At the age of four, I developed Post Traumatic White-Dress Disorder.
On the morning of my cousins wedding I had awoken even earlier than usual. Knowing that my mother had committed to a pre-wedding day all-nighter, I was especially keen to see the results of her sewing bender.
Like all of her previous creations past, my mother’s finished garment was nothing short of exquisite: love at first sight. From the mid-thigh length, two tiered skirt to the crescent shaped collar and gathered sleeves, every part of the creamy-white cotton lace dress embodied princess-esque fineries. Adorned with a matching pink sash and child sized fascinator – made from fabric off-cuts and up-cycled buttons – I was ready…at 5.30am…for a day of confetti throwing and champagne popping gaiety.
By 10.30am the four year old fidgets had set in. While dad finished milking the last of the post-calving herd and mum grappled my older brother, Charlie, into his Paige Boy vestments, I decided to put my eager energy to good use. Recovering a couple of recently fallen eucalyptus branches from the dew swept ground – and taking great care to avoid the cow pats – I slowly began coralling a recently birthed calf toward the dairy.
As I reached the gates of my destination, the seemingly docile calf let out a rather startling bellow and made a sudden change in direction, escaping my outstretched, wood-winged hold. Within seconds, mother cow – previously grazing on post-birth clover – became alert to her baby’s plight and came ferociously charging toward my now fleeing form. In full frightened flight mode, I threw all previous veils of caution to the wind and bolted as fast as my gum booted legs would carry me, toward the homestead. After clearing the first 50 yards in frocking good time, I stole a glance behind.
Before my stupified and now semi-concussed mind could register my feetal error, I was supine. Resignedly I lay in dead stillness, staring helplessly up at the cumulus clouds making their way across the mid-morning spring skies. By the time the cloudescope had ceased spinning, my once creamy-white dress was sodden. Overcome with dread about my mother’s inevitable reaction and crestfallen at the state of my now grey, day-old-aborted-placenta shade of dress, I trudged forlornly the remaining few yards home.
Upon hearing of my wedding morning travails, the two sisters of my bride to be cousin decided my spirits could do with a little up-lifting. For the remainder of the ceremony and most of the reception later, I had reached a state of contentment. The helium balloons – so adeptly tied to my now “complimenting” fascinator – drew many a flattering comment and proved a great distraction to those vying for top position in the bouquet catching stakes. At the conclusion of the day’s celebration, the remaining guests filed their way out through the church hall doors to watch the bride and groom race off into the mountains on their two-wheeled, tin-canned motorcycle. While mum strapped, Tommy, my then baby brother into his capsule, Charlie and I stood on the top step steadfastly waiting out the gale force winds for our turn to be locked and loaded into our old Holden Commodore jalopy. After a sudden yanking tug, I glanced accusingly at Charlie before staring in horror at the sight of the last of my mothers painstakingly intricate handiwork being carried up, up, and away into the sun-setting skies above.
I had never been one to believe in fairies, witches or superstitious curses but just to be on the safe side I made myself a promise…
..from that day forward I would never again accoutre in cream or white…
…with one exception.
Ten year’s ago, I once again donned a royal quality gown comprising an array of pure silks and traversed the red carpet of a 13th century built Oxford college chapel. Many year’s previous – on my final day of highschool – I was bequeathed, from a mother-away-from-home mentor (Kaytee), a priceless gift: a recipe book replete with some of her family’s favourite meals. In addition to making some mean CWA (Country Women’s Association) style dinner delights, Kaytee is also an extraordinary seamstress.
Whilst Kaytee’s formidable red and blacked hued wedding dress stitching saw me keeping true to my solemn promise, in the cooler autumn months I regularly succumb to temptation and indulge in my favourite of her delectable dishes.
Fit for the regal hearted, I present to you a recipe to ‘Gette Dressed in Cream.
Kaytee’s Cream of Courgette Soup
750g courgettes, finely sliced
3 medium sized potatoes (optional), peeled and cut into large chunks
3 rashers bacon, diced
2 cups stock
1 tbs basil (sage or oregano), finely diced
½ c cream
fresh chives, finely sliced on the diagonal
salt and pepper
Before heating the butter in the pot, send the kids out into the garden to fetch the courgettes, harvest the herbs and dig up some more of those pots of gold.
On a medium-low heat, melt the butter in a heavy based saucepan. Add the courgettes and bacon and fry until the courgettes soften. Add the stock.
Bring to the boil and simmer on low heat for 10 – 20 minutes or until the stock has reduced a little in volume. Cool slightly then blend till smooth. Return to the heat and stir through the cream and basil. Season with salt and pepper.
Garnish with the chives and serve, with some buttered sourdough bread, to your regal hearted friends and family.