Saturday, July 21, 2012


Uh-oh! It is true! The past does come back to haunt; mine has just bitten me in the butt. I have nowhere to hide! All escape routes are blocked! The past finds us (if we’ve done no wrong; we’ve nothing to worry about). No one is immune. Like a giant octopus trolling for prey, tentacles of the past will find us and suck us in. My past has caught up with me – again! It all began with a Gympie house fire that destroyed an historical old home; one that in the distant past I had ties to during my childhood and teen years. No! I didn’t start that fire; but I did reignite the embers under some members of my past!

Many role players from years gone by eventually find me. My attempts at disguises and false bread trails fail. I could disappear over the far horizon en route to the ends of the earth and beyond; I could go as far away as to be close enough to get a whiff of the sulphurous fumes of Hades - I’d still run into someone I know! There are people who disappear off the face of the earth never to be found; not me! I could change my identity; inject bucket loads of Botox; have a few chin lifts; raise my eyebrows; swap my lips for Angelina’s and I’d still be recognised! I’m easier to find than King Tut ever was! I must admit that I, too, am pretty good at finding people no matter how hard they try to remain hidden; even if they change their phone numbers! No place or person is safe from me when I start sniffing around for clues. No stone remains unturned; no shrub undisturbed; no hedge untrimmed. However, a few weeks ago, the tables were turned on me…again! A friend I’ve not seen for nigh on 50 years tracked me down. He’d obviously read my book; “Don’t Shirk from Being Sherlock”! I wrote it after I trained Sherlock Holmes! I taught old Sherl everything he knows; all his sleuthing tricks – I taught him those!

My long-lost friend gathered together a posse who, in turn, successfully fulfilled their tender. I was hog-tied and led to “He, the Seeker”. Every day since the successful outcome of his hunt we’ve exchanged lengthy missives. The cyber highway has been clogged. We have half a century of stories to share; many memories and so much more. We’re learning more about each other through our present day correspondence than we did in the heady days of our youth when we were too busy heeding the challenge; “How low can you go?” Time after time we defiantly conquered the limbo pole before twisting the nights away at Gympie’s record hops. Chubby Checker would’ve been proud of us!

There is no doubt that the “Six Degrees of Separation” theory exists. Since our reconnection my friend and I have discovered we have many people in common with whom we had separate dealings throughout the years. Until now, neither of us was aware of the other’s connection. We’ve learned we’ve walked many parallel paths. It’s true! All of us are closely linked once we begin a dialogue. This rekindling of a past friendship has caused me to glance over my shoulder; not only into the distant past, but also to the near past; seeing both through different eyes; and I thought: “Being young is when the future takes forever to arrive; being young is when the past is yesterday or only a minute ago; eagerly forgotten; old age is when the past is remembered with nostalgic clarity!

Char-Grilled Octopus: Thoroughly wash 8 (about 250g) cleaned baby octopus under cold running water; drain; pat dry. Combine 1/4c dry white wine, 2tsp x-virgin olive oil, 2 large garlic cloves, crushed, 1tsp mild paprika and 1 finely-chopped red chilli; season; add octopus; toss; cover; chill 30mins. Preheat char-grill on high. Drain octopus; pour marinade into small saucepan; cook octopus on grill, 4-5mins, turning once or twice. Season marinade; bring to boil; cook 1min. Place octopus on dish; pour over marinade; serve with lemon wedges.

Italian-Inspired Octopus: Bring large pot of salted water to boil; add 500g small or large octopus; return to boil; cook 1-2mins; drain. Cut octopus into large pieces; sauté in 4tbs olive oil over med-heat, 2-3mins; add 4 chopped garlic cloves; sauté 1-2mins. Add 1c white wine; bring to boil over high heat; reduce, 3-4mins; add 1c crushed tomatoes, or peeled, chopped fresh tomatoes and 1tsp chilli flakes; bring to simmer. Add 1tsp salt, 2tsp honey or sugar; cover; simmer 30mins. Add 2tbs capers, optional, 4tsp chopped parsley and 2tsp chopped fresh dill; if octopus is still chewy, cover pot; simmer up to 45mins more. About 10mins from being done, uncover pot; turn up heat to reduce sauce; add cracked black pepper; serve with pasta or crunchy Italian bread or a hunky Italian!

Pickled Octopus: Simmer 1kg large, cleaned octopus in 3/4c water, 1hr. Place octopus and liquid in bowl; chill. When cold drain octopus from liquid; cut into thin slices. Toss octopus through 1/2tbs chopped thyme, 150ml red wine vinegar, 150ml olive oil, 1/2tsp smoked paprika, 1tsp cumin; season to taste.


  1. Italian inspired octopus - has me wondering if they sing arias...?

  2. Interesting recipes.

    My husband loves to eat dried squid, but we have to go to another city that sells it, so he doesn't get his treat that often.


  3. Cosmo...I'm sure they'd talk with their tentacles, at least!

  4. Hi Janice...I love squid, but I've not tried dried squid. I must one of these days.

    I like baby octopus, too...but I've not had it for a while.

  5. Your story reminds me of when I re-connected over the internet with my high school buddy. We were exchanging lots of e-mails back then, about ten years ago, but not as many lately (about a half-dozen a year).

    Not a big fan of octupi on the plate, but we had a seafood boil last night featuring shrimp littleneck clams, mussels and lobster tails.

  6. That cook-up sounds mighty good and mighty tasty to me, Dave!

    Thanks for dropping by. Take care. :)

  7. Not had an opportunity to try the octo but some day I"m sure.
    Good writing again and it brought back memories of way, way past acquintances and how we thought they'd last forever at the time.

  8. Well...some do, Cliff...last forever. By this old friend of mine sending out a search party enquiring of my's proven! :)

  9. Dear Lee,
    The State Library of Queensland would like to archive your website in PANDORA a National Library Australia initiative to preserve our online documentary heritage. Could you please contact me so that I can send you a formal permission request?
    Gina T

  10. Hello Gina T....I'm not sure if you are serious; and I have no idea of how to contact you if, in fact, you are.

    I see that Pandora does exist, but, perhaps, I need more details from you, if this is a legitimate request. Thanks.

  11. Hi Lee
    Yes it is legitimate and you can contact me at the library via emai: gina.tom at

  12. Thanks, Gina...I will contact you.