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


It's Been a Long, Long Time.

That noise you hear is man fighting nature and man losing. They’re out there early in the morning and late into the evening cutting, hacking, chopping, slashing, line-trimming, power-edging and leaf-blowing. I cut the lawn twice in a week just to restore the horizon. Fourteen years of drought, and then enough rain to kick-start things into life that haven’t grown for over a decade. I've seen weed and grass species that haven't been sighted in years, their evil little seeds lurking patiently and potently under the ground. The rain has put the 'nature' back into 'strip'. Some are three and four feet high. Take a walk down the street and you'll see gardens disappearing under greenery, even those geometric ‘drought-tolerant gardens’ made of concrete squares and cordyline. They might be good in a drought but you still have to weed them, especially if the geometry has river pebbles in it. And then where do you put the weeds? I have two compost bins and both are full and the garden beds are covered in grass clippings. What do I do with another barrow load, and several cubic metres of pelargonium gone mad; and the jasmine that came back, Triffid-like, and the dead-headed first blush of roses? This is not a large garden, so have a thought for anyone who has bought their first house in the last dry decade, and had yet to discover what happens when it rains.


The title of this post is what sparked the guitarist conversation. One night a few weeks ago, I had just served the main course (salmon poached in orange and lime juice with caper-studded mash and snowpeas from the garden; Galli Estate viognier) and the usual light inoffensive dinner music was playing away - I usually turn it off because I don't like wallpaper music - when It's Been a Long Long Time floated through the Dali speakers. It wasn't Bing Crosby's voice so much as the Les Paul guitar that stopped forks mid-lift. The track was from an old ten-record collection of Crosby's in which he verbally introduces every track. His voice sang even when it spoke. The track crackled and popped, but it sounded better than any digital recording I've ever heard. Vinyl has 'air'. "The fish all right?" I asked the table. The fish was fine.

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