Finally the weather had settled into a benign dryness, even a promise of sun lurking behind the clouds. The Brisbane floods were receding with Insurance companies licking their wounds, and the ABC news back to normal and the cricket. Here in Bowral the last of the grandkids, sated from helmeted Razor skating and vanilla ice cream with Milo chocolate topping were returned to their homes. Thank you kindly and a glorious return to freedom!
The idea fermented over a few days was to have a nice outdoor dinner for two. You know the kind to restore post Christmas madness and a rekindling of marital glow with the need for some restoration. Time to take scaffolding down, remove the smelly ham bone, clean the fridge and book the car for a pink slip.
Sticking to the dinner for two though, I bought fresh salmon, Dutch carrots and some firm potatoes. This was going to be a simple yet delicious dinner. We already had the wasabi, the soy sauce but not an adequate wine to justify this momentous occasion of marital rejuvenation for 2011 and a surging revival in conjugal bliss with the eventual sharing of sweetness and goodness trickling down throughout the entire community of villas and townhouses here in Bowral.
“Dan Murphy.” This, as always, the last stop to a totally trustworthy agent of at least able to supply the necessary imbibing ingredients for any event, let alone the dinner for two at the back of St Jude’s at Bowral with fresh salmon and firm potatoes.
Like always we are inexorably drawn to the Dan Murphy’s bins of specials. The specials are often euphemistically called ‘bin- ends’ or line –ends. Whatever, they give a hint of bargains to be had, even though through bitter experience, the bargain might often be a bottle that has peaked, just as inexorably. Never the less, a Dutch gene that seeks to save and find magical bargains is often embedded forever in those born and tainted with ‘The House of Oranje.’ J’ai maintiendrai ‘is our motto engraved on coats of arms and the guilder.
So, both Helvi and I now deeply bent over the many bins of specials, featuring mouth-watering discounts. We finally, and with a resurgence of patriotism, perhaps linked to those suffering from floods in Queensland where everybody is now ‘shoulder to shoulder’ and to ‘the last man’ working to clean the mud, decided on a bottle of ‘Billabong’. A true Aussi oy, oy, oy number.
Reduced from $18.90 to $9.99 and a nice little 2009 date to boot. A red with ‘light oak characters to be served with roast beef and vegetables,’ it said on the back and at the bottom. We were delighted if not reckless as well. A red wine with salmon is a bit brave, but what the heck. This was all for rejuvenations and re-kindling, remember? I should have continued reading.
Anyway, the carrots with greenery hanging out over the sauce pan were boiled to perfection. The potatoes micro-waved for 13 minutes. The fish grilled for 7 minutes in total with its flesh a roseate pre-pubescent pink. Helvi glazed the Dutch carrots with some Mimosa honey. I had uncapped the wine an hour before but with metal screw caps now omitted to get a sniff of the cork. No wonder Portugal is up the spout now that cork is gone and screw caps are in.
Helvi had set the table outside with a colourful table cloth; there was a hint of perfumed evening air, cicadas giving a free concert. All was ready for the resurgence and rejuvenations. We clicked our glasses and gazed into each other’s eyes. It was all getting very French and we both took a deep and meaningful sip.
Oh, the wine, that bargain at $ 9.99. In small lettering below Billabong Red and in brackets.
(De- Alcoholised) and lower still, “0.5% Alcohol.”
“ f#@cking hell.” You f@$%c*ng cheapskate.
Tonight we avoided the special bin-ends, walked straight past them.