Today was Arabella’s HSC Drama Examination and no surprise, we’ve had plenty of drama.
She had to be at school before 7am for a final rehearsal. At 7.01am she phoned to say she’d forgotten part of her costume – the riding jacket.
‘Mum, could you bring it down to the school like now?’ she asked, all stressed.
‘Can’t you just come back and get it? I haven’t even had a shower.’
‘No. I have to rehearse with my group now. I can’t let them down. Can dad bring it?’
‘He’s gone for a swim.’
‘What about Archie?’
‘He didn’t come home last night.’
‘Mum, I have to have it. Can you just come now? And can you bring my dark lipstick? I forgot that too. I really need it. It’s in my top drawer and it’s in a black and red case’. I so badly wanted to give her a thrashing and ask her where her head was at but realising that in one hour she would be on stage performing a seven-minute monologue and a seven-minute group performance in front of the Board of Studies, I restrained myself. But I was seriously tempted given that yesterday I had an SOS call from her saying, ‘Mum, I forgot my Drama Logbooks and they have to be in today. I’d walk back and get them but I’d be in really big trouble for leaving the school grounds if I was caught so could you just bring them down to me?’
And Arabella knows I don’t have a Driver’s Licence. Somehow it went under the radar that it expired on July 5 so for the past six weeks I’ve been driving illegally. Me! Doing illegal things! In my 40’s!
So I said to Arabella, ‘Okay, I’ll come down. I’ll just have a quick shower. But I’ll have to walk because I don’t have a licence.’ And in my 30-second shower it occurred to me that on my on-foot excursion down to Arabella’s school I would be leaving Alfie home-alone. That’s another crime. With that and driving without a licence that’s two illegal acts in less than a week.
I put on my exercise pants and my joggers and found the bloody riding jacket and the ultra-dark lipstick and told Alfie not to let strangers into the house and power walked down the hill to Arabella’s school. I found her in the Year 12 Common Room rehearsing. She and the rest of her group were doing so well. Except Arabella had a raspy voice. ‘I’m losing my voice, mum’.
‘Yes, but don’t worry, I’m sure it will hold out. Have some water and rest it. No more yelling’. She rehearsed for six hours yesterday and I’m sure she did too much yelling. And you would remember that the performance is quite vocal because the police have already turned up to one of the rehearsals.
I gave her a hug and told her she’d be brilliant then marched back up the hill in time to take Alfie to school.
I hadn’t been home five minutes when there was a call from Arabella. She’d done her group performance and all four girls were happy. They believe it had gone well. Arabella rasped, ‘Mum, the girls want to go out for lunch after this as a celebration. Would you be able to drop down some money so I can go with them?’
And I didn’t want to be mean because it has been a very stressful and anxious day so I agreed. I said, ‘Okay, but I’m just getting some confit duck legs in the oven for tonight’s dinner party and then I’m going to the RTA to renew my licence so I’ll be there after that’.
‘How long will that take?’
‘About two hours’.
‘The girls will be going before then.’
‘Okay Arabella, that’s fine. I’ll come to you and then go to the RTA’. And I didn’t want to get her all stressed as she still had to perform her monologue so I refrained from mentioning that by going to the RTA via the school, I would be committing another illegal act as you are only allowed to drive without a licence if going directly to the RTA.
I committed my third illegal act in less than a week and drove to the RTA and somehow managed a brilliant park, right outside their doors. I paid the $4.50 parking fee then walked up to the doors only to discover it was closed. A sign was on the door saying, ‘Temporarily Closed due to Construction Noise’. Of course. Why should public servants have to work in a noisy environment! The next-closes’ RTA office was too far away for me to be able to get there and back in time to rescue my duck legs from the oven so I committed another illegal act and drove myself home.
And Arabella phoned a little disappointed in her performance but relieved it’s all over and there’s nothing more she can do. She’s off to lunch while I pray for some uninterrupted time to prepare for my dinner party.
I’m serving a canape I saw on Eva’s blog, Kitchen Inspirations. It’s fresh dates stuffed with blue cheese, wrapped in proscuitto and cooked until the proscuitto is crispy and the cheese slightly melted. Then I’m serving confit duck legs with potato gratin and braised red cabbage.
As the main course is fairly rich, I thought a fresh and light dessert might be welcoming so I’m making a dessert from Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Kitchen.
Clementine Chocolate Salad
Degree of Difficulty: 3/5
Cost: Make when citrus is in season and it’s very affordable.
- 8 clementines (I couldn’t buy clementines so used blood oranges instead)
- 1 large handful of flaked almonds
- 10 fresh mint leaves, finely sliced
- 6 tbspns caster sugar
- 4 tbspns water
- seeds from a vanilla pod
- 100g best-quality chocolate (70% cocoa solids), shaved
Peel the clementines, slice across thinly and remove the pips. Arrange on 4 plates and sprinkle over the almonds and mint. Bring the sugar and water to the boil, add the vanilla seeds and allow to simmer until the liquid becomes a light golden syrup. Try not to touch it too much at this stage. Drizzle the syrup over the clementines and top with the shaved chocolate before serving.