Sunday, 28 April 2013

Breakfast with the celebrity factor

When I went to Sydney our family went to a celebrity chef cafe for breakfast.

At home we usually have very predictable breakfasts. Weekdays are all the same, muesli and instant coffee. Weekends are special and we have good coffee and special breads, pancakes, pastries, or muffins. Maybe coddled eggs. I never cook bacon and eggs for breakfast. Even though I am from Queensland I do not cook kidneys, chops, tomatoes, or scrambled eggs for breakfast either. Nor do I stand around slicing fashionable fruit or making nasi goreng. I do not usually enjoy eating out for breakfast because I like to eat early.

So off we trotted for breakfast at Bill Granger's cafe at Surry Hills. (OK, second breakfast because I like to have something early.) Short queue. Vacancy. Easy as.

Rhys and Anita studying the menu.
See the lovely lightness of this place.
It was a good experience. The cafe was white, light, quiet and calm. The coffee was excellent. Food was cooked to order so there was a bit of a wait. I had coconut bread. The others had special pancakes and eggs done various ways.

Who else was in the cafe? Young, old, babies and toddlers, smartly dressed, very ordinary. Groups and families, singles and couples.

A few days later I bought the recipe book containing the recipes for the foods we ate. I have since baked the coconut bread myself and it was just as good as in the cafe. The recipe was very simple. I have since found out that this is the most recognised dish at this restaurant.

Do you recognise the name Bill Granger? I did, but that was all. He was an art student who got diverted into the food industry. Now he has half a dozen restaurants in Australia and more in Britain. The style of food is light and fresh, rather than elaborate.
Here is a link about Bill Granger.

Here is the coconut bread recipe. It is not a real bread; it is a loaf like a cake. Serve it with something citrus like a lime marmalade. This recipe is on lots of internet sites.

Bill Granger’s Coconut Bread

·        2 eggs
·        300ml milk
·        1 teaspoon vanilla essence
·        1 cup plain flour
·        2teaspoons baking powder
·        2teaspoons cinnamon
·        1 cup caster sugar
·        150grams desiccated coconut
·        75grams butter (melted)

1.      Preheat oven to 180°C. Prepare a loaf tin. I line mine with baking paper.
2.      Lightly whisk eggs, milk and vanilla together.
3.      Sift flour, baking powder and cinnamon into a bowl.
4.      Add the sugar and the coconut. Stir.
5.      Make a well in the centre and stir in the egg mixture until just combined.
6.      Add the melted butter and stir until the mixture is smooth.
7.      Pour into a 21 x 10cm loaf tin and bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour, or until bread is cooked when tested with a skewer.
8.      Leave in the tin to cool for 5 minutes, and remove to cool further on a wire rack. Serve in thick slices, toasted.

Saturday, 27 April 2013


Jokes and funny posters are popular among my friends and relatives.
Statistics can always be manipulated.
Ridiculous isn't it.
I hope you enjoy these. I admit I have no genuine knowledge of where they originate.  I do not know if the claimed origin of the court comments are true. Somebody owns the copyright.

But I laughed.

These are from a book called Disorder in the American Courts and are things people actually said in court, word for word, taken down and published by court reporters.

ATTORNEY:  What was the first thing your husband said to you that morning?
WITNESS:    He said, 'Where am I, Cathy?'
ATTORNEY: And why did that upset you?
WITNESS:   My name is Susan!
ATTORNEY: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?
WITNESS:   Gucci sweats and Reeboks.
ATTORNEY: Are you sexually active?
WITNESS:   No, I just lie there.
ATTORNEY: What is your date of birth? 
WITNESS:   July 18th. 
ATTORNEY: What year? 
WITNESS:   Every year. 
ATTORNEY: How old is your son, the one living with you? 
WITNESS:   Thirty-eight or thirty-five, I can't remember which. 
ATTORNEY: How long has he lived with you? 
WITNESS:   Forty-five years. 
ATTORNEY: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all?
ATTORNEY: And in what ways does it affect your memory?
WITNESS:   I forget.
ATTORNEY: You forget? Can you give us an example of something you forgot?
ATTORNEY: Now doctor, isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn't know about it until the next morning?
WITNESS:   Did you actually pass the bar exam?
ATTORNEY: The youngest son, the 20-year-old, how old is he?
WITNESS:   He's 20, much like your IQ.

ATTORNEY: Were you present when your picture was taken?
WITNESS:   Are you shitting me?
ATTORNEY: So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th?
ATTORNEY: And what were you doing at that time?
WITNESS:   Getting laid
ATTORNEY: She had three children, right?
ATTORNEY: How many were boys?
WITNESS:   None.
ATTORNEY: Were there any girls?
WITNESS:   Your Honour, I think I need a different attorney. Can I get a new attorney?
ATTORNEY: How was your first marriage terminated?
WITNESS:   By death..
ATTORNEY: And by whose death was it terminated?
WITNESS:   Take a guess.
ATTORNEY: Can you describe the individual?
WITNESS:   He was about medium height and had a beard
ATTORNEY: Was this a male or a female?
WITNESS:   Unless the Circus was in town I'm going with male.
ATTORNEY: Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition notice which I sent to your attorney?
WITNESS:   No, this is how I dress when I go to work.
ATTORNEY: Doctor, how many of your autopsies have you performed on dead people?
WITNESS:   All of them. The live ones put up too much of a fight.
ATTORNEY: ALL your responses MUST be oral, OK? What school did you go to?
WITNESS:   Oral...
ATTORNEY: Do you recall the time that you examined the body?
WITNESS:   The autopsy started around 8:30 PM
ATTORNEY: And Mr. Denton was dead at the time?
WITNESS:   If not, he was by the time I finished.
ATTORNEY: Are you qualified to give a urine sample?
WITNESS:   Are you qualified to ask that question?
ATTORNEY: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
ATTORNEY: Did you check for blood pressure?
ATTORNEY: Did you check for breathing?
ATTORNEY: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
ATTORNEY: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
WITNESS: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
ATTORNEY: I see, but could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?
WITNESS: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practising law.
This photo was used for advertising a Mr Bean film.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Boys and boats

My photo of The Octopus was a disaster.
This one is from Wikipedia.
We have had an interesting yacht moored in our harbour. It has been these since before Easter and I remember that I saw it in the harbour last year for a while too. A really big yacht. I have seen smaller cruise ships. It left last night. 

The ship is The Octopus, which belongs to Paul Allen. Who is Paul Allen? He and Bill Gates are Microsoft; well they were and then it grew and so forth. They are both now rather wealthy. Paul Allen also owns another whopping huge luxury yacht. I am not sure why he needs two, but if this makes him happy and useful then all must be right with the world.

Paul Allen
The Octopus is described as a superyacht and is one of the largest ever built, in this class. Ships like this are usually owned by heads of state or corporations. It is 213 metres long and I think I can see six decks. There are two helicopters, and they use them. The big one is at the back and the small one at the front. There is a 19 metre tender docked in the transom, and half a dozen zodiacs and small boats for getting things done. There are two submarines, one of which is remote controlled for looking at the ocean floor. There is a pool of course, and there are places at the sides for jet skis.

Paul Allen is younger than me and is extremely clever. It is sometimes difficult in life for the highly intelligent, but he seems to manage well. He is one of the richest people in the world with billions of dollars; why am I not smart enough to achieve this I wonder. He gives away millions of dollars every year and has a company just to manage his philanthropic efforts. He is the most generous philanthropist in the US, even better at it than Bill Gates. Clever, rich, and good. That is an amazing combination.

Here is a link to a biography of this interesting person.

So I wonder what he does on his lovely yacht. Darwin is a good place to be of course and he must like it or he would not have come back again this year. At weekends the big helicopter disappears so I guess they go somewhere camping or fishing or exploring or partying or studying or working or knitting socks or something. With two submarines this boat must work for its keep I suppose. Maybe they explore the ocean floor and write reports.

Life is rather interesting sometimes.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Anzac Day 2013

I was up early this morning to be at the cenotaph by 5.30 for the Dawn Service.
Thousands and thousands of people. The Army Band played and I sang with the Darwin Chorale. Very moving speeches. Lots of wreaths. Wonderful bugler. Tears. Poppies.

This is part of the crowd at the cenotaph after the ceremony.
It is about seven o'clock.
Students had trays of red poppies and
members of the public could choose one and lay it on the steps.

I think this poster really points out just how fragile the Diggers were
compared to today's defence personnel.
What is ANZAC Day? The letters stand for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. Troops landed at Gallipoli and fought bravely in a desperate situation during World War I in a huge battle against the Turks. Eventually the survivors were evacuated. Many had died. We remember their bravery in adverse conditions. We remember that Australians band together and help each other. We remember the fallen and the injured. We remember how fortunate we are.

Both my parents were soldiers in World War II. Both suffered injuries.

I know that soldiers on both sides do as they are ordered. They are all brave. Their job is to kill and they do their best. Torture, injury, napalm, land mines, bombs, IEDs, terrorism, guerrillas, bullets that cause the most injury. To me it is not right, but I do understand why. The UN does its best. The rest is up to us.

I know what the soldier lives with later, because our family lived with it too.

Anzac Day helps a little.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

To use or not to use

This is in the Ukraine.
I was referred to this site and it touched my imagination. The photos are all very beautiful. People have such imagination and it makes little difference when or where we live.

I wonder why some of these places are abandoned. Obviously some are too old and probably unsafe inside. Others are no longer needed. But some?????

Thursday, 18 April 2013


I accept that ageing brings some limitations. I also notice that it affects people in different ways. Memory is one of these. Sometimes this is a problem, other times it is not.

I work with a man who is becoming increasingly forgetful lately. Perhaps it is not ageing that is the cause, as he is five years younger than I am. Still in his fifties. Perhaps he has much on his mind. Perhaps he is ill, but does not know it.

I have not said anything to him yet. I fill in the gaps myself, imagining that retains the dignity of the situation. I am not sure how other people handle it.

I need some advice.

The work situation is a busy kitchen with gas, sharp knives, hot oil, hot food, and more. The clients are not in a position to eat elsewhere. We must meet not only the industrial standard, but our employer's very high standard of hygiene. We are doing all this at the moment. The other workers are much younger, from a very different culture, and have poor English. I do not want to cause any problems with management for this man. I do not know his family. He is a good person, a nice man.

How long should I wait? How can I tactfully mention it without appearing rude?

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Are you comfortable?

I wonder who would use a chair like this?

I assume it is made with moose antlers, but I do not know much about antlers.

Perhaps it is simply a work of art.

While it would not fit perfectly into the decor of my home, it has an air of excitement about it I think.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Time out

Tropical beach at East Point. Rocky. Isolated. Gentle breeze.
No, you should not really go in the water yet.
The marine stingers can be fatal.
We went for a short walk at East Point Reserve. Time out but not time wasted. Time to rejuvenate. Time to breathe.

East Point is a large reserve of 200 hectares in the midst of the suburbs. During World War II there were over 250 thousand troops stationed in that area, mainly at Dudley Point. Times were grim indeed. A few gun emplacements and other structures remain and there is a modern Military Museum.

Our City Council maintains this reserve which has mixed use. There is a Model Aero Club with a big oval for flying undisturbed. The pony club has been there for about fifty years. We have been to the restaurant, Peewee's at the Point, several times for super special occasions.

The area is a mixture of monsoon vine forest, trimmed and tended picnic areas, parkland, mangroves, cliffs, sandy beaches, native vegetation, and more. At the moment the vegetation is still lush and green, but as the months pass the grass will turn brown and the vines will die back.
Pony club horses in one of the paddocks.

We walked past the Fannie Bay Equestrian Club. Look at these lovely animals grazing so peacefully in one of the paddocks. Later I saw a girl preparing to ride one. A perfect home for horses.

From time to time the population of wallabies grows too large, requiring relocation and other interventions. At present there are about 600 wallabies living in the area, but they stay hidden during most of the day.

Always something interesting to see and do. As we strolled along there were families cycling, walkers on fitness programs, and picnickers.

We saw two northern kingfishers, startlingly blue. They flew away before I managed a photo. A cormorant was perched atop a cliff. I heard some cockatoos but could not see them. Falcons and kites are returning and we saw some soaring on the currents.

These tiny white flowers were about 1 cm across.
The vine was at the edge of the walking path
getting plenty of light.
The Wet Season has cleaned and freshened everything. Trees have grown. Vines have tangled here and there. Branches have fallen, providing a home for small animals. Now the seasons are changing and many of the plants are in flower. East Point Reserve is peaceful because it is so large. We are so lucky to have this place available, right within the city limits.

Is it always hot here, so close to the equator? No. The daily maximum here is the same year round, between 30 and 34 degrees Celsius. Not hot. The humidity changes a lot though. During the Wet it can often be 95%. During the Dry as low as 30%. The Dry is often windy, but that can depend on the location. Being on the coast means that our weather is mild and comfortable.

I really enjoy reading about the places other bloggers live. And their weather. What they find hot or cold. Their storms. Sometimes it is very different from the life I know.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Sunday, lovely Sunday.

I am enjoying Sunday. The seasons are changing and the air is quite dry and fresh. Soon the sun will come up. It is lovely and quiet.

I found this in a newsletter some time back. One comment is advice from a kitchen diva. It is followed by a rebuttal from a housewife.  You might be like me and hoard such stuff in a computer file for dull days.

Kitchen Wisdom 

Stuff a miniature marshmallow in the bottom of an ice cream cone to prevent ice cream drips. 

Just suck the ice cream out of the bottom of the cone, for Pete's sake! You are probably lying on the couch with your feet up eating it anyway!

To keep potatoes from budding, place an apple in the bag with the potatoes.

Buy Deb mashed potato flakes.  Keeps in the pantry for up to a year. Even an opened packet keeps well in the fridge.

When a cake recipe calls for flouring the baking pan, use a bit of the dry cake mix instead and there won't be any white mess on the outside of the cake.

Go to the bakery!  Hell, they'll even decorate it for you!

If you accidentally over-salt a dish while it's still cooking, drop in a peeled potato and it will absorb the excess salt for an instant 'fix-me-up.'

If you over-salt a dish while you are cooking, that's too bad. Please recite with me the real woman's motto:  'I made it, you will eat it and I don't care how bad it tastes!'

Wrap celery in aluminum foil when putting in the refrigerator and it will keep for weeks.

Celery?  Never heard of it!

Brush some beaten egg white over pie crust before baking to yield a beautiful glossy finish. 

The McCains frozen pie directions do not include brushing egg whites over the crust, so I don't.

Cure for headaches:  take a lime, cut it in half and rub it on your forehead.  The throbbing will go away.  

Take a lime, mix it with tequila, chill and drink!   All your pains go away!

If you have a problem opening jars, try using latex dish washing gloves.  They give a non-slip grip that makes opening jars easy.

Go ask that very cute neighbor if he can open it for you.

Don't throw out all that leftover wine.  Freeze into ice cubes for future use in casseroles and sauces.

Leftover wine???????????  HELLO!!!!!!!

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Judi Dench

A young Judi Dench.
I must admit that I am a fan of Judi Dench. I think in the UK she is referred to as an actress; In Australia she is described as an actor.
She is not a very tall person, only 155cm, shorter than me, but she seems to be a giant in the theatre world.

I had not seen or heard her sing until I saw this clip. After I read a bit I found out that she has done a few musicals, using a style of singing that really engages the audience. She performs a song really, using her acting skills.

This song, Send In The Clowns, always grabs me. I hope you enjoy seeing and hearing Judi Dench give it a wonderful treatment. I watched Glenn Close perform the same piece, but it was nothing.

Now she has matured and
looks interesting rather than pretty.

Why is she Dame ... ? Judi Dench was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1970. Then she became Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in 1988. She was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Companions of Honour (CH) in 2005. These honours are a public reward and recognition for her contribution to the life of her nation.

How do you address a Dame in conversation? It is correct to say 'Dame Judith' or 'Dame Judi'. She is not an Honourable or a Lady. Then she would tell you if she wishes to be addressed in some other way, such as, "For goodness sake, Freddy, call me Grandma." Or not.

Here is a very comprehensive biography of Judi Dench. You can see that she has not sat around doing nothing.

Where would we be without Wikipedia, I wonder.

One interesting fact I noticed is that she has developed an eye disorder and now relies on an assistant to read the script to her. Right. So do I think I could listen to a reading of a script and then act that for the camera without making any mistakes?

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Teenager with ambitions

The following article is worth reading, especially if you or anyone in your family struggled to get into university. It is about entry to university and was written by Suzy Lee Weiss, a year 12 student at Taylor Allerdice High School in the USA.

Unfortunately there are a few hidden facts.

  • The sister of this teenage girl is an associate editor on the Wall Street Journal. 
  • The article has been widely reprinted. 
  • The writer did get into a very good university. Apparently she applied to more than 20 universities and was accepted by 10 of them. She did get to choose.

Nevertheless I think she makes some very sound points.

            I get sick to the teeth of people who set up charities which are actually only established to enhance them and not the recipients. There is one particular potential politician around here who plays that game often. And then there are the Foundations that are only for taxation purposes.

            Studious people are frequently overlooked in favour of wanna-be celebrities. University is supposed to be about learning not personality. It is the quiet achiever who helps the world the most. The high-flyers are not always the long term success stories.

            You can not judge a book by its cover. The CV may be overstating some work. The manager of household services may actually have been the person who phoned for a cleaner. The volunteering may have been only once a month, not twice a week. And more.

            The students, the course, and the university must be matched carefully. A degree in English literature from Cambridge is not very useful if you live in Alice Springs. A PhD in astrophysics from Beijing is wonderful if it helps you contribute to the world, but not much use if you end up unemployed in Nigeria.

            Some teenagers are mini versions of parents acting out their own fantasies. Is it the parent or the child who has done the work? The training schedule? The motivating?

Read it. Watch the video clip. Think about people you know.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

A joke about someone like me

This is a joke about someone like me. I laughed when I read it. Of course it is not me. Never. But close. So very very close.

A few years ago I moved back to the town where I grew up. Many of my old friends were still living there.

As I sat in the waiting room for my first appointment with the new dentist in town I noticed his testamurs hanging on the wall, which gave his full name. 

Suddenly I remembered a tall, handsome, dark-haired boy with the same name had been in my high school class some 40 years ago.
Could he be the same boy that I had a secret crush on way back then? He had been very handsome and I had been quite shy. Maybe. Life is full of coincidences.

As soon as I saw the new dentist I was disillusioned. Not my age. Oh, never. This balding, grey-haired man with the deeply lined face was way too old to have been my classmate. Too old.

After he examined my teeth, I asked him if he had attended Mount Morgan High School. Just in case. Maybe. Thinking.

"Yes, yes, I did," he gleamed with pride.

"When did you graduate?" I asked.

He answered, "In 1973. Why do you ask?'"

"You were in my class!" I exclaimed.

He looked at me closely. Then, that dreadful, mean, ugly, old, balding, wrinkled, beer-bellied, grey-haired, rude man asked, "Oh, what did you teach?"

Friday, 5 April 2013

Easter holiday

This is the view of the venue from the harbour.
I went to Sydney for Easter. Home again. The trip was great.

The major reason for going such a long way was to see the opera Carmen.  This was performed on a floating stage on Sydney harbour. It was marvellous, fantastic, spectacular, and more. I loved it. Our seats were front and centre. We had a terrific view of the stage and all the activity.

Audience members could choose to arrive by water taxi, but we walked. Fine weather. Warm, but not hot.

On the land there was a recreation of a village square with tables, benches, shops, food outlets, drinks of all sorts, everything.

Here is a link.

This is part of the village atmosphere.
Restaurants and more.
If you have the opportunity then do see this production. It was a mixture of the correct period and 1960s. Sound was terrific and all singers wore mics. The orchestra was hidden from public view because it was under the stage. Ramps allowed performers onto the circular stage. Huge cranes positioned props. The dancing was magical, colourful with costumes. The lighting was perfect.

It was worth every cent, and by the way, this took a whole year's savings.
We stayed in a very lovely hotel in the CBD, the Grace Hotel. I also paid for my son and his girlfriend to stay there for a few days.
We also went to the opera house, the museum, the Rocks, and more. I will probably bore you silly with more chitchat about our trip.