Unfulfilled expectations

Poached eggs as they should be...

Poached eggs as they should be...

A couple of weeks ago I went in to a little cafe in West Preston to have a quick lunch with a friend. The menu boasted an “all day breakfast” and as I’ve always had a fondness for breakfast at lunchtime, I ordered poached eggs on toast.

What arrived was literally that – two poached eggs on a single, if large, piece of dry toast. No butter, no salt and pepper, no Worcester sauce, and definitely no greenery in sight.  My friend quipped that at least the menu had described the dish accurately, but I was so gobsmacked that I couldn’t talk. And, as she was technically correct in saying that I got what I ordered, there was really no way for me to complain, although I did feel very hard done by.

I felt compelled to make myself poached eggs for lunch a couple of days later, though, to restore my faith that they could be appealing and delicious. And, of course, before I ate I took the photo above and sent it to my friend. I’m thinking of sending a copy anonymously to the cafe, to show them what this dish should look like!

Leave a comment

Filed under food, melbourne

Losing friends

Sorry I haven’t been around for a while.

In theory I quite like the idea of blogging without obligation, but in reality I always feel guilty if I neglect to write at least once a week, and it has been considerably more than a week since I was last here (excluding the very brief post I just put up about my brother-in-law’s show in the Adelaide Fringe Festival).

Rosemarinus-officinalis---flower

We will never forget.

The last couple of weeks in our house have been very sad, to say the least. I want to make a metaphorical toast to two lost friends. The first, a very dear friend named Frank, who died very suddenly and far, far, too young.

The father of an absolutely wonderful nine-month-old boy, and the husband of our dear friend Anita, he will be missed more than we can say. The world is definitely a much sadder place without him. We’ll all be doing out best to make sure that his son knows what a brilliant dad he had.

cher 2

My darling girl with her goofy smile.

The second lost friend is one of my ‘bookends’, my beloved Cher. A year after being diagnosed with Canine Cushings disease, she succumbed to complications and had to be put to sleep. She was always such a noisy, happy little dog that the house is too quiet without her. Bo doesn’t bark when we come home, just stands with his feet pressed against the glass of the front door and then anxiously wags his entire body, as though he didn’t think we’d be coming back to him. He is being hugged for the two of them now, so he is getting lots of love and will hopefully feel happier again soon.

cher-xmas

At Christmas time, Cher's favourite place was under the tree.

They say things happen in threes, don’t they?! Well, on top of everything else my Mum’s troublesome right knee finally gave way last week and this has left her immobile and incredibly frustrated.

To add insult to injury, after years of my Dad having wonderful treatment through the public health system and through one hospital in particular, Mum’s treatment has been fragmented and far less than satisfactory.

Now she’s relegated to using a walking frame. If you knew my Mum, you would know how hard this is for her. A young 69, she has always worked incredibly hard and walked everywhere to keep fit, and now can’t get around.

Not wanting to be all doom and gloom, though, I have to tell you of a couple of  kind acts which have meant a great deal to us all while we’ve been feeling sad… The first was a really touching gesture made by our vet, who came to the house to attend to Cher… When she had died, he carefully removed bandages from her feet so that she ‘could run in Paradise with the other dogs’ with her dignity intact.  It was akin to arranging a deceased loved-one’s clothes so that they look the best they can as you send them on their way.  An act more for the living than the dead, perhaps, but so genuine and respectful that it brought tears to our eyes all over again.

Mum with the dogs just after clipping.

Mum with the dogs just after clipping.

The other was when my Rheumatologist, whose list is closed and has been for several years, accepted my Mum as a patient and saw her within a week of asking. Michelle is one of the nicest people I have ever had the privilege of meeting and has always looked after me brilliantly, but I can’t thank her enough for the way she is looking after Mum. She will give her the continuity of care that she needs to get it all sorted out, and will have her walking without the frame in short order, knowing her.

I know that the world is full of good people and that there are many kind deeds done every day, but sometimes it is easy to get caught up in the sad and horrible things that happen, too, and to forget the good stuff. These gestures reminded me again how the cumulative effect of kind acts can reinforce your faith in people and ease the pain of loss or ill health.

The loss of Frank was yet another reminder of how short life is, and how you shouldn’t let good things go unsaid, or good deeds go un-done. So, I’m off to hug Bo again, and to tell the family how much I love them. 

My suggestion for today? Be safe; do something nice for someone just because you can, and make sure that those around you know how much they matter to you. 

Enough philosphising now – normal transmission will be resumed shortly!

4 Comments

Filed under family

Mark Oates and the Daniel Brunner Pretty Big Band

img_0406

Don’t quite know what happened, but a post I wrote earlier about my brother-in-law’s gig in the Adelaide Fringe Festival seems to have disappeared… This is him – Mark Oates.

The show was fantastic! They performed two sets of swing music including some standards and some lesser known pieces. I know that I’m biased – seeing as I love my brother-in-law very much – but by the way the audience responded, everybody agreed that it was a terrific show. So much talent on one small stage – it was awesome.

img_0401

So now, very belatedly, I’d like to share some images of the show with you.

The very talented Daniel Brunner is on piano (above). I apologise to the other members of the band for not having their names – will attempt to rectify that shortly.

img_0407 img_0439 img_0445

img_0434

*Edit* The lovely Daniel Brunner was kind enough to supply the names of the band members. Apologies for not having posted them sooner.

They are: 

Trumpet: Eric Santucci
Trombone: Nick Pietsch
Alto Sax: Andrew Crago
Tenor Sax: Evan Bassani
Bari Sax: Nat Ahrens
Guitar: Sam Leske
Bass: Anna Butters
Drums: Holly Thomas

1 Comment

Filed under Adelaide, cool things, music, Uncategorized

Dog Groomers: my dilemma

What is it about dog groomers, that so few of them seem to like dogs?

I’ve just left my darlings, and my parents’ ones, too – four beautiful black poodles – at the groomer’s salon, and feel like I’ve abandoned them.

Two clipped poodles sitting on a couch

Bo and Cher after a clip

Now I’m not just being melodramatic here… The people doing them today were recommended by the breeder. They’ve clipped them once before and they looked quite nice when we picked them up, but when we were there today, one of my parent’s dogs was nearly hung when she got excited and the table she was on toppled over, leaving her momentarily hanging by the neck from the lead-tether. She was okay, if frightened, so we left them. I can’t believe we did. If it happened to Cher, with her already poor health, it could kill her.

A couple of years ago, after putting up with inferior clips; groomers who don’t seem to have any affinity for dogs at all, and anxious dogs, we had finally found a fantastic – I mean, really FANTASTIC – groomer. She was fast; her pricing was fair; she loved the dogs and they loved her,  and they always came home happy, relaxed and magnificent. Then, towards the end of last year, she left town without a word to her clients, and we’ve been struggling to find a decent groomer to replace her, ever since. I really hope she is okay, but I wish she would come back here and be okay.

Four poodles with bows in their ears, wait for a treat.

The four dogs line up for a treat after being clipped

Dad and I talked about it outside and were really torn. We didn’t want to say too much in case the dogs were mistreated deliberately, instead of just the victims of a stupid accident, but they all desperately needed a haircut and we didn’t have an alternative to go to.  It shouldn’t have swayed us, but it did. I hope we don’t regret it. 

Now I’m sitting here agonising over whether or not they are going to be alright, and feeling like a huge jerk. I’m also looking into groomers to see if I can find another good one that I can afford to go to. Does anyone have any suggestions in the Northcote/Fairfield area?

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Drizzle; Precipitation; Rain. Whatever you call it, boy is it welcome!

rain drops hang from the windchimes

It is finally raining !

After having had something in the order of 0.2mm of rain for the year to date (compared to our usual 77mm), and after the record temperatures and devastating fires of early February, today Melbourne is wet and cold.

It is delicious – cold enough to make you want to put on your favourite hoodie (I have), and run to the shop for a new umbrella (will do this later), and to feel happy sitting inside, drinking hot cups of tea.

img_0333-web

The rain is refreshing everything –  giving the garden a welcome drink as well as washing the petals clean of the soot and dust of the past month. I heard a whisper, too, that the fire-services are hopeful that this cool, wet weather spells the end of the fire season for this year. We can only hope…

Our hearts go out to them, and to everyone who has been touched by the fires.

img_0331-web

This brave little avocado tree –  a Christmas present to my husband that we planted on B0xing Day – is making a valiant effort to recover, having lost nearly all of its leaves during the heatwave, and having had to be protected by a portable beach shelter for the last three weeks.

You have to wonder, with the way that the drought is going, if it will ever really end. I heard someone from the Bureau of Meteorology speaking on the radio last week, and was depressed to hear him ask the same question. As he said, we are in un-charted territory: the drought has gone on twice as long as ever before; we’ve had the highest temperatures ever recorded and the lowest rainfall for this period since records began being kept. We can only wait and see, I guess…

Sorry about that; I didn’t mean to get depressing. To lighten the mood,  I have another couple of unrelated pictures to share with you.

These were taken at the Melbourne two weeks ago when we went to the zoo for a wander. By sheer luck, we were in time for a ‘keeper’s talk’ at the giraffe enclosure.

img_0318web

This giraffe (above), with the very long tongue and a taste for carrots, was born at Perth zoo, and was made famous by the photograph below (he was the little one):

 giraffe

Now he lives at Melbourne Zoo and has fathered a number of babies of his own.

img_0311web

This meerkat isn’t famous, as far as I know, but it was very cute as it stood sentry.

Stay safe and well – and if you are in Melbourne, enjoy the rain!

Leave a comment

Filed under animals, melbourne

Hippos in the frame

Lotus, the baby hippopotamus, with her mother, Primrose.

As one of our Christmas holiday activities, an extended family group went to Werribee Open Range Zoo in the first week of January. Naturally, I couldn’t resist taking my new camera with me, to see what it could do.

hippo-and-mum-low-res

 These pictures are as they came out of the camera (with the exception of resizing them, of course)

hippo-butts-low-res

As usual, I pushed the camera, yet with the zoom at 360mm and being hand-held, it still managed to pick up the grains of sand on the baby hippo’s bottom.

The colour rendition is good straight out of the box and there are lots of really clever things like a built in video camera that can record in different modes – including for uploading to the net, and an overlay grid on the lcd screen to help with composition.

All in all, I love it – but it was the hippos that made my day!

2 Comments

Filed under animals, photography

Canon SX110IS and great kids make for a happy New Year

img_0055-web

Where ever you are – Happy New Year to you (albeit a little late).

I hope you had a good (and safe) time, and that 2009 brings you much happiness and satisfaction.

We (M & I) spent New Year’s Eve on the grassy bank bordering Birrarung Marr, watching the fireworks with Meg and five of her friends.

We thought we were brave taking six fourteen and fifteen year-old girls into town, where the crowd numbered in the hundreds of thousands, but they were a real delight – all skipping along arm-in-arm and having a lovely time. The worst problem we had was keeping up with them as they practically ran through the crowd!

img_0066-web

These (obviously hand-held) photos were taken with my Christmas present – a Canon SX110IS compact. I’m in the process of putting it through it’s paces, and must say that I am impressed so far. A (largish) pocket-sized camera with the equivalent of a 36 – 360mm lens and everything from fully auto to fully manual control is hard to beat, and Canon’s menus are consistently easy to navigate, making it easy to take advantage of its many features. I think it performed really well under difficult circumstances – I mean, who would try to take photos of fireworks without a tripod?!

Just wait til you see the photos of the hippos at Werribee Open Range zoo…

Leave a comment

Filed under melbourne