Monday, April 4, 2011


Well, the whole visitors thing is working out pretty well. The two kids visiting are behaving well, and getting along okay with the residents -- aside from a few minor scuffles between the Mau-Mau and young Jen, who is just a couple months younger. Five/six-year-old girls are unpredictable, and in this case, unfortunately, there's a bit of the name-calling and the neener-neener-neener bullshit that sometimes crops up.

Not that it lasts.

With Nat's dad and her stepmum in town, plus our old friend Gemma and her two kids here at Chez Flinthart, things have been more than a little hectic. Friday orchestra evening segued seamlessly into Saturday Bass Lesson plus Visitor Pickup plus Grandparent Meetup plus Extended Playtime At The Launceston Hilltop Swimming Complex. And of course, I've been cooking: polenta-crusted baked salmon for Saturday night; charcoal-roasted leg of lamb on Sunday night, and tonight, a spicy Vietnamese-style beef soup with spiced meatballs and home-made rice noodles.

To be fair, the rice noodles didn't work out as well as I'd like. In fact, they fell apart a lot. But the soup was still good, and the kids were so good about eating it that I even succumbed and made pinwheel apple danishes and whipped cream for dessert.

It's been good having Gemma visiting. I don't get many people through who will face up to a decent horror film, and I've been waiting for an excuse to watch 'Sauna' again. Gemma came through with flying colours - aside from falling asleep here and there - and the movie was as enjoyable as I recall from the first viewing. Not an explosive, hack-and-slash horror film, no, but a very effectively atmospheric film that culminates in some really, really nasty visual and emotional imagery.

Last night we tackled "Dead Snow", which is a fairly tongue-in-cheek Norwegian flick about a bunch of medical students off for a weekend of skiing and Extracurricular Activities in an isolated cabin. Naturally, things go badly wrong -- things, in this case, meaning a bunch of Nazi zombies left over from WWII. Not nearly as affecting as 'Sauna', but it was still a whole bunch of fun, with a nice sense of humour.

Unfortunately, something I ate disagreed with me rather violently. I had the most epic stomachache all night, and combined with the zombie flick, it led to repeated awakenings from dreams in which either I was stabbing myself in the stomach, or things were trying to eat my intestines. Oddly, I wasn't particularly disturbed. I think I was too tired, and of course, every time I woke up I was in too much pain.

So I didn't achieve very much today, no. And I am very tired.

Beyond that, however, lies a tragedy of truly Olympian proportion. It's such a tragic tragedy that I really don't quite know how to express it. I'll just come straight out and say it:

Boag's is discontinuing their 'St George' variety.

That may not seem like much to you, but... well, for the last few years, this has been my absolute favourite beer. It's fresh, sharp, tasty, and sits lightly on the palate, though it's full-flavoured and full-strength. The idea that they're discontinuing it has smitten me with despair, and led Gemma and myself on quests to several pubs to find the last couple of remaining cartons.

I am now approximately one half-carton of beer away from a period of deepest mourning...