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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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Tuesday, 2 March 2021

Bush Poetry

 I went to an event on Sunday to listen to some Bush Poetry. Its not something I am familiar with so had to go and check out what was involved and Shelley Hansen a bush poet herself, puts it beautifully :


"According to the Australian Bush Poets Association website, "by definition Australian Bush Poetry is metred and rhymed poetry about Australia, Australians and/or the Australian way of life".

Early bush poetry developed from the traditional ballads and sea-shanties that came to this country with the first European settlers. In time, a distinctive Australian voice began to emerge as poets wrote of our natural wonders, our history, and events experienced by themselves and others. Put simply, famous exponents of the genre such as Banjo Paterson and Henry Lawson, along with lesser-known writers, illuminated the world in which they lived. Bush poetry is truly Australia's first homegrown popular culture."

I had the privilege to listen to two on Sunday Noel Stallard and Greg North and not only did I admire their ability to roll off reams and reams of poetry without a hitch but also to note how funny, pertinent, irreverent and Aussie they all were. If you get a chance to listen to them go for it. It makes for wonderful entertainment. Here is one of Gregs poem's which I took from his book "Limericks and Littlies" entitled 
Brolgas - this is a kind of big bird - watch them dancing in the You Tube video below and then read the poem. 

Greg North 

Just fabulous stuff. Thank you Robyn Jaques and Paul Perret for introducing me to this typically Aussie Genre of Bush Poetry. 

Sunday, 28 February 2021

Discoveries with Dougall 32 - Hot Dog's last day of summer 28th Feb 2021.

Today's sweaty offerings were found in 32 C heat and high humidity which made both of us tire and sweat. Dougall looked more than a bit fed up with me. Why do you walk in the midday sun ? Answer, so I can keep you off the lead, as no one else is crazy enough to be out here. Here he is- had to find a clear little stream for him to enjoy. Doesn't he look thoroughly fed up ? 

The beautiful bark of a baobab tree- almost like a silk weave. 

A blue duck looking over at us
A gum blushing orange 
An unusually coloured frangipani - blood red 
Fungi popping up everywhere
More Cactus then house - great burglar deterrent ! 
The summer draws to a close, it was wetter than usual and hotter than usual but lovely in its intensity and its warmth. I know I respond well each time I see the sun outside my window eager for a few more discoveries with a less hot dog. 

Monday, 22 February 2021

History and how it comes to claim us

 The 20th of February 2021 saw a big development in Cyprus - a demonstration was held, thousands of young people came. There were no national flags, no party political flags or emblems - this was a strong showing that the youth in particular has had enough - It was called "Ως δαμε". No further. 

They want an end to corruption and bad governance, an end to nepotism and backhanders. They want jobs, transparency, meritocracy and democracy as well as the reunification of the island - 

It was heartening to see this. 

I am currently reading Andrekos Varnava's book entitled " Assassination in Colonial Cyprus in 1934 and the Origins of EOKA. It is his attempt to read archives against the grain and extrapolate from historical sources what he thinks was the story behind the assassination of a prominent Cypriot lawyer - Antonis Triantafyllides. His account is well worth reading.In it he refers to many historical archives.

It is this passage below which struck me - 

He quotes Sir Reginald Edward Stubbs from his own writings CO67/251/3 Stubbs memorandum 16 October 1933 

"I know of no community which is so utterly unfit to take any responsible part in the Government of the native country as is that of Cyprus ( ....) and public spirit is a thing not only unknown but practically inconceivable."He claimed that in the other colonies where he had served Hong Kong and Jamaica many locals served the public good but in Cyprus men only entered public life to profit themselves and their extended family and friends."


2021 and this is the same cry going up from the population. It hurts to read the history and swallow it whole and you may say this is the account of one man but sadly I see many grains of truth in what he says. Is there hope for change ? The youth of Cyprus might have it in hand. 

Saturday, 20 February 2021

Discoveries with Dougall 32 - Rainy days

The week has been overcast and rainy - sharp strong showers followed by rays of hot humid sunlight. And repeated many times over the course of the day. In the interregnums a quick getaway for some exercise with Dougall and discoveries in the neighbourhood. A new addition to the crochet collection. 

This everyone is Jacob's Coat plant.Acalypha Wilkesiana. I wonder what the name says about the plant. 
There is a Joseph's Coat as well which makes it even more intriguing. 
A jumble of berries 
The beauty of these aloes in the earthen pot 
The straight lines of a Queenslander even on a sloping street. 
And the Sacred Ibis taking over the park looking for grubs after the rains 

Its all about the eyes and what they can catch in that fleeting moment, theirs and ours.  

Monday, 15 February 2021

Borders, Fences and what gets through- Walking with Dougall 31.

This past week has seen the drama of the Australian Open going from matches with fans and such excitement, to matches with no fans, which are eerily quiet except for the thwack of the balls. The City of Melbourne is in lockdown once again as there have been cases of Covid - 19 which seem to have escaped from the quarantine hotels. There is much speculation about the cause. Talk of air conditioning systems and nebulisers, trays that are touched and protective gear not worn properly. Its an ongoing battle and the new year is proving to be challenging in keeping the virus contained even in Australia and New Zealand, countries that have been relatively successful in keeping it under control. 

It occurred to me walking with Dougall this week that nature is really no different. Nooks and crannies. cracks and posts will often reveal a creeper, a flower and a bud or two that have escaped the strict confines of their original seeding but in this case it makes for something quite lovely and which I will happily share with you - Here are the escapees. No serious symptoms are foreseen when viewed. 

Sunday, 7 February 2021

Niκη- σαμε

We woke up relatively early,well late by Brisbane standards, and I packed a picnic and in our usual state of under preparedness, no ponchos, or sunscreen but two hats and some water and we set off with Niki in our hearts to conquer TableTop Mountain – No, we are not in Cape Town, this is,the shorter, smaller version just near Toowoomba. We sailed down the Warego Highway with Classical FM. Our eyes turned up to a sky full of clouds, nimbos, cumulus, sirrus metamorphosing, bursting across the sky like puffs from a steam engine.Others bunched together in great three dimensional bulbous forms with their shadows casting dark patches on the hills while the sun shone piercingly behind them. The notice said an unmaintained Class 5 track up the first hillock and then down before ascending steeply to Table Top.
I wanted to escape the heat of the day – it was going to be 32C today in Brisbane – so we drove up the escarpment in the hope it would be cooler. Well not when you arrive at noon and you have a proverbial mountain to climb. 32C here too for Pete's sake. There were three types of paths, An occasional and short dusty flat one with grass as high as me on either side and trapping heat like a sauna, a steep as hell rocky one and a jumble of loose scree path on which to twist your ankle.
Both of us had to use all fours to clamber up. We perspired profusely,sweat dripped off our noses, ran into our eyes and trickled down every nook and cranny on our bodies.There were sheer drops on one side and beautiful views on the other. We slipped and slid,kicked up clouds of dust,landed on our bottoms and touched rocks like Obelix's menhirs, which were boiling hot. But we got to the top and it was magical. There was no one else there and we found one solitary tree under which to have our picnic and to enjoy the panoramic views.
Just that little bit closer to heavenwards today.

Remembering Niki

Almost as soon as we had arrived in Australia we lost my elder sister Niki in a car accident. Just the other day I wrote in this blog about completing eight happy years in Oz but eight years without her. Poorer in mind and heart with her physical absence but richer in thought and care for all she stood for. So the first flower of my tibouchina tree is hers and hers alone.