Tag Archives: Daylesford

Guess who’s coming to dinner?

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No.  Seriously. We might have to.

—-

Relish in newness of being a newbie.  Make a good impression.  Make friends.

(These are a few things we told ourselves we would do when moving to a new hometown.  Had the capacity for, even).

So, it’s important to get off to a good start, right?  Keep the ball in play early.  Not be penalised for silly mistakes.

We probably should have Googled “dinner party etiquette” before this particular adventure started then.

(Modern Manners and Etiquette tells me of the importance of the invitation in making “a happy host and a good time”.  It’s the voice of reason really: be clear about dates, times, venues – well, you know?  Some details that might be relevant to anyone expected to attend).

Including the hosts).

It’s just, well.  Well, it’s just unfortunate that we had forgotten that we had dished out invitations to our new best friends (read: only acquaintances we have had interactions with more than twice).

Yep.  We forgot that we asked some people to dinner.

(Scene of the crime:  The night before the 80 flies incident.  The crime that I refuse to evidence further at this point).

By some stroke of extraordinary fortune, fate, and destiny that we are clearly not deserving of…. Good Lady Luck swung our way again (albeit giggling madly).  The prospective ‘friendiners’ it would seem, are more up with dinner party etiquette than we are.

They called.  They called to check.  They called to check one full day in advance of the event.  The event planned by us.  The event we forgot that we had planned.  “Are we still on for dinner at your place tomorrow night?”

That’s the question they asked.  Thank the Greek Gods they did actually ask it I tell you.  If there was not a question such as this asked – well.  I guess we could have …..

(As it was, the question prompted a flurry of activity: frozen peas, canned beetroot and 6 month old cornflakes all tossed on to the kitchen bench in an effort to see if there was a chance in high hell that the event could, in fact, take place).

Still.  To my own credit –

It should be stated here that I have very strong coping mechanisms when it comes to being on the receiving end of shock waves.  (Don’t ask me to give you tips though.  As it is, I am in denial about my over-use of denial).

Anyway, anyway.

With our tails between our legs and remorse drifting gently in the breeze, we sat quietly in the confessionals of truth.  We told our friendiners that we had forgotten about those particular invitations.

(Way to make a good impression to people who will be potentially part of one’s future social life).

It gets worse.

We also had to ‘fess up that we had already run with the bulls and created another set of invitations for the following weekend… A set of invitations apparently that were relayed to other people when we were in possession of our mental faculties.  (“It’s not you, it’s us” – really the only excuse that we could offer up).

Of course, we (the arrogant duo that this household contains) still expected that they would show up the following weekend… even though they had not been in receipt of that invitation (mark two).  Confused?  Well, so am I quite frankly.  (Always and generally speaking).

No time for self-pity, though.  Because… despite the poor form, despite the social ineptitude, despite it all – This thang is going down.  Dinner party is in-da-house.

Tonight…

(And a sprinkle of irony from the measuring cup: the only ones actually able to make this date were the originals from the forgotten invite.  Karma really is my fate).

……

Oh, and in case I forgot to mention: You were invited.

Locals night. Lots of meat.

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Someone to watch over meat.

It’s taken me months to put this post together.  Actually, I tell a lie.  It’s taken —days.  Strike that.  Hours –  across many days.  (It’s taken some time for me to come to grips with my feelings, ok!?)

But.  I had to tell someone out there in the universe about this episode in my life, at some point.  Someone… outside the rest of this town.  (Let me tell you: the townspeople know).

So.  This is a story about meat.  (Consider yourself: warned).

Just as well the tenuous grip that I had on the roof-racks that looked like a freight train headed to Vegetarianism… slipped a little while ago.

Technically: this meat came in the form of a meat tray.  Of the kind you win when you participate in a meat raffle.  (That type of event spectacular that unfolds with a high degree of frequency all around the plenty and many pubs, clubs and variety shows that have infiltrated Australian culture).  If we’re taking a good long hard look in the streaky mirror of honesty here, we (us, all of us,) would surely have to confirm that the meat tray is as much a dominant Australian sub-culture as 30/40somethings fangirling Khe Sanh (or anyone who sings it) each time it makes an appearance at a similar venue.

I digress.  (Well, that’s… new?)

The meat tray wasn’t actually won by me.  Technically.  That’s what SOMEONE would have you believe.

But.

The money that was handed over to the two nervous youngsters selling the raffle tickets did come out of my broken down purse.  The purse that was on my person, people.  (Inside my broken down, red-wine stained WSDPP handbag – cos Fair is Fair).

Sure, that money may not have been hard-earned by me.  Figuratively speaking.

Still.

What goes around comes back to my purse and therefore me, I say.  I am not keeping a ledger that clearly shows the balance of probability that the money belongs to one side of the equation or the other.

Enough of the petty penny counting though.

This meat tray was there to be won, and I was party to winning it.

I would like to insert some MeTube footage here to show you what happened when the winning took place.  This is a thing that cannot be happening though.  There is no footage.  None.  (It’s not like Mike Moore – cool kid – finds my life interesting enough to follow me.  Despite the persistent fan-mail I address to him and his greatness).

I will describe it though.  (Because I would like you to feel like you’ve had your eyes gouged out every day for the past two weeks).

Ah, feelings.  One of my top 10 favourite things that exist (existentially or otherwise).

I felt:

Overjoyed.  Surprised.  I also felt like the Gods of the land of Good Lady Luck Land had finally…. finally… taken a good long hard stare-face at me (and the other party who was party to winning) and thought:  “Let us amuse ourselves here for at least a good ten seconds”.  (I am only remotely amusing on a few pints of Bulmers.  No more, no less.  No doubt you’ll agree).

Cut to scene setting:

The Farmer’s Arms Hotel, Daylesford.  (A fabulous place with fabulous hosts and a fabulous menu).  A cluster of volleyball medals hang around the neck of a stuffed stag which hangs upon the wall above us.  We (someone who I know fairly well and I) sit at the bar chatting to new acquaintances Alison and Paul (part-time residents).  They are to our right.  To our left are new friends Marty and Geoff (we know them through Sal, who we met through The Farmers Arms gals).

Surrounded by all of us, we are led to believe, are a swarm of locals.  (And I reckon that could be correct, because some of them are starting to look pretty familiar, people.  Pret-ty fam-i-li-ar).

A number of these locals, including us, are here to be competitive about the meat raffle.  (Maybe other stuff too.  That’s not the point though.  Is it, now?)  The thing is: I was amongst those of the locals that rushed there just that little bit too quickly at 5.30pm sharp to get bar seats.  (Or the dress circle as I like to call it.  Best seats in the house to watch the raffle go down).

I can’t totally remember what the raffle was in aid of.  It’s the pints of Bulmers, you see.  It could’ve been for the benefit of Daylesford & District Municipal Band Inc.  (I hope so.  Otherwise my non-hard-earned $10 has gone to a couple of kids with a sneaky sense of humour).

Whatever, whatever.  There are 3 facts important to your vocabulary and memory with regard to what on Lady Luck Land happened for the meat tray to be won and taken back to the house of Hepburn that I live in.

1)      Add em up:  The 2 hours and $10 plus $80 odd spent at the bar on Bulmers and an astonishing looking/tasting tasting plate played a big part in earning le household a whole-lotta-meat.

Value is the watchword here.  (This value extends to the notable fact that the tickets were only $1 each.  I mean, what else can one get for 100 cents these days?  Not a lot, right?  Not a lot.  And, not even only that fact.  When anyone threw 10 bucks at the youngsters, they gave you the eleventh ticket FREE!  Caaa-ching!  And since SOMEONE’s own personal lucky number is eleven/11… well… I think the term is:  Sold! To the lady with the star on her back…and the over-eager one sitting next to her).

2)      Some things are certain in life:  We (the co-winners) were convinced we were going to be winners.  There is good, solid evidence for this.  Don’t try and tell me there wasn’t.  You weren’t there.  Were you?

This evidence would hold up in any court of legal stuff.

Example: Just one week before this particular event we were seated so close to the winner (of the meat of that week) that we could practically touch it.  Not that I did.  That would be weird.  Right?

Well.  It was right there.  And I’m from the school of thought that says: a brush with destiny is not good enough.  You’ve got to go back and get it for yourself.

So.  We did.

We had no questions in our head asking:  “Do you really think you’ll be a winner tonight?”

No.  Our inside voices were merely saying: “Can’t wait until we take that meat tray home tonight”.

High fives to Plato, dudes.  Appetite, Spirit, Reason: those guys were all on the same page in my mental faculties for once.

3)      It was time:  You know what I’m talking about here, right?

It was time to put our mark on this local, this town, these people.

(This is what winning a meat tray can do for you).

I mean:  Whatever, whatever.  I guess I could go gangbusters about the place with other making marks options:  clever street art, tireless volunteerism or soap-box protesting right outside Coles spring to mind.

But.

Those aren’t really things that capture the essence and spirit of me being able to convey my emotions and feelings amongst a large group of people who are congregated together for the mere sake of –

Well, sake of: being together (and together with their pints and hopes of winning the meat tray).

Anyway, anyway.

To cut an even longer story short:

Barrel draw, winners of 6-packs, cheap bubbles and what not.  Those things went down.  Then comes the meat.  And…wait for it…

Our names were not on those tickets. Apparently.

(What?  What??)

But.

Turns out winner winner chicken dinner was actually someone who does not own a fridge in this town (read: out-of-towner).

So.

Amidst shouts of redraw, redraw! We knew that fate, destiny and Good Lady Luck were finally, finally in-da- house.  Yeah, yeah.  Our time had come.

(The situation was perhaps most eloquently stated by friend Crispen Pants as “the Steve Bradbury of the Meat Tray World”.  Thanks to Facebook: We like that one).

A squeal from me (and I can be loud – I’ve done it before).  Yelps from the co-winner.  Cheers from the crowd.  Jealous gasps from new friends.  Arms flailing about by all of us.  All the while of course, the stag stared down at us in – well, probably in wonder.  After all, this was joy in its most overwhelmingly delighted state of affairs.

Suffice to say (and to wrap the story up): Winners are grinners.  We got lots of offers.  We could have made our life-time quota of friends right there and then (it’s something we seem to be trawling for regularly on Friday nights).

Such a shame the BBQ didn’t fit in the U-haul.

Anyway, anyway.  Instead of taking up offers and inviting all-comers back to the house of Hepburn for some ribs and snags, we settled for feeding ourselves for the week.  Lots of meat.  Local style.

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Epilogue:

To make up for the lack of hospitality we vibed the locals that night, we promptly hurled about dinner party invites over some days that followed.  This.  This you will hear about across multiple episodes.  Spoiler alert: We really need to go panning out in them there hills for some etiquette, I say.

No Rush. Really.

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Career criminals: Exhibits 'A' and 'E'

This.  This is what I did not watch last night.  Despite the fact that it had infiltrated my mind (and soul) many other Thursday nights.  (Hey, hey.  I watch The Slap on ABC net, ok?  Besides, I went into that one knowing we were intense and short-term only).

Decision makers at Channel 10 might as well have stabbed me in the heart when presenting the fact that last Thursday was the final Rush ever (ever…ever).

Catherine McClements.  Gone.  Rodger Corser, Jolene Anderson, Callum Mulvey, Samuel Johnson, Nicole da Silva and co… nary a goodbye wave between them.

(silence)

…..

I have been told that when it comes to engaging with those people and situations speaking at me from within television sets and what not, that I am “fussy”.

Well.  Get this straight.  I am.  With a capital freaking F.

Don’t get me wrong – we are not talking the type of Fussy that needs: high quality scripts, thoughtful performances, award-winning direction and flawless editing.  Sometimes.

Sometimes I need some of those things.  But when you take a good long hard look at the stellar list of my “must watches”, you will see that this….  this is not always the case, you will see.

(You don’t think I’m going to present that list right here at this very moment, do you?)

Silly!  That would detract from many other inane blog posts that I could be making on other days!  You will see (soon enough) that the tele-box (and associates) are quite often like my own form of gravity.

So.

Rush.  (One show that fulfilled many of the Fuss).

There is none.

Looks like we’re done, huh?

It will be months before I can talk about you.  Dissect our relationship (and my feelings about you) properly.  I will, however, say this:  any tv show that can bandy about the term vagina cologne” with such aplomb should be kept on and in the air until I am buried.

That is all I will say on that matter.

Looks like I’ll just have to revert to the endless list of other copsfluff shows that I fawn over.  But.  If you think I’ll revert to popular opinion such as NCIS, Law and Order (any departmental type) or other nonsense… Well.  You have got another thing coming.

No, siree.  I am way classier (and stuff) than that rubbish.

Stop pretending you don’t know what class is when it comes to cop shows.  You know what it is.  It is copsfluffclass is what it is.  The kind that seems to be dominated by the Canadians for starters: Rookie Blue! Flashpoint!  Castle! Or the other type that relies on the serious business of being serious, or seriously melodramatic: Criminal Minds! Prime Suspect! Chicago Code! (They canned that one too, but I’m not above repeats).

And with things so dire on the Aussie front, I’ll bust out the VHS for Cop Shop if I have to.

Whatever.  Whatever.  One woman’s trash is another ones treasure.

Anyways.  It’s not all terribly, bad, me-needing comfort news.

I have real life cop action happening right here in my backyard main street, I do.  Huh!  It’s tantamount to me and my dogs being central to a reality tv piece, actually.

Actually, it is.

Just two days ago, no later than 3pm, me and the pooches were stopped right dead in the middle of Main Road Hepburn by the D-squad.  (The Daylesford cop shop is right near the Neighbourhood Centre.   I’ve booked in for an excursion next week).  We were innocently on our hell-bent way to our wonderful local fruit & vege shop Tonna’s.  (Re-stock for salad days on the busy agenda).  All things innocent soon turned a frown with impending dramatics though.

It was pretty dramatic.

Seriously, if you are not sitting down, I suggest you do.  You’re going to need to be seated is all I am saying.

The drama came in 3 waves.  (As these things do).

1)      It was odd.  Perculiar, even.  I have seen the D-squad vehicle with police decals only one other time in the history of my almost three months of being here.

I let out a gasp, people.  A gasp.

The excitement of seeing them with their RBT kits and three witches hats guiding the three car strong traffic queue (that was the total traffic in the street, people) had me giddy.  So giddy that I was clutching at straws and seatbelts trying to remember if I had had a drink with alcoholic content in the past 24 hours.

I had not (is what I finally remembered when I came to my sensibilities).

2)      I realised (when my senses were in the place they were originally), that I was, in fact, already breaking the l.a.w and order.

Der-Der (Insert Law and Order scene break music here… not that I’ve watched it or anything).

Technically speaking it was not me breaking the law.  It was Evie and Augie (the dog-children).  But I (the good mother that I am) take full responsibility for them and their actions.  (Mainly).

Do you want to know what they were doing?  (Actually, what they were not doing).  No?  Well, you’re going to hear about it anyway.

They were not wearing their doggy harness-seatbelts is what they were doing (or not doing, whatever the case may be).  In fact, I’d left the house scoffing at the harnesses – Essentially thumbing at them.

Here’s what went down then:

I looked at them (the dog-children, patiently seated together in the front passenger seat).  And they, in return, looked at me.  I then (cautiously, I might add) looked at the one car in front of me and took a sly sideways glance at the police officers.  (The dogs were still looking at me).  Contemplating a quick, illegal u-turn and getaway, I instead opted for the sane option:

I proceeded to yank the (human) seatbelt over the dogs.  (Dogs still looking at me).

That’s right, I pulled the seatbelt over them.

To say that I may not have been thinking as clearly as I thought I may have been thinking is probably an understatement here.

The crooked smirks the dogs were giving me jolted me back to the situation at hand though.

I quickly pretended the aforementioned action I had taken – did not – in fact happen.  I merely (with some panic) unclasped them from the (human) seatbelt.  I then chuckled to myself about how ridiculous I was being and said to the dogs: “I’d rather go down for the seatbeltless dogs crime”.  What’s more, I pondered “This would be as bad as things could get”.

Wrong.

3)      I carefully, quietly, and (with extreme caution) approached a safe position alongside the pleasant lady police officer person.  I bit my bottom lip and kept my foot on the brake.  Forgetting other safety precautions such as putting the car into neutral or levering the handbrake on, I simply looked at her (somewhat bemused) face.  (My subconscious speaks loudly at the best of times.  In this case I think it was preparing to do a runner).

Pleasant police officer looks through the window and smiles at me – and then smiles at the dogs.

Ok, so things were looking up.

But.

With some pleasantries aside and without bothering to check my licence (or road laws concerning unharnessed dogs apparently), nice police lady sticks the tube toward me with a look on her face that suggests she wonders how many Pimms I’ve had today.

Then.

All hell breaks loose.

Augie, it appears, is rather protective of us girls.

Especially when there are blue people in powerful positions peering down at us sticking (what could be contrived as a thin, white, tubular gun) in my face.

He growled.  Loudly.  Guttural to boot.

And.  Then.  He lunged.

I tell no lie.  He lunged (wish I had them buckled in after all) toward (probably now not smiling) police officer lady and barked at her.  Loudly.  Teeth bared, I might add.

I caught him though.  In the nick of time.  Thank the gods of Good Lady Luck land.

Somehow…somehow… I managed to keep my foot on the brake, dog in my hands and a smile on my face.

“Sorry” (or, at least that is what I think I might have said, if anything did even squeak out of my dry vocal cords).

(You can pipe in if you think this was not an adequate approach).

Well.

Quite frankly, after what ensued, I will be forever cheering on the girls in blue – at least in this town anyway.  After some tentative chuckling and off-handed comments about “fierce beasts” and “not going to get my hand bitten off, am I’s?” (especially after Augie barked and lunged for the second time)… the good lady police officer merely let me have my three awkward attempts at blowing in the bag and then…

Said “Have a good day”.

And she let me go.  Didn’t even need to post bail.

Now, that – that, is impressive policing work, I say.  Catherine McClements: this lady did done you proud.

….

Not a dramatic enough ending for you?

Well, Rush exited without blazing gunfire too.