Friday, April 20, 2007

Snout in the Trough

When the notorious current affairs programmes of Australia’s free-to-air networks aren’t showering praise on our government’s wonderful achievements while at the same time turning a blinkered eye from various shameful misdemeanours which may make either the government or the network look a bit ridiculous and hypocritical, one of their favourite types of stories that they like to roll-out are the ones about Aussies and their unusual pets.

Sometimes it’s a coastal-dwelling couple with an itinerant seal that comes by for a feed every morning and who saved an entire ocean liner from near catastrophe a few years ago, or perhaps it’s a sheep-dog which was trained to walk on a barrel for a quirky television advertisement for prestige motor vehicles a few years ago and which is now breathing new life into a failing country town as tourists flock to witness it doing back-flips on top of a disused water tank, or maybe it’s a duck who nearly froze to death during a recent harsh winter, and who was given mouth-to-bill resuscitation by a duck-shooter, and who now visits each winter to share a nip of whisky with the newly-reformed, lonely old shooter who once saved its life. Whatever it is, stories about Australians and their unusual pets are a winner for subduing the nation, and always result in the television networks’ phone systems becoming jammed with viewers keen to offer their thanks and praise.

Ironically, these stories often assume pride-of-place during the thirty minutes of cutting-edge journalism (minus twelve minutes for advertisements and three minutes for network promotion) whenever there is rumour of the Government doing something a little dishonest in a bid to discredit the opposition or to scare the nation into re-electing them for an unprecedented twenty-third term. But I digress…

One of these pet stories which particularly springs to mind of late was that of a lonely, old widow living in the country somewhere in out-back Queensland, whose cat was so fat, that it had to be moved around the house in a wheelbarrow pushed by Old Mother Hubbard. This unfortunate beast, despite capturing the hearts and minds of the Australian masses, was so grossly obese that at one point, no doubt at the urging of the camera crew, the owner and her neighbour placed Miffy on the ground, bloated belly down, and the Australian nation laughed as one as his little paws moved back and forwards in thin air, being approximately five centimetres off the ground thanks to his massive, distended tummy.

It’s this image which you need to keep firmly in your mind as you think of another, bloated Australian beast of burden in the form of yer ol’ mate Donkey, who is currently on leave in the Great Southern Land, and who seems to have gone a bit overboard on the tucker since his arrival.

Anyone who has ever spent time amongst Australian alcoholics as they crack open their first beer of the day at 9am will be familiar with the term used to appease their guilt, “Ah well, it’s after twelve o’clock somewhere in the world”. Well it was with logic such as this, a couple of weeks ago, which saw the Donkeys, deprived of such earthly delights in Hindu-dominated India, launching into a couple of flame-grilled Whoppers in Singapore’s Changi Airport, at 5am. This little feast, amply washed down with sugar-laden, carbonated carcinogens, set the scene for a two-week gorge-fest which is rapidly hurtling Donkey towards a prime-time interview on Today Tonight.

It was akin to the white-line fever that otherwise well-adjusted sportsmen and women get when they run onto the field, and become homicidal maniacs. We landed in Melbourne, two seemingly intelligent, reasonably sensible, socially-minded Donkeys, and all of a sudden, all sense of gustatorial reasoning went out the window as we became reacquainted with the delights of our beloved city’s multicultural cuisine, amongst which not a single dish had even the slightest trace of curry spices! First up, it was Eggs Benedict at Kaleidoscope (a café at which the Donkeys fell in love), followed by coffee from Negrita, brunch at Brunetti’s (ohmygawd!), incredible gelato at Trampoline, real-milk shakes from Mule, and then it was off to our first BBQ in what has developed into an unbroken, daily ration of char-grilled meat, all washed down with wonderful, ice-cold Melbourne Bitter, Yarra Valley Sauvignon Blanc and creamy Guinness.

A week later, after just squeezing into an airline seat, we were sampling fresh snapper in Coffs Harbour, and yesterday it was Doyles’ famous fish and chips. This morning, while writing this drivel, I have been sitting in Sydney’s hippest new coffee house, Grind, where I am pleased to say, the Sparkling City is catching up with its windy southern cousin in terms of quality blends.

The Barrister wants me to leave now ‘cause I’m taking up too many seats which could be used by some of the Funky Kats coming in for a double-espresso, but Old Mother Hubbard has taken the wheelbarrow off to move Miffy out of the sun, so I’m stuck on the designer-grit of the polished floorboards, with my hoofs floundering about in the rich-smelling air. Maybe it’s time to start doing a bit of exercise … ah, no hurry, it’ll be dahl-and-rice-only again before I know it.

Something like how Donkey looks about now. This cat was a front-runner in the Australian media for weeks while the Government was being questioned over its inhumane incarceration of asylum seekers. Pic: Google images


Susan Miller said...

Enjoy yourself, Donkey. The American PETA would get me for smiling at that cat, but I can't seem to help myself.

Anyway, it's always a pleasure reading your world through your words.

Thanks for the smile.

sabrina said...

Nothing like goin home for some great food!

Oh and how about a pixx of yerself? :p Just to see how you're 'getting along'

DonkeyBlog said...

Hey Sabrina - just got back to Delhi, fat but content. I have just bought my first digi camera, so stay tuned for pix galore!

lived-legna said...

Hi Donkey, been missing your posts... Hope to see one from you soon!

BV said...

Can donkeys take pictures?

It's okay...we can be fatties together.

Kate S said...

You are priceless. Reading your blog is always entertaining and enlightening.