Wednesday, January 05, 2005

fine food and errant cats

Monday we visited the Taste Of Tasmania for its final day. The Hobart Summer Festival goes on but this is the end of the food and wine segment.

It was a wonderful afternoon – the sky was that incredible blue it gets in the middle of an Australian summer, and the river looked really spectacular.

We didn't make it around all 70 of the stalls at the Taste, but we gave it a good try. Julie would probably have liked to visit them all if they'd stayed open long enough.

I had a couple plates of food and tried one or two sorts of wine. I don't think drinking in the middle of the afternoon really agrees with me – it seems to have a depressive rather than a stimulating effect on me. That isn't so bad if the evening is drawing to a close, but if it's 3 o'clock in the afternoon that's probably not so good.

The organizers report that about 200,000 people partook this year. Not a record – which I think stands at about 210,000 – but quite a respectable total for a city the size of Hobart.

Of course public holidays don't always bring out the best in people. We were crossing Salamanca Place on foot and a car suddenly decided to reverse and began rolling back towards us. One wheel passed over Julie's foot – fortunately she'd pulled her foot out of it in time.

"What are you doing?" she shouted. "You almost ran over my foot! Can't you see us? Am I invisible?" The driver just sat there and stared at her like we were speaking some foreign language. She made absolutely no response.

That's the scariest piece of inner-city driving I've seen for a long time. She really seemed to be off on some other planet.

The vet came round on Tuesday afternoon and took another look at Julie's horse.

He gave it the all-clear, meaning at last Julie could let him out of the lower paddock in which he's been confined since injuring his leg.

She sent me a text message from her mobile phone afterwards: What a happy horse – pounding around in the paddock kicking & snorting!

Certainly we were glad to see it raining this afternoon. The warm dry weather after Christmas had begun to make itself felt, with lawns browning off and cracks opening up in paddocks.

It's not much use letting the goose out to graze in my backyard at the moment, since there's practically nothing on the lawn. Maybe next week will be different.

Julie came home from shopping and unpacked some stuff she'd bought at the discount table in Priceline. "Got you a present," she said, and handed me a bottle of extra-strength vitamins for men.


I think.

Wednesday Julie was out to lunch at Jan's in the mountains. While she was there she did some maintenance on her computer, removing spyware and adware galore.

I was at home alone and had let the cats out while I prepared lunch. Just as I was about to sit down to eat I heard a muffled "thump!" as though a parcel had fallen off a shelf.

Looked out the window and couldn't see anything. One of the cats, Paco, was sitting out on the lawn. Where was Jezebel? Oh-oh.

I hurried outside, past the goose and round to the window. "Jezebel? Jezebel?" Any other cat would have meowed but the Rex breed are different. I fossicked around in the bushes under the window.

Then I heard a faint squeak and looked down between two bushes. There, sitting in a small clear space, was a surprised-looking black cat.

"You tried to jump up to the window and missed, didn't you?" I said. It would have taken her a moment to work out how to get out of there unaided, so I leaned down and scooped her up.

I sat her on my knee and put a blanket over her while I ate my sandwich. From my St John's First Aid course in school I remembered you were supposed to keep the victim warm if they might be in shock. They also said to give them hot sweet tea but I wasn't sure she'd go for that.

She seemed fine later, so I guess she didn't hurt herself.

Here in Australia it's midsummer and the middle of television's Silly Season. This means we get the return of programmes that didn't rate sufficiently well during the year (Stargate, Dead Zone, Tru Calling, The Amazing Race etc) but we also got some new programmes of varying quality.

  • The Airships from the makers of Battleships and Ocean Liners here's a fascinating 3-part doco that traces the history of the giants of the sky. Did you know that out of the 97 passengers on The Hindenburg, 62 actually survived?
  • Joe Millionaire the makers of the second series have wisely carried over the Australian butler Paul Hogan [no relation] for this bizarre dating programme. One of the Swedish girls has so many bad habits she's virtually a compendium of the Seven Deadly Sins.
  • Joan of Arcadia has its points, but obviously the offbeat concept made the network nervous so it's airing during the summer months. The makers obviously hedged their bets by combining three plot threads – a cop show (Joan's father is a police chief), a family drama (Joan's brother is in a wheelchair) and a fantasy (Joan is sent on missions, often puzzling ones, by God himself).
  • Rosemary & Thyme is a delightful surprise, a comedy drama with a dash of Agatha Christie, featuring Pam Ferris and Felicity Kendal as crime-solving horticulturists. Great fun for those who enjoy Midsomer Murders
  • Mary Tyler Moore Reunion looks back 25 years at one of the most loved sitcoms. I remember watching it every week and this brought back so many great memories.

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