Heathcote Café

Groups of families, friends, couples, talk and eat.  It’s a busy weekday lunchtime and this place could only be in rural Victoria: the style is approximately hipster, the service is genial, the tables worn, the coffee excellent and the menu streamed straight from the 1970s.   

I’m gazing at the astonishingly good wine list, hanging just above the pie warmer for customers’ convenience, and wondering who does order a classic Goldfields red with their lunchtime rissoles before hitting the highway again. 

An elderly couple are finishing their meal, these two are older than anyone else by a couple of decades at least. The woman heaves up and wobbles on her walking frame.  Her husband holds the door open, lays a steadying hand on her shoulder.  As she steps cautiously through the door, from behind he places both hands at her waist and they move in this tandem way into the hot sunlight past the verandah.

Tiny gestures of affection that are mirrored across the room.  Flickering like a breeze thru autumn leaves, at each table, people lay down a fork or cup, touch their own partner on a shoulder or hand without breaking conversational stride, resume their meal.

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