarephath Wines. It’s an interesting winery, as depending on who you ask, the six people who live there and run it belong to either a commune or a cult. Either way, they seem to have an unhealthy obsession with building and launching boats.

At any rate, despite a couple of slightly iffy moments (the guest book which asked for basically every personal detail except blood type and tax file number was an interesting take on the idea), the expected big push to consider their movement didn’t come, thankfully. Better yet, the wine there was pretty good too, if not quite as good as Xabregas.

Princess Royal Harbour, a rainbow, and an example of Albany’s fickle weather

Today most of the group have gone up to the Porongorups again to check out a bamboo farm before lunch, but I’ve decided to be difficult and have instead come into Albany by myself. The Albany Car Classic is on, which has caused a few annoying road closures (why can’t we walk down the eastern footpath on Aberdeen St, if no cars are crossing it?), but my mission was to come to Dylans and test out their pancakes once again.

Happily, Dylans is just as good as I remember. In fact, apart from a few minor things (such as newer posters on the walls), it’s really exactly as I remember. It’s actually a little weird walking in and seeing everything as it was fifteen or more years ago. For a brief moment, I felt eight or nine again. Still does just as good a trade as it did then, too.

I need to walk back up shortly towards Dog Rock to get picked up, so I’d better go while it’s not raining. (The sun’s shining now, but I lived in Albany long enough to know that’s just a sign that it’ll probably rain again in five minutes.) I’m looking forward to the rest of the weekend being just as relaxing as this; the only problem is that I’m not sure I’ll want to go back to Perth tomorrow and worry about my last scriptwriting assignment.

Damn. So much for three days without university-related thoughts.

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