The sunlight filtered down and hit the pavement beneath the verandahed Victorian buildings along Collins Street. The sun was warm when I walked in it, but when I was in the shadow of buildings I had to draw my coat a little tighter around me.
The plane trees had started to lose their leaves at last; and the leaves gathered themselves in little piles of crumpled gold, making you want to pick them up and make wintry window displays for the shops selling Italian shoes and expensive tea and scarves and post-modern silver jewellery and ornaments, like a stretching cat with big jade eyes and an erect tail.
Enough of the old buildings are gone to make it a shame; but enough of them remain to make this still the most beautiful street in the most beautiful city in the world, the jewel of the south, shining in the sun.
Columns and spires and curves and gadrooning and a million other forgotten architectural details wore the thin early afternoon light and I walked down the Collins Street hill past the Scots Church and past the old Georges' store and past Kay Craddock’s antiquarian bookstore and past the Athanaeum lending library ('second hand book sale now on') and across the road and around the corner into the city square which was once a stark quadrangle of stone and concrete and cold windswept steps, before it underwent a twenty million dollar award-winning renovation into a stark quadrangle of stone and concrete and cold windswept steps. Then I arrived at Brunetti’s.
In the glass, a mountain of cream sat on two inches of expressed coffee that was black in the middle and red-tan at the edges and hot. I blitzed the mountain of cream with sugar, white and deadly. Then I slipped a teaspoon into the glass and down the edge and hauled up a load of coffee-flavoured cream. I know some people don’t take sugar with their coffee, but if they want to miss out on the extra dimension of that sweet crunch of sugar against the fat and cold of the cream and the tang and warmth of the coffee, it’s their business.
I don’t know why people drink coffee all day.
You only need one.
But it has to be perfect.