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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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Sunday, 18 April 2021

The Comfort of the Past.

The posting today is a respectful bow to the lives lost this past week, some well known, like Prince Phillip and others who were childhood friends and loved members of their families, Mathieu Raynaud, Evie Lanitis and Georgia Polyviou. Sometimes going back into the past is quite a comforting way to address some of the challenges of the present world. Childhoods which were carefree and happy, with shared paths at the Junior School, solving maths homework, participating in sports days, playing at each other's houses. Lives followed their own individual paths, and sometimes they took us away from one another but those bonds hold firm. 

It is also a tribute to the steadfastness of Grandpa Gilks, a devoted partner to Nancy. Hard to believe it is almost a year since she left us on the 27th of April 2020.Their marriage equally long lasting and loving. They even resembled the royal couple and Nancy was often referred to as Queen Nancy.  He had a fine mind and spent a lifetime in service to British Transport as their doctor. He loved Route Master Buses, Trains and Trams. So we shook off our sadness and headed into the sunshine on a beautiful autumnal afternoon to the Tramway Museum in Brisbane. We took rides on the Red Hill Line which came into operation in 1921 and was withdrawn in 1940. The tramway system in Queensland was started up in 1897. Forward thinking, not much attention to health and safety, but a novel and great way to travel around the city. The trams came into the city and an article in the Courier Mail on the 22nd of June 1897 is quoted as saying : 

"A considerable crowd had assembled and many people seemed to be lost in wonderment as to how the thing was to move... those who travelled on the new car expressed themselves fully convinced of its superiority to the horse cars. "

Our lovely driver and dedicated tram aficionado.

I love the comment about what tickets to marry.
Even then advertisements were key! 
How perceptions have changed - we would be horrified to see this nowadays. 
The truck lovingly restored which was used to repair the lines.  
A representation of the city being swept into the modern world of cars, trams and buses. 

One waiting in line for the dedicated team from the Men's Shed to put it back to its old glory. Sometimes they can be brought back, sometimes it is just not to be and we live with the memories they left us, safe in the knowledge of what they offered the world and our lives. 

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

How Cool is That!

It's been an eventful couple of days. Carpet Pythons, mama and baba appearing in the garden and on our deck chairs. Lovely as they might be they always make me feel nervous as they are so close to the house. Sunday we discovered a leak in the bathroom and on Monday we were wondering why our ice cubes were melting in the freezer. Tradie took one look at Fridge Freezer, turned it on and off, fiddled a little, charged $130 and said give it six hours. We did. Six hours of trying not to open the doors. Six hours of suspecting this wasn't going to work. So this am off to a shop, replacement bought and will be delivered tomorrow. So the task for the day was emptying the whole fridge. Here is a small glimpse of the kitchen this am. Some of it was salvaged but a fair amount had to be binned. In a very short period of time it had gone off and it isn't even that hot anymore.  

It does make me wake up and realise how very very lucky we are - refrigeration is such a great thing. We accept it as being there without a second thought. I have just finished Daphne Sheldrick's Excellent book  "An African Love story and Elephants" Even a couple of generations ago people did not have it so easy. This is the passage that stands out for me in the book and made me absolutely cognisant of how much we have. Daphne is talking about her childhood in the African Bush. The children's delight must have been amazing. I wonder if we have comparable moments of sheer delight anymore or is it all too easy and expected? 

As we drive back I wonder where dead fridges go? Are they dismantled for their parts or do they get discarded as a whole? I think about repairing but the costs on an old product are prohibitive. Making it easier to be consumerist isn't good for the planet but equally in this day and age living without a functioning fridge is simply not an option. Back to cleaning and rearranging. Plumber next. Things can only get beta! Bees still happily buzzing in the front garden this morning. Bookgroup get the added bonus of a French meal at Le Coin instead of my cooking on Thursday night. We are all winners in the end. 

Friday, 9 April 2021

Discoveries with Dougall 37 Dappled Light

You cannot imagine how reinvigorated I feel finding the sun again after all the gloomy and wet days. So much so that last night after a sunny day I walked home from my dinner date. It was 10.30 at night but the sky was clear and full of stars, the jasmine from garden hedges hung in the air, I was wearing a swishy skirt which called for some sashaying and I couldn't bear the thought of getting into an uber with a mask on. So I walked the 8.3 kms home. It was bliss to be able to do this. The night was cool and dry, the breeze was welcome and I felt as safe as houses walking. That is how it should be but I still feel the joy of being able to do this. So today on our walk with Dougall light and dark was in my mind. Like in our lives at times, when we feel a lightness in spirit but other times descend to darker parts of our psyche. The paths with the sun overhead offered just that playing out of thoughts - shadows over fields, light making other patches sparkle like quicksilver splashed down in abundance. 

In the trees above a baby and mummy kookaburra. 

Light is such an important part of my life. I crave it and miss it when it is not there. 

Monday, 5 April 2021

Autumnal colours

Its been a very wet and overcast Easter Weekend here in Queensland. The rain did not stop on Easter Sunday and while this may be welcome by the end of the day I was feeling like a caged animal and desperate to get out. I only managed it today. I headed out as soon as I saw that it had stopped albeit briefly. I went off expecting to see puddles and mud and not much else. Instead I found the most spectacular web shimmering with drops of rain which balanced artfully on its thin but strong strands.

Meeting a friend along the way was joyful and we headed off to explore some bushland nearby. There were no koalas for us to see but we saw some kookaburras and some spectacular orange trees. They are the Grey Gums and once a year, round about February they shed their outer bark and become intensely orange in colour and never more so then after rain. These Grey Gums are plentiful on the eastern border of Australia and a lot of the original settlers chose to use their lovely wood for construction. The bark falls to the ground in large segments. It makes good kindling, and can be home for little creatures as it breaks down. They are intensely colourful for a month or two particularly following rain. They bright orange is striking and wonderful in the afternoon light and early morning. Once the new back weathers the colours fade to a rather dull grey, until it all happens again. 

We stopped to admire them today. 

The colours are turning, not in the European way but the sense of an Aussie autumn is on its way. 

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Discoveries with Dougall 36 in a three day lockdown.

A three day lockdown has been imposed following a small outbreak of the Uk Variant of Covid in Brisbane. It seems like an oversize reaction to a small problem until I am reminded of how it all started just a year or so ago. To date  2.8 MILLION people -the lives of mums, dads, grandparents, siblings have all been snuffed out. Let's not underestimate its horrible effect. We wait to hear whether the three day lockdown has acted as an effective circuit breaker and has contained the two clusters completely. So staying at home is key except for the occasional walk and shop. 

Today's Discoveries with Dougall started with Pink Powderpuffs- Calliandra brevipes and went into something texturally different. 

It ends in the Pinks again with this flowering tree which is everywhere at the moment - bright at its blushing edges.This is the Golden Rain Tree - another glorious weed introduced to Australia from Asia.  We wait to see if we can hope to see some of the family over this Easter weekend.  So much seems to be turned on its head at a moment's notice but we have to be patient and accept what the science tells us is right. Planning ahead seems an impossible task in the 21st century but we shall not be deterred. 

Saturday, 27 March 2021

Vincent today is your day.

Vincent your ear must be buzzing today - today you are in our thoughts and in our conversations and here is why. Yesterday one of your paintings sold for 30 million euros and for all your ardent fans and emulators the hope and the expectation is that works of art in Vincent's style will one day fetch equally amazing amounts, because let's face it sunflowers are fabulous as we discovered today when we went to the Sunflower Farm in Kalbar, a quaint little town about an hour a way from Brisbane.

Fields and fields of the proud sun worshipping flower. 

We encountered some happy and sad ones and ones which are perfectly attuned to the rays of the sun. 

Can you spot the bee loving its time here absolutely laden with Pollen ? 
The quaint little post office in Kalbar 

We brought some home with us and here they are happily sitting on the buffet. 
The most precious item in my Sunflower collection is Nick's painting of Vincent's Sunflowers. 

Here is the painting which sold for 30 million. You will no doubt agree that Nick's rendition of his Sunflowers is truly magnificent and possibly beyond anyone's price range. Offers to his mum just in case. 


Thursday, 25 March 2021

Greek Independence Day and Excitement in the garden

Today marks 200 years since the start of the Greek Revolution for Independence from Ottoman Rule in 1821. There are many commemorative events going on in Brisbane and all over the world. We owe so much to their efforts to fight for their liberty and their democracy. 

Its significance was marked for me differently but one which I wont easily forget. Our lemon tree is blossoming. A smell I often associate with the Greek World and which I am trying to recreate in our garden. I was there today and I noticed a buzz around the blossoms and when I went in to look closer I saw My Very Own Greek Blue Banded Bee - well alright it is Aussie, but the fact that it was in my garden today of all days is wonderful.  

For those of you who don't know about these bees, blue banded bees are among the most beautiful of Australian Native Bees. They have bands of blue along their body - a bit like the Greek Flag ! 

They are also said to be solitary bees. They build their nests in clay soil or mud brick. Maybe it has taken up residence in my bee hotel in the garden. They are very effective pollinators and perform what is known as Buzz pollination. So you can understand my excitement when I saw this bee - and here she is in action.You can see the sacks of pollen on her legs. Isn't that just the bees knees!

This is the video