Saturday Night at The Duke

Close-up photograph of fabric pattern on flannelette shirtIt’s 8am, a crisp winter morning. 11C outside. I drag a battered flannelette shirt over my t-shirt — a shirt that’s now 12 years old, I remember.

I bought it at Gowings when I first came to Sydney, and it’s still wearable, more or less. Where will I buy everyday clothes now that Gowings is gone?

The shirt smells of smoke. Why is that?

It’s not the acrid stench of cigarette smoke, but the dusty odour of burnt wood. Eucalyptus. A bushfire? Ah, no, I remember now. Sitting by the open fireplace at The Duke Hotel… red wine… the memories flood back as the coffee kicks in…

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