Custard guts plays Santa Claus

Max Crus
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It happens to us all. There’s no denying it and there’s nothing you can do. It’s worse than getting wrinkly, which nature in its subtly cruel way allows to happen at such a  pace that your failing eyesight covers the cracks, thus ensuring you are the last to know, just as your failing hearing ensures you’re unaware everyone has been talking about it for years.

It’s worse than getting podgy around the middle, which also happens as fast as Post Office Christmas queues. However I maintain it still hasn’t happened to me despite wearing the moniker ‘Custard Guts’ from Big Brother for years.  Okay, it’s soft and creamy-coloured and a stubby short of a six pack, but you, Big Bro, are older and wrinklier and although you can run triathalons, you are ugly and at least I can start doing some sit ups.

It is worse than getting so far into debt that even banks stop offering you credit-limit increases. That too happens gradually and at least you have something to show for it, perhaps a house (albeit owned by a bank), a car (ditto), travel stories, or merely just wrinkles and a custard guts. As soccer star Georgie Best once admitted, “I spent a lot of money on booze, birds, and fast cars; the rest I squandered”.

No, the cruelest sign you are getting older is being asked “would you play Santa?” It happens suddenly, and without the inviter realising it’s the most insulting four words ever uttered. 

It implies obesity, that you might fill the suit. It implies ugliness you should hide with a beard, and social unacceptability that instead of going to Christmas parties you might perform at them.

I don’t look in the mirror much, and am not starting now, as having just been asked to play Santa, I have a fair idea of what to expect. Instead I am going to work on my custard for Christmas... with these :

The Little Wine Company Viognier 2007, $28.
Just get something Little for Xmas.  “How about viognier, Rhonda”? Not a million miles from pinot gris, we all agreed, only far more characterful. 8.6/10.

Fratin Brothers 2004 Shiraz Hand Picked, $20ish?
It sounds religious, Brother Fratin, and I am prepared to be anointed with this stuff. 9/10.

Barringwood Park Mill Block 2007 Pinot Noir, $35.
No, it’s not the Gunz mill block. No trees were harmed in the making except the odd oak. Very pinot and very Tassie. 8.6/10.

Sarantos Soft Press Sauvignon Blanc 2008
, $17.
Soft press sounds so inviting. Press this softly against your lips and let the marketing take over. Too close to home for me. 8.1/10.

Di Giorgio Lucindale Cabernet Sauvignon 2004, $20.
Ah, such fond memories of chasing sheep around saleyards at Lucindale. I would much rather have chased grapes around a vineyard. The real deal and a bit of age, although you’d be hard pressed to tell. 8.7/10.

Creed The Pretty Miss Shiraz Cabernet Franc Viognier 2006, $24.
All little misses think they are pretty at 15 and a half, which just happens to be the alcohol content of this wine. Amazingly sophisticated for such a 8.8/10.


  • Barossa Valley (SA)
  • North West Tas (TAS)
  • Grampians (Wine) (VIC)
  • Melbourne and Melbourne West (VIC)

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