Thousand Miles from Care

While most surfboards in Australia are emblazoned with names and logos like Billabong, Quiksilver and Rip Curl, we saw one in Manly today with a brand name we’ve never come across before: it must have something to do with roosters.

We were at Manly as a welcoming party of Liesbeth, a Dutch-American woman we’ve come to know through ABBA fandom. Over the years, we’ve met people like Ryan, Cliff, Steve, David, Jason, Paul and many others through internet lists and chat channels dedicated to ABBA. As many of them have visited Australia as part of their global travels, it’s been great to meet them, and through the common link of a shared experience, discover deeper links.

Almost without exception, as they’ve visited Sydney, there’s been a trip to Manly, and an afternoon/evening of lunch/drinks/and dinner at the 16ft Skif Club. It hasn’t changed much over the years we’ve been visiting, though we did note the prices have gone up a bit since the last time we visited.

There’s something quite wonderful about a group trip to Manly. There’s the planning. There’s the moment of meet-up and catching the ferry across. There are the moments of pure joy as you sit around and enjoy the festivities, and there’s the return journey. By the end of it all, you feel both exhausted and elated. And that’s pretty much how I’m feeling at day’s end.

With the exception of Grant, Graeme and Greg who’ve previously met Liesbeth, this was the first time the rest of us have met her. Impressions? She’s taller than I imagined in real life. She seems like a lovely genuine person who is quite a deep thinker. She also has quite a wicked sense of humour. Thus, she fitted in well!!

She was the one who spotted the surf-board, by the way. Unfortunately we never did discover which of the local group of surfies owned the infamous surfboard. Presumably it was a prank played by his mates. Though maybe not…