Now that I've got your attention, perhaps I should mention that the town of
is named after an Aboriginal word for "wild dog." I'm calling this Warragul/Wild Dog Lasagne because it features sumptuous local produce: gorgeous Gypsy Pig free range organic pork fennel sausages and smoky/spicy Warragul pancetta. If you're not lucky enough to have these at hand, then by all means use quality substitutes (or plain minced pork), but please do not be tempted to use surprise bangers from the supermarket or I'll be forced to come around to your place and cook it from scratch properly. Garfield
Monday, May 28, 2012
What Happens Next
You can’t beat country hospitality. If this were a
train, they probably wouldn’t bother to make the announcement, just leave the passengers twitching, wondering why the bloody train has stopped this time. Melbourne
But being a country train, they pay you the courtesy of announcing, Ladies and gentlemen, we apologise for the delay. This is due to the train having a little bit of interaction with a cow – even though it’s unnecessary to announce it, that fact having first been discerned by all from the Mooooooooo! (presumably the bovine equivalent of, Oh fuck! A train!) then again by the cow body parts flying past the window.
Given the improbability of flying pigs, I would have thought flying cows impossible. There you go. Live and learn.
Thursday, May 24, 2012
The Beginning of The End of The Middle
I am going to my mother's for her birthday. I pack a suitcase, go out for a little while to meet my mother at the doctor’s for her appointment. When I get back, he is playing loud music and has left the toilet seat up.
He must think I had gone for good.
The music can be heard throughout the house. Thirteen years, I didn’t know he liked his music loud.
He is celebrating.
And still (or should it be just the same) I am dishing up (it always irks me that he says serving) our cottage pie for dinner, and the moment I see that one corner houses a particularly golden, crusty pocket of potato, the dish is turned, a precise excision made: carefully I lift this little piece of daily art and cradle it, lay it gently, in all its glory and in all its loveliness, onto his plate.
Not for the first time I consider, it isn’t what he does for me that I’ll miss: it’s what I do for him.
Modern psychology apparently calls this co-dependence. My grandparents called it love.
Because they knew nothing of modern psychology, they clocked up forty-nine years until death they did part. Love is a dying art. Love is a dying heart.
In thirteen years, I wonder if my other half and I managed to actually get together in the first place.
Lesbia Harford said it: Blessed then is the moment of love’s parting, when those two strong souls we sought to slay, recover.
I’m not feeling too blessed.
I’m trying to put together a pudding for after dinner when the not-other-half arrives home, comes into the kitchen, tosses a bag on the bench where I am working, says, there’s a muffin there if you want it, departs, goes upstairs, returns, tosses a cardboard box on the bench, says, that’s for you as well, then goes upstairs again. I glance at the bag, wonder what has brought this on, wonder if it is a muffin he has bought for himself then found he didn’t want, and go back to working on the pudding. My electric beater has died so I am attempting to cream butter and sugar with a stick blender. This is stupid and I wouldn’t be doing it except my lovely greengrocer has made me a gift of some passionfruit, which I will not waste, am therefore attempting to make my favourite citrus and passionfruit pudding in difficult circumstances. I can’t concentrate because the pain from my back is screaming at me.
Monday, May 21, 2012
This is a fun variation on pasta with garlic bread. With bread and pasta combined, it won't win any fans among the carbohydrate police, but hell, if you eat like this you'll be twice their size so won't have any problem bouncing their miserable bony arses clean off your front verandah. Now, if you're a really clever pumpkin and follow the method in the same order as below, you can get away with using one frying pan for this – provided it can be used on the stove top and oven.
Saturday, May 19, 2012
It’s a great life if you don’t weaken: another saying of my grandmother’s. Sarcastic bugger, my nanny.
I do the nastiest, most vicious, bitchiest thing I can do to my former agent: I send her an email thanking her for her time and effort.
Maybe she wasn’t a very good agent. But she was all I had.
I’m due for another pap smear. That must make me forty-two. It took a health scare at thirty-eight for me to make a start on a twenty-four year old dream. Now my relationship appears to be floating face down in a still pool. Be careful what you wish for. I wanted a writing life without distraction. It looks like I’m about to get it, and get nowhere, at the same time.
My mother has come to visit. She doesn’t want to lead me off the path of non-smoking righteousness. So when she goes outside to have a cigarette, she makes a point of walking a distance away from the window and disappearing further down the yard behind a tree so I don’t see her.
She goes to this effort with every cigarette. And then she comes inside and leaves her cigarettes on my desk.
I first become aware of this when the eyes in the back of my head nearly topple me over backwards in their eagerness to draw my attention to the packet of cigarettes on my desk. The eyes in the front of my head want to see what the eyes in the back of my head are looking at so they spin my head around one eighty degrees to have a looksee. The boogie-man’s-coming-to-get-you photo on the packet features a brain having a stroke, with blood bursting out of the grey matter colourfully. My mind processes this as, Ooh goody – cigarettes and a yummy jam doughnut!
Who do they think they’re kidding, hey?
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
If anyone suggests to you that it's okay to use cheap wine in cooking, shoot them. They're a waste of the earth's oxygen and there isn't a snowflake's chance in hell that any jury acquainted with ragu made from good wine will convict you.
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
My agent wants to drop me.
I had sent her an email about a publisher I had stumbled across. Perhaps, I ventured, if the publisher currently considering my book declined it, then we could try here? She looked up their website, sent me a very enthusiastic message enquiring as to whether I would like to submit to them directly, sans agent; she would withdraw it from the publisher she sent it to, and that way, I would get to keep all royalties without paying an agent’s fee.
At first I am puzzled, and I blush when I read her email. Have I given some offence by making this suggestion, I wonder? Is this her way of telling me that if I think I know better than her, I can bugger off? I consider my reply carefully. I tell her I am more than content to wait to hear from the house my novel is currently with, and that she has already earned her commission. It takes her a long time to reply, and she sounds disappointed. Well, okay, she says, Let me know if you change your mind.
And then I know.
Monday, May 7, 2012
Thursday, May 3, 2012
The Change Of Pace Is Over – Back To The Story Proper
I swore I wouldn't do it to myself again.
I had learned my lesson. This time I'd rip out a formulaic romance novel with guaranteed to please ingredients – little more than a collection of scenes, screw the writing, I’m not that sort of a girl would be good enough for me this time, I would be that sort of a girl – give them what they want Fifty/fifty five thousand words quickly written, that’ll do. This is, after all, only a potboiler, something to fund my writing proper.
Then it happens. It’s not my fault. On page three, he sticks his head up – an African taxi driver with personality to burn. The taxi was just meant to get her to an appointment, that was all, but there he is, and I can’t ignore him. Adisa is his name, and he’s a heart without a home. It’s up to me to find him one, because he’s special and if I don’t find him a home he’ll wander around in the ether, bewildered and hurt. Two days for three pages, all because of Adisa, the African taxi driver who is depending on me for life.
It’s started again. House: self-cleaning. Washing machine: great thuddy nuisance, oppressor in disguise. Food [fu:d] a necessary evil; dinner [din-er] an interruption to work; [pahrt-ner] animate heat other side of bed – mount when work goes well; [ironing board] wonderful extension to desk – why brain not notice this before? [ironing basket] nightmare place; [anti-foaming agent] a food group found in coffee.