“The backyard barbecue, it’s a holdover from the last Ice Age when food was scarce and men had to work together to take down such a large beast. Those who worked well with others survived and their genes have been passed down through the centuries until they landed here, in this… my community.” – Dexter Morgan
Yep, you guessed right and therefore know what’s coming: Tonight, on new, brain-disconnect affectation riddled Darkly Defending, I slither about while almost completely wet, why shouting “POWEEERRRRR!” is not much help if you are driving something with an engine capacity of 2L or less, and my bitter secret.
The beginning of this week has been taken up with helping my sister move house. Naturally, she is moving 350km away, so getting there by car is not exactly a wee trip to the shops and takes quite a long time. It also involves driving through the Blue Mountains, which are basically in a state of perpetual roadworks, so a 25km stretch that should, in theory take about 40 minutes to blast through, takes well over an hour and a half. This is not much of a problem, however, because once you finally leave the maze of safety cones and men supposedly at work, the speed limit rises sharply and it is a straight run for miles and miles, when you can really put your foot down (within acceptable limits, of course) and make up some of the lost time to arrive some time around the mid-afternoon.
While moving house was pretty easy – even though we did it ourselves with no delivery company or whatnot, all of whom wanted ridiculous amounts ranging up to $4,000 to move one person – and involved me building a bed from scratch without actually murdering myself due to generalised incompetence, and even correctly setting up a washing machine and fridge without electrocuting myself in the process, and adding to my DIY prowess by fixing a wonky table, and then rounding out the whole affair by committing serial murder on most insect life that dared cross the threshold – including beating the unholy crap out of a red back spider with a broom (in my defence, they are poisonous. In its defence, I had already poisoned it with the bug spray before I beat it to death, so it didn’t feel it).
I am beginning to think, however, that I am being unfairly targeted by the weather. It started raining when we left, and despite me thinking that the rain would leave me alone at some point, it followed me for 350 kilometres. All the bloody way home. It is actually still raining now, as I’m writing this post, and guess what the forecast for the next bloody week is? That’s right, rain. It also doesn’t help when you have a truck which is going slowly up a hill and an overtaking lane opens up. What is certainly least helpful at this point is the fact that instead of a Holden Commodore, which has a 3.8L engine and can hustle when it needs to, is the fact that I was driving a Hyundai Getz, which has a 1.6L engine. What this translates to, is that if you are trying to overtake said truck, not only will you have to do it in second, causing the rev meter to climb alarmingly but industriously to the high 4′s to even start increasing speed rather than slowing down even further. What will also happen, if there is any traffic within about 300 miles of you, you will almost certainly be killed about 30 seconds after beginning your overtaking manoeuvre.
What will also happen at some point in your drive with bad weather being your constant friend? That’s right, it will wait until you’re trying to turn into quite a difficult intersection and then rain very heavily. I was attempting to join the Hume Highway, a major freeway which runs from Sydney to Melbourne, but the particular intersection I was doing this at involves crossing two lanes of oncoming traffic controlled by nothing at all to get to the freeway entrance. This is difficult enough in good weather, but when it’s hard to see in front of you it’s a complete bastard. Thankfully, I managed to get a large enough gap in traffic and then slithered onto the onramp. What didn’t help at this point are two major matters – firstly, the speed limit suddenly soars from 60km/h to 110km/h – again, no problem in a Commodore – and the rain is falling so thick and fast at this point that you can’t see a bloody thing. Add into the mix the fact that there are several people who have no idea of how the speed limit relates to them – i.e. they are doing about 70km/h on a major freeway – and trying to overtake in near-zero visibility becomes a hell of a lot of fun. Thankfully, I just took it safe, and using all of my mirrors, swung into the overtaking lane only when I could actually confirm it was empty, and managed to get all the way to my intended exit without causing a major accident.
Somewhere in all of this, however, is some good news. At some point over the last few days, I have gotten hooked on lemon, lime and bitters. I have found that it happens to keep my notoriously picky stomach happy – ironically, this is because Angostura bitters, the major component of the “bitters” – which is about 45% alcohol by weight, is actually quite a good antiemetic and anti nausea treatment – and no, you don’t glug it, you use about 5 or 6 drops per glass. This small amount is a good thing, since the bitters are about $20 per bottle and involve a trip to the bottle shop – but the rest of the ingredients are pretty damn cheap – it’s just lime cordial and lemonade/Solo/Lift (according to preference). It makes quite a good drink, is quick and simple to make, and most bars can make it. This was especially good when I was nomming my way merrily through an amazingly cheap pub lunch – $5 for a beef rissole with mashed potatoes, gravy and vegetables, and with a wee lemon, lime and bitters for something to drink, it’s not that bad when you can get lunch and something to drink for under $10.