Watching some footage about our venerable leader Julia Gillard in Brussels at its historic centre, the memories came flooding back.
I had returned from a trip to Russia and had just finished painting the exterior of a house owned by Timothy Healy Hutchinson’ to help pay for the trip. (A bit of name dropping might be justified here, lifting PA to new heights)
The house was situated in London’s Sheppard’s Bush, where the three story terrace needed the hiring of an enormous 60ft ladder, which the raising of it to its full height was helped by a man who, to my utter surprise, stopped his car, got out all dressed in a suit and tie, and helped me hoist the ladder up. He then, without a word as much, returned to his car and continued his journey. This ladder came in three parts with lots of pulleys and ropes and made of course from aluminium, still weighing a lot.
Little did I know at the time that this would be the closest I would ever get close to literary fame.
But I regress. Back to Brussels where I had arrived with backpack and advice to potter about Brussels before catching a plane back to the delights of domesticity and The Inner West in Australia. The very hall where Gillard was filmed is also the centre of the world’s culinary delights. I don’t care about opinions from anyone or any Master Chef; Brussels is it when it comes to artistry of manipulating simple potatoes and salty prawns.
The amazing part of it is that the best of morsels, especially sea food morsels, are offered on silver platters, held by white coated ‘ garcon’ out on the streets in front of the restaurants, for anyone to taste and perhaps decide to come in and order a meal afterwards. Perhaps this delightful cultural procedure doesn’t exist anymore but at that time I took advantage of it, even to the extent of going full circle and honing in on another lot. It would certainly be helpful in case of being homeless or destitute. Would you not have done the same? Would you have gone back to your hotel room, changed your shirt and try look different and gone back for more? Be honest.
It was so nice an experience, and totally gratis…