After an hilarious evening last night at Double Take* with BB, B and the delightful Dean (I'm sorry I haven't listened to you on 2XX, but I'll try to tune in next time), I awoke bright and bloody early (thanks Padge, for the purr alarum) to go to the markets.
For those who don't already know how fabulous Canberra is, read the comments to this post. Somewhere in there our Growers' Market is mentioned, and after visiting the lame and tourist-priced Growers' Market at Blackheath a few weeks ago, I am even more in love with this fabulous opportunity to buy excellent food. I fully blame this market for the slow but steady increase in my waistline (I originally typed wasitline, which I think I prefer), but hey, it's all good. Really. It's ALL good.
There are two things I regularly queue for at the markets: bagels and fish. If I don't go to the prettily dishevelled bagel girl first thing, they've all sold out by 8.00. That's because they are fresh, and $5 for 6, and people buy 4 DOZEN AT A TIME. Greedy sods!
The fish is also fresh, caught the day before at Batemans Bay on the trawler MARGY II (named, I found out this morning, not after the fisherman's long-suffering wife, whose name is Bernadette, but after the fisherman's long-suffering mother), and driven to Canberra that morning. Worth queuing for, especially the flathead tails, which go in a flash.
But now there's a third reason to queue: BANANAS. The bananas come once a fortnight, down from Coff's Harbour: beautiful little yellow ladyfingers, plump and fizzy to the taste. Before Cyclone Larry the stall just chugged along, but now the line goes along and out the building. That's because in Woolworths the bananas are between $15 and $18/kg, and here they are $7.99. 15 minutes in a queue is nothing when you think of it. I lined up and listened around me, and felt like I was in England during WWII:
'Just a few months ago there were piles of them, cheap as anything.'
'Yairs, took them for granted, didn't we?'
'These are such a treat, aren't they?'
'I wonder if he'll run out by the time we get there?' 'oooh, I hope not!'
'It'll all be over by Christmas, we'll be back to normal by then'
I got to the front of the line, and while the fellow restocked the table, I picked out a nice bunch and popped it on the scales. Then a smaller hand, to make it up to around 2 kgs. The stall holder barked out a laugh, because I'd managed to pick out 2kg exactly, right on the dot. 'Go buy a lottery ticket, luv!'
A friend puffed up to me just as I paid my money. He'd seen me and had thought of asking me to add another kilo on for him. Probably lucky he was too late, because there might have been a lynching from the queue if we'd tried. Bananas are precious, and worth fighting for, these days.
After I've done those three things, I then stroll around, buying vegies, bread, deli goods and fresh flowers, stopping to chat to people I know. It's a very social occasion.
Speaking of social occasions, apparently bananas are the new flowers to take when you visit a friend. I'm going to try it this afternoon when I attend a friend's girls-only 'Polite Night'. The invitation reads:
Once in a lifetime event - using one hand to cover your mouth as you politely snort while listening to G attempt to play the piano and, while you're convulsing, using the other hand to hold a glass of champagne without spilling it on the nice chick sitting next to you.
That must be after I've laid the bananas gently and reverently down on the coffee table.
JUST A QUICKIE: Happy birth day to baby EDITH, born a whopping 4.2kg on Thursday to Jo, who sounded amazingly sparky for someone who just given birth for the second time in 2 years and was home within 24 hours. Blimey.
* Double Take are the bomb (Postscript: check out their Quickies!). If you see them coming anywhere near you, catch the show. I used to see everything they did, many many years ago, and they've lost none of their naughty humour over the years. I've also contributed to their movie fund, and they've given me a very glam new look, a picture of which I may take into the hairdressers (when I finally get there).