Monday, July 18, 2011

What would Henry Higgins think?

Dear hearts,

I love a good word. We all know that. But have I told you how much I love a good accent?

Oh, I do. I do.

Just ask the Bright Young Things. As you know, we lived in London. Central London. Eaton Place actually. Yes. SW1.Talk about a covetable postcode. Talk about covetable neighbours. Google Earth if you don’t believe me. Joan Collins lived down the road and Maggie Thatcher in the next square. We used to buy our sausages together at the Chatsworth Farm Store in Elizabeth St. That is of course, once you excused yourself past those big bodyguards who stood on point at the front door (to make sure noone got away with Dennis’ pork porkers).
I would chuckle to myself as she rifled through her purse for change. The biggest Queen like sparkly brooch on her suit, her hair like a helmet and absolute determination in her eyes to get the last of those porcine packages.

Personally, I’m not a huge fan of the sausage…well…

Charles Saatchi and Nigella lived at the back of us in Eaton Square. I used to wonder if they slept in that unmade bed of Tracy Emin’s. But I doubt it. Nigella would not stand for the smell of another woman I’m sure. The cup cake sweetness of her bits would demand a set of fresh sheets every day.

Which reminds me of the story I read about Jacquie Onassis. According to this snippet, Jacquie was partial to a little nap in the afternoon. Aren’t we all Dear hearts. One of my favourite things to do when I am left with a little time, is to hop under the covers, have a Baby o and drift off for a half an hour or so.

But I digress. Back to Jacq. In her bedroom on Park Avenue, she had the absolute luxury of fresh linen on the bed for her afternoon snooze and then fresh linen again at night. That my friends, is when you know you are rich.

What I love about Nigella and Maggie and Jacquie is of course their accents. Nigella with her lovely creamy sweet uppercrust nuance. Maggie with her imperious, I have transitioned from the Grocer’s daughter and don’t you challenge me haughtiness. I think I preferred the Kennedy accent to the Bouvier accent, although both had a laconic sense of entitlement to them.

Which brings me to my own. I suppose I should explain its rather circuitous journey. It started on the north shore. Mosman don’t you know. My Mother and Father good lower north shore kids, but when we moved to the western suburbs my poor mother had to change her accent just to fit in. Just to survive. She had to pack away her little boucle suits and sparkly brooch’s and wear Bermuda shorts and keds. I was a little confused as you can imagine. My Grandfather with his orator’s voice, my Grandmother with her penchant for opera and my Dad with his musical ear.

I ran away from the western suburbs just as fast as I could. In the opposite direction, straight to the eastern suburbs. All those thick and rolling Eastern European accents, the Jewish shrug in a grunt and those Vaucluse lilts made for a cacophony of internation, annunciation and cadence.

And then Dear hearts, we moved to London. My goodness. After nearly three years I had quite the phony English accent, as the Bright Young Things like to call it. Noone can do an upper class English lope like me. Think Eddie and Pats with a touch of Jonathan Ross. Throw in a little Kristen Scott-Thomas and some Keith Richards and I think you might have me. Not too try hard (like Maggie T God love her), not too starchy. I’m quite proud of it and will not be bowed.

Of course now we are in the far far north and I am sure it has evolved again. A little bend and perhaps a touch of twang. All quite charming, obvi. And all quite me.

I should tell you I am currently reading a book set in the South. The gracious and not so gracious southern states of the USA. You know I am reading aloud in my head and you know it’s Blanche who’s narrating. Too too enjoyable.

It will be interesting to see how that little sojourn affects this accent that has meandered around the world.

Enjoy mon ami.

Madame Mich x

Thursday, July 7, 2011

I have become accustomed to your face

Dear Hearts,

I have a secret. To be honest, it’s not really a secret. I think you know me well enough to probably have figured it out by now.

It’s a part of who I am and a part of where I have come from. I could blame those who made me, but why? I have learnt to live with it and in many ways, am comforted by it…the consistency of it. The constancy of it.

Once I recognised it, it became not my burden, my albatross, but my friend.

One word Dear hearts,

Lots of
Too much
Never too much

Ok that may be more than one word, but you see my point nest pas?

I’m sitting here hoovering my way through an entire small bucket of semi dried tomatoes, at their peak may I say. A generous block of Australian full cream fetta cheese and a somewhat cheeky Sav Blanc courtesy of a certain training institution who thanked me for my attention.

This has been a constant dining companion to me for the better part of I can’t remember how many years. And I don’t care to. Because it is the perfect light dinner partner. Tasty, salty and fruity. With a trio like that who needs a fourth?

Which brings me to my attention. If you have it, you seriously have it. 110%. Maybe 200010% (is that like a gazillion %??) If I’m into you, then I’m in to you. Speak and you have me. Completely. Nothing else exists.

If I like it, I like it. I can never leave Cairns now, unless the Mungalli Biodynamic Dairy comes with me. I would have to pack up those sweet Jersey cows, pack their not so little udders in my suitcase and hit the road. But then I would have to make room for those super sweet Mareeba tomato vines. Drape their heavy, fruit laden branches around said Jersey necks to make sure I had the best, freshest tomatoes this side of anywhere.

And would there be room for that secret beach in my suitcase? It must be 3kms long. Where would I fit the shells and the sticks and that brown and white dog that likes noone but us?

Hmmm, I haven’t mentioned the moon and the far far north sky yet have I? That’s going to take some packing. I would need to squeeze moon trails from full moons over Ellis Beach and the Southern Cross could not be folded I imagine. Not without a crease…

I haven’t mentioned a certain banana bread and coffee from a certain near Esplanade cafĂ©? Well, Kelly may be little but that suitcase is getting full. Could I fit David’s mother in as well so that the banana bread was never ending?

I may need to abandon the little brown cardboard suitcase I had as a five year old. It was full of treasures as special as these mentioned here. My favourite matchbox cars, wax ballerina candles from my 5th birthday. The one where my mother sang to me in a tent in Lightening Ridge. Those very same and very beautiful candles stuck in a store bought loaf cake, sadly so beneath them. My mother singing through her tears because my father didn’t come home to celebrate my blowing out of those most beautiful candles. I jiggled on my bottom, just wanting my mother to stop singing, not stop crying, because I wanted to save those lovely ballerina heads from melting away. I wanted to keep them perfect, intact. So I could have them forever. And ever. I carried those stumps around in my little brown suitcase for years, the wax tutu's chipping away, some of the heads lopped off.(do you see where it comes from?)

I sat on the verandah of my grandparents enormous Victorian house on the hill overlooking Balmoral Beach and the harbour, ignoring the pretty little boats, too absorbed in sorting methodically, precisely, over and over again, the buttons my seamstress grandmother collected as a result of her impeccable needlework. It was all I ever wanted to do. Perhaps the shells I am compelled to collect now are the bright little buttons of then.

And I haven’t even mentioned you know who. Perhaps I shouldn’t. I had become accustomed to his face on my pillow. And elsewhere. My suitcase is only so big. And my will only so great.

But to be honest, Dear hearts, as much as we would like to squeeze and squash these things into our suitcase, the suitcase of the mind is more than capacious. More than accommodating.

I still have those ballerina candles. I swear I do. Sadly I also still have my mothers tears, but I make sure they stay locked in the little brown suitcase at the top of the emotional cupboard, you know the one, where my sentimentality lies.

For everything else, I am here now. Enjoying all these things now. With a light touch, just like Miss Christine says…hold them lightly and they will always be yours.

Enjoy your treasures.

With love
Miss Mich