On Thursday evening, I pushed myself out of the flat to go to the Big Island for a "leaving do". I am glad I went. A whole bunch of us turned up -- people who really like each other yet only rarely see one another these days. OK... OK... stick with known facts: I rarely see them. Other fact: a lot of my social outings seem to be focused, more often than not, on departure of one sort or another. So it goes. Gentle reader: move on, move on; nothing to see here.
Anyway, the "do" was held at The Helena May. The first time I went there was way long ago. I was invited to afternoon tea by a member; in era when it was still a seriously women-only place and for a man to step across the threshold felt like an eerily transgressive act. Standards were standards: what was on view for the errant male was only the ground-floor dining area; a huge room with a 40 foot? ceiling and long, lazy ceiling fans. There was English tea with (tinned) salmon + cucumber sandwiches. The soft clinking of bone China, starched tableclothes and waitresses to match, the atmosphere, the ambiance of the room, were all so unexpected; it was as if one had sauntered into a bygone colonial era. Perhaps this was where the women did come and go, talking (softly) of Michelangelo. The place seemed to be frozen in time; delightful, charming... and all right if you were all white. Thankfully, in the ensuing years, much has changed. The local nouveaux riches, the post-colonial era, and anti-sexual discrimination legislation all playing their parts. The food has improved mightily -- I can recommend the Louisiana smoked salmon with trimmings. And, wonder of wonders in Hong Kong, the building was declared an historical monument some years ago. Ladies and gentlemen, I present The Helena May.
All that said, let me finish with this:
To Linda S, who is off to join her partner in Kuranda, Queensland, Oz, may all go well at the Village Herb Farm.
To Sue K (and others) who organised and made the evening possible: Thanks, One and All!