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Showing posts from April, 2021

Late afternoon.

The sun was hard west and sinking. We - being me and ten-year-old football-in-hand daughter - strode through the back streets, deserted apart from kids on rattling skateboards. We found the town's memorial gardens a few blocks back from the main street, set behind a classical wrought iron fence with an ornate arched and marble-pillared gateway at one corner. The gateway opened on a maze of pathways and garden beds and behind all of this, in the centre of the block, sat the town's heritage football ground ringed by another fence of wooden pickets. Today's football stadium is its own glass and steel architectural phenomenon; this earlier incarnation was like a post-Victorian zoo set in a gardens, the zoo being the football arena. It even had its own name, Anzac Park. An original solus grandstand loomed majestically on the north wing of the east-west oriented oval. Next to it, within handy reach of spectators, sat the Molly Taylor Memorial Kiosk - the very name of which conjur

Top 100: No. 2.

Twentieth century's best soul singer took the tune into previously uncharted gospel heights. My first copy of the song was on an LP by baritone Peter Dawson. Franklin turbo-charged it in an unforgettable performance that makes grown men cry.

1950s motel.

Wheat silos loomed, came alongside like ocean liners docking, and then receded in the rearview mirror. Time stood still, but that’s just the impression you get when you're driving for hours, dead west, far away from deadlines and neurotic cities. At 2.30 the large town's outer reaches appeared; the usual jumble of old machinery yards, abandoned grain warehouses and fenced blocks with nothing in them but long grass and lonely old tractors. We hit the north-south main street of Warracknabeal at its southern end. The motel was at the end of a wide road perpendicular to the main street. It was a ten-unit low-rise relic of the 1950s with a gravel-paved forecourt and a porch jutting out over the gravel, supported by daring postmodern raked stems. I had collected the key - unit two - from the screen-doored office where the owner, a friendly yokel, had perceptively addressed me by my childhood nickname despite never having met me before. (My initials are an old brand of chewing gum.) I

Wheatfields of your mind.

At the end of a wide road shaded by a straggling stand of old eucalypts brooded an ancient red brick building looking in on itself; darkened windows behind massive cement-rendered arches. The gloomy old hulk stood far enough back from the road to look sad and menacing. Regarding it from a chair on the stoop outside my motel room across the road, I supposed it had once been a convent.  It had been a long drive; lunch for five sitting in pale warm sun at a table outside a takeaway place in Marong (name: ‘Marong Takeaway’; special: two toasted sandwiches and coffee, $10) that was as good an on-the-road meal as you’d find. Back on the road out of Bendigo-outer-suburb Marong through the green, pretty elbow of Newbridge, sleepy Tarnagulla and into St Arnaud’s narrow winding main street. Gold town, obviously. Narrow main streets mean no provision for the farmer's horse and drag turning around; just enough width for the gold-laden coaches to scream on through towards Melbourne's safe h

Top 100: No. 3.

Psychedelic dreamscape by French master composer Michel Legrand. Pictures hanging in a hallway and the fragment of a song/Half remembered names and faces, but to whom do they belong?

The incredible shrinking pumpkin.

Whole pumpkins were fifty cents a kilogram a couple of weeks ago, so one large orb - tangerine-flecked olive green and weighing in at a tick over five kilograms - rode home on the passenger seat, disdainful of the bag of forgettable shopping items beside it. Coming days saw roasted pumpkin with rosemary and garlic; pumpkin soup; sliced and boiled pumpkin tossed through rigatoni with pesto and roasted red capsicum; and a kind of lasagne comprising pasta sheets and thinly sliced pumpkin bound by a bechamel-like sauce containing crushed walnuts and blue cheese. Incredible.  More days passed. The pumpkin was shrinking. The risotto finished it off. I peeled, cubed and roasted the last quarter of the golden gourd with olive oil and a shower of basil, and then folded it through a three-quarters-cooked pot of risotto. The rice had been progressively introduced in the large pot to olive oil to coat, white wine to flavour, chicken stock to absorb, butter to oleaginate, salt and pepper to seaso

Top 100: No. 4.

The reason he is 'Sir' Ray Davies. Previously reviewed here .

The shopping trip.

93 this month: here she is sitting in bright slanting sunshine at the local shopping mall prior to being served tea and cakes to fortify herself for the supermarket. We had already visited the bank where she extracts sums of cash in small notes to be variously distributed to grandchildren etc. An earlier (very much earlier: 1965) image of her appeared in this blog on 12/11/06 here . *That old post omitted to mention that that small section of vehicle seen in the shot is a brand new 1965 HD Holden, cream with green vinyl interior.