Giving it a whirl

I’ve always dreamed about being an author, but I’m not sure I have a book in me. It’s not lack of confidence – I know I can write, I just wonder whether I have the knack for fiction or the stamina for non-fiction.

My doubts were reinforced this week when I read a 2500 word story the eldest had written for English. I am probably a bit biased, but it was incredible. After I finished gaping with amazement, I congratulated the eldest and told him that I couldn’t have written something that good.

And I’ve been a journalist since I was the eldest’s current age – 17.

Ooooh, I feel a bit freaked out now that I’ve made that connection. At 17 I was going to the pay office each week at The Newcastle Herald to collect my envelope of cash and coins. I think it was around $120.

When I became a cadet journalist, computers had just arrived on the news floor. Wow, that makes me sound so old. You got a special “VDT allowance” because everyone was so worried about the damage the new fangled machines would do to your eyes.

I was a shy, timid little thing with a poodle perm who was completely freaked out by having to interview people for news stories. My heart was almost permanently in my mouth.

There’s no room for it there now because I’m too busy talking everyone’s head off.

Quite the change.

Anyways, I happened to have received an email from The Big Issue calling for entries in its fiction competition the same day as I read the eldest’s story, so I secretly submitted it. They’re paying $500 for every entry they publish, keep your fingers crossed. It’s a long shot, but I figure it’s worth a whirl.

The secret didn’t stay that way for long, The Big Issue emailed the eldest to confirm the submission had arrived. Ooops, cats out of bag. The eldest was fine about it, though said if he’d known he’d have tidied it up a bit. Next time …

Unfortunately, the eldest doesn’t seem too keen on next times, he says writing a book sounds like way too much trouble. He’d rather be a body piercer. I just nod and smile these days, I can’t keep up.

As for what’s been happening in boozeland, I visited Four Pillars Lab in Surry Hills for the first time yesterday. The girls from a PR agency called Liquid Ideas invited me for a catch up.

On one side of the venue is the Gin Lab, a place to taste, talk, buy and make gin. On the other side is Eileen’s Bar, named after the resident still. Of course, I barreled into the wrong side and startled everyone in a masterclass. Awks.

On the other side, I finally got the chance to sip Four Pillars’ famed Bloody Shiraz gin. I had mine in a cocktail called a Bloody & Lemon with StrangeLove Bitter Lemon and ruby grapefruit. It was DELICIOUS. I may have talked too much while I drank it. Surprise, surprise. I will apologise to the poor young things this morning.

Then it was back to my neck of the woods for dinner with some school mums and my kids’ ex primary school teacher, who I’ve stayed friends with over the years. The staff had to start sweeping up around us to get us to leave in the end, as we were the last people left in the restaurant, talking up a storm.

When I got home from dinner, the kids were on the back deck, shivering in the dark, gazing the super moon, talking up their own storm. Bless.

I jumped on the computer to catch up on work and discovered the official press release and photos from the Taylors wine tasting I attended on Wednesday. As I looked at them, I had the horrifying realisation that one of the “friends” I’d made was famous.

I had no frigging idea. I’d blithely asked who he was and he said he was a chef. Oh, that’s nice, I said. He made a comment about being 57, I said he didn’t look a day over 47. He gasped and said he was 45 and had been joking. Oh dear god, eeeek.

Anyway, it turns out it was Will Stewart, who won Channel Seven’s My Kitchen Rules in 2015. I’d actually met him before, too. He was the chef when I went to my last Taylors event at a house in Point Piper in 2019.

He describes himself on his website as a “CHEF / QUAFFER / GOOD HUMAN” – I think that sums him up pretty well – he was lovely.

But I really need to watch more television so I can avoid putting my foot in my mouth at functions. Mortified. Pass the Nurofen, stat!

Song of the day: M People “Moving on up”

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