A mate sent me these three ’50s advertisements at about the time Tony Abbott was in hot water over misogyny claims. Reckon they’re worth sharing.
THE SON SHINES AS AN EXAMPLE
My youngest son, Joel, has moved in with the old man and what a good thing it is.
There’s the company – he’s a good talker, who covers many and varied subjects – and there’s the calming influence he has on me. He doesn’t drink or smoke. Yeah I do both in abundance, but he sets a good example, something I aspire to, at least with the cigarettes.
He’s tidy and also makes his bed every day. What sort of example is that for a son to set for his father? Basically, he has created his own castle in his room.
Which is kind of why I was up early yesterday (OK, it was before seven, which has become the norm. Even today, Saturday, I was up and at it by 6.15) doing the domestics … washing, unloading the dishwasher, tweeting, checking emails, drinking copious amounts of tea, reading the papers (can we still call them papers when we read online?). The next thing I knew, I was re-arranging the furniture in my bedroom. It took just an hour. A bed here, a cupboard there, a lamp here and there, a dressing table there, a TV somewhere … and a partridge in a pear tree. The carpet got re-acquainted with the vacuum cleaner and it was job done. I even decided to put four large candles in the fireplace, which looks an absolute treat and adds to the ambience.
Reckon that by 11 o’clock I’d put the washing away, got a new bedroom, paid some bills, including the tax man (Jesus, do they ever end?), had a shower and was ready to face whatever the day offered.
First up it was a tour of my new digs … Joel and his girlfriend Erin finally surfaced – she’s on day shift and he’s doing nightshift – and I’m not sure what she made of my comment. “I just though I’d try something different cos it was time to try a new spot for the workbench (bed).” She smiled and muttered something about people doing their best work there.
Then it was all about pottering around because the skies opened up and it was cold. Still, it was good for the garden (more on that later).
My other son, Liam, called from Vanuatu with what he said was exciting news.
“I’ve got your hair,” he blurted down the phone. “I’m growing it and it has developed curls. Looks like a bloody affro. It’s as high as it is wide.”
It took a while for my laughter to subside.
“And I reckon I’m close to buying a house,” he said. “It’s an absolute cracker. It’s about 15 minutes from the centre of town (I know the neighbourhood) and has four bedrooms, a pool, tennis court and is on a four-metre cliff, which has steps cut into it down to the beach. There’s a big deck around the pool, but get this, you can sit on the deck and cast a line. You can fish from the backyard.
“The place is in three wings, with thatched-roof walkways between each wing. Oh yeah, there’s also a bungalow for the old man.”
That got the old man’s mind wandering, this time to re-arranging furniture in the bungalow. Who knows?
The rest of the day involved a return to the current reality, re-arranging the furniture in the dining room, scrubbing the bath, re-arranging the deckchairs, whatever, before braving the rain and heading off to meet friends to share a bottle of sangiovese. Bloody good it was too.
I backed it up at home with my favourite quaffer. Some Macon Villages chardonnay … don’t reckon I’ll ever get tired of its nice citrus nose or the fruity (not over the top), creamy texture. I’m down to my last two bottles. Another case is called for when my local reopens after a two-week renovation.
Sleep came easy in the new bedroom, but not before I’d cracked a toe on one of the newly placed bits. Yeah, I’ll get used to it.
IT’S EASY BEING GREEN
My garden is coming on well. It’s such a good thing to get out there and pick stuff to eat.
At the moment, despite having a yard not my bigger than a shoebox, I have heaps of flat-leaf parsley, mint, basil, chocolate mint, Vietnamese mint, tarragon, horseradish, fennel, chillis, spinach, sage, lemon thyme, regular thyme, lemon verbena, rosemary, mustard greens, cardamom (it doesn’t set pods because it’s too cold in Melbourne, but the leaves have good flavour), chives, nasturtiums, rainbow chard, a bay tree, a thing called olive herb, some eternal basil, a lemon tree, a tamarillo tree and an olive tree. And there’s a tray of seedlings with lots of dill and chervil almost ready to plant out. There’s also some hanging baskets with petunias and pansies, a window box with beautiful white/pink geraniums, a few yuccas and assorted bits and bobs. Apologies to any that I’ve forgotten.
The olive tree looks likely to set enough fruit to preserve. I did olives a couple of years ago, but only ever bought them from the market. It’s time to have another crack. Oh, and there’s a prolific orange tree in the front garden. I reckon it sets at least 500 fruit every season, which keeps my friends happy.
GOOD DAY AT THE OFFICE
I sat in the editor’s chair at The Weekly Review a couple of weeks ago while Eils, the boss, took some well-earned R&R. While she was swanning around at a wedding in Sri Lanka, we were sweating it in a different way.
But the week went well.
It was good to have her back last week … even better when she handed me a bit more responsibility. We initiated a couple of new systems while she was away and they worked.
I came home on Tuesday night and said to Joel: “You know, I can’t remember having a better day at work than the one I had today. It just went well.” I was in a very good mind space. Still am.
Thursday night after we’d put the papers to bed (early as well), Eils and I were having a quiet beer at our desks when she said: “Time to make it official. I’m giving you a title. You are now officially deputy editor. Well done.”
Like I said, I was in a good mind space, only better.
Last Sunday I rocked on down to Ormond Hall for Pinot Palooza. There were about 50 exhibitors (not sure just how many but there were heaps) from Oz and across the ditch in New Zealand.
Reckon it’s not hard to get smashed at something like that. I tasted 15 wines in the first hour and then thought whoa, slow down, or this will get ugly. Time out for a smoke because one wine was merging with the other. Yeah I could have done the spit thing, but I don’t like the idea of wasting it. I drank water in between tastings, so there.
Seems every one I tasted was a cracker. Montalto Reserve was my favourite Australian and TWR … that’s Te Whare Ra Wines … was my favourite Kiwi.
There was also a survey with prizes for the best of Oz and Kiwi. Girls were wandering around with iPads getting the punters to enter their best for the chance of a prize or two.
Bit of a problem there. It seems that TWR was not included in the survey. The girl told me to stay where I was and she headed off to find her boss to get it fixed. Fifteen minutes later she returned and said there was a technical problem and they couldn’t fix it. She took my survey in my favourite way … pen and paper …
I did feel obliged to tell the TWR woman (she was great when I tasted it) that her company had been left off the survey. She was not happy.
I managed to soak up some of the excesses with a tasty pulled-pork kebab with lots of coriander and lemongrass. It did the trick.
I guess I tasted about 30 pinots before pinot fatigue started to set in.
The only sensible thing to do was to grab a cab and head home, grab a plate with some brie, red grapes, cheddar, olives, salami, beetroot dip, some shaved fennel and fresh baguette and a bottle of pinot, which was poured into one of the splendid Riedel pinot glasses that were in the Pinot Palooza tote bag.
The pinot, by the way, was Full Fare from Swords at the market. It’s from Mornington Peninsula and it oozes spicy herby flavours and a hint of cloves on the nose and it has a nice soft finish with cherry and rhubarb. It’s 13.8 per cent.
It was a fitting way to see out Pinot Palooza Sunday.
A DROP OF THIS, A DROP OF THAT
There have been plenty of good things in glasses at my joint of late, not that it will surprise anyone who takes the time to read this blog.
Even though I’ve cut (most) beer from my agenda (it’s a weight thing), I do have a treat once a week, usually from my mate, Dave, at Swords wine shop at South Melbourne Market. Dave tweets as @vulgarbeerman and really knows his stuff. Today, for the record, he’s got Spikey Norman (70% apple and 30%pear) Cider and Bohemian Pilsner & American Pale Ale on tasting today, along with Swords new moscato.
I had a crack at Before the Dark Black IPA . It’s a limited edition from Mountain Goat. It’s a big 7.4% and is made using five different malts and late-picked hops. It’s a beauty.
I also tried some Road Trip IPA from Holgate. It’s one of the best beers I can remember. Lots of hops and pine on the nose, then there’s a lovely passionfruit taste. The label says grapefruit and marmalade too. Dunno about that, but I’d drink it every day of the week.
Also tried Maison de Parnassa 2011 cab sav. It’s 13%, a cracker that drinks easily and cracker value at $12.99. Another beauty was Swords 2011 sangiovese/merlot from Adelaide Plains. It’s chocolatey with black fruit on the nose and finishes with cherry and star anise. I’ve had three bottles and will probably grab another today.
Then there was Rocland Estate’s marsanne/viognier/roussanne blend, a Coldstream pinot, a Chateau de Citeaux 2009 Bourgogne chardonnay, a couple of bottles of Marques de Tezona 2010 tempranillo, an Underground pinot from Mornington Peninsula and even a celebratory bottle of Bolly. My mate Ben (@senorthomas on Twitter) gave me a bottle of The Kraken black spiced rum. It’s a great way to finish up night with lots of warming chocolate. I was given a second bottle as a going away gift from the crew at Crikey. Ben also snaffled a bargain, which he passed on … a case of six Seppelt Pinot Noir Chardonnay sparkling. Obviously there was lack of storage because the p[lace was unloading it for $30 a case (six). I think I saw it for $19-odd a bottle. It’s not a great drink, but it’s a long way from the worst I’ve had.
FLEXING THE MUSSELS
I think one of the great bargains at South Melbourne Market has to be mussels at five bucks a kilo. Apart from the 10 or so minutes scrubbing and debearding them, it’s all too easy. Finely sliced onion and four big cloves of garlic into some olive oil to soften, a big splash of white wine, burn off the alcohol, add a heap of halved, hand-crushed cherry tomatoes (you could use canned) some finely sliced fennel, a handful of torn basil leaves, a handful of roughly cut flat-leaf parsley, then bung in the mussels and steam them until they’re open. Chuck out any that are still closed. Viola.
A fresh, crusty baguette and that’s it. I ate the whole kilo band soaked up the sauce with the bread.
It was the beginning of a love affair. Speaking of mussels, I’m flexing my own muscles … I’m three weeks into a light morning and night weights program to get a bit of shape now that summer’s coming. I’ve dropped three kilos as well. Even had a check-up with the doc, who told me that the only disease I have is young person’s disease. Roll on the hot weather.
And speaking of love affairs, I’m hooked on a triple cream brie called Le Delice. My local wine bar, Lina’s, gets it from France, but it was with great joy that I found it in the cheese room in a deli at the South Melbourne Market. She’s a great mistress.
ME IN A NUTSHELL
- G’day, I’m Michael and I have two fantastic grown-up kids. I’m a jeans and singlet/T-shirt, cowboy boot, tattoos sort of fella, who knows a bit about this and sometimes a lot about that. I'll have a crack at most things, although having a relationship? ... well that ship has sailed. I'm past my use-by date anyway, so I'm gonna make it all about me and surviving life as I know it ... or make it.