Customs House

Queensland slightly relaxed isolation rules at the weekend. We took to the river, rather than the road. We felt spoilt, a CityCat ferry ride, a walk along the boardwalk in the Autumn sunshine, followed by a picnic in the Botanical Gardens.

The afternoon light, playing on the dome of Customs House, caught my eye.

Best loaf yet

Since posting a recipe for sourdough bread in 2014, I have lost count of the number of loaves made. Over the years, I have tweaked the proving times, the timing of the knocking back stage, ditched the sourdough starter, and tried different flours.

Using 1/4 teaspoon of active dried yeast and Laucke Crusty White Bread Mix (flour and salt), this loaf is the largest yet. It was achieved by proving for 24 hours in the fridge followed by 12 hours at room temperature. A gentle knock back as described in the amended recipe below and baking for 30 + 15 minutes.

425g unbleached bread flour
375g water
1/4 teaspoon of active dried yeast
1 teaspoon salt (not needed when using bread mix)

1. Mix together dry ingredients in a large bowl then stir in water.
2. Cover with glad wrap (cling film).
3. Store in the fridge for 24 hours then 12 hours at room temperature.
4. Preheat large lidded Pyrex casserole dish or Dutch-oven in oven at hottest temperature.
5. Meanwhile line a bowl or basket with baking parchment and turn out dough onto floured surface or board. Save the cling film for later.
6. Using floured hands or bowl scraper, fold the edges of the dough into the middle. I usually work from quarters then eighths.
7. Place the dough right side up into the lined bowl and cover with cling film.
8. When the oven is at temperature remove the Pyrex bowl, take off the lid.
9. Transfer the baking parchment and dough the into the pre-heated container and replace the lid.
10. Bake the bread for 30 minutes then turn the temperature down to 200oC and remove the lid.
11. After 15 minutes at the lower temperature the bread should be cooked.
12. Cool on a wire rack.

Happy baking!

Why?

Fruitful or less service to universe, race, self?

Resources used wisely or squandered?

Desultory paths wandered with intent or not?

Sands silently stop

Waiting for the all encompassing corruption, subsumption

Contributions ultimately forgotten or turn to dust

Future kind dig, discover, analyse remains

Content of past lives being hypothesised

Perché, pam, why?

Flowers

In this time of limited travel, physical distancing and quarantine, I wonder if picking, buying and giving flowers are allowed.

Instead, I sketched some for you. I hope you enjoy them as much I enjoyed creating them.

Wishing you, warmth, healing energy, and golden light.

King George’s kangaroos

Back in November 2019 I posted about Albert Street Uniting Church. It can be glimpsed behind the righthand roo. The one with the joey’s legs poking out of her pouch.This heartwarming bronze family gaze across Saint George’s Square towards Brisbane City Hall. An Italian Renaissance style building designed by architects, Thomas Ramsay Hall and George Gray Prentice.The building opened in 1930. It has been used for royal receptions, pageants, orchestral concerts, civic greetings, flower shows, school graduations and political meetings.

Celebrating 22 years

We arrived in the harbour city of Sydney, New South Wales on 17 January 1998. For the first ten years we did not consider living anywhere else.

The face of our chosen suburb, Newtown, gradually threw off its grungy working class garb. Gentrification crept through the streets. Great news for house prices as rough edges of the area were smoothed. For the niche bars, retailers and eateries, rising rents pushed them out.

Pushchairs replaced colourful characters, walking goats and parrots. Foot paths barely coped with the jam of people, spilling from increased apartment living.

Joining the exodus, we made our way, step by step west to aircraft noisy Stanmore then sleepy Petersham before landing in luscious Leichhardt. In hindsight, we should have settled here, instead of chasing the bright lights of Newtown.

Arriving too late to secure a residence we journeyed 917 kms north (570 miles) to Morningside. The vibe in Queensland is more relaxed than we are used to. Ignoring the Summer daylight saving implemented by other states, Queenslanders arise and retire early to bed.

Here we are in the river city of Brisbane, celebrating 22 years in Australia. Uncertain of where life will take us next.

Grateful

We are grateful to be able to take our nine year old fur baby on the river ferries of Brisbane. Even for a three months’ trial period. It has opened up opportunities for discovery beyond our local neighbourhood.

Yesterday, setting off at around 10:45 am we walked from Morningside to Hawthorne Ferry Terminal. As with previous trips, the ferry person looked us up and down as we approached the vessel. Two greying middle aged men and their white fluffy dog. Inevitablely, the response to our friendly hello was a gruff ‘dogs out the back’. Why plural, none of our fellow passengers were accompanied by a bundle of joy. We duly trooped through the front outdoor and middle indoors sections to out the back.

The city of Brisbane is the state capital of Queensland. It is known as the Sunshine State because of its largely clement weather. Outdoor seats on ferries are highly sought after unless it is extremely hot, raining or both. There is little shade. We positioned ourselves next to the bulkhead, ready to stand for around 40 minutes.

One of the requirements for taking your pampered pooch onboard is the of application of a muzzle. Think man made fibre sleeve with Velcro adjustment and clip lock fastening, rather than wire cage. Understandably, Stan is not thrilled when this black contraption is strapped to his head. We took it in turns to soothe Stan’s discomfort.

The original plan was to journey to North Quay so that we could mooch around Roma Street Parklands. An early breakfast and morning exercise left us feeling hungry as we coursed along. We opted, instead to alight at South Bank 2 Ferry Terminal. So that we could avail ourselves of lunch at an eatery on Grey Street.

Before docking, in line with most previous trips, the ferry person engaged us in conversation. Remarking on how well Stan travelled on water. I find this change in demeanour to be a trifle unsettling. Perhaps we had passed some unpublished test or were experiencing exit relief, that we had not run amok.

After lunch we decided to head for Victoria Bridge, walk down Queens Street to Howard Smith Wharves, over Story Bridge to Kangaroo Point then catch a ferry home from Mowbray Park. Fortunately, one was pulling in as we arrived at the terminal. About four people got on ahead of us. As we stood looking expectedly at the ferry person they said ‘no space for dogs’. Again the plural, even though I could not see a single canine on board, no matter how much I craned my neck to see.

Catching the next service, in about 15 minutes, we headed home via Hawthorne. Three weary travellers, satisfied with a day of adventure, having walked for about 11 of the 20 km trip.