Old dog, new tricks


I just spent an extended weekend in Brisbane, my State’s capital and before my sea change, my own hometown. I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been surprised at my antipathy to visiting since my departure almost two years ago. Indeed, my only two visits in the last year have been for birthday celebrations – my (MUCH OLDER!) brother’s 50th in March and this past weekend for my niece’s 18th.

Both sets of grandparents and yours truly were invited to share a family celebration and when I asked my niece what was planned I almost fainted with joy.

“We’re going to the crab shop,” she said.

I initially thought she was toying with my vulnerable emotions, but no… indeed we were to go to the crab shop.

Of course it’s not really called ‘the crab shop’, but it’s a chinese restaurant her parents and I frequented WAY before her birth. And, when they lived nearby it was my niece’s favourite haunt. We still torture regale her (endlessly) with stories of her taking her fishing rod when she was a youngster – to catch some of the crabs or other sea creatures dwelling in the restaurant’s tanks.


The restaurant (the Pine and Bamboo) has been in Cannon Hill for yonks. It hasn’t changed a lot in the over 20+ years we’ve been visiting, it’s popular and renowned for its Peking Duck.

In 11 or so years I had back in Brisbane after returning from overseas ‘the crab shop’ was my favourite takeaway. When my niece was little and had sleepovers, we always dined there and it was an easy ‘family birthday dinner’ option for me each year.

After being diagnosed as coeliac I was relieved my favourite dish (satay beef) was gluten-free and therefore still devour-able. Of course spring rolls, steamed dim sims and the like were off the agenda, but… I was just happy I could still partake in the place’s delights.

Indeed, I’m a creature of habit so whenever I called I’d just give my name and they’d know what my order would be. Plus… I got a ‘regulars’ 10% discount!

Source: brisbane.concreteplayground.com.au

Source: brisbane.concreteplayground.com.au

And then I moved.

Although I’ve found a local Thai place I’m yet to find a chinese restaurant / takeaway which can cater to my coeliac requirements (ie. use GF soy sauce, oyster sauce and corn flour for eg) and meet my lofty taste expectations. (Actually that’s not true… I’m not that fussy – just something ‘authentic’ would be nice!)

Dining there for Miss Em’s birthday on the weekend reminded me of how much I’ve missed the food. I did ponder whether I could afford 52 takeaways and the freezer space to allocate myself one a week, but the two takeaways I ordered to take back to Hervey Bay disappeared before we even left Brisbane so…. (Moderation is not my friend!)

As we were dining I mentioned that it was my first chinese food in two years and it occurred to me – while I complain about the lack of options locally – I haven’t exactly trawled the chinese restaurants of Hervey Bay looking for a replacement for the love of my life my old fave. Could it be that I’m *ahem* a little stuck in my ways and not open to trying something new? Or perhaps I’m apathetic and it seems just too hard to start from scratch; ringing around or visiting and asking about GF options before some taste testing?

I’m a big advocate of change and hate when people whinge about something without trying to change it themselves, and yet…. here I am – doing exactly that. But… having again broken my chinese food cherry, I’m gonna make it my mission to find a new takeaway option locally. I know I know… my goals should be less lofty – world peace and all of that… but I might as well launch into the biggies straight away.

Are you resistant to trying new things and stuck in your ways like moi?
Most importantly, can you understand my need to find a decent Chinese restaurant / takeaway?

I’m linking up with Essentially Jess today for IBOT.


Book review: Elizabeth is Missing

18 August 2014 Books

I finished Emma Healey’s debut novel, Elizabeth is Missing a week ago and have struggled with its review ever since. Not because I wondered how to politely ‘diss’ the book; but because I loved it so much I want this review to do it justice. Maud Horsham is 82 years of age and although she knows there’s something she […]

Keep reading…

It’s Monday – what are you reading?

18 August 2014 Books

I’m only just starting to get serious about book blogging. I’ve always been serious about reading and fairly serious about blogging (as much as someone with a sarcastic self-deprecating bent can be!) but I’m increasingly combining the two. It means I’ve been looking for new book review / book blogging sites to follow. I already […]

Keep reading…

Book review: The Hidden Girl

14 August 2014 Books

Hannah’s given up a fulfilling and fast-paced career to move to the Suffolk countryside with husband Will to start a new life – and hopefully a family. Keen to turn the abandoned and dilapidated Tornley Manor into a welcoming home, Hannah draws up a rigid redecorating schedule; however, when Will gets stuck in the city, […]

Keep reading…

Five fabulously funny memes

12 August 2014 Life in general

I wrote and scheduled this post a few days ago and wondered whether to pull it in light of Robin Williams’ passing… but as someone who also knows what it’s like to find solace under the covers, I figured a laugh would do me / us good. Deborah xx I’m really trying to go Wordless […]

Keep reading…

Book review: The Frozen Dead

11 August 2014 Books

Bernard Minier’s The Frozen Dead was first published in 2011. I’ve had some bad experiences recently with poor translations, but fortunately The Frozen Dead – having won a number of literary prizes in France – does not suffer from any such problem. It is however, rather long and quite heaving-going in terms of reading fodder. Commandant Martin Servaz […]

Keep reading…

Lose weight to bring sexy back

11 August 2014 Diet Schmiet

A new show is about to start on Oz TV called, Bringing Sexy Back. From the ads it appears to be a program which has found once attractive / slim peeps who’ve gained a heap of weight and somehow helps them lose the excess weight to again become ‘sexy’. Apparently. There are SO many things wrong […]

Keep reading…

Book review: Summer of the Dead

10 August 2014 Books

Belfa (Bell) Elkins is the Raythune County Prosecutor who returned to her hometown some years before. She seems to have settled back into life in Acker’s Gap but is grappling with: the arrival of her sister Shirley (recently released from prison after 30 years); her daughter who seemingly prefers to spend time in the city with Bell’s ex husband; […]

Keep reading…

Book review: Don’t Look Back

9 August 2014 Books

I must admit I’m a little undecided about Gregg Hurwitz’s latest novel. I saw Gregg speak at the Brisbane Writers’ Festival half a dozen years ago and became a bit of a fan. He obviously writes well and develops great characters, however I realise my appreciation of his work depends a little on what he’s […]

Keep reading…

Book review: Daughter

7 August 2014 Books

Sometimes you can read a novel which you enjoy but which also REALLY pisses you off. The reasons can vary – controversial content, the writing, the characters, or the ending or conclusion. Jane Shemilt’s debut novel Daughter is one such book. Jenny Malcolm is a busy GP. She enjoys her work and – although she occasionally […]

Keep reading…

What’s in my bag?

6 August 2014 Life in general

A lot of bloggers have been doing the ‘What’s in my bag?’ thing. And because I had nothing else planned for today I decided to play along. Plus, what’s in my bag compared to everyone else’s is kinda surprising. Less is obviously more in my world. (Well that and I don’t have kids!) 1. My actual […]

Keep reading…

Book review: Adultery

5 August 2014 Books

I’ve read a few of Paulo Coelho’s previous novels. Some I’ve enjoyed and others, well…. There’s no doubt about the Brazilian’s mastery of the written word. His prose in general is (are?) beautiful. Eloquent. Almost poetic (understandably, given that he also writes poetry). However when it comes to content (or the plot) I often struggle with […]

Keep reading…

Living in the here and now

5 August 2014 Diet Schmiet

I received an email after my recent interview appeared on Lisa’s Random Acts of Zen; an interview in which I talked about being single and my weight. And about the relationship between the two. Emily Jean is a health coach and works with women who are wanting to give up the dieting mindset and just trying to find some peace with food, […]

Keep reading…