Sunday, June 20, 2004

Hazelblackberry: A Banquette Fit for a King

Dear Nick

The other night I was watching The Einstein Factor. What an entertaining show that can be. One of The Brains Trust panellists answered a question on dinosaurs, confident of the answer because she had picked up a lot of dinosaur facts and figures from her dinosaur-obsessed five- or six-year-old nephew. Of her relationship with her nephew she noted that he was someone whom:

"I regularly bathe and bed."

Was I the only person in Australia who guffawed at this slip? Was mine the only laughter that drifted upward into the lonely, starry night? Certainly the panellists said nowt. I suppose in this day and age one can't. And before you know it old Hetty Wainthrop, or whatever that 'Bravehearts' woman's name is, will be shutting down this web site for its suggestive and morally reprehensible content.

(I should note that The Brains Truster was dead wrong. The wages of sin may be death but before you collect your pay packet you get to enjoy a hearty dollop of embarrassment and humiliation in the here and now.)

Anyway, here's my point: while I was watching The Einstein Factor I was eating a Jelly Tip. Did you ever enjoy a Jelly Tip as a youngster, Nick? What a marvellous concoction they were: plain (not buttermilk) vanilla ice cream topped with a frozen slab of raspberry jelly, all coated in a thin, crackling chocolate shell. Bliss. (Grumpy claims that one of his lecturers at the Uni of Qld invented the Jelly Tip. Someone who knew about the Jelly Tip. A very very good reason to marry Grumpy. So I did.) At some point the Jelly Tip disappeared. My attention was momentarily captured by the Hazelnut Roll (a wanton treat if ever there was one) and the Redskin Split and the Giant Sandwich (which I believe you know by the name of Monaco Bar), and when I turned around the Jelly Tip was gone. I felt responsible. It seemed that through my neglect and insatiable appetite I had driven it from my life.

Then, a reprieve. A couple of years ago I was on holidays, staying with Bloody Ern and Bezley, when I decided to duck down to the local deli for ice creams for all of us. And I bet you know what I found in the freezer, don't you? Its packaging had been updated but it was like running into an old friend who you used to tomboy around with but who has taken to wearing make-up and cute skirts. At first you don't know what to make of all of this and then you get talking and the years melt away. The frills and mascara disappear and standing before you it's still the same old Big Russ you always knew. What a glorious reunion it was. The vanilla ice cream was as light as ever, the jelly as brain-freezing as I remember and the chocolate was still thin. My sweet Jelly Tip had stayed true. It had not followed in the footsteps of the Choc Wedge and the Fudge Bar who now choose to prostitute themselves in layers of too-thick, too-rich chocolate.

I must tell you that the deli which reunited me with Jelly Tips is called Festers. Adorning the front of the shop is a giant picture of Uncle Fester's head. An image of a googly-eyed experimenter-mortician looming in your vision is certainly enough to make even the most distracted homewards driver remember that forgotten carton of milk. Grumpy and I have occasionally mused that if the proprietors of Festers were looking for a new image they may want to call the shop Ol' Fess and set up a piano-player outside to pump out some Cajun tunes.

But I don't know if the good citizens of Perth's semi-rural districts are quite ready to order their steak burgers while serenaded by the Patron Saint of New Orleans. The wanna-be drummer who lives next door to Ern & Bez has yet to get past the first verse of Khe San.

Until next time, Nick.


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