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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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Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Jacaranda Time


It's Jacaranda time here in Brisbane. I decide to take Super Gran to the Queensland Gallery of Art to see some fabulous art work in the Australian Collection and the iconic painting of "Under the Jacaranda tree" painted in 1903 by R Godfrey Rivers.  
This painting shows a lovely scene in early 20th century  Brisbane of the painter's wife and some friends taking tea under the tree in full bloom in the city's Botanic Gardens.  We went to the art gallery in the pouring rain only to find that this painting was no longer on the wall. Maybe it was having a rest or has been sent to another gallery but I was upset  not to find it there as it is the quintessential painting to view in this season. Well I thought what is the next best thing? Recreate it on our own terms. 
We headed to New Farm Park which is next to the Brisbane River and we walked along the river and under the Jacarandas and admired the rose gardens. We then recreated "under the Jacaranda Tree 2018" with Super gran. 






Pretty as a Picture and much livelier too ! 

Monday, 15 October 2018

Every family needs one

Every family needs a Super Gran - a Queen Nancy - a Ma. At the age of 98 3/4 she has made the trip over to Australia, as she missed her two grandsons and was curious about their new lives here. 




She is frail but fiery, questioning and curious, warm and wonderful. I did not have the opportunity to meet my grandparents and so I never had the indulgence of grandparent - hood. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to polish the silver, get the canteen out, bring out the tea pots, the pearls and twin sets and make endless egg sandwiches, together with a small addition of Greek Tyropittes (as a memorial to my mother) and sit down to a wonderful high tea with friends who are dear to us and to her. There was one other exceptional grandma there, a much younger one sporting a shiny new red car which granny asked if she was allowed to drive not knowing it was actually her car! Nothing passes her by and she is fully engaged 24/7 and able to ask the most probing questions which we struggle to answer and head off to Wikipedia to find the answers. Wikipedia is one of the organisations I regularly send contributions to as they are invaluable as a resource. 
So we have had to answer questions about the colour of lorikeets and their mating habits, their social pairings and contrasts with pigeons, why Nasa chose a family man to place on the moon and whether Ivonne Goolagong helped her tribe. Her fan club is scattered round the world as she has visited us everywhere we have lived and has met many many friends who enjoyed her company.More scarily she remembers details about these friends that have long since left our memory banks.  We are kept on our toes and that can only be a good thing. Meanwhile she has brought relentless rain to Queensland and that in itself, like her, is a blessing.


Wednesday, 10 October 2018

The Remarkable Red Flowering Gum Tree.

We went out on a day trip recently and had a beautiful time visiting some falls and doing a hike there. But that is not the reason I am writing today. As I was driving I spotted the most unbelievable flaming red tree along the way. We followed our tracks back and I found it again because it seemed so spectacular to me so I stopped by the side of the road to take some photos for you all. Here it is - the red flowering gum tree.




Could it be more vibrant, more inviting, more warm ? 

Sunday, 7 October 2018

Walk for Awareness

This morning at the crack of dawn, with the skies clearing after yesterday's rain, we headed to Kangaroo Point to participate in the Walk for Awareness, together with 2,5000 other Brisbanites. The tone uplifting, the welcome to country so informative, the didgeridoo playing just awe inspiring and the walk itself, 8 kms to honour 8 years since two friends of the organisers were lost to suicide. A gentle but heartening riverside amble with wholesome conversations among lovely like-minded women and at the end a hearty breakfast, just in case we lost a few calories heading round. 

The Mental Awareness Foundation organises this walk every year which is the biggest event in Australia and commands enormous respect. The event brings people together in a friendly environment to discuss issues of mental health, including thoughts of suicide and how to prevent it. It aims to support charities that are working directly with communities who are implementing strategies to raise awareness of depression and mental illness.Here are some of the lovely moments of the morning. 






Lucy Bolton this one is for you, as it is your commitment to Lifeline that spurred me on today wearing your beautiful earrings which will forever be connected with you and your wonderful work. 










Tuesday, 2 October 2018

The Glasshouse Mountains.


Yesterday was the Queen's Birthday in Queensland. She is a lucky lady. She could travel the world and be feted every day could she not? So to celebrate we headed to the hills and specifically to the Glasshouse Mountains Lookout - this was where Captain Cook in 1770 looked out onto the Queensland plain and saw these mountains popping up and thought, we are told, of his glass furnaces back in Yorkshire and he called them the Glasshouse Mountains. They are actually more accurately 
volcanic plugs which have come to the surface during the earth's movements some 27 million years ago and remained these remarkable shapes on the horizon. The Lookout gives you a panoramic view of them from Mt Beerwah, to Mt Coonowrin, then Mt Ngungun, followed by the Twins, Mt Tumbubudula- Mt Tibrogargan and finally Mt Beerburram. Each of a different height and significance because this is also sacred Aboriginal land. 







 We walked along the Lookout circuit and came across wild irises and native rosellas which gave colour to the eucalyptus scrub and fern forest.








We admired the mosaics of each mountain embedded in the path around the Lookout.






This time we admired them from afar. Next time it will be from the tops !



Thursday, 27 September 2018

Heavenly

The morning was spent cleaning and tidying up after some time away but also decidedly outside rather than in. Gorgeous balmy weather, sun shining, and the garden is the place to be as it is infused with the scent of mandarin blossom, the azaleas are in flower, as is a little bush of yesterday- today and-tomorrow, that interestingly named multicoloured wonder. An evergreen shrub with purplish flowers in the cool weather, then lavender blue and finally white - all often appearing on the bush at the same time. Vibrant purple to start life, and then gradually fading. 


I take great delight in sweeping with my Baju hat on and in weeding flowers beds. I walk inside and think that if there is a heaven, this is what it must smell like.

The afternoon is more mundane with a visit to the local supermarket to shop - but as it turns out it is even more exhilarating then the morning. I am in the queue waiting to pay and literally from the side comes a little lady with a walking aid, sporting a jolly hat and a pink shirt, wearing bright red lipstick. On the seat are two bars of chocolate.
"Do you mind' she says "if I go before you? "
"No, not at all" I say and make room for her items on the conveyor belt.
"My daughter in law likes white chocolate so I thought I would come and get some for her, but you see my eyesight is not very good so I asked an elderly gentleman to help me and he got me this".
I look at the chocolate and say "This is Milk Chocolate, not White, would you like me to get you the White?"
"Oh she says "that is very kind". So I nod to the cashier that I will be back in a mo and rush off to get her a white bar.
"I show her it and she says - "Well I am not so sure now dear, I can't quite remember what she likes, maybe it is dark. I do get a bit confused sometimes, so I hope you don't mind I shall stick with what I got."
"No worries" I say in my best Aussie linguo and she is at the till paying,closely scrutinising the money she has taken from her wallet.
"Would you like me to help you?"
"No thank you dear, the doctor said I should use my eyes as they are, to stop them from deteriorating further, but I do struggle sometimes to see. Do forgive me I am a little old."
"I hope you don't mind me asking but how old are you?"
"102" she says as she wanders off.


I am so dumbstruck - I pay for my shopping, abandon it at the kerb side, and go racing up the road to find her. I interrupt her walking and ask if I may take a photo of her. She adjusts her hat, smiles graciously and lets me snap a photo of her.
I ask her name, Grace Rowlands of Ashgrove I am privileged to meet you and salute your resilience. She is surely destined for my heavenly scented heaven, but clearly not yet, if it has anything to do with her, as she continues on her daily shop. 

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Sydney Fish Market and the Blessing of the Fleet

A highlight of our time in Sydney was a visit to the Sydney Fish Market. This is located at the end of the Pyrmont Peninsula and is a large area where all kinds of fish, shellfish, abalone, urchins and oysters are sold fresh or cooked. There is an enormous variety to choose from and it is an extremely popular venue for a lot of Asian families on a Sunday. If you want to see it on a less crowded day a weekday is probably best. We loved the variety and the freshness of it all. Here are a few of the items on sale with crabs of all sizes and types. You name it, they had it. 










At this time each year a special ceremony is held and we just happened to be there for it. It is the day the Fleet is Blessed. This is one of the oldest traditions in fishing communities around the world and here it is celebrated in association with the Association Bagnara Calabra. The fish market's success owes a great deal to the Italian Community of Sydney who were first involved. The name that is most mentioned is the Bagnato family who apparently dominated. There were other families as well who were involved at a later stage. The Italian community is here in force, an Italian Brass band with Italian colours on their uniforms is playing while a priest blesses the fleet, and calls everyone to prayer before the Madonna SS di PortoSalvo (literally translated as St Mary of Safe Ports or Safe Harbour) is paraded around the Fish Market grounds, followed by all the fishing families who proudly sport the T shirts. There are lots of activities organised for the day not least a spaghetti eating competition !