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  The bits of stuff that fall in the cracks between Life, Music and Outrageous Fortune.
Chrissy, Chrissy and more Chrissy..

1) Maria puts in her formal bid 2) Laura and Maria celebrate the win 3) The SOLD sign at the property

4) Mike joins Uncle Geoff on the verandah at the McClatchys' 5) Maria made this really lovely looking cheesecake

6) Maria also made this bewt salad on Christmas Day 7) Bad Santa was a very naughty boy

Dreams can come true, Virginia!
26.12.16 -
Maria's been trying to find a house for us to build a life together for over a year now and we thought we'd found the ideal place in Montmorency a month or so back, but lost out at the auction.
Despite being bitterly disappointed Maria kept looking, and lo and behold, just when we thought there could be nothing else for the year a house came up in Mt Evelyn, an out-lying suburb M had never even heard of!
To cut a brief story even shorter, M put in a bid (pic 1) and then a second, and then a third and ultimately emerged from the contest as the WINNER! The real estate business can be pretty disheartening, but we were well looked after by Noel Jones' Laura Geddes. (pic 2)
Christmas Day was hosted by the Cafarellas and it turned out to be a hot, hot day. (36°) Christmas lunch traditionally starts late and this one was no exception, but, perhaps because there were fewer children on hand everything seemed to run a little smoother than usual.
It was probably as well there were fewer children around when Santa (pic 7) started distributing the pressies with Molly his little helper. Santa seemed to progessively lose the plot as the temperatures soared and at the conclusion of his official duties started doing the strip-tease from hell - and the startled assembly of relations hadn't even had their pudding yet!
Boxing Day saw everybody (including an unrepentant Santa) returning to the scene of the crime and doing their best to finish off the lavish leftovers from the day before. We gave it a good try, but the Cafarellas are going to be dining on Chrissy fare for weeks to come.


1) Mike with his publisher, Cellar Music's Gus McNeil 2) Maria and Marg make a pretty picture at lunch at Gazi
The George Calombaris syndrome strikes again
22.12.16 - This must've happened to you at some stage. You go somewhere to eat and socialise with friends, the experience is spoiled for whatever reason, then you find yourself back there again (or somewhere exactly like it) a few days later - and the experience is spoiled again.
Gazi used to be The Press Club on the corner of Exhibition and Flinder Sts, but is now a version of the Calombaris Hellenic Republic chain of restaurants, which seem to specialise in custom-made ceilings, this time made of inverted flower pots.
We met my publisher Gus McNeil and his partner Marg (pics) there last Monday lunchtime and were immediately assailed by the sound of diners yelling at each other- but at least this time the sound gradually diminished as tables of hoarse diners left to resume their places in the work force.
The food was up to standard and the service was very acceptable but I continue to wonder at this modern practice of designing deliberately loud premises to give the effect of a cheerful ambience.

Helen Proctor and Maria rise above the peasants' roar
A twist on industrial deafnesss
17.12.16 - It should've been a fun night out. Helen 'Proccie' Proctor and Peter Russo are not long back from their annual funny car pilgrimage to the States and we wanted to say thank you to Helen for some legal work she's done for us - and so we invited them to join us last night at the Hellenic Republic in Kew, where M and I have been a number of times. (pic)
As we were walking in we couldn't help but notice the deafening volume of the chatter - but it only got louder. To make things worse, some crap muzak was inexplicably added to the mix and as a result I have virtually no idea of what was said on our table all night. My ears are still ringing..
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