Old folk at lunch

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

A pleasing moment

Macdonalds have just released a new  product:  A big Mac with BLT.  As a confirmed Macdonalds customer, I had to try it.

So I went into my local Macdonalds and was served by a attractive young lady.  She had her hair in two blonde plaits -- which I particularly like -- and she had a significant bosom which was revealed to an extent by an undone top button of her shirt.  She would have had some distracted male customers during her shift. Macdonalds in Brisbane had got it all!

And the burger was good too.  The bread was way too soft but the ingredients were great.. Macdonalds remains an unrivalled source of hamburgers.

Monday, November 27, 2017

A good Sunday and Monday

On Sunday 26th., Jenny put on a small "bon Voyage" lunch for Paul and Matthew.  It was an excellent lunch with all good things.  Joe was busy elsewhere but I attended and had quite a lot of chats with Paul. Matthew kept irritating Nanna by sitting on his chair with one leg up.  Little kids can do that but Nanna saw it as bad manners.  Matthew would put his leg down when told but would soon put it up again.

I understand little boys however so made a pincer of my fingers and nipped his leg next time he put it up.  I was smiling at the time of course.  And Matthew loved it.  I got the biggest laugh out of him for the whole visit I think. He would look at me to see if it was safe to put his leg up again and I would make pincer fingers much to his entertainment.  So I suppressed his unwanted behaviour by fun!  Win, win.  Kids find the threat of pain very entertaining.  I have often used it but adults are often dubious about it

Then on 27th., we were back at Nandos.  That was the real Bon voyage dinner at Paul flies out early Wednesday morning. Tuesday is for packing etc.  Paul and Joe had a lot of chats -- as did Kate and Jenny.  I just chimed in occasionally.  Matthew at one stage kept grabbing Paul's arm but I made pincer shapes  with my fingers and he immediately desisted amid giggles.

There we are below, with me enjoying my usual "Thighs and slaw".  Paul took the photo so isn't in it.

Bigger pic here

Occasionally, I like to put up the docket I get when I pay for a dinner.  It saves me saying what we had:

Friday, November 24, 2017

At Nando's again

Mon. 20th:  This time without Von but with Paul and Matthew

A nice photo of Joe at Nandos.  Apologies to Kate

Big pic here

On Thurs 23rd  I arranged a "Men's night" at my place for Paul and Joe.  I cooked Chili con Carne for us. Paul was most complimentary about it but certain Maggi flavour sachets were owed the credit.  Paul and Joe talked a lot about their aims in life and how they saw their futures.  My future is already here so I just listened mostly.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Before Von flies out

15th: On Wednesday Simon cooked a few of us a butter chicken curry at Jenny's place.  It was excellent

16th: Over the years I have shouted various Johnnsons food -- Ken, Paul and Von.  And they have always honoured my offerings  by eating every last crumb

But I have discovered that there is a small Johnson who has a very Johnson tummy too. At my High Tea on Thursday, Hannah made good use of the offerings.  After consuming a significant amount, she was ready for a choc-chip cookie but her mother put her foot down and would not allow it. Von is a surprsingly "taking charge" person at times.  Anyway, that quite small tummy that Hannah has inherited had true Johnson capacity: Large.

Something unusual on my cake-stand for the High Tea were Medjool dates.  They are a species that has been around for thousands of years but have become popular only recently.  They are very soft and juicy.  Israel is a major supplier of them but from my packet of them, they seemed to be Australian grown.  They all went down well anyhow

Anne did the cucumber sandwiches as usual and did a great job.

We also did one of my mini-plays on Thursday, just before the High Tea. It was, "Building the "Dreadnought"".  It was greeted as very educational. It is one of a series of three plays.

While we were doing the play, Hannah dropped over the railings of my verandah her miniature Thomas the Tank "Train", prompting as big a cry as you have ever seen.  It hadn't fallen far however so Matthew did a "Knight in shining armour" performance by retrieving it.

We also had some big political discussions about Scottish and NZ politics, with Paul being very vocal, as you would expect. Paul was particularly incensed at the money spent on putting up the Scottish Parliament building: £414 million, many times higher than initial estimates of between £10m and £40m. A lot of Scots were disgusted when it was completed in 2004 but Paul is maintaining the rage.  It's not even a dignified building:  Just a scrappy mess.  But that's "postmodernism" for you.

Simon never gets incensed as far as I can see but he was clearly disgusted by Jacinda Ardern becoming Prime Minister of NZ with around a third of the vote.  There are some odd electoral systems in the world.  Even Hitler got 44% of the vote in 1933.

Paul's house has Ruskin connections from when it was built and Susan is descended from him so I read out a couple of good quotes from Ruskin.  They were quotes I had collected in my late teens of long ago, not the ones you normally see online.  Here they are:

Resurrection:  "I fancy the goodly bricks of some of our family vaults will hold closer in the Resurrection day than the sod over the labourer's head" -- From "The Crown of Wild Olive"

Mankind:  "And truly it seems to me as I gather in my mind the evidences of insane religion, degraded art, merciless war, sullen toil, detestable pleasure and vain or vile hope, in which the nations of the world have lived since since first they could bear record of themselves -- it seems to me, I say as if the race itself were still half-serpent, not extricated yet from its clay; a lacertine breed of bitterness -- the glory of it emaciate with cruel hunger, and blotted with venomous stain; and the track of it on the leaf a glittering slime and in the sand a useless furrow -- "Queen of Air, p. 101.

The quotes  are masterful literary English -- which is why I collected them -- but that also meant that nobody to whom I read them understood a word of them.  I explained what was being said and then they were comprehended

The Ruskin birthday book.  Still in the family

Ruskin was a famous literary and art critic of the late Victorian era.  He was rather full of himself but was undoubtedly a brilliant man. Like most arty people, he was of the Left.  My second quote from him above is almost a Leftist catechism in its profound discontent with just about everything.

On Friday 17 I invited Von & Co to a lunch at my usual brunch place. I had Vietnamese Brioches, Simon had a chicken burger and Von had a chicken wrap.  We had some moderately serious discussions as you would expect from that being the last day of Von's visit.  Von is optimistic that she will be back next year.

Monday, November 13, 2017

The visit -- continued

On Tuesday 7th we all met at Jenny's at dinner time to welcome Paul and Matthew back to Brisbane.  Ken picked them up from the airport. Jenny made a BIG batch of egg-rolled pork as that is the family favourite -- and there were some big eaters among us -- 3 Johnson's no less (Von, Paul and Ken).  I think I got a total of five of the rissoles so I did OK too.  Jenny of course also provided salads and such things to go with the pork, including Kim Chee and Japanese ginger. I got a fair bit of those things too. Paul had a lot to tell us after a long while away so talked at a great rate.

8th: On Wednesday evening was a dinner arranged just for Paul and me.  It was to commemorate the life of Chris Brand.  Paul had brought all the way from Scotland a bottle of light Port that Chris had given him so he thought I was the right one to share it with  It was a "Cavendish" Port from South Afria laid down in 1956.  Some wine guide said it was worth 400 pounds.  I cooked meat loaf to go with it as Paul and I have fond memories of previous meatloaves and this one was pretty good.  It popped up at Woolworths about 6 months ago so I grabbed one with a view to sharing it with Paul some time  So all I did was heat it up and serve it with salad.  We were half way through our dinner on my verandah when Joe came by on his way home.  We managed to get him to join us as he too had met Chris.  So he got an unexpected dinner of Port, meatloaf and salad. Paul finished the Port off and Jenny was kind enough to come and pick him up after the dinner.

9th: On Thursday Paul joined me at brunch.  I ordered my special toasted sandwich for Paul.  Matthew got a poached egg on toast but also tried Paul's sandwich.  He had trouble with it. He struck a hot bit

11th: On Saturday we had Christmas!  Both Von and Paul will be gone when Christmas arrives so we decided to have one of our normal Christmases while they were still here. And it did work out as usual, complete with amusing games with presents.  Von took on the job of MC and did it very well.  I shouted the ham as usual, Anne contributed and iced a Christmas cake and Simon did great work frying lots of small kebabs.  The ladies also brought various cakey things which were all enjoyed.  It was good to see Timmy with us.  He brought along a very presentable girlfriend too -- another Kiwi. One of the more memorable events was when I tripped over but managed to fall sitting down in a chair rather than on the ground.  I dropped the fruit salad I was carrying, however.  But there was plenty more.

12th: And on Sunday it was Dosa lunch time.  We always have dosas when Von is here.  We mostly order masala dosas but Kate was feeling bold and ordered a Ghee dosa sight unseen.  It was enormous and she didn't finish it.  But the dosas were good as usual.  Indians have them for breakfast.

Mon 13th was another Monday so we all went again to Nandos -- this time including Paul and Matthew.  We took up 5 of their tables between us.  Quite a lot of chips were left over after the meal but Paul fixed that in his usual way.  There were a lot of  good reminiscences, mainly about assertive things I had done over the years  -- from my sitting on a glass shop counter to booming my way through a crowd at a Katoomba restaurant.  The kids enjoyed such antics at the time and probably enjoy them even more now in the retelling.

There was one memory we were all very hazy about.  I took the twins bike riding in the Botanic gardens and hired bikes for the purpose.  But one of the bikes had a flat tire and I apparently talked rather sternly to the bike hire people about it.  Suz might remember more details.

Monday, November 6, 2017

A visit

Von & Co. arrived at the beginning of this month (Wednesday 1st) for a couple of weeks and it has been something of a whirl ever since.  Jenny put on a sausage BBQ on the evening of their arrival.  Ken picked them up from the airport and Joe and I also were there to greet them. Hannah was wound up like a top and we were all of course a bit excited. Jenny supplied some wine with the dinner but nobody drank much, as usual.

Then on Friday 3rd I shouted Von & Co. a brunch at my usual brunch hangout in Woolloongabba. I got them all one of my special  toasted sandwiches with "everything" in it.  They went down very well.  They always do.  We went back to my place for tea and biscuits afterward until Ken picked them up at 11am for a trip to Southbank.

4th: Then on Saturday night I put on a small pizza and champagne night with the "supreme" pizzas from Pizza Hut being very good. Kate was helpful with dishing out the pizzas.

6th: Then on Monday night came time for Joe and me to have our usual excursion to Nando's.  So I invited Von & Co to that too.  As seems to be the norm at Nando's, we had trouble at ordering time but the food was good as usual.  I had the "thighs and slaw" in a wrap, which I always enjoy.