Massive toastie at Lolo and Wren

Sometimes what you are after is a really good toasted sandwich. It may seem like a small thing but I take a ham and cheese toastie pretty damn seriously. So I do a spot of online research and decide to take Blackburn J to Lolo and Wren in Brunswick West.


 Coffee is okay, though weaker then my favourites. I like a flat white where the espresso has the capability to punch its way through the milk and say howdy – and this one wasn’t quite there. But whatever – I’m really here for the toastie which is of mega proportions containing Swiss cheese, cheese and chive cream, MASSIVE chunks of leg ham (don’t be fooled by the lesser claim of ‘shaved’ ham on the menu because these shavings were clearly sliced off a ham leg with something like a chainsaw) and the whole sandwich is crumbed on the outside and fried. And served with a homemade tomato chutney in a cute little dish on the side.


The photo doesn’t do justice to the excellent crispy outside, the quality of the ham and the deliciously oozy cheeses and chives combo. The chutney is tasty and necessary to cut through the creamy, cheesy taste. One thing the photo can’t capture is the massive proportions – it is huge and definitely a knife and fork job. To finish it you would need to be seriously hungry or mad. In fact, I would recommend ordering one between two people in the hope that you could leave room to eat anything else for about a week. I gave it my best and worked through just over half before giving up. Hats off to the courage of a full Lolo and Wren sandwich eater – you clearly have dreams of grandeur.

It was a lateish brunch, 11:15 am or so, which meant Blackburn J went for a more lunchy selection – choosing the Drunken Swine, which is a soft brioche bun filled with a cricket ball size portion of pulled pork shoulder, slow cooked in cider and bacon juice (or something) with a crunchy slaw-type salad with cabbage and apple and so forth. Forget trusting my recollection because I have linked the Lolo and Wren menu HERE.

 Drunken Swine pulled pork bun from Lolo and Wren

I was too occupied in attempting to scale the peaks of my toastie to try this monster, but Blackburn J provided excellent reports, particularly of the pork which is somehow braised to have a tasty vinegar-like tang. He had the same issue of epic struggle to finish. This is a cafe that takes portions very seriously. They certainly can’t have too many customers leave hungry.

The other matters of note, the staff are lovely but whoever selected the truly dreadful house music plus the volume at which it is played is clearly an idiot. The setting of the cafe is also a bit strange – ground floor of a pretty horrible apartment building on Albion Street with slightly jarring decor (I suspect this is unintentional as it looks like there has been half an attempt at rustic charm, exposed wood sort of thing, but the effect is overlaying a bathroom tiling backdrop which sort of feels a bit like the toilets at the MCG. It also creates a weird acoustic so try not to drop a fork unless you want to scare the shit out of everyone else present over and above the terrible music).

Altogether, though, a sensational sandwich and worth the visit to Lolo and Wren.

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Chez Dre

The entrance to Chez Dre lives up a lane-type affair of cobblestones (perhaps leave the stilettos for another day) and the first impression is of a strikingly nice, spacious cafe. It has the now familiar warehouse feel, lots of seating, kitchen action in full view, a lovely outdoor courtyard space and a slobber-good cake display for those with a sweet tooth or those, like me, who just like to look.


Being conveniently near the South Melbourne Market, it also makes a good destination for a weekend brunch, with the minor caveat that on weekends it is consequently very popular and unless you set the alarm, expect to queue.

I had myself a flat white here, and followed it with a cold drip, both of which were good and the cold drip heading towards ambrosial nectar. You will find better coffee in Melbourne but probably not without making it a mission.


If you are not here for the cakes, then the other breakfast offerings are very good, but for me don’t compare to the likes of Proud Mary, Small Victories and Duchess of Spotswood.

My order of  Croque Monsieur (which can become a Croque Madame if you feel like an egg) isnt so much presented as plonked. More or less plonked. With some withered roast tomatoes and pointless greens. Despite the unflattering presentation it was an okay sort of sandwich. The ham is decently tasty and so forth, but oddly I have had a much better example of Le Croque at Cafe View – at the airport. I’m inclined to think you shouldn’t be outclassed by airport food.


I confess this is a second visit – the first time here I had the Turkish baked eggs in a tomato eggplant ragu with ricotta and a kind of nut pesto and flatbread etc. You’ll just have to take my word for it since I ate it rather than took pictures. Good brekky but not really on a Hardware Societe level of baked eggness. In fact, over all I am starting to suspect that the reputation of Chez Dre is probably based more on the cakes etc then the rest of the menu which is something I wouldn’t go out of my way to have – and certainly not queue for.

Nice spot, good coffee … Okayish food. That’s me done.

nothing to add further … So in the meantime, here is a picture of a cat.


Chez Dré on Urbanspoon

Many Brunches

I’m three, no … four brand new breakfasts behind in posting, so I really need to catch up some before I’m allowed to take Blackburn J out again – so here goes:

The Guilty Moose

It’s extra-cute, new(ish) and has an intriguing name. The Guilty Moose is well worth a visit. Plus it’s in Albert Park where I always enjoy strolling around pretending I’m a millionaire and own one of the tiny tiny but so pretty Victorian terraces that make up so much of the suburb.

Know about the Guilty Moose? Me neither, but they have a website HERE.

imageInside is small, quirky and fun and if you press on through you find a dear little courtyard for the nicer days. I chose a not so nice day, but enjoyed perching at the bench along the front window, watching the world according to Albert Park, Victoria Street. It’s always fun watching cold, wet people while comfy and dry with a nice flat white.

The coffee is great and prepared by cool dudes that know what they are doing. I ended up having three because they were excellent, and also because it was now seriously pissing down so I needed to hunker down waiting for the right moment to emerge.

imageWhat I ordered was really really good and definitely a change up from the usual offerings.  I had something called Okonomiyaki, which according to the menu is a Japanese-style pancake with smoked ocean trout, watercress salad, otofuko mayo, fennel, spring onion and a perfectly poached egg. The flavours are sensational and the salad is dressed to have a sharpness against the trout and the mayo, the savoury pancake is wafer thin and the onions are crunchy. All is drizzled in lemon juice and this is a really interesting and refreshing start to the day and something I will come back for again.

Super big thumbs up for the guilty moose.

The Guilty Moose on Urbanspoon

Pillar of Salt

imageSo to Richmond. I like Pillars and I like Salt as a general rule… but we were a bit let down by this breakfast. The start was promising in that the coffee is sensational and need apologise for nothing. Also, the decor is nifty in the casual warehousey way of Melbourne cafes. I particularly like this dangly light fitting thing – I don’t know if you can tell but the light shades are actually red and white colanders, which is such an excellent idea that I mentally began redecorating my kitchen.

imageThe service is a bit scatterbrained and slow … not to worry, since I had no pressing appointments on the horizon. But the end result was lacklustre. I ordered the New Orleans Pinto Bean Jambalaya with a poached egg and twice-cooked sticky pork belly with corn bread topped with Monteray Jack cheese. Maybe I was silly to order this because I’m not a cornbread fan – though the cheese lifted this one beyond the usual. But exotic sounding as jambalaya could strike you, essentially this is a somewhat bland bean dish without the benefit of being cooked with ham, so as to get a bit of smokey flavour, with some last-moment shredded pork scattered over the top. The pork might have been sticky and succulent after the first cooking, but the reheat just left me with dryish shredded pork and overall an absence of flavour.

If I ever have this again (unlikely) I would lift it with some hot sauce. Lots of hot sauce. Or better still, skip it and just have coffee. Or just have hot sauce.

imageBlackburn J got very unlucky  – I suspect this was a one-off mistake in the morning food preparation (because a cafe in Richmond wouldn’t surely be able to get away with this more than once). He ordered pan-fried Portuguese sardines with house-made ketchup, pickled red onions, truss cherry tomatoes, capers and preserved lemon. Now that should be brilliant except, in this case, Pillar of Salt committed the cardinal sin: The Fish Still Had Scales! Aaaaargh! Effectively this is a mistake that can’t be forgiven since scales in a dish instantly trigger a gag reflex making the plate virtually inedible. Yik!

As I said, this must surely just have been a mistake (since nobody I have met could chomp through a scaly breakfast) – though overlooking the scales, the plating is a bit silly. The sardines are served on a board covered in a cute base of paper – awesome guys, except that the paper disintegrates on contact with the tomato juice, fish oil etc. Daft! So poor old Blackburn J prodded moodily at his scales and soggy paper until we decided to blow the joint and go shopping.

The menu does look really good, so it was all a bit of a shame. Check it out HERE. Hopefully someone will chance the sardines and let me know if we just stumbled on a freak event with a new kitchen hand having a bad scale day.

Pillar of Salt on Urbanspoon

Twenty and Six Espresso

I quite like North Melbourne. The slightly industrial feel with hidden interior gardens in old warehouses is cute. Also, it is full of nice coffee and some dead good cafes and restaurants. And pubs. And wine bars.

So with my sister visiting, we tried Twenty and Six Espresso.

Lovely, lovely back garden. Definitely come on a nice day since the interior is really sweet but a bit doll-house sized and you end up with your knees pressed against all sorts of alarming things like foodies spraying macaroon crumbs and watching YouTube clips.

imageI loved the coffee – I’ve had a run of excellent coffee of late if I exclude the weird cup I had at some bakery sort of place in Brighton which tasted vaguely of ham. It probably could have arrived a bit hotter though (yes I know espresso isn’t served scalding hot yada yada, but this was cooling too fast and sort of had to be downed in two super gulps).

This is where my recollection gets a bit hazy about the precise ingredients of our orders. I can’t imagecheck online since parts of the menu have changed. But I recall this rather uninteresting looking photo was Lucy’s omelette. It’s good to see an omelette now and again since they aren’t currently fashionable but I do enjoy a good one. This one involved mushroom and blue cheese – Lucy said it was good but she could have gone mushroomier and cheesier (like me – an Umami fan).

Blackburn J went with an eggs on toast with bacon. Nice bacon – Istra bacon is always good, but the annoying thing with the sourdough toast being virtually unsawable was an issue and more than once I dodged sourdough shrapnel taking flight.

imageI know I liked this – er … seems to be a burger style affair only with fried fish, no … Crumbed! Yes! And it was really great. Crunchy, with a nice herby aioli with a bit of green chilli heat and an excellent home made slaw with a mega tang which was more of a TANG!! Onions. I hit the jackpot that will persuade me to return and try other stuff.

None of us had the signature black rice pudding that many have written about … I was in more of a fish and slaw mood, but one day I will attempt the rice pudding because one sailed past me and it did look very dramatic on the plate.

So I was generally pleased with Twenty and Six Espresso. The current menu is published HERE.

Twenty & Six on Urbanspoon

St Ali

Why has it taken me so long to try St Ali? The original, South Melbourne roasting house and cafe is one of the more established amazing breakfast spots, inspiring the insane trend of foodies searching for the new, most inspired brunch in a sort of spreading contagion of competitive brunch menus. Once I connected that the head chef at St Ali these days is Andy Gale, the genius behind the Duchess of Spotswood, and we’re there.

imageSouth Melbourne is always good for a wander. If I’m not going to inhabit a gazillion-dollar Albert Park hankie-size cottage, maybe I could have a funky South Melbourne warehouse with an atrium and funky industrial furniture, recycled road-sign art and some graffiti. If I were a stagger away from the exceptional, world-beating coffee at St Ali, I would stop by every day.

Top coffee. One day I need to have a coffee-off between St Ali, Dukes, Industry Beans and Proud Mary. St Ali might win for me, but I need to line them up to be sure.

imageLook at Blackburn J’s breakky bun – called the “Big Daddy” it has a big pork, chilli, fennel sausage patty, layers of bacon, scrambled egg and homemade brown sauce. It is amazing, and decidedly big so aptly named. This is the way a hangover is converted to ecstasy so accept no substitutes – Maccas can stick their lousy bacon and hard egg in their flabby muffin and do whatever. The Big Daddy is the only pork bun breakfast in town.

imageI went vegetarian with the long-standing “My Mexican Cousin” which for once doesn’t represent a downgrade from the meat offerings. I am often wary of corn fritters – these ones are deep fried, soft and flavour-packed inside, draped in excellently rubbery grilled haloumi, balanced on some green stuff scattered in fresh salsa and tomato relish and supported by some perfect, runny poached eggs. I went to town with some personal customisation with the handy bottle of homemade hot sauce. Freaking delicious is one way to describe My Mexican Cousin. Freaking HUGE is another. Arrive hungry.

And have another coffee. It is more than worth it.

Happily, St Ali have a website so you can do some advanced drooling HERE.

St Ali on Urbanspoon

So … There you go. This weekend I’m going to an introductory session at my new gym (why? WHY?) so will probably just eat grains or something for a bit. I’ll check back when I can reward myself for surviving a body attack class or work out how to use the weird new machine with the coils and leg ropes.

Meanwhile, here is a picture of a cat:


Blue Earth

Where am I? Bodalla, NSW which is a pretty cute town all on its own and all, but made even more worth a visit by the Blue Earth – a gorgeous cafe with excellent coffee, and excellent food much of which is grown in the organic gardens on the premises.

On a nice day (and the NSW South Coast region has more than its fair share of nice days) you can enjoy your coffee at a shady table out the back and admire the lovely gardens. It is the kind of place that makes me suddenly think it would be a tops idea to buy a cafe in a nice spot and stand about frothing milk or whatever, until I think again and decide to leave the cafe business to people who like getting up early and are less likely to swear in front of the customers and set fire to stuff. Also, I’ve not really tried my hand at keeping gardens but I strongly believe I might be a bit crap at growing things. I once found some oregano in a garden of my rental property that I stirred into a bolognaise sauce. Only it actually turned out to be not oregano and was actually some truly awful green sticky thing and virtually inedible (though not quite, because I did eat it though I probably wouldn’t make that decision again).


I digress. Back to Blue Earth.

That in the picture there is a source of envy since Mum ordered it and not me. Everything about it is awesome – pancakes, maple syrup, honeycomb chuncks, and fried peach slices. Wow.  Beautiful ripe peaches in summer can’t be improved upon, and this is a sensational brunch thing that I intend to order next time.

I was more in a savory sort of mood so ordered this:


Non nom! Home made baked beans with baked eggs, rocket and goat cheese – a couple of mopping up toasts and a continental sausage. Excellent sausage and beans, and a nicely runny-yolked pair of eggs. The sauce is richly tomatoey and oniony (and the spell check has developed real issues with some of these words but I have reached a point where I just can’t summon any appropriate adjectives). The food is genuinely fresh tasting and delicious with every ingredient making a contribution. I can just feel all this organic-ness increasing my superpowers as I munch.

The menu in general, offering breakfast and lunch dishes, is very tempting and has lots of interesting sounding stuff like a truffled mushroom dish and a goat cheese soufflé. So I’m already anticipating a return.

Notable about South Coast holidays I have taken in the past is the enduring horribleness of the coffee. Not the case anymore! Blue earth has excellent coffee with expert microfoam and a lovely rich flavour that wouldn’t disgrace itself in a trendy Melbourne laneway. Best of all is the lovely surrounds, chirping birds etc. For those with dogs and those, like me, who like hanging with dogs it is and excellent place to be since the dogs hang in the garden snapping at passing flies and doing doggie things while you relax with a coffee and a big plate of something.


Blue Earth is the only cafe I have visited with a 100 per cent “like” rating on urban spoon – if you happen to notice these things. I’m not in the least surprised. How could anyone not like this place?

Blue Earth on Urbanspoon

Operator25: Best Breakfast in the CBD

Wow. I picked a good one this time. On Wednesday I took Blackburn J out to breakfast before work. I did some scratching around the Internet deciding where to go and came across positive reviews for a place I had never been: Operator25. The reviews were right – this place is GOLD.


This specialty-coffee cafe lives on Wills Street, near the Flagstaff Gardens. Inside the historic building is a beautiful cafe in the industrial-chic mode, professional and attentive staff, gorgeous flowers and really top quality coffee.


So to the important part, the food really is exceptional. Though clearly today’s photography isn’t. If you think you have pretty much done the Eggs Benedict, you should have one last try of this one. Blackburn J did. Operator25 do their eggs benny on a crispy outside, fluffy inside potato rosti – the grandmother ham is smokey, the eggs are runny, the hollandaise is just the right rich but tangy and the watercress is pretty much what it is, but looks pretty.


I tried the breakfast tortilla filled with soft, moist scrambled eggs, some of the most delicious bacon ever (I must find out where they source it), rich aged cheddar – scattered over with a fresh bean and corn salsa and drizzled generously with a sensational herb oil that I would have licked the remainder from the plate if nobody had been looking. This is an amazing brunch dish and, for hungry-types, absolutely massive.

The menu is compact, but all looks interesting so I am definitely returning and soon. You can scope out the menu on the Operator25 website HERE.

I really think this is a lovely brunch spot. The interior is gorgeous and the service is gorgeous – the Jazz classics music is lovely … Possibly best of all, the coffee is absolute perfection. I opened with a flat white which was as good as it gets – and rounded off with a divine cold drip blend, which is a way of brewing coffee that I love so I’m so glad to see it offered in specialist coffee places. To be honest, until recently I was too shy to order these differently brewed coffees popping up here and there because I didn’t know what I was ordering so felt a bit of a tool. Ha! Over it now and totally able to order exotic preparation coffee and stare down the trendiest gits in Melbourne!

This is my nicest CBD find in a while so I am looking forward to making it a regular.

Operator25 on Urbanspoon


I have been meaning to visit Dalmatino on Bay Street, Port Melbourne for ages. I heard so many people rave about the place. Finally we have been, and are already planning a return visit.

Dalmatino offers “a modern take on traditional Croation cuisine” – so already this is something new for me. I remember seeing the chef from Dalmatino on SBS food Safari making a Dalmatian Fish Stew, and doing this thing of cracking the bones of a massive eel. In fact, you can find the clip HERE if you are curious.

imageThe restaurant is not that large, but feels comfortable, attractively laid-out and lit, with enough little touches in the decor to give a sense of being a family owned restaraunt – like random, antique lockers and other bits and bobs. We were seated at the front of the restaurant, at a little corner table with a window seat, and well happy. It was a warm night, so I started by ordering a nice, chilled glass of prosecco, so quickly got happier. Best of all was our waiter was the very guy, Ino, of Food Safari Eel Cracking fame.

From this point on, expect no decent food photos since the restaurant is romantically lit. But you can take my word for it that the food is exceptional. Portions are generous and the prices very reasonable so it would be easy to over order. The menu is published online HERE.

imageFor a starter, Blackburn J has this enormous pile of mussels cooked with garlic, tomatoes and chilli because, well, why wouldnt you? When they arrive in a massive pile, visibly steaming and emitting a cloud of garlic mussel scent, my stomach actually growled and I experienced sudden food envy. Blackburn J was happy to share, though, and they tasted every bit as good as the aroma.

imageI decided to order Cevapi because it is the only traditional dish from Croatia that I have heard of – even so, I had never tasted it. Cevapi are a type of spiced, skinless sausage served with a kind of capsicum and eggplant dip and kajmak cheese, a very soft, mild sheep cheese. These guys were delicious – smokily grilled, and perfect when matched with the traditional condiments.

From now I officially give up on the photos, which are eerily dark and sinister and truly don’t do the restaurant any favours. Also, I think Eastern European cuisine is meant to be eaten not aesthetically studied.

I also had a main dish which, obviously, had to be the Dalmatino Fish Stew. It was every bit as delicious as it looked on Food Safari, and looked so cute when it arrived in a hot ceramic dish with the scampi curled around the outer rim and, in the centre, a pointy-nosed garfish poking though the polenta pile!

Blackburn J chose a 300 gram wagu rump served with fresh cherry tomatoes and assorted pickled vegetables – this one was from the specials board (and from the moment I saw it, I just knew he would order it). The wagu was sliced and done perfectly to medium rare. The pickles combination, scattered over the meat, was sensational. We thought it was one of the most enjoyable steaks in Melbourne – though Cafe Di Stasio also cooks up a storm in the steak department.

No room for desert this time, though I fully intend trying the sweet dishes when we next visit. Dalmatino is just gorgeous and walking distance back home to the biscuit factory, so I anticipate being a regular before too long.

Dalmatino on Urbanspoon

Pet Detective

So clearly I’ve emerged from about the worst week ever, what with my cat escaping out the front door over a week back.


Obviously, This is picture was taken slightly before Burger cat escaped, given that traffic is pretty much horsedrawn, but all the same you probably get a sense of the environment and the vibe and the doors opening straight onto the street.

Burger is nearly two and has never been outside, and is completely frightened of pretty much everyone but Blackburn J and me. Hence escape is a matter of concern. Being a mature, collected sort of person I choose the sensible option of fully fledged hysteria. I’m running around a medium to high density region in a Melbourne Demons dressing gown alternately sobbing and screaming Burger Burger Burger. Since it is about 8am on a work day in a semi-corporate yuppie-couple suburb, this totally doesn’t draw attention or anything.


Its about now (now at time of writing – not ‘now’ meaning the bit in the story when cat is missing and I’m screaming and sobbing unobtrusively in a built up area) that it occurs to me that I should be sharing this experience with my massive Urbanspoon audience of maybe a handful of dudes – seriously, I’m not the 77th ranked urbanspoon blog for nothing. So to attempt to get this out there, I figure I should mention something along food review lines about some place.

Fritz Gelato

Fritz Gelato on Urbanspoon

So – I choose Fritz Gelato. I really like a Fritz Gelato. I know that because there are lots of them and all, you sort of start thinking they might just be some boring chain, but I swear they do awesome gelato. I often visit the one at the Prahran Market. The award winning coffee rush ice cream flavour is utterly amazing. When I’m in a traditional, sorbet-style gelato mood I tend to go with a three scoop cone with lemon, passion fruit and blood orange. It’s difficult to describe the experience, especially with formerly missing Burger Cat on lap, so I think you should just visit the website HERE, find a Fritz Gelato and go nuts.


Anyways, with Burger Cat out there somewhere for over a week, I needed a strategy as opposed to running around screaming and sobbing. I probably didn’t even contemplate a Fritz Gelato, which underlines the bigness of the crisis. I was also facing a second, corresponding problem which is that I really do need to be at work – after 2 years of being treated as a kind of uninvited, redundant yet paid lodger, I have suddenly broken though as critically necessary and vital. Clearly any temporary absence isn’t going to be permissable, even by cat freaks. Actually, I’m not sure I know of any particular cat freaks at work. We do have a high percentage of your average, run of the mill freaks, but not necessarily of the cat variety.


Luckily I’m super clever and extra sharp now from Burger-crisis-induced inspiration, which means obviously I ask the interwebs what to do because everything typed into Google instantly produces a perfect solution and there are certainly no weirdos or scammers out there. And look what I found: which you can go to HERE.

Since it is difficult to know from the website whether this is a genuine, useful service or a cynical money grab, I thought I would share with you that these people are seriously brilliant.


From the beginning … starting with completing this weird-ass form that seems to be scoping out Burger’s psyche, my strength to weakness ratio, as well as the environmental risks – to the week of coaching on the best methodology to locate a displaced Burger, the pamphlets and flyers prepared and distributed by the super cat detective team while I’m being important at work, the alerts sent to pounds, shelters, councils, vets and general subscibers in the vicinity to the refund I have been given for unspent media buy because we caught the cat, the ability Pet Search gave me to cope and function during the week of madness is indescribable. Which is now the second thing in this post I haven’t been able to describe (the first being a freaking gelato). So Christ only knows why I write this drivel anyway given my struggle with adjectives in a pressure environment. It’s probadly the pride I take in my 77th ranking on Urbanspoon.


Obviously those that know me instantly recognise me in this picture – which I placed there by way of a visual segue to the second part of my coping strategy which involves heavy use of alcohol, most of a packet of valium, and virtually no solid food for a week (okay – that bit was clearly not sensible, but you’ll have to take it because that’s the way I roll). Also, my smokenders program which had progressed to quit point fairly successfully took something of a bashing.

Mind you, I had an almost unbelievably productive week at work. Likely, the emotionally wreaked, spasmodic weeping, pill popping piss-artist approach brings certain intangibles to the table in the corporate world. Like my inspirational, impromptu lecture of the most senior people I could find where I used the word integrity totally more than once. That was a wildly good plan because I’m sure you have noticed for yourself how much important leaders love being lectured about the obvious by random, sleep-deprived, nobody-type staff.


Check out that poster! Nice work pet detectives! Burger is a bit offended because she is a Bengal cat with papers and stuff so regards herself as a bit spesh, but I explained that the Pet Detective lady recommends steering away from mention of the more sought-after breeds and all, so Burger swallowed that explanation of the “tabby” slur, and has gone back to sleep.

Sleep. Me and Blackburn J could use a piece of that. We are utterly zonked now, since our personally crafted pet detective strategic advice involved lying around likely cat-hiding regions saying burger burger burger burger burger in a reassuring way, accompanied by a hot roast chicken (for scent), Parmesan cheese (Burger’s all time favourite food), a burger blanky and igloo (familiar cat objects) and cat catching bag (avoid scratches) each night from 3 until 5 am. On concrete. Not even an excellent Fritz Gelato within reach. 


Picture that over 8 nights. Factor in the not eating, drinking, valium, chain-smoking, controlled (okay – medicated) panic. So I’m in tip top shape and never felt better. So now seems a good time for working through the thousand sms messages from a gazillion very kind (and occasionally odd) people who got one of my 1000 pet detective letterbox fliers and thought they would get in touch to sort of say Hi and I’m sorry about your cat and all. Which is way touching and nice – and certainly not at all distracting during the wall to wall high-level meetings I’m now attending what with me having a current phase of being important at work and indespenible – only with a constantly ringing phone (which is set to iphone5 duck noise quacktone – really making a solid contribution to my professional reputation). So now I’m communicating the return of the lost cat, and fielding more messages from a massive, regional cat network of which I was previously unaware, saying how good it is Burger is home. I’m suddenly pleased I selected a pretty comprehensive telstra plan.

So – to the cat.


Actually, even with the no sleep, the constant supply of roast chickens, the coaxing strategy etc. I have work to thank for the Burger grab. Which is good, because aside from salary I have precious little else to thank work for in the past few years. As it happens, Blackburn J has this massive blowout with his boss, who really did this time cross a way long way over any acceptable line, so stormed out of work and went home. Apparently (not being present myself what with being professional and therefore still at work) a person over the road targeted by pet detective fliers grabbed him on the street because she had found Burger crouched between her house and the adjoining church (finding God, presumably).

Anyhoo …. There is apparently a good 30 minutes of Blackburn J lying in Mrs Lady’s yard “burger burger burgering” at this church/house, Burger-filled gap. There is a sort of tentative inching process involved, some proww noises from a very dirty Burger, with some occasional setbacks until Blackburn J judges the time is right and makes a lunge and grab manouver and sprints home with hysterically struggling freak cat with a high-velocity claws threshing in all directions.

So what happens next?

Nothing much. I get home and the cat is perfectly fine. She doesn’t even seem greatly distressed after the ordeal, instead stuffing down about 1,000,000 fishbickies and a drink of water. Her latest move is that she has curled herself in ball and gone to sleep on my lap.

Blackburn J is in a celebratory state (slightly pizzled) alternating between hysterical self-praise for cat-grab skills and occasional rants about his boss while simultaneously eating left-over roast chicken. He is also cut to ribbons from a wild series of Burger scratches, so I go get some betedine and attempt a bit of repair work, discovering part-way that I’m actually swabbing his arm with a betedine throat gargle.


Lost cat is reunited with not lost cat. I am exhausted. Once I have slept for a few days, I plan to go get myself a Fritz Gelato.


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