So this is Christmas. . . .

John and Yoko wrote this song several decades ago. We should make a habit to remind ourselves of their lyrics at least once a year.

 

IMG_2797.JPG

After my Dad died, each year I would spend three days around Christmas in a silent retreat. Well, maybe a little music but no phone and no television. I would stay indoors and surround myself with my favourite foods and a few simple photography projects.  Wonderful days. 

Then I started working for Parks Tasmania and have worked right through the busy season every year,  almost the complete opposite to what I had been doing. This year was different again. I didn't work, and spent my time surrounded by beautiful food, pleasant company and the waters of Bass Strait. Not a bad compromise. My Christmas treat was discovering that Yotam Ottlenghi is coming to Hobart this year. How super is that!! 

Nic'n'Lucys first Christmas tree.  

Nic'n'Lucys first Christmas tree.  

My Christmas tree. Often Dad would give me a poinsettia at Christmas time.  

My Christmas tree. Often Dad would give me a poinsettia at Christmas time.  

 

Latrobe Cherry Shed Christmas tree. 

Latrobe Cherry Shed Christmas tree. 

New Zealand's Christmas bush, the red pohutukawa, or metrosideros excelsa found flowering exuberantly in many northern Tasmanian coastal gardens at this time of year.

New Zealand's Christmas bush, the red pohutukawa, or metrosideros excelsa found flowering exuberantly in many northern Tasmanian coastal gardens at this time of year.

I had breakfast with this fellow at the Burt Munro cafe. 

I had breakfast with this fellow at the Burt Munro cafe. 

I'm not letting this fellow go until I get my present. 

I'm not letting this fellow go until I get my present. 

My present! This beautifully flounced silk skirt, the perfect outfit for a Miraculous LadyBug.  Thankyou Cath Noir.😘

My present! This beautifully flounced silk skirt, the perfect outfit for a Miraculous LadyBug.  Thankyou Cath Noir.😘

Christmas Full moon over Bass Strait somehow reminds me of Japanese calligraphy. 

Christmas Full moon over Bass Strait somehow reminds me of Japanese calligraphy. 

You can't have Christmas without bubbles. I've traded my sparkling Burgundy for the bubbles of Bass Strait. 

You can't have Christmas without bubbles. I've traded my sparkling Burgundy for the bubbles of Bass Strait. 

with Santa??

with Santa??

And my smile is this big

It was the middle of February when I loaded my bike into a shipping container bound for Felixstowe, England and now 10 months later I am in Melbourne unloading the bike. It needed to be fumigated and passed by quarantine, all done and ready to ride away. almost! 

Ten bikes, the container load were secreted away behind a massive pile of bags of jasmine rice. Another pallet nearby had all our luggage and bit she and pieces that came back in the container with the bikes. I found the bags with my riding gear and the big box with my old Royal Enfield panniers that didn't quite make the distance and were replaced in France with some Givi bags. My helmet jacket and pants were in good condition. The boots however were a different story. They were covered in a revolting yellow slime, a bit like the slime we find on Wiendorfers first walk at Cradle. so unusual no one is sure if it is plant or animal as it appears to have has features of both. Thankfully the slime washed off and my good Style Martin boots are ready to ride.   Once I connected the Anderson plug under the seat by bike started easily. I'm relieved and impressed and so are the fellows in the warehouse collecting their big adventure bikes. One in particular was very impressed as his girlfriend had just bought a Himalayan.     

Ten bikes, the container load were secreted away behind a massive pile of bags of jasmine rice. Another pallet nearby had all our luggage and bit she and pieces that came back in the container with the bikes. I found the bags with my riding gear and the big box with my old Royal Enfield panniers that didn't quite make the distance and were replaced in France with some Givi bags. My helmet jacket and pants were in good condition. The boots however were a different story. They were covered in a revolting yellow slime, a bit like the slime we find on Wiendorfers first walk at Cradle. so unusual no one is sure if it is plant or animal as it appears to have has features of both. Thankfully the slime washed off and my good Style Martin boots are ready to ride. 

Once I connected the Anderson plug under the seat by bike started easily. I'm relieved and impressed and so are the fellows in the warehouse collecting their big adventure bikes. One in particular was very impressed as his girlfriend had just bought a Himalayan.  

 


IMG_2803.JPG


First stop, Brunswick to spend the afternoon with the honeymoon kids. Then an overnight trip on the Spirit to go back to work the next day.

And my smile is this big!!

And my smile is this big!!

Well not really. It's actually this big!! 

Well not really. It's actually this big!! 

Nic is plretty keen to take my bike for a spin.. A more sedate ride than on his gorgeous Thruxton. 

Nic is plretty keen to take my bike for a spin.. A more sedate ride than on his gorgeous Thruxton. 

Nothing to do with Instagram

FullSizeRender.jpg

Trevor and Jenny introduced me to breakfasting at Hash!! It's in downtown Melbourne, near the bike shops and in Hardware Lane near all the good outdoor equipment stores. Perfect really!!  

ok? So what was I going to have for breakfast, Jenny had had the the chocolate pavlova and Trevor recommended the the granola. 

Part of their breakfast menu.  

Part of their breakfast menu.  

My glamorous chia pudding breakfast.  

My glamorous chia pudding breakfast.  

and if I'd stayed for lunch I could have chosen from these options. 

and if I'd stayed for lunch I could have chosen from these options. 

My pot of brewed chai tea.  

My pot of brewed chai tea.  

If you are stuck for a funky place for breakfast in Melbourne, I doubt you would be disappointed.  

Friends since 1970

Lunch at Shakahari, celebrating 48 years of friendship. 

Lunch at Shakahari, celebrating 48 years of friendship. 

How blessed am I to still have these wonderful people as my best friends. 

Once upon a time we all lived in Melbourne and we would travel around with Graham in his FJ Holden.  

Now we are spread far and wide. Bernie and Shayne spend there time in France and Country Victoria. Trevor and Jenny live in Port Douglas, Jill lives in Torquay and has plans to retire to Tassie while Graham and Kerrie provide a Melbourne base for us all.  

We are all there to support each other as we experience births, deaths and marriages in our immediate families. We have produced three exceptional children, Nic, Louis and Isabel. Each of us has lost one parent, some both and ditto with marriages, some married twice, once or not at all!! 

Collective nouns, part three

IMG_3805.JPG

Most of you know of my passion for collective nouns, and that I just love a loveliness of ladybirds. 

 🐞🐞🐞🐞🐞🐞🐞🐞🐞🐞🐞🐞🐞🐞🐞🐞🐞🐞🐞🐞🐞🐞🐞🐞🐞🐞🐞🐞🐞🐞🐞

 🐞🐞🐞🐞🐞🐞🐞🐞🐞🐞🐞🐞🐞🐞🐞🐞🐞🐞🐞🐞🐞🐞🐞🐞🐞🐞🐞🐞🐞🐞🐞

 

Now I ask you, what is the collective noun for a lot of dots?  

IMG_3684.JPG
IMAGE.JPG

It would have to be a POLKA, wouldn't it.❣️❣️ 

A Wisdom of wombats  

A Wisdom of wombats  

Still under the influence of Ottolenghi

Raspberry and rose syrup roulade

Raspberry and rose syrup roulade

busy bee Bronwyn's birthday and I want to make a cake. Not my forte that's for sure. 

IMAGE.JPG

I refer to my Ottolenghi recipe book and there's a photo of this amazing looking roulade. I do remember Bronwyn is partial to a roulade, so I read all the ingredients. Yes I have them all, even some rose water syrup, a gift from the wonderful Cathy, alias Captain Kirk! If I stuff up the meringue base I'm not to fussed as the chookies produce four eggs a day. I manage to put it all together and viola!! It looks pretty good.

IMAGE.JPG
Happy birthday to you.  

Happy birthday to you.  

Next week it is Tash's birthday so I'm wondering what Ottolenghi inspired dish I'll make for her.  

It will probably have to have eggs in it.  

IMAGE.JPG

And now to my delight SBS Food have discovered Yotam Ottelenghi. The series is five years old, but at least he is getting more exposure to an Australian audience.

I now have a tv date every Friday night. ❤️

 

PS. And guess who is coming to Hobart in February!!!! 

You've heard of a pigeon pair?

I now have a pair of swans!! 

I was doing some rock hopping at low tide. It was a very low tide and I felt I was half way out to the horizon when I  decided I'd better head back to the beach when I spotted something clear with a bit of red in one of the shallow rock pools. Hmm. Maybe a jellyfish, not too sure. It was a cold windy afternoon and I had my wetsuit booties and gloves on so I reached down to poke this thing. Not soft like I imagined a jellyfish to feel, in fact it was quite hard. I grabbed at it with my gloves and pulled out a red glass dish!!  

IMAGE.JPG

 

Strange thing is, it matches the blue glass dish I have on the bookshelf at home!  

IMAGE.JPG

There is a liitle bit broken on the swans head and some scratches underneath, but other than that it's perfect.  

So I wonder

How long has it been there? 

How did it get there? And  

who was the original owner?? 

AND for someone who likes to collect sea glass it was quite a find. Unbelievable really.

IMAGE.JPG

Wooragee School

IMAGE.JPG

These two handsome lads go to wooragee school. 

Living in Wodonga their parents had many options when it came to choosing a primary school. 

Wooragee came out on top. A small rural school, only two classrooms, much like the Chocolyn  Primary that I attended.  

Wooragee School has a Stephanie Alexander Kitchen and Garden Centre. 

IMAGE.JPG

Every Thursday all the students are involved in the schools vegie patch and preparing a meal for themselves. 

It is a brilliant program. Not only does it teach the students about where their food comes from, they grow herbs, fruit and vegetables. They learn food prep skills, hygiene, table presentation, cooking and cleaning.  

I was thrilled to see Stephanie Alexander and her school program as part of Gardening Australia this week. 

Three cheers for Stephanie Alexander. 

 

In the 'back paddock'    

In the 'back paddock' 

 

The school even has its own 'back paddock' Nature Reserve. A beautiful piece of land with a small stream and large enough to have an outdoor classroom and fire pit for evening sessions learning about the night sky and nocturnal animals.  

Challenge letter Z

Tick!! 

Paul's challenge was simply ' get home safely and in one piece'.  

Done.  

Part two of the challenge story was that when I got home he would cook a deep fried camembert dinner for me.  

Done.  

Debora and I enjoyed a wonderful dinner. My spring rolls with homemade date and tamarind dipping sauce. Paul's deep fried camembert with his homemade chili plum sauce and Deboras crunchy wild greens salad. Superbe!!! 

 

Yep! That was certainly worth coming home for!!! 

Yep! That was certainly worth coming home for!!! 

IMAGE.JPG

Radio interview number two

FullSizeRender.jpg

Just across the road from this auspicious mosque in Brunei, is the funky Progresif radio station. 

Earlier in the year on my way to the UK to pick up my motorcycle, I was interviewed by the station.

DSCN4775.JPG

Six months later, I'm back in Brunei and doing a second interview with the station. The presenter this time was the eloquent and articulate Nick. Harri was part of the interview too. 

DSCN4771.JPG

My Brunei friend, Nora came along to support me in the interview. This photo is of her infront of an embroidery of the Taj Mahal.. Today Nora and her husband are travelling to India to view this spectacular piece of architecture. Bon voyage.  

A walk in the park

Brunei has Some beautiful parks. One of them is in the middle of the city, we decided to go for a walk, hot and humid as it was. All natural vegetation, ie jungle. 

DSCN4753.JPG
DSCN4754.JPG
Ouch! These pebble walks are to be walked barefoot. It's like a reflexology treatment. 

Ouch! These pebble walks are to be walked barefoot. It's like a reflexology treatment. 

Ouch, ouch.  

Ouch, ouch.  

Nora and I after the walk, having a fresh coconut juice. 

Nora and I after the walk, having a fresh coconut juice. 

Aji at the waterfall. 

Aji at the waterfall. 

DSCN4759.JPG
from the waterfall we walked up to the reservoir where it was much cooler. 

from the waterfall we walked up to the reservoir where it was much cooler.