Old folk at lunch

Sunday, November 14, 2010

BBQ for visitors from Britain



Given the unending stream of people moving between Britain and Australia, a BBQ for visitors from Britain is quite a common social occasion in Australia. The visitors may be Australians returning or Britons visiting relatives who have migrated to Australia.

Today was an example of the latter. Kenneth has always been keen on keeping in touch with his immediate family in Britain and a few years ago even managed to get his sister Tracy to move to Australia. So relatives back in Britain now have a double incentive to come here. Today it was sister Pat and her husband Jon -- with the BBQ at Simon & Tracy's place in semi-rural Carbrook. Kickoff was at 2pm and I had faded by about 4pm

Jon has long been much involved in British politics -- mostly in the Liberal cause -- so we had lots to talk about -- given that I keep a close track of British politics. The British Liberals are moderate Leftists -- moderate enough to be in a coalition government with the Tories at the moment -- so Jon is very open to reasonable argument and we covered a lot of ground. We were of course both appalled at the proposed new arrangements for support of university students in Britain -- arrangements which are mainly the work of the Liberals but which fly in the face of all reason.

Some elements of the arrangements make sense but the net effect would seem to be the segregation of graduates from poorer families into low-income jobs and leaving high income jobs to the children of the rich -- and that is from a party that parades itself as friends of the poor! But Leftist politics are always a mess.

Simon was chef again as usual and did his usual magnificent job: Some of the best sausages and chicken kebabs I have tasted. And Maureen supplied a large and first-class Pavlova again.

There were over 20 of us present and poor Becky (Simon and Tracy's beautiful teenage daughter) was trying to figure out how she was related to everyone present. It is quite a complex tale but I think she got most of it in the end.

Anne spent a lot of time talking to Simon about Oberammergau and I spent most of my time talking to Jon -- largely about topics (such as the West Lothian question) that would have been pretty impenetrable to others present. But I rarely get the opportinity to talk to someone close to the action in British politics so I hope I didn't annoy anybody.

I provided three bottles of Australian Seaview brut "champagne" as my contribution to the deliberations and they went down well as usual. Maybe I am just a peasant but I find it hard to distinguish Seaview from Moet -- even though Seaview is a fraction of the price of Moet. I do buy Moet for special occasions with Anne (birthdays etc.) but it for symbolism rather than taste. I used to buy Veuve Cliquot for special occasions but I eventually concluded that I liked Moet et Chandon better. All three are nice wines, however.

But I used to like the now defunct Barossa Pearl so that pigeonholes me among Australian wine gurus ("old fool" would probably be one of the kinder epithets).

It was a hot day but Simon embraced the Australian/Indian tradition of wide verandahs in the design of his house so we ate at a looong table on the verandah, where it was perfectly cool.


A pretty good photo of late in the occasion. I am in the white shirt talking to Jon diagonally opposite me


The two bubbies getting to know one another. They were both very "good", without a cry of complaint out of either of them


Von will have one of her own in a couple of weeks

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