Half my head was still in Oz thinking of swimming pools, blue skies and hot sun, trips on the ferry into Sydney, Shelly Beach, bright yellow sand, the best Chinese I’ve ever had at the Manly Phoenix, long walks round the Botanic Gardens, barbecues and eating outdoors every evening, and the memorable 5 days in Tasmania where we had a memorable dawn walk through the fields and woods, as the sun came up over the horizon and black cockatoos flew overhead and Rosellas squawked from the trees.
We’d also inaugurated the First International Manly Pie festival. From Manly’s most renowned bakery and pie-shop we ordered one each of their 5 best sellers. Part of the festival was actually carefully selecting and buying them. We made a big thing of it in the shop. The girl looked at us as if we were daft. Having made the selection, these were the crème de la crème of the pie world, each one with a thick golden pastry, none of this flaky Puff stuff. These were real pies, righteous pies, pies to look at and admire before the first succulent mouthful of pastry, chicken and mushroom; or lamb, peas and carrot; or beef and mushroom; or Mince or finally vegetable. We did mashed potato and mushy peas and gravy. We had to have some of each and the clear winner was the chicken and mushroom, lip-smackingly delicious, worthy of the accolade of 2013 Manly Grand Prix Pie du Monde.