S R Silcox - Author

Blog updated every Sunday - more often than not.

Month: September 2011

Sunday Sesh #4 – Kilkenny Draught

This post brought to you by Uncle David and Kilkenny Draught.

Uncle David:  “I think this is Mother’s Milk.”

Aunty Luella: “Mmm, not bad. Oh no, very bitter aftertaste. Blech!”

Wifey: “Beer. Yuck”

Me:  Beautiful rich syrupy colour. Love watching this beer settle in the glass. Looks like sarsparilla cordial when first poured, and then the bubbles start appearing and moving up to settle on the top. The widget in the can gives it a milky, creamy head. Very refreshing. Will definitely have this one again.

$15.99 for a 4-pack from The Beer Store.

I’ve decided to change it up a little bit today, as I’ve been inspired by a regular article in one of the Courier Mail’s mags called “I went to [insert place here] and this is what I saw”. This is my version.

I went to my local shopping centre and I saw…….

more crack than a plane trip from Thailand, and more underwear than in a lingerie catalogue. And that was just at the front door in the smokers’ non-smoking area.

Context: It was school holidays, and it was Thursday, and for anyone who’s never had anything to do with centrelink, Thursday is pension day.

I got crack framed by g-string thanks to a young mother bending over a pram digging around in the huge cavern those 4WD buggy things have underneath them now. She was down there so long I slowed my walking pace to see what on earth she was looking for, and lo-and-behold, she stood up brandishing her pack of ciggies, and proceeded to light up and blow smoke right into her kid’s face. Man I hate that. And they tell me and wifey that we shouldn’t be having kids because of our “lifestyle”?

And what’s with the guys fashion these days? I’ve found there’s two distinct variations – 80’s vomit and “I’m too poor to buy new clothes so I wear my 6-year-old brother’s pants and my dad’s XXL t-shirts. And I wear my cap-brims straight cos that’s how I roll.”

I lived through the 80’s. I was a child of the 80’s. I loved the 80’s. The 80’s had great music, running bare-foot on the family farm, Slip’n’Slide, the best-worst cricket team in the world, Twisties ads, Dunlop Volleys and Funny Face iceblocks.

Now I’d have no problems with any of those coming back. In fact I still listen to the music, the cricket team is looking like the best of the worst and I can probably see those old Twisties ads on youtube.

However, the skin-tight jeans bunched at the ankle, with high-tops with the tongue hanging out or alternatively, slip-on shoes? Paired with sheer v-necked t-shirts and fab teased-to-an-inch-of-its-life hair? 80’s vomit. That stuff should never come back. I even saw leg warmers the other day. That stuff doesn’t even look good in faded photographs taken by film camera with a dodgy flash (yes kids, we had to wait to see our photos once).

And don’t get me started on the low-slung jeans fad. Oh ok, I’ll get me started. Is your package really that big that you need lots of wrapping which makes you walk like you’ve ridden a horse all your life? You know the people who can’t help themselves and have to fix your collar or tuck in your shirt tag? I wish someone would be brave enough to walk over to one of those guys and say “Oh, sorry but your jocks are annoying me. Let me just fix that for you” and pull up their damn pants to their waist where they should be sitting. There is one funny thing about those pants though and that’s watching those guys digging around at the backs of their knees to find their wallets.

I’m not entirely sure why they call it fashion “sense”, as most people, (myself included on occasion) definitely do not have any sense about what they should and should not be wearing. 

Take the guy I saw a few months ago, same shopping centre, and again on a Thursday (I know, I’m such a snob!). He was wearing those “fat” jeans 10 sizes too big that everyone was wearing a decade ago, in purple, with cowboy boots. And they were too short. Plus, he was wearing one of those replica American Football jerseys, the mesh ones, and a, wait for it……… Akubra! That’s right ladies and gentleman, he got lost on his way to Mardi Gras. I’m being judgemental – sorry. Who knows if the guy was gay, but I do know one thing for sure. There was definitely no girlfriend – or there wasn’t after she saw that get-up. 

I watched as he walked into Myer, and for a second wanted sirens to go off and Trinny and Susannah, or (even better) Carson Kressley to jump out from behind a mannequin, look him up and down and say “Oh no. No, no, no, no, no” and whisk him off to give him a good lesson in what not to wear.

But the young-uns aren’t the only ones making bad fashion choices. This time it was down-town on a windy winter’s day here on the range, which for those of us who have any sense – 10 layers. Not this brave soul though. Oh no.

At first I just saw her from the back. Long blonde hair to the middle of her back, tight little black skirt, a halter top, and teetering heels. She turned, and that’s when I almost embarrassed myself by laughing out loud. The woman had to be in her 50’s (at least) and you know, if she did a little bit of exercise on her abs her belly hanging loosely from the bottom of that top would probably be smaller than her boobs. Though, it could have been her boobs. I’m not sure. I didn’t look for too long lest I go blind.

I’m finished my beer. After thinking about all of that traumatic non-fashion sense, I need another one. Next week, I’ll tell you what I saw in the Food Court. Stay tuned!

Until next week,


As always, I love getting your feedback. What’s the worst fashion faux pas you’ve seen? And what, if anything, would you bring back from the 80’s?

Sunday Sesh #3 – Mildura Desert Premium

Today’s Sunday Sesh is a short one. We’ve had a huge weekend up on the range with the Carnival of Flowers kicking off and entertaining visitors.

Today’s brew is Mildura Desert Premium, made by the Mildura Brewery in Victoria.

Pic courtesy Mildura Brewery website

This is a nice lager. I didn’t do the usual pour test, preferring to drink this one straight from the bottle. Due in part to the fact that I shared a 6-pack with my brother, who also “Mmmm’d” over this one. When I first tasted this, it reminded me of a brew I had tried awhile ago, but couldn’t put my finger on what it was. When the Bro had a swig, he hit the nail on the head – it tastes just like Uncle Neal’s home brew – at least, what Bro and I both remember of it.

After thinking on that for a bit, I’m not entirely sure when I would have tasted Uncle Neal’s home brew. It may have been one family Christmas, when I may (or may not) have been given a sneaky taste by one of my many Uncles (or, in fact, my father). Or, we may have cracked one illegally (the cousins and I) while hiding in the car shed, or up the cane paddock. I don’t think the latter would have happened though, because I am sure I would have remembered the flogging we would have received afterwards, and hence the drinking of the offending beer.

Anyway, drinking this brought back memories of sitting with my Uncles at family get-together’s all comparing their home brews and discussing the cricket. Wonderful stuff when a drink can evoke memories, and for anyone who remembers Uncle Neals’ home brew, give this one a try.

We had it with Bro’s spag bog, and it went down a treat. With a price tag of $16.99 a 6-pack though, it might be one for the specials shelf.

Little bit of a rant to finish things off today. Part of the reason this post is late is because I’ve been trying to sort out the new internet connection. Apparently, downloading a movie to a t-box stuffs everything up. We won’t be trying that one again for awhile. And yet again, I am sitting near the tv cabinet with the laptop plugged in to the modem just to get a connection that works. I’m hoping that after all the swearing and threatening I have done over the past couple of days, the t-box, modem and wi-fi will play nice and get back to doing what I pay it to do. How the hell am I going to procrastinate without a proper internet connection?

Lastly, I read in the paper today that the State Government is looking at the distribution of public holidays. About time I say. The more public holidays we have, the less reason we’ll have to take a sickie. And they should look at spreading them out a bit more too. There’s too many in the first half of the year. But instead of re-distributing them, just add a couple more for the end of the year.

Number one on my list would be an Oktoberfest holiday in October. We’ve got plenty of German immigrants, and I think that would be a perfect way for us to help them keep connected to their culture. November could have the first day of the first cricket test as a public holiday. I’m sure there’s many more reasons in the second half of the year to introduce a new public holiday but these would be my top two.

Before I go – how about Darren Lockyer. What a cracker of a match. My tip – a Broncos/Storm grand final.

until next Sunday,

As always, I value your opinion. Let me know what you think of the beer I’ve reviewed, and I’m open to requests. Also, any other ideas on new public holidays for the second half of the year?

Sunday Sesh #2 – Bitburger Premium

Today we’re travelling to Germany, the country that gives you 1,500 choices of beer, and a standard drink size of a litre. No wonder they have places called Assmanhausen (House of the “Ace” man), Titting and the Volkhof (pronounced with an “F”) River – I dare you to keep a straight face saying those out loud.

Today’s German selection is a brew called “Bitburger Premium”. It smells just like XXXX out of the bottle – no fancy “floral notes”, just beer. Very little froth on pouring, and looks like it’s been sitting on the bar for too long. It is quite smooth, but does taste watered-down – kinda like when you have ice in your drink, and it melts, leaving you with something that looks like your drink, but tastes like your mum’s put tea in the scotch bottle.

It may look like I’ve left it sitting for an hour, but this is freshly poured.

Apart from that, it’s quite easy to drink, and went well with my steak sandwich. I’m not a huge fan of it, but it’s light and smooth with lots of bubbles. I prefer something heavier. At $13.99 for a 6-pack, I’d go a XXXX instead.

Before I go on, I must confess to a little bit of an easy way out with my beer-drinking to get a bit of a head start. Two weeks ago when I went to Dan Murphy’s, my wife pointed out a boxed set for Father’s Day, containing 10 different beers – one Aussie made and the rest imports. I figured how can you go wrong with 10 beers in one box. Afterall, you only need one beer to taste test, and that would get me 10 weeks ahead, so I could be a little more choosey inbetween with my local beers. Well, I took a couple of those beers to a friends place the next day to console myself after losing the soccer semi-final, and forgot to write down what I thought of them.

And I think I may have consumed the best of them – without reviewing, I drank Sapporo, Oettinger and Lowenbrau. From my hazy memory, they were all quite good, but I couldn’t tell you with any clarity what they actually tasted like. I also had the Chang last week after a heavy day at work, and only got half-way through it. Not entirely sure why – maybe I thought I wanted a beer but needed a much stiffer drink instead. It’s not like me to not finish a beer even if it tastes bad (though I do make an exception for VB), so either the Chang was crap, or my taste-buds were. Might have to try it again, just to make sure.

Now that I have that little confession out of the way, it’s on with the show.

I didn’t want to talk about the same stuff as last weekend, but I can’t go past Mike Hussey and Shaun Marsh hammering the Sri Lankans. Marsh scored a cracker 141 and Hussey, always good for some runs, chimed in with a handy 142. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, things are looking good for the coming summer.

From the funny files, and where else, but Britain, comes the story of a man who blew himself up with his home-made vodka still. I always stayed away from vodka because it could pack a punch, and leaving you wandering around in your underwear dazed and confused is almost a given. But I always thought that just came with drinking it – obviously there’s risk in making it as well. Trust the Russians to come up with a spirit that’s just as dangerous to make as it is to drink. And trust the British to stuff it up spectacularly.

Heard around the ridges is a rumour that Big Brother will be making a comeback on channel Nine. I enjoyed the first couple of series, when Big Brother was just watching the contestants, rather than sticking his nose into their business. I think they should go back to the original format, make sure they have real people with real shit to deal with, a couple of crazies you know are going to cause controversy and let them at it. Oh, but also include Friday night games – I totally enjoyed watching grown men riding kid-size tricycles around a miniature race-track to get immunity.

On the home front, I’m in the market for a new phone – though truth be told, there is still some negotiating to do with the wife. But in preparation for when I finally get the go ahead, I’m trying to decide on (a) which network is going to get my hard-earned each month, and (b) which smart phone I’m going to play with. I’ve come up with a short-list of phone brands – Apple, Samsung and HTC – and will be having a closer look at them all over the next few weeks. Hopefully, by the time I’ve decided on one, wifey will have given in to my constant whinging, and let me get one.

Finally, and most importantly, we have a real live Sunday Sesh happening at Casa del Sel this afternoon. It’s currently a little windy and cool, but I’m hoping the prospect of so many beer-drinkers in one place at the same time will convice Spring to come back.

As always, I value your opinions and feedback. If you have any suggestions on brews to review or you have the low-down on something you want covered in the Sunday Sesh, let me know.

til next Sunday’s Sesh,


Extract from "Pandora’s Box" (aka "Elysium")

Monday seems to be looking like the unofficial “extract” day on the blog, so here’s another scene I’ve been working on. This one’s from an adult fiction book with the working title of “Pandora’s Box”. The story behind this scene is that I’d been playing around with some short chapters and trying to come to grips with my main character. The fun part of writing this one was that I didn’t know what was going to happen until Rachel turned the corner to her street. I love it when things just happen like that (though it is extremely rare). This still need some tidying up, but I’m starting to get to know Rach better, which is making the scenes and chapters in this WIP easier to write.

Enjoy, and tell  me what you think in the comments below.

“See what a good clean out can do?” Jake yelled, his hair whipping the side of his face.
I just grinned. This was the first time I’d taken “Rosie” out for a run. Two weeks ago, she was a rusting, metal hulk sitting in my garage refusing to kick over. I didn’t know much about cars, but I was glad Jake talked me into buying Rosie from the auction a month ago. A pre-loved ’67 mustang convertible, just looking for some TLC.

“She likes you,” Jake had said as I walked past, not really paying attention.

“Ha, all the women do,” I’d replied.

“She’d be a beauty if you gave her some loving.”
“Why don’t you buy her then?”
“Because,” Jake said, caressing the bonnet of the car, leaning in close like a lover, “she’s more you than me. Besides, you’re the one with the money to spend.”

I rolled my eyes. “Just because I have money to burn, doesn’t mean I have to buy the first thing that comes along.”
“This isn’t the first thing. And besides, don’t you think it’s time you bought yourself a ride that doesn’t say ‘I loaned this car from my Grandmother’?”

I laughed. There wasn’t anything wrong with my Festiva, but I had to admit it wasn’t exactly the ideal ride to pick up chicks in.

“If I did buy this jalopy, how am I going to get it on the road?”

Jake grinned. “Well, you’d be lucky that you know the best mechanic in the business.”
I knew Jake was living vicariously through me. He wanted me to buy the car so he could work on her. And that was okay. He’d been my best friend since he dacked Pete ‘Turd’ Burger in front of our grade three class. Pete never bullied me again. I figured just by being near Jake I was pretty safe, so that’s where I stayed all the way through school. Lucky for me, Jake actually like me too.
“So, what’s it gonna be?” Jake asked.
I sighed. She was a nice looking car under all that rust. And who could resist owning a car you could drive with the top down? “Alright,” I said, “but you’re doing her up for me, and I want her drivable in a month.”
Jake fist-pumped. “I’ll tell you when the bid’s high enough,” he said. “You better go register. The bidding’s due to start soon.”

It was actually quite exciting to buy my car at that auction. Jake reckons I got her for a song. She only cost me ten grand, and apparently they go for nearly twenty in her condition. Still, I’d just bought myself a car for ten grand that I had to pay another two-fifty to get towed to my garage. The flip-side was that Jake had spent every afternoon for the past month at my place, tinkering with her, while I sat on the work bench and drank beer.

She still needed a lot of work done, but at least now I could actually drive her.

As we turned the corner into my street, Jake punched me in the arm and said, “You didn’t tell me you were moving.”

“I’m not.” I looked to where Jake was pointing. A huge white moving truck was parked ass end in my driveway. Just as I pulled up out front, two fat guys came down the front steps carrying my new cinema lounge.

I leapt out of the car, and ran up the path. “Hey! What the hell do you think you’re doing?”
The two guys looked at each other and shrugged. Without saying a word, they loaded my lounge into the back of the truck.
“Hey, dip shit. I asked you a question.”

“Look, we’re just doin’ as we’re told, man,” said the second guy.
“Who told you to move my stuff?”
He pointed to the house. “She did.”
I turned around to see Suzie standing at the front door with her arms folded. Her lips were pursed and her eyes flashed daggers.

“What the hell’s going on Suz?”
“What do you think?” she said, and then stomped back into the house.

“You want me to come in?” Jake asked. I hadn’t even realized he was right beside me.
“Nah, I’ll be fine. You should probably stay out here anyway. For your own safety.”
Jake laughed, but he’d seen Suz in these moods so he knew I was only half joking. As I headed into the house I heard him tell the moving guys to take an early lunch.

I followed the sounds of banging through to the kitchen.

“Suz?” I poked my head around the door way. In this mood, she may well have a weapon. She had her back to me and was rifling through a cupboard. “Suz? What’s going on?”

“I’ve had enough,” she said. She stood and turned, brandishing my barbecue branding iron.
“What do you want that for?”
“It’s mine,” she said, tossing it into a box on the bench.

“You don’t barbecue,” I replied. “And you gave it to me for my birthday. You can’t take it just because you bought it for me.”
“Watch me,” she said, and pushed past me into the lounge room.
“Come on, Suz. This is stupid. Tell me what’s going on and we can fix it.”
“Ha!” she threw her head back. “No, ‘we’ can’t fix it. ‘We’ are no longer, Rachel. I’m not putting up with this shit anymore.”
I was a little lost. I racked my brain for something big I might have done to piss Suzie off. I came up blank. Then again, at certain times of the month, anything could piss Suzie off.
“Are you PMS-ing?” I asked. Wrong question.
She turned on me, stabbing the air with her fake nails. “No, I’m not fucking PMS-ing. I’m fucking angry!” Suzie stormed around the lounge room, stopping every now and then to pick up a trinket or a photo frame and toss it into a box in the middle of the floor. She’d already been through our cd’s by the look of the cases strewn everywhere.
“At me?”
“Are you serious? Is that a serious fucking question?” Suzie stopped, her hands on her hips. She stared me down for a few seconds, opened her mouth to say something, and then threw her hands in the air and stomped off into our bedroom. Against my better judgment, I followed her.
“You,” she began again, stabbing at me with her finger over her shoulder, “drive me fucking crazy!”
“What the hell did I do?” I stood in the doorway while Suzie pulled clothes off hangers and stuffed them into a bag. All of a sudden, she stopped and sighed.
“You know what? I really think you have no idea.”

“No idea about what?”
“Us. Relationships.”
“What is there to know?”
Suzie looked at me like I was stupid. Then her expression softened a little, and she sighed. “I can’t do this anymore, Rach. I just can’t.”
“Is this about the mess I left after last night? I was going to clean it up after work today. You just got home before me.”
“Yes, it’s about the mess from last night. And about not calling when you’re late or not coming home. It’s about forgetting to feed the cat for God’s sake!” Suzie was off again, slamming her clothes into a bag, her voice getting louder with each accusation. “It’s about flirting with every bloody woman you come across. And that car. That piece of shit rust bucket taking up the garage. That’s what it’s about.” Suzie’s voice grew as she gathered steam. I didn’t try to stop her even when she threw my leather jacket into her bag. “It’s your stupid mates who use our house as a drop-in centre every weekend. It’s avoiding anything to do with family. Do you want me to go on?” she yelled as she emptied drawers into her bag.

“My house,” I said.
“It’s my house, Suz, not ours.”
“Whatever,” she spat and attacked the bathroom.   I had no idea she was that pissed off. Oh sure, she’d have a go at me every now and then about getting home from the pub late, but she never actually told me she wanted me to stay home. And the car, well, that wasn’t her decision. It was my money, so my car. Another thought occurred to me.

“If I pissed you off so much, why did you stay so long?”

“Honestly? I have no idea.”
At least she’d stopped yelling at me. “It was the sex, wasn’t it?” I grinned. Suzie threw a bottle at me. Lucky for me, she was a lousy shot. She threw the bag onto the bed, and scanned the room. I guess she wanted to make sure she’d left me with just enough stuff to get through the week. I’d wait til after she left to go through what she’d left.
“It doesn’t have to end like this Suz. Can’t we talk this out like adults?”
“Ha! You? An adult?” She picked up the bags off the bed, struggling to lift the last one onto her shoulder. I leant over to give her a hand. “Fuck off,” she said.
I lifted my hands in protest. She struggled out of the room. I followed her through the front door, and stood on the verandah, watching as she threw the bags into the back of the Festiva.
“What the hell are you guys doing?” She yelled at the moving guys. “I’m not paying you to sit around on your asses all day. Finish putting my shit in the truck!” The bald guy shoved the rest of his lunch into his over-sized mouth and trudged past me up the steps. The second guy turned as he went past and said “Sorry, man.” I nodded. Jake came from round the back and handed me a beer.

“At least she won’t take the car.”
I smiled. “Yeh, she hates Rosie.”
“Want me to sneak your lounge back out of the truck?”
“Nah. I dropped prawns on it last night and haven’t had the chance to clean it yet. Give it a week and she’ll be getting rid of it anyway.”
Jake laughed. We clinked bottles, and I took a swig. I watched as the Festiva-formerly-known-as-mine drove away from the house, and out of my life. Just like that, I was single again.

Sunday Sesh #1 – Wicked Elf Witbier

Welcome to the first official Sunday Sesh, which also happens to be Father’s Day. My beer of choice for today is Wicked Elf Witbier a Belgian-style beer, said to have been brewed by monks in the Middle Ages. It’s brewed by the Little Brewing Company at Port Macquarie in NSW.

What they say about their beer:
“This beer is made using 50/50 wheat and barley malts and is ‘bottle conditioned’.
A light ale, with a lovely complexity of malt, citrus and spicy flavours, balanced with a refreshing bitterness from the hops and curacao.”

What I say:
The smell out of the bottle is light and citrusy, and it’s a cloudy pale colour in the glass. Pours well with a nice head that sticks around, and gets on your lips like a milk-mustache. Very easy to drink especially on a warm day. Does leave a slightly bitter aftertaste, but nothing too overwhelming. Something you could share with the missus, and would be great to have in the fridge for something light-tasting on a hot summer’s day.
I paid $16.99 for a 4-pack from Dan Murphy’s.

Now to get into the rest of the Sunday Sesh.

On Cricket
It would be safe to say that after the last Ashes debacle, and the selection problems the Aussie cricket team has had, I didn’t hold out much hope for too  much change. However, the Argus review has made a number of suggestions and recommendations that I think will give us some hope for the future. I don’t believe for a second that the people who have been in charge of the game didn’t have its best interests at heart. I do think though that some of those officials have been entrenched in the same positions for such a long time that they’ve failed to understand what CA has needed to move us forward. I think we have been trying for too long to find the next Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath, and that has stifled any potential new players from wearing the baggy green. I could go on about the state of Australian cricket for the rest of this post, but my chief hope for this coming summer is that during this tour of Sri Lanka a few of the younger guys get their chance to show what they can do, and have the selectors allow them to stick around long enough to mentor them into some lethal strike bowlers. Changing the team too much never works no matter what sport you play.
On a high note, it’s great to see some of those new faces standing up and being counted in the first test in Sri Lanka to give Michael Clarke his first official test win as captain. Nathan Lyon stepped up with a first-innings bowling haul of 5-34, and Ryan Harris helped us close out the match in the second innings.
Also, this summer, we play host to the Kiwis, so it should be a good one. I love seeing our boys beat our brothers from across the ditch.

Today marks the last ordinary fixture game at home for Brisbane legend Darren Lockyer. He’ll be missed at all levels of the game, but I am guessing more than a few of the younger crop of five-eighths will be kind-of glad to see him go – they might now get a chance at rep level, though they’ll be mighty big boots to fill.

On the state of my internet
I was extremely excited about getting our new wi-fi home network set up yesterday. We’ve been struggling through using mobile internet for over six months, which is great – when you can get on. Instead of sitting on my deck, drinking my beer and blogging using my new internet, I am sitting beside the modem, plugged in, with my beer sitting on the tv cabinet (wifey’s nana-napping, so what she doesn’t know won’t hurt her!) I am searching for a way to make this damn thing go faster than dial-up without the need for cables, but I’m a little over it at the moment. I think I’ll try again after I’ve finished my beer and half-way through my second. That way I’ll be too mellow to throw the modem and/or the laptop when it’s still not working.

And finally, on the weather, which is the main reason I decided to start my drinking early this year. It’s a beautiful day up here on the range, though it started off a little chilly. Perfect for Sunday Sesh on the deck, which I am heading off to enjoy now.

Til next Sunday’s Sesh, Happy Father’s Day, and


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