Friday, April 10, 2009

Visit From Guru Bob

Smaller Son has been giddily looking forward to this day for weeks. He met Guru Bob last year, when the Smaller Son was only five... and I shall carry the memory of my very little boy staring up, up, upwards in amazement for the remainder of my life, I think. He was a very, very quiet boy for the time he spent in Bob's company in Melbourne, but since then, he's never ceased talking about "Big Bob".

For those of you who don't quite follow... Guru Bob is about 6' 8", I think. He's a large chap, and proportioned after your typical piece of kitchen whitegoods. Smaller Son was awestruck, and the prospect of a visit from Big Bob has had him charging about the place, telling everybody how great it's going to be, for ages now.

As ever, Bob's an obliging chap. He turned up with his lovely pardner in crime, the delightful Miz E, at roundabout four or so this afternooon. (This despite the fact that apparently the address for Chateau Flinthart simply doesn't register on the GPS gear... confound it! How do you suppose that happened?) Despite the three kids promptly going berserk, Bob and Miz E were friendly, gracious, charming, entertaining, tolerant... and equipped with quite a nice pinot noir from the East Tamar region.

Of course, I wasn't entirely unprepared. We greeted them with a nice bubbly, and then served a big platter of antipasto with crunchy croutons. The centrepiece was a big mould of minced smoked salmon, under a thick layer composed of blended sour cream, cream cheese, chopped chives and wasabi. The whole lot was drizzled with a puree of fresh cherry tomatoes and roast capsicum.

We worked our way through that lot, aided by a couple of irreplaceable bottles of Dalrymple chardonnay, and then as the kids hit the bath, I put on some won-ton soup. (Natalie's request.) After that, we opened Bob's pinot noir, and I brought out the chocolate mousse. (Yes -- with the brandy-soaked sponge-cake base... though the kids' came without the brandy.)

Then we all trundled up the ricketty ladder to the Screen Room, and slobbed out on the mattresses with more wine, and blankets and pillows and sleeping bags and popcorn and kids everywhere. Took in a couple episodes of Pinky and the Brain (can you belive Bob had never seen 'em?) and then we watched The Fall again... brilliant film.

The Mau-Mau passed out cold about halfway into the film, so Natalie took her off to bed. The boys made the distance, though. Mind you, Miz E didn't... Bob had to wake her up come the end of the film. We tucked them away into the guest bedding, and then I set about the serious business of arranging for Easter goodies to be hidden.

We're having our egg-hunting day tomorrow, to involve Bob and Miz E. There's chocolate eggs hidden all over the place for the munchkins, and once they've done that, we get the traditional Evil Easter Bunny Ultimatum.

Well... okay. Traditional around here. I don't know how it works at your place, but 'round here, the Easter Bunny turns up every year and STEALS the Easter baskets that Natalie and I put together for the kids. (Bastard that he is.) Fortunately, he usually leaves clues for the kids to follow. One year it was footprints. Another time it was a sequence of rhymed puzzle-notes, each leading to the next location. This year, apparently it's going to be photographs -- obscure photographs of different bits of the house and property. Each photograph depicts a location which holds another photo-clue, until the final clue is reached and the Easter baskets are recovered.

That's the theory, anyhow. It's 0123 in the morning. I'm tired, slightly drunk, heartburned -- but absolutely delighted to see Bob again, and looking forward to the morning's shenanigans.


  1. What a great tradition.

    Sounds like Guru Bob and Miz E are enjoying the fine hospitality of Chateau Flinthart and visa versa.

    Happy Easter to all at Chateau Flinthart.

  2. And to you, sir. I'm up and about again -- it's 0720 -- keeping a lid on eager kids while the elderly lie abed upstairs...

  3. How fun!!! My parents only stopped doing the Easter Basket hunt a couple of years ago, lol...though my mom still makes up an Easter Basket for my brother and me! Cuz we're spoiled brats. :D

  4. And Howdy to Guru Bob and the missus!

  5. Easter is really for the kiddies, isn't it? I remember doing the egg hunt in the front garden with my brother and sister. The anticipation, the fun, the result! And painting hard boiled eggs. Ah, those were the days!

  6. Fuck you and your bloody pinot noir. A real man drinks cheap zinfandel.

    And, after drinking enough of it, we cry. And then fall asleep.

  7. Paul, I have to quote a real authority here. This is Dr Johnson, as in the dictionary: "Boys may drink claret, while men drink port, but he who aspires to be a hero must drink brandy". It's an energy density issue!

  8. Fuck your brandy, Damian... do you not recall the dreaded Polish White Spirits? I'll see your energy density, and raise you a bottle of vile plum alcohol, ice-cold, with a bottle of tabasco to add sincerity.

  9. any case, I understand that post-Zinfandel weeping is quite common. And perfectly reasonable.

  10. I know this Serbian guy who makes his own "Shlevo" (plum brandy). "You gotta try it, Paul!" he says to me. "It's great! It gave me a nose-bleed!"

    He says that like it is a good thing. I'm staying the hell away from it. I would much rather cry and fall asleep without the tableau being spoiled by blood coming out of my nose.

  11. I'm not sure how sincere tabasco seems in the context of a drink that is already brutally credible in its own right, but I'm noting that recommendation for future use anyway.

    Paul, everyone needs a Serbian friend to turn up and offer slivowica at the right moment. For weeping however, I recommend Irish Whiskey and music that corresponds with forgone hopes, or that brings to mind loved ones who've passed on. Which probably means Irish music too, but I guess it's different for everyone, like the appropriate timing for the offer of slivowitz.

  12. Damian: freezer-chilled white spirits (slivowica counts). Pour one shotglass full. Tip a teaspoon of Tabasco into the centre to make something like the Japaneses Rising Sun flag when viewed from above. Scream "Banzai" and pour drink down throat.

    Choke. Sweat. Repeat.

    Still not familiar? I was sure you were involved in one of those sessions...

  13. Flint - I probably wasn't. I was a bit younger than you lot, and I went down to Canberra before the 90s got their boots on. Moved back a little over 10 years ago now of course. It's possible of course - I was back often and went to plenty of events like the one you describe with my layabout uni friends, but it's also possible you've got me mixed up with Damien Fegan.

    But yes, the chilli and chilled alcohol thing is something I have a more than passing familiarity with. For some reason I associate it with eating sashimi, and it isn't the banzai reference...

  14. You're right. I was mixing you up with Fegan. Not to worry. We can fix that next time you're in Tasmania.

  15. The food, the wine, the whole shebang was fabulous and we had a great time. Speaking of which when did you find the time to write this post? I was sure you had way too much work to do that night...

  16. G-Bob: I've always been a night person. And being Dad to three small, fast, energetic and intelligent children means I'm more a night person than ever, because my waking hours are dedicated to Being On Top Of The Situation. So, yeah: it was about twenty past one in the morning.

    And yes, I was up at 0630 the next day, keeping those same small kids from obliterating everybody's sleepytimes. It's what Dad does, y'see. That, and bang his head on the wall until the plasterboard gives way.