Friday, May 18, 2012


Well, that was nice! My old boon companion Papa Steve rocked up. Not quite out of the blue, mind you. He dropped me a line a couple weeks back declaring he'd be in the area, and we worked out an overnighter between us.

It was very fine to see the man again. I don't think I've actually been face-to-face with him since an epic wedding about eight years ago. Steve is one of the best; one of those who has the right to call when and where and however, and expect an answer and as much aid and assistance as I can come up with.

He got along with the kids famously. Genghis was particularly impressed, since Papa Steve is himself a bass player of many years standing. He picked up the 1/8th size bass that Genghis plays, and proceeded to jazz it up very nicely indeed.

Unfortunately, Steve was also the victim of Sudden Transplant Syndrome. These days, he's a hothouse flower, living up in Cairns. From the layers of clothing he was wearing, I don't think that our 2C evenings and cool, rainy afternoons really agreed with him. He was surprised to see I was only wearing sandals on my feet when I collected him. I pointed out that the only reason the sandals were there was because my heels were cracking up again... otherwise I would have been barefoot, as ever.

We fed him up okay. He got a good dose of Nasi Ayam - chicken rice, Malaysian style, and I made a decent effort at producing a Key Lime Pie. I'd not tried that before, but seeing as how it's one of the all-time classic USAnian desserts that turns up in every random chunk of fiction you care to name, I figured it was about time I had a go at it.

Rather disappointingly, Key Lime Pie turns out to be very similar to a simple Lemon Tart... except with a biscuit-crumb base, and (Florida) Key Lime zest and juice in place of the usual lemony bits. Oh, and of course, it uses sweetened condensed milk (plus a bit of cream) in place of rather a lot of cream and sugar. But that's about it, really. No big deal. If you can do a decent Lemon Tart, then Key Lime Pie is no big thing. Oh, and apparently the substitution of the standard limes you can get at the supermarket for the Key Lime is perfectly acceptable. I was lucky, though: turns out someone is growing limes locally around here, and I bought a bunch of them, ripe, fresh and cheap at one of the petrol stations in Scottsdale.

Limes growing in Tasmania? Who knew? I've got two little lime trees, so I guess there's hope for them. Unfortunately, the one I've got in the ground got... Natalified. She decided it needed to be weed-free, so she lifted the wire cage around it, stripped the weeds - and didn't put the wire back. In one night, the wallabies ate every leaf off the tree, and the ends of most of the branches. I've put the wire back and given it lots of care and attention, and I'm hoping it will recover. Meanwhile, the one in the pot on the deck (I'm hardening it against winter, so I can put it in the ground too) is doing fine. I'll plant it out in spring.

Hmm. Heh: I picked up The Rolling Stones: Rolled Gold the other day. Had it on the player in the car when I was driving the kids to school this morning. They were absolutely delighted by some of the tunes. Paint It Black got their attention, as did Jumping Jack Flash. Sympathy For The Devil went over quite well, but the stand-out was Satisfaction.

Listening to it again, for the first time in quite a while, I have to admit it's a genuine classic. That unmistakeable guitar riff, so arrogant, with just enough distortion on it to sound like a snarl... and then Jagger comes in, but he knows enough to rein in his often sharp, slashing vocals so those famous first couple of lines come out almost like a purr, in marvellous contrast to that vicious guitar. Fantastic stuff.

Of course, the kids have been dancing around all evening, singing off-key versions of the thing. But that's okay. It feels good to bring them another nifty piece of the world to enjoy.