Its that odd little week between Christmas and New Years and it will also be my last blog post for 2013. I Know, can you believe it is the end of another year. While writing this I am remembering some good new years of past. Those spent camping at Tallebudgera beach as a child were usually pretty good but maybe that’s because I was seeing it all through the eyes of a child. As a kid on new years you got to stay up late….really, really late (no doubt the adults around us were coerced into staying up) and you got to do things you usually couldn’t do. And just like Christmas, everything seemed a little bit more magical then too. We had a Scottish new years once while camping. I still remember parts of that night even though I was probably only about 8 at the time. Auld Lang Syne, Cold Duck (if your a child of the 60’s you’ll know what that is), bungers and tom thumbs (fireworks were legal in Queensland back then), haggis, sipping alcohol from unattended glasses, coloured paper streamers and the Gold Coast highway. Actually except for the haggis, the above was our usual new years at the coast!
At those same campgrounds (we camped there every year for about 7 weeks from December to January and this was in the 60’s and 70’s), we would also listen to the artists at the ‘Playroom International’ as their voices would filter out of the venue, across the highway and down to the camp ground. The Playroom was a bit like a rock venue which attracted some of the biggest artist around of that era. We would lay in our bunks and listen to Johnny O’Keefe (I know, pinch me – J OK, how lucky were we), Lovelace Watkins (I had a serious girly crush on this man for a very very long time), Frankie Davidson to name a few that I can remember. Thinking of the Playroom has also made me remember Santa Land, The Pink Poodle, Jack Evans, the Burleigh Heads pool, Meter Maids, The Birdwatcher Bar, Surfers Paradise when it was actually a surfers paradise, the Miami ice building, the Queensland Hotel, the Iluka and Ten The Esplanade etc. Talk about showing my age! All this has also made me think of my sister Tracey, Dad (our grandfather) and I driving off into the bush surrounding the Gold Coast (yes it was a very different place back then – there was lots and lots of bushland around……..and we didn’t wear seatbelts either) to find our Christmas tree. Once chosen, Dad would cut it down with his tomahawk which was kept in the car. We would put the slain tree in the boot of the Morris Major and drive back to the tent feeling pretty chuffed then Dad would stick the tree in a bucket of wet sand. We decorated the tree with really lovely old ornaments made of glass, paper chains we hand-made and little paper Chinese lanterns which you could actually put lit candles in – all very beautiful and very dangerous given the tree was also highly flammable. But who cared back then as the tent flap was also left open during the night. I know, it just makes you want to run through your house with a pair of scissors in your hand now doesn’t it.
I don’t know if the Playroom is still there. I am hoping with all my heart that it is but I am afraid to google it just in case! Just in case meaning I’m afraid it may have been demolished by now to make way for some god awful food chain or worse! If it has been demolished please don’t email me or leave a comment to break the bad news. Just let me live with the idea of it still being there. It’s all I ask……..well that and world peace!
Anyway, back to new years which is what my blog was originally going to be about. As I got older I spent less time with family and more doing my own thing. My own thing over the years has involved a very dodgy taxi ride, a kebab and a bathtub! A Village People Policeman look a like, a park bench and a kebab in King George Square (is there a theme happening here!). Illegal fire works in Canberra, a monkey in Hatton Vale, a fire extinguisher (nothing to do with fire works or the monkey), Champagne, a priest and unattainable new years eve resolutions made and broken within two to three days……..ah, happy memories.
This new years I am surmising the night will also involve some form of time travel. Travelling back in time is not for the faint of heart and it should come with a warning label due to the unwanted sided effects:
1) One may lose consciousness
2) One may suffer temporary memory loss
3) One may suffer a headache
You see my time travel comes courtesy of Gin and did you know more classic cocktails are made of gin than any other spirit. And by the way, London Gin is not necessarily always made in London. I know, I was as shocked as you when I found that out! Anyway, my evening will begin with my usual Martini’s (it makes me feel very ‘Rat Packy’) and I am after all living in the USA now. And it is not a correct statement either that you must be a melancholic 55 year old with bad bed hair sitting on the stairs in a semi dark house with mascara stains down your face or a sultry smoker voiced jazz singer to drink gin. That’s all just a big myth! As is the other big myth about gin – it makes you depressed! No studies have ever proven that gin is more of a depressant than any other spirit so stop sulking (because quite frankly a little self deprecation is good but self pity is just plain annoying) and go make yourself a Martini. You don’t know how! Well here is my recipe:
4 x 25ml of gin (I prefer Bombay Sapphire), 1 x 25ml of dry vermouth and a strip of lemon peel (I like mine with a twist rather than an olive). Add ice to a shaker and add wet ingredients then stir (I also like mine stirred and not shaken) then strain into a chilled glass. Twist the lemon peel until it leaves ‘a slick’ of oil on the top of the martini.
Here’s one I prepared earlier…….cheers xx
Around the stroke of midnight and at the start of a brand new wonderful year I will raise my glass once again. Have a wonderful safe and very happy new year. Thank you for reading the blog. See you all next year xx