Sunday, May 9, 2010

Chapter 44: Paradise Explored

Once we were in the room, with the door firmly closed behind us, I fully expected to explore more fully the raging emotions that had erupted in the corridor. I should have known better, I was dealing with women of course, and what male can ever predict or explain their thought processes? Daise and Alina dropped me like a hot potato and, with squeals of excitement, began to explore our room. The first thing that they realised was that it was more like a suite or an apartment, with two bedrooms, two bathrooms including toilets, a kitchen and a small lounge. What really got them excited though, was the fact that all the exterior walls facing the lake opened up completely onto a balcony that ran along two sides of the building. There was an old-fashioned style bath, on claw feet and a magnificent view of the lake and surrounding bush. "Rupert," Daise said in an decidedly seductive tone, do you think we could fit the three of us into that bath?" "Well," I started, but was interrupted by Alina. "I'll scrub your back?" Alina promised. I conceded defeat gracefully. The time in the bath didn't provide much relaxation, and in fact led to some rigorous exercise. We had all three just finished showering when we got a call on the internal phone to remind us that Supper would be served in the lodge dining room. When I told Daise and Alina that we half an hour to get ready, they went into a full-tilt rush to get dressed and organised. I heard more than one muttered comment about how lucky males where, when I pulled on a clean set of jeans and a Golf-shirt and sat watching them get dressed. I agreed wholeheartedly, watching them get dressed was a pleasure and a privilege... When we got to the dining room, only slight later than we were supposed to, I was happy to see that the staff had really pushed out the boat. We were greeted with enthusiasm and led into the lounge. The fragrance of Frangipani blossoms filled the room, blown in by a slight breeze from the tree growing just outside the window. Some of the flowers were mixed in with the arrangements dotted around the room on side tables. A waiter took drink orders while we waited. As it turned out, some of the single men were even later than us. When everyone had arrived, and Moose had stammered out his apologies for having fallen asleep and waking up late, we moved through to the dining room. Everyone found a place to sit, and when they were settled, I proposed my favourite toast, "Here's to us, and those like us. Damn few left!" All the men downed whatever they were drinking, and slammed their glasses down, the we all sat and the waiters brought in the appetiser. The main meal was laid out buffet style, so that we could help ourselves without having anyone outside the group hanging over our shoulders. I spent some time making a bit of a fuss of Lisa, making her feel very grown-up to be included in the meal. The mood was strange: no-one referred to any of things that we had been through in the last few days, following wthout prompting the unwritten rule of the mess, 'no religion, politics or work to be discussed in the mess'. Most of the conversation revolved around sport, especially a general disgust that the Springbucks couldn't seem to get their game together on their European tour. There was also a lot of appreciation for Amla's double Test century against the English. When the last Irish coffee had been drained, and belt loosened to ease stuffed bellies, three hours had passed. I pushed back my chair and stood, before calling for a final toast. This time, it was at first only the men, but I insisted that Daise join us. I had arranged with the waiter before-hand they had set aside a tray of 'shooter' glasses and a bucket on the floor with a brick in it. When all the men and Daise had their glasses filled with Chivas Regal, I propsed the toast, "To Rfn Zondi and all those we left behind". Everyone responded, "those we left behind" then tossed their drinks back and one by one we each smashed our glasses in the bucket. Without another word, I led the way out of the room and took my ladies to bed. Chapter 45 Home - My Library - Top [Bookmark Next Chapter] - More Info

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