Fuck I hate the way Blogger puts up photos. They appear in reverse order to the way you select 'em for posting -- and I never goddam well remember that. So. Fuck it. I'm not going to erase these and repost 'em.
Girlie Jones arose on Westralian time this morning, which was fine -- it let me kinda get a grip on the Louse Disaster before she came down the stairs. (Go check the photo at the bottom. That's Younger Son, with a hairload of louse mousse. I shaped it into a spike. He thought that was damned cool.) I must say that GJ took the whole louse situation better than I expected. Possibly that's because she was already shell-shocked by the gigantic Huntsman Spider I quietly removed from the guest room last night around her bed-time... I'm not at all sure that Girlie Jones is as fond of our eight-legged allies in the Great Insect War as am I, or my children. Spiders are nice, right?
GJ, the Mau-Mau and I trundled down to the berry patch and liberated a litre or so of blackberries and raspberries. Then I grabbed a couple of nice, fresh eggs, a bit of sugar and milk and some gluten-free self-raising flour, and made very credible pancakes. To top the pancakes, I threw some butter and brown sugar into a pan, and added a nice handful of blackberries. When they started to soften, I tossed in some rum, and flamed it off. The resultant melange of lightly-cooked blackberries, caramel and rum tasted pretty damned good, and I wasn't at all unhappy with the outcome. Why have I heard so many nasty rumours about gluten-free flour? It cooked up beautifully, and I'll have to make some blackberry muffins for GJ. (As well as the chocolate mousse, of course.) She also offered guarded approval of the coffee - which is good, because I don't drink the stuff so I have no idea what 'good coffee' is really supposed to taste like.
Poor Nat was on duty and on call today, so the kids and I loaded GJ into the Mighty Earth King, and we took off for the wine country. (With a brief stop at the chemist to get lots of exciting louse-discouraging materials first.) Pipers Brook didn't disappoint. GJ is working on the whole palate thing, but she seemed quite pleased by a couple of the bottles they opened, and even ventured into the scarlet end of the spectrum with two or three samples of Pinot Noir. Nice stuff.
Mind you, we had a difficult moment when Elder Son asked about the big barrel with the steel top. I told him -- quite truthfully -- that it was a spittoon, a repository for wine that people didn't actually want to swallow. And quite reasonably, he refused to believe me. (His mother has trained him well.) So GJ added her voice... and he wouldn't believe her either. The poor lad has had a number of exciting bridges sold to him over the years; he tends to regard myself and my friends with a healthily skeptical attitude.
The Jansz mob did okay too. They've got a nice line in bubbly rose-style wines... yum.
Anyhow, after that we zipped back to Scottsdale, had a bite of lunch, picked up supplies at the supermarket, and headed home. Briefly. Very briefly, because we had a Date with Some Fish.
There's this trout farm I know, see? The owner's a lovely chap. If you're polite, kind and co-operative, not only can you buy fish direct - but it's occasionally possible to extract your own from their ponds, using a rod and tackle. And seeing as how Younger Son got a fishing rod for Xmas, it seemed the perfect occasion.
I admit to a little dodgy judgement here. GJ is pretty solidly vegetarian... but I knew she eats a little fish. And when I suggested salmon or trout, she kind of looked at me, and asked something about "...where it comes from." She knows way more than anyone really ought to about wetlands and fish and waterways, and she likes to be very clear about the water from which she sources any fish she might eat.
So I giggled a little, and asked her if she'd like a personal introduction to her fish... and after that it all sorta went south. Wound up with GJ quietly occupying the car while my manic children went azy-kray with a rod, and we pulled in rather more fish than we could readily eat.
But that's okay. Tomorrow there will be visitors, and I have spare trout. Tonight's trout got cooked over charcoal and smoke, with onion and lemon and coriander and garlic and capsicum, and served up with a green salad over turmeric rice. A nice dose of the Pipers Brook gewurztraminer washed it down rather well. Tomorrow, there will be more people - and the fish will be properly dealt with.
I do hope poor GJ makes the distance, though. She just wandered off for a shower, then came and tracked me down. It seems that yet another Huntsman of immoderate size had taken up residence behind the bathroom door. I suspect that between all the fish-murdering, and the burrs in the socks, and the giant spiders and the wildly energetic kids and all the exciting allergens and cats and pollen and stuff -- she's going to need something of a rest from her holiday, when she gets home.
So: that would be the Mau-Mau's second-ever fish. She was so excited to reel this thing in that she could hardly form words. She was jumping and shouting and waving the rod about and Elder Son was snapping photos and I was desperately operating the landing net and trying not to get an earful of fish-hook...