Sunday, June 19, 2022



Annette Allison

Maggie Tabberer (centre)...Carla Zampatti (right)...circa 2006

The Cast of "The Offer"...Miles Teller in red shirt

Those are the questions.

Freely I confess I’m guilty of committing both “sins”…in the past, the present, and, no doubt, in the future. I’m sure I’m not alone in both activities.  As long as I don’t take either to the extreme, participating in both at times helps lighten the load.  (In the shape of things, I suppose some forms of bingeing don’t lighten the load).  You can have fun whingeing if it’s done with humour with a like-minded pal, both of whom do it in jest. 

A few weeks ago I whinged when I couldn’t switch off my car lights. Lights had been necessary because of the dense fog shrouding the area that particular morning…not only was the morning foggy, but, so too, apparently, was my brain. 

Fortunately for me, interrupting his search for the Holy Grail or grain, Sir Galahad came to my rescue (he knows who he is). The fearless knight saved the day. He fixed my dire situation before my car battery died.  My brain-fade moment made me feel foolish…not a rare feeling, of which I’m sure you’re aware.

Like most of us, I had a whinge about the continuous, torrential rain we received a while back.  Whingeing about rain was something I never thought I’d do, but have a whinge I did.  I wasn’t alone. Many joined in with the song.

Most of the time I keep any whingeing between me and me, and, of course, oft times with my two furry best mates.

There you are…enough of my whining for now.  If I continue, you’ll be whingeing about me.  You may have already begun…

Therefore, I’ll move onto bingeing…something I’ve been doing a lot lately.  The many rainy days and nights, followed by the early winter chill made bingeing the most sensible pastime to pass time.  

I re-visited “Mad Men”, a series I had previously enjoyed. Going around again I enjoyed it just as much, if not more.  I guess one of the reasons I like the series is because it’s set in an era with which I’m most familiar. Half of the 60s and all of the 70s, bar eight months, I worked within the fashion industry in the Brisbane office, showrooms and warehouse of a national Sydney-based hosiery, metal mesh handbags and accessories, women’s and men’s fashion wear company. Because of the type of business, we worked intimately with the advertising industry.

In fact, circa 1966, at Brisbane’s Ch. 9 television studios on Mt. Coot-tha we produced the first ever Australian pantyhose commercial featuring the then television personality, Annette Allison.  The beautiful Annette played a role in many of the fashion launches we hosted in our showrooms.

In the early 70s, the company contracted the now late, legendary Carla Zampatti to design a range of ladies’ wear.  Zampatti’s first ever visit to Brisbane was as guest of honour at our launch of the new lines showcasing her wonderful talent and designs. A grand night of glamour held in our showrooms it was.

Australian fashion, publishing, media/television personality, Maggie Tabberer, once Fashion Editor of the Australian Womens Weekly was also contracted to lend her name to a couple of our women’s lines. 

The 60s and 70s were years filled with excitement, charisma, fashions, and interesting people.

Along with the fascination of the men (and women) of Madison Avenue in “Mad Men”, I’ve also been bingeing on “The Godfather” movies, one, two and three. 

My renewed interest in re-visiting the Corleone family was awakened after bingeing on the miniseries, “The Offer”, streaming on Paramount+.  The series, which I thoroughly enjoyed,(and know I will watch again) is about the making of the original “The Godfather”.

I enjoyed, also, learning about the hard work and dedication of the producer, Albert S. Ruddy, who is brilliantly portrayed in the series by 35 year old Miles Teller.  Al Ruddy, now aged 92, is still at the helm, producing.  He is Executive Producer on “The Offer”.  An amazing man, it would appear Albert S. Ruddy binges on work, with little time to whinge.

I’m one who will re-read books I love, and re-watch films and series I love…offering no apologies for doing so.

Bingeing on food is not something I do…but I do eat lots of fresh fruit…and I love cheese. Having a Cherry Ripe once or twice a week is not bingeing, in my book….

Lazy Bingeing Nachos Snack: Preheat oven 175C. In pan or skillet, lay down about 130g tortilla chips, followed by 250g of cooked, drain ground beef, 1/c bbq sauce, 2c cheddar, 1c mozzarella,1/2 diced tomato,  ½ diced red onion, 8 cooked, crumbled bacon rashes, and 1/2c chopped parsley. Repeat with same amount of ingredients, followed by a drizzle of BBQ sauce on top; bake 15mins. 

Mac & Cheese Balls: Boil 225g elbow macaroni; drain, then rinse under cold water; set aside.  Melt 15g butter in saucepan. Whisk in 15g plain flour; add 176ml milk in thin stream to make roux; season with salt, pepper, garlic powder and cayenne pepper; cook until bubbly; simmer 2mins. Remove from heat; mix in 110g shredded cheese of choice; fold in macaroni; stir in 115g cheese. Spread onto paper-lined baking sheet; cover; chill overnight. Scoop out about 3tbs of mix at a time; shape into balls. Whisk 2 eggs with 2tbs milk; dip balls into egg mix; then coat in panko crumbs.  Chill balls until ready to deep fry.

Binge-worthy Brownies: Preheat oven 180C. Butter and line an 8x8 baking tray with paper; set aside. In large bowl combine 1c butter, melted, 2tbs veg oil, 177g dark brown sugar and 227g white sugar. In separate bowl, whip 4 large eggs; add eggs to wet ingredients; mix in until JUST combined. Add 4tsp vanilla and 1tsp salt; whisk about 1min, until evenly combined.  Over same bowl sift in 1c plain flour and 1c unsweetened cocoa powder; gently fold dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until JUST combined.  Fold in ¾ roughly chopped dark chocolate. Pour batter into prepared pan; smooth top. Generously top with 3/4c roughly chopped dark chocolate chunks. Bake 45-50mins, until centre is JUST set to the touch.  Allow to cool to room temp before removing from tray and slicing into 16 brownies. 



Wednesday, June 08, 2022


24 years ago, on 6th June, 1998, my brother, Graham passed away. Smiles emanating from my memories give comfort. A “straight-shooter”, Graham looked others directly in the eye. He didn’t suffer fools. A typical older brother, Graham teased the living bejeezus out of me, gaining great pleasure tormenting his little sister. Myriad yarns he spun to get a rise out of me. 

When we were kids he told me to never drink water while eating grapes. By doing so simultaneously, it would turn into wine, he smirkingly said!  No stomping barefooted in grape-filled vats for me…just a glass of water and a mouthful of grapes…easy-peasy!

Billy, the Kid, Wild Bill Hickok, Doc Holliday, Jesse James, Annie Oakley, Belle Starr, Calamity Jane, Geronimo, Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse et al hung around in our backyard.  A motley crew we were. Such fun we had circling the wagons. Cowboy and Indian movies shown during Saturday matinees at Gympie’s Olympia Theatres were our inspirations. We never missed a Satuday afternoon, armed with our Jaffas and Fantails, or whatever other special treats had taken our fancy…and our hard-earned pocket money.

Graham was a ‘boy’s boy’, and later, a ‘man’s man’.  Our mother and grandmother sat at the top of his list of priorities.  He loved them dearly. Oft times he was my hero, even though he didn’t know it; many times neither did I.  I do now.

He played Rugby League for the Wanderers’….a local football team. During one game against Brothers he broke his collar bone, but that didn’t lessen his love for the game.

Our pets were important to us.  Graham was lord and master of the various dogs we had when we were kids. “Peter”, a fox terrier, was followed by “Rickie”, a foxie mix, then came “Whisky”, a pug.  Later, he had “Homer”, a beagle, followed by “Missie”, a prim and proper Cocker Spaniel.

Always a competent carpenter, around the age of 11 years, without adult assistance, Graham built a sturdy aviary to house his bird family of quails, budgies (not smugglers…they came later), and finches.  “Sweetie”, our melodious yellow canary lived in his cage upstairs.  Our family of guinea pigs helped maintain the grass at a controllable level.  Bantams unselfishly produced eggs, while the turkeys gobbled.

The loves of my life, of course, were my cats. The cats were always mine.  Graham and I collected tadpoles, too.  Fascinated, we’d follow their journey of life as they morphed into frogs. Without a backward glance, or thanks, they’d hop off. The tortoises we found while playing along the banks of the Mary River never hung around for long.  To our dismay, in haste, they’d make their escape before slowly wending their way to the nearest waterway.

Graham was grateful I talked him into joining the Noosa Heads Surf Lifesaving Club. He embraced the mate-ship and lifestyle. (That’s when and where budgie smugglers came into play).  In the early 60s, no spring nor summer weekend passed without him joining his mates at Laguna Bay. 

A few weeks ago I spoke with one of those mates. Ron, the mate, has also been a long-time friend of mine.  Ron was captain of the Noosa Club for many years, and for many years thereafter was club president.  On Anzac Day, 2022, he resigned after 64 years of dedicated service to the Noosa Heads Surf Lifesaving Club.  A worthy ceremony was held in his honour.  Sadly, this year two mutual friends from the Noosa club have passed away.

Perhaps, if there is a “place somewhere up there”, Graham and his lifesaver mates are catching waves, or clouds, while chewing the fat over fun times long gone…the halcyon days of Noosa…when Noosa really was at its best.

Graham enjoyed following the horses (not on foot), reading, music, fishing, gardening, cooking…and teasing me.

One of the best times we shared was being in the audience at John Denver’s 1994 Townsville concert, and our meeting Denver at concert’s end. 

Big brothers oft times can be hard to live with, but it’s always difficult living without them.