Sunday, August 23, 2009

Possibly the last Open Fire

Winter draws into spring – today’s early morning sky was cloudless, clear and blue as it blended with the bay’s waters. Chilly as it was, our morning group ride opened thoughts of spring and warmer rides over the next few weeks.
We invited friends from the MG Car Club to join us for dinner tonight and Sue has me vacuuming and organizing what will possibly be our last open fire for winter.
I must admit to looking forward to the summer BBQs with friends in the backyard again soon.

As the hunter and gatherer of the family, I organised the wood for the fireplace.

Our house has two open fires but the lounge room is the most interesting one.
When we moved in, the fireplace had been renovated in a 60s style or as we used to say in the northern suburbs, Greeked. During the 50s and 60s we had a high influx of Italians, Greeks, and oh yes, Pommies.
Both the Greeks and Italians would buy the cheaper (then) inner suburban houses and in their own special way, modernize them.
Anyway, I pulled out the "Greeked" old gas space heater after we installed central heating. Another motor racing enthusiast friend of mine offered me a wooden overmantle and would you believe it was the same design as the one that used to be there originally in 1929.
How would I know, you ask? Well after years of the room being painted, I could see the faint silhouette of the original overmantle. How good is that?
But I digress – where was I? Yes, we invite our friends, Kaye and Ray for dinner.
Sue sent me down to Uncle Dan’s (Dan Murphy’s), our local wine cellar where I found a nice crisp wine to start with. It is a Sancerre Sauvignon Blanc from the very eastern Loire in central France. This wine brings back memories of sitting in the hilltop village of Sancerre, sipping a glass of wine in the sunshine before the rains came.
The red is one that we enjoyed at a small back lane restaurant in Vienne earlier this year.
It’s a 2005 E. Guigal Cotes du Rhone vin rouge. It seems that memories of our travels are activated by the label on a wine bottle.
I also bought a local Pinot Noir, mainly because of the label. It’s a Killara Estate “Racers and Rascals” wine from the Yarra Valley. The label depicts a racing Austin 7 in the vineyard.
The property where the vines now take over was the property of one of Australia’s great motor racing drivers. Just after the war Lex Davison and his wife Diana lived on the property and ran the first ¼ mile speed trials on their driveway to the house for the Vintage Drivers Club. Lex later became an Australian Grand Prix winner and one of the personalities of Australian Motor Racing. Part of his and Diana’s early motor racing history is featured in my book, “Rob Roy Hillclimb”.

Lex Davison manhandling his huge Mercedes at Rob Roy Hillclimb around 1946.

OK, you want to know what Sue is cooking now…..
Sue says;
Nothing too fancy.
We’ll start with smoked trout with a horse radish, sour cream and herb dressing on sliced baguette.
Then beef, mushroom and red wine pot pies with a home made spicy tomato relish, and garlic potato and pea mash.
Finish up with little chocolate puddings with molten choc centres and cream.
Almond macaroons with coffee. Yummo.

The night went well with and we awoke to another cloudless sunny Sunday morning sky.
Roll on spring and summer.


  1. You are "rubbing it in". It could be your last fire as spring comes close but for us, we see signs of fall. Winter will be here in no time. I envy you!


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