After Margaret Carney very kindly chauffeured me home from hospital with a new hole in my neck, covered with a bandage, Jon Attwater and Master-Chef Roz Skinner arrived laden with dinner. Roz is an iconic figure in the Balmoral Beach club as she is regarded as the haute-cuisine champion of the women’s change room. She shares that pantheon of chefs occupied by my grandmother, Mary Maude Muss, and my sister Fiona Kelly. What they do is not cooking or food preparation, it is art.
We were soon sitting down to a magnificent Thai curry, spicy without being hot, simple yet tasty and nutritious and a big serve of vegetables with the pièce de résistance being new season Aubergine.
Jon Attwater, is also a fair sort of cook. A student of texture and colour in fine food preparation, who honed his skills in the Simpson Desert, under arduous conditions, with nothing to go on other than some leg ham and a jar of pickles and me making ill – informed suggestions over his shoulder. He pronounced Roz’s Magnum Opus as very good. He also pronounced the Squealing Pig Marlborough sauvignon blanc and Limb Vineyards 2011 Barossa Shiraz as very acceptable. It must have been as there was none of either left at the end of the night.
A lively debate around the merits of television series ensued between courses with The Wire, Fargo, House of Cards, Breaking Bad, True Detective, The Sopranos, and The Following all having claims. We decided that The Wire and Fargo won hands down. We had lots of laughs. “Laughter is the best medicine.” So said the American comedian Art Linkletter. I agree with him. When that laughter is accompanied by beautifully prepared, home cooked food it is that much more enriching.
Before long the all important pudding was plated up and put on the table. I regard myself as a student of pudding and this was pretty good – ice cream and peaches with Roz’s hot, home-made chocolate fudge. I forgot about broken legs, spinal blocks and pain. I became concerned about the potential for a heart attack after gobbling down too much chocolate fudge. I was also worried about John Attwater’s heart as he had stents put in and I’m sure chocolate fudge and ice cream were not on his doctor’s recommended nutrition list.
And the pain? I had a dull ache around my neck and left shoulder all night which intensified as the local anaesthetic wore off. But it was a different sort of pain. It felt like it may just be from the presence of the Cortisone and the effect of the needle. It feels different than the pain of the last 4 to 5 weeks. Tomorrow is another day and will tell if this procedure has worked. The food and the company certainly helped even if the cortisone doesn’t. So ends Friday the 13th. Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans. Could have been a lot worse.