Though it hardly qualifies as reckless indulgence, this morning we breakfasted out. Such sybaritism! As usual we went to Low Country Produce & Café where we cavorted with three of the regular staff, one of whom (a sister of one of the co-owners) had been absent for about the past six weeks (which I know for a fact since it has been at least that long since she referred me to her hair stylist nearby and I have been there twice already).

We listened to the youngest server tell us about her bar room shenanigans last evening in Beaufort. Reportedly things deteriorated beyond recollection when she lost a bet or some game and had to buy “shooters” for her friends. The second of the three servers – who weeks ago had underlined that she was engaged to be married to her “wife” – provided each of us a restorative “green” made-to-order drink loaded with turmeric and ginger from the juice bar which see oversees. The third woman (whose brother has an interest in the place) spent considerable time chatting with us as she has so often does. We began by discussing where we had been lately and where we were planning to go.  When we mentioned Jekyll Island the subject of the bike paths, the Historic District and the Jekyll Island Club percolated.  This naturally – just kidding! – led to a discussion of the Carlyle Hotel in New York City and an account of our first breakfast there in the staid main dining room while seated next to Robert Downey, Jr. who had the impertinence to wear a baseball cap at table.  Then ensued reminiscences of the “I want a large salad” and the “Here’s your cocktail, DOCTOR!” anecdotes along with allusions to the Café Carlyle where we were entertained by Steve Tyler and where Elaine Stritch and Bobby Short used to perform to the delight of the drunken upper East Side Manhattan neighbourhood crowd.

Refreshed by this matutinal interlude we pressed on to prosecute our anticipated chores, first of which was to renew our Guest Pass for Sea Pines Plantation (which like most residential areas on Hilton Head Island is “gated” with security guards).  This unfortunate obligation is a monthly recurrence, an annoyance I am completely at a loss to rationalize.  We would willingly pay for a “pass” or whatever they might prefer to call it for the entirety of our 5½ month stay here but instead they insist on disturbing us every 30 days to condescend to this officialdom which is oddly gratuitous. I have learned not to tangle with the subalterns of Sea Pines Community Service Associates (CSA); they give new meaning to officious. Upon approaching the drive-in window we dutifully answered the border-guard inquisition, got our Pass and moved along with a smile and a cheery wave of the hand.

We were then in the vicinity of the automatic car wash. We decided to put the car through a routine rinse.  It is a basic cleanse – not one to be extolled – but it removes the bird droppings. We afterwards detoured to our condominium to permit me to expunge the collection of pine sap from the windshield and other spots on the car. This is a casualty of parking uncovered in Sea Pines Resort.  The complaint was historically a huge aggravation.  But since the discovery of Turtle Wax “Bug & Tar Remover” with Renew Rx™ I now virtually snap my fingers at the plight! Besides I have the distinction of feeling vaguely mechanical while poring over the hood of the car armed with a lime-green spray bottle and a roll of paper towels.

The main object of our attention from the moment of awakening this morning (aside from my laundry of bed clothes and bath towels which I purposely omitted to mention earlier because of its patent inconsequence) was His Lordship’s search for a new pair of casual shoes and replacement Polo shirts.  No longer having the need for tailor-made clothing, we have happily settled upon two places only to buy clothing on Hilton Head Island – Phillips (for shoes) and Belk (for everything else). We began at Phillips.

Although they have good quality merchandise Phillips didn’t have anything today which succeeded to captivate.  Onto Belk we found a suitable pair of designer sneakers by Ralph Lauren. As this summary account belies the agitation which attended the actual event, I might usefully interject an expansion upon the subject. Generally speaking I respect the “space” of others particularly regarding matters sartorial which understandably is highly charged with personality. Having said that it appears I mistakenly characterized myself as someone having special knowledge and insight in the world of fashion. To say that I was given the decided impression of having interfered would be generous. Naturally my initial reaction to this slight was to proclaim, “Well!  I’m sorry I asked!” before stomping off. Of course this did nothing to advance the cause. Gratefully passions subsided when we turned to the topic of Polo shirts.  I acted as staff for purposes of carting alternate brands and sizes to and from the change room. In the end Chaps and Nautica satisfied the conditions precedent. Notwithstanding the agreeable conclusion of this shopping expedition (during which I miraculously managed to squeeze in my own purchase of two cotton sweaters) it was undeniable as we left the store that one of us couldn’t get out of there fast enough!  Some people are just not born to shop!

Correction.  Some people are not born to shop for anything other than food.  At our subsequent venture at Fresh Market the suppressed retail spirit blossomed! Although our project was to pick up one or two items only it wasn’t long before the cart was full. The only debate there was whether to buy anchovies in the tin or bottle.

Though I would not label it an errand, every day we try to get some exercise. This afternoon we bicycled along the beach from Tower Beach to Beach Club then returned home on the paths. The distance is only six miles but considering the lateness of the day I was just as glad to get home before the sun dipped below the canopy of the sea pines.

At home I hastened to install myself on the cushioned wicker chair on the patio with my iPad and a cup of green tea overlooking Calibogue Cay. But even Virginia Woolf did not completely distract me from the view. Perspective is noticeably strained at sea level. The flats of the beach between the dunes and the shore spread in horizontal distortion. The foreground is crowned by tawny tufts of sea grasses parched by the sun and bleached by salt water. Undulating broad weaves of sand wend across the flats, purple in the late afternoon sky. The glassy surface of the Ocean is viscous as yellow syrup blotched with mottled blue. The cobalt sky is dusted pink. The horizon is a fiery orange and through streaks of clouds seeps brilliant light.