Bridesmaids Revisited

A Surgeon, a Lawyer, an Accountant and an Editor walk into a bar. The Editor slips over. Not the beginning of a joke, but the story of my weekend just past. No, seriously. (Cut me some slack. It was raining and the ground was slippery.) We remade the movie Bridesmaids, without a bride. We re-enacted Hot Tub Time Machine, without a hot tub. We flew from Brisbane, Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney (oh, wait. The Melbourne one just walked from her office) to reconnect, relax, escape motherhood and remember who we were in high-school, before adulthood brought us our responsibles and other licorice allsorts of shit.

This is what it was all about. Reconnocting.  With arms, not phones...Nokia or otherwise.

This is what it was all about. Reconnocting. With arms, not phones…Nokia or otherwise.

Friday. Champagne. Real stuff. Pimms cocktails up a lift in a strange bar where people were dressed for tennis, on cast iron chairs on astroturf, outside in 12 degrees…. an interesting combination of choices… But Pimms! Yes to Pimms! Amazing dinner at Anada in Smith St, with Spanish Cava, wine, oysters, jamon, and 10,000 other degustation courses (approximately). I got my freekeh on, not on the dance floor, but in my mouth. Yum. Same same as quinoa but different. More wine was drunk. Eyelids were closed at the table.They may have been the eyelids of the Editor. C’mon guys, cut me some more slack. 11:30 on a Friday night for a full-time working mamata is LATE. My time machine had stalled.

Mess Hall for breakfast Saturday morning is a misnomer. It’s not in a hall, nor is it messy. It is practically perfect in every way. The coffee is the best I’ve had this year, and it’s NOVEMBER. Bourke St. Go to there. Eat all the bacon.

Not messy, or in a hall.

Not messy, or in a hall.

Shopping. Like a woman released from a 15-year gaol term, I was on a mission. A kamikaze smash and grab shopping mission (complete with polite pleases and thank yous, exchanges of funds, and no actual violence.) So, not really actually very smashy or grabby, then, but MISSION nonetheless. We walked past an op-shop. I allowed 10 minutes on the clock. GO. The Surgeon emerged, triumphant. I, too, emerged victorious, $13 down.

Thirteen big ones baby. Winner winner, wine for dinner.

Thirteen big little ones baby. Winner winner, wine for dinner.

The Accountant, a shopping knight, plunged on like a true warrior in Zara after facing earlier defeat. She won Excalibur; not one, but TWO pairs of jeans. And tops and shirts and SO MUCH STUFF. Bags and bags later we kneeled down before her to worship. I had but a paltry pair of (resin and laneway-found) earrings to console me in my darkest, shopping-bagless nights. They will do though. I love them with passion and fervour.

These'll do, pig. And the 50% off Oroton sale this week is also quite consoling.

These’ll do, pig. And the 50% off Oroton sale this week is also quite consoling.

Then, there was napping. PLEASE NOTE: this was not, I repeat NOT a nanna nap. This was beauty sleep. Bernard Fanning needed to see us in optimal condition.

Do you know how far it is to the Yarra from Melbourne? Me neither, but it’s further than a bladder-ride away. Distances are not in kms, miles, or furlongs these days. They come in units of bladders. The Editor was looking for a plastic bag with no holes to contemplate peeing in (best to assume the 3rd person at this point, dont you think?) when the bus decided to arrive at the green, green, very very green Day on the Green, being made extra green by the torrential rain pouring down.

This is kind of long. Lots of words.

You probably want to make a cup of tea or go to sleep or something. How about I do you a kindness and draw this out into TWO LONG SAGA-LENGTH INSTALMENTS? You can perch with bated breath on the edge of your picnic rug to find out what happens in Part 2 of Bridesmaids – Revisited, coming next week to a Face First webpage near you.

I warn you – things may go downhill in Part 2. Rain and wine and mud and stuff.

Nighty night pumpkins!



Winery finery – Marvis and Songkat run for the hills

Happy toes!

Last weekend I had the unexpected luxury of being handed a leave-pass, and with my partner in wine and crime Marvis, we grabbed it and ran.

Marvis, my gorgeous friend, lover of books, whisky connoisseur and serious smart-arse, had suggested we stay at the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley, because she is a genius and that place does a SERIOUS breakfast buffet. OH yes. Eggs benedict WITH smoked salmon please. I became Songkat because we played a round of Songpop and I kept getting the name confused with an app called ‘Songcat‘ invented by a clever IT friend of mine. I may not be a genius.

We ran away from our daughters (numbering 3) on Friday, ready to soak in the warmth of the Hunter Valley sun, and soak in the juice of the Hunter Valley grape. We could have been ‘Kimla and Jacquise’ for this adventure, but it seemed a bit derivative, and I didn’t fancy driving off a cliff at the end with a bootful of wine to consider.

 So: A rundown and roundup of Marvis and Songkat’s winery runaround:

1. Briar Ridge. It was a good warm-up for the palate. A fair drive out of ‘town’, it had a very pretty outlook.  And that’s about all I have to say about that. I do have a really lovely Chardonnay from Briar Ridge in my stack at home from 2011, but nothing this day blew me away.

2. Brokenwood Wines. Always awesome. Always very high quality wines, and consistent quality. They could see us baby – shaking that ass. Somehow it’s always more tempting to buy wine with a little  encouragement from Groove Armada. My favourites: 2010 Pinot Gris – really rich and honey-fruity, but crisp and dry. And the Forest Edge Chardonnay – YUM. That is all. Yep – I can SO talk wine.

Marvis managed to trade in her $12 chain-store ring for a $50 bottle of wine that caught the eye of the wine-taster person.* “It’s made of glass”. Unfazed. “Maybe plastic”. Unfazed. “It only cost me $12″. Unfazed. “It’s tarnished”. Unfazed. So – with full disclosure the deal went ahead.  BARTERING IS ALIVE AND WELL!!!

I don’t really remember what happened next. OH yeah – we ate some lunch.

No planking on the pig. Please.

3. Pig’s Peake. Funneeeee guys here. Awesome wines. Puns like these: Boartrytis, Sowvignon Blanc, Rind Riesling and so on. But they have really unusual stuff, which I like, like Zinfandel, Chambourcin (Pig’s blood – yes, really, and the colour is amazing). My pigs (sorry!) picks were the Pig’s Blood and the Pork Barrel Viognier 2011.

4. Scarborough. Scarborough, Scarborough. I love Chardonnay – big fat old-fashioned oaky chardonnay, and I LOVE that you do EIGHT glasses in a tasting at Scarborough – the place to go for Chardonnay-lovers. I also was surprised to find I liked their 2012 semillon very very much indeed. I was liking most things very very much indeed by then.

I get to taste HOW many?

5. Ballabourneen. This is my favourite winery ever. They make great wine. And that’s not just me saying so (cos I know exactly almost precisely nothing), but James Halliday reckons so too, giving them five stars, calling them one of ten dark horses to watch in 2012. I will continue buying up as much of their Viognier as I can afford until it runs out. I also really enjoyed their 2012 Bucket of Hunter Semillon this visit. It helps that their cellar-door peeps are a hoot.

Buckets of YUM

We did some other stuff too, like watch the rugby, sleep, swim, eat cheese, but that was all the boring stuff. We drank ALL OF THE WINE and IT WAS GOOD.

*(What are they called? Taster-person? Vineyardier? Winererier? I am always half-tanked by the second winery and such details escape me. Are they still sommeliers outside a restaurant?)