With one giant step from Maleny to Lausanne on the Lake Geneva shoreline, my view of life was changed forever.
Most of the important lessons that I learned came via my asylum seeker family at EVAM Crissier.
Now, sitting back in the land of plenty, it is time to put into practice what I have learned.
I’ve Got Those Tim Tam Blues (No more)
A bowl of fruit in every packet
When you move over the hills and far away it’s true that you will always miss the closeness of family and friends, that’s pretty well a given. And also those special things that you have become habitually accustomed to over many years. For me think surfing in an ocean so pure and blue that it can make dreams come true and heal the sick. Or walking kilometres of beach the colour of virgin ivory with a summer breeze guiding your footsteps through each familiar sweet squelch of traction. And of course there is football but I can at least now watch eight games live each week during the season if I need to.
But some dietary delights are just so ingrained that I sometimes wake up at three in the morning thinking about them. King prawns with avocado and mayo dripping off the crusty edge fresh bread are one thing. But we can get them across the lake in France now on grocery day. Australian meat pies are another delicacy I let slip into my mortal thoughts. But I have been told by friends that the real deal are sold in Switzerland although to date I have not come across such a takeaway feast. Mind you, Harvey and I have found a few imitations but they completely failed the taste test and proved to be pretenders.
However I did find that when I was home for two months recently I think that I may have eaten a years supply of pies during my stay, which has pretty well satisfied my craving for the time being.
Bundaberg Ginger Beer is also something I love on a hot day but Jo and I did find a cafe on the Ring of Kerry in the south-west of Ireland that sells icy cold bottles for the same price we buy them for in Oz. If I ever get totally desperate all I need do is catch a forty euro Easyjet (http://www.easyjet.com) return flight to Belfast, hire a car for a couple of days and head on down to County Kerry and that craving is easily fixed.
But my real problem has been Tim Tams. There was one time in my not too distant past when my mate Pete from Maleny would rock around after life drawing classes on a Thursday night and over a chat we would sink a few Tim Tam straws in our coffee. That ritual made Thursday nights one of the highlights of my week. My old mate Buzz Oxford from ‘Buzz and the Blues Band’ fame even wrote a song he used to sing at live shows about these chocolate delights. The song was called ‘I’ve Got Those Tim Tam Sandwich Blues’, so I know I’m not the only addict walking around out there. (See Buzz and the Blues Band reunion below with the legendary Mojo Webb on guitar)
When I was home I must admit I gave the Timmys a bit of a nudge. To be truthful I would have to say I probably ate them daily but only when I went to the fridge for something else. Yes, and in the early days of the holiday I did nibble one or two before breakfast while I was waiting for the jug to boil. But the jugs do boil so slow in winter so again not really my fault for eating them that time of the day. There’s nothing wrong with doing something like that. And now Arnotts have put them out them on the shelves in a dozen different flavours to cater for a wide variety of chocoholic tastes. They include Original, Chewy Caramel, Mocha, Double Coat and Classic Dark Chocolate, Special Edition Tim Tam Hazelnut, Dark Mint, Limited Edition White Chocolate and new Special Edition Chewy Choc Fudge (and now I hear there is even Chilli). But I still stick with the old faithfuls, the ‘Original’ and the ‘Classic Dark’. But here I’ve got to be honest again and say that the ‘Dark Mint’ is a standby temptress. I came back with a variety of five packets of these little beauties and after reluctantly sharing two packets with some Aussie mates over here, the remaining treasure trove didn’t see the first week out.
But here’s the really good bit. Last week Jo and I were doing our shopping run in France at
Amphion-les-Bains and Jo made an amazing discovery in the foreign foods section of the Cora supermarket. Yes you’d better believe it. Fresh from Australia, Arnotts Tim Tams, the only imported Australian product on the shelves. Okay they only have Original but at two euros eighty I’m not complaining. Admittedly the two packets didn’t last long but that’s not because I ate them too fast it’s just that I didn’t buy enough. So there’s another missing link fixed, making living overseas just that one bit easier and more living proof of the power of prayer.
Tim Tam is a brand of chocolatebiscuit currently manufactured by Arnott's in Australia. A Tim Tam is composed of two layers of chocolate malted biscuit, separated by a light chocolate cream filling, and coated in a thin layer of textured chocolate.
According to Arnott's, around 35 million packs are sold each year: nearly 400 million biscuits, an average of approximately 1.7 packs per Australian.
Tim Tams were first put onto the market in 1964. They were named by Ross Arnott, who attended the 1958 Kentucky Derby and decided that the name of the winning horse Tim Tam was perfect for a planned new line of biscuits. The new biscuit was based on the existing New Zealand Penguin biscuit.
In 2003 Arnott's sued Dick Smith Foods over their Temptin' brand of chocolate biscuits, which Arnott's alleged had diluted their trademark as a similar biscuit, in similarly-designed packaging. The case was settled out of court.
Tim Tams were introduced to the U.S.A. through Pepperidge Farm as a promotional item from November 2008 to March 2009. They were sold through Target stores only; varieties offered were Original (sold as Chocolate Crème) and Caramel. Pepperidge Farm re-released these two varieties with Classic Dark in October 2009. That time the Original and Caramel varieties were available in supermarkets other than Target and they were available in the U.S.A. until March 2010. In late 2009 Pepperidge Farm announced that they would be available in the future at the same time every year, from October to March.