Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.

14.9.06

The old curio shop.



Tea for three: William enjoys afternoon tea in the garden. (You can tell we're in the mountains - the teapot is wearing a woolly jumper.)

Way up there in the mountains is a sleepy little village called Wandiligong, but which is known locally as Wandi. Just five kilometres out of Bright, it's so close you can walk there. So I did, pushing William in his three-wheeler. T. drove, being just beyond walking the ten kilometre return trip at this stage.

There's not a lot to look at in Wandi if you ignore the breathtaking scenery, the heritage buildings, the river running through the valley, the glorious stands of trees, the spring wildflowers nodding away in the sun and the lilac mountains to either side.

There's not a lot to do either, apart from the annual Nut Festival. But there's a tiny shop that used to be something else in the 1800s, maybe a miner's cottage, maybe a post office, which sells interesting things that are not antiques and not curios but something in between. Things that you pick up and say, 'My grandmother had one of these in the 1960s and it was ancient then.' There's a Jaguar Mark II 3.8 grille in the front garden, sitting there like a gnome in the sun. No-one steals it.

The shop also does teas and you sit outside, in the garden, and the lady of the house brings everything out on a large anodised aluminium tray, circa 1955, stepping onto a timber verandah and down three steps to the lawn, where the tables are set. There are three tables. Off to the side there are trees with old wagon wheels leaning up against them, as if out of breath. Beside an overgrown shed is an ancient rocking horse which still rocks. I know because I put William on it and rocked him. Down the end of the yard, an old grey Labrador wakes up, stretches, wonders whether this is heaven or not and can't decide and goes to sleep again.

The scones were light and fluffy and had just the right amount of glaze on top, meaning hardly any. The jam was plum, home-made right there. Plum jam is often overlooked for the more glamorous berries but a good plum jam is superior to almost anything else. Not as sweet as the obvious berries, it has that magnificent earthy taste that complements a well-baked scone and thick cream so well. William enjoyed his scone and had great fun plastering jam and cream everywhere.

The tea was marvellous - genuine leaf tea. The place looks as if it has never seen teabags, let alone served them. Wandi only got electricity in 1955.

7 comments:

Dr. WhoAmI said...

.

We work like a horse.
We eat like a pig.
We like to play chicken.
You can get someone's goat.
We can be as slippery as a snake.
We get dog tired.
We can be as quiet as a mouse.
We can be as quick as a cat.
Some of us are as strong as an ox.
People try to buffalo others.
Some are as ugly as a toad.
We can be as gentle as a lamb.
Sometimes we are as happy as a lark.
Some of us drink like a fish.
We can be as proud as a peacock.
A few of us are as hairy as a gorilla.
You can get a frog in your throat.
We can be a lone wolf.
But I'm having a whale of a time!

You have a riveting web log
and undoubtedly must have
atypical & quiescent potential
for your intended readership.
May I suggest that you do
everything in your power to
honor your encyclopedic/omniscient
Designer/Architect as well
as your revering audience.
As soon as we acknowledge
this Supreme Designer/Architect,
Who has erected the beauteous
fabric of the universe, our minds
must necessarily be ravished with
wonder at this infinate goodness,
wisdom and power.

Please remember to never
restrict anyone's opportunities
for ascertaining uninterrupted
existence for their quintessence.

There is a time for everything,
a season for every activity
under heaven. A time to be
born and a time to die. A
time to plant and a time to
harvest. A time to kill and
a time to heal. A time to
tear down and a time to
rebuild. A time to cry and
a time to laugh. A time to
grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones
and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a
time to turn away. A time to
search and a time to lose.
A time to keep and a time to
throw away. A time to tear
and a time to mend. A time
to be quiet and a time to
speak up. A time to love
and a time to hate. A time
for war and a time for peace.

Best wishes for continued ascendancy,
Dr. Whoami

P.S. One thing of which I am sure is
that the common culture of my youth
is gone for good. It was hollowed out
by the rise of ethnic "identity politics,"
then splintered beyond hope of repair
by the emergence of the web-based
technologies that so maximized and
facilitated cultural choice as to make
the broad-based offerings of the old
mass media look bland and unchallenging
by comparison."

kitchen hand said...

I write a post about being in the mountains and get spam wishing me 'continued ascendancy'. Isn't the internet great?

Janis Gore said...

That's a joyous photo.

Wild plum jelly is my favorite. My mother made it from plums gathered from the lot catty-cornered to the one I grew up on.

I can't find any trees here.

kitchen hand said...

We had four plum trees in the last house, Janis. I used to box up the plums and set them out front with a sign saying Free Plums. I hope they were made into jam.

Tiberia said...

I'd like a woolly jumper for my tea pot, too!

kitchen ha d said...

Tiberia, they are very pretty but I find they sometimes stew the tea because they keep it too hot.

neil said...

That first one's not spam - it's ham. I love all the old towns that time forgot, looks like William does too.