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Mezze is widely served in the Greek and Middle eastern world. An assortment of little dishes and tasters which accompany a nice ouzo or a glass of wine. So when you read mezze moments you will have tasty snippets of life as I live it, India for four years and now Brisbane Australia, all served up with some Greek fervour and passion.

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Monday, 1 June 2020

Last day of Autumn 2020


The Menagerie came together this Sunday morning and I smiled as they respected social distancing and didn't crowd into each other's bowls or food. It was a pleasure to see them. It was a gorgeous autumn day and after a general tidy up of the house and garden, (hubby comes home tomorrow after a month away) I decided to head out to the neighbourhood, alone this time, without Dougall and I walked the streets of Paddington. I came across the most iconic Queenslanders, wrap around verandas, shaded gardens, tropical plants and magnificent trees. Chairs and tables placed just so to capture the breeze and the sunlight. There were bears in windows or railings for children on iso walks. From behind those railings and picket fences the sounds of families enjoying the Sunday arvo. Squeals of laughters, a booming mum's voice asking them to come in, a dad gently cajoling them to pick up their toys. I walked up hills and down, once more reminded of how hilly this city is. 


The house displaying this sign amused me. Who would you rather be? Martha or Arthur and what is in store for either of them once inside? 



 Few blooms are out at this time of year but the ones that were there made their presence felt.



The sky a magnificent scene of cotton balls and swirls with the moon popping out at us. This serenity and beauty contrasted sharply with world news, deaths from Coronavirus and unrest in the US where Black Lives Do and Must Matter. 

Wednesday, 27 May 2020

FOGO

Friend E suggested the title for this post and Friend N confirmed its existence. Red for danger/stop?


FEAR OF GOING OUT - how do we deal with going back to normality, whatever that might be, and feeling safe? It's just round the corner for most and for each of us normal may be vastly different.
Suffice to say normal is unlikely to be what we knew, but a different reality will ensue and before too long, because we all have such short memories, the new norm will take hold. But for those who are worried and rightly so (the vaccine is months away) all I can say is learn to manage this as you would do any other part of your life. With assured and careful steps on ground you are secure on. 
My way back? Not vastly differing from the present. Perhaps I was more of a hermit then I realised. 
Nature is your safest go to and that is where I will be going. A good reason to do so now here is because the Poinsettias are flowering.This is the national flower of Brisbane and it is not often that I see it in such splendour. Don't miss it. Its been Brisbane's flower since June of 1930. It was a strange choice as it is neither a native of Queensland or even Australia but comes from Mexico and Guatemala. They were looking for a plant that was easy to propagate and this one excelled here. From June to August they flower and they are unmissable. The flowers are actually bracts- highly coloured leaves around the small green flower in the centre. Emily H Bulcock wrote a poem about it called "Brisbane Poinsettia City" and it was published in 1930. Her words could not be more relevant to now so here it is for all of you. 

She shall be called Poinsettia City;
For her red flags wave the winter through;
Emblem of hope for a brave, young city:
Breathing of spring and a world made new.
Who could be joyless or utterly hopeless
When rioting colour warms and glows,
Drowning life's grey in a sea of scarlet?
And ever the conquering torrent grows.
Here is a fire of flaming splendour
That all may share in the winter long;
Mean little cottage or towering mansion
Wave your banners! Sing Hope's brave song!
Regally clothe her―our beautiful Brisbane
In royal garments of richest hue;
Let all take part on the quest of beauty
Till her fame goes forth―the wide earth through.



A world made new, lets hope, with all the benefits that this strange time may have unwittingly bestowed upon us. Red is for warmth, vibrancy and new beginnings.






Friday, 22 May 2020

Discoveries with Dougall 21- Autumn Days


Heading out with my slightly mad boxer, who is not mine, these days the temperatures are ambient, the skies often flawless but even when the clouds come they come in swirling patterns written over a blue backdrop. I look up and spot a tail. It is unusual to see them in the day. I hear several of them on the deck every night and I always ask myself where home is for them during the day. For this little one this tree is perfect. 



Can you see this magpie that was singing so sweetly to two mates is dressed in his best tuxedo with tails as one should for a midday wander. A fig bird looking for its next feed. Further on new life, despite little rain, sunny flowers and the hanging gardens of Red Hill.





Saturday, 16 May 2020

Presenting Doreen and Dennis


Meet Doreen




Meet Doreen, solid and jolly. Bouffant hair favoured hair style. Likes to hang around more. I would hazard a guess here, but clearly the boss.

Meet Dennis 





Meet Dennis, bright and beautiful with blue feathers by his side, slimmer, cheekier. Not much chatting with this guy, in for a feed and off he goes. 

 Doreen and Dennis  


I was so happy to receive so many suggestions for names for my lovely kookaburra couple. So very many. I wrote them all down and went through each one, saying them aloud so I could feel which combination worked for my two gorgeous birds. There were some strong contenders in there. I loved Victoria and Albert and Cackle and Heckle and while I was initially drawn to Ping Pong, isolating Ping from Pong did sound a little smelly.  There were also combos which while worthy I had to discard.Kath and Kim and Thelma and Louise, as I am pretty sure my couple are male and female and these are birds that mate for life. So the winner is Ellen McArthur with Dennis and Doreen. Part Australian inspired, C.J Dennis author, but also part Swiss inspired. A Doreen, solid and dependable, who was part of my life in Geneva and is no longer with us. 

Sunday, 10 May 2020

Mother's Day 2020

Australian Mother's Day 2020 is one we are likely to remember for a long while. Dare I say that the usual expectations (such as they are in this over commercialised world) of cards, flowers and cuddly moments with offspring are unlikely to happen- well at least unless they are super organised and efficient which some of them might be or they are within a state border. 
Could we however see it a little differently and say this is the day mums can reflect on how well they have done - and I think there is only one test- have we enabled them to spread their wings and go off into the world to lead independent, fulfilling and happy lives?


If the answer is YES or even a partial yes to any of those questions then mums take time out today and head in either direction of Redcliffe Esplanade breathe deeply and exhale long and that should be more than enough for this day's celebration.






Happy Mothers Day Everyone - in Rona times. Stay safe and well from me and the Lifesavers.

Tuesday, 5 May 2020

Do we have fear of missing out even in Rona times ?



Several weeks into lockdown we have all had time to react, ab react and settle and I am wondering how it has all been for you? For me the initial weeks were a mystery of how best to use this time at home, which I was familiar with, but clearly this was experimental too.
Families in lockdown, with partners only, or being alone? Everyone has had such a different time of it. I hear the relief in my neighbour's voice as she sends her children back to school. I sympathise with the aloneness of a single friend who doesn't even have a pet. I think about my time and can certainly draw some interesting conclusions about life in it and life beyond it. I know I have had enough of all that is on offer, 9 am yoga, 10 am exploring a museum, 11am planting your veggies online, opera in the afternoon, take out meals at home, wine tasting on your sofa, films in the evening. Everyone has been keen to carry on their business or shows online which is understandable and we have been eager to make the most of our time, whether that means taking up the violin and learning dressmaking. Is there FOMO in RONA? I was beginning to happily delete all the offers that were landing in my inbox. Others may need them but I felt these were not for me. I don't feel I need to come out with certificates, courses taken or films viewed, but rather a balanced appraisal of my life the way I want to live it, in a complex and now fragile world, where a lot of the population are battling ill health and unemployment.
My days disappear faster then ever with the simple tasks of keeping the house and garden in order, keeping in touch, exercising, reading and writing, cooking and sharing thoughts and expectations with my partner. I need very little else to keep motivated. I am tired of all the efforts made to bring everything to us. Some of it can happily wait till freer times. 
And of those, well even now I know they will be different. I have not worn my watch in weeks. Morning is when Scraggy comes squawking and that is good enough, and the kookaburras turn up at 5pm on the dot - time to stop reading and writing and think about dinner for them and us. The seasons are unperturbed and continue regardless, so all the frangipani leaves thumping on my roof mean autumn is setting in, more sweeping duties for me, and the temperatures are dropping but these days of blue skies, oh these endless skies of blue fill my heart with joy. They are life affirming and draw you out in "I dare you to join me out here" where the wind is noticeably cooler and the trees sway. 
The garden is settling down to muted greens and the bees are loving their meals on wheels, brought to them by us as we help them through this lean time. More astounding then anything else yesterday I heard a whip bird in the park closest to the house. In all my seven years or so in Australia this has never happened and this is the joy of being there in the moment. Let's call it Hear it today. HIT! Click on link to hear its extraordinary call.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bf9GVLuFo1Y

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Nancy's century lived to the full.

Nancy was born in 1920. Can any of us imagine what she has seen in her long life? She was 100 years and a few months on this planet and had recently become bionic, after a fall. She had recovered so well, but an underlying aneurism took her back into hospital just a day or so ago. She had always wondered what would take her off. With George by her side she proceeded to face time us and say her goodbyes in lucid, loving words. She was ready to go, and she slipped away peacefully yesterday the 27th of April and we are all heartbroken. 
She was remarkable in every way and Queen Nancy, Ma, Granny leaves us with her rich legacy of life. She lived through war time rationing, Hitler and the creation of the NHS. She married her first love Andrew and they lived happily in their home, raising two wonderful sons. She gave up nursing once she had Nicholas.The loss of Andrew and Nicholas a few years later was very hard for her. But she surprised us by following us around the world, with renewed zest and took everything in her small and determined stride. Her height diminished over the years but never her spirit and her impeccable dress sense. She enquired about everything and everyone. Her prodigious memory meant that what had long gone from my brain, was firmly in hers and it came out years later, accurately every time. Questions about the kinship of African tribes, the number of tiles on Sydney Opera house and Evonne Goolagong Cawley's tennis career had us rushing to Google to find answers. She was able to embrace technology and loved her IPAD which was the way she kept in touch with all, but especially her adored five grandsons of whom she was so very proud. She followed their lives with enthusiasm and genuine curiosity which included her unique ability to ask about their girlfriends. She would engage them regularly with questions about their jobs, their prospects, the changes in the world and what they thought of them. She was delighted with the recent additions of great grandchildren to the family and enjoyed receiving news of them on her IPAD. 
Her ability to move with the times also astounded us, and we often discussed politics, gay marriage, racism, bitcoins and "cryptons" as she fondly called them. She attended lectures and played bridge and we discussed questions which arose from those Fellowship lectures every time we spoke, some of which we couldn't answer! 
She was to me the most supportive mother in law I could ever have wished for and on our wedding anniversaries she would thank me for marrying her son. They are both made of the same steely material, tenacious but loving, curious and clever. Our lives will forever be blessed by the immense love of family she showered on us and our extended families and she will live with us reminding us you are never too old to learn or take advantage of what life has to offer. Forever in our love.