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.

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Sunday, 27 March 2016

Now if you are high...

This might be the place to visit - a moonlike area with the most unbelievable monoliths, meniers according to the best Asterix and Obelix tradition, and colours to set your mind ablaze. 

Wondering what I am talking about ? Let me introduce you to the Pinnacles - a Western Australian phenomenon, some 200 kms north of Perth which has all the elements of something totally extraordinary. 

The Pinnacles are in Nambung National Park and consist of a massive area of limestone structures in a bed of orange sand. Strange as this may sound the limestone consist of seashells which were broken down and blown in land to form structures which have been eroded and shaped to a myriad forms and heights. 

We arrive close to sunset which I think is probably the best time to be here. The swirl of clouds overhead created patterns in the sky and the light cast the shadows on the stones that made them come alive, some looked like women's faces, others like mushrooms or penises depending on how you felt and if you roamed around long enough you could probably find your dog and your lover among them too. As the sun set, fireballs appeared in the sky and set the sand alight and created the most amazing vistas of bygone eras and futuristic fancy. 

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Making up the stories

There are days when we are quietly carrying on, whether that means, paying the bills, writing,  shopping, cooking or sweeping the garden of the leaves and flowers that have fallen to the ground. There is nothing more therapeutic in the physicality of this almost daily activity which for moments in the day sweeps away all the cobweb of cares and creates a pristine new place on which to place our footsteps. 

The next day it is all gone and I have to start afresh. There is never a day that doesnt send me something extra to marvel and admire though I may not always share them in the blog.

Todays offering is nothing short of exceptional and of course it starts me thinking, was there a fight, did the dominant bird win, was it a mother protecting her young or a lover's tiff ? Those moments in the day when making up the stories takes over from the routine. Whatever it was, it was there on the ground for me to gather up and place gently under my lens for you all to admire. 

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

There was once an incy wincy spider ....

Except this one wasn't climbing up the spout so much as strolling on my floors. Now he was not as incy wincy as my brain would like him to be and when I saw him I stopped in my tracks. I went and got a pyrex dish and placed it strategically on top.

Then I got on with the ironing but as I was therapeutically removing the creases and the kinks from my life and the sheets I was becoming increasingly aware that I was suffocating this spider. My unease continued until finally I said I had to do liberate it, found some cardboard  to slip under the pyrex and took him into the garden to release him and do the RIGHT THING. 

Except, except that I had not seen that lurking right next to a fern where I had released him was my pet water dragon and before I had even managed to straighten up it had made a lurch forward and slurped him up and munched on him good and proper. I was mortified - but I guess the water dragon may have thought it was Xmas and I did, for a moment ,think I was doing the right thing. 

Monday, 14 March 2016

How to make an island with bird poo.

It is the sticking glue and one of the reasons for the continued existence of this little coral cay. The guano is rich in nitrogen so was originally mined as a fertiliser but it also mixes with the coral to form a beachrock which is as tough as concrete. 

 Here is a good example of the Beach rock- which appear like plates of concrete on the shore.

So the birds on this little coral cay are as important as the fish - never a dull moment in or out of the water. We walked around the island enjoying the corals and shells but also watching the crested terns which gathered by the waters edge, the white and sooty oyster catchers, the common noddy and the larger black noddy and then the elegant frigate birds which seem to love soaring, almost standing in the vast sky in the face of strong head winds. We didn't see any tropic birds this time, but have seen them elsewhere. And the mutton birds call like cats in the night just to make sure we remember they are there.

The sooty Oyster Catcher 
So this blog is dedicated to the birds and some of the pictures are mine but the far superior ones are courtesy of my good friend Zelinda De Cruz who is taking lessons in capturing birds in flight and isn't she great at it ! The island is full of Common and Black Noddies and their chicks and they are one of the reasons why bird poo still abounds.

These little rails were so cheeky they would come and hoover all the crumbs you dropped on the floor eating lunch. 

A reef Heron 
 A rare bird which is flightless with some bird poo over her left shoulder.
 An egret
 The rather pretty noddies with their silver heads and elegant colours 

A Silver gull and ternstone
Crested terns in flight formation.

The big question for anyone who has been to Elliot - have you been shat on?

YES, I can happily say twice, once on my back and once in my hair. They say it is GOOD LUCK.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Lady Elliot Island - the quintessential coral cay

Ever wondered what a coral cay looks like in the middle of the ocean ? From the air it looks a little like this and this is where we headed to, last week,  in a small plane.  What you see is the airstrip where the planes land and the coral reef surrounding the cay.

A coral cay is a small elevation on the surface of a coral reef. Lady Elliot is a vegetated coral cay, which is a little unusual but the birds certainly played a part in this. Lady Elliot has endured because bird droppings called guano hardened together with sediments of the coral into beach rock.  When I saw the beach rock it almost looked like concrete slabs but of course it is all natural.The birds dropped seeds which allowed plant life to develop.

To locate us travel some 80 miles off the Brisbane coastline a little further north than Fraser Island.

It was found in 1816 by Cpt Thomas Stuart aboard the Lady Elliot. He named it after Lady Elliot the wife of the Colonial Governor of India at the time. 

Now it forms part of the Green Zone of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Such zones protect breeding and nursery areas for marine life. The reef is a thriving and rich place to see turtles and sharks, as well as a favourite place for mantas and of course all types of coral. 

We flew past Fraser island on our right and landed on the central airstrip.

One of the first things we did was attend a "behind the scenes" presentation which was just fascinating. They have managed through a number of projects to reduce the diesel consumption on the island by about 70 % and they obtain all their power from solar energy. They have a desalination plant which converts sea water to fresh water by a system of reverse osmosis and they grow what they can on the island, while relying on daily planes to bring other food stuffs from the mainland.  A barge which comes every three to four months brings diesel and other bigger items.
It is easy to ignore or not appreciate the tremendous effort it takes to run an eco centre in the middle of the ocean and we were very impressed by their installations and plans for the future.
This green frog seemed as if he was a porcelain fixture for fun atop the fire alarm button, but on closer look we could see he was breathing and very alive. 
The resort has some lovely reef units on the beach and we sat watching the tides coming in and out and walking along the beaches looking at the shells and the coloured corals.

 The guano which hardens with the coral to form the rock.
 Many many sea cucumbers everywhere- the sign of a very healthy reef.
 I had never seen such a blue starfish before - literally in the shallows where we walked.
The fish were plentiful and playful. We swam with green and loggerhead turtles, whaler sharks, black tipped and white tipped sharks, leopard sharks, cuttle fish and ink fish, sweetlips and groupers, star fish and anemones.Perhaps my favourite were the spotted eagle rays which we saw  swimming by in formation.The corals ranged from brown to bright green, purple and the most intense blue. There were yellow corals and aubergine coloured ones with fantastically bright reef fish darting in and out of them. I didn't really want to get out of the water but the low and high tides dictated when we could swim and where, which was not a bad thing because we could then wander around the island and look at the plants and the birdlife - more of that in my next blog.