Friday 26 April 2013

The foie gras effect

When I visit the south of France I end up feeling like a goose destined for foie gras. 

This goose has been richly-fed; over-fed; polite can’t-say-no-fed; fed more than my weight or size require; fed later in the evening than my body can process; fed and fattened like a gluttonous last supper. 

Like the hapless goose, I can’t seem to avoid the situation.  My hosts don’t open my mouth and physically force the food down my gullet… but the moral pressure, the sense of courtesy, is so strong that to not partake heartily in the French feast generously prepared would be churlish.  Features of the feast have also been presented specially in my honour, so open my mouth I do… smile and swallow, smile and swallow… without the diversion of conversation because I speak little French.

If you struggle to believe the extent of these offerings, thinking multiple courses means small portions, then imagine the giant-purple-berry-girl in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and you’ll get the idea.  She at least had the luxury of the Juicing Room for relief, whereas I am left on the verge of explosion… desperately needing to run… run like Forrest Gump… but know it’ll be days before I can sufficiently digest the excess of riches to manage exercise. 

This lavish banquet was not all bad of course.  The food was delicious – every morsel.   I started hungry, as aperitifs went on for ages, gobbling up the first course with relish.  My hosts had gone to such trouble to welcome me back to France, and their warm and eager “sava?”  très bien?”, after the serving of each dish, was endearing.  I managed the first courses, no problem, it was after the fourth or fifth I started to flag.  And as we tend to eat quicker than food journeys to our stomach, I was well and truly over-fed before I realized the accumulative foie gras effect. 

Blogs are about sharing so I’ll give you the low-down on the menu. 

First Course: platters of cold and cured meats, bread and pate.  (There’s always bread.)  Don’t picture a modest meat platter.  Picture an extravagance of choice – twelve varieties, spicy and sweet, the biggest chunks of pate you’ve ever seen, sausages and salami as big as a weapon, prosciutto and ham so scrumptous you simply have to go back for seconds.

Second Course: Salads.  Two dishes sounds moderate but they weren’t average salads.  One was French radish and grilled liver (lambs fry), tossed in a sauce which convinced you sweet and extremely-savoury go well together.  The other salad was an unusual blend of wild asparagus, potato, egg, bacon, and again an interesting sauce and embellishments.  Was I drinking too much – you know, to wash it down – or was my brother telling me this was ‘asbergers salad’?  “Seriously?” I mocked, “asbergers?”  “Yeah” he replied.  “It grows in the fields, really tall, and you just snip off the top.  It’s savage asbergers”.  That made me laugh so hard I nearly spat it out.  “Don’t you mean wild” I asked.  “And ‘asbergers’ is a form of autism… I think you mean asparagus, wild asparagus”.  “That’s what I said” he replied, turning aside to rattle away in French to others; my chances for future translation blown. 

This kept me amused a while so I probably ate more salad (and bread) than necessary.  I sincerely respect my bro for so deeply adopting a foreign language and culture that he forgets his mother tongue, but I relish the chance to tell my other brother about it as he’s a merciless tease.

Third Course: it turns out my host has gone fishing just for me.  He has sat by a lake for hours that morning, freezing in wind and cold, determined to wait until he caught at least one fish.  He knew I liked fish and would appreciate it, so of course I did; deliciously and beautifully presented on the plate.  But having learnt my host had weathered the cold to catch this trout, I daren’t leave a bite.  I took the odd pause to digest more effectively, my stomach struggling with an excess of aspergers salad and cured meats, but these pauses were taken to signify reluctance (or NOT très bien) so I hurriedly smiled, nodded, swallowed, smiled, nodded, swallowed. 

Small woman that I am, I felt done.  Well and truly satisfied.  It was a whole fish.

Then came the Fourth Course: the smoothest mashed potato I’ve ever eaten… with large chunks of baked pork fillet… all wrapped together in a spectacular sauce.  The rest of the table had watched me eat my trout, so they were ready to dive in.  But my plate was passed back with a helping as large as the next persons… and still the bowls from which these luxuries had been removed appeared full, like the Loaves and Fishes.  Repeat helpings were proffered with enthusiasm and an expectation of acceptance, and again I became the goose destined for foie gras.

My brother was no help.  He knows these people well so he doesn’t feel the same pressure to oblige (if ever he did), and when he leaves the table to catch up on the football he doesn’t even notice what hasn’t been eaten.  I start to wonder if the female geese are more imposed upon than the male geese?  Though I guess it’s got more to do with the size of your stomach before it’s forcibly stretched.

Now you’d expect at this point something of an interval, right? A rest?  No. Out she comes again, though thankfully this fifth time with a bowl of fruit. 

Soon after it’s time for the Sixth Course, and she reappears with the largest selection of cheese you have seen outside a deli.  Seriously, there is as much choice and volume of cheese ‘after dinner’ as there was cured meat and pate ‘before dinner’.  How can anyone fit it in?  How can we do justice to this fabulous platter, with more bread, when I love cheese and ordinarily find it hard to resist?  

Back the boys come to the table and in they go again – bread sticks and chunks of cheese passed up and over heads like a rugby line-out.  Before I know it I’m again nodding and swallowing, nodding and swallowing… the perennial goose.  Then, after squeezing in a morsel of the last variety of cheese, I wipe my mouth and put down my napkin with satisfaction.  I’m bloated, uncomfortable, but I’ve managed.  Just.  Back goes the last of my wine in readiness to clean up. 

Well, if the SEVENTH COURSE didn’t then appear.  Seriously?  Dessert after all that cheese?  And the bowl is huge.  Some say no, but our host looks at me with such a big smile I suspect she’s made it especially for me… how can I refuse?  The small bowl I request is not small, and it is rich and full of custard, toffee and gooey stuff I can’t name.  I eat it.  It’s lovely.  But by now I’m envious of my brother who is away again from the table dozing in an armchair.  Of course I have to eat, someone has to show good manners!

As the French women clear up around me, struggling as I am to stand, I feel considerable empathy with geese.  Yet I can’t bear to think about the practicalities as it’s too distressing.  Instead I wonder if I might not have adopted the boarding school practice of sneaking food off my plate into my school satchel; the only way, as I found, to escape a battle of wills with the nuns supervising refectory.  Alas the difference is obvious.  Boarding school food was hideous.  In the south of France, where over-fed and force-fed are less clearly defined, you could literally die for the love of it.

And that’s the love-hate of gluttony. 

That’s the life of a foie gras goose. 

That’s a……... burp.



Friday 19 April 2013

Is the grass always greener?

Country, city, old world, new world, fat, skinny, young, old, single, married… viewed from one to the other is the grass always greener?
I don’t think I suffer from this conundrum any more than the average person, but it both amuses and annoys me when I find it coming up. 
Take yesterday for example: after battling through some excruciating bureaucracy this Aussie was feeling restless about how slowly things move in the old world; how hard it often is to get things done.  By contrast I was feeling proud of New Zealand for being progressive and passing the same-sex marriage bill.  On Facebook I put: “The little country next door bats above its weight again... first with women votes, first with establishment of a nuclear-free-zone, first with women in leadership roles in Parliament, first with the All Blacks... doh!  Shame about the funny accent.
Anyway it got me nostalgic for the new world, the part of the world where dress and customs are more casual, where forming queues isn’t so neurotic, where the sun shines far more months of the year, and when you put a date in your diary for a BBQ it is more often than not reliable.  More seriously, it got me thinking about the new world’s expectations around change – that, by and large, we think it is possible.  White settlers are not handcuffed by thousands of years of “this is the way we do it” but rather possess a deeply subconscious belief that we have every right, indeed responsibility, to remake the world and shape it the way we want to live.   We are hot-wired for change and an expectation of progress. 
Ironically that expectation was born in our genes by the old world who dragged us kicking and screaming down to the sunburnt country.  I suppose the Mother Country got more than she bargained for, too, when free settlers headed off to the US to build anew.  In more recent years Australia shows stronger signs of American cultural influence than English, but we are in fact an amalgam; our system of government even famously known as the ‘Washminster mutation’.
Given I have come to the conclusion I simply can not survive six months of winter again without in the future making plans for a mid-winter escape… and given how desperately I have been craving the sun in recent weeks… why, I ask myself, am I living in the old world? 
On bad-attitude days I wonder if it’s the grass is greener… most other days I simply can not escape that Europe’s depth of history, art, theatre and culture is as tantalizing to an art lover as heroin is to an addict.  Where else but London can (even a currently underemployed artist) have access in one week to the Royal Opera House, the National Theatre, the British Film Institute, the British Museum, the National Gallery and a walk across Waterloo Bridge for one of the all time great city views?  And that’s just scratching the surface… for every pub or black space is crawling with vibrant Fringe productions and exhibitions.  London doesn’t just have age, talent and tradition, it has volume. 
And that’s the thing: I have a huge freedom need.  I love choice.  I'm also curious; love (indeed need) to be continually learning.  So if I can’t afford to base myself in Italy at the moment, the heart of the old world and the place which holds my heart strings, then London is as close as I can get while ticking those hungry boxes.  And given I was born in Old Blighty maybe there’s also an organic connection.
This unusually long winter has challenged me, though, to sustain that inner bargain, for I don’t have the DNA to go that long without sunshine and the physical strain of lugging around a heavy coat.  When my sister posted images on Facebook of my favourite place in Australia, beautiful Kiama on the south coast of NSW, where I own a house, studied for my Masters, and have spent much time with my dear mum and good friends… I was green with envy.
Yet of course there’s probably nothing Alison would like more, big music lover that she is, than to come out to the Royal Opera House or the Wigmore Hall.  And that’s the thing about making choices and following life paths – it’s sometimes hard to get enough of ‘the other’ to soothe our post-choice-nostalgia or (if the longing is severe and ongoing) our post-choice- regret.  Inevitably balance is the thing for which we all long, and it’s hard to achieve when we’re busy and there are financial constraints.
Take another example: I said to a friend recently that when you are a writer you can “sometimes be too much alone”.   I’ve passed the same remark about being single.  She looked at me with a mixture of guilt and longing and said: “I know this is going to sound terrible when I have a husband, children and a job which allows me to interact with people every day… but sometimes all I want to do is hire a hotel room so I can sit in it and be alone.”   Truth be told, there is probably not a parent alive who couldn’t admit to the same longing.  “Can’t I even go to the toilet in peace” is a phrase which recurs from my childhood (or was that “bloody peace”) for parents of eight children must have long since lost the chance of being alone.  Mum still mentions when she and Dad finally got away for a six week tour of America and Canada (the kids farmed out to aunts and uncles), that Dad was homesick for us and considered shortening the holiday.  Mum stood firm.  She didn’t miss us at all.
I’m the same with the country and the city.  When I moved to Tuscany it was an enormous adjustment, living in the middle of rolling hills, no street lights, shops or adjacent houses.  I didn’t think I’d ever get used to the black, the quiet and the solitude.  Then I didn’t think I could ever leave it.   Now based in London I long for that quiet still.  I long to wake up, as I have today in the south of France, with space around me I can sense before I see it, with the sounds and smell of nature so close that it infuses my mood, bringing a deep calm and contentment even before I throw back the shutters.   I am not running around London today trying to keep up, fit everything in, doing, doing, doing… I exist only inside my own skin. That for me is the country.  Or the sea.  It is the place I must go to regenerate.
But without the city, without periods of great stimulation, would it be enough?  Clearly not, or I wouldn’t still be moving, searching.   
Yesterday when I put my arms around my brother Sean at the airport, I was so relieved to see his skin had returned to a normal healthy colour.  I was so happy to see his head crowned with a thick flock of hair.  And when I hugged him a second time I told him I was also pleased to see him with a few extra kilos.  For what is a few kilos when the cancer he has fought, thankfully successfully, will strip all colour, hair and kilos in a brutal manner if it manages to take hold.  “Better to be too fat than too skinny” he agreed.   We got into his car for the drive out to the country with our absent brother ever present; the dearly-loved brother who cancer made too skinny.
We are often too young or too old for a part we’d like to play, too young or to old for some desired experience or opportunity, but in that at least we can be certain: everyone will feel the same thing progressively throughout their lives; everyone would like to do at least some of it all over again; and everyone will learn that the alternative to growing older is to not grow old.
So, going back to the old and new world, after some days in the sun, after some weeks of spring (when it really arrives) I will no doubt make that inner bargain again and go on as before, with optimism that over the long term I should be able to love and experience both sides of the world.  There are planes after all.  And I’m lucky to be born into a generation where that is not such a big deal. 
To do it more regularly I just have to get less poor and more rich.  Damn, there’s the green grass again!

Sunday 14 April 2013

A New Blog

When I started the blog There’s Always A Story I made the decision to leave subject and content broad.  I didn’t want to stifle creativity by sticking to a narrow set of themes, nor did I want to miss reaching an audience who might like a wide range of topics.  My idea was to throw the net wide and reassess in a year. 

Well, to my surprise, in a month and a half that year is up.  I have received praise for the breadth of my subjects, reassurance that stories about different slices of life are exactly what people enjoy.  And I’ve been asked “why don’t you narrow the field, Julie, become known for writing about a particular area?”   Both reactions are valid.  

I want to write as freely as I do in There’s Always a Story, I want to continue to indulge my curiosity and love of story-telling, for I think the business of life is the most interesting.  Moreover you have been kind enough to keep reading There’s Always A Story at and that has helped hone my writer’s voice for which I’m grateful.

I also want to write about the arts in all its forms - not as a critic, but commentary on a multi-disciplinary subject about which I am passionate.  So solely for the purposes of simpler marketing, I have decided to run a parallel blog – a spin-off called Blog Julie Arts.

I’m not sure yet about the frequency of either but you’re free to follow both or either, and I suspect over time readers will move back and forth.  But who knows?  Like much in the arts (and in life) it is something of an experiment. 

I’m making this move earlier than expected, but such has been the volume of feedback lately I feel emboldened to put a stake in the ground. 

I do struggle sometimes with technology (as you may have noticed J) but I think I’ve set up a system whereby you can follow or request email notifications, and next I’ll establish a feed back system with a ‘comments box’.  Meanwhile thanks very much for sharing the link and introducing new readers. 

Here’s to many more stories!  And see you soon at 



Friday 5 April 2013


Are you a doer?  Or a ponderer? 

Some might reply ‘a bit of both’, ‘depends on the context’, ‘don’t really ponder or do’… but if we’re talking about natural tendencies, I think most people can be broadly defined as instinctively one or the other.

Declaring my bias upfront, I admit to being a doer.  I acknowledge too that doers should sometimes ponder more, and ponderers should stop procrastinating and take decisive action.  When taken to the extreme we each get into trouble as much for our strength as our weakness, and there’s bound to be conflict between opposing dispositions.

Nevertheless unless writing fiction, fleshing out the character in a play, or empathizing with a friend, I can only speak knowledgeably from the point of view of a doer.  It’s how I came out of the womb and there’s not a thing I or anyone else can do about it.

I fondly recall my Dad picking me up from the train on Friday nights during the period I was a weekly boarder at a convent school in the Hunter Valley – a school appropriately named Lochinvar given we felt resolutely ‘locked up’.  Or so they thought…

Dad would often say to me “you jump off that train after a five hour journey like you’ve just jumped out of the shower.  You are a born doer”.   As this was accompanied by a warm smile and hug… and loving and admiring my father as immensely as I did… I naturally came to associate ‘doing’ as a virtue.  

So if you bat for the other team you might have to indulge me here…

Examples of situations where doers ‘do’, abound.  The other day I changed a toilet roll in a restaurant toilet.  The roll on the wall was empty, the other sitting on the ground.  Why didn’t the person before just attach the full one, I wondered?  Strange.

Recently I emailed the local Council to say the recycling hadn’t been picked up for weeks, the last time the men had only taken half of it, and it was creating an unsightly mess outside my block of flats.  Yesterday the Council came and took it all away.  Fabulous.  Good job.  Some hours later I left the house for an appointment and saw lots of litter had been scattered across the freshly laid turf and courtyard.   It looked awful, taking away from the relief of the recycling being moved.  So I put down my handbag and proceeded to pick up the rubbish and deposit it into a plastic bag.  Close to the end of this five minute chore I had a disgusting eeeeeeeeewwwwwwww moment when I discovered, a split-second too late, that I had picked up a used-condom.  How GROSS is that?!  So after screeching with horror and dropping it, I eventually composed myself sufficiently to find something to pick it up with and quickly finished the job.  I continued meanwhile to cringe at the thought someone had seemingly used, and then disgarded, this condom near the bushes on the front lawn over which my lounge-room windows have full view. 

In Wandsworth?  Seriously, there is none so queer as folk…

My point is that I finished the job despite the unexpected and shocking grossness.  Only then did I return to the house to scrub my hands half a dozen times before continuing about my business.  It just isn’t in me to leave something half done.  And it seems churlish to ignore such things, as if magic fairies will resolve the problem.

The props girl on Neighbours used to tease me that when I was playing Julie Martin and the scene was being filmed in the kitchen where I was busy doing ‘mother acting’… if the director said CUT and I was wiping the kitchen bench I would finish wiping that section before I put the cloth down.  It makes me laugh to remember her teasing.  For though I’m generally a fairly tidy person, I’m far from a ‘clean freak’, it is simply that I do what I’m doing until it’s done. 

That’s why, I guess, I am also comfortable with the lifestyle of a writer.  I daren’t just stare at the blank page or procrastinate around the house, I get stuck in and write – whether or not the early drafts are any good. That is why I spent an average of six to eight hours a day writing and researching two books for the best part of three years in Italy.  I’d made a decision to write and that’s all there was to it.

Similarly, once the tenants in my house on the south coast of NSW did a runner, leaving the place in a pig-sty.  I was only recently out of hospital and not at all well, but at the time couldn’t afford to hire people to fix it for me.  So I got down on my hands and knees and slowly but surely did all the scrubbing myself.  I hired a painter then to do the big stuff and after two hard weeks the house looked brand spanking new and I was able to lease it again on an increased rent.  (I got back some $ too from the departing tenants after taking them to the Tenancy Tribunal.)  I probably shouldn’t have put myself under such physical strain at the time, but that’s what doers do. 

When I’m working in management roles, I’ve noticed that the staff who are real doers and I get on famously.  I don’t micro-manage and leave them to innovate and run with the ball as appropriate.  The ponderers, if they err toward slackness, and I emphasis if, tend to drive me crazy.  They simply don’t move or think fast enough for my liking. (Or perhaps they don’t sufficiently communicate why they need to ponder so extensively prior to acting.) 

Once I was picking up rubbish around the periphery of a large performing arts centre where I was General Manager.  It didn’t occur to me to leave it on the ground.  I then cleared glasses off the bar and stacked them at the end so the incoming shift could more easily collect them.  It was standard stuff during regular venue inspections – a break, actually, from meetings, emails, grant applications and budgets.  A little while later I met an usher in the foyer toilets and asked “would you please be kind enough to pick up these hand-towels… the cleaner isn’t back until tonight and we have a matinee audience coming in shortly for the small theatre”.  Well, if she didn’t just brazenly look at me and say “Why, that’s not my job”.  I still remember a) my shock, b) my dilemma as what to do next, and c) the strong desire I felt to grab her around the shoulders and shake her.

Not quite so extreme, but a colleague I worked with on the Olympics and Paralympics said to me on the way to the pub after shift: “Can you believe how slowly some of the team walk?  I mean, are they incapable of feeling any sense of urgency”.  I laughed heartily as I had been feeling the exact same way about many of the more junior staff (never the volunteers who were awesome) but had been reluctant to voice it -  knowing, as I do, that quite often in a work environment slower, or more reluctant, members of the team have trouble keeping up with me.  

I should be careful not to infer that ‘doers’ as opposed to ‘ponderers’ are necessarily the productive ones.  It depends, no doubt, on the quality of the output.  Some things take a little brewing before they mature. Sometimes it is best to step back and do absolutely nothing; though by and large that goes against the grain for a doer. 

However I have had some success with that approach on occasion - for the expectation has been that I will ‘do’, and so when I didn’t ‘do’, or didn’t react, the lack of ‘doing’ was all the more powerful.  Recently some colleagues even congratulated me for ‘not doing’ when the temptation to ‘do’ was quite immense but would have inevitably ended up in a negative environment.  So I was quite chuffed actually to have successfully acted the part of a ‘ponderer’.  

I think Eastern thinkers would say that was something about Ying and Yang? Or using opposite force?  Not sure.  I've got too much Ying.  Or is that Yang?

Anyway, sometimes doers are thought to be impetuous or are accused of failing to think/plan.  But, generally speaking, that is no more true than the reverse: that ponderers think to the exclusion of action.  I am talking about tendencies, instinctive drivers.

And it’s perfectly clear that if the dilemma had been “ do or not to do, that is the question...” after a reasonable time spent ruminating I’d have told Hamlet to GET ON WITH IT!

Ok, blog done.  What’s next on my ‘to do’ list?



As this happens to be timely, you might like to check out:


Tuesday 2 April 2013

The Ugly Duckling

Despite fancy printing presses, digital media and the internet, story-telling is fundamentally an oral tradition.  It’s the way people connect.

Story-telling is also generational.  For as you get older you fondly remember the stories grandparents, parents, aunties and uncles used to tell you… whenever possible passing them on to the next generation of little ones. 

Generally speaking my sister, Rebecca, and her partner Michelle, let me take care of their children’s musical theatre education (they don’t do musicals, unless I’m in them).  So I had to introduce little Harry and Frankie Jean to The Wizard of Oz and Mary Poppins.  They were easy converts, quickly singing the songs and dancing with me around the lounge-room.  FJ likes me to sing-along with Somewhere over the rainbow, but Harry says “be quiet please Aunty Julie, I can’t hear the girl”.   Everybody’s a critic.  But I let him get away with it – it is Judy after all. 

There must be something special about Danny Kaye though, for Rebecca has often sung classics like Thumbelina and The Ugly Duckling to her kids - having heard them from our Dad at not infrequent intervals - and in my experience there isn’t a child alive who doesn’t lap up such stories.  Hans Christian Anderson was a national Danish treasure and a genius children’s author, so if you haven’t read the full text of The Ugly Duckling, before the story was turned into song in Hollywood, then google it now or, better still, buy the book.  You’ll love it. 

The reason this comes back to me is because yesterday the BBC presented The Ugly Duckling in their slot with Mr Bloom on CBeebies.  Designed with Northern Ballet with the intention of engaging children’s interest in story-telling through dance, I thought it a highly successful and valuable venture. Imaginative without being complicated, polished without losing innocence, simple, organic, attractive and engaging, it ticked all an audience’s boxes (child or adult) while contributing to the arts in a legitimate way.  Well done BBC.

As a bonus it left me pondering (on the train as I made my way back from Shropshire to London) the essence of The Ugly Duckling journey we all make.

What are we, really?  Who are we, really?  And where, or with whom, is our niche?  

It is far from just a children’s story.  For we must all forge through the winters when the answers are not clear… when we’re in transition… or waiting for some project or goal to blossom.  We all ask, in our own way, what the Northern Ballet suggested… am I a duck?  Am I a frog?  Am I a cat?  Am I a fox?  We are all at risk when the fox manipulates our confusion or takes advantage of our vulnerability.  And seasons pass, as they did so beautifully in this little ballet, with Autumn leaves falling… before we journey to a place where we find the answers we’re looking for… where we get a fuller sense of the person (or professional) we are best equipped to be… where we find new support, new and satisfying roles to play… where our changing needs are assessed, met and (hopefully) comforted.  So the sigh of pleasure we share as The Ugly Duckling turns up in the final scene in a glowing white tutu and delicate wings, to be welcomed by the Queen of Swans into a new world with friendship and security, is actually a primal and ageless sigh of satisfaction.  Children express it the loudest, with unadulterated freedom and joy, for it’s the happy ending they are geared to expect.  That’s one of the reasons we adore children – for their safe and enthusiastic expectation of a happy ending.  It’s what we should, actually, remember to cherish in them and foster in ourselves. 

For wouldn’t everything be so much better if we trusted, like children, that after waddling and quacking and enduring “winter in his lonely clump of weed” that the rescue party would arrive?  Wouldn’t it be better if we trusted after passing through a crucible, or emerging from a chrysalis, that we’d all be butterflies? 

It would certainly be good if, on days like today, when I’m struggling to get off the starting blocks because I’ve returned from the pretty countryside to find, for not the first time, I have no hot water or heating in my expensive London apartment… if I trusted after some hours (please God, not days) in this frigging freezing flat… (there are those f's again)... that there will be a reliable HAPPY ENDING?!

With that thought, I am going to stop grumbling and swearing under my breath, I am going to stop waiting for the plumber and feeling frozen, and I am going to hum the following tune and go around the corner to a warm café and order a huge brunch.  And by the time I’m finished, maybe, just maybe my happy ending to today’s challenge will be a little closer…

I’m not such an ugly duckling
No feathers all stubby and brown
For in fact these birds in so many words said
Xchk’ the best in town,
‘Xchk’ the best,
‘Xchk Xchk’ the best
Xchk Xchk’ the best in town.
Not a quack, not a quack, not a waddle or a quack
But a glide and a whistle and a snowy white back
And a head so noble and high
Say who’s an ugly duckling?
Not I!
Not I!