Back to my roots

Wild fennel, but not as wild as a dancing tuba player

And so we almost come to the end of another year. A year that has (almost) ended pretty much exactly how it began – with a sore lower back, tight calves and temporary but profound deafness. Monetise This’s 2013 started with one of its brave bids for youthful summer freedom – Hot Chip at the Enmore, and Two Door Cinema Club and The Vaccines at The Hordern. It lost its mojo through the middle (much like every year, really), then had a brief bolt for the door with the brilliant (but still irritatingly upper-cased) Cody ChesnuTT at The Metro, before crying ‘Hallelujah!’, leaping into the arms of Urthboy and The Roots (also at the Hordern) and galloping off into the sunset with the band’s dancing tuba player last Friday. In my dreams…

I would have liked to have taken an iSnap or two of The Roots show, we were that close I almost didn’t need to wear my glasses (not for us the dispiriting benches up the back of the Hordern full of 40-somethings, no sirree Bob), but that would have pushed my tragic, age-inappropriate behaviour one step too far.

So here’s pictorial proof instead that my year has not all been They Shoot Horses Don’t They?, and that I am not, in fact, a young Jane Fonda (though you’d probably guessed that already). The siren call of Aldi may have me in its evil grasp, but at least I know how to forage a decent crop of wild fennel when I see one.

Golf does have its use, it seems. This bunch was harvested from one of the many courses that suck up our local groundwater.

This year has brought with it trials – physical, emotional, political (occasionally all at the same time) – to many of my family and friends near and far (foraging being the least of these). For many of them it’s been a complete shit of a year (starting even before the eviscerating debacle that was 7 September) and I’m hoping that the next one will be a little happier, healthier and easier for everyone – unless you happen to be poor, old, young, sick, homeless or stateless, that is. ‘Fraid you’re on your own in that case – sorry, but I didn’t vote for the bastards.

So much for needing to talk about Kevin.

Don’t mess with the good stuff

Instead, I count myself lucky that I’ve been able to keep a roof over my head and a pavlova on the table when it matters most (when it’s raining, obviously, like on Christmas Day). As luck would have it, we’d been invited to spend the day with friends at an iconic Sydney mansion, where, as I’ve crowed previously, we would spend the day pretending to be deeply rich and fiercely glamorous by the sparkling waters of the harbour. Instead, we spent the day being deeply damp and fiercely resentful at the hand the weather gods had dealt us.

“I hope this isn’t my last Christmas,” whispered Mrs F, as I plied her with a dessert selection that ranged from said pavlova to a sugar-free raspberry cheesecake (a culinary abomination so unspeakable even Lucy the labrador shuddered and averted her eyes). Thankfully, I was able to assure her that the sugar in my pavlova should keep her (and Lucy, given half the chance) preserved long enough to see in 2016.

For Monetise This, the last few hours of 2013 will be spent with her peeling nose buried in a brick of a book, lying on a shimmering South Coast beach while Lucy digs holes by the water’s edge. Until we meet again, have a sweet new year, gentle reader(s). Wishing you health, peace and a well-calibrated oven.