Sunday, November 12, 2017

SURPRISE! SURPRISE!



De Havilland Grumman Mallard
De Havilland Trojan


De Havilland Beaver and Twin Otter






I’m often surprised.

If given due consideration, it’s possible we surprise our own self more often than we do others.  I’m not sure....I’ll have to think about it.  Speaking on my own behalf, I know I surprise myself at times.  I don’t jump at my own shadow, though, if that’s what you’re thinking.

Questionable behaviour of many humans continually surprises me.  I wish human behaviour would cease to surprise me, but it, or they, won’t comply.  Just when I think I’ve heard or seen it all - surprise, surprise - a rude awakening!

There’s no time for complacency. I hold onto hope, but the cord, stretched to extreme, has become surprisingly thin. 

Over the years – and there are many of them – another one (year) was added to my list a couple of days ago - I’ve been successful in planning three surprise birthday parties, one of which was for my late brother, Graham, who hated birthday parties, surprise or otherwise.  In fact, Graham wasn’t fond of parties of any kind.

However, the surprise party I surreptitiously planned for my brother when he worked with me on Hinchinbrook Island went off with a bang.  Graham ended up, much to his surprise (and to my delight), having a ball!  I wish I’d taken video as proof.  

Towards the end of the night’s festivities, to my surprise, he even kicked up his heels and legs while performing the can-can...or a wild tropical version thereof...with a couple of his female co-workers.    

Summer-mango season and the tropics play games with people...personalities change!  Throw a few, freshly-caught mud crabs into the mix and all hell of the best kind breaks out!

His birthday that year...28th February, 1986....was a happy, carefree night; one that occurred about 10 days before the resort was to re-open to the public – to guests.  The fun and games were just among the “island natives” aka my staff and me.

Another of my surprise birthday parties was for my ex, Randall, back in the mid-Seventies when we were living in Toowong, a Brisbane suburb.

I thought having a surprise party for his birthday was a great idea.  He wasn’t too keen on surprise parties, either. 

Upon exiting our bathroom, with only a towel tied around his hips, he received a hell of a surprise when he was greeted by a room full of smiling, ready-to-party party-goers.  He was almost dressed appropriately for the occasion...almost in his birthday suit. His Sunday demeanour nearly turned into a misdemeanour. 

He’d not had a clue what I’d planned, and had been planning.  Our kitchen cupboards were always well-stocked.  He was used to seeing me prepare food...lots of it...so my actions in the kitchen that morning and the preceding evenings hadn’t alerted him anything suspicious was going on.   

Adept at subterfuge, even Sherlock Holmes wouldn’t have stumbled across my well-hidden evidence, magnifying glass or no magnifying glass. I’d left no clues.  

It might come as a surprise to some, but we’re still good mates – my ex and me, that is - not Sherlock and me.   Mr. Holmes didn’t enjoy being beaten at his own game. He threw a tantrum and left in a huff. 

My first husband received the surprise of his life for one of his birthdays, too.  

I forgot his birthday!   

In the belief I’d planned a surprise party, he spent his whole work day preparing for what he thought lay ahead when he arrived home.  Diligently, he’d rehearsed his grand, Oscar-winning performance of mock astonishment.    

When I was made aware of my monstrous, momentous blooper it was my jaw that dropped. I had enough egg on my face to feed a cast of thousands.

All’s well that ends well, though – to their surprise, we ended up partying with our upstairs’ neighbours.  The four of us partied well into the night. 

My first husband and I are still good mates, too...surprisingly!

The person I’ve surprised most of all, though, is me. 
 
One of my biggest surprises was the lack of fear I felt flying in seaplanes – the De Havilland Grumman Mallard, the Beaver and Twin Otter flown by the marvellous company, Air Whitsunday, out of Townsville and Airlie Beach, respectively - when I managed the now-defunct resort on Hinchinbrook Island.  

Before my first seaplane flight I believed I was terrified of small aircraft. To my surprise, once I’d flown low over the magnificent island and the Coral Sea, I found I’d not an ounce of fear flowed through my veins – just adrenaline. 

Matching the thrill of flying in seaplanes was the buzz I felt when I went up in a helicopter.  A TV crew came to the resort, by helicopter, to interview me.  When asked if I’d like to go for a ride in the chopper, without a second thought, I grabbed the opportunity, and leapt aboard.  I didn’t need to be asked twice.  I believed I’d never get the chance again; and so far, unsurprisingly, I haven’t. 

Wow!  That helicopter flight certainly was one I'll never forget...for all the right reasons!

Flying from Cairns to Normanton and return by light aircraft was also exhilarating.   

Viewing the Gulf Country...the Red Savannah...from above is awesome, as is flying low above the Atherton Tablelands.

In the late Eighties-early Nineties, I surprised myself by being the skipper of a boat...a 21-foot De Havilland Trojan, powered by a 175hp Johnson outboard motor.  Ferrying guests to and from Newry Island, as well as the island’s provisions etc., had never been on my radar.  Transporting guests and provisions to and from any island had never been on my Life’s plan...but there I was driving a boat, carrying passengers across the ocean.   

Wonders never do cease!

Even though I surprised me by partaking in many more exciting adventures throughout the years, I do admit I’m not as adventurous as many, many others, but that’s not surprising....

Breakfast Surprise: Preheat oven, 200C.  Scrub and prick all over, 2 med-large potatoes.  Place on centre oven rack; bake 40-45mins, until tender. Cool 15mins; slice each in half lengthwise; hollow out; scoop flesh into bowl; add 2tbs butter and 3tbs cream; mash until smooth; season. Spread some into bottom of each potato skin; sprinkle with shredded cheese; add 1 cooked bacon rasher to each half; rasher can overlap edges; top with raw egg. Place onto baking sheet.  Lower oven temp to 190C; bake until egg whites just set and yolks are still runny. Top with a sprinkle of shredded cheese; season; top with sliced chives.

Baked Eggs: Preheat oven 200C. In saucepan, heat 2tbs olive oil over med-high heat. Add 1 chopped onion; sauté until soft; add 140g spinach; sauté until just wilted, about 2mins. Remove from heat. In bowl, combine 1 can whole tomatoes,1tsp cumin, salt, pepper, 1/2tsp sweet paprika, and, if desired,2tsp  hot sauce. Add onion-spinach mixture. Divide among 4 oiled ramekins. Crack egg into centre of each ramekin; sprinkle on crumbled feta. Bake until whites are set but yolks still soft, 12-15mins.

Surprise Scones: Preheat oven 246C. Bring water to boil; add 2 eggs; boil 4-5mins; remove from heat; set aside. Cube 2tbs cold butter; put in freezer until needed. Combine 1c plain flour, 1tbs sugar, 1-1/2tsp baking powder, 1/2tsp baking soda and 1/2tsp salt in processor; pulse 1-2times until combined; drop in COLD butter; pulse until crumbly; don’t over-mix. Add 1/2c shredded cheddar; pulse until just combined; transfer to bowl; gently fold in 2tbs chopped chives.  Add 3/4c Greek yoghurt to mix; combine until just combined. Using about ¼ of dough, shape into plump biscuit; place onto sprayed baking sheet; press well in centre; place peeled egg in well sideways. Form another “biscuit”; place on top of egg; cover completely. Bake 5mins; reduce heat to 200C; sprinkle top with grated cheese and seeds of choice; bake 6-7mins until golden. Top with melted butter, if not topped with melted cheese, and chives to serve. 




30 comments:

  1. Oops on forgetting your first husband's birthday. A classic case of all that ends well though...
    I don't like surprise parties and hope never to experience one. And yes, I have been known to surprise myself.

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    1. Hi EC....it was funny...and he, my first husband, took it well. We still have a laugh over it.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  2. Control freaks don't like surprise parties.......ah, maybe that is me. I don't like helicopters or small planes. You really don't have much of a chance when your helicopter engine stops. Maybe like you, with more flights in small planes, I could get to like them.

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    1. Hi Andrew...yes, maybe you're referring to yourself. I don't class either my late brother or my ex as control freaks. :)

      Life is a chance...and one way or the other, we take chances every day.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  3. a towel, omg; I think I prefer the sea plane to a helicopter, the cat was a surprise. ha

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    1. Hi Linda...Yes...it was a perfect surprise...as shown on my ex's face at the time. :)

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  4. I rode once in a small plane and never felt the need to do it again. It has been about 15 years but even just thinking about it causes my stomach to hurt.

    I do/do not like surprises. It depends on the circumstances.

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    1. Hey Arleen....I've not had the need to go up in a small aircraft again since those days described above, but I imagine if the need did arise, I would...and hopefully would get over the initial butterflies pretty quickly.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  5. Life is full of surprises, whether we like it or not. Your being a boat skipper sounds like a nice, interesting surprise. The above breakfast surprise of mashed potatoes,cheese and bacon looks yummi.

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    1. Hi DUTA....Life certainly is full of surprises, that's for sure. And far too many are not at pleasant or as happy as surprise parties.

      Thsnks for not coming by. :)

      Delete
  6. A surprise flight in the Grunman would be nice.

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    1. G'day, Mr Ad-Man....your mind certainly does work in mysterious ways. I'm sure the pilot and co=pilot in the Grumman would've soon brought it under control....toss the nuisances off as it comes to land on the water, I say - that would give them a surpise!

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Thanks fo

      Delete
  7. You have the most amazing adventures!
    Is that your kitty? What a cutie.
    The recipes, as always, sound delish.
    Hope your day is productive and your evening pleasant.

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    1. Hi Sandra...not that's not my Remy...but the cat pictured looks very much like him. Same facial and chest markings. :)

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  8. Love the surprised cat :)
    I surprised my first hubby too, by completely forgetting our 21st wedding anniversary. Me! Who never forgot anything else the entire marriage! And this on the one year he'd actually bought me a gift.

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    1. Hi, River...I couldn't help but post that pic of the cat...he looks so much like Remy, as I mentioned in my above response to Sandra.

      We can't be perfect all the time...and are allowed to forget sometimes! lol

      Thanks for coming b. :)

      Delete
  9. It's always good to have surprises especially if you are planning them.
    I don't care for birthday party surprises at all. I was given one for my 21st, I walked to the woodshed in those days :) and I believe I was overwhelmed and vowed no one would give me another surprise party.
    Always forgot our wedding anniversary though until later in life then I remembered, took many years to remember when we got married but my husband he never forgot.

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    1. Hi Margaret...I've never been given a surprise party...but that's no surprise! :)

      I planned and catered for my own 21st birthday party...it was a small affair. I'd not long before moved from Gympie to live and work in Brisbane...so it was all very low-key.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  10. There have been many reported cases of women going to their doctors with tummy pains and then unexpectedly producing babies. I bet they all find that surprising!
    "What did the doctor say darling? Did he give you any medicine?"
    "No dearest. He gave me this. She weighs eight pounds."
    "Bloody hell!"

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    1. Hey Yorkie...that sure would be a surprise...and I'm always surprised when I hear of such an occurrence. I find it difficult to believe!

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  11. I am not easily surprised but I have pulled off a few surprises in my years on Mother Earth. Peace

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    1. Hey there, Miss Kitty. I reckon you and I together could surprise quite a few folk! lol

      Take good care. :)

      Delete
  12. I think it is easy to forget things. Love your photos. The first picture of the egg in the potato looked soooooooooooooooooooooooo good.

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    1. Hi Sandie...I've just rung my ex (second husband) to remind him today is his late mother's birthday/date. I've always been his "calendar"...even after we divorced! :)

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  13. Those scones, wow. I had to laugh at the idea, as T is very keen on scones and any surprises involved with them might give him severe indigestion! :) I will have to warn him first.

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    1. Hi Jenny...it'd be even more of a surprise if you didn't shell the eggs! :)

      Thanks for coming by! :)

      Delete
  14. That is one surprised looking cat. I have to admit, I don't care for surprises.

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  15. Thanks for the recipes!
    And I think I'd also have been surprised coming out of the bath in only a towel...Hahahaa
    hughugs

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  16. Love the look on the cats face!
    I've never been a lover of surprise parties ...

    Another good selection of recipe ideas, thanks.

    All the best Jan

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  17. Oh my - poor man! Thinking he was about to walk into a party. Oh well - I'm sure you made up for it.

    Those baked eggs look delish!

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