Slight Intermission


I’ve hit pause on my questionable attempt to remember my round the world trip in 2006, for a couple of reasons. Slightly because the idea of a holiday seems impossible and is making me a bit sad, but also because I’ve got a couple of new projects on the go!

Goodnight Mr Addison is my attempt to review every episode of Moonlighting (what exactly is that show???). Most excitingly though, I’ve become a reviewer for Mystery and Suspense magazine! You can check out my review of The Undoing here, and if you’re following the Murder She Blogged Facebook page (or my Twitter page) I’ll let you know when more reviews are up.

I’ll still post here of course, and thank you for sticking around!

Chapter 6: North of the Wall.

It was probably a good thing that I jetted off over to the UK one day earlier that I was supposed to. One of my big treats to myself while I was on my little sojourn around the world was five days in Stratford-Upon-Avon, where I would watch five Shakespeare productions in five days. The Royal Shakespeare Company did a year where they put on every single Shakespeare play ever written, and as I had just completed my honours thesis on adapting Shakespeare into film, I thought this was something I could get behind.

(If you’re wondering, yes. Having an honours degree in English Literature, and a thesis on adapting Shakespeare into film does wonders for your employment prospects. Which is why I currently work in a call centre).

So I was kind of on a deadline when I landed at Heathrow and staggered through a surprisingly strict customs check. I can only assume that border control sees an Australian coming and just sighs. After navigating that (which was frankly as hard as getting out of Mexico hungover as hell), I somehow found my way into the centre of London and got on a bus for York. I’m a bit sorry I didn’t spend any time catching trains while I was in the UK but trains were EXPENSIVE and buses were much cheaper, at least when you’re 22 and trying to backpack for nine months.

Once I found my hostel in York I passed out for awhile, and when I woke a girl in the next bunk told me she was worried I’d died, as there’d been lots of noise and people coming and going and I didn’t move a muscle.

I’m not sure that York would have necessarily been on my itinerary for England except my friends Krystle and Hayley went through there two years prior and told me about a free walking tour, and the pubs were great. Also (if my memory is correct, which it rarely is) I’d not long finished reading Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell so I did spent not an inconsiderable amount of time wandering the streets of York pretending I was a Victorian magician. I have a funny feeling this was the place I arrived to discover 37 bucks weekends were happening but that could have been my next stop.

This is Yorkminster Abbey, built in 1472

York is genuinely lovely. Yorkminster was the first of roughly 11,000 churches I came across in my travels, but it was one of the loveliest. Another big thing in York is to take a stroll down The Shambles, a medieval street once lined with butchers but now filled with cafes and boutiques. There’s a definite Diagon Alley vibe to it which I appreciated.

2006 Briony was all about taking photos, well done her.

After a long weekend in York, I jumped on another bus and made my way up to Edinburgh. According to my old archived travel blog I did from 2006, I spent a lot of time trying to find an ATM to give me money, but there are two distinct things I remember from my time in Edinburgh. No wait, three things:

  1. The first hostel I went to put me in a room with a bunch of dudes who didn’t speak English, and I noped out of that situation rather quickly because
  2. At the second hotel, I lay on my bunk writing a postcard to someone (remember postcards? I know right!) and got rather startled when the entire bunk started shaking – turned out two people in the bunk below mine were getting jiggy with it, if you know what I mean

There is a street beneath the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, called Mary King’s Close, named after a businesswoman who lived there in the 17th century. It was partially demolished in the 18th century and was closed to the public for many years but you can now do a guided tour. It’s been haunted since the 1700s, and when you go down there it’s GENUINELY CREEPY. It really does give you an idea what life was like during the black plague.

But let me tell you about Edinburgh Castle.

So here’s the thing. First of all, Edinburgh Castle is huge, and completely dominates the skyline.

Not kidding, it’s pretty beautiful

As you can see it was a pretty dreary weekday when I hauled myself up the hill for a poke around the castle. Castle Rock has been inhabited since the Iron Age, and has been used as a royal residence, a military garrison, a prison and a fortress. I believe it still serves some military functions even to this day.

Being a weekday the crowds were pretty low so it was fantastic to be able to wander around the castle and grounds and soak up the history. Until I got to the military hospital.

Look. I might have been hungover. In fact, I’m sure I probably was. But as I went through the exhibit recreating how the hospital was used, I would see movement out of the corner of my eye – but when I turned, there would only be an appropriately dressed mannequin. Each room I went into, the same thing would happen. A hint of movement, a turn of the head, and a mannequin.

As it turned out, I wasn’t the only tourist wandering the military hospital. But was the other person a man, or a ghost? We’ll never know. All I can say is I left Edinburgh feeling more than a little bit creeped out and I still think mannequins are nothing but bad news. There, I said it.

Next time, we’ll find out whether I saw the Loch Ness Monster, or if it was a subaquatic mannequin bent on my doom. Or a branch, if you’re interested in facts.

Chapter 5: Dun dun dah dah dun*

*You know what this is, admit it.

Oops. This whole weekly recap of a trip I took 15 years ago is going well.

Here’s a confession: I don’t actually remember too much about my first visit to New York. Possibly because I was staying with the brother of a friend of my Mother’s in New Jersey, so I was travelling in from god knows where every day.

But there are two things I do remember – seeing Jonathan Pryce in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels on Broadway, and this:

Filming Enchanted in Times Square

New York is the sort of place where you can take several wrong turns, get vaguely lost, and end up wandering into the set of the movie Enchanted. (That’s James Marsden’s back, for those playing along at home). To this day I still haven’t seen that movie, but I do remember turning a corner, seeing the above and going WTF is that?

(These sorts of things happen to me quite frequently in Melbourne, but it’s never a movie and almost always someone has had 36 pints of beer and wants to play 9-5 by Dolly Parton on the spoons at 8 o’clock in the morning)

(Yes that is a very specific example, isn’t it?)

I’ve been to New York twice now, and I am very fond of it, largely because New York doesn’t give a shit whether you like it or not. New York (and New Yorkers) are getting on with business and don’t have time for niceties, and I respect that. For a long time, New York was one of my favourite cities in the world, but Hong Kong has beaten it out. Apparently, my vibe is living inside a tetris game, who knew?

I wish I could remember more about the first time I went to NYC, but the photos are lovely.

Hudson River, New York
New York Skyline part two

I heartily recommend a trip to NYC, if you haven’t been. The museums are amazing (and plentiful, there’s still so many I haven’t been to), Central Park is beautiful, and of course Broadway for all the musical nerds like me. Last time I was in New York for my friends Meg and Matt’s wedding, I treated myself to see Cabaret at Studio 54. When I tell you it was a hell of a time, it truly was. Also, New York is the home of the cronut, and that is enough of a reason to visit.

Back in 2006 though, little Briony buzzed from landmark to landmark on the hop-on, hop-off bus, made a very excited doink doink noise to herself when she passed the Law and Order courthouse steps, and accidentally went to the airport a day early for her flight to the UK. Much like in coronavirus times, days tend to blur together when you’re on the road for six months.

Next…er time…we’ll find out how much I remember about hitting the ground in the UK and stopping in Bath on my way north. Rumour has it that Melbourne will be back to stage 3 lockdown in three weeks time, so keep your fingers crossed guys!

Chapter 4: NOLA. (N-O-L-A, NOLA)

Did that heading sound like Lola by The Kinks? Excellent, my work here is done.

When I rolled off the plane in New Orleans, after successfully navigating my way from the hostel in Mexico via a stopover in I wanna say Charlotte, I noticed three things.

  1. I was hungover. So. Very. Hungover.
  2. I’d never experienced humidity like the humidity walking out of Louis Armstrong Airport
  3. Hurricane Katrina really made a mark.

Travelling to a place recovering from a disaster is a tough one. I’d gone back and forth so many times on keeping my plans for New Orleans. I’d seen it on the news back in Australia when it happened, and I had no idea what to expect when I arrived, but I remembered how devastating it was recovering from Black Saturday in 2009 and so I decided to go.

I’m so glad I did. New Orleans remains one of my favourite places in the whole wide world and I can only imagine what it looks like now. I arrived just before Jazzfest (which would stop for noone, I was told), so the tourist areas like the Garden District and Bourbon Street were back to relative normal. New Orleans feels like one of those cities on the edge of the map, where pirates stop and ghosts linger. Plus the food is incredible and the music was pretty awesome too.

As soon as I crossed Lake Pontchartrain though, it was very different. The whole east side of New Orleans was still completely destroyed, and they were still locating bodies when I was there, six months after the storm. Out in the swamp there were shacks upside down in trees, and the tour guide who took us out on a boat through the swamp talked about locals who hadn’t been seen since the hurricane hit.

Honey Island Swamp, Outside New Orleans
Honey Island swamp. That green is water.

On the way back we drove through the devastation to see it up close. People on the bus took photo after photo. I took a couple, but the devastation was just so immense, and I begain spotting the markings FEMA had left on the doors to indicate bodies had been located, so I put my camera away and just watched the scene slide by.

I still don’t know where I land on disaster tourism. Does it help the local economy? Absolutely. There was a booming souvenir trade happening in t-shirts badmouthing FEMA and the NOPD. Should you go on a tour to the worst hit places? I don’t know. Would I go on one of those tours to the tsunami area in Japan? Definitely no. Would I go on a bus tour through Chernobyl? Almost certainly yes, but don’t tell my mother.

See? Complicated.

I can’t wait to get back to New Orleans, I really can’t. A Cajun restaurant opened up near where I grew up in Tasmania (of all places!) so I’m not completely cut off from southern food, but nothing will ever top wandering the streets of the French Quarter sipping on my hurricane cocktail and chasing ghosts while the blues drifts out of bars.

Bourbon Street Sunset
Laissez les bon temps rouler.

Next time – there is no apple bigger.

Chapter 3: Porque No Las Dos?

***Chapter title has no relevance to the below, and every relevance to the taco ad made famous in the early 2000s in Australia, you’re welcome.

If you’re under the age of 25 I AM SO JEALOUS OF YOU. You can follow any mad idea that pops into your head without worrying what happens afterwards, because when you’re that age it doesn’t matter in the slightest. If this doesn’t seem right to you, I promise it is. Trust the word of an old hag.

I know this, because I was 22 and rolled into Mexico City on my own in April 2006 with a semester and a half of Spanish under my belt from my first year at uni and no real idea of what I was getting myself into. The very idea of it now worries the hell out of me, but when you’re 22 you don’t think about the bad things happening. Or at least I didn’t.

Spoiler alert: I didn’t stay for the three weeks in Mexico that I had intended, mostly because a) I had no idea what I was doing and b) travelling on my own through Mexico suddenly seemed slightly terrifiying. But for the week or so I spent in Ciudad de Mexico, I had a fantastic time.

Through a complete lack of planning or checking the calendar, I ended up being there for Easter, which turned out to be lucky because Mexico is a place that takes Easter seriously, and doesn’t view it as an excuse to eat chocolate in your pyjamas while watching the football.

I met a very nice girl from England at the hostel I stayed at who was planning to stay and teach English in Mexico for a while, so we hung out a bit and went out to Teotihuacan to see the Pyramid of the Sun, and the Pyramid of the Moon. Teotihuacan was one of the largest cities in the world during its heyday, and one of the most architecturally significant sites in Mexico. Unfortunately anything I learned about the site has floated out of my head, but I do remember being quite the novelty with Mexican families on holiday who were mindblown that there was an Australian wandering around.

Pyramide de la Luna, Teotihuacan
This is the Temple of the Moon, as seen from the Temple of the Sun. 2020 Briony is so damn impressed that 2006 Briony climbed both of those, my word.
Pyramide del Sol, Teotihuacan
The Temple of the Sun. I hope they’ve stopped giving people access to climb the pyramids to be honest, that amount of foot traffic can’t be good.

Somewhere either on the way or on the way back our driver took us to see the Popemobile belonging to Pope John Paul II, which I’d completely forgotten about until just now.

The girl I met at the hostel told me about a festival happening in Iztapalapa on Good Friday, and with no plans and no idea what I was in for, I tagged along with her. As it turns out, the Passion Play of Iztapalapa is famous worldwide, and attracts up to 2 million visitors during Holy Week, including a very curious Tasmanian whose knowledge of religion is sketchy at best (chocolate and pyjamas, as I mentioned)

This was something else. The eight barrios unite and spend months creating the sets, costumes and choreography. The competition for the roles of Jesus and Mary are fierce, and are given to single young people who do not have children, addictions, tattoos and can demonstrate their Catholic faith.

I didn’t take any photos that day, because it didn’t seem right to. But from my position under a tree at the back of the crowd eating a mystery flavoured icy pole, I couldn’t see much anyway. We did, however, make friends with some locals who took us home for dinner. This remains the only time I’ve ever had mole, because let’s face it when will it ever be as good?

Mexico is very much on my list of places to return to. 37 year old me is far more interested in Frieda Kahlo than tequila, which wasn’t entirely true back then. There’s so much more to Mexico than what you think and I’m so keen to get back.

On my last night in Mexico, I inexplicably decided to take up residence at the bar. An infinite amount of tequila, a short nap, and a taxi ride later I was at Mexico Airport, trying to negotiate my way through security to board my flight to New Orleans.

Pro travel tip: Don’t do that.

Another tequila sunrise...

Next time: New Orleans, baby!

Chapter 2: Californiaaaaa (here I commmmmeeee)

Oops. Sorry for the break in transmission there gang. Victoria has gone back into lock-down and I’m not gonna lie, it’s harder this time.

In all my daydreaming about travel when I was a kid, I had never once thought about going to America. Everything I knew about America I learned from The Simpsons, The Babysitters Club, and later on, The West Wing. America was TV and movies, and therefore I didn’t really need to go there.

Fortunately that all changed when I first met my friend Meg on a train going to a 21st birthday party in Ballarat. By the end of the evening we were comparing Shakespeare quotes and reimagining Jerry Maguire with Gollum in it, because that’s the sort of thing that we were up to in 2004.

Having a friend like Meg is also very handy when you arrive off your first long haul international flight, brand new backpack on your back, and remarking on how weird it is that there are photos of the president at immigration. (I can only imagine what that looks like now). Meg met me at LAX in a Mini Cooper she borrowed from a friend and took me straight to get tamales that were so spicy I’m still recovering sixteen years later. A true friend.

Los Angeles is a weird place. It’s an industry town, which where I grew up usually meant mining or forestry or fishing, but in Los Angeles industry town means everybody is working or trying to work in film or television, which is objectively strange. Los Angeles always conjures up images of glamour, but it’s also such a concrete bunker of a city. Having said that, I’d like to go back and experience it again.

While I was in LA I did all the usual touristy things like Graumann’s Chinese Theatre, Santa Monica and Universal Studios (the Jurassic Park ride at Universal Studios was the absolute best) but weirdly enough the overriding memory I have of being in Los Angeles is driving along the coast at night and seeing the oil rigs lit up off the coast of Long Beach. That, more than anything else, is what I think of when I think of my time in LA. Like I said, LA is weird.

After a week in Los Angeles Meg took me down to San Diego to stay with her family and also go to San Diego Zoo (where I bought a hoodie that I still have to this day). I think this is also when we went to Disneyland.

Here’s the thing about Disneyland. It’s wonderful. I’ve been to Disneyland twice now, Disneyworld once and Hong Kong Disneyland once and I will never get tired of it. It’s just such geeky nerdy fun. Yes there’s crowds, and yes there’s queues but there’s ways around this and honestly if you aren’t excited to see Mary Poppins riding King Arthur’s carousel I don’t know what to tell you. Get a fast-pass, and ride the Indiana Jones ride as many times as you can.

After Disneyland, I flew up to San Francisco for a few days. San Francisco is a gorgeous city, I’m so bummed I lost my photos from the California part of my trip. I spent almost a full day out on Alcatraz hoping to see a ghost (I didn’t). I learned a lot about the badass nineteen month Occupation of Alcatraz by Native American protesters, which I knew nothing about beforehand.

I went out to see the giant redwoods in Muir Woods (again, so sad I don’t have my photos from here!) and basically just pottered around Fishermans Wharf. The one thing I wish I’d done, that I would absolutely do if I ever found myself in San Francisco again, is go to the Winchester Mystery House, that place fascinates me. If you’re stuck in lock-down like me, you can take a virtual tour of the house until the world calms down again.

Meg came and met me in San Francisco and we drove back to LA the next day along the coast, stopping in Castroville to pay our respects to the Giant Artichoke, because such things are very important.

We arrived back in Los Angeles that night, and then the following morning, I flew out to Mexico for what I thought would be a three week trip.

Was it?

We’ll find out.

Chapter 1: To Deal Or Not To Deal

Picture it! Sicily, 1912! By which I mean Melbourne, 2004!

I was but a wee 21 year old trying to put off reality and grown up decisions by doing an honours year writing about adapting Shakespeare into film. This is of course why I work as a travel agent now. I still have my thesis, and frankly I don’t understand any of it.

In 2004 I lived in what was essentially a block of flats owned by the university. It was one of the best years of my life – people were forever dropping by, I was close enough to roll out of bed and into class five minutes later, and there was far less unexpected nudity compared to living in the residential college. (Sidenote, all of this happened before social media and I AM SO GRATEFUL good grief).

On this particular evening towards the end of the year, I was sitting out on a picnic table having a beverage or twelve with a random assortment of housemates and hangers on when one of our neighbours wandered past. I’ve since forgotten his name, let’s call him Richard.

Richard had news. The day before, he’d been at a taping of Deal Or No Deal, had gotten picked, and won five thousand dollars. Bullshit! I declared. Ever one to prove a point, he wandered off and returned with a giant novelty cheque for $5,000.

If you’re not familiar with the show (it’s not on in Australia any more), one person chooses a suitcase they think has two hundred thousand dollars in it. That gets put to the side, and then you go through the remaining suitcases, eliminating each one while the ‘banker’ offers you money to stop playing. You know. How most people acquire money.

It is impossible not to be impressed by a giant novelty cheque for any amount of money and I drilled him for more information. He said he’d filled out a form online, gone in for a mini audition, and went to the taping the day before. His block had been picked, and back in those days you had to answer three questions correctly in order to be the person who picked the suitcases. He did it the fastest, and as a result came home with five thousand dollars.

Now at this particular juncture in proceedings I was a broke uni student, and the possibility of money appealed greatly to me, but the possibility that I could be issued a giant novelty cheque for fifty cents appealed even more, so I declared I was going to do it too, drank another 37 glasses of wine and promptly forgot about it. It was only after Richard’s episode aired on TV that I went online, filled out the form, and then promptly forgot about it all again.

Cut to March, 2005. I had moved into a falling down sharehouse with my friends Becky and Krystle, and an adopted cat named Ollie. I had gotten my first grown up job as a glorified debt collector in a call centre and my god did I hate it. One day, I spotted an email from Channel 7 asking to come in for an audition/screening. I actually don’t remember much about this as I was full of cold and flu tablets but I know I took my friend Becky and whatever the hell I said must have demonstrated I wasn’t a complete psycho and so we were invited to a taping on Friday, April 8. Since this meant taking a day off work, we decided to celebrate this by heading to the uni bar for uni night.

In hindsight, this was either a very wise move or a very dumb one. But I’ll get to that.

A whole lot of vodka and a late night later, Becky and I made our groggy way to the Channel 7 studios in South Melbourne. I was in questionable shape. As we waited to be let in the studio, Becky gave me a once over and managed to borrow some perfume from someone to mask the scent of vodka and cigarettes that I had excreting from my pores.

There were, I think, three episodes taped in the morning, and by the time we broke for lunch I was starting to feel slightly more human. There were two more episodes to be taped and then I could retreat back to my bed to think on my mistakes.

Right after lunch, our block got picked to go on the podium. Someone explained that one person would be picked to open suitcases via the medium of a quiz, and to press either a. b, or c as each question was read.

As blurry as I was on that day, I still remember the questions:

  1. What is the name of the street where The Simpsons live? (Evergreen Terrace, don’t come for me I LIVE The Simpsons)
  2. What does the e stand for in email? (Come on now)
  3. What is the closest city to Darwin? (It’s Dili, in Timor Leste. Don’t ask me how I knew this, I have no idea).

And then my name was called, and I was walking down to the main part of the stage and people were clapping and cheering. I picked suitcase 12, because that was the number of Richmond’s full forward and it seemed like a good idea at the time.

And then everything just sort of happened. Someone powdered my face. A very nice lady from wardrobe fussed over my top which I kept pulling down over my stomach, suddenly very worried about being fat on TV (I was six weeks away from turning 22). Suitcases were eliminated. Becky guessed she had $1 in her suitcase, but she had 50 cents, thwarting my comedic plans for a giant novelty cheque. At one point the host, Andrew O’Keefe, found out I was writing a thesis on Shakespeare and launched into a soliloquy when I confessed I was too hungover to remember my own name let along quote anything.

At one point the banker offered me $22,500 to stop playing and much to the audiences horror I was like “eh, no deal, this is fun!” Please note that if this happened today, or when I wasn’t sweating smirnoff black, I WOULD NOT HAVE DONE THIS.

And then it was down to my suitcase, and one suitcase left on the podium. There was a possibility that my suitcase had ten thousand in it, or it might have had fifty thousand dollars in it. The bank offered me thirty thousand dollars to stop playing and I finally realised what the hell was happening and said deal. I opened my suitcase, and discovered it had ten thousand dollars in it. I did the best I could do.

And that was that. I was handed a giant novelty cheque for thirty thousand dollars and the episode ended with Becky looking shocked and me looking like I’m about to throw up. As we were leaving, someone heard I was catching public transport home and thoughtfully gave me a garbage bag to hide the loot, which I promptly got stuck in the tram door as we went to catch our train.

The thing that I never knew about game shows, is that whatever you win is not guaranteed until your episode airs on the TV. Once that happens, you’ll get your prize about a month later. So I had four weeks to sit it out. I decided not to tell too many people, in case disaster struck. But of course, I had to tell my parents and my brother. My other housemate Krystle came home from work and refused to believe me despite the presence of my cheque and my hangover preventing any sort of elaborate prank.

The next night my friend Andrew had his twenty first birthday so by the end of the night everyone including the bar staff knew what I’d done. By the time the episode aired, the secret was well and truly out.

The night I made my TV debut, I was working. I couldn’t bring myself to watch it, so while my colleagues gathered in the break room to watch me say pfft to 22.5K, I sat on the phones and quietly freaked out. I had thirty thousand dollars? What in gods name was happening?

As promised, a month later a cheque arrived in the post to match the giant novelty cheque Ollie insisted on chewing on. It was official. I had thirty thousand dollars.

It never once occurred to me to use it as a house deposit or anything like that. I was 22 and all I had wanted to do since I was a little kid was go travelling. And now I had money. That was it, I was done. I was all set to get on the first plane out of Melbourne, but then Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and I decided to wait. Then I graduated. Then I lost my job on Christmas Eve for missing too many days. Cannot say I was that upset, to be honest, I was rubbish at that job.

Finally, it was locked in. I left Australia the day after the closing ceremony of the 2006 Commonwealth Games. Ollie went to stay at my parents house. My Mum’s friend Carmel came down from the country to take me to the airport, and I was off. Nine months of backpacking shenanigans awaited. I was seated next to the mother of a silver medallist from the UK so the flight attendants gave us both champagne to celebrate. I was off!

Next week, I’ll tell you about my first stop – California.

One year later…

Exactly one year ago I watched the last episode of Murder, She Wrote, ending seven years of wildly inaccurate recaps of the exploits of the supreme being that is JB Fletcher.

In the twelve months that have passed, I tried really hard to find a replacement TV show but commitment issues, mental health issues and the apocalypse meant that a new show was hard to find.

But last night, I had a thought.

Does anyone want to hear about the time I won thirty thousand dollars on Deal or No Deal and went backpacking for six months when I was 22?

Insomnia and mushrooms

I got my hair done for the first time since the coronapocalypse yesterday. It was also the longest amount of time I spent on public transport, and only the second time I’ve worn jeans. Weird does not even begin to describe it, although I did get accosted by a lady who wanted to chat about onions so that was refreshingly normal.

While my hairdresser worked her magic, she asked me if I was having trouble sleeping. I was slightly taken aback, but she laughed and said everyone she’d spoken to this week wasn’t sleeping very well. She’s got a pretty good excuse, being extremely pregnant and all, but whatever is affecting her other clients is definitely affecting me too.

I am very much suffering from overwhelm right now – Victoria is heading back into lockdown, my job is very much getting me down right now, and the Black Lives Matter movement is quite rightly making me confront my own biases (and those of people that I thought knew bettter).

So life on planet Earth is a lot right now. I don’t really know what to say about it all, except boost minority voices wherever you can, keep your head, and if all you do is make your bed before getting back into it, then that’s still an achievement, and well done.

My achievement: I voluntarily ate mushrooms.

Parents of fussy eaters take heart! When I was a kid, I thought sausages and tomato sauce was the height of cuisine and I didn’t want a bar of anything else. That changed when I grew up, (thankfully) and now I eat pretty much anything heading in my direction.

Mushrooms though, mushrooms were a hard pass. Wouldn’t go near them despite many a person telling me that I just hadn’t had them cooked properly. Absolutely no time for fungus, I was resolute.

But a couple of weeks ago, I got a veggie box delivered to my flat in a vague effort to try and stop living off takeaway and bottles of red wine. I was worried about a potential fungus situation, and when I opened the box my fears were realized. Nestled on top of the pile were two big fat portobello mushrooms. (At least I think they were, my knowledge of mushrooms begins and ends with ew).

For a week they sat in my fridge, and I’d look at them and make guilt ridden irritated noises. I was torn. I hate mushrooms, but I hate food waste. So, I put the word out on social media to find out what I should do with them, and then proceeded to ignore all the advice I was given.

I made this. I ate this. What a time to be alive.

That, my friend, is a mushroom stuffed with cream cheese, garlic, bacon and chives from the pot on my windowsill. And boy I’m not kidding about the garlic. But I’m not gonna lie, it was really tasty. And I’m actually really proud of myself.

2020 might be a total dumpster fire, but I discovered it is possible to make mushrooms delicious. I wonder if I can do the same thing with reality TV?