Breakfast in Drummoyne

A couple of weeks ago my husband and I went out for breakfast – a treat after banishing ourselves from home the night before while our sons and their cousins took over the house, networking their computers to play games through the night.

We hid out in a local hotel. Alex unfortunately had work to do so was busy online while I spent the night sitting on the king size bed watching Death Comes to Pemberley on TV, drinking complementary tea and eating biscuits! We woke the next morning with sore necks and backs from the feather pillows which squashed down so much once the head was applied, they could hardly pass as pillows!

Alex suggested breakfast at a nice cafe in Drummoyne (a waterside suburb 10 minutes from Sydney CBD) as compensation for the bad night.

We parked behind the cafe and entered by the backdoor, passing a small, dark room to the right. With a tiny window, high up but level with the ground outside, it would have been a perfect place to shoot a scene from The Sopranos. Sitting at the only table were three middle-aged men who jumped almost as high as I did when I turned to look inside. Who sits in almost complete darkness on a sunny morning???

After checking out the blackboard menu we moved on through the long room, and decided to sit three tables from the front window. Alex left to join the queue to order. I immediately regretting sitting facing the front as watching the busy traffic of the main road whizzing by made me dizzy. The queue was long and I distracted myself by looking away at the other customers in front of me. I was interested to find that there were two types of customer.

One type was very fit looking women who wore racerback singlets, shorts and sun visors. The singlets showed off their well defines muscular shoulders and upper backs. They looked totally different to what I did in my new racerback singlet, a purchase made in a bid to stay cool without putting on the air-conditioning at home. My racerback made my pear-shaped figure look even more pear-shaped! These women ate meals like fresh fruit and yoghurt or sliced banana on rye, scrambled eggs on their own, and each with a latte. I was surprised that there were three tables of these women, arriving at different times – one big group, one woman on her own, and one with her boyfriend.

As we worked on our Eggs Florentine on sourdough with crisp grilled prosciutto (which was delicious, by the way), I noticed the other type of customer — tired young couples with toddlers. The parents wore loose light coloured t-shirts and shorts, taking time over their precious coffee and newspaper while the toddler played with the cafe’s toys at the table. Given their casual wrinkly attire and flimsy slip on sandals I assumed that these people were locals. They must have been well to do to live around there! I imagined the men in an earlier time as the short, plain looking nerds that were bullied at school, and now they live here with their beautiful blonde wives and their beautiful blonde children.

I started to hurry my meal as I had an itch to race home and write a story about the human personality of this Sydney suburb by the water — racerback singlet women and young wealthy families, and what a gift – it’s all just sitting there in front of me as I eat!

We get up to leave. I turn around to find that the rest of the cafe was filled with people like us! Middle-aged, some overweight people, and some noisy families digging into their bacon and eggs!

I was so disappointed! Alex said, can’t you just pretend and write it as you imagined it?

NOOOOO! I can’t! Boo hoo!

The Great Pepper Saga

Hello again! Today we are talking about pepper (among other things).

I am a member of a local writing group. We are not serious writers, we don’t study technique or ask for critiques on our writing (hmmm, technique critique). We just write because writing makes us happy, and we love listening to stories. Every fortnight or so our leader sets homework for us and next time we meet we read out our offerings.

Once I was given the word ‘pepper’. Normally I bravely accept whatever word or subject I’d been given. This time I almost asked for a replacement word. But I didn’t. I dragged my pepper home with a heavy heart. Why? Because PEPPER DOESN’T INSPIRE ANYTHING IN ME! I have no funny stories about pepper, I have no tragic stories about pepper. I don’t love or hate pepper. I can’t even make up anything interesting with pepper as the star. Apart from being peppery, pepper is a bland word.

I resorted to Wikipedia. Did you know that there are two types of pepper? There is the capsicum-type pepper and there is the berry which is dried and used as a spice. The two are not related. Did you also know that pepper is sometimes used as a verb to describe attacking or bombarding as if with missiles? That’s mildly interesting; funny how a food word is used in a non-food context.

I started wondering about other food words that are used in a non-food context. Like describing a person’s language as saucy, or calling someone a couch potato. Who decided that apples described order when someone says ‘she’s apples’. What is a peaches and cream complexion? What is it about cows that leads some people to be described as ‘beefy’. I think cows are quite boney to look at. What is a pudding face, or a lamb chop? Why do some people call themselves onions? When you peel away each layer, don’t you still have an onion? Only smaller? Why are sausages silly? Actually, sausages are pretty silly, scrap that bit. Why are some people called crackers or nuts. I don’t think nuts have any particular personality at all.

I don’t understand the connection between food and non-food but there are some food words I would love to be used in a non-food way. How about linguine or rambutan, lentil or eclair? How about goulash or fondue, jelly baby or chocolate frog? Bonox, oat, chickpea, squid, nougat, watermelon or vanilla slice could all be used in such an emotive way!

Possible descriptions of people:

linguine – someone who never gets to the point

bonox – someone who doesn’t eat food that has been introduced to Australia after 1970

squid – similar to calling someone a worm

nougat – a very nice person on first meeting, who requires your immediate unflinching commitment

eclair – someone who wears designer clothes but doesn’t have the income to support themselves at the same time

watermelon – a happy person who enjoys casual entertaining

vanilla slice – someone who is hard to get to know, so hard that you don’t know how to approach them, then when you finally break through that tough surface, they fall to pieces and are such a mess that you don’t know what to do with them.

I feel like a vanilla slice sometimes. Goodnight.