Dreaming of Chicken & Sweetcorn Soup
Sat 5th, May, 2012
(all pics are iphone hence quality)
G’day Beach Cottage ladies, how the devil are you? I have some iphoneography for us all this lovely morning !
So I am sitting on the ferry the other day on the way into the city…the sun was shining it was about 24C (that means it’s cooler for us), the sky was that lovely shade of blue blue Aussie Autumn that you can’t quite explain and the sea air was in my hair. I went to my normal spot at the front on the top deck with the tourists, because I still very much consider myself to be a guest in this country they call the Lucky Country and still have to pinch myself, that yes indeedy, I do have the papers to claim myself as an Australian and that yes indeedy this lifestyle is now all mine.
Rides on the fronts of ferries, under the sun, over the sea to the city is exactly when I realise we made it here, we are living our dream.
Anyway, so, I am sitting there in the corner, out of the wind and rather than get out a notebook, check my emails or Instagram the heck out of the ferry, I decided I would just sit and ponder…I watched as we passed the seafront properties and smiled at the tourists jumping up, down, up down, smiling, laughing and taking photos.
And alongside me came an old lady, she carefully sat down on the seat opposite me…I smiled and said G’day. I liked her hair. It was foofed to within an inch of its life. She had bright red lips.
She said hello back and that was that.
And we both sat there, looking and observing on this perfect Sydney day with a sea breeze.
About halfway through the journey her newspaper dropped off of the seat onto the floor and as the ferry tipped it flew down under my seat, I leant down, picked it up, handed it back and smiled and asked her
“Off anywhere nice today?” assuming that she was from my side of Sydney and like me off into the city, meeting someone for lunch, doing a spot of shopping or just having a ride on the ferry for fun.
She looked at me without answering, and rummaged in her bag for a bit – a lovely old lady’s handbag, with a handle, you know the one’s I mean?
And pulled out a can of soup.
“Oh no, I am on my home” she said “I have been to sit on the beach and buy this soup this morning”
“Oh right” said I, noticing that it was a can of Heinz soup, that you can buy just about anywhere, I am wondering at this point the significance of the soup. I was about to find out.
We got chatting.
And it turns out this old lady, who I am guessing by her make-up, the style of her hair and her story was about 80. A sprightly 80 though I tell you.
So this lady started to tell me all about her life in Sydney, how she had lived in the city suburbs of Sydney all her life, her parents were dirt poor and lived in a tiny cottage in one of the suburbs that has now been oh-so-gentrified by the up and coming well-healed middle class…her father worked any job he could, but mostly on the water and her mother scrubbed floors.
When she got married as a very young girl to the ‘best looking guy in the street’ she didn’t move out of that home to a place of their own, no money…she had not long left school and went to work in a biscuit factory…all day long she packed biscuits. She told me about the smell, how she travelled to work everyday by foot and by bus, a long journey and she always knew when she was getting there because the awful smell of the factory would hit her nostrils and she would grimace at another day to be shut inside in that air.
She knew a whole lot about biscuits and packing them. She worked there for most of her life.
I was still waiting and wondering about the can of soup.
Well she said, looking out to sea, my old dad would take us over to the beaches sometimes, when we had enough money for the ferry and my mum would pack up a whole day’s worth of food and broken biscuits and we would set off for the beach as if it was another world.
“I loved those visits to the beach” she said.
She told me how when she was packing biscuits all day long, tired and weary, she would think of other things to make her happy, she would dream of the beach, over the other side of Sydney, the ferry that got her there and how one day she would be able to go to the beach whenever she wanted. When she didn’t have to pack biscuits anymore.
She dreamt of living near the beach, in a house where the windows opened and the fresh air came in, where the factory was a long distant memory.
….her voice trailed off and she looked away…
‘I never did get to live over here and my life just seemed to just go in different ways…and so when my husband died I decided I would get my dream….I would ride the ferry a couple of times a week, I would smell the sea air, listen to the ferry horn, watch the people, sit down by the sea for a few hours, and on the way home I would buy soup’
“Chicken and sweetcorn soup, because now I have enough money to buy chicken and sweetcorn soup…in a can…with a label”
She smiled and by then we had pulled into Circular Quay…we had reached our destination, the tourists were clambering to get off, she popped her soup back in her bag, picked up her newspaper, and got up…as she walked by she tapped me on the knee and said
“Never forget your dreams”
And off she went with her lipstick , the hair and the chicken and sweetcorn soup.
On the way home on the ferry, in the same spot, only this time going backwards….I love sitting there, as the ferry pulls away, the tourists gasp, the Harbour Bridge is huge, the Opera House blinks in the sun and as you pull away it all starts to fade…
And I sat there, thinking about life and stuff and that actually pulling away from the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, well it wasn’t chicken and sweetcorn soup but this was pretty good.
See you next time, meal plan tomorrow…and we have a birthday in Beach Cottage Land.
Tell me, what are your dreams, do they involve Chicken & Sweetcorn soup?
want to see what Barley’s up to? go here for Barley’s puppy fanpage! Barley Fan Page