Saturday, July 29, 2006

I walk the line

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.

Buddha banana

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).


Jennifer said...

what a fun post! we love our farmer's market too - but it's funny how different it is. We would never have bananas there because they are all over the regular market. i agree though - i would wait a long time for a good fresh bagel! (especially with goat cheese from the farmer's market)

Zoe said...

See, I have the alternate universe trip to the market where I buy my sourdough and scoff at the banana-queuers with the saleswoman, who tells me they worked out Banana man makes $2500 for his efforts.

And did you get some jap punkin & english spinach from the organic dudes near the door that the banana bunchers were queueing out of?

Mummy/Crit said...

I like the 'bananas are the new flowers' comment, I think I'd figured it out for myself, as I took a bunch when I took D to play at a new school friend's house the other day. it helps that I work in a fruit shop and get 20% off the $14.80/k we charge, but it's still bloody expensive. There were bugger all in FNQ when I was there too, and they were still really pricey.

worldpeace and a speedboat said...

Double Take are TEH Bomb!

ooh Ducky, I'm so glad they're still around! I saw their first run of Astro Zombies in 1986, thanks to some totally nerdy friends in first year uni. I was in Yr 12. god, everyone were wetting themselves with laughter, including the actors up the back - I seem to remember there were four of them at the time, two chicks and two blokes...

I got to see them do Hercules as well. I just looked on their website - I had no idea they did Hercules as a video release. cool!

I hope they do Sydney again. ta for the heads up!

Ampersand Duck said...

That's not a bad take for a fortnight. I don't begrudge having to stand in that queue. They are scrummy. And that sourdough! Yum.

Yes, Speedie, they are teh bomb. Even pared down to two people. The Hercules movie is fun, but live is so much better. I'm sure they'll do Sydney again. This was their second visit to Canberra in a month.

cristy said...

I love the farmer's markets. I remember the first time I went along to them with my Mum (shortly after they had opened). I was still living in Sydney and had this sudden feeling that I would be perfectly fine if we moved back to Canberra.

There is just something so wholesome about the place and the community atmosphere is fantastic.

worldpeace and a speedboat said...

I always thought you might be a slightly worn around the edges crosseyed alhoholic exotic blonde looking off into the middle distance, Ducky ;)

(ps love the earrings)

Double Take said...

Hey, I'm the webmaster/editor/sound designer/dog's body etc for Double Take.

I've passed details of your blog on to both Des and Gabrielle. We had a great time on Thursday and Friday nights in Canberra and I'm really glad you enjoyed the show.

In answer to the question about Sydney performances we are currently talking to the Footbridge Theater about staging another Sydney show hopefully in the near future. Keep an eye on our website and hopefully there will be some news there very soon.

Ampersand Duck said...


Armagnac Esq said...

Yer convincing me ducky!

It's all down to the recruiters now, I'm up, beloved is (cautiously) up. The berra is definitely on the table...