Sunlight illuminates the Christmas in July, down under lunch table, Morningside, Queensland, Australia.
Toy within easy reach
Fed, watered and walked
All’s right in Stan’s world
A recent visit by friends from Sydney and a conversation about minimising food waste inspired me to save:
- oil from marinated feta
- egg shells
- coffee grounds
I have reused the oil to make my own marinated feta. With the egg shells I made a tea to give succulents a boost. Also, combined banana skins, coffee grounds and eggshells in the food processor to make fertiliser.
Two of us drinking two to three coffees a day produces a lot of grounds! Not wanting to throw away the excess, I have been experimenting with what to do with them. This has successfully included grounds:
- as a hair and face scrub
- combined with coconut oil and salt as a body scrub DIY coffee scrub recipe
One of the friends from Sydney told me they had coffee bread at a restaurant. A quick search online yielded bread made with coffee liquid, not the grounds. Some discussion boards decried the idea, saying that the end product would be gritty.
Hey ho, throwing caution to the wind I added grounds to my latest batch of no knead bread. During fermentation the dough rose more than usual. Not knowing how well the loaf would retain its shape, I opted to use a loaf pan.
The loaf has been an overwhelming success. Being moist with an open texture and a slight espresso flavour, it is very dark brown in colour and grit free.
We have had it sliced with butter to accompany lunch and toasted for breakfast; avocado looked and tasted delicious on it.
How true the adage that you don’t know what you have until it is gone. Showering is convenient, quick, economical, eco-friendly, and healthy. It has been part of my daily routine for the last four decades.
After eight years we again live in a house with a bath. Yesterday, I took the ‘plunge’ in making use of the modern plastic tub. Lying on my back; knees bent, in water that was not deep enough to cover my ever expanding stomach and arms wedged against my sides, thoughts of childhood bath time drifted through my mind. Especially the rose tinted memory of my grandparent’s vintage 1920’s bathroom in Warley, West Midlands, UK.
The room had dark brown linoleum floor covering, cream painted walls and gleaming white fittings with chrome taps. These were no frills taps; tee shaped from the side, they were connected through the back of the square porcelain sink and the end of the claw foot iron bath. The water flowed from the bottoms, nothing as fancy as spouts. The horizontally mounted, cross headed taps with small white porcelain discs, indicating ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ resisted when they were turned, emitting satisfying grinding screeches followed by soft pops.
It seemed that water gushed with the force of fire hoses, even though it took forever to be deep enough before I could slowly lower myself into this gargantuan steaming vessel. Once inside, the bottom and sides would feel icy against my skin. Also, the enamel was a little rough from eons of scouring with Vim powder. Time scented with the fragrance from Radox salts drifted up towards the ceiling. Dreamily I would exit when my fingertips had puckered and the grey soapy liquid had become chilly.
Even with its shortcomings, the contemporary experience of fifteen or so minutes, spent splashing about in late afternoon resulted in a physical and psychological calm that lasted well into the evening.
A week last Sunday, we returned home from our travels. Since then our days have been filled with moving and unpacking boxes, stowing contents, hanging pictures and redecorating the guest bedroom. Somewhere along the journey we seem to have misplaced two cartons; one containing a hifi the other, precious porcelain things 😱.
Our first task after getting over the thirteen hours drive from Sydney to Brisbane, over two days, was to remove the thicket in the tiny back garden. A lack of attention over the last six years had resulted in three plants creating a bizarre intertwining twisting structure that threatened to engulf the neighbourhood.
For the past week it has rained every day. What was a couple of muddy puddles have become a quagmire; ideal housing for a colony of mosquitoes. Clearing the undergrowth has revealed a drain that sits aloft the lapping waters of ‘Lake Morningside’. The Body Corporate have let us know that as the issue is in a private courtyard it is our responsibility to fund remedial works. The joys of home ownership.
I suspect the missing caskets have been taken by a creature from below the brown sludgy waters of the swamp.
Before our trip to Europe we were awoken each morning by a rousing chorus of crows. A month on, jet lag has us awaking around 4:30 am and falling asleep a little after 8:00 pm.
Thankfully the nearby birdsong has changed to tweets and flute like birdsong that is much more pleasing to the ear.
The other afternoon, I found it satisfying to hear a kookaburra calling.
As with most parts of the World, the Australian east coast is experiencing freaky weather. Forecasts of Brisbane receiving monster electric storms followed by a deluge of biblical proportions have so far not eventuated.
Official sources report that since the beginning of October temperatures have varied from 12.5oC at night to 27.5oC at their peak. On Wednesday afternoon our car recorded 33oC when we left the hardware store in Cannon Hill.
Fortunately there are major supermarkets located about ten minutes’ walk to the right of our home and smaller specialist stores to the left.
Yesterday, I ventured out to the shops a few times. While walking along the street I noticed that the air felt silky against my skin and I could smell the heat of Summer in the air. The local fragrance is one of slightly damp earth warmed by the Sun combined with the faint scent of bark, leaves and some flowering trees.
When walking Stan at the weekend we often include lunch at a cafe. We had our favourites in and around Leichhardt including, Monté, Capriccio, and the Pig and Pastry.
After collecting a set of keys and remote control for the aircon from the real estate agent we tried out the Little Hideout Café, Balmoral.
Delicious food, great coffee, and friendly service combined with outdoor seating make for a perfect destination that is 20 minutes walk from home.
Our ISP, iPrimus let us know that the phone and ADSL would be connected on Friday 31 August. After receiving notification of the number, we connected the modem/wireless router. Based on experience I was unsurprised to find that neither the Internet nor telephone was working; from all four outlets in the house.
At 8:30 am on Saturday we sought assistance from iPrimus. After escalating our enquiry they let us know that we would receive further information in the next 24 hours and that we would be liable for $165 if the fault was due to our equipment. It is not the first time we have received this warning, on all occasions our equipment was found to have been functioning perfectly well.
At around noon there was a knock at the door. A burly ‘Field Technician’ (FT) from the phone company who provides infrastructure, bustled into our home brandishing meter adorned devices, with cables dangling. After poking and prodding, emitting high pitched noises and making himself comfortable on our soft furnishings he went to the ‘exchange’ to fix the problem. The FT returned two hours later, fault fixed, somewhat exasperated by the time it had taken.
To say we were gobsmacked would be an understatement; fixed on the same day!
Day three of living in Queensland, coincidentally the first day of Spring in Australia.
The day was taken up with cleaning the house in Sydney, as Bob and Daz from Mullumbimby Removals did a sterling job of packing our household and garden into the truck. After eight hours, we were pleased to see it begin it’s ten hour journey, north.
We wasted time waiting around for the real estate agent to take back the rental property in Leichhardt. He didn’t show as he “had a lot going on”; tell us about it!
Brisbane boys, Wade and Ben made our Virgin Australia flight enjoyable, delivering us to Brisbane at 8:30 pm; exhausted. The Colmslie Hotel, Morningside provided respite from the day’s trials.
10:00 am, the unloading began. Thankfully, Bob and Eddie (Daz’s replacement) had a couple of helpers. Only six hours from arrival to payment.
In addition to moving boxes and furniture we ticked off the day’s goals of assembling the bed, sofa bed, and daybed.
We spent the day:
- Installing the fridge’s innards;
- Assembling racking in the garage;
- Getting the espresso maker working;
- Unpacking boxes; and
- Arranging plants, so that they could be watered. The picture, above is the result.
Today, a sore lower back is limiting my ability to do very much.