My latest bout of homesickness has come in the form of compulsive purchasing of Australian Women’s Weekly Cookbooks. I have read Muffins, Scones and Bread about fifteen times now and it still makes me misty-eyed. In this age of verbose Nigellas and irritating Jamies, there’s something simple and so darn sensible about step-by-step instructions, no fuss photography and precise measurements. You can be safe in the knowledge that every recipe has been triple-tested in the famous ACP Test Kitchen under Kerry Packer’s watchful eye and gelatinous jowls. And how can you go wrong when it’s edited by someone called Pamela Clarke? Is there a more trustworthy, wholesome name than Pamela Clarke? Florence Nightingale or Mother Theresa, perhaps.
Now I’ve started watching the cricket. I’ve always had a deep loathing for cricket, the way it hogged the television during summer holidays and stopped me from watching Days Of Our Lives. But because it’s The Ashes and my native people have come to Britain, it’s suddenly become interesting. Mostly because if an Aussie gets out or does something crap, everyone at work asks gleefully, “What HAPPENED Marshy?” as if I was the bloody selector and personally responsible for every ball.
So I swotted up at the BBC’s Sport Academy so I could fake a knowledge of cricket beyond Those Blokes On The Weet-Bix Ads. The site explains all the rules and the jargon, so before long I knew what the guy in the oven gloves did and could then smugly answer questions from fellow cricket-virgin Gareth as if I’d known all along.
The end of the Second Test was magnificent. I could hardly believe I was wasting a rare sunny Scottish Sunday morning watching blokes in pyjamas grabbing their balls, but it was a true nail-biter. Gareth was hooked too, and asked afterwards, “Is cricket always this exciting?”.
Apparently not. The commentators who seemed about to explode in their sensible slacks said it was one of The Most Thrilling Test Matches EVAH. So I don’t know if I’ll become a cricket fan, but I have a newfound respect for the sport and the team that so many of my countryfolk are obsessed with.
Take Shane Warne for example, who not only performed brilliantly in the Second Test, apparently tried to arrange a threesome with his wife and one of his squeezes in order to save his marriage. Forget self-help books and poncy counsellors, that’s a genius idea! My marriage is still going strong but I might ask Gareth if he’s up for one as a preventative measure.