Monday, 28 July 2014

Would You Like Fries With That???

They say the terror suspects arrested at Heathrow airport a few years ago were caught with substances that couldn’t be identified by British authorities.  When I returned to London after a few days in Edinburgh, I knew what they were talking about: those substances were probably fresh fruit and vegetables.

I know it’s a cliché, but I reckon the food in Scotland is so unhealthy that you can actually feel your arteries harden as you eat.  After all, this is the country that invented deep-fried pizza. (Oh and the Mars Bar. Yes a deep fried Mars Bar a day, helps you work, rest, play and die of a massive coronary.)

There’s a very good reason you don’t see many elderly Scottish people. I was only there for a couple of days, but I packed on two kilograms. My tum became really big from all the deep fried food and late night drinking.

But … not only is everything covered in batter, it’s also covered in brown sauce.  Have you heard of this stuff? I mean, if tomato sauce is made from tomatoes and apple sauce is made from apples … what the hell is brown sauce made from?  It’s a case for Law and Order Edinburgh.

On the way back to London, I had spinach pasta on the plane, that probably came out of a can and went straight into the microwave, but it tasted like Heston Blumenthal had prepared it on Brad Pitt’s chest!!

I do have some standards when it comes to food, though I’m hardly a gourmet.

It’s not often that I get to go to really fancy restaurants. Havng been a starving trolly dolly all of my adult life, my idea of fine dining is when the all-you-can-eat buffet comes with real, not plastic, cutlery.

Most of the time I tend to chow down in dives where they don't have chef's hats on the door, but cockroaches on the floor.

That said occasionally someone will splash out for a fancy restaurant for a date My brother once said to me "I've learned very early on that showing a girl you're a big spender by letting her upsize her fries and drink  is not going to lead to a McPash. She'll probably think that the boys are better at Hungry Jacks."  Rubbish!!

So, with this in mind, a good friend took me out for some posh nosh recently. And the place we went to was fancy. Very fancy.  Fancy as.  Could not have been fancier if.  It was another of those restaurants where they have different waiters for everything.  They had a drinks waiter for the drinks.  A food waiter for the food.  A wine waiter for the wine.  And they were all wearing better than any of my friends wore to their own weddings.  By the way ... I didn't have the heart to ask what the head waiter did.

And they all had such attitude.  Put it this way. The bread may have been complimentary, but the waiting staff certainly weren't.  Our food waiter must have been so concerned about medical prostate problems, because he had his head right up his bum!

It was also one of those places where they put the napkin on your lap. Now this may not seem like a big deal to most folk, but I have to admit, I really don't like it - well unless the waiter is hot ... really hot ... in which case I suddenly become really clumsy and drop my napkin - a lot!

But most of the time, it makes me feel like a baby.  I half expect them to follow up by placing a bib around my neck and mashing up my peas, so they can play "Here comes the choo choo train".  And if anything gets on my face, they'l spit on a hanky and wipe it off.

It was one of those restaurants where there seemed to be too much cutlery as well.  There were more forks than in a Kevin Rudd speech, more knives than there are in Tony Abbott's back and more spoons than there are on the floor of the late Amy Winehouse's flat.

Before I go on, I should point out that the food was delicious. Although I was initially suspicious about the rose petals in the entree. That's right ... rose petals!!!

But flowers aside, I knew it was truly fancy when I saw the size of the meals. They were tiny. You know, the ones that are so small, you think that they've mistakenly only put some garnish on your plate.  And then you realise this is your meal.

To add insult to injury, they not only gave me an amount of food I would normally refer to as 'leftovers', but they served it on a plate so big, I started to suspect a sporting stadium somewhere was missing its roof.

Then they have the nerve to ask you if you'd like any sides.  "Well actually, mate, I'd like to order a pizza, but I guess some sides will have to do. Don't bother putting them in a bowl, you can just serve  them n the side of the plate. There's plenty of room."

Anyway, needless to say, my date left a tip. Only a small tip, but he put it in the middle of a really large plate. So I wonder if they've noticed yet.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Child's Play And Me

Hello you wonderful lot. As you may or may not know, I'm on holidays at the moment, so there is little blogging going on. 

I've just repeated something some of you may not have read.

Enjoy.  Until next week or so. xxx

Giants, Wizards and Dwarfs was the game to play.

My friend, Rae and I were recently left in charge of about 20 children – 7 to 10 year olds – at the local after school care centre while their parents were meeting with the staff or doing parenty things.  We mustered our troops in the main room and explained the game.  It’s sort of like a large-scale version of Rock, Paper and Scissors, and involves some intellectual decision-making.  But the real purpose of the game is to make a lot of noise and run around chasing people until nobody knows which side you are on or who won.

Organizing a roomful of wired up schoolies into three teams, explaining the rudiments of the game, achieving consensus on group identity – all this is no mean accomplishment, but we did it and were ready to go.

The excitement of the chase had reached a critical mass.  I yelled out: “You have to decide NOW which you are – a giant, a wizard or a dwarf!”

While the groups huddled in frenzied, whispered consultation, a tug came at my jeans.  A small girl stands there looking up and asks in a small, concerned voice, “Where do the mermaids stand?”

Where do the mermaids stand?????????

A long pause.  A very long pause.  “Where do the mermaids stand?” says I.
“Yes.  I’m a mermaid.”
“There are no such things as mermaids.”
“Yes there are.  I am one.”

She did not relate to being a giant, a wizard or a dwarf.  She knew her category.  Mermaid.  She was not about to leave the game and go over and stand against the wall where the losers would stand.  She intended to participate, wherever mermaids fit into the scheme of things.  Without giving up dignity or identity.  She took it for granted that there was a place for Mermaids and that I would know just where.

Well, where do the mermaids stand?  All the ‘mermaids’ – all those who are different, who do not fit into the norm and who do not accept the available boxes and pigeonholes?

What was my answer at the moment?  Every once in a while I say the right thing.  “The mermaid stands right here by the Queen of the Sea!” says I.

So we stood there hand in hand reviewing the troops of Wizards and Giants and Dwarfs as they ran around in total madness.

It’s not true, by the way, that mermaids don’t exist.

I know at least one personally.  I held her hand.

Recently someone at work handed me a list of questions and asked me to answer them ("just for fun") ........

The house I grew up in ..... was very happy.  We talked a lot, laughed a lot, argued a lot, made up a lot, cried, loved sports, loved mum's cooking, loved each other, in fact – a lot.  We all had shoes and food, and I seemed to have had a never ending supply of peanut butter and salt and vinegar crisps!  I remember I wanted to watch TV one day (after a heavy argument), and dad said I could, but for every half hour I watched, I had to do half an hour of housework. Pffffft … went to bed!!

The house I live in now ..... can be a bit lonely. It’s the same house in Chelsea and I share it with my dog. She's a westie and her name is Imelda because she loves shoes. I’m sure if you dug up the garden, you’d find enough shoes to supply a 3rd world country. It's the family home, but unfortunately, the family has long gone. People are always coming and going, friends stay overnight, the drunk neighbour next door keeps me entertained, and it's very, very close to the beach. Next ...

I drive ..... a BMW 318i. An oldie but a goodie. It's red, a convertible, and loves petrol. Hey Top Gear, your ‘super cars’ are nothing .. my car can go from empty to $100 in 60 seconds. Ha, beat that!

When I was a child, I wanted to be ..... an adult. I always felt like I was too young to be an adult and too old to be a child. I was the youngest in the family and always seemed to be 'in love' with my brother's friends. In order it was Brian across the road, my English teacher, David’s best friend Paul, the entire Hawthorn football club. They loved it, however, if I had said to one "meet me under the clocks at Flinders Street train station and bring engagement ring, wedding ring and teething ring" they would still be running.

The moment that changed me forever ..... was punching a boy named Bruce Sieres in the face after tennis training. I broke his nose! He took my place as tennis captain, because he was a boy!!! I have no proof of this, but that's what I think. It was a brutal arena the school sports field.  In all seriousness, it was the time when two police officers knocked on our door to tell my brother and myself our parents had been involved in a serious accident.

My greatest inspiration ..... I learnt to be quite thorough from my dad. And to do things properly. My older brother taught me not to stand for crap from the other kids at school and I learnt to be a nice person from my mum.  Also morning time is an inspiration. If I wake early and I'm not hungover, I like to take the dog for a long walk on the beach, and just think.

The greatest advice mum ever gave me was .....  "Go, you might meet someone"

My style icon is ..... I don't really have one, although Leah, a 3 year old neighbour, always looks fantastic! Princess Kate always looks spot on also.

If I could change one thing about myself ..... it would be my innate idleness. Deep down inside, I'm a lazy git!

At night I dream of ..... men! But I help myself sleep by dreaming about nice things like clouds, puppies ears and leaves floating down a stream. That sort of thing.

When I look in the mirror, I see ..... someone that looks a bit older than she actually is, and bad, bad hair.  Someone once told me I had sad eyes. I agree, but happiness is slowly returning to them.

My favourite item of clothing is ..... I spend a fair amount on clothing, and have some nice pieces, but it's the good old jeans and t-shirt that are my favourites. I usually manage to make the dressy pieces, look like something out of an opportunity shop.

I wish I'd never worn ..... a plum pudding costume.  I was about 5 and I wanted to be in the nativity play. All the main parts were taken, and I cried. To shut me up, the teacher said I could be a plum pudding in the manger. What do you mean? Of course there were plum puddings in the manger.
It was Christmas. Sheeeeesh!!

You wouldn't know it, but I'm good at ..... darts.  Good enough to have a game with the boys down at the pub, and beat them. I can play reasonably consistently after 3 wines.  That's the peak of dart skill.  After that, it falls off very quickly.

You may not know it, but I'm not good at ..... reading or following instructions.  If I see a hole, I'll stick something in it. If that doesn't work, it will just sit around gathering dust, waiting for the next sucker to have a go.

It's not fashionable, but I like ..... music on vinyl. I have my late father's turntable, and I love the sound it gives.

All my money goes on ..... Food, shoes and handbags.  Not necessarily in that order. I'm a woman, enough said.

If I have time to myself ..... I've trained myself to be very good at doing nothing, thanks to the amount of hotel rooms I've stayed in. I read a fair amount and listen to music. Oh, and I write in my journal or blog.

My most valuable possession is ..... a letter my mother wrote me a few days before she passed away.  That's all I'll say about that!

My favourite building is ..... Flinders Street station in Melbourne or the Gherkin in London.  When I go to Flinders Street, I feel I should be dressed in period costume. If it wasn’t for the trains, it feels like I’ve stepped back in time.  Completely the opposite with the Gherkin.

Movie heaven ..... If it's raining on a lazy Sunday, I like to curl up with some popcorn, chocolates or ice cream and watch the Harry Potter movies.  Pure escapism. No thinking required.

A book that changed me ..... Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon - best book I've ever read. About a young boy taken to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books by his father and asked to adopt a book. He does and turns out he is reading about himself. Brilliant book.

My favourite work of art ..... MAN!

The last album I bought/downloaded was ..... Hurry Up Before I Die by Evora. Beautiful, soulful sounds.  Type this into youtube

My real life villain is ..... Ronald McDonald!!!  Or the Colonel.

I can't walk past ..... Smiggle, the stationary shop. It's like a massive colour explosion. I love it and always go inside to have a look around. Usually purchase something, so I can walk through the shopping centre carrying one of their bags.

The best invention ever ..... the humble potato peeler.  It cannot be improved in any way.  It is a perfectly designed solution to a common, but debilitating problem.

My greatest regret is ..... not working harder at school.  I sometimes think I could have done something more serious like medicine or law.

In 10 years time, I hope to be ..... still alive, if that is a realistic possibility. Hopefully still working. Perhaps even married to a decent human being this time, and even have a child.  Although at the moment I feel that the next time (if there is a next time) I walk down an aisle, it’ll be in a supermarket.

My life in 7 words ..... random, unplanned, peaceful, and surprisingly very rewarding.

Thursday, 10 July 2014


Hello people. Just repeating this for a friend. New blog entry in a couple of days.

I was talking football (Aussie Rules) with my neighbor this morning. Yes, the start of the season is almost on us.
To some people, me included, September is a happy time. Spring has sprung, the flowers are blooming, the weather is improving and so are people’s moods.  Well, everyone’s that is, except his. He hates September.
He said that he’s had 35 Septembers in his life and has hated every single one, without exception.  In fact, he wasn’t sure if ‘hate’ was a strong enough word.
You know how some hotels don’t have a thirteenth floor due to superstition? (Although who are they kidding?  Floor fourteen knows what it really is.)  If he designed calendars, there would be no September.
Clearly this would piss off a lot of Virgos – their birthdays of course, but it would certainly make his life more pleasant.  If he could, he would go to bed on the 31st August and not wake up until the 1st of October.  

So why does he want to go all Rip Van Winkle in September, I hear you ask?  What could possibly make him hate a single month so much? Yeah – you guessed it – footy finals!
We’re not implying that he doesn’t love his football team. He does. They are, in fact, his greatest passion.  Most people’s blood have red and white blood cells. His have blue as well.
So folk, there lies the rub. In all his 35 years he has never seen the doggies play in a grand final, let alone win one.  For some clubs, September is a time of hopes and dreams (go Hawthorn), for the Bulldogs, it’s a time for disappointments and planning end-of-season trips.  He says, he doesn’t know what he did in a previous life to deserve this, but he assumes he must have driven a truck full of black cats under a row of ladders and then crashed it into a mirror factory.
For those of you who don’t follow football, and I am reliably informed that there are one or two of you, the Western Bulldogs only ever played in two Grand Finals:  they won one in 1954 (years before he was born) and lost one (years before he was born).
Just pause and think about that for a moment.  The last time his club won a flag was in 1954. 1954.  To put this into perspective, if he had been around then and missed the game, he wouldn’t have been able to catch the replay because AUSTRALIA DIDN’T HAVE TELEVISION!!!
When his team won the flag, the average price of a car was $1,200.  These days, that’s about what it costs to fill up a car’s tank.
He says, he’s heard some people talk about the pain of seeing their team lose on Grand Final Day, he would just like to see his team on the ground on Grand Final Day.

Oh well, Eamon …  there’s always this September, or next, or ………