There is building work in Waverley Station. The steps up to Princes St. are now covered over, and have an escalator- very swish. It is beautifully sunny. This end of Princes St is all dug up for the tram tracks.
Dad fancies going to Jenners for a coffee. He complains that this until recently family-owned department store has now sold out, and gone down-market, yet another sign of the general decline. Thence the Abbotsford pub on Rose St. for dinner.
I can hardly remember any of the conversation. We got onto the Church- my last vicar was gay. He says his priest is gay, which surprises me, but is the way people become tolerant- get to know one of the formerly despised group. He says I am not to tell anyone, as he would not want to get S into trouble. This angers me- his bishop must know, they have known throughout his career, it is alright as long as no-one says anything. Politics depresses him with Wee Eck as the First Minister, the Tories have no chance and are too far to the left for him, and perhaps he fears us disagreeing.
This “shameful” characteristic- it is how I am, so shame does me no good, and if I honour it I may integrate it, and part of that is voicing it. So I do, and he says “Oh”.
There is a rather unpleasant smell in the Abbotsford, where we have a bottle of merlot. We have a glass before going upstairs to eat. Outside the evening sun is on the beautiful stone of St David St.
Do I actually want this job, or am I just going through the motions? Or pretending not to because I do not get jobs and do not want to be so disappointed? I do not know myself, so I do not know; I guess at my unconscious motivations, try to make them conscious, the conscious thinking bit thinks it through, and the unconscious bit can block. It would be good to live in this wonderful city with its vibrant cultural life and unique character, and be able to build a relationship before it is too late with my father and sister. Or, that is what I feel I ought to think. Or something.
I really enjoy the venison steak. It is pink as I requested, very juicy, and I expected it tougher: I read that venison must be stewed rather than roasted or grilled because it is wild. Perhaps this animal was not full grown. This is a pub, which thinks to serve its cheesecake imbued with tarragon on a slate. The tarragon is subtle and fitting. Better than in Swanston.
I found last year’s visit depressing and now I look back to it fondly. I have been reading old copies of The Spectator today, dating back to February. Conversation does not flow. Dad is no longer walking across the estate each morning to get his newspaper, but we go out across the park together in the afternoon. A man greets him: Dad explains that the man helped him up when he last fell. Dad calls me “he” and “Steven” out of carelessness. They have two bedrooms: Margaret has consented to me visiting while she is here, but insists Dad and I share a room.
That “investment” where a glib fraudster, selling moonbeams and rainbows, conned him out of half his capital has got between us. Possibly I could build this relationship. Getting ready for bed in the same room does not help.
Margaret points out the woodpecker on the birdfeeder in the garden. I go to take a photograph, but it sees me through the glass back door, and flies off before I get the door open.
We had three particularly lovely hugs. As I left he said, “I feel I know you again”.