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Hartsyard's Blog

Loss, stuffed olives and how David got stomped on by Goliath

By May 1, 2015 3 Comments

2015 is playing out fast and furiously in the world of Llewellyn/Hart. We’ve had weddings, cookbook edits, openings of bars, childhood-home-selling, rental-house-needing-to-be-moving, relatives with serious illnesses, staff members on holidays, children going through ‘stages’ and then – shockingly – a sudden death in the family.

I’m not confident white people have this mourning thing down. Don’t get me wrong, we gave Rod a cracking good send off at his funeral (if my daughters spoke of me the way his children did, I’d have thought i’d had a life well lived) but the next morning, we all got on the early morning commuter plane, landed back in Sydney and got straight back into life. It was shattering really. What I think we should have done instead was all go and sit in a field somewhere for a week or two, everyone that loved him, and we should have talked and laughed and cried and shared. Then slowly we should have re-engaged with normal life, put shoes back on again, eaten half a sandwich and maybe even made the bed.

It’s tough though, with little kids and two businesses to indulge in that. So what I did instead wad drop balls left, right and centre. Emails went unanswered, newsletters left half-drafted, lightbulbs unchanged and blogs unwritten. Not exactly professional and not particularly smart for business, but there you have it. That’s what happened and i’m now slowly starting to get on top of things again.

I’m even going to book in to see the dentist. I haven’t been in so long they’ve stopped sending the reminder letters. I do floss though…on a semi-regular basis.

I’m also going to attack the to-do list at work. Things like organise for a sign to be put up under the awning outside The Gretz so that when directing people from Hartsyard while they wait for spots at the bar, they will know when to stop. I thought the sign should say THE GRETZ. What do you think?


Gregory, for his part, was a bit stuck in the mud too. But he’s slurped his way out and he and the team have changed a bunch of dishes at Hartsyard, and The Gretz menu now features some delicious bigger size snacks. The olives, oysters and clams casino are still there of course, but the rest of the menu is now snacks you can make a meal of.

Things like;

Morton Bay bug and crab rolls

Shrimp rolls


and bowls of crispy, fried tostones, Gregory’s nod to hot, salty chips.

What else has been going on? Oh, for those of you who followed THE PUSS saga, I should let you know that that went ABSOLUTELY NOWHERE. Upon the advice of many (including some of you, dear readers) I contacted the Ombudsman and though asking for nothing more than an apology and an explanation I got neither. But I did have a lovely chat with Tim from the Ombudsman’s office who cheerily said by way of explanation; you’re in small business. You of all people should know that sometimes the big guy wins.’

I declare this an outstanding result.

What an excellent parable to teach my children.

But it ain’t all David being squashed by Goliath. Here’s a good cheer story. Last year our little 35 seat restaurant raised over $7000 from the generosity of our beautiful guests at our first ever fundraiser dinner supporting  Gunawirra through One Health Organisation.


Even better, our relationship with Gunawirra is growing. We will work with them to assist an Indigenous Childcare Centre in (as chance would have it) my childhood town of Armidale. Gregory is going to help them with their kitchen garden and will also work with the women to show them some easy, nutritious meals they can cook both for the children at the centre and their own at home. I kill any plant but peace lilies (alternate parts neglect and over-love seem to agree with them) and my only recipe is cupboard surprise, so I won’t help out there, but i’m not a bad singer and I used to teach kids, so I figure i’ll offer up a music/dance class instead.

Like most of Sydney, Hartsyard sustained some damage during the recent hailstorms. As did my eyeballs because I had gone out for an ill-timed run just as the hailing began. There I was, running as fast as I dared back across the Anzac Bridge thinking what a wuss I was until I discovered the sideways rain stinging my eyes was actually pebbles of hail perfectly formed to fit right inside my eye-socket. At work shortly thereafter, I expected an evening of no-shows to rival the first (and only) Good Friday we opened where over 30 people didn’t turn up, but not at all! The dining room was filled with delightful, fun, if somewhat soggy guests.

The Gretz has been bandied about the media a bit of late, which is really fantastic and next month it will feature in GQ. I can only surmise this is because they are one step away from asking Gregory to model for them. He’s perfect for that mag don’t you think?


Every year I do a book of Q’s life, including photos, excellent things she says, stuff she’s done and so on. It really doesn’t take that long once I get started, but of course I’m always behind and now there’s Edie, so now I have two to do. 7 and 9 months late I may be, but I’ve just about finished their ones for 2014.

Late last night I was sifting through photos from one of my brother’s weddings last year and discovered a shot I’d forgotten about. The wedding had taken place in Ireland (his wife’s home country) at the height of the Irish summer, so as a consequence the day was freezing cold and very windy.

I was Bridesmaid 2IC (all care, no responsibility and a fancy new dress to boot) and had taken governance of the back end of the veil. Not too complicated a duty I thought, until the wind picked up and entrapped me in the flowing mesh, the exact point at which the photo was taken. It’s not the greatest shot of me (the dress was green, so I sort of look like a grasshopper flailing about in a spider’s web) but last night it suddenly became significant. That photo you see, was taken by Rod. I’ve known Rod since I was 3 and I remember him as generous and selfless, organised and particularly disciplined. Even as kids, he often expected the same of us. And after flailing about these past couple of months, last night I think he wanted to tell me something.

Pull your finger out Hart. 

Except he probably would have been a bit kinder than that and said something like; ‘come on Nome, you can do better than this.’

And he’s right. I can. So here I am, doing better than I was and delighted to be back in this lovely little world of food and tasty beverages that we inhabit.

I hope I see you soon at either our toddler (near three year old Hartsyard) or our newborn (near 8 week old The Gretz).


The wildflowers in Ireland are truly spectacular. These ones were growing free on the side of the road, but they’re just some of the beauties my sister-in-law had in her bridal bouquet.

Enjoy your weekend folks.





Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • Teresa says:

    Love love love your fantastic read. Love hearing your latest doings.

    • Hartsyard says:

      Oh thanks Teresa. Lovely to hear from you. Hope all is well in your world.

    • Hartsyard says:

      Thank you very much Teresa, and sorry for the delay. I am as excellent at the inter webs as telcos are of delivering customer service! Naomi