Wednesday, November 23, 2011

How to find dinner party guest

Its harder than you think to find last minute dinner party guest...unless you live in a country town.

Last Saturday I had penciled in a dinner party for six.

My friend Simon was going to cook so I invited two other couples and preparations were well underway.
aperitivo plate for starters of the couples canceled 24 hours before. Which wouldn't normally be a problem if you had lived in town a long time and knew everyone.  But I'm new and so is Simon, but we wanted six guests as I had already bought the pork roast.

So Friday night we set out to find two others to fill the two empty seats.

As I said it's not that easy to find two new guest, since you need people who are happy to converse with people they don't know and hopefully even throw in a few hilarious anecdotes while they are at it.

Finding Alison wasn't so hard, I'd met her at the Bruthen farmers markets some time back and she had a weekend without her two sons, so it was a perfect fit. She was a local, and she loved op-shops, so what was not to like!
My co-host Simon prepares the table
Finding a bloke to take the other seat was a little more challenging....

Friday night we had an event organised by the Bairnsdale Social Network, an excellent idea for young professionals like myself. We get together and 'network' without having to go to old mans pubs or the local nightclub. I'm not trying to diss the nightclub but there are no lovely lounge bars like the Emerald Peacock or 1806 (sigh.)

So we organise our own social events for people in town who want to meet others with a more bigger priorities than how many jugs of Bundy and coke we can drink in one night.

Who wouldn't want to come to this dinner party?
We went to the Stables, a renovated art gallery which is a cafe during the day and occasionally opens up as a bar in the evening.

So as the night went on, we were still a man down for the dinner party. I employed the direct marketing approach and went up to two chaps, one of whom I knew and said.

"Listen fellas, I'm having a dinner party tommorow night, the food will be fabulous and I have even bought fairy lights for the occasion but I'm a man down. So who wants to come?"

It turned out one of them (lets call him the Kiwi with excellent wine knowledge) wanted to come. And he did.

The point I'm trying to make is I could not have approached some guys in a bar in Melbourne or any city really and ask them to dinner. But in a country problem.

Simon adds wine to the slow roasted pork
And it turned out Mr Kiwi knew another of the guests because they worked together...ahh small towns.

And because I had someone from overseas at the dinner party I had an excuse to drag out my atlas...any excuse!

And yes the food was fabo, the conversation great and they even laughed at my (probably not so hilarious) anecdotes.

Dinner party menu:

Starters - aperitivo plate

Entree - ensalate caprese

Main - slow roasted pork with roast root vegetable salad and panzanella

Dessert -berry and stone fruit salad

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Whats in a name?

Barley anyone in the country seems to go by thier own name.

I learnt this rule early in life when I found out my rural grandfather Don's real name was Matthew you get the connection? Hmm neither did I.

And after further research - as a wise eight-year-old - I discovered my other grand parents Molly and Bob were actually christened Catherine Mary and Robert John.

It was of course a sign of the era they were born in, but soon enough all my brothers and sisters all had thier own nickname, as did the Norwegian exchange student who was living with our neighbour.

They couldn't pronounce his name so they just called him Ryan, yep a pretty decent nickname.

Even these adorable young boys (my cousins) eventually get nick names
My cousins might as well have changed thier names by deed poll because they don't answer to anything other than Beano and Chaddy - nothing close to Steven and Adrian they were born with. Then there was another cousin called 'Blue' original name for a redhead.

 When I went to a rural university everyone got a nick name, I still don't know 'Boots' real name but apparently he works for a big grain company these days.

There are of course names which are given by others that can't be shaken. Bucket is one...everyone knows a bloke called Bucket, just don't think too much about how they got that name.

Our Australian history is littered with folks who have nicknames: Banjo Patterson, Slim Dusty, Black Jack McEwen, Pro Hart and Weary Dunlop.

Just this weekend I met (yet another) 'Stretch', was told about a guy named 'Buck' who I should contact for a story and found out my mate Simon is simply called 'Super' by his family.

Nicknames are given as terms of endearment or to help you remember the person (common in sport teams and very common in country towns) and more often than not they are given to annoy the so named person (and for some reason the most annoying nicknames seem to stick.)

So in my new country town, I'm an getting use to again embracing the nickname.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

I'm baaaaack

Around Easter this year I moved the country.

Or maybe I should correctly say I moved back to the country, after an extended amount of time as an urbanite in cities from London to Perth, Canberra and Melbourne.

I was born in a hospital in the dry and dusty central wheatbelt of Western Australia that no longer delivers babies and since relocating for my job I now call East Gippsland in Victoria home.

Since setting up shop in Gippy (See rule #1) I have traveled the countryside as a rural journalist from dairy field days to organic gardens and tasting great local food (all in the name of research of course...) to learning about 'sirey' types.

This blog is for those who seek the quiet country life or miss it or are already living there...or maybe just for me to record my journey. It's observations of a former farm girl, who loved the joys of city life (good coffee, diversity, culture, music,Vietnamese restaurants, watching sport in big stadiums, overpriced cocktails etc.) returning back to the wide open spaces.

Country life is charming, kooky, frustrating and funny...well at least that's what I am finding out.

Goodbye city life...hellooo country living