Two wonderful things have come into my life recently. Firstly there’s this wee fella;


Little Al.

Alfie, my nephew.

And today, a completely different kind of wonderful.

Big Al.


“Good luck” chirped the server at Ferg’s as the lunchtime queue, featuring the usual suspects, incognito England cricketers and tanned Teutonic tourists, began to build up. The words carried the same weighty resonance as when uttered by the sleuthing German soldier in The Great Escape. Nervously acknowledging the man, Lucky Paul and I hurriedly made our way out of the gathering storm and to Queenstown’s beachfront, Marine Parade.

Good luck? Whatever did he mean?


Got it. Big Al. It’s a whole lot of burger.

I contemplated the tasty task ahead of me and as I did so a cherished memory from my visit to the Cheers Bar in Boston popped into my head. The bartender back then complimented me on my efforts at conquering their famous Norm Burger, dubbing me The Thinking Man’s Over Eater, a title I was determined to live up to here.

With pit lane mechanic precision I went straight to the bright green curly lettuce, sliced tomatoes and generous beetroot portions, stripping them from the mayonnaise laden bottom bunk of the bun and plopping them un-fussily into my mouth. Contented the remaining ingredients would sit comfortably between the bread without slipping out, I set about the main project.

Joyous. Absolutely, amazingly, outstandingly joyous. The expertly grilled burgers, with a tinge of rare to their colour, were just superb. The bacon, egg, cheese and sauces helped make this five of the most gloriously indulgent minutes of dining I’ve ever experienced.

It was well worth the wait.

There’s nothing else for it. As I prepare to bid a fond farewell to Queenstown, I’ll have to come back here again for more.

Good luck trying to stop me.