Friday, January 02, 2009
I raised the glass of champagne and toasted the horse as he grazed in the garden. I’ve always found Christmas to be a stressful time, but Boxing Day things start to calm down a bit. One of Julie’s neighbours asked us round for a drink, and even invited Julie’s horse.
We opened the champagne, then took down the slip-rail that divided the two properties. After a bit of cajoling, the horse wandered in and started cropping the grass. Then he wandered off again.
All the time we were having drinks and nibbles, the horse came and went. You can probably guess what happened in the end -- when we were ready to leave, I put the slip-rail back in place, and the horse decided he wanted to come back into the garden. He stood there and looked at me reproachfully across the fence.
“You had your chance,” I told him. “You should have taken the opportunity then.” He just grunted accusingly.
The end of the year is a bad time if you’re trying to lose weight, especially in Tasmania. You just get over Christmas, when the vast majority are engaged in becoming ever vaster, then you have the Summer Festival.
This started as a time-filler between the start and finish of the Sydney-Hobart yacht race, but in twenty years it’s become a fixture on the Tasmanian scene. The jewel in the crown is the Taste Of Tasmania, a week-long festival of food and drink held on the Hobart waterfront.
Friday my sister and I made our third visit of the week to the old warehouse that houses the enormous range of stalls. We started out with a glass of draught cider to wash down the eight different kinds of cheese we sampled at the Bruny Island cheese stall.
Then we moved on to the smoked lamb with rosemary and pinkeye potatoes with spiced cherries. We made our way down the line of sheds heading for the Turkish stall, but got detoured by the Huon Valley free-range roast pork.
When we finally made it to the Turkish stall, we had some lamb cutlets, then moved on to the Paris Cafe stall for coffee and Mexican beef on a buckwheat crepe with Mesclun salad.
I was starting to fill up by this stage, but managed to sample the pancakes with strawberries and ice cream. While we were buying a take-away platter of the Bruny Island cheeses, we were standing next to the stand selling Panna Cotta (the name literally means “cooked cream” I believe).
Watching the people walking away with plate after plate of that beautifully light eggless Italian custard was too much for me. We ended up sampling that as well before we walked out into the late afternoon sun.
“Do you want anything else to eat?” asked my sister.
“No,” I said firmly, “I do not.”
Alan Rider isn’t well, so the last couple of episodes of Theatre Organ Showcase on 96FM were slightly different to usual -- no Irish comedy segment for example. But we still had a lot of enjoyable music, including an agreeable swinging version of “Mack the Knife” and a Klaus Wunderlich medley.