Saturday, February 23, 2008

saturday night in

It feels really weird. For the first time in 3 1/2 years Eliza and I both have a saturday night off. Really off. No wedding or 30th birthday or anything like that. The saturday night where you can't be arsed drinking and watch sopranos DVDs with a bowl of cereal on the couch while not wearing any trousers. Its ok, feels a bit like a tuesday in fact.

Friday, February 22, 2008


Its the middle of bloody summer and its bloody freezing. There's a cold southerly, it pissed rain yesterday ruining my BBQ plans and I've got the heater on. I don't understand it.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Went and had a few beers with my pal obie last night. I felt celebratory, after a 3 hour meeting with the Sharpshooter (my accountant). Sharpy, wizard that he is, made about 30 large disappear into tax limbo making me a very happy boy indeed. So when obie called me for an ale, i was well and truly up for it. I've been dodging beers with civilian mates for about a year now. The pub got a bit heavy going for a while and I felt like an arsehole unloading on mates who drank there. You don't pay seven bucks a pint to have a fat publican pining about how little he enjoys life.

So beers with obie it was. We went to the Gamekeepers Secret, a fairly run of the mill theme pub run by a guy we know. I had a couple of Leffe Blondes and then switched to rum, and obie had draught in large quantities. I went to school with obie but we weren't that close back then, him being a year older than me and a fairly wholesome sort of bloke, while i was younger and forging a career as a teenage Shane McGowan and general malcontent. Anyway he's a great guy. He works as a social worker at the local hospital and its a gig I couldn't do for love nor money. Most days he helps people come to terms with their own impending mortality and their families cope with the grief as well as trauma stuff and general welfare issues that face the very ill. He's a big bluff hearty lad but he executes his job with a great deal of care and empathy. He lost his own brother to cancer a couple of years ago and went through a really tough time, so he can relate to what his clients go through as well as anyone.

He's not made of stone though and after a hard day at the hospital sometimes he has to go and put in some quality time in a quiet pub to get his head straight. Good luck to him I reckon, if it wasn't for people like obie the world could be a pretty cold show for people going through a bad patch. The downside is the man can drink like a machine and its midday and I'm sucking on an icy pole trying to kill a thumping headache and watching the day slip away.....

Friday, February 15, 2008

Dulce Domum

Its nice to be home. I really like where we live. It's tiny by Australian standards, a little two bedroom miner's cottage on top of a hill with a nice long backyard full of shady trees and big paved area with a pergola type thing over it. We don't have rumpus rooms or spare bedrooms and sometimes we're a bit stuck for space especially when it comes to storing my guitars, drumkits and such as well as Lize's collection of hatboxes, jewellery boxes, candlelabras and hatstands but everywhere has it's drawbacks. The no garage thing is a bit of a pain too but again nothings perfect.

What I do love is the age of the place. I like how generations have lived and loved and died in this place. Babies would have been born here in the old days too I suppose. It doesn't feel creepy like some old houses, it's warm and cosy and cheery. On hot days because its on top of the hill you always get a nice breeze through. The polished boards feel clean and honest under your feet and the pale green walls are a nice change from spec home magnolia. We were lucky to get the place really, it was literally weeks later that property prices virtually doubled and being a couple of hospitality industry scumbags home ownership would have been out of the question.

Herself has furnished it pretty nicely as well I reckon. When I first moved in with Lize my sum total of household goods were a mattress, a Guns n Roses poster and some chipped plates and mugs. She picks cool stuff and has framed prints, postcards and mate's artwork everywhere and the furniture is kind of groovy without being worth a fortune. The best thing we have it a big dining table. Its not particularly expensive or beautiful or anything but it gives the place a good social focus. We eat at it all the time, we drink with our mates around it and have cuppas and chats around it. It served as the boardroom table when we had the bar and it sees a fair bit of Uno and scrabble action too. It always has a dismantled copy of the Age at one end and is accumulating a good collection of drink rings and scratches as a table should. I remember giving Lize a hard time about buying such a big table at the time which makes me feel a complete dickhead to this day.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Pub Review 1 - The Caledonian Port Fairy

A very fine establishment this. Long, whitewashed and low slung, it has a very English look about it with sturdy benches and tables out the front and little dormer windows poking out of the roof. Locally known as the Stump it has been licensed since 1844 making it one of the oldest pubs in Victoria. The inside has a bar, dining room and a rear spare room. A good range of beers on tap, the Guinness was excellent, the Draught was clean amd crisp and a lot of lads were on the Coopers pale ale which is always a good sign. The day barmen are older blokes, good for a chat and some irreverent remarks regarding some of the clientele. Refreshingly honest in their approach, their review of a new tap beer as 'fucking horrible' really struck a chord with me.

I've eaten there a few times and the pub food is good honest tucker. The Stump Rump is a terrifyingly large steak (900g) but their dishes like lamb shanks, liver and bacon and fresh cooked flake are where they really excel. The place packs out over the folk festival and the summer peak season but at other times it is an excellent place to while away an afternoon with a few frothy ales and later have a bite to eat.

High Tide & Greener Grass

I know it's a shocking old cliche but the sea is a very soothing piece of work. Hypnotic and powerful it gives you perspective, glittering and calm it gives you peace and and in my case the urge to paint. Which I must say I ignored, but there was a moment most mornings during our walks when the urge to daub was quite strong. Weird because I haven't weilded a paintbrush in anger since I was 18 and haven't given a lot of thought to it since. But back to the sea - damn I wish I lived near it. The air is so fresh, the scenery constantly changes and your appetite for food, drink and life in general is whetted. Nothing is finer than fish and chips on a cooling beach at sunset, a hot shower after a swim or a cooling beer washing the salt from your lips. Magic stuff. It makes your life in your inland city seem dull and grey and just plain dry.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


I'm a free man. The pub sale went through at long last on friday, not a moment too soon for me. It dragged on so long we actually ended up going on holiday prior to the sale finalising as we had accomodation booked and our window of opportunity before Lize starts her new gig was rapidly running out.

So we beetled off for a fortnight to beautiful Port Fairy. A lovely old whaling town on the south west coast, it combines the charm of an irish fishing village with the sparkling calm blue waters and white sands of a tropical paradise. So it was beach during the day; pints, oysters and steak at the pub at night and mojitos and tomfoolery later on in the spa back at the little chalet type place we stayed in. I swam for the first time since the early nineties, went for big walks and had a stress free existance for the first time in three and a half years (especially after that fuck off big cheque hit my account on Friday).

Went to a ripper little restaurant called Portafino down there. It gets great reviews all the time in the foodie bits of the paper so to celebrate the big sale Lize and I thought we'd take a look to see what all the fuss was about. It was fantastic. I'll preface this 'review' by saying my experience of dining out normally involves something with chips at the pub or if I'm feeling adventurous Mexican or Thai. This place was in a different league with nothing parmagiana on the menu at all. For starters I had the duck liver parfait and Lize had a goats cheese with something moroccan, washed down with frosty boags beer. Next up mains, with me opting for a filet of beef from a shorthorn angus that had lived (and presumably died) a couple of miles down the road. It was served on the most intricate scalloped potato i've ever seen and the jus that it came with just begged to be licked off the plate. (i refrained, but it was a close thing) Herself had duck three ways which seemed interesting with the sausage, confit and breast grouped around a pilaf. We had a nice bottle of coonawarra red and at this point we were almost drunk on the food as much as the booze. We finished with a shared summer pud and had armagnac and negronis. It was a bloody good repast and while a touch pricey (about $250 including tip) well worth it if you're celebrating something significant. We popped in to a little bar next door for a couple of quiet gins and whiskies afterwards and ended up at the little chalet waltzing to Elliot Smith. A perfect night.