So you are now up to date. I am back in Sydney and on Saturday I had dinner with my children and grand-children at my son Lenny’s house. Lenny and his wife Sam are sensational cooks and Sam made a wonderful Duck thing and we also had some brilliant Aussie snags – with Brussels Sprouts which are my favourite vegetable of all time.
Today I went to lunch with Jim and Annie at the Pier restaurant Rose Bay – which is a restaurant owned by the Doyle family – and it was terrific sitting on the harbour watching the sparkling water and the boats bobbing about. I had forgotten how beautiful this can be.
Lunch was a bit challenging. We were the first people in the restaurant and the waiters descended upon us like a horde of locusts upon a wheat field.
I decided to have the Sydney Rock Oysters and the Spinner Crab Tortellini but after I had placed the order the waiter returned to tell me that the Tortellini was in fact a soup and did I want the entrée or the main course size. Without missing a beat - (Tortellini is a soup?) - I chose a main course size.
The waiter returned after another interval to tell me that the chef had decided that I could not have a soup for a main course and that it was necessary for me to choose something else – the chef recommended the crab omelette – and that was good enough for me. Who am I to argue with a chef?
It was in fact delicious. After lunch Annie and Jim drove me home to my old street and I popped in to see some of our ancient neighbours. Nea is 90 on Thursday. I even called in to see our tenants – to discover that they are leaving and moving to Germany. I am sure our letting agent will tell me one day.
I saw Anna - AKA Possum - who has had a double hip replacement but has made a miraculous recovery and is now bounding around like an Australian marsupial. I dropped in a bottle of Baileys to hasten her recovery.
My other adventure today was to buy Stockholm Tea from the Sydney Tea Centre. This is Cate’s favourite and is something I must keep in stock - so I marched in and asked for a kilo.
Imagine my horror when the young man pulled down the tin and discovered that it was nearly empty.
I gave him my death stare – which is a very poor imitation of Cate’s – and told him about my impending departure for Vienna – and he rushed about the store stripping gift packs of their ‘Stockholm’ packages. He managed to put together about ½ kilo but said that he had some emergency supplies on order and would call me if they arrived within the next 24 hours.
Well – bless his little cotton socks – he called while I was at lunch and said he had another ½ kilo waiting for me. So we are stocked up for the next 12 months and Cate (and incidentally Mrs. Moneypenny) can rest easy.
And – by the way – the Stockholm blend comes from Germany – but the Sydney Tea Centre is the only place I can find to buy it.
If they X-ray my bags they will discover 400 Bushells Extra Strong Tea Bags and one kilo of Stockholm Tea. This is about one year’s supply.
People often say to me ‘what is the matter with tea in Vienna?’ to which the answer is of course ‘nothing in particular’.
People develop tastes or affections for particular things and wish to continue to enjoy them. I have a fetish for Bushells Tea. I think I have covered this in previous blogs. I seem to remember that for my pains I was flayed mercilessly by the Antipodean in Gamone – who - thank the Lord - no longer drops in.
Had dinner tonight with Lenny at Rockpool which is a two hat restaurant and I may have had the most sensational steak I have ever eaten – and that includes the ones I have had in St Elmos in Indianapolis.
I also had the best conversation I have ever had with my son Lenny (whose name is not of course Lenny – which will come as no surprise to blog readers).
We downed buried two bottles of white wine and finished the evening with some Jamesons in the bar at my hotel. I told him some stories that surprised him considerably.
I also told him – as if he needed reassuring – that I loved him to bits and that he was everything I ever wanted in a son. Apparently he loves me as much as I love him. God Jamesons is good.