Sunday, September 23, 2012


I’ve always loved the movies or the “pictures” as they were called when I was a child. I never loved the “fillums”…but I did adore the films! It was with enthusiastic expectations, every Saturday afternoon off to the picture theatre I raced.

On offer in those days were two "pictures" per matinee session. These consisted of the main feature and a movie of lesser notoriety. The lesser known "picture" was the first cab off the rank, shown prior to the interval or “half time”. But our afternoon’s entertainment didn’t stop there! Along with the two movies were cartoons, a newsreel and “shorts”, or trailers, as we called them, of “pictures” to come. But the fun didn’t stop there – to the mix was added a serial that invariably co-starred J. Carroll Naish as the villain. Funny how I can remember who played the villain, but I can’t remember who played the heroes in those on-going thrilling, nail-biting-on-the-edge-of-the-seat serials. Naish extended his wicked roles to feature-length movies, too; wherein he exhibited his versatility by playing Italians, Native Americans, and, Chinese, even. The man was of Irish descent, but never played an Irishman!

The entrance fee to partake in all of the above cost less than a bob – less than one shilling! And, we always had six pence to spend on a cold drink and some lollies!

Of course, I must not forget one of the most important parts of all…the fun of rolling chocolate Jaffas down the aisles! Fantails played their role, too. Who could resist reading the information about your favourite stars on the lolly wrappers? Not me!

I never missed a Saturday matinee at the Olympia Theatre, Mellor
Street, Gympie. The only ones I did miss were the times we, as a family, spent holidaying with our near relatives who lived at Slade Point, via Mackay; which is not "near" distance-wise. For a few years, my older brother and I (along with our Nana) jumped on a train at the Gympie railway station after New Year to spend the tail end of our school holidays in the north terrorising our cousins! However, the "pictures" weren’t ignored. They weren't put on the back-burner. We’d go into Mackay to the new Civic Theatre and get our fill there.

Stored carefully in boxes in my bedroom for frequent perusing was my collection of “Movietone News” and “Photoplay” magazines; magazines purchased with some of the coins I'd received from the drink bottles and newspapers returned to the locals stores. Together with the glossy magazines, I had hundreds of cuttings taken from newspapers; the “Women’s Weekly”; “New Idea” and other similar periodicals. Like a ravenous hound, I devoured information about my favourite glamorous stars.

The impossibly handsome, charismatic Tony Curtis, like the real-life character he played in “Houdini”, created magic on the silver screen. Curtis committed burglary of my heart. His photographs adorned my bedroom walls. War hero Audie Murphy’s baby-faced youthfulness was never a deterrent to his Saturday six-gun shoot-outs.

Chivalrous heart-breaker Gregory Peck often starred as a protagonist in my romantic daydreams. Together, the cavalier Mr Peck and I shed tears over an orphaned yearling; stood in awe beneath snowy Kilimanjaro; carefree, we explored the piazzas of Rome on a Vespa; side by side we obsessed over a great white whale; and later, we became inspired by Atticus Finch.

Unfortunately, real life isn’t a rhapsodically romantic chronicle playing out a splendid script written and revised to suit; guiding us along the Yellow Brick Road to everlasting joy! Where happy endings are a given. How great it would be if Life was that simple; that pure!

I’ve mentioned similar previously - if unsatisfied with the modus operandi, the penultimate or final chapter, all or each could conveniently be erased and rewritten to satisfy one’s personal desires. It would be so exciting, if, upon a whimsical whim, we could compose our own narrative; introduce the obligatory tall, dark, handsome, daring, intelligent, sensitive, masculine, hot-blooded hero (feel free to add more descriptive adjectives) to the scenario. And it would be even more exciting if we were capable of creating and participating in thrilling, heart-stopping adventures; to have the ability to expunge all malevolence; quell uncertainties and fears; avert destructive actions before they raise their nasty heads; banish sorrow; make happiness mandatory.

As you can see, I daydream still - and get a kick out of composing my own scripts to suit; if only in my head and in my dreams!

Cinderella lived happily ever after! Enter my fictional realm and you can, too! Now - where did I hide my handsome, sensitive protagonist?

Jaffa Cheesecake: Line cake tin; press biscuit base into tin. Cream 1/2c icing sugar, 3/4c Nutella and 250g marscapone or cream cheese; add 1/3c melted dark chocolate and 4tbls Grand Marnier. Mix 1/4c hot water with 2tsp gelatine; cool. Fold into mix along with 600ml whipped cream. Pour over base; refrigerate 5 hours. Choc-citrus sauce: Melt some dark chocolate; while melting, stir in a few tablespoons of cream; stir through some Grand Marnier. When cheesecake has set, drip sauce over top. Garnish with smashed Jaffas.

Jaffa Mousse Cake: Preheat oven 160C. Zest and pulverize 2 oranges with 100g caster sugar; add 250g S.R. flour; add 200g melted butter and 3 large beaten eggs; mix well. Bake in lined 20cm spring-form tin, 90mins. Syrup and mousse: Syrup; mix together juice of 3 oranges and 100g caster sugar; add ¼ cup of Cointreau or Grand Marnier. Mousse: Beat 450ml cream until soft peaks form and then for a further 30 seconds; fold in 250g melted chocolate. Remove cooked cake from pan; cut in half horizontally while still hot. Wash and line cake tin with Glad-Wrap. Place bottom half of cake back into the lined tin; pour on half the syrup: add mousse; top with the other cake half. Pour rest of syrup over cake. Refrigerate 2hrs; remove from tin; place on serving plate. Icing: Add 150ml cream to 150g melted chocolate; ice cake; refrigerate before serving.

Blueberry Dream Fritters: Heat some oil in large pan. Combine 1c SR flour, 1/3c cornmeal, 1tsp baking powder and 1/3c caster sugar in bowl; combine 1/2c cream, 1 egg and 1tsp vanilla; mix into flour until just combined; fold in 1-1/2c blueberries; drop spoonfuls into hot oil; fry until golden; sprinkle with icing sugar.


  1. That's the nice thing about being a romance writer, happily ever after ending are monitory. :)


  2. I'm a big romantic at heart, Janice! I'm still waiting for the return of my other glass slipper!!! :)

  3. "Fillums." That's exactly how our Scottish driver pronounced films. I guess we were short-changed in the U.S., the only double-features were at the drive-in. But we also made regular trips to the Sunday matinee. More often than not, Christopher Lee was the villain however.

    "Jumped on a train . . . " Ooooo, weird coincidence since trains are my blog topic this week. Jumping on a train is not as easy as I thought it would be.

  4. Hi Dave! Oh! Dear! I just went in and read your blog! OMG! What a day that must have been! I was pulling my hair out in frustration just reading about your escapades on British Rail! Wow!

    I bet you and Wendy are glad to be back home again! What with having to deal with rude French, and then ill-mannered, disinterested Brit rail employees...if I were you, I wouldn't be setting foot out of my home again in a long while! lol

    Glad to see you made it safely back to your home turf! ;)

  5. Dear Lee ~~ I always forget to say how great your recipes sound and look.Sorry

    Yes it was great to go to the pictures and see all those great films and stars and it was so cheap to get in and we got a lot for our money. The good old days and great actors and actresses in those days.

    I am doing all right Lee and not worrying and take my naps as they come.
    By the way Fluff is coming back next Tuesday for about a week I think. Nice to have a living creature to talk to and spoil a bit.

    Take great care my friend,Love Merle.

  6. No need for apologies, Merle. :)

    I'm glad Fluff's coming for a visit again. He's a fun little companion for you.

    Give him a cuddle for me...take good care. Hugs :)

  7. Fun to read about your childhood outings and the food you scarf down while enjoying the movie. I enjoy entering the world of fantasy whether it is a book or movie. In a book I can make the character and scenery as I choose and am often disappointed in a movie version of a good book. Peace

  8. It's fun to use one's imagination...then you can choose just who you want! ;)

    Good to see you, Lady Di.

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