Do you celebrate Australia Day in LA? Did I tell you about the first and the last time we celebrated Australia Day in LA? It was a doozy. So much so that it was about four years ago. Each year I think about holding another Australia Day party and each year I get cold feet.
This year is no different. Given it falls on a Friday I asked my son if he wanted to have some mates over to celebrate Australia Day. I had it all planned in my head.
Drinks are easy: Australian beer, Australian wine and Australian soft drink (that would be “soda” to you Americans and “pop” to you Brits.
Fortunately I was sent some Bundaberg Ginger Beer from my now best mates over at Bundaberg (keep them coming guys!). So I had the drinks covered, not just from the soft drink side but Bundaberg Ginger Beer (synonymous in our house by the generic name of just “Ginger Beer”–in other words there is no other ginger beer) makes the best Moscow Mules. Like EVER! Tick.
Also very easy–although much easier when my mates Garlo’s was in town. (Taking a minute’s silence to mourn their loss).
So a simple Barbie–snags (sausages) in bread for the kiddos and some prawns (shrimp) for the grown ups. Throw in some mini pies and sausage rolls to start with and I’ll bet you’re salivating right now.
Of course there would be pavlova and Tim Tams for dessert and if everyone was lucky we’d break open the stash of party mix. What wouldn’t be on the menu is breaking open our (very small and sacred) stash of Violet Crumbles. What would be even more mouth-wateringly scrumptious would be to break open some Golden Gaytimes. How I wish we could package them up and bring them home with us.
For those of you not in the know, Gaytimes are the most divine ice-creams you can buy–the epitome of heaven on a stick.
Side note for my Aussie mates. Did you know Wonderpies in Melbourne has a Golden Gaytime Pie? Seriously. Seriously. When I head home again I’ve got them lined up to send me a few. I hear they’re bloody good.
Sidenote two, we got very excited to see some product growth in the Gaytime family to the Gaytime Cornettos–Gaynetto for short.
Back to the would-be party. Obviously the theming was covered. I brought over Australia Day flags and other paraphernalia when we moved over so one flag as the tablecloth and another flag flying proudly and a bit of blue & white colouring to finish it all off.
So with everything set to go in my mind it’d be great to celebrate where we’re from and share a lot of love from Australia. So what went so wrong last time we had an Australia Day party?
The last time we celebrated Australia Day in LA
It’s a good story. And perhaps enough dust has settled for me to be able to pick myself up off the floor and tell it. I was reminded of it last Friday night at a dinner party where we played out the events with friends that were also there that day.
The stage was set
We’d been here in LA about six months so our social circle was growing. It was time to invite some of our mates over to the house. My son asked if he could invite a couple of other mates over. “Of course,” I answered in delight. “Let’s invite the parents too.”
So everyone came along. It was mid afternoon on Sunday–rare for here in LA so I must have got everyone on a good weekend. I made party pies and sausage rolls. We were all excited. That was actually the first slip up although I seemed to get away with it. There are a lot of Jewish folk here in LA with a good percentage of my friends Jewish and I forgot all about the fact I was making sausage rolls from pork sausage meat. Rooky mistake, plenty more food no worries.
Everything was going swimmingly
We were pouring wine, chatting and having a lovely Sunday afternoon. It actually–in one of those small world LA type stories–turned out that three of our guests at some point in their lives went to the same boarding school outside London. They weren’t in the same year but there was crossover for sure and we’re talking one party, three guests, one boarding school. In England. I mean boarding school isn’t even that common here let alone in England.
Conversation was flowing, we were getting to know new friends and life was good. Australian music playing in the background and everyone was having fun.
No, not The Slap. That’s another famous Australian BBQ that didn’t end well. It may not have been the actual slap but it sort of felt like it.
Our house in Beverly Hills was on a hill and the house was carved into the hill so if you imagine our backyard was a hill. It wasn’t nicely terraced or landscaped so it could be played on but from time to time there would be some hill play.
This wasn’t hill play. One of the boys apparently ran up the hill and hid in the bushes. Everyone (his parents and the boys) were looking for him and he wasn’t coming out. The kids knew it was up there so we could smell a rat–someone wasn’t happy. Oops.
Long story short there was an altercation with his little brother. I was so nervous one of the kids did something to upset him. Well it turns out that’s exactly what happened. Although the kids didn’t know they did anything. We suspect he didn’t like my son meeting new mates and including him. But that’s what we do back home–the more the merrier.
So the dad, in his fine Gucci shoes and Ralph Lauren Polo shirt tucked into his beautiful designer jeans (with matching Gucci belt) had to go up the hill and pull a great big extraction in front of a huge crowd of onlookers. We were worried for the kid, it wasn’t like it was normal behaviour. I mean it was not a good look for our party either. Welcome to 90210 you’ve just upset people. Oops.
The beginning of the end
Yeah, it was basically the last time we hung out with that family in any real way. I think there were casual Sunday drinks that didn’t last long. And, it could have just been me but I think the parents might have been doing their best to be really obnoxious so we wouldn’t want to hang out with them anyway.
The next I heard some mutual friends were catching up with them and the word was the mum said, “let’s just catch up the two families,” as they hadn’t done anything with the two of them for a while and they just needed to catch up.
So that was it. Six months in and one friendship gone.
One door closes another one opens
The funniest thing was that ending of a friendship–if you could call it that–opened up so many more doors for me. People whom I first met and thought I was nice were curious onlookers because they thought it was odd I was friends with this family. Apparently I missed a couple of warnings but I’m glad I did. I don’t (didn’t) mind finding out for myself.
It turns out that they find it hard to keep friends. I remember at the time being quite down in the dumps about it. It was a bit too early to be losing friends and was it me? Was I not cut out to live the 90210 life?
It turns out I was. I just needed to experience a little Real Housewives of Beverly Hills action before I could tell the tale.
(And in case you’re wondering those mutual friends aren’t friends with them either. Oops.)
Happy Australia Day guys and remember if you’re out and about pick up a pack of Bundaberg Ginger Beer. And if you see them a packet of Tim Tams!
xx It Started in LA xx
PS: If you want tips on how to celebrate Australia Day in LA my mate at Bright Lights of America wrote a great guide. Cheers.
PPS: Yes, Bundaberg sent me some samples of Ginger Beer so this post is sponsored by them. Having said that it is no word of a lie our fave ginger beer so thanks again to the good folk over there.