a pudding by any other name
the changing shapes of the clouds need our attention
or else, like life, they will just drift by. i was contemplating this one afternoon while having lunch at Doyles on Watsons Bay in Sydney. the temperamental weather had settled down like a child given its candy. there was nary a cloud in the sky and under the shady umbrellas i could feel the sun bouncing off the crumbly white sand and scorching my skin. never did i want more, than to jump into the lazily lapping, blue water of the bay, cute little sundress and all. finally, a bit of relief arrived with a cool glass of Tassie Pinot Grigio to set the mood; a bit woody, a bit smokey, a bit fruity and a whole lotta easy.
first came the oysters, those slippery, nubbly, creamy, salty, sweet suckers with whom i have had many a torrid affair. unlike the Walrus and the Carpenter, i had no compunctions and all twelve soon found themselves sliding down a hungry wanton throat.
who would have thought that something so hard and crusty, could contain something so sweetly suckering?
then came the beer battered, crispy barramundi, a true ‘golden brown’ with thick cut chips. the fish and chips of all fish and chips and what brought fame to the then tiny shop way back in 1885. it was simple and magnificent. such a difficult combination to get right. a dusting of salt, a crack of pepper, a dunk into tartar sauce and i was transported back through every visit over the last eighteen years, each one to celebrate something special.
its been nine years since i was last at Doyles and as i thought about all the big, small and in-between events of the intervening years, i was amazed by how much my life had tumbled and turned in the most unexpected and surprising ways. incredibly, through all the happyness and sadness i was still standing and still in love with life.
my philosophical thoughts were pushed aside as i came back to reality with my empty plate. i was stuffed to the gills but the play wasn’t over. finally, what i had flown fifteen hours, a forty minute train ride and a thirty minute ferry ride for, royally announced itself, and…
i knowingly committed the sin of gluttony.
some may think it strange that one goes to a fish and chip shop, for the dessert. it is strange, but entirely irresistible, and who was i to resist the luscious delight in front of me? about twelve years ago i had been told one soul-searing day, that old Mrs Doyle made them herself every morning and when they were finished for the day, they were finished. today, i had secured my order early. i never wanted to hear ‘im sorry, we have run out of the sticky date pudding’ ever again.
Doyle’s sticky date pudding is no ordinary pud. this is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. it is legendary. it declared its heritage with full pomp and circumstance and set the standard so high that i’d given up wasting the sheer effort required to get through far less pedigreed ones.
when i finally delicately pierced it and took my first bite, I knew that even though my life tumbled like pillowy clouds on a windy day, in this special corner of the world, the clouds had held their breath, unmoving and unchanging. it still worked its magic, every heavenly forkful swished through the seductive caramel sauce yielding up a secret, to life, love and happyness. as i took my last bite, i sighed in absolute contentment, thinking, there’s nothing like distance to give you perspective, especially if you are looking at clouds.