My greatest delight on Thursday mornings was to go and see what Dr Michael had for sale. I’d drive along Main Western Road till I came to the gate announcing Dr Michael’s homestead, Inside the gate, the road ran through an avocado orchard, the trees growing amidst an assortment of detritus washed up on Tamborine, including a large boat mould on the left, followed by an ancient caravan, various motorbikes, shipping containers, sheds and in-between a great profusion of bamboo, black sapote, mulberries, lemons which at varios times of the year provided fresh produce and a variety to nibble on inside.
For the homestead had large verandahs and a kitchen which provided endless cups of coffee, cakes, Asian food all served at a table in the corner of the verandah, where you were seated when you arrived surrounded by books, filing cabinets CD’s, music players, TV’s assorted cups and saucers and plates and glasses, vases and interesting paraphernalia.
The conversation never got straight to the point but circumlocated the weather, the last rain the state of the crops, the latest visitor, the return of travelling mountain residents and anything else of interest and all in a mixture of German, English, Japanese, Filipino and assorted other langusges, depending on who was present.
In the background a pianist played classical music, while the kitchen resounded with the chopping and hammering of food preparation. Dr Michael sat on his throne at the head of the table, phones ringing, people arriving. He went out to attend to business. You made another cuppa or fossicked among the table items for ginger tea while you waited, having not yet got in a single word.
Outside was a wooden bridge across a pond with large goldfish or koi which you could feed in an idle moment. Further down in the yard were ducks and chooks and geese. In pens at the back was an emu, acquired who knows where and sheep and a camel, a virtual zoo of live animals.
There were crops which Dr Michael had planted, that he thought might be useful like Palonia trees which are a hardwood, quick growing used in making musical instruments. There were varieties of bamboo like Buddha’s belly and black bamboo.
Here lived a man with eclectic interests, from years spent in Asia and New Guinea, who had washed up on Tamborine like many travellers from tropical climes, like myself, who came to stay.
Dr Michael I related to as Oscar from `Oscar and Lucinda’. I am still constantly reminded of the man I called friend, as I see the many treasures I bought from him which adorn my home. He’s a character I’d like to write about in fiction one day.