Some hotels in this town have been renovated by builders who don’t know which way the wind blows in summer because they leave open the bar to the sweeping north-easterly which plagues this town from September to March.
No woman likes to have her hair mussed in such circumstances, let alone the lady I’m sitting with today.
We’re in town drinking this afternoon. Drinking and talking. Watching.
Property agents here all go to the same menswear shop as their wardrobe is instantly recognisable with their highly shined and incongruously pointed shoes, their tight slacks slung low on the buttocks and boldly chequered shirts – there are two of them at the table over the way accompanied by one woman.
Two schooners and a glass of white wine.
An older woman brings her wine to a table inside the room, opens her magazine, takes a pen from her bag and begins one of the five crossword puzzles published on the last two pages.
Both agents take their ringing phones away from their table to a distant corner where they talk to their clients. She is left alone.
When they return their drinks are done so it’s another two schooners and a glass of white wine.
A small shouldered man with pale arms and an immature pot belly walks through the room and into a narrow partly lit corridor that leads to the toilets. He stoops upon entering the facility.
I’m reminded of the time Saddam Hussain expelled sixty eight members of his Ba’ath party and shot twenty-two of two of them. They too stooped as they walked through the door to face the firing squad.
The property men drink and share jokes, they chuckle and chaff, their lady friend primps her hair and sips her wine. Her back is to us. Their phones ring and once again they leave the table for confidentialities sake .. She is left alone.
Twenty minutes late they return. Their drinks are done, hers is untouched.
The lady sitting inside the room has completed two of her crossword puzzles, the small shouldered man has slipped past his murderers, mounted his bike and pedalled away.
An elderly couple have just entered the room and sat at one of the tables, his is a pint and hers a glass of sparkling white. He has a remarkable head of hair, bone white and completely unruly. Blown about.
‘Excuse me, ‘ I say to him as we leave, ‘but yours is the best head of hair I’ve seen on an old man all day.’
He looked dumbfounded.
And his wife’s smile lit up the room.