Paradise has a name ... Riverbend


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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

(don’t mind the German introduction — the video is in English)


here are myriad New Year’s Eve customs worldwide. In Japan, toshikoshi soba noodles are eaten to bring in the coming year. In Anglo-Saxon countries, finding someone to share a New Year’s Eve kiss with as the clock winds down has become a boon to the romantically-challenged. In Germany, however, a different tradition has taken form: every year on December 31st, TV networks broadcast an 18-minute-long black and white two-hander comedy skit.

In 1963, Germany’s Norddeutscher Rundfunk television station recorded a sketch entitled Dinner For One, performed by the British comics Freddie Frinton and May Warden. The duo depicted an aging butler serving his aristocratic mistress, Miss Sophie, dinner on the occasion of her 90th birthday. Although four additional spots have been set at the table, the nonagenarian’s friends have long since passed away, and the butler is forced to take their places in drinking copious amounts of alcohol while toasting Miss Sophie’s health. Hilarity, as it is wont to do in such cases, ensues.

Since its initial recording, the clip has become a New Year’s Eve staple in Germany. Although Dinner For One has never been broadcast in the U. S. or Canada, the clip has spread throughout Europe to Norway, Finland, Estonia, Lithuania, Austria, Switzerland, and beyond the continent’s shores, to South Africa and Australia. In Sweden, a bowdlerized 11-minute version of the clip has been produced, where, for decency’s sake, much of the butler’s boozing was excised alongside its attendant comedic effect. In Denmark, after the national television network failed to broadcast the sketch in 1985, an avalanche of viewer complaints has guaranteed its subsequent yearly appearance. Although the category is now defunct, the clip held the Guinness World Record for Most Frequently Repeated TV Program.

Above, you can view the original 18-minute comedic opus and celebrate New Year’s day in the same way that much of Europe will ring in 2015.

All of us at Riverbend Cottage wish you a happy new year! Rest assured, it'll be the same procedure as last year.

Monday, December 22, 2014

A very Merry Christmas from all of us at Riverbend Cottage!


It's all Jingle Bells and Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer at K-Mart and Woolies already, so we don't want to be caught out late, do we?

Although we've outsourced this year's greetings to keep costs down, Padma & Peter and the two K9s Malty & Rover wish you a very

Merry Christmas  !

We are a little hard to find and even harder to leave

Spot the red dot for your dose of peace and tranquillity. Lorraine and Bernard from Melbourne did and have just left again, reluctantly, but not without leaving this entry in our guestbook:

"Dear Peter, Padma and all the furry friends, residents of Paradise!

As we sit here, being mesmerised by the fluttering leaves and rippling river, we reflect on how lucky we are to have shared this total experience of beauty, peacefulness, generosity and relaxation.

Padma and Peter, we thank you for all of this and all those extras like playing with the dogs, indulgent pancakes for breakfast, wantons for dinner, friendship, the braying donkey, and the experience of watching a movie in the pond house, enjoying the cacophony of birds and insects playing amongst the lily pads in the pond as background to the Oyster Farmer movie.

Noticed the Christmas flag this morning! Reminds me that I have some serious shopping to do before Christmas Day!

Merry, merry Christmas and thank you!
Lorraine and Bernard"

And a Merry Christmas to you, Lorraine and Bernard, and we hope to see you again next year!


Friday, December 12, 2014

He was a brave man who first ate an oyster


The practice of casting votes to send someone into exile in ancient Greece was done by writing the name of the person on the flat shell of an ostreon which is Greek for oyster. I hope I won't be ostracised for having never eaten an oyster.

I mean, it doesn't just arrive at the table on a plate of ice fait accompli but is in fact a living and breathing animal which is also hermaphrodite - changing throughout its lifetime from male to female and female to male. Some have even been observed, though rarely, to be both male and female at the same time (which would make it a hermaphrodite, one of those fortunate creatures able to deal to itself by itself, thereby obviating the need for single red roses, expensive dinners, taxis, hours of exhausting foreplay and having to answer tiresome questions like, 'Will you respect me in the morning?')

Not everyone shares my aversion to these strange animals. Oysters were always a staple food of coastal Aboriginals, as can be seen by the number of 'middens', or mounds of shells, which look to an untrained eye like hills or natural cliff ledges since they are often covered with vegetation which have been carbon-dated to at least 6000 BC.

These middens were quickly exploited by the white man because lime, made from the ashes of oyster shells, was an important ingredient used for mortar in the buildings of the new and burgeoning colony. When it was discovered that the lime provided by live oysters was far superior (giving the lime more 'body') to that manufactured from empty shells, the natural oyster beds in Australia were soon depleted.

Today the Clyde River is one of Australia's major oyster-growing areas and I am literally surrounded by oysters. To paraphrase Shakespeare's 'Merry Wives of Windsor', the oyster is my world which, however, has never tempted me to gorge myself on this hapless mollusc. I leave this to our guests who regularly feast on the fattest growing on our jetty.