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Showing posts from September, 2020

My mother’s dogma: nobody’s business but her own.

Of course, my mother knew she had an absent step-son as well as her own seven. She was a conservative Catholic stay-at-home mother with prudent values and a handle on economic management that made frugality feel like luxury. Hence the annual holidays to Inverloch or Somers, with chocolate at night and new Puffin books to read on the beach by day. The seven-children anecdote in the previous post was brought to mind by a couplet in the Weekend Australian. In what should once have been a glaring non sequitur, foreign affairs reporter Greg Sheridan wrote the following two curt but devastatingly telling sentences: Liberal Democrats deeply dislike Barrett. She is a conservative Catholic with seven children .

Seven siblings. And a half.

I was the middle (fourth; three either side) of seven until the half-brother materialised one day. My father took the phone call in another room and returned haggard to the harsh kitchen light where we sat in a ticking silence until he told us the story. He had married a few years after the war. She was on a rebound, someone in Queensland. John was born, but she went back to the Queensland home; left him and my father. Then she changed her mind and John was despatched north. Later, tragedy struck when their own two children died in an accident. Suddenly they couldn't look at John. He was adopted out and lost contact. Years passed, and then that phone call in 1978. He had traced his - my - father.

Maxed out.

They opened for the Rolling Stones, the Searchers, Slade and the Moody Blues but never had a huge hit until 1975's Slippin' Away , a mournful ballad of which radio stations often chopped off the dramatic key gear-change near the end. They were Max Merritt (who died this week) and the Meteors. Look for my favourite track, Good Feelin' , with saxophone break and outro by Bob Bertles. It's probably on YouTube but I still have my copy on cassette taped directly off 3XY in 1972 complete with back-announcement by Laurie Bennett.

Blog lost in the fog.

That last monster paragraph in yesterday's post came about because this new publishing platform or template or whatever they call it did not allow me to break it, and the text kept scrolling up and disappearing like an overwound blind. I will have to reconsider whether I continue with Blogger or find an alternative. Suggestions welcomed.

Spice and rice.

This is a work in progress, or more accurately a recipe in evolution. The result is an aromatic, flavoursome, spicy dish with a touch of sweetness to temper the heat (if you use a lot of chili). Boil your rice. My current favourite is good quality Basmati; the kind that develops long grains - up to a centimetre - that fork apart easily and don't stick together. I put the rice in the pot, tip the water in and set it to boil. Two cups water to one cup of rice? Start there and then modify. There are too many variables. I add a couple of teaspoons of turmeric for colour more than anything.  In these unprecedented times ... That was an error. The radio is on in the background and I accidentally typed what I heard. Don't copywriters use a Thesaurus any more?  Finely chop an onion and a quarter of a red capsicum and fry them gently with a scored clove of garlic in some peanut oil. Stir through a crushed cardomom pod, a shake o

What is truth?

We live in a world of truth and lies. Ask Johnny Cash. Man has been forever confronted with right and wrong, fact and fiction, truth and falsehood. Is that tiger a maneater? Try patting it. Is that plant poisonous? Eat it and find out. Can that neighbouring tribe just over the hills be trusted? They gave us food. They could be OK. True or false. The game never ends. It's an endless cycle that allowed man to evolve by trial and error: the only method that works. Animals don't search for truth. They search for food and reproduction and rest. The search for truth is evolution at work. But it tricks people. When real events seem so unlikely that they challenge credibility, the alternative starts to look better. The prime minister went for a swim at a Portsea ocean beach and completely disappeared. Where was his security? There was none. That pushed credibility to its limits. So they said the Chinese got him. In submarines. A couple of years later the US sent a metal cylinde

The dog ate my shoes.

We have trudged a muddy path through winter. 588mm of rainfall this year compared to 250-odd at this time last year; so a hill of shoes recognisable as such through their coat of mud sits at the front door like patient dogs. Waiting for someone to clean them. I do it. Not obsessive; I just like clean shoes. People ask me if I have new running shoes and I reply, no, I just cleaned them. I scrub them and then I put them in the washer, I tell them. You can't do that, they reply. Yes you can, I tell them. You just don't use hot water. If you scrub them well enough first they don't need it. OK, maybe I am obsessive. Nine sentences about cleaning shoes. I should see a psychiatrist. Lie on the couch and tell me all about your shoes, says doctor. Is a psychiatrist a doctor? I don't know. I once had a brand new pair of Onitsuka Tiger X-Caliber GTs, I tell him. And the dog got them and destroyed them on the first day. They still smelled new. Red and blue flowing stripes on pu