Sunday, 20 December 2009

Cultural Coffs

Okay, maybe time for a teeny weeny blog. For all the time that S and I have been together (and even before then) I always wanted to stop to look at the Big Banana and S always told me we would on 'the way back'. You see his parent's used to live in Qld and so we'd travel up from Sydney in the holidays. The only flaw in the plan of seeing it on the way back is that there wasn't a turning lane and we always raced on past. I swear the car used to accelerate as we got closer.


And so my desire to go just got more and more intense, particularly coupled with my obsession with kitschy big things. I love them all and the cheesier the better. The Big Banana became my holy grail (having already seen the Big pineapple, earthworm, crayfish, merino and cow). So when S told me we were going to stay in Urunga on the way to QLD I knew I would have to go to the Big B. And we did. And it was spectacularly crappy. The inside of the banana smelt well funny, but I think that was because a man walked through before us and farted. The tours didn't seem to be running and the shop was a compacter's nightmare. The staff unfriendly, though the choc coated banana was alarmingly freudian, but rather tasty. As S complained about the sheer crapulence of the place I told him if he'd taken me years ago I could've got it out of my system.

And of course where do you after such a successful touristy outing? Why the Clog Barn of course. Jack and I wanted to go there for the model trains (photos to follow) and S just wanted to run screaming from the place. Not sure why, maybe he doesn't like clogs.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Merry Christmas!


I have been terribly remiss in not posting regularly (especially for anyone just busting to know about the reunion and my gangrene - I am so old school I'm practically from the dark ages). It's been a tad busy at our place and we are currently heading north for Christmas and (gulp) about to go offline. I promise there will be lots of posts soon -just as soon as we escape the land of the Johburgers and return to civilisation. Bring on the safari suits and the non ironic prawn cocktails.
Have a very festive season.
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Thursday, 3 December 2009

O christmas tree!

Yesterday Jack and I put up the tree. Unlike the lovely little Christmas DVDs that Jack has been watching this didn't involve us going to a Christmas tree farm and selecting a real, live tree, it meant me going to the spare (aka junk) room and unearthing the fabulous fake tree that I had stored neatly (ie. hurled on top of a big pile of crap). We dusted it off, removed the tinsel, sneezed a bit then started to decorate it.
Jack got very excited and amidst all the "wow!'' and "pretty cool!" started singing his very own version of jingle bells which was so cute I filmed it. Luckily I also captured his tinsel hurling technique (I think he gets that from me).
Last year he was more interested in deconstructing the tree, but this year the decorating was a big deal. Garn gave me all her ornaments so it was lovely to think of her as Jack and I hung pigs and ducks and crocheted snowflakes on the tree.
Jack is asking lots of questions about Christmas and mentions the 'present guy' (aka Santa) all the time. He and S even wrote a letter to Santa asking for 1) a firetruck and 2) a tractor and I think he'd also like a name change. When we ask him what his name is he now says," Jack Thomas Edward Duck Gordon...which for the uninitiated are names of tank engines. He must be very advanced. I didn't try to change my name until I was at least 7 (to Diane!).
The video is below or on youtube. Enjoy!

video

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

a new do

The next morning I was getting my haircut and in the nostalgic spirit of the weekend (no, I was not getting a blue rinse or a chignon) I decided to visit my Mum's hairdresser. Why should that be nostalgic? He's been cutting my Mum's hair since I was in high school and he actually used to cut mine. Yes, he was partially to blame for those big boofy hairdos but you know it was the eighties and I was a willing participant. It's only now that I look at the photos and go Ack! See below.
Mum and Dad chauffeured me into to Surry Hills where I had a thoroughly relaxing time chatting to Peter about vampires, posh beckham, gossip girls, salt and pepper tofu and about how completely stupid women's shoes have become. In no time I was transformed with a sleek new do (not a *sniff* 'country' cut as my mother would say) and ready to go for a walk around surry hills (my destination the pocket sized source of delectable baked goods the bourke street bakery).
I asked Peter (or Gareth if he has gone ahead with his threatened name change) if I could take a pic of him for my blog. He demurred, saying"no, no, you don't want to take a photo of me...oh alright" and suddenly there he was oh so casually leaning against the door frame. I took a photo and once he approved it I headed out into the sunshine in search of sourdough and possibly a gumby or two. (I found the bakery but not the gumbys, only some very fetching moomintrolls and some rather ferocious dinosaurs).

blast from the past

I know that you have all been eagerly awaiting news on the reunion. I got a little distracted there for awhile but I'm back now, gangrene free and ready to blog.
I flew up on the Friday before my reunion with my bag crammed full of suitable clothes and goodies from our local licorice factory. I was looking forward to offloading the 3kg box of licorice.
On Friday night Mum and Dad and I were going to an Italian restaurant called Pendolino in the Strand Arcade. My parents went there on a whim recently and rediscovered a family friend called Rafaello. We first met him years ago (when I was in high school) when he was working at Il Perugino and he spilt a coffee on me. Then when he left to start his own restaurant in Paddington, my mother bumped into him when his car broke down and she just happened to be walking past. When I was in Italy (such a long time ago) my parents left a message to call that restaurant (Il Tratt RaRo) one night as they'd be there for dinner. They noticed that there was a flurry of excitement after the phone rang and all the staff were taking it in turns to talk on the phone. It was only when Andre the chef started gesticulating in a way that conveyed a big curly head of hair that my parents twigged it was me on the phone and that they were footing the bill. I do vaguely remember the call. I was just around the corner from the Piazza San Marco in Venice. I'd just received a parcel from my parents (pre email and blogs) including a very funny leunig cartoon about Helen Demidenko.
I was supposed to visit Rafaello's mum in Italy but overcome with shyness never made the call. Consequently I spent my whole trip carrying around the handtowels that Garn had crocheted for me to give to Senora Pignetti and brought them home with me. I did end of visiting the lovely Luisa in Milan and had a lovely time. Here brother owns a deli in Mosman. Is there a recurring theme here?
After my parents serendipitous rediscovery of Rafaello, we all decide that the next time I visited that we should go to Pendolino. Of course to catch up with Rafaello, but I was also excited about the food (I'd heard good things) and the olive oil.
I was not disappointed in either. After giving Rafaello a surprise we were seated and given a little lamp to help us in the ambient low lighting. Three kinds of olive oil and bread were placed on the table. Before the reunion I had been on the south beach diet (yes I know that that is crazy) and I hadn't had any bread or pasta (or sugar or alcohol) for weeks. The bread was delicious (though I was afraid I might puff up like a balloon as soon as those carbs hit my system) and the olive oils divine. I particularly liked the olive oil with blood orange and we decided to purchase a bottle to take home with us. After much agonising we made our selection, Rafaello chose our wine and we were enjoying a beautiful meal. Our favorite dish (which we all ordered) was the handmade duck ravioli with proscuitto and orange.
In spite of all my hard work at the gym and dieting I was very keen to have dessert. Surely with only a day to go I'd be okay. Several desserts were taking my fancy and Dad was doing his usual 'I just want ice cream' tantrum (so unbecoming). Rafaello decreed that he should have the semifreddo (which is after all an ice cream of sorts) and agreed that of he didn't like it that he would bring hm gelati. Mum and I ended of sharing a chocolatre fondant (which always reminds me of Gary on Masterchef saying to crushed contestants,"Is it a chocolate fondant...no...Is it a yummy chocolate pudding...yes" thanks Gary) and Buffalo Milk Ricotta Fritters with sour cherry ice cream. They were fantastically scrumptious. The chocolate fondant was of course wonderful but the fritters were unusual and moreish, particularly with that ice cream. And the semifreddo? I only got to try a little bit because in spite of the tantrums my father somehow managed to eat it and his gelato. After a lively conversation with some reluctant Queenslanders at the next table and acquiring our oil we went home feeling very pleased with ourselves.
btw according to my parent's wacky scales I actually lost weight after our meal at Pendolino.
Could the desserts have had negative calories? They certainly felt like they were doing me good.