Thursday, December 07, 2006

kangeroo steaks, crocodile and Baramoundi fillet

YESTERDAY we moved to Perth after a disastrous final day of the second Test in Adelaide in which England managed to undermine all their good work of the previous four days by throwing away the game. The Aussie crowing reached record proportions. Never mind.
To drown our sorrows it was time for a night out and I had booked a table at the Strathmore Hotel for a farewell meal to Adelaide. And what a pleasant surprise.
Sitting in the upstairs restaurant myself, Watford Pete, the Kitchen Designer and Stormin' Norman, a 50-something Belfast-born, Buckinghamshire-based laugh-a-minute cricket lover, suddenly found that we had to cook the meal ourselves! For once this blog's title is actually accurate.
I plumped for the Aussie fare - Kangaroo steaks, crocodile and the popular local fish Baramoundi - while the others all chose the steak option. It was hilarious for Stormin', who had only told me the day before that he had never cooked a meal in his life.
The food turns up on a thick piece of stone, possibly slate, which has spent hours heating in the oven. First you have to sear the meat on the stone and keep turning it. Then you cut slices off and continue to cook how you want it. Watford Pete, the deaf lad, looked totally bemused by the whole thing but once he got the gist he really enjoyed himself cooking his well-done rump. Mind you, he made a bit of a mistake with what he thought was a mustard sauce but was actually a big bowl of English mustard. Cue a grab for the water, steam eminating from his ears as he realised his big mistake.
All in all, a great experience.
We then opted to drown our sorrows in the bar below and eventually managed to talk Watford into a trip to PJs for one last hurrah. The previous evening I had been there with Stormin' who, not used to the power of VB, had to be poured into a taxi at the end of the night. He was still carrying a hangover when we went for our meal.
It was a good night apart from the fact that Watford, who had already been showing signs of being worse for wear (he wanted us to go to the Melbourne Test dressed as either the Telly Tubbies or a Pantomime cow!) then preceded to knock back two pints of Guinness in the time it took us to take the froth off our cold ones.
When I returned from the bar a little later he was looking terribly sheepish. Next moment the bouncer was ushering him out of the door. He had managed to throw up on the ciggy machine. Poor Pete. He had to get up at the crack of dawn next morning for a two-day trip to Ayers Rock. He's ok, though.
Said goodbye to a few mates we had met during our stay in Adelaide on the basis they were returning to the UK. Paul from Cardiff and his dad were on the way home and it was nice to see his old man out with him in a bar where the local band were playing a really good cover-version set of things like Black Sabbath's Paranoid and Pink Floyd's Another Brick in the Wall.
I eventually stumbled back at just gone 3 whereas the Kitchen Designer ended up going back to the Holiday Inn with some mates. He came across a large number of the Aussie team in the bar, absolutely trolleyed (and who can blame them?)
Ponting was off his face, Mike Hussey was singing and Adam Gilchrist was still in his whites. He fell off his stall laughing when one of the Kitchen Designer's crew started singing "We're gonna win 3-2!"

Barmy Army Travel is starting to do exactly what it says on the tin. Some of the organisational c cock-ups have been outright barmy. Still, I imagine it is the first thing they have taken on of this nature and I'm prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt.
Yesterday started with a call to the room at 10.20. "Are you checking out today, sir?" was the question as I looked at the clock through bleary eyes.
"Well, you should have done so 20 minutes ago."
So much for the note slipped under our door which said we had until 12 to pack and check out.
Then when we arrived in Perth they managed to drop us off at the wrong hotel. It was The Seasons rather than the All Seasons and we had to call the bus back and lump all our cases back on board. Not a pleasant job for the Kitchen Designer, who managed to whack his head on the roof of the luggage compartment and felt dizzy from then on.
Eventally we arrived but the Designer and I were stunned when we saw our room - no window and no smoking! It was claustrophic. Good for the Designer, though. He went back and complained and they shifted us to a smoking room with a window for one night. We'll have to move again today.

Last night we had a beer with "Jimmy", the iconic choir master of the Barmy Army. Everywhere we go Jimmy has to done his George Cross hat and his white George Cross shirt as the TV crews gather to speak to him. He is more of a celebrity than every England player bar, perhaps, Freddie Flintoff.
Mind you, the Designer and I also got our share of the limelight yesterday with Aussie station ABC interviewing us for their news bulletins. They wanted to speak to miserable Englanders at the airport, but we didn't give them the satisfaction, being very upbeat and positive (not that I felt it, mind. I think we'll lose 5-0).
What a nice bloke Jimmy is, though. His real name is Vic and he is a carpenter and joiner by profession. His hat is sponsored, which provides him with beer money, and he also has a little Welsh flag on his chest given to him by another Barmy boy.
As we sat in the bar we were joined by another famous Army member - the trumpeter who has been hitting the news worldwide. The Aussie sat at the next table couldn't believe it. He rushed off to his room, returning with his camera and a copy of an article on the Army in Zoo magazine, which Jimmy had to sign. I took a picture of the two Barmy "celebs" with their new Aussie friend and he was delighted.

Ended up in a bar called "The Lucky Shag" last night. Didn't get lucky, though. Still, it was a beautiful setting, out on a verandah looking out over The Swan river. Simply stunning. I think, once we've settled in, I will like Perth.

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