And not just any old chum. I mean, my oldest chum, going back to his  sheep ranch way west of Sydney.

First and foremost, happy birthday Boston L’il!

Second and what – rearmost? – as I write I’m about to take off on another one of Annie’s adventures. Tomorrow I leap on a plane to Seattle to meet up with an old chum of mine.

And not just any old chum. I mean, my oldest chum. ES and I met at the ripe old age of 3 – so go figure – that’s many anniversaries of our 21st birthdays past. For the past umpteen years he has lived variously in Hong Kong and Beijing, so our paths haven’t crossed quite as often as we’d like, but he let me know he was going to be in Seattle with two whole free days and would I care to blat out there to see him.

Are you kidding me? I will be the one at Sea-Tac airport with the bells on, dear!
Never one to sit back and wait for life to come to him, he has planned our visit with minute detail, but has only informed me thereof on a need-to-know-basis. 

I apparently needed to know that I would be going to a pretty swish dinner on the first night. OK, swish-ish clothes packed. I haven’t told him about the impending bit-of-an-op, as he would say, on my left foot, so I therefore haven’t told him that swish shoes right now are just not an option. To be perfectly honest swish shoes and I haven’t been an item for longer than I care to think. I always figure that my interesting bits – i.e. my brain and winning smile, lie far north of my hooves and I’ve attained the age where quite frankly I just don’t care if no one likes my orthopedic-like sandals. Personality will overcome feet any day, I say.

I also apparently needed to know that the next day I was going to be whisked away on a seaplane bound for Canada. Passport is not optional, and it gave me a small thrill to pack it, knowing this will be the first time I’ve used my new bright and shiny U.S. passport. Said seaplane will bring us back the following afternoon.

This is where I have just a teensy modicum of a case of the “oh dears.”
The last time I took so small a plane was in fact on his father’s sheep farm way, way west of Sydney back when I was about 18. Mustering sheep in a small aircraft whose sides trembled when you gave it an exploratory pat didn’t exactly incite confidence. Flying what felt like 3.75 inches above the emus’ heads was a bit of a tummy tickler, let me tell you, but I am proud to say I did not in fact part with lunch en route.

But that was (mouthful of socks) years ago, and I know that my sense of self-preservation has grown exponentially with those ensuing years. So I really hope I don’t embarrass myself and have any need of stray paper bags.

My other technical problem with a seaplane is the knowledge of my ability getting on and off watercraft over time. My sense of balance is only equaled by my now legendary sense of direction, and each time it’s been put to the test anywhere near water has resulted in my breaking down in absolute hysterical giggles coupled with a goodly amount of pant wetting, followed pretty shortly by landing with a non-Olympic pristine splash in the drink.

This will provide a Kodak moment, however, should it happen, and I’ve actually broken down and joined the 21st century and purchased a cheap and cheerful digital camera. I have fiddled and faffed with it as much as I am ever prepared to so do with anything (approximately 4.5 minutes) and have magnificently produced a photo of a picture on my office wall. I tried to experiment and took about eight shots of Sir, and all turned out to be immediately deletable. Sir tried, naturally, and took a very nice shot of me. Maybe I should send him instead.

Ah, but there’s the rub. Sir could not under any circumstances keep up with E, he being a man of infinite energy and I’m going have my work cut out for me to pace him.

I swear he will forever have his Peter Pan capacity to think he will be constantly 18. I know I am not.

His partying is the stuff of legend, having organized monster fetes around the world for approximately ever. I hate to say I’ve missed every one of them. Time and money were forever the problem, so I sadly missed the two weeks in Russia with the Bolshoi Ballet just popping in over a spot of tea. I missed the tango lessons given by the Paraguay Tango Champions.

I never got to see the ball held in his father’s shearing shed out near Broken Hill.

So off I go on my adventure, comforted in the knowledge that my liver has a direct line to 911. I must find out the emergency number in Canada, now shouldn’t I.

But it’s off for playtime with my chum. No creeks to explore, no knees to skin in the playground, no eating Ramen noodles while watching “Laugh In” and “Jeopardy.”

But I’ll guarantee you, I’ll have column material for next week.