Saturday, March 15, 2008

Oh . . .This and That . . .

A few days ago Terence McDanger tagged me again with the seven little known fact meme which I said I'd post on a rainy day but today was hot and dry so I've taken another piece of inspiration from his blog to talk about things I really like. Self indulgent, absolutely so take it or leave it:

Talking to People I Have Never Met
If two years ago, someone had asked me about what I do early on a Saturday and Sunday morning, I would have said . . .'watch television' . . . 'clean' . . . 'read a book' . . these days . .thanks to the timezones I chat to people whom I have never met! Seriously . . I get onto Skype and either IM or literally whack on the headphones and have conversations with people in America, Ireland, New Zealand, South America . . it's amazing. I'm not some idiotic internet dater or desperate housewife, the timezone suits the technology is there and it's fantastic. Hopefully I will get to meet those who want to be met and remain friends with those who value their anonymity but I really, really, enjoy it. I'm an early riser so my habit is to make a cuppa, check the blogs and if anyone's online, I'm up for a conversation. It's a truly great way to start the day!

Destinations
Terrence started with Barcelona, never been there but for me one particularly memorable experience was Bivio. Where? In Switzerland, on the Italian border, before things get scruffy and anyone who has crossed the borders from alpine Europe into Italy knows what I mean. We had great digs in a miniscule village. It was cold, September so no snow on the ground but we were surrounded by massive mountains iced with snow. We took a pre dinner walk, saw red squirrels which don't exist in the antipodes and that wonderful smell of stabled horses. We walked narrow streets enclosed by neat white houses with geranium window boxes, cows wearing bells, distinctive hafflinger ponies, tidy red barns and one of the nicest traditions I've ever seen. When a baby is born to a Swiss family, a massive pole is erected in their front garden adorned with blue baby stuff for boys and pink for girls. It's so lovely - ribbons and teddy bears, flags and silver . . . our American travellers never walked before breakfast or dinner and never saw the joys of rural Switzerland, they were too busy buying Swarosvki Crystal (Polish I might add), cuckoo clocks and Tag Hauer Watches. Bivio also had the best food, after a diet of mashed potato, pork and carrots, we had fish and greens and the plushest doonas on the beds ever! Mixed with a nice bottle of something French . . magnifique!

Possums
Our possums aren't like the long snouted American possums, they're a cross between a bush baby and a large cat. Cute as buttons. Noisy and if they're in you're roof quite destructive but gorgeous little fur balls nonetheless. Introduced to New Zealand they have become a feral pest but in urbanised Castle Hill, it's a rare delight to actually see one that hasn't been macerated by a speeding vehicle. Ours are still very shy. I suspect their native habitat is Castle Hill Country Club where there's plenty to forage and a fairly safe haven. The're not fed and unused to the encroaching urbanisation but we hear them fight and an hour with a Maglight at 8:00 at night you're bound to see one pretending it's invisible in the bamboo! I really must get the night settings on my camera right! I remember staying with friends in the Hunter Valley, their possums were super tame and ate their vegie peelings dropped beneath a tree and would take tasty morsels from your hands. We even had one on holiday in Hawks Nest which stayed up for breakfast, perched on the timber fence waiting to be fed. Beautiful, cheeky and incredibly tame. I imagine the equivalent to the American raccoon.

The Bush
I don't know why Australians call it the bush and it can range from that arid range beyond the black stump to lush Queensland Rainforest,. Victorian tallwoods or Tasmanian Oak. The Bush is out there, beyond the city, in the country and it doesn't really matter whether it's lush dairy farm or tough beef country, it's away from civilisation, a place where people and the lifestyle are so far removed. It can also be as close as Kuringai State Forest and the Blue Mountains or as far away as Mount Gambier and Daintree. I love the bush in all it's incarnations.

Bums
I'm with Terrence on this. Only I prefer the masculine kind. My parents in law live by the sea and close to their home is a popular surfing spot. Driving past their parked cars, it's not unusual to see a golden god of a youngling drying off after a day in the drink. They are not prudes. Drop the dacks dry the cracks if you catch my drift. Fabulous little tight white bottoms that could bounce off the walls surrounded by golden tans and surfie tresses . . .hey, a cat can look at a king!
Sorry Stan, but you were hired by virtue of your absolutely, earth shattering arse!

Fine Wine
OK I'm no sommalier but fortunately TheBoss is! Having dinner at his house is an exploration of what a true vigneron can achieve. For my 50th birthday , he brought out the big guns, Penfolds Grange Hermitage and a bottle of vintage Billie Ca rte & Salmon Champagne . . .seventh heaven. What most feel about chocolate, I enjoy in a fine wine. Happy to drink plonk on a daily basis but for a special occasion, bring out Margaret River's best and a bottle of French schparkly (not Moet) and I am a millionaire for a night!

Warm Nights
Warm spring, summer, autumn evenings with friends and/or family. Sitting in a garden, listening to the plethora of crickets and frogs, swatting the mozzies and sharing the Aerogard. The smell of gardenias and chlorine, dogs sitting on your feet because three acres is just not big enough to go and sit somewhere else. Drinking Mango Daquiries, blithering about politics and children, the life and universe and everything. Magic! Coming inside at 10:30 and realising that you haven't eaten anything more solid than that bug that flew into your drink uninvited, and that you simply don't care . . priceless!

I'm sure there's more but I'll ponder life's little pleasures for a future post. It's hot in Sydney, the outside thermometer says 27 and it's 7:30 at night so I might go for a dangle in my soon-to-be-demolished pool with my desperately-wanting-a-swim dog . . . and hope the bloody March flies don't carry me away!.

14 comments:

Thriftcriminal said...

Excellent post. And I am completely with you on the bush, only version we have here really are the blanket bogged hills we call mountains, but it is great to get out there.

Grannymar said...

very interesting post. The only pool in my garden is on the patio caused by todays neverending rain!

Brian Damage said...

I talk to people I don't know ... usually wasted when surrounded by Gardai ...

Nick said...

Little tight white bottoms - goodness, what sort of blog is this? Mind you, I quite like them myself (Nick, behave....). Glad you've cleared up some confusion about the Bush. The term is flung around whenever Oz is mentioned but I've never known what it meant exactly. I always assumed it was the really remote bits in the middle of nowhere but clearly it's used more widely.

Absolute Vanilla (& Atyllah) said...

Ah, brilliant post, Baino, so enjoyed it, rather like sitting out on a warm autumn night and blathering about this and that - thanks for sharing!

Now, where to do I go for those tight white bottoms? And if you find a spare possum, send one this way.

Emperor Ropi said...

it is good to expand our knowledge.

Baino said...

Thrifty: sadly I don't go country enough these days. I'm not a 'bushwalker' but I do love something different and a change of landscape. You take your craft a little more seriously!

Grannymar: We've had our share this summer that's for sure, I can watch the grass grow but most of the country is still in the grip of drought. Might as well enjoy the pool while I have it. . .I won't be wanting one in the new place.

BD: Why am I not surprised!

Nick: Saucy devil! Pretty much, going bush just means going country whether it's scrub or paddocks. Now 'beyond the black stump' . . that's outback!

AV: Shame for you with the weather but perhaps not the opportunity for late night banterings. Just drive past any beach and you'll see the surf culture alive and well . . bums and all . . .

Ropi: Well thank you, now you know a little more! You should share a bit more about your neck of the woods. I've never been to Hungary.

Nick said...

Hey, now you've confused me again. Beyond the black stump? Wiki says "an imaginary point beyond which the country is considered remote or uncivilised". You agree? And what would you call the desert? Or is that just the desert?

Anonymous said...

It's just like sitting on the verandah on a warm night and forgetting dinner! I miss a verandah but can go bush within distance of less tha an hour if need to. That's unique in Aus almost everywhere ;)

Kath Lockett said...

Love the term 'drop the dacks, wipe the cracks' - we get a rather nice row of 'em when we drop in on the folks down on the coast as well!

Agree totally re Grange. Only ever had it a couple of years ago for our 10th wedding anniversary. Simply the most beautiful wine I have ever tasted in my life. Ever. Hubby, 'Love Chunks' agreed.

Great blog, Baino - I'm adding you to my blogroll list.

Baino said...

Oh Nick. I'll do a post about the black stump, the outback, the bush and the never never! Hahaha! All pretty much the same place. The desert is the outback. It's all pretty much desert!

Anony: I don't care if its a verandah, a deck or a patio but it's just a very al fresco way to spend an evening! We're a weird mob! *out on the patio, we sit and the humidity we breath . .we watch the lightening, crash over cane fields, stop and think . . this is Austra-l-i-a!*

Thanks Kath . . I'll return the favour, I like your blog too . . . I could do with boosting the Aussie contingency!

Terence McDanger said...

I like the way my things I like thing is spreading the love. I feel all warm and fuzzy, like a badger I've just popped in the oven.

Awwwwwww...

Baino said...

Terrence - you bin drinkin? Stop badgering badgers you old badger!

Jay said...

I like posts like this - a little more of Baino comes into view! ;)

I love the way we can talk to people in different time zones, too, but sadly this sometimes means I'm seldom online at the same time as some of my good friends - the ones I've actually met. It's also the reason I tend to stay up till 2am ...