Visiting Jac at hospital, 15/02/2007 Part 1

I told VR I was planning to be at the hospital by 10am the next day, and I would be leaving the house around 9am. VR is NOT a morning person and I knew she would find it difficult to be up and about so early! But she managed admirably and was ready to go much earlier than 9am. Before she woke up though, I had breakfast, of Maggi noodles with an egg broken into it. I’ve been buying Malaysian Maggi noodles (perencah ayam – chicken flavour) from the asian supermarket, rather than the Australian Maggi noodles from Woolies. I prefer the Malaysian noodles because 1) the noodles have a tighter curl, and 2) the broth tastes nicer.

Maggi noodles with egg

Since we ended up leaving early I suggested we stop off somewhere on the way so VR could grab a coffee and something to eat. She chose Croissant Express. VR really loves spinach and ricotta pastries, and has apparently rather enjoyed the pastries at Croissant Express. She likes the spinach rolls from Miss Maud too.

VR's spinach and ricotta pastry

Here’s the innards shot of the pastry from Croissant Express. Those are VR’s hands.

VR's spinach and ricotta pastry innards

This was VR’s coffee.

VR's coffee

I ordered a cup of tea with soy milk, which seemed to take an awfully long time to make. Eventually the girl making the drinks announced, “Soy latte”, which no one claimed. I said in a pleasant tone, “I think there’s been a mistake – I ordered a soy tea, and I’ve been waiting a while – I think you’ve made a soy coffee instead of a soy tea by mistake.” The girl looked confused, looked past me and asked again, “Anyone ordered a soy latte?” Of course no one claimed it, and I piped up again, “I’m waiting on a soy tea, I think that latte was meant for me, but I ordered tea, not coffee.” Sour face from the the girl, sour face from the guy putting glazed pastries into the oven, sour face from the other girl behind the counter. Now it wasn’t that big a deal – all she needed to do was say “Sorry about that – I’ll make you the soy tea right away.” I wasn’t frowning or grumpy. But sour faces continued while making the tea. She asked “Did you want the soy milk hot or cold?” and then slammed it down on the counter in front of me when it was ready. With more sour faces all around. Geeeeeez. Hope their day got better after that!

At the hospital gift shop VR bought Jac these flowers and a smiley face balloon, which did make Jac smile. We put it on the shelf facing her bed so she could look at it whenever she liked. VR was, like Jac’s mum and me, amazed yet horrified yet fascinated yet repulsed yet impressed by the sight of Jac’s stones. :)

Flowers and smiley face for Jac

During the time we were browsing in the gift shop, I noticed that among the toys for sale were golliwogs of various sizes, in various colourful outfits. Given their notoriety as racist, unacceptable and politically incorrect toys from the past, I was very surprised to see them. Their tags identified them as “gollies”, but no matter what they were labeled as, they were definitely recognisably golliwogs. Growing up I used to read lots of Enid Blyton stories which featured golliwog characters, who were often up to mischief. In the Noddy books, for example, a gang of golliwogs lured Noddy into the woods, stripped him of his clothes and stole his car. In revised versions of the Noddy books the golliwogs were changed to goblins, and golliwogs that had appeared on the cover and in the internal illustrations were replaced by other characters. To be honest though, as a child I never ever thought of them as representing or even vaguely resembling black men. I just thought they were black (as opposed to green or yellow or orange – I saw the colour, not a race) dolls with big hair. I admit – I liked them, I thought they were cute and interesting looking. I loved their big hair and their stylish clothes (often brightly coloured jacket and trousers). But I do understand now why many people are upset and/or offended by the golliwog, which is why I was most intrigued to see a shop selling these dolls – and more than that, displaying them in the front window. I wonder if they get any complaints.

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