Smiley Bill

A parcel arrived from The Mothership. It took two months and $90 to come over on the boat. Among the loot – ancient issues of delicious magazine, a random handbag, moisturiser, two fleece hoodies, tiny tins of passionfruit and creamed corn.

As always, Mum had mummified the parcel with a kilometre of packing tape so we had to hack it open with a breadknife. But when I was finally in, I could almost smell home… traces of Bert the dog, Earl Grey tea and chilly Goulburn air, trapped in the fabrics and pages.

Reading the magazines was a strange mix of foreign and familiar. I gawked at a photo of a sheep for ten minutes, because I’d forgotten how beautifully beige and sturdy Aussie sheep look. And all those food brands… King Island Dairy, Devondale, Pauls. It’s pathetic when a yogurt pot makes you sigh with longing.

And that Bill Granger… bloody hell, he’s everywhere, isn’t he? Does he ever stop smiling? They had his show on the BBC but he hasn’t become the same level of culinary god as he seems to be in Oz. Maybe he’s just too smiley for Britain? All that sunshine and salad; we just can’t relate to that.

Smiley Bill

Recently I sent a parcel to Hollie and James, my wee brother and sister. It cost £30 to send about £5 worth of British sweets and crisps. But that’s the grand tradition of the long distance care package – the postage is always at least five times the value of the contents. The ratio may have been higher for Mum’s parcel – she sent me a bagful of loose change left over from her last visit. I could just hear her voice as I pawed through the pennies, They’re no good to me now, you might as well use them! This 2p coin has had an exciting life – from Scotland to Australia and back again.

a taste of oz

About Shauna Reid

Ahoy there! I’m Shauna, an author, copywriter and content mentor. I love telling stories about life and helping others to tell theirs.

Find out more about me and how we can work together – I’m now booking for January 2022.

31 thoughts on “Smiley Bill

  1. My friends play a Bill Grainger drinking game. You have to drink everytime he does on those trade mark cheesy grins. You can be hammered after watching just one program *G*

  2. Your mother sent creamed corn?! I think that’s hilarious. Almost as good as my own mum sending me a tin of biscuits for my 30th birthday! OK, so they were tim tams, but it was my 30th!!

  3. I hate Bill Grainger, he’s so perky and he does this stupid Macleans ad where he sings, it’s horrible.

    I am still laughing about your care package, it brought back memories of the ones I received in London. Mum sent over Pumpkin Cup’o’soups and some Queensland Blue Pumpkin seeds… and a bra from Best and Less.

  4. Passionfruit…my favourite! The tinned stuff isn’t a patch on the real thing (not tart enough), but it would do me in a pinch.

    Wrinkly purple passionfruit always remind me of my grandma – she had the BEST vine on her backfence (just near the Hills hoist we’d swing around on until she caught us and threatened us with the broom) and we’d pick them, lop the tops off and eat them with a spoon. *sigh* I can’t seem to grow the bloody things.

    Enjoy the loot!

  5. You can’t get creamed corn for love or money over here, and I happened to mention this to Mum… and so she delivers! Just like when I said I missed this Continental Malaysian Creamy Satay mix, and she sent over 20 packets 🙂

  6. You can’t get creamed corn over there? Oh, you poor, deprived people! I wish postage wasn’t so expensive. I went to New Zealand in ’01 and brought Tim Horton’s coffee from Canada. My friend liked it so much, I decided to supply her with tins regularly. But that lasted… one time. $65 to send $10 worth of coffee?? Yikes!

  7. A friend of mine mentioned that she couldn’t find creamed corn over here – I thought she just hadn’t looked hard enough! My reasoning being that if it says ‘creamed’ in the title it sounds fattening so the Brits must love it. Can’t say I have ever had it myself. Is it like mushy peas but in a corn version?

  8. Dan, pretty much, yeah! When it comes to the canned stuff, creamed just means “pulverised”, with no actual cream involved 🙂

  9. LaLa – I was just about to make a smart remark about Bill Granger being nothing but a toothpaste ad, but he flipping well is already! Typical. I still haven’t forgiven him for “Bills” instead of “Bill’s”, it makes my pen fingers positively itchy.

  10. I don’t know if there’s any truth to it but my Mum (who sends a lot of packages home during her epic European backpacking trips – aged 72 no less!) puts them in smaller packets i.e. instead of one big one, 2 smaller ones. This seems to impact the price.

    Don’t know if it’s true or not?

    That reminds me, I need to remind my Mum to send ME some care packages! Sadly, home cooked Wiener Schnitzel isn’t going to survive shipping from NZ to the UK 🙁 Damn, I’m hungry!

    Scott F 🙂

  11. Ooohh passionfruit. The sad lack of passionfruit is the only thing holding me back from making a pavlova here in Shanghai- it’s just not the same without the passionfruit!

    My cousins own a farm- a passionfruit farm on the border or NSW and QLD- they are a major supplier of passionfruit throughout australia and have hectares and hectares of vines… nothing but passionfruit! We used to go there on our holidays, and I swear to god it was like my every dream come true.

    And yet now I would kill for just one teensy little can of John West Passionfruit pulp….

  12. I’m sure I’ve seen creamed corn in the Chinese supermarket on Leith Walk. Not the most obvious place to look for it, I appreciate! I’ll check it out and let you know.

  13. Unless there’s something very odd about the perspective… those look like really tiny tins. Or a very big two pence piece (though that seems less likely).

    What a good big sister you are, sending packets of British sweeties halfway round the world! I used to bring back sweeties from school trips abroad, but that didn’t actually require me to post them.

    I’m not sure I fancy creamed corn, even if it doesn’t have any actual cream in it.

  14. Argh! Bill Grainger.

    I saw him on the box a while back talking about what great mates he and Annalise Breakensieke are.

    Yeah, of course you are Bill, you were the only bloke who never put the moves on her, because you’re as queer as a nine bob note.

    It does seem unusually cruel in this day and age to marry some poor sap purely as a beard.

    It’s not even like he’s in some job where being gay could effect him negatively, you’re a tv chef FFS.

    Anyway, hope you enjoy your care parcel,I got one from pals in Melbourne last year, it was 20 crossword pages from The Age staurday edition, so me triple R stickers and a Melbourne lighter that lit up from within to show the art center and a tram.

  15. Kinda funny that you can’t get creamed corn there – I always assumed it was a British thing that us Commonwealthers just adopted… I can always send you some from Canada if you are in a pinch! 😉

    There’s nothing like a care package from home though… My grandmother used to send me the word search puzzle from the local newspaper when I moved away to go to university. Too cute.

  16. Just came across your interview in the Blackmores newsletter and I was all `hey I know her! well, I read her blog anyways’ :o) woohoo shauna!

  17. Bill Granger did a book signing at my store once. He brought muffins for all the staff. So while he may be unnervingly smiley, at least he can back up the friendliness with action – and delicious baked goods!

  18. Pol x – my husband would agree with you. He’s convinced Bill Granger is gay.

    And LaLa – my sister too! It absolutely does her head in to see Bill’s spelt Bills. I’ve never seen anyone get so worked up about punctuation.

    Oh, and Shauna: the Mothership is a gem, isn’t she? My Mum sends packs of Maggi onion soup mix from NZ to London just so we can have dip to go with our £2.50 Bluebird green onion chips from the NZ shop.

  19. Hahah is Bill gay?
    Let’s think about it – when was the last time you saw a straight men with a permanent wardrobe of head-to-toe white outfits and tips bleached to perfection. And a cook book with artfully shot black and white photos of matching children in – yes – head to toe white outfits…

    I have been reading your blog for ages Shauny – love your work and lo and behold walking into Kinokuniya on George St a few days, there is your book in prime position on the entrance to the store.

    Congrats hon!!

  20. Gareth reckons if he shot a series on a council estate and flipped the bird as he stirred the gravy, he’d be huge.

    Thumbs up from me and the Hub. We’d totally watch that. TOTALLY. Gareth should get right on that.

    Godalmighty, care packages are awesome to get, awful to send. Even just from one end of the States to the other– it cost me a ridiculous amount of money to ship my sister a batch of cookies. Granted, it weighed less than the original estimate because it took me three days to send it and my Hub and I kept snitching cookies out of it before it got taped up. But still. I can’t even imagine having to send one halfway across the world!

  21. i’m totally jealous of your care package from oz, i love creamed corn.. nothing over this way seems to even resemble it hey, though i do like that you can get tins of mixed peppers (well capsicums) though doesn’t make up for the lack of creamed corn hey.and you got tinned passion fruit… mmmmmmm yum…….. summer days and hiding in the vines biting into the sweet and tangy flesh…. what are you going to use it for?

    i’ve yet to reieve anything from oz, seems i have stingy parents and friends, who looked into it, and decided it was too expensive to send anything…

    though you can get milo from the aussie shop in london!

  22. Dear oh dear! Some people have it in for Bill don’t they? I like the fact that he SMILES! There are enough cranky, sweary people around the place as it is, it’s great to see someone enjoying themselves. As a bonus, his recipes are generally delicious, straightforward and they work! Rock on, Bill….

  23. Bill Granger is way, way too smiley and far too media-friendly. I like my chefs to be surly miserable bastards.

    Care packages are so lovely. I can’t believe there’s no creamed corn over there given how big mushy peas are!

  24. I’ve broken my lengthy silence on here to mention two things.

    I absolutely love cooking shows. They are like some sort of hypotoad, where with one look I am hooked into watching 30 minutes or some bloke dicing shit and cooking it – void of the best parts of cooking: Scents and Taste.

    I can’t explain why I love watching cooking shows so much. I have never gone on to cook the meals shown, I am too lazy to put in the effort, and I don’t own a kitchen.

    Yet I watch and watch.

    Secondly – words cannot say how much I hate grinning dickbag Bill Granger. His claim to cooking fame is veneers, constant smiling, and pithy little grinny shit moments with his kids and some wank surf background shots.

    So forced. So fucking up himself. So bloody Sydney.

    Piss off Bill Granger.

Comments are closed.