A Cup of Tea in Seabird






Sometimes its a cup of tea that makes a difference.

It was a long hot Thursday where we moved fast and got thru 10 service jobs. I finished in Two Rocks around 3.30 and then hopped in the car and drove up to Seabird to meet a client – I had already quoted and won the job – but this was about making sure the site was good to go and there wouldn’t be any surprises come Tuesday morning.

Seabird is a sleepy little coastal village about 12 kms north of Guilderton and pretty much off the map – unless you happen to know its there. The last time I was there I was 17. I had been surfing in Lancelin, was driving home and the alternator had died on the Galant on the way back. We lobbed into Seabird tavern about 7pm just as the headlights were fading, met some generous pot smoking locals who gave us a free bed for the night and all was good.

I met ‘Mick’ on site and walked thru the job with him. It was a house that literally backed onto the sand dunes and had direct beach access – my kinda place… And after we’d finished walking thru the necessary details of the job he asked ‘do you want a cup of tea?’

At that moment the tone changed and the conversation shifted – as it does when you have a ‘cup of tea’. We sat in his lounge with 180 degree views of the ocean as he boiled the kettle. We spoke of his life as a farmer, an accountant, a husband of a woman with cancer and of his grandkids… and so it went on. We spoke of my time as a teacher, as a pastor (‘not a happy clappy are you?’) and now a retic bloke. We spoke of how we had both given up alcohol and laughed at the fact we were now ‘tea drinkers’.

We spoke of how life is good – if you can see it – but also fragile – and that the important thing was to find the joy where you can – in both the good and the bad.

It wasn’t earth shattering at all, but it was good to chat beyond the job – to sit still at the end of a long day and connect with someone who could have been just another invoice number.

As I drove the 50ks back down Indian Ocean drive in the old cruiser with the afternoon sun beating at my side and the air con cranking I was conscious that it was a good time – the stuff that makes running a business worthwhile and a joy.

The difference?… A cup of tea.

We head up there on Tuesday to lay some turf and to see what else might transpire in the little town of Seabird. I dropped a few cards in at the deli with a notice letting people know the ‘retic blokes’ would be in town, so we might be busy…

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