Hello welcome to my Blog

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.

Search This Blog

Thursday, 29 May 2014

State of Origin

Living in Queensland you have to embrace this - and I can assure you it is not some obscure link to anthropological data. It is THE most thrilling sporting encounter between two Australian states.It is actually one of the world's top rugby league sporting event. With apologies to any Ozzie readers I do need to explain this to the others - It started way back in 1980 and basically it is the best of three rugby league games between NSW( The Blues -aka the Cockroaches ) and QLD ( The Maroons - aka the Cane Toads) Players are selected to represent either of these two states on the basis of where they played their first senior rugby league game, hence the name "State of Origin."

The matches are watched by millions every year and for QLD it is especially exciting because for the last 8 years they have won the series to huge and exuberant chants of "Queenslander."

Last night we attended the first game in 2014 here in Queensland at the Suncorp stadium which also happened to be the 100th game in the series. Queensland lost this game but not its spirit and I can tell you that being in that stadium was electrifying and exciting with both my husband and I shouting for Queensland at the top of our voices. 

 Our neighbour on the stands who had come from the Gold Goast
The stadium before every single seat was filled - Capacity crowd 52,111.
 Time left to the Game starting
 The Maroons heading out of the tunnel
 The mix of Blue and Maroon - with a predominance of Maroon throughout
Ably sponsored by the Castlemaine XXXX Brewery ! 

Monday, 26 May 2014

Diamantina -one of the first Greeks in Queensland

Her name means Diamond and by all accounts she was as bright as one. I am talking about Diamantina Bowen, nee Countess Roma, the wife of the first Governor of Brisbane. This is about her, not him. He was a bit of an unpleasant character, though learned, but she, well, she was quite delightful.
Everywhere I end up living I find the connections to my Greek Heritage and here is another. Diamantina was of Venetian extraction but was born and raised in Ithaki, (some say Zakynthos) where she met George Bowen who was the Political Secretary of the Ionian Islands which were  Colonies at the time.She belonged to a well established and aristocratic family and was brought up with privilege. 
They married and had a son, who died young, and a daughter, Adelaide (Nina).Soon after he was appointed by HMS government as the first Governor of the newly formed Queensland. The state that Queen Victoria had given her name to willingly and which most Queenslanders (who were almost Cookslanders) were secretly quite pleased about. 

She arrived at Queen's wharf on the 10th of December 1859 after an arduous sea journey and god knows what she must have thought  seeing the small and sparsely built shacks on the hills she could see in the distance.The whole of the state turned up to greet them, some 4000 people. A huge crowd in those days.

She set about being an excellent Governor's wife and there was not much that she didnt turn her hand to. She supervised the planting of the gardens of the new Government House, as well as the vegetable garden, she turned the sod for Queensland's first  railway, she founded a Lying-in Hospital for women, and an orphanage and even had time to organise some lively balls and produce three more children. The Bowens spent about eight years here in Queensland in beautiful Government house and then went on to several other postings before finally retiring back in the UK where she attended the Greek Orthodox Church in Moscow Road, a neighbourhood I know well. She died of pneumonia aged 59. Shockingly young for our times, and was buried in Kensall Rise in a family tomb. 

Before her departure from Queensland, 120 married women subscribed to give her a diamond necklace as a momento of "the admiration and regard which the English ladies of this colony feel for the "Lady of the Greek Isles" who has so gracefully presided over them." In a farewell address they declared "Eight years ago you came among us as a stranger and foreigner. You leave us having won the hearts of many and the goodwill of all. The poor, the destitute, the afflicted and the orphans have alike shared your sympathy.

Now I know why a town, a railway station, a river, a hospital, a medical institute and Ithaca Creek at the bottom of my road bear her name and her birthplace, and countless besides which I have yet to discover. As I join the dots of the history with these names I feel her contribution which was wide reaching and socially just to this very day. She was a bit of a special Greek off that boat but if she could see it all now she would be pleased at how this small and sleepy town has grown and matured based on so much of what was dear to her.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

From reptiles to leeches in a few easy steps.

I mentioned how much I enjoy areas which are wild and beautiful but close to the city. This weekend we explored the lovely Mount Nebo which is in the D’ Aguilar National Park and is a mere 30 minutes away in the car.

Off we went with a few friends to enjoy a walk in the rainforest which is just as rich as the ones we saw when we were up near Lamington National Park.

There are tall, very tall trees, many with gnarled barks, full of moss (It has been raining quite a lot recently) stag horn ferns growing in crevices and parasitic plants plaguing healthy trees with their lianas and roots.

On this particular morning, after a day of rain, the sun was out, the path was soft with fallen leaves, the company was delightful and there was no one else around. We stopped at a particular location to admire the vastness of the view below and as we were standing there, one of the friends noticed movement on the shoe of another. We looked down and to our considerable amazement – I had never seen them before- leeches were making their way inside his shoe and sock. He was suitably appalled by this and shook them off and needless to say we moved swiftly onwards.

We walked with occasional shakes of our feet like a horse shaking a fly off its hindquarters and we laughed a lot about this, as well as suggesting where else the leeches could have moved to.

On the swift way back a short and agitated stop, literally, to admire a curled up snake, no ends visible, enjoying the sun.A first for an Australian friend.

Leeches come out in the moist rainforest and they are not the most sightly things – they are of course hermaphrodite and quite odd both in their character and their behavior. Perhaps separate sexes were a non starter as neither would have found the other "attractive."

They seemed to go for the men’s brightly coloured sneakers. Is this something that has been studied I wondered ? Whereas they seemed to be quite disinterested in my earthy coloured loafers, well, that is, until the end of the walk when I felt a pricking inside my sock and wondered what it might be. There attached to the side of my foot was a leech feeding on my blood. It seemed firmly embedded so we decided to leave it there until we got home and then  the doctor in our midst, said it would come off with a sprinkling of salt.

Arriving home I went to the bathroom and took my shoes and socks off. My sock was soaked in blood and there on the floor of the bathroom was this ginormous leech that had fed so much it had dislodged itself looking distended and almost in need of an Alka Selzter.

We picked it up of the floor and examined it carefully so here is the picture you have all been waiting for so you can say a collective EEEW.

My foot bled for quite a while, because this is how they affect you, but otherwise is fine.

Yes this place is a lesson in learning- today’s lesson – leeches.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Enoggera Dam- place of water, place of breeze

One of the reasons I like living here is the proximity of SO MUCH beautiful countryside around me. No need for massive plans, trains, boats and planes - just a short car ride and we are in the most magical areas not that far from the city. I am going to tell you about two of them, maybe three, could be more, you see what I mean, spoilt for choice.

Just up the road along Waterworks Road which is the big main road not far from us is a place called Enoggera Dam. The history of the dam and the name Waterworks all make perfect sense now - so here is a potted history.The name is thought to be Aboriginal "Euoggera" and means "place of water", "place of breeze".It was the second major dam built in Australia and it was needed as the existing water dams in the city had grown inadequate. Enoggera was chosen as it was a larger catchment and there were lots of creeks flowing into it from the higher hills of the D'Aguilar Forest. Permission was given to build it in 1864 and the Board of Waterworks was established to oversee its progress.It was completed in 1866 and functioned until it was decommissioned in 2003 but then came back into use in 2006 and supplies the north western suburbs with water and continues to be used to this day. Nowadays people can stroll around its edge and enjoy the scenery, the birds and the wildlife. It is heritage listed. 
 Wallaby in the park
 There were many beautiful ducks and moorhens and we saw Kingfishers and bee eaters as well.
While lantana is without doubt a terrible weed and incredibly invasive there were vast tracks just covered with the most vibrant lantana flowers which for all their badness are just beautiful.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Keeping active

Attempted to go for a short run yesterday. Waste of time. Nature was far too distracting en route. Not so much pop art but pod art. Enjoy.