"Now Is The Summer of Our Disco-Tent"

or, Happy Belated New Year. I am back in Wellington to resume working – flew in today – camping is over for another year. I read 13 books, drank vodka-and-tonics, stayed largely sunsmart and saw lots of family. Perfect. It is the vodka component of that last sentence which gives us our title – the most sublime pun I have ever had the good fortune to experience (courtesy of Mum.)


Above: It’s a disco ball. Shaped like a vodka bottle. Suspended from a tent pole. Camping somehow gets camp-er.

Tim bought it for me impulsively (a habit of his I must remember to nurture and encourage) – a litre of the excellent Absolut Vodka, encased in a disco-reflecto-casing that, with a light trained on it (as we did) becomes a working disco ball, and nothing if not an excellent talking point. You could say it made our summer complete. I haven’t been feeling so well the last couple of days, (kidney trouble I suspect) but I was still sad to leave the annual camping compound. Thank goodness it is a sunny day in Wellington today; I am reminded why I love the place. If it was the usual grey and windy I would probably just feel resentful. Tim isn’t actually here with me, as his sister has just returned from a gap year, so I am armed with DVDs of Sex and The City which I can enjoy wholeheartedly without someone asking for the thirtieth time how Carrie has become a fashion icon.


Above: This is definitely a little behind the times but the colours looked lovely and besides, it’s my blog so I can do what I want, continuity be damned! These delicious sweeties were made my my aunt, (except for the berries; her talent has limits) and we ate this alongside the pomegranate cake at Christmas.


Above: Sample camping dinner – pita pockets, minced beef with cumin, garlic and cinnamon, and salad. I haven’t been so hungry the last couple of days, what with feeling under the weather and all, but we definitely ate well.


Above: The Non-Cake Maker’s Christmas Cake from Nigella’s Feast. For a cumbersome title it certainly is an easy and rewarding baking venture. If it looks a trifle lopsided, it’s because the paper collar baked into the mixture – I do hate it when recipes ask you to line the sides of the tin, because I inevitably muck it up. I used the rest of the rhubarb fruit mince, and while I haven’t tried any cake, it definitely smelled wonderful and seemed like a great idea – just a basic cake mixture, with brown sugar and fruit mince added.

I have with me a bowl of salad, I think I’ll call it lunch, and a whole lot of unpacking to do. Can a certain favourite musical of mine be consulted for an ever-reliable quote? Of course – “It’s gonna be a happy New Year!”

6 thoughts on “"Now Is The Summer of Our Disco-Tent"

  1. Kay says:

    Gotta love modern technology! Hardly an hour between photographing and emailing photo, and sampling the above-mentioned cake and it’s there, for all the world to see on your blog. I am about to return to the disco-tent, sans disco-bottle, for the last few nights under (damp) canvas before the ultimate in disaster-movie concepts – the “decampment” wherein 3 people try to fit two tents, two bikes and the camping accoutrements of two weeks for five-ish people into three cars… When I got back home from dropping you at the airport, the 4 remaining campers (the brother, the German, the guitarist and the one you defeated in “Versability”)were availing themselves of hot water and technology. In the absence of any obvious food, I mixed together the last few edible objects left in the house – a packet of vermicelli, two tins of seasoned tomatoes, a breast of smoked chicken-diced and dangerously close to its kill-by date, some basil-flavoured oil, courtesy of Lynn’s house-moving-pantry-clean-out), half a drying-out camembert left over from Christmas and fresh parsley which is growing in between the cobblestones (OMG! Just remembered Mark said he was going to spray all the cobbles with weed-killer while we were away….) Anyway, while I await certain poisoning from at least one of the ingredients – everyone loved it. You would have been proud of me! Oh, and the fruit cake is wonderful – very moist and rich without being heavy or sweet. Definitely make it again. I’m taking the remainder back to camp – as if there’s not enough moisture there already! (See, I still have my sense of humid…). Cheers. Glad the goldfish are still OK – had visions of dessicated fish lying in the bottom of an evaporated fish bowl.

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  2. Laura says:

    Hi there – thanks for the update! Your creation sounds delicious. Glad the cake turned out well – it is a great use for mincemeat. Will have to make it again this Christmas. Yes, the goldfish are certainly chirpy, it’s nice to see them again. Still haven’t unpacked – am procrastinating lol. I reckon I could have got the platter in after all, but at 22kg the bag was pushing it!! XOXO

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  3. Mum says:

    great to read the blog again. have been going through withdrawals since you have been away. Didnt see as much of you as would have liked, but next time…… Have I given you the recipe of the fruit cake with no butter, no sugar, and no eggs?cant remember. but if you want it I will send it to you. love and hugs Nana

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  4. Kay says:

    Hi there,Have just been eating some of your cake at Maureen Henry’s – in fact she is enjoying a second piece at this very moment. I’ve put your blog on her computer so that she can keep up to date with at least one of her ex-pupil’s creative writing. (Maureen loves the cake and has been inspired to plant rhubarb as a consequence). She rcommends the cake recipe from page 116 in the September issue of Cuisine, “Lime, orange and rhubarb cake” with a citrus syrup glaze.

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