See that Paddle Steamer, it has sailed a long way from the Mississippi
On this occasion we selected the Korean (Imbiß). We ordered the fish and chips (Pacific Cod), it came served on something I haven’t seen for many a long year, one of those tea trollies of yesteryear. Ever so quaint and very New Zealand. I always remember, when I was at sea and entering New Zealand waters, the Radio Officer, (whose job it is to keep exact time on board a ship, though the foolish Deck Officers believe it is they, by shooting the sun at mid-day) would put up on Captains daily orders,” today we are entering New Zealand, Please retard all clocks by 50 years”. It was he who first got me into eating Pacific oysters and Green Lipped mussels a taste that I have never lost and never will.
But back to the fish n’ chips, the fish was frozen and pre-battered, but it was well cooked and tasty, the chips also well cooked and not those hard straw thingies, but large thick chips and for $NZ 5,- well worth it.
We decided that we would do our shopping for breakfast later and headed back to the Motel for a rest, you can if you so wish partake in a thermal bath or a swim in the heated pool do so, but as Linda forgot her Cossie she didn’t and out of sympathy I joined her. But before reaching our motel we passed “The Limes” café, I noticed that a lady sitting at one of the street tables was partaking in a Custard Slice, now custard slices are my all-time favourite cake.
Interlude back to the 50s & 60s
On a Saturday while we went to see the TOON (in those days winning) “Wor Mam” would buy a selection of small cakes from the travelling Co-op baker as a treat (not for the TOON winning or for anything we had done, but just as a treat). The steam train would exude its black and white clothed cargo of TOON supporters (no Makams on board this train thank you) onto the platform of Backworth Station, it was then that the Smith race began, it was out of the train, up the bank, across the road and down Halton Drive through the arch, by “Wor Great Aunt Megs” and down Havelock Road into 6 Haydon Gardens, through the gate into the back door (it was always open, front doors in our village only used for Christening, Marriages and feet first after death). I, even until this day, never knew why they tried, I was like whippet and not an ounce of fat on my scrawny body, but boy could I run. That plate of 10 gleaming iced cakes sitting in the middle of the kitchen table, I would lick my finger and plonk it straight through the middle of the custard slice, that was it baggsied, mine and mine alone, the rest of the lads could fight with the lasses (they had been doing girlie things whilst we had been to St James) as to what cake they would like, but I had mine. At times the baker may have had no custard slice left, now that did send me into a bit of a spin, in fact I wasn’t at all bothered about the other cakes and may have had what ”Wor Mam” called a “pet lip” and would give me a “yill trip owa thet pet lip if yi divint strightin ya face wor Richard”. But rules are rules and no one not even “Wor Dad” (he hadn’t been to the match, but had either been in the garden with his prize leeks or playing with his mates at “the ‘lotments Workingmens Club”) could have their cakes before your tea, it could a pile of home boiled ham and pease pudding stotties cut into wedges and piled on a willow pattern platter, or it might even be a pan of broth made with vegetables from “wor dads” garden and the scragg end of mutton or breast of lamb. But always something substantial, hearty and ever so taste “Wor Mam” was a very good cook, nay, a bloody good cook!
End of interlude
So you can see why I went into a spin when I saw that lady eating that spectre of my childhood and youth, I had to have a one! As luck would have it there was only one left, it was mine all mine (I didn’t even have to stick my finger in it, I just paid for it). Linda could have here prissy citrus tart which she said was delectable, she couldn’t realise what inner enjoyment was at that moment pulsing through my whole body, I savoured each delectable mouthful, not a crumb was left. We drank flat white coffee (don’t ask me why it is so called, but I shall endeavour to find out before my next post.
We returned to the Motel picked up the car and went for a drive around town, under the auspice of shopping for breakfast things; we had decided that we would make our own German type (cold meats and cheese with seeded rolls). On returning we parked down on the water’s edge and took some photographs of the water planes, Black Swans with Signets and the lake panorama. Adjacent to the lake and the Scout Hut, was a covered construction that housed one of those massive war canoes that you see in films of the Pacific, this one had been manufactured using traditional, material, tools and methods, it is a mighty beast with very fine intricate carvings.
That evening to have a look and see what the restaurants in the near vicinity tickled our fancy just across Fenton street was a Korean Family Restaurant, the photographs in the window looked good and it was quite full with Koreans and other folks from Asia, seeing this we decided that as we had done the cultural thing in San Francisco, we would sample their food (it is not unknown to me as I have had it quite a few times in the past).
Linda chose the Beef Bulgogi and I the Calamari Balgogi both having the same names we had imagined that they would come prepared in the same manner, no the Bulgogi is the manner it is served , on a cast iron plate. Mine was hot and spicy, with loads of shredded cabbage and sliced calamari, including the crispy tentacles. Linda’s was done in a sweet sauce also with shredded vegetables. To accompany was served rice, Chimchi, spiced turnip root, potatoes in a gravy like sauce and pickled greens. Very tasty indeed, well worth the $NZ 15,- per head.