10 January 2023

2022 Year in Review: The best of Sally Hopman

| Sally Hopman
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As part of our Year in Review series, Region Media is revisiting some of the best articles of 2022. For all those readers who love Sally Hopman’s whimsical look at life, here’s a dozen of her best.

12. Here’s to the sweet old days, best not to waist them
by Sally Hopman


How sweet it used to be – when lollies were lollies and dental bills ran into the stoutest of figures. Photo: File.

Any Smarties out there old enough to remember little white bags, a 20c piece and everyone’s best friend, Cobbers?

Specifically how, for 20c, you could fill one of those little white bags with enough Cobbers to make you violently ill. Sigh, those were the days.

11. When real life turns the turntable on love songs
by Sally Hopman

Photo of Bob Dylan

Genuine autographed photo of Bob Dylan circa 1960 – well eBay said it was genuine. Photo: Sally Hopman.

Love songs can do funny things. They can take us back in time, make us feel certain ways, but occasionally, life gets in the way of their effect. Sally Hopman looks into our relationship with soppy songs, starting with the great Bob Dylan.

10. How to grow up and be productive: an idiot’s guide
by Sally Hopman

Pomegranate on a tree

Your author managed to grow something this season: a pomegranate. Count it, one. But it was very pretty and I managed to take its picture – before the cockatoo took an almost-bite, and spat it out. Photo: Sally Hopman.

For things to grow, flourish and be useful, I’ve learned it’s best if I keep my distance from them.

With all the rain we’ve had, things are surfacing from the garden and from trees that I’ve never met before – things that other people tell me are good. Like apples and figs.

Turns out that behind my cottage, which is so old it should be on the pension, was an orchard of sorts.

9. Nurses need our care – and a decent wage
by Sally Hopman

Holding an old hand

When a helping hand for hospital patients can be just the tonic. Photo: Sally Hopman.

Sally Hopman has had more opportunity than she’d like to watch nurses at work lately – and she reckons they are worth their weight in gold.

8. Good morning world, it’s time to get up and at ’em
by Sally Hopman

Early morning view of main street of country town.

There is a beauty first thing in the morning that few of us get to see – usually because it involves wearing your doona in public as a puffer jacket – so thank heavens for photographers capturing such scenes – like a deserted main street of Yass. Photo: Tom O’Dea, Visual Storytelling.

They say nothing good ever happens at 4:30 am, but that’s not true. The other morning around that time, I turned on the radio to learn the importance of towel drying between your toes.

Finally, I thought, someone has realised how crucial such information is. I wanted to spread the word, rather than a fungal disease, but most everyone else in the vicinity was asleep so I settled for the dog.

7. Recipe for success: simply make a meal of comfort food
by Sally Hopman

custard tart

Simply a cut above the rest when it comes to comfort food, the classic custard tart. Photo: File.

If we are what we eat, I’d like to be a custard tart. Tart? Duh. Custard? Because it’s such comfortable food.

A woman I once worked with was called The Lentil because, well, she looked like one. She also ate them with everything. Except perhaps not custard tarts – not that she’d ever let something pass her lips. It had to be raw, preferably red – they go down your gullet faster – and would never have come within cooee of non-organic-ness.

6. Talking about TV’s good old neighs, of course, of course
by Sally Hopman

Mr Ed horse

Mr Ed, the talking horse, was a steed of many talents – including answering the phone. Photo: File.

I blame it all on Mr Ed. You know, the talking horse of a couple of lifetimes ago. He would only speak to his human, Wilbur, an architect.

He had his own TV show, with Wilbur as support act along with his (Wilbur’s) wife Carol, who gave new meaning to the word perky. (Mr Ed never said whether he was married.)

5. Why this tail has a happy ending – as long as it doesn’t stain the carpet
by Sally Hopman

Dirty dog

Archie took to farm life like a, er, dog to mud. He could well have been cute, had you been able to see his face. Photos: Sally Hopman.

They call it foster fail and, I have to say, I excel at it.

A foster fail is when you try to find the dog you are fostering its best forever home, only to find that home is your own. It involves a dog, usually one with an unhappy childhood, unattractive bowel movements and a thing for stealing vital pieces of clothing. Nobody much wants the dog for reasons rarely the dog’s fault, but almost always it is the one who suffers.

4. Here’s cheers to the good old bad days
by Sally Hopman

Ice cream van

Remember when you could hear these vans before you saw them? Photo: File.

Carole King got it right when she wrote it and James Taylor put the icing on it when he sang: Up On The Roof.

“When this old world starts getting me down, and people are just too much for me to face, I climb way up to the top of the stairs and all my cares just drift right into space. On the roof, it’s as peaceful as can be, and there the world below can’t bother me.”

I’m heading for The Roof.

3. Do I have to spell it out for you? Beauty is in the hand of the op shopper
by Sally Hopman

Koala teapot

Some people rifle through op shops for rare vinyl, vintage clothes or designer brands. Then there’s those of us with taste who opt instead for ugly Oz china, preferably in the shape of a teapot. Photo: Sally Hopman.

Some people go for the labels: frock, shoe, handbag, fine china or vinyl. Then there are the ones who go straight to the books. My favourite are the folk with clearly exquisite taste who can track an ugly piece of Australian china, ideally featuring a native animal, from 20 paces.

What do you head for when you enter an op/poor man’s antique/junk shop?

2. Archie: the dog who left his mark … just about everywhere
by Sally Hopman

Little white dog

Archie’s dogged determination, when it came to hating just about everything – particularly the hand that fed him – knew no bounds. Photo: Sally Hopman.

Archie was not the sweetest of dogs. He hated everything, except meal times.

He’d bite the hand that fed him, constantly. He’d snarl at people when they came through the gate and smirk when they left.

There were a couple of people he liked: the lawnmower guy, for one. Maybe his liking was more a snigger when the bones he’d strategically buried in the long grass broke the mower blades.

1. By gum, yet another tree’s hit the dust … or was it just hearsay?
by Sally Hopman

Old tree

A stripped-back trunk is all that’s left of the huge gum that hit the ground – with or without making a noise. Photo: Sally Hopman.

You know the drill: if a tree falls in the bush when no one is there, did it make a sound?

I can’t swear to it, but I reckon when the two sides of the tree at the back of my place thundered to earth this week when no one was around, they would have heard it overseas.

This tree was my second favourite on the property, mainly because it was still upright when my favourite fell in a chainsaw-ed heap last year.

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