words by nerissa

…observations, thoughts and questions

Archive for the tag “MasterChef”

The search for inspiration

So school holidays are over and the kids are back to school. While part of me was a little sad to see the end of pyjama days, sleep-ins and Mario Kart Wii Championships, another part was a little excited.

It meant I could have my coffee in peace. There would be time for me. Time to write! inspire

But as I pulled out the school bags and organised uniforms on Sunday night, I despaired. My inspiration was gone. Just like that. Nowhere to be seen.

Did I leave it somewhere in the movie theatre, amongst all the popcorn on the floor and the seat? Maybe it went to hide in a quiet cupboard during my daughter’s 8th birthday afternoon tea. Or perhaps it disappeared among the mess on my lounge-room floor. Wherever it was, I couldn’t find it.

So I set about looking.

Hmm. Nope. Not in the kids’ school lunch boxes and not in the evening meal.

Maybe I accidentally wrapped it up in my daughter’s birthday presents. Damn. Will have to wait for the morning to find out.

No need to panic. I’m sure after a good night’s sleep, I’ll remember where it was.

I was wrong.


It wasn’t at the gym and nor was it amongst my daughter’s birthday presents. I didn’t see it at school assembly either and nor did I spy it while getting a few groceries.

It must be here somewhere!!!!

So I roamed about the house looking for my inspiration. It certainly wasn’t in the piles of birthday gifts distributed around the house. It most definitely WAS NOT in the ironing basket.

Think. Think. Where did you leave it?

Aha! Maybe it’s in the pantry. Hmm. Let’s see. There is a lot of stuff in there….

Actually, no. It’s probably not here. I mean, I’m pretty sure it’s not in the container of left-over smarties used to decorate a butterfly cake. And it’s probably not in a piece of that left-over butterfly cake either.

I sighed as I shut the pantry cupboard with empty hands.

I continued that way for most of the day. Searching, searching — looking for my inspiration.

The light faded and night fell. When it was clear that my inspiration was not going to be found in my Monday night fix of MasterChef, I decided that the search party would be disbanded until the morning.


To be honest, I forgot to look for my inspiration when I got up. Normal routine kicked in. Workout, shower, wake kids, breakfast, get organised for school and good-bye kisses at the door.

No time to look now because I’m off to the hairdresser. Perhaps I’ll look later.

And while I was sitting back having my hair shampooed and my scalp massaged, it hit me. My inspiration! It was back!

All of a sudden, I was writing again.

Not with a pen and paper, or a computer screen, but with words rolling around in my head. It was as if dozens of thoughts simultaneously collided with each other and exploded into smaller pieces, creating a myriad of new thoughts and ideas.

It was crazy.

My inspiration had never been in any one particular place. It had been hiding in many things.

The great feeling I had at the end of my workout. The beautiful view out of my kitchen window as the sun was rising. My warm bowl of oats and cappuccino for breakfast. It was there between the pages of my magazine. It was in the beautiful winter sunshine.

It was only when I stopped looking for my inspiration, and went about doing the things that I loved — the things that gave me peace and made me feel relaxed —  that true inspiration came flooding back.

Welcome back little one. I’ve missed you.

Beefy boys?

I’m health conscious.

Part of my routine involves resistance training three days a week — usually Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. As long as my husband isn’t away for work, I am there at 5.30am, rain, hail or shine (or in the case of this past week, in sub-zero temperatures!)

It’s no big deal. It’s just what I do. I started going that early, because it was really the only time I could fit it in. Now it has become so much a part of my routine, that I am no longer shocked at the time the alarm goes off.

Part of my workout routine involves listening to my ipod. Without it I feel lost. It’s almost like my training partner. It helps me focus, and helps to drown out the odd grunt and moan that come from the ‘men’s area’.

However, a few weeks back, I forgot my ipod. Not quite a catastrophe, but I was put out. After all, gym music is not very inspirational.

So I decided to make the best of it and (shhh), listen to other people’s conversations! Well, I had to do something to fill in the time between sets.

Surprisingly, there are many regular gym goers at 5.30am, but most of them are men.

Two of them I had dubbed ‘the beefy boys’. Not that they are huge, but they are strong. I would guess they are in their late to early 30s. They always train together, and NEVER bring a water bottle. Probably because parading back and forth to the water cooler provides a better opportunity to show off their muscles to the people who don’t train near them.

Anyway, it turns out they were on the machine next to me.

“Great,” I thought. “Now I’ll probably get to listen to them talk cars, compare muscles and generally big-note themselves.”

Well, you could have knocked me off the chest-press when I stopped to listen.

They were talking recipes!! Yes, real recipes. Not what protein mix they use, but how they cook their meals. And it wasn’t simply throwing sausages and chops on the barbie either. I’ll admit the conversation was very ‘meat orientated’, but they were talking marinades, salads, and how they cook their veggies to go with their meat. I was tempted to invite myself to dinner.

They also discussed how different cuts of meat were better in different dishes, and then concluded by comparing notes about their butchers.

They were probably better versed in meat than most of the current contestants on MasterChef. Except for Lynton. He’s from a cattle farm.

But the point is, that I had been making assumptions about these blokes for months — purely based upon what they looked like (and to some extent how they behaved). Never in my wildest dreams did I think they could cook.

I found myself wondering what other people in the gym do during the rest of their lives, and whether I had been making assumptions about them.

How many people do we make assumptions about?

Do these assumptions prevent us from engaging with that person? Or being nice to them? Or letting them go before us in the supermarket queue?

Lesson #1 — People can surprise you, if you take the time to eavesdrop, (I mean listen).

Lesson #2 — Gym music really is bad, so always remember your ipod.

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Allison Tait

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words by nerissa

...observations, thoughts and questions