food & wine show 2007

You would be so proud of us, Mena and me.

This year we had a plan. We took heed of the advice we gave ourselves last year.

– We bought a trolley.

– We started the day with a substantial breakfast.

– And we didn’t make any plans for the evening.

 

Amy (second-eldest niece) and Mena’s mate Kay joined us for the day, which we started with breakfast and a game plan discussion. More rules: no stopping at stalls selling non-food items. If the stall doesn’t grab your immediate attention – MOVE ON. Don’t spend all day in one corner of the hall and miss out on other fun stuff. No wandering into the drinking area before 3pm.

We were like a military attack group. Mena grabbed handfuls of Frangelico with lime, while Amy tried anything resembling a chocolate mousse. No showbags were purchased as they were likely to slow us down. We divided and conquered every new aisle. it was marvellous.

We had tickets to the celebrity chef performance – Donna Hay at 12.30pm. An hour earlier we were close to the entrance and heard whoops and cheering coming from the auditorium: Ainsley Harriott was in town. Orlando would be horrified. We considered waiting like groupies for him to come off the stage so we could get a photo with him but decided our time was too precious.

To our dismay, the Donna Hay session conflicted with the “easy weekday meals” session at the Australian Good Taste magazine kitchen. Now, Mena and I spent a wonderful hour or so at a similar session last year, and decided that Michelle Southan (AGT’s chief editor) was our best friend because she cooked all our favourite foods and laughed a lot. After a moment’s thought, Donna lost out to our best mate Michelle and we sat and watched the show.

Mena and I frantically trawled the stalls looking for the divine dips we bought too little of last year; mercifully at the last moment before we were sucked into the wine area, we found Yumi’s and stocked up on their divine smoked trout mousse and tuna dip and all the other amazing flavours they have.

Then the onslaught began. We split up in the wine section, the better to cover more ground. Again, last year’s rules applied:

– Only taste one wine per stall

– Less talking, more drinking (yes, even Doyles can adhere to this at times)

– Don’t buy ANYTHING after the first half hour – you are drunk by then

– Have a chat to people you come across at the counter, but MOVE ALONG QUICKLY

– Ask the nice man to write the name of the wine down. You will not remember anything (much)

 

By closing time we were feeling pretty pleased with ourselves. We had bought some bread, some dips, some books and Mena had somehow purchased two cases of wine after the first half hour (it turned out to be a Good Decision). Exhausted, we walked slowly down to E Gusto (sounds much more fun if you say it with a Yorkshire accent and not an Italian one) and had one for the road with some antipasto and – yes – dips.

Home before nine o’clock, more or less in one piece, and we remember everything.

Oh, and we accosted Michelle Southan after her cooking show, told her she was our best friend, and she told us to email her anytime! Not that we are stalkers or anything…

ireland may 2007

A twelve-day holiday in Ireland in May: my suitcase was packed with layers, sweaters and closed-in shoes. How wrong could I be?

From the day I landed we had blue skies and sunshine and not a drop of rain. I had too many sweaters and not enough teeshirts. Thank god for Dunnes Stores.

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mummum’s answers

Name:
Mummum

Star sign:
Libra

I live in:
Dublin Ireland

I work as:
mother at home

How I know Mairead:
mother  

Three words that come to mind when I think of her:
little dark curly head

My favorite memory of her is:
friends and her doing homework in kitchen

One thing she should be proud of:
getting a degree in U.C.D.

Most influential person in my life and why:
my husband

Three words that best describe me:
energetic, young, beautiful

My happiest memory:
my husband

My biggest fear:
turning 50

One thing I wish I had done yesterday:
kept Mairead in Ireland !!

I love:
my Sunday tea

I hate:
watching daytime TV

The dream I’d most like to have come true:
to have all my children be happy

If I won a million dollars I would:
give all my children a share

A turning point of my life was:
getting married

Naughtiest thing I’ve ever done:
now, now !!

One thing I’m proud of:
my house

 

MY FAVORITE:

Song:
anything by george michael

Book:
what’s that ?

Magazine:
womens own

Band/Artist:
Jack Jones

Actor:
Harrison Ford

Drink:
Sherry

Animal:
pussy cat

Food:
corned beef and cabbage

Restaurant:
Joels

Film:
nice story

Sport:
Soccer

Shop:
Roche’s Stores

Clothes:
dresses

Shoes:
high heels

Colour:
red

Car:
big

Expression:
very nice always

Emotion:
sometimes

Hobby:
playing bowls

Lie:
I never tell lies

Childhood Toy:
doll in shoe box

Thing about Sunday:
carvey in City West (a posh golf club)

TV Show:
Quiz shows

mairead’s answers

Name:
Mairead

Star sign:
Scorpio

I live in:
Footscray, Melbourne

I work as:
project manager

How I know Mairead:
I am she  

Three words that come to mind when I think of her:
talkative drama queen
Most influential person in my life and why:
Orlando for teaching me how to be true to myself

My happiest memory:
walking along Candolim beach in Goa by the water’s edge in the morning before the crowds

My biggest fear:
Something terrible happening to Orlando

One thing I wish I had done yesterday:
worn nicer shoes

I love:
good food, good wine, new places, the sound of the ocean

I hate:
bad grammar, stupid or ignorant people, having to exercise

The dream I’d most like to have come true:
being able to pop back to Europe for the weekend anytime I want

If I won a million dollars I would:
squander 20%, invest 40% and spend the rest travelling the world

A turning point of my life was:
travelling around the world in 1998/99

Naughtiest thing I’ve ever done:
using an ex-boyfriend’s credit card to send flowers and a marriage proposal on hs behalf to “the other woman”

One thing I’m proud of:
my feet
 

MY FAVORITE:

Song:
Whenever Wherever Whatever by Maxwell

Book:
Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie

Magazine:
The New Yorker

Band/Artist:
Prince

Actor:
Denzel – no, George – no, Wesley

Drink:
red wine

Animal:
cat

Food:
dinner

Restaurant:
Club 21 Shack, Goa

Film:
Blade/Blade 2 (mmm… Wesley)

Sport:
basketball

Shop:
Dunnes Stores

Clothes:
linen

Shoes:
spangly flip flops

Colour:
tangerine

Car:
black Toyota Prius

Expression:
Bollocks

Emotion:
exhiliration

Hobby:
food

Lie:
these shoes aren’t new

Childhood Toy:
Tressy dolls (like Barbie dolls)

Thing about Sunday:
lounging at home with Orlando

TV Show:
West Wing

Family Birthdays – Annette


The Doyle birthday season continues, with Annette (the glamorous sister) celebrating her 50th birthday last week. I missed the party and a weekend of celebrations (that’s what jobhunting will cost you) but I’m assured the last party-goer departed at 9am the following morning.

 

 

 

 

 

Annette is the person who introduced me to India eight years ago, and has strong links with the country herself. Here she is with little Aishwaria, the youngest addition to a family Annette has been friends with for more than 20 years. She visits the family every time she travels to India (which is twice a year) and she is like the eldest sister. She doesn’t ever talk about the assistance she has given this family over the years, such as paying for a well to be dug to irrigate their farm, and contributing to the education fees of most of the family. Her latest idea is to help buy a tractor for the family’s village – any ideas, anyone?

 

 

 

However Annette is not just a philanthropist and has been known to be a bit of a party animal too. Here she is after a long night partying in Essex (where else), having convinced the local police to give her and her mates a lift home when they locked the keys in the car. Charming.

one year on

It is hard to believe that a whole year has gone by since he left. The trip had been a last-minute decision, and in the end we only saw each other for a few hours. Then I kissed him and told him I loved him, and walked out the door. It was the last time I saw him.

I had seen relationships end before, and had experienced heartbreak. This was no different: the chasm hurt like a physical wound. I sat and sobbed to my friends on the phone, bewildered by my abandonment. Despite the anguish it caused me, I continued to talk incessantly about him – even his presence in a conversation was better than nothing. The feeling of closeness I experienced when talking about him almost dulled the pain of losing him, if only for a few minutes.

One thing was different though. When my heart had been broken in the past, my feelings of rejection were difficult to separate from the hurt of the relationship ending. This time all I had to contend with was the knowledge that I would never see him again: I know he loved me. He told me enough times, and more than that, for almost 40 years he demonstrated it in everything he did. He was my father and he loved me. I was his daughter. Nobody could change that.

One year on, on the other side of the planet, I sit with a glass of red wine by the fire, candles glowing in the silence of the evening. This day last year, this very minute, I sat by his bed and watched him drift in and out of sleep. Now he is gone. The treasure of those last hours fills my memories, and the reliving of that night makes me feel close to him still. It is worth the pain I feel to recall the look on his face when he woke in his hospital bed to see me arriving with my little suitcase on wheels, a smile of joy for me despite his suffering. “Ah, Maiready!” He was the only one who ever called me that.

I remember that I went back one last time to kiss him goodnight again, to tell him I loved him again. I didn’t know then that it would be the last time, but it gives me comfort to think back on that impulse now. Nothing was left unsaid.

Today is no different than any other day really. He cannot be more in my thoughts than he has been every day in the past year. I could not miss him more than I have missed him since that day. But still I sit and relive the events of a year ago. It is my way of honouring him I suppose: no church visits for me, no grave to stand beside. For a short time, my sorrow will again be eclipsed by my bittersweet memory of the last time I saw his face. He was my father. I am his daughter and I love him.