Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Devastation & Perspective

Sometimes Jolly is just too hard.

1. The kick in the stomach
The battle lasted two years. Our little family construction company vs the Sydney Water Board. After seemingly endless man hours and legal expense, our claim for payment (for a wharf we build for them years ago) was taken to expert determination. Two weeks ago, the decision was handed down.... We won! A dollar amount was assigned and it was to be a matter of days before our struggling bank account would see the green. We were relieved and proud and RELIEVED!
Today the news came from Sydney Water. “We don't agree with the Expert Determination. We'll give you half what they say we owe you. Take it or leave it.”
I didn't even know they could DO that!
Now we either:
A- Take them to arbitration... another few years and another stack of money we don't have and another round of fighting energy we can’t muster.
B- Take the crummy offer and cut our losses.
This is the first time in my life I've wanted to throw a brick through a window.

2. The bitter Pill
At work, our crazy old Scotsman with long white beard and blue boggly eyes, famous for his gruff temper and hilarious jokes, stood in front of me and broke into tears. His 39 year old daughter is riddled with cancer. It's so bad, they can't even figure out the primary source of it. Last week, she just felt a bit run down. This week, her whole world has changed.

And that makes our business problems seem preet small-fry.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Out and About: Canberra, the Un-City

Disaster of disasters! I have lost my Pipstar to the city summer forgot.
Yes yes, fabulous new job, blossoming career, excitement, adventure, new friends, new car. Blah blah blah. What about ME?! What about shopping trips and domestic bliss days, girly movies, baking days and general sofa gossip?

Well, when you can’t keep em, join em!

Bright and early on Saturday morning I swept past Miss Pip’s old Sydney residence to collect the yawning girl and a few tonne of her essentials (things to get her by till removalists collect the rest). Then off we headed, south west along Rememberance Drive to her new home town, the nation’s capital and agoraphobics’ nightmare, Canberra.

Clutching our Sydney newspaper, we detoured to Collector to investigate the reputable Lynwood Café, featured in the glossy pages of our trusted rag. Though we got a nasty shock, stepping out of the car as icy cold air licked our bare summery legs, we took heart at the sight of the open fire and cozy rustic setting the heritage cottage offered us.

Homemade beef stout pies with roast vegetables and chutney won out over a Devonshire tea and after stuffing ourselves, we perused the homemade jam selection and left with a yummy looking Seville Orange Marmalade for later tasting.

To Canberra!

It’s the invisible city, nestled quietly under bushes, and shrubs, scattered in secret pockets of swirling bushland and rugged hillsides, so that the untrained eye can see only the curling roads spinning off into the scrub. With a new local in the navigator’s seat, however, we followed round a particular arcing road and bang! A suburb!

With Pipstar’s temporary apartment as our base, we spent our days discovering other hidden suburbs, tracking down shopping spots, foody spots, browsing Sunday markets and kicking off our Christmas shopping. Amongst my Canberra booty is the blue enamel colander I’ve had my eye on for months now (this thrills me) and my first ever art purchase- darling little painting series of poppies by a local artist.

On Saturday night, we dumped our weary bodies on the couch and fed them cabanossi sausage and fresh crusty white bread with dips, olives and tomatoes. A few DVD’s and gourmet chocolates later and we were heaving off to bed. Who would ever have thought the un-city could wear us out?

Friday, November 19, 2004

Ricotta Tarts

One of mankind’s greatest discoveries is in my opinion, without doubt, cheese. To my knowledge, there is no dish, no meal, no time of the day that can not be made better with the simple addition of cheese, -be it breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, dessert, midnight snack, afternoon tea, morning tea, second breakfast or elevenses. It’s glorious range of flavours and ever-so smooshy textures make me a willing slave to its dairy goodness every day of my privileged life. My heart forever weeps for those who are lactose intolerant, or more pitifully, voluntary vegan (cultural sensitivities aside).

For me, I choose the life of cheese, determined to snatch every opportunity the dairy fairy brings me with both chubby little hands.

Hence one of my favourite lunch snacks for a hot summers day- Spinach Ricotta tarts

Eaten cooled with fresh tomato or roasted tomatoes. Sit happily in the sunshine with hands on belly and ponder the joys of being alive.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

What is that delicious smell?

Yes... I believe it is the sweet smell of freedom!

I am officially back in the land of the socially active again now that the last burst of assignments and tests and fiddly classes is behind me.

Onward! sunny days, pink sky nights, beach weather,
Onward to pub nights, Girls' Nights, Hen's Days, Christmas parties, road trips, BBQ's, weddings,
Onward to baking days, Christmas shopping, Me shopping,
... to over eating, over drinking, over dancing,

Hello summer!

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Easy Saturday Supper

Allow me to take a quick pause in my work to leave a little glimmer of the pleasure I enjoyed for supper yesterday while I was tucked up inside watching the wild and blowy day go by.

Fried Kransky sausage with grainy mustard and hot buttered toast.

Sometimes it really is the simple things…

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

LONG weekend in Buninyong

The Professor and I have just come back from a quick weekend visit to his folks in pretty old Buninyong, Victoria. Apparently, someone has forgotten to let the grumpy southern state know that is in fact SPRING time here in Australia and that daily temperatures of 10 degrees C and below is really rather ridiculous! Had the sun not made a brief appearance yesterday, I would wonder if he’d been offended by something down there…

Weather aside, we had five glorious days, eating, sleeping in, taking brisk afternoon walks and generally enjoying the cosiness of lazing around indoors with books, music and good conversation. The ideal break before the last big push of study and work and the madness of the Christmas season ahead!

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Pipstar's High Tea Farewell

This is where we met. The ethereal Tea Room of the Queen Victoria Building. A table for two and tea to match.

With a pot of tea each and a wonderful collection of goodies.

Despite intermittent complaints of “too too much to eat”, we ate it all.

It was a delightful couple of hours to spend chatting away and such a fitting farewell for my lovely lady.
Good luck Miss Pipstar! I'll miss you.