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


Ten Days That Shook the World.

Yes, it's been busy. A lot has happened. Here are a few things.

1. The heatwave ended. Fortuitously, the school had ordained the Tuesday following Labour Day as an in-service day, making a four-day weekend corresponding with the last four days of the heat. Sometimes you can be lucky. We had four days at the beach.

2. On the last of the four days, a cargo ship sliding down the bay in full view of hundreds on the shore issued a large cloud of black smoke which detached itself and drifted off towards Queenscliff. Black smoke? Was this some kind of a joke? It was the day before they ...

3. ... elected a new Pope, who told the world he would just go with the guys on the bus. I'm trying to find a Latin translation, but the internet translation sites do it literally and make no sense.

4. Alexandra fell off the coffee table, and hit her head on the sofa on the way down, and cried uncharacteristically for the next thirty minutes, holding her neck. You can guess the next bit: an ambulance ride. Tracy went with Alexandra; I drove the car with the boys to the hospital. An x-ray revealed no spinal damage.

5. While waiting, I walked around the new children's hospital with the boys, who marvelled at the three-storey aquarium complete with sharks and a blue-lipped exotic fish that looked more like a cartoon fish than a cartoon fish.

6. We were still waiting for tests and it was getting late, so I took the boys home on the train, leaving the car for Tracy; she called much later to tell me the doctors had decided to keep Alexandra overnight for observation. Tracy would stay.

7. I woke in the middle of the night wondering if I had left the car in a clearway.

8. We went straight back to the hospital after breakfast next morning; no clearway, car still there. Fed the meter. Alexandra being discharged just as we walked in; she'll wear a neck brace for ten days. Precautionary. Dropped the boys at school at ten o'clock.

9. Three days later, Alexandra did a somersault, a perfect forward roll on the carpet complete with neck brace, before we could stop her.

10. I took the boys out to watch the Roulettes prepare for take-off from Essendon Airport on Sunday afternoon, presumably to do a fly-past over the Melbourne Formula One Grand Prix. Alex is still confined to gentle activities despite the attempted gymnastics. She watched several episodes of Tales From the Riverbank, a 1950s black and white series with gritty London cinematography and superb voicing by veteran Welsh actor Johnny Morris, who did all characters including G.P., Hammy the hamster, Roderick and the ducks. Magnificent production which makes modern children's programmes look like they were produced in fast motion. No wonder there is attention deficit disorder. A Lotus won the Grand Prix. The weekend ended with Peter O'Callaghan's Elvis hour on Magic, including more tracks from the Million Dollar Quartet, some of the best harmonies and guitar picking you'll ever hear.

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