And so it’s come to this. A spray can of Kenzo Mens’ Fragrance from Kirby. The Australian Women’s Weekly Book of Sunday Roasts from Crennan. A box of Cadbury’s Roses assorted creams from Haine. A gift certificate for a Prince Albert from the Bondi Piercing Salon, from Gummow. A three-year subscription to the Weekly Standard from Heydon. Ten tango lessons at Buenos Aires by Night, Caboolture, from Kiefel. Nothing from Gleeson.
The farewell dinner at the Commonwealth Club went splendidly. Duck foie gras with oysters Kilpatrick, tagliatelle with duck ragout, duck a l’orange, Chantilly cream puffs with Chantilly sauce, followed by various cheeses, Armagnac, cigars, profiteroles, left-over duck with crepes.
The guests were in wonderful form. Janette Howard, scrumptiously awaft with eau de lavender, graciously stretched out her alabaster hand and Gummow bowed and kissed it, a la Geoff Clark. It was wonderfully moving.
David Flint AM was his amusing self as master of ceremonies, so much so that what looked suspiciously akin to mascara started to trickle down Roddy Meagher’s moist cheek.
Plenty of the Quadrant crowd turned up to wave me adieu. Christopher Pearson unfortunately exploded as a result of an over-avid assault on his canard. “Like the final scene in Le Grand Boeuf,” whispered the ever-amusing Janet Albrechtsen.
I’m sure Gleeson didn’t mind so many Nancy Boys being there. It’s not that I necessarily prefer their company; it’s just that I find they tend to have political and social points of view agreeable to my own. Not at all soppy on that front.
I explained, in my short farewell speech, that what I have sought to do in my judgments over nine years can be summed up in three simple words: “Hold the line.”
“What line?” interjected a Kirby, who had a blob of Chantilly cream parked on his nose.
The line in the sand, of course. The line that should not be crossed by those seeking to cross it.
And who are those seeking to cross it, I asked rhetorically? I don’t know that I tell you that, given that I have two days left to serve on the court.
But can I suggest to those who remain behind me that the line needs to be held against the vulgar, the decline in standards, against implications of any form, shape or fashion, against centralisation, against endless demands for “rights” by people with no sense of duty, against people with strange views, against …
Well you know whom – I don’t need to spell everything out, a position I have taken in the crafting of my judgments.
So it is with a heavy heart that I say sayonara. Not that I’ll be out of your lives forever. No way Jose. Handwritten chapters of The Cannelloni Conspiracy will still be sent to Justinian for the exclusive first glance of its readers prior to it appearing in book form courtesy of Central Queensland University Press.
If I may say so myself, the work becomes more spellbinding the longer it takes to write.
For those anxious for more here are previous instalments, and here’s the latest chapter …
THE CANNELLONI CONSPIRACY
A Recipe for Murder
Generally speaking, it took a lot to distract Sam Splayd’s sensitive snout from the exacting task at hand.
His fine Renaissance-via-Rosebery mind had been honed in the halls of two great institutions; gastronomy and academia. He liked to think he was ambidextrous in a geo-culinary sense; able to exercise his superlative powers of analysis at the same time as employing his prodigious powers of ingestion.
These qualities were critical right now as he simultaneously scoffed down the parmesan-encrusted zucchini flowers lightly sauted in rosemary-infused pig’s blood, and regarded from underneath his splendid plumed Panama hat, the small, dark moustachioed figure huddled in the far corner of the dining car.
She was watching his every slurp, and, Sam noticed in between gargles, she looked unnervingly familiar. That bird-like claw clutching the black sateen cape. The particular line of her David Nivenesque moustache, her formless melones, her cream-spattered spaghettini-like lips, her hair the colour of squid ink.
Could it be Rose du Bois, the very same Rose who had commissioned him to retrieve the priceless family Collezione of rare Florentine recipes? The Rose by any other name, whom he called Rose? Perhaps it was Alice B. Toklas. In which case, Sam knew he was in deep merde. Why would Alice, disguised as Rose, be following him to Venice? Was she after the Grand Collezione too?
All these thoughts marched back and forth over the vast expanse of his intellect while Sam gnawed on a leg of lamb, smothered in creamed truffles.
He was in no hurry to find the answer. The dessert trolley was wending its way slowly, too slowly, towards him.
I.D.F. Callinan 2007©