"It's just mam and her only daughter today", mam declared as she wrapped her arm around my shoulders. We were on the main street of Bowral, walking behind a crowd of teenage girls, who were loudly discussing how bored they were and that there was absolutely nothing to do in Bowral. Ever.
I squeezed mam's hand tight as we continued walking. It's always harder to commit to a time and day, than it is to take that time and day and actually do as you intended. I was truly glad that our plan had 'come to pass'. Mam loves the boutique shops as it reminds her of 'ome; England the Brave.
"You don't always have to buy anything, do you Helen? You can still get ideas for many things, just by looking around".
We saw thin, white crockery, vintage soup ladels, basketware, wrought iron, tinware, candles and candle wreaths, baking pans, cookie cutters, French wine glasses, chunky jewellery, silk scarves, foxy handbags and lots of bling. Antiques, old school benches, British porcelain, photos of HRH the Queen in gilt frames, photos of happy couples snogging and hugging in some dreamy European village, bunches of large flowers with long thick stems....
We lunched at a European bakery, then later, had half strength flat whites, apple and rhubarb cake and honey cake - both with clotted cream - served on huge, white plates at the most unusual coffee shop - "The Elephant Boy Cafe" - http://www.elephantboycafes.com/. Dim lighting, cushioned seats, dark wooden bookcases laden with hard covered, sepia paged books ("... and I've nowhere near read them all..." ) added the proprietor as she delivered our afternoon treats to the table.
We discussed family - both here, in England and South Africa and marvelled at its dynamics.
On the way home, we stopped in Berrima and bought locally produced fragrances...
"Would it be ok if we looked for a shop that sells pies before we go, as your dad and I can have them for dinner tonight with the leftover vegetables I cooked last night..."
On the counter of the old General Store, and while the Storekeeper was packing the pies (chicken and asparagus / chicken and mushroom), we spied old fashioned bread and butter pudding, cut equally into large, single chunks sitting temptingly under an ample glass dome.
"You say these bread and butter pudding slices are single serves? That one piece could feed a family of five, I'm sure. Who makes them?"
"I do", said the Storekeeper, smiling.
Mam said nothing, until we were outside, sitting on the courtesy iron and wood tables and chairs, in front of the store and scoffing Heaven ice creams...
"If that man really can cook like that, he'll be really useful at my house."