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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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 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!.