Friday, 30 September 2011

story 5.3

He cheerfully kicked his heels against his chair.

His mum was very nice this morning. His dad was sleepy. Brisbane was turning out very nice.

It had been an eventful evening the previous night, what with meeting his cousins again. And he had been so tired! but now he was rarin' to go again!

Mum was peculiarly pleased with the breakfast she had prepared for him. Atilla couldn't understand why, but he was willing to give it a go for her sake.

He had stared at the yellow-cubed hashings upturned so-called temptingly on his plate. He used his forefinger and thumb to explore them.

"Mmmm, yummy mango," Mum mimed the eating of the fruit. Presumably he was supposed to join in her appreciation. Or vice versa?

"Yes," he disagreed politely. He ate the marmite fingers which had been provided as a staple side option. Occasionally he would squidge a yellow cube.

Mother made no further comment, practically ignoring him as she looked at the horizon past the balcony, smiling as she picked at the mango on her plate.

Atilla noticed a flicker of motion just to the left side of his field of vision.

"It's Cousin Qwerty!" he exclaimed excitedly. "Do you like mango?"

"Hello Atilla," Cousin Qwerty greeted him. "Yes I like mangos. Amy loves them even more."

"Let me share mine with you!" Atilla said generously.

Mum grinned.

"Dad!" Atilla spotted his paternal unit through the glass wall alongside the balcony.

Dad waved, and entered the balcony scene. He yawned. "There's no escaping past you, young sir." He helped himself to a marmite finger.

"You should have some mango. Mother made it especially," Atilla said reproachfully.

Mum grinned soppily at Dad. Atilla carefully ignored it.

The day had started now that Cousin Qwerty was here!

Thursday, 29 September 2011

story 5.2

"Brisbane Brisbane!" Atilla yodelled.

The flight was lots of fun. He was given lollies and toys and a puppet cow! Yvonne the cow, named after Yvonne the cow.

On arrival at BNE and conveyencing through the building, mother had helped him strip down to his t-shirt and shorts. He was barefoot! This adventure was beginning very well, from his point of view.

Now they were travelling in a taxi under the starlit streetlight-lit Brisbane evening.

"What a beautiful blue bridge," mother admired the blue-lit bridge overarching the Brisbane river.

Atilla grizzled. He was tired and sleepy and he couldn't relax in the humid heat of the Brisbane spring evening. "Brisbane," he grumped.

"Just a few minutes more," father said.

"Yes, just a few more minutes," mother encouraged Atilla's stamina. "You're holding up very well. We'll see Auntie M- and Cousin Qwerty and Cousin Amy and Uncle B-."

Atilla yawned.

Monday, 26 September 2011

story 5.1

Little Atilla was quite excited. "Brisbane Brisbane Bris-bane!" He jumped and hopped in circles, flapping his arms; he couldn't contain himself.

Uncle Fox drove them all to the airport and waved 'good bye'. They arrived early "to avoid the crowd" said Mum, which didn't explain to Atilla why she dragged them up and down the airport to look for The Spinnaker Lounge that wsn't there.

Dad praised Atilla "well done" as the family was speeded to the front of the Departure queue. This adventure was fast. And then it slowed.

Everybody was bunched up and waiting on seats at a Gate. Atilla climbed onto his seat and jumped down, repeating this activity several more times.


A melodic female voice was on the speaker, then people rushed to queue. There were a scattering of babies ahead of them.

Persistently they shuffled forward. And then they were off! shuffling and striding down a narrow hallway.

At the airport! To an aeroplane!

Sunday, 18 September 2011

story 4.5

"Have a great time in Brisbane." She waved 'goodbye' to the familiar-looking kid.

"Yup. Brisbane!"

Bobbi continued her pace past the Chinese & European food takeaways. She enjoyed these random walks and encounters. It had become a lovely sunny day, just perfect for a picnic.

With a few coins in her pocket, her time to call her own, other people at work, why! this was a wonderful day that allowed her to run about and shout, "Freeeeedommm!"

Even the kids were at school (apart from the kid she met) (maybe he needed to be at school too?) those who were too young to partake of formal schooling were fenced behind tall railings, pushing wheelbarrows and pulling hoes, called into class by the sound of a bell.

She revelled and shivered ecstatically at the thought of the potential in her day. She walked onwards, not knowing where she was heading to or what she would see.

Bobbi hoped she would see oliphaunts and kauri, rosellas and olive trees, pukekos and rimu.

Right now all she saw were flags and pennants, "For Sale" signs and "Sold", cats and dogs.

In any case, tonight she would return to her holiday home, safe and sound, ready for another adventure tomorrow.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

story 4.4

Bobbi admired his confidence. She said so.

"Say, kid, I admire your confidence."

He made a graceful bow. "Thank you."

"I do hope I don't become ill," he added.

"Yes, that would suck majorly," Bobbi agreed. "You would have to stay in bed and can't go out."

"That's what happenned to me one time," the boy said with surprise. "Did it happen to you?"

"Of course. It's a well known symptom and correlation."

"Well," said he, "I shall be less surprised in future."

"Yup," said Bobbi, "we learn something new everyday."

"So very true," her acquaintance sympathised. "Did you know you're not supposed to talk to strangers?"

Bobbi raised her brows in astonishment. "I'm not?"

"Nope," he averred.


He paused. "That's a poser," he agreed. His eyebrows drew together in a thoughtful frown. "I shall ask my mother when I see her," he announced.

"When will you see her?"

"When she's finished in the dairy." He pointed through the shop doorway. "She needed more milk, and I wanted to go to the playground."

"Hey, I saw that playground. It's really brilliant!"

"Yes, I think so too! I'll miss it when I'm in Brisbane," he said. "Brisbane Brisbane Bris-bane!" he roared.

"Nah, I bet you'll have so much fun with your cousins, you won't have time for playgrounds."

He beamed. "Brisbane!"

Friday, 16 September 2011

story 4.3

Bobbi paid more attention to the kid in front of her.

"You look familiar. Where have we met?" she asked the young squirt.

"You may remember me from such encounters as by my letterbox," he reminded her.

"Your letterbox?"

"Yes, you helped me by giving me the mail. You said you wanted to sleep."

"Oh yea that's right. Glad I could help."

"Thank you for that. Did you sleep well?"

"Yes I did. Amazing what one can do with a nice smooth bed."

He nodded earnestly. "I agree. Lumpy beds are very hard. As it is, I have difficulty sleeping longer than thirty minutes at a stretch."

Bobbi raised an eyebrow skeptically. "That would be very tough."

The kid sighed. "Yes, it's a harsh life. But there you go."

"Where do you go?"

"We're planning to go visit my cousins!" he exclaimed excitedly.

"That's an adventure in the planning," she said.

"Maybe. I'm very excited. Brisbane Brisbane Bris-bane!" he chanted. He jumped about. "Brisbane Brisbane Bris-bane!" He pumped his fists in the air. "Brisbane!" he roared.

"I hesitate to mention," Bobbi began, "but do you think you will be able to sleep on your trip?"


"Well...what with your having difficulties sleeping for longer than thirty minutes in a go..."

"Ah. I don't know anything about that." He paused thoughtfully. "We'll deal with it when it happens!" he declaimed.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

story 4.2

The postcard was carefully addressed to Bob Oshawat, c/- her hometown, Route 1. It was he who had suggested that she venture outside of her territory.

I'm having very good adventure. I'm so glad I answered the advertisement for cheap accommodation. I'm so lucky my room has a magic wardrobe. I'm so glad this world doesn't have any snow.

Bobbi shivered reflexively. Her journey encompassing the avalanches still chilled her to the bone. She banished the memories from her present.

I wonder what I can give Bob as a souvenir? Some things don't travel well. She mused darkly about samosas. She sighed. It was a shame. It was truly a magnificent samosa. Maybe some other sort of kitsch? Manuka flowers?

The postbox was somewhat taller than she preferred. However she was prepared. Crampons on, rope slung, she clawed vertically to the postslot and inserted the purpose for which she came. Now she free-styled down to the pavement, successfully.

Bobbi made a pirouette, and finished with a right-handed upstretched 'V' sign. "Oh yeah!" she crowed.

"Congratulations," a familiar voice politely congratulated her.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Rules to live by Fathers and mothers and kids, oh my

my list for being a mum/dad/caregiver:
* be respectful,
* be trustworthy,
* be there,
* be fun,
* be loved.

Monday, 5 September 2011

story 4.1

The weather here is very fine. The people appear obsessed by penguins and an olive-shaped ball sport and poor public transport. Otherwise the people are very fine and friendly. As you told me, I am wearing thermal underwear. I am enjoying myself. Wish you were here.

Bobbi heaved a thankful sigh. Ta-dah! Postcard duties completed. The rest of the day was hers to live as she wished, so long as she remembered to post the missive.

She put on her pocketful overcoat, and made sure to tie her bootlaces and to lock up her abode. Yes, everything was secured so now she was ready to set off.

She jumped down to the driveway, and sauntered along the crescent-shaped street. Lovely Gingko trees lined the grassy verge. Truly, this suburb is blessed, she mused happily.

The neighbourhood was prone to dogs and cats. Two black labradors fenced behind metal gates stared glumly at her. One small barking curly-haired dog, secured by white fencing, announced her presence to all and sundry. One brown curly poodle-cross growled at her temerity to glance at the separating wooden fence. Oh, and the cats! Annointing and burying all over the place. Bobbi could smell it. Them.

Markings on the road warned her to 'Child That Mind'.

This was a small price to pay to reach the postbox. There was no longer the option to use the blue post - it was now defunct. The default postage was the red post.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

4 September 2011: Happy Father's Day @ Masala Restaurant

Oh yeah! Father's Day!

The restaurant was carefully selected because:
1. a subset of 'we' had lunched here three times previously,
2. we wanted to try the Banquet menu,
3. I was keen on the poppadums.

We turned up at our appointed time and as advised, carrying baby.

The waitress seated us shortly at a table for 7 people. Person Seven sat at the 'head' of the table, which was in the direct path of the service to the balcony. Literally. There was barely sufficient gap between the seat and the table behind it to accommodate a plated wait-person.

Aside: there were several wait-persons on the floor. The restaurant was busy emptying of paid diners after the main lunch crowd.

As experienced diners we didn't want to make a fuss. Taking an executive decision, we moved the table slightly away from the balcony service path so that Person Seven was less apprehensive about food dropping onto him from behind.

The menus were delivered: several lunch menus, one normal menu, one drinks menu.

We had to share the normal menu so all could discuss the Banquet option.

A prolonged discussion was held, whereupon agreed - one Vegetarian Banquet, one Masala Banquet, peshwari naan, two lunch specials. We congratulated ourselves on arriving at this decision.

And we waited for our order to be taken. And we waited.

Person Seven eventually flagged down a waitress. She took our drinks order easily enough (beers and mango lassis) but we stumped her with the food order.

Twice stumped. Something about the banquet menu being for two people. Or possibly "one banquet per table". She asked us to wait while she referred to a higher authority.

And we waited.

The higher authority smoothly approached and discussed our order. I was at the other end of the table and heard faint traces. Something about "not sharing banquet". Or "not sharing entrees".

Talk about a mood spoiler.

After much communication we got what we wanted - one vege banquet for two people, one masala banquet for two people, peshwari naan, two lunch specials.

And we sat and waited to get what we wanted. Beer was served, fruit juices were served, mango lassis was served...

oops. One mango lassi downed the back of Person Four. Mango yoghurt sloshed down the back of her top and trousers and on her chair.

Kerfuffle ensued! Clean up attempted!

Person Four exited to a private area to clean up. Distraught glass taken away. Chair cleaned up and swapped with one from an adjacent empty table.

Banquet entrees served!

Can I taste the Masala Banquet as well as the Vegetarian? I am still unclear.

Person Four returned with a make-nice smile on her face. What a good sport.

But where is my mango lassi? My mood is deteriorating. I flag the first wait-person I see and demand my mango lassi.

And it was served. It was a nice mango lassi, taking the edge off my irritability.

Taking my time, I half-finish my lassi. My water glass was still dry and emptied. I asked Person Five to flag a wait-person to get water for the table.

Yay! we got water.

Empty entree plates were removed, as were our utensils and paper napkins. Fresh utensils and paper napkins were put in place. Nice.

And we waited. And watched other tables with lunch specials being served.

Aside: there were maybe three other occupied tables in our area.

And we waited.

Person Seven flagged the wait-person wandering past to enquire the status of our mains.

Without consulting the kitchen, she automatically said, "It will be ready in five minutes."

I advised Person Seven to start the countdown. This was rejected.

After uncounted minutes, mains arrived - lunch specials (poppadums inclusive), vegetarian banquet, masala banquet, peshwari naan.

The more pricey peshwari naan was quite burnt on the base. Staying with my precept of not eating burned food, I removed the badly burnt areas. Person One and Four were also doing the same. We ended up with a good collection in one of the naan baskets. Another side result was that the peshwari stuffing scattered everywhere. Ah well - the peshwari naan was religious anyway. As in, the stuffing fell out of the burned holes. The bits I ate of the naan was nothing to rave about. Such a disappointment to my palate which had been educated by pashwari naan from Oh Calcutta.

I tasted the curries. Uhm. Given that the curries overlapped on the seasoning (variously: korma, paneer, butter, etc) it doesn't disguise the fact the lumps of mains (variously: vegetable, cottage cheese, prawn, chicken, beef) had not absorbed the flavours of their respective curries.

I ate seconds anyway because I was very hungry. I confirmed my first impression. I didn't have thirds.

The plain standard naan bread was very nice. Burned flakes on the base, but at least I didn't need to deal with scattering dessicated coconut, and random red and green preserved fruit.

By this time baby had had enough.
Aside: no high chair had been offered to seat baby. (Note: we did bring a capsule. However in other eateries, e.g. Cafe Melba in Ellerslie, we were still offered the option of a high chair.)

I reminded the bill-payers to check we were only charged for two mango lassis. The reminder was opportune as a third had been added to the bill.

The diners went our separate ways.

At this end of day, I realise we hadn't even had the end of the meal: Tea/Coffee.

Neither do I know whether the restaurant offered a discount for the meal as a sop for parts of our unpleasant experience:
* prolonged wait to place an order,
* mango lassi downer,
* need to clean Person Four's clothing,
* prolonged wait for arrival of mains,
* burnt naans that equated to half of what Person One, Two, Four were served. (Persons Five, Six and Seven are less food-anxious.)

Verdict: poppadums delicious. I recommend this restaurant for it's $10 lunch special. Nothing else. I wouldn't choose to dine here again.

Addendum: Reviews for Masala Indian Restaurant

Aside: Sorry Daddy but the experience is too weird to not note it. We'll have a better day next year. Luv, S&P

10 Sep 2011 Update:
1. yes, we were not supposed to share the banquets;
2. after some discussion with the cashier, we received the 3rd mango lassi for free (note: the mango downer happened in full view of the bar/cashier area);
3. no sops were proffered to compensate for the poor service, 1/2 basket of burnt naans.