(WARNING: no pics. Just thought you should know, as apparently all highly successful blogs should have pics. BUT there is riveting, action based video).
Speaking of meat (oops. Bec H started that conversation 3 months ago… Nonetheless, I take mine medium rare thanks), Dougal and I recently enjoyed our first date night in… in…, actually I’m not sure how long it has been, but it has certainly been a long time (I read about those couples in magazines who say ‘they make sure they have an evening to themselves once a week/once a fortnight/ one a month/ once every six months, with great astonishment. Who manages to DO that??!!).
Date night came about because my parents were visiting for a week, so it was then or never. Not quite ready to opt for ‘never’, our first night plans dissolved into exhaustion, as a day in the paddocks fixing fences in the rain led to us piking. After another day in the paddocks (at the end of which we discovered we had been fixing the wrong fence, let’s not go there right now), our window of opportunity was quickly shrinking so we somewhat reluctantly, but determinedly, set off on a dark, cold, rainy Wednesday night, for a 35min drive to Taree.
Taree is a sponge city – that is, it is a growing ‘city’ (I use the term ‘city’ loosely) absorbing the commerce of the small dying villages around it. In Taree’s case, it appears to do this without any planning or thought, despite its incredible access to the beautiful waterfront of the Manning River. So we could forget about a romantic dinner by the water. The movies were not option – no point in wasting date night if we were both asleep in front of a shocking film. Hmmmm…. what to do? What to do?
Dougal pulled the surprise out of the hat. We were going bowling.
Well, it’s been many many many many (too many many’s?) years since I have been bowling. I have a dim memory as an adolescent teenager trying desperately to focus on not throwing myself along with the ball down the bowling aisle. Well, ‘many’ years later, it seems not much has changed.
It was dark and pouring with rain as we emerged from the car and made our way through a deceptively empty carpark into the ten pin bowling club in a back street of the industrial section of Taree. Walking in, I was struck by the feeling of walking onto a 1960s film set, complete with a gaggle of extras swanning about in matching jackets and shoes, and – wait for it – bowling balls. It was 7pm, mid week in Taree, and the bowling alley was almost packed.’League night’, I soon found out, had arrived… every weekday night in Taree.
Well there you go. Whadda know? I certainly never would have guessed there was a thriving bowling metropolis hiding in the depths of Taree. There were all kinds of people: families, couples, single, old, young, casual, and serious. The serious players were those with matching shirts, balls, and bags, who didn’t smile or dance a jig after a good bowl. This was, after all, serious stuff.
Dougal and I approached the counter. I almost expected the Fonz to pop out. The friendly owner suggested we play two games, handed over two pairs of ‘lovely’ bowling shoes, and pointed us to the end alley. The league, fortunately, was taking place mostly on the other side.
It was great. We had lots of fun (click here for Dougal’s video). I was admittedly initially terrible, but I tell you what, I really hit my strides in the second game. Two wipeouts (knockouts?) in a row! Bizarelly, the next day I had a sore arm muscle, either from the bowling, or from dancing a jig at the end of our alley. Two games was perfect, as Dougal was too scared to face me after that (and he a former cricket bowler and all). It was also perfect because the bowling alley was closing and we would have been locked in. It was 8.45pm.
So we jumped back in the car and headed off to the main street to find something to eat. Now, I don’t know how often you have eaten ‘out’ in country towns, but I’m here to tell you that finding a restaurant (forget cafes, they close at 3.30pm) open at that hour is nigh on impossible. So stage two of date night took place in the auspicious high dining surrounds of… Dominos Pizza! Now, don’t scoff too early. Dominos Pizza in Taree is no ordinary takeaway pizza joint, it is in fact a ‘Gourmet Dominos Pizza Cafe’, complete with chocolate brown wallpaper, chocolate brown bench and chairs, and – yes, you guessed it – chocolate brown salted mousse for dessert. Yes, we had a three course meal at our trendy bench, starting with garlic bread, followed by two pizzas, then the mousse. With a varied clientele to accompany it, it was a surprisingly satisfying and tasty dinner.
It was certainly a step up from our last dinner out with the kids, where we had 40mins before the primary school concert so went to the only place available… the Nabiac Servo. Then, my question “is it real chicken?” was met with bemusement.
Bring on Date Night 2015.