Accidentally Ingested but did not die

Adding another interesting string to my life’s bow, my parents used to be country publicans. I know. They packed a lot into their lives. This was always one of my favourite yarns from Mum from when they owned the Tattersalls Hotel in Narrabri.

During the 1971 floods Mums’ cooking reputation came under fire after an incident that saw dozens of men’s health put at risk. The trucks were unable to pass through the town, due to the fact that all the roads were underwater, so the drivers took it upon themselves to make the most of their situation.

This particular situation centered around fermented liquids.

Because they were either bunking upstairs in the lone star accommodation my family’s hotel provided, or in the cabin of their trucks, all meals were taken at the pub.

Day three of the unplanned stranding, the truckers arrived and the lads were hungry. My grandparents had been visiting and found themselves stuck in town and on the unpaid payroll. The men filed in expecting breakfast, so Mum got cracking.


A dozen fellas hoovered up plates of scrambled eggs and toast and washed it down with a glass of amber liquid. Praised was heaped on the chef before another day of watching the water flow through the public bar commenced.

Later that morning, Mum gave herself a time out and along with her Dad, enjoyed a cup of tea. Mum asked her father to pass the milk, as he had done during her epic egg-whisking episode earlier. She looked concerned as the milk curdled in her tea and even more concerned when she realized that she had used cloudy ammonia floor cleaner in her much praised scrambled eggs.

She immediately walked into the public bar and demanded that all the truckers put down their schooners and drink a litre of milk, proper non-floor-cleaning milk, really quick.

This was back in the day when you did not get sued for looking at someone sideways.

I tell you this story because recently something similar occurred to me.

About a year ago I did my best to quit sugar, but I do have half a teaspoon in my morning coffee because I like to live dangerously. I could not find the sugar bowl, but I did find some in a plastic takeaway container. I hit GO on ye olde Nespressso and watched it deliver the sweet nectar that is caffeine. I stirred in my half tea-spoon of the devils cocaine, topped it with frothy milk and took a huge slurp.

It was not sweet so I stirred it again.


Nadda. So I put in another half a teaspoon. SLURP. Nothing.

It was at that time that my son Jack wandered in and grabbed the takeaway container of sugar and walked away.

“Where are you going with the sugar?” I asked.

So it turns out that the sugar was not sugar.

If you have a primary school age child, you might be familiar with the phenomenon of making slime. Slime is made up of PVA glue, water, food colouring and borax. Borax is also known as sodium borate, sodium tetraborate, or disodium tetra borate. Powdered borax is white, consisting of soft colorless crystals that dissolve easily in water. Also dissolves in coffee.

A quick visit to Dr. Google revealed that I was unlikely to die, but it is also hardly ideal to ingest. All of a sudden, sugar didn’t seem so bad. It still wasn’t as bad as the time at a mates 21st when I took a big swig from my beer. But it wasn’t my beer. It was the ash-tray beer.

Have you ever eaten anything that you shouldn’t have?

Ever drunk Kool-Aid?