It was a cold winter’s day displaying an ominous dark cloudy sky, although the rain had stopped as we pulled into the wet almost empty parking area. Alighting from the car, my first sweeping glance taking in the dismal appearance of the venue surroundings, consisting of sodden grassed areas housing dripping wet shrubs and bushes, void of any colour to enhance the entrance or welcome visitors. On wider inspection, to the left behind a hedge I can see the tops of playground equipment standing wet and lifeless, almost huddled next to a rotunda that looks forlorn and forgotten with no sunshine to deflect.
Noting a café-come-gift-shop at the entrance of the building, the suggestion of a coffee seems to cheer hubby up. Entering into the warm interior, bypassing a smattering of small tables, two which are occupied, when finding no one behind the counter, we continue into the gift section to look around at what was on offer.
This particular venue was a combined Gerbera farm and an Alpaca stud property, naturally the gift shop was an outlet for alpaca wool products. Beautiful knitted garments in sizes ranging from adults to babies, all this in a kaleidoscope of colours. Alpaca wool has a softness that has to be felt to be believed, because the actual fibre is hollow it holds heat in, so is not only warmer but softer than wool, not to mention very expensive to buy.
We were deeply engrossed in admiring a particular jacket, when from behind, came, G’day can I help you with anything? that is a lovely garment, please feel free to try it or anything else on. Turning to see a broadly smiling woman of about forty years, face free of makeup, dark hair starting to come loose from a restriction falling in wisps about her face, dressed in a white tee shirt under a black oversized one, and a casual long black skirt, who we assumed was the attendant as there was no identifying emblem or name tag.
After assuring her that, as everything was so expensive, we really only came in for a coffee, lunch and the tour covering the Alpacas and the Gerberas. No worries, but between you and me if you really want Alpaca wool garments you can usually get them off eBay for a lot less, now how do you like your coffee?
One very weak cappuccino and one normal please, I hope you don’t mind dear, but our coffee is very strong, so you may be wise not to have it … No it’s ok, just make it half strength and it’ll be fine, It is a very strong blend, are you sure? I would be happy to make you a hot chocolate … Weak coffee will be fine thank you, and two of the home made pie lunches with salad. When our drinks arrived at the table, projecting a genuine concern she again fussed about my coffee, insisting if it was too strong, she would try again, taking a sip I assured her it was perfect.
Hubby being a much more social person than I started chatting with her while we waited for our meal, for almost an hour the conversation and laughter flowed, we discovered that her parents came from a country town about an hour’s drive from where mine did, and like me she visits back there as often as possible.
When we eventually finished lunch, we still had thirty minutes to go before the tour of the gerbera glass house and the Alpacas meet-and-greet, so off she went and arranged for the tour to start early so we didn’t have to wait around in the cold.
The upshot being, that I had asked hubby to take me out for a drive that freezing cold day as he was bored and feeling fed up with himself being indoors, albeit after spending an hour or so in the company of that very helpful friendly shop assistant, we both came away feeling so much lighter of spirit, even the weather didn’t seem so bad after all.