Welcoming pets

Stan has been an important member of our family since 2010. We prefer for Stan to accompany us when going out for long lunches rather than leaving him alone at home.

In Australia, rules about pets attending eating establishments are created and monitored by local councils.

Being creatures of habit we have favoured venues that welcome us with Stan including, Capriccio Osteria, Leichhardt, New South Wales; Marinara Ristorante Cafe, Hawthorne, Queensland; Julius Pizzeria, South Brisbane, Queensland; Patina at Customs House, Brisbane, Queensland.

Occasionally we try out a new place. Mostly we check online or call ahead to find out if our party will be welcomed.

There is a shared excitement about going for lunch. An anticipation about the potential delightful delicacies we may well devour.

Nothing pours cold water on our enthusiasm more than comments about ‘the dog’, especially when we have previously been to the eatery.

‘You will have to sit to the right of the opening (into the restaurant) in case the dog’s hairs fly in’. Mamma’s Redcliffe, Queensland.

Or a new place

‘You have to sit at a table on the footpath. The dog has to be on the ground. Please take the dog off your lap, it has to be on the ground. The council come around and check. I will get into trouble’. La Dolce Vita, Milton, Queensland.

‘You can have the table at the end. You cannot sit under the canopy’. Cafe Gioia, Norton Street, Leichhardt, New South Wales.

The pedestrianised part of Queen Street in Brisbane, a.k.a Queens Street Mall does not allow dogs even on a lead.

Similarly if we were to take Stan on public transport (buses, trains) in Brisbane he has to be in a carry case.

Fortunately, we can now sit outside on the river ferries providing Stan wears a muzzle.

And thank goodness for Uber Pets.

Frolicking with friends

After state border closures and COVID lockdowns, a couple of weeks ago we enjoyed a weekend reunion with three longtime friends from Sydney.

My husband relished the process of planning logistics and implementing the three day itinerary. Food, drinks, laughter, reminiscing, and fun buoyed up the Winter weekend.

On Sunday night we all joined Brisbane based friends for dinner in a restaurant and bar converted from a American World War II aircraft hangar.

Following dinner most of us headed southwest on Ann Street from Newstead to Fortitude Valley, stopping off for roof top cocktails at Maya Mexican.

After this, we continued along Ann Street to Fluffy at Cloudland for drag shows and dancing. As can be seen in the picture above the staircase is a perfect feature for performers to access and exit the ground floor stage.

Apart from a minor hiccup with not being able to pay for ferry travel with a credit card, the sojourn in Brisbane was heralded a resounding success.

Splits

On my birthday in October 2018, I received a young monstera deliciosa plant from our family in Swindon, UK.

The scale of the beautifully shaped leaves has steadily increased. Only one of the perfectly formed leaves has been shed.

As if practicing it’s instinctive development we have been teased with a leaf with one left split, the next with a right split, followed by a leaf with three left splits.

This week we were delighted to welcome our newly unfurled leaf with three left and four right splits.

Feeling at home

We recently spent a delightful evening, dining at a new Italian restaurant, Sasso in Woolloongabba.

From arrival and being shown to our table, I instantly felt at home. The staff were attentive, friendly, approachable, funny, and cheerful.

Upon reflection, I wonder if I felt so comfortable because there were similarities in the way I’m described at work; caring, cheerful, empathetic, funny, helpful, supportive.

Excerpt 3

This is the last one until I have written significantly more.

Unable to sleep, Altair mulled over the strange evening of hushed conversations, and nervous glances between worried faces. Hannah and a stout lady with a mousey brown bob and oversized glasses, introduced herself as Angela sat in the bay window. A tired drop leaf table between them held steaming mugs of tea.

The woman wrote ceaselessly in a spiral bound lined page notebook with a biro topped by a spring mounted bobbing pig.

Angela wore a beige pleated knee length skirt, American tan tights, olive green acrylic sweater and brown sensible lace ups.

Excerpt 2

After breakfast, Sax turned the bedrooms upside down, doors and drawers could be heard banging, the beachball was nowhere to be found. He cornered Altair and Cam in the bathroom while they were brushing their teeth. Slamming the door made the panes in the sash window rattle defiantly.

Altair jumped, heart racing, they turned around, fingers of both hands tightly clinging to the edge of the pedestal basin behind them. Altair closed down like a crocus at night, withdrawing into themselves. They knew the tirade would end eventually. Cam hauled himself up onto the toilet lid, head down turned slightly toward the window, smirking.

Early schooling

Happiest around water

I romantically assume, the purpose of schooling in 1960’s and 1970’s UK was to provide a general introduction to topics. A catalyst to inspire fresh minds to develop skills and assist in identifying one’s career path.

Primary school was all about singing, maypole dancing, being statues, playing percussion instruments, needlework, beanbags, art, decimalisation, decorating walls with forest gauging paper collages, playing ‘what’s the time Mr Wolf?’, free milk, and carbolic soap.

Streaming in secondary school labelled the ‘brightest’ two groups as ‘A’s destined for G.C.E ‘O’ and ‘A’ level study* whilst the three groups of ‘B’s were setup for C.S.E.s**. The remaining ‘R’ group of remedial students were segregated from the rest. It was rumoured they were consigned to a single room, secreted away somewhere to avoid sullying the reputation of the school and tainting the achievers.

In the first halcyon year, I realised my passions in art, pottery, drama, music, the Dewey decimal system organised library, history, English, French, and German. Dislikes included, P.E. (physical education), R.E. (religious education), geography, and science. Also, boys only, woodwork, metalwork, and technical drawing.

Girls only, typing, sewing, and domestic science were more preferable to me, sadly out of reach.

When electing a program of certificated study from the second year onwards, English language, mathematics, sports (cringe) and one science subject were compulsory. I elected courses in history, French, German, music (violin then oboe), pottery, and English literature.

As biology turned my stomach, chemistry was smelly and required an in-depth knowledge of the periodic table, physics was the only option left.

Even though as a youth and now, I had a terribly disorganised and random mind, I found solace in algebra and measuring objects.

For decades, I held onto the dog eared, pale peach gloss coloured logarithmic and other tables booklet. The cover retained an archive of finger prints, biro marks, food stains and liquid spill marks.

Unfortunately, my final year of secondary studies and fifth year examinations took place 30 kms south in a high school local to our new council house assigned to our family as part of the ‘Birmingham overspill’.

Somehow, I scraped by with four ‘O’ levels in English language, mathematics, history, and ceramics plus C.S.Es physics, German, and music (oral). Sufficient enough to commence an ordinary national diploma in hospitality.

In hindsight, we would have benefitted from courses in cooking, cleaning, laundry, personal hygiene, budgeting, safety, tolerance, respect, and communication skills.

I didn’t give up on French, gaining a high distinction in language and culture at university level in Australia.

*General Certificate of Education at Ordinary and Advanced level provided access to tertiary level technical and polytechnic colleges, and universities.

**Certificate of Secondary Education gained access to tertiary level technical colleges, trade schools, and apprenticeships.

Bauble reflections

Harrods, or H. A. Rods, Victorian-esque decaying decadence from my twenties full of naivety, hope, bon vivre, and pretensions. Sanguine to the point of oblivion.

Leather clad, muscled, merman purchased in my gay abandon forties. Discovered, I was part of the watery feelings clan with body issues; lacking self discipline to change. Hopes and dreams are mostly possible.

Rainbow bauble, bought this year. A fully formed fairy, not far off sixty; should have, could have, would have. Accepting my authentic self and life’s reality.

Happy holiday, warmest {{{HUGS}}, and a joyous 2022.

Day three of the birthday festival

I had a joyful birthday lunch last year at Patina, Customs House. Unfortunately, my mood beforehand was decidedly maudlin, resulting in the following self reflective poem.

Expectations, unheard, unwritten, not agreed, lead to disappointment. Frustration from despondency could result in an outpouring or inner turmoil. Assumptions can conflict create or do secrets forge, limiting authenticity. Living as a liar may rebellion incite or self-loathing and self-destruction result.

This year, I decided to take control of myself; to celebrate the end and beginning of a new birth year with close my husband and close friends.

We turned up at GOMA (Gallery of Modern Art) to see the European Masters exhibition on loan from the Met, New York on Thursday. The thought of queuing for one hour did not rock my boat so we headed for a great lunch at Julius Pizzeria followed by sundowner drinks at the Terrace Rooftop Bar.

The photograph above shows the view of the city looking northeast from the Terrace towards the city, across the Brisbane River.

On Friday our tastebuds were treated to an exquisite six course degustation lunch including, seven amuse bouches and matching wines. Next we went to Maya Mexican rooftop restaurant and bar for cocktails, gorgeous nibbles, socialising and dancing.

The picture above taken from Maya shows the city on the right and a neon looking outline of the Storey Bridge left of centre.

Today we rest. Plans will form or not, as the day progresses.

Tomorrow I will enter my 58th year.

Spring 2021

Spring has so far been a joy to experience. The suburban streetscape is budding with the promise of growth, encouraged by warmer daytime temperatures. Today’s blue sky and sunshine is forecasted to achieve 29oC.

While southeast Queensland’s Winter temperatures could not be described as harsh, we have limited our time sitting rugged up in the courtyard.

Our modest tropical resort themed outdoor area is slowly evolving. It now boasts a three person spa heated to 35oC. To the left golden cane palms, mother-in-law tongues, and agaves provide a focal point to rest our eyes. Behind stands a stylised skateboarder panel, supporting variegated jasmine. The almost daily post workday dip was well worth braving the cooler temperatures, over the last few weeks.

This moment’s easy Sunday feeling is enhanced by a powder puff aroma from lemongrass and lavender incense sticks. Pale grey smoke lazily floats around our feet and ankles before wafting up; nostril tickling.