A view from my chair

After several tumultuous months we are seeing hope, peace and simplicity on our horizon. Today I have a superb view of the Brisbane River from my armchair in our Daughter’s apartment. It may be a cloudy day, but I have the river and all its sounds and activity, as well a couple of great books and a superb bottle of white chilling. All I have to do is prepare dinner!

If I get energetic, I can go downstairs and sit on the lawn and watch the world go by…

Reliquaries, fuddling cups, turnips and Mr FD.

Petite Fille declared this elephant "silly" for standing on his head on the banks of the Brisbane River. Obviously, it forgot which way was up!

Petite Fille declared this elephant “silly” for standing on his head on the banks of the Brisbane River. Obviously, it forgot which way was up!


Thankfully, I am not in a position to be involved in disaster management for the Queensland Museum’s current exhibition, Medieval Power : Symbols and Splendour.   During our visit, yesterday, as part of Mr FD’s birthday celebration, we played a game of “what two items would you save” and my choice did not fall to papal rings, or a saintly reliquary. I chose a combination ear scoop and tooth pick, and a minuscule fuddling cup.

To me, they were the most interesting artefacts in the display, and preferred over the dozens of noble seals that were on display. We debated whether the word befuddled orientated from the concept of a fuddling cup, on the journey home. We all agreed it probably did.

Prior to visiting the exhibition we (Mr FD, Daughter1, Petite Fille, my sister and I) enjoyed a lovely lunch at the GOMA Bistro, overlooking the Brisbane River. We toasted Mr FD with a glass of white. I chose the watercress, peach, salami, truffled mozzarela and capers salad, as did my sister which did not disappoint either of us. Mr FD chose the steak. Later we enjoyed slice of Opera cake with coffee before we drove back to The Village.

Petite Fille, unlike most children rarely falls asleep in a the car, but after a swimming lesson in the morning and a day walking around museums and galleries, for once succumbed to slumber.

She had been quite excited that the day was to celebrate Grandpa’s birthday. I had barely risen from bed when she was pleading to make Grandpa a birthday cake. I made the mistake of allowing her to sort through my collection of cake tins, and that is how we came to bake a ginger cake in a gingerbread man tin! Ho ho Grandpa!

I think it was one of the more memorable birthdays of recent times for Mr FD. He continued his celebrations into the evening, enjoying a drink or two before bed. The day must have led to the land of dreams, for I heard him mutter in his sleep, “I can’t help it, it is turning into a turnip!”

G20 or how to empty a city in one day.


It is so hot today that when I walked outside moments ago the heat felt as though it was burning my nostrils as I inhaled. 12 noon and just over 40C already. Tomorrow is predicted to be even hotter.

Welcome to Australia, G20!

I think the delegates and their advance sherpas will be quite impressed by Brisbane. We emptied the entire central business district for them. Yes, almost the entire city got into their cars and drove the the beach for the weekend. If you were a terrorist looking for a crowd to hide in, you would be mighty lonely.

I feel sorry for the police and other security personnel in their full uniforms standing out in the heat. It is such a dry heat, it burns. I have been singing, “only mad dogs and English men go out in the midday sun” a lot today.

Not only have we emptied a city for the G20 crowd, but they actually brought a freeway to a standstill at peak hour on Thursday afternoon to drive Obama’s EMPTY limos to his hotel.  They are called the “beast” the media reports and the request was made to demolish some road round about intersections to allow the car to pass. It was declined.

As I write, Obama is at the University of Queensland delivering a speech to 2000 invited guests. I was not invited, big mistake, big, big mistake. It has become quite fashionable for some local politicians to announce that they declined their invitation. I suspect as a cover for not being invited.

Earlier the man so many of us love to hate, Prime Minister Tony Abbott, delivered a rambling speech about domestic issues which had Putin not even pretending to listen.

The Russians have a couple of war ships off the Queensland coast in international waters. The Russians are coming, the Russians are coming! declared all the conspiracy theorists this week. My personal theory is that a. it is so their communications people can tap into all the buzz happening and b. if a catastrophic event did take place, they would have Putin back on his own ship faster than the rest of us could take our last breath.

The majority of the event is taking place at the Brisbane Convention Centre where I have been for a couple of conferences this year, so Obama and Putin are in fact walking in my footprints. It doesn’t get much better than that, for them!


Now 41C= 105 Fahrenheit.

guess who is coming to town?


The G20 is taking place in Brisbane, about an hour’s drive from our Village. All week military helicopters having been flying over our house, first as training exercises and later, I can only surmise, as the world’s leaders started arriving.

Jacob Zuma of South Africa was the first to arrive on Thursday. The news reel showed only one wife, perhaps his others were in the luggage compartment.

I was in the school library, 2o minutes west of Brisbane, on Wednesday when Obama’s helicopters made a sortie overhead. Obama was still attending APEC in China, so it was a training run. They were such big, heavy craft that the noise made us stop speaking as we couldn’t be heard, and the sound waves could be felt. It really did feel like an invasion.

I support leaders getting together, but does it have to be in my back yard?


the black trunk and the story it held within

theatre couple

Mr FD and I drove to the city to attend the theatre. Daughter2 had given us tickets to the Lion King which opened recently in Brisbane. It was a matinee, because we no longer pretend that we enjoy going out at night, especially as we now live an hour drive from the city.

theatre lunch

We arrived early enough to have a lovely lunch. I had pumpkin gnocchi with confit mushroom, thyme butter sauce and Pecorino Romano, while Mr FD partook of the seafood and saffron risotto with salmon, calamari, prawn, clams and lemon infused olive oil; both were delicious.

A joint decision was made that we would visit the bathroom before finding our seats. Mr FD of course waltzed right in, while I joined the tail end of the ladies’ line. I was still four from the front of the line when he reemerged. It was only as one reached the front of the line that a sign could be read: “There are only two toilets here. There are 9 on the next floor and 22 on the floor above that.” It would have been nice to have the sign where one commenced standing on line, not as one walked into the toilet!

Our seats were 14 and 15. The issue was that the seats went 14, 13, 16… It was wisely decided that as long as we were all happy a seat was a seat.

I adored the costume design, and the incredible voices. At times so much was happening on stage that I didn’t know where to look!  Incredible puppetry by the actors too.

As it was school holidays and a matinee, there were a large number of children present, naturally. During the performance, when Simba tries to wake his father  Mufasa, who has just died, he calls out, “Daddy!” and a small voice was heard from the audience echoing, “Daddy!” It was such perfect timing, a star was born!

After the performance, we sat out the car park rush with a coffee, before our trip back to the country. The barista, who had served us our lunch, remembered me as I ordered coffee and welcomed me back.  Of course he remembered me, I am unforgettable!


They wouldn’t allow cameras during the performance, so I have photos of the Brisbane CBD skyline to share. Blue sky, spring day.

Brisbane CBD skyline

Brisbane CBD skyline


Brisbane CBD skyline 2


This is the parkland, adjacent to the theatre, QPAC, Brisbane

This is the parkland, adjacent to the theatre, QPAC, Brisbane


“I AM the current curator of the black trunk and the stories it holds within.”
― Hope Barrett, Discovering Oscar

soul nourished

It felt like evening as I left the city behind on my return to The Village, but it was mid afternoon. The heavy dark clouds threatening rain had brought the pseudo twilight. In my little motorised cocoon I felt well pleased with my lot.

Brisbane River

Brisbane river 2


This morning Daughter1, Mr Boy, Petite Fille and I ventured out in the most glorious sunshine to the markets. These markets are situated on the banks of the Brisbane River and sell a mixture of organic and artisan foods, as well as original clothing and gift items, mixed with a rotation of buskers.

We walked the entire length of the markets, mapping out where we would return, before retracing our route. We stopped half way, and sat with Petite Fille in the park while Mr Boy sourced coffee for the grow ups. Afterwards, we purchased paella and a loaf of fresh potato and blue vein cheese bread.

Markets May 2014

I lost one  of my slices of my bread to Petite Fille who decided that an extra slice was just what a fashionista needed for her lunch.

At home, while Petite Fille napped, D1 and I lounged on her oh so comfy sofas and drank tea, gossiped, checked Pinterest and snuggled under blankets as the autumn chill closed in.

So it was a very happy Granny who left the city this afternoon to drive back to her country life.

there is a rule for that


One last word on THE HOTEL. To be honest, it turned out to be very convenient and rather comfortable, even if the shower was too small and the shower head shot the water up the wall above my head. The receptionist was also rather indifferent and not particularly welcoming. All staff we sighted were Asian and I really do think they have a different concept of customer service than what Australians are used too.

However, unlike most hotels that offer services everywhere one turns, this one had rules everywhere and for everything. There was also a dollar value on many misdemeanours as well. To use the tennis court (luckily Mr FD declined its usage) a guest was expected to pay a $100 deposit. There was no mention if this was refundable!

It was such a schoolmistress mentality that it became a running joke between Mr FD and I.

“Do you want a cup of tea?”
“There is probably a rule for how many times the kettle can be used.”
“And it will cost $100!”

Just to prove my point:

Roma Street Parklands July 2013 001

Roma Street Parklands July 2013 002


Surgery is a walk in the park

Not only was our hotel directly across the road from the aforementioned desired hotel of preference, I could in fact lie in my bed to view it in all its whitewashed glory. Oh, lucky me.

We tumbled into the hospital reception area ten minutes early for our 6.30 am appointment, miracles of miracles, only to be handed one of those buzzers they hand out in pubs to summon patrons when it is time to collect meals. We were told Mr FD was fourth on the surgery list and we would be called.

After what seemed an age Mr FD asked me the time and we both realised that we had been there for a total of 15 minutes. An hour and a half later Mr FD got “buzzed” to come on down! We were directed around the corner to the right and to another set of chairs.

On the way Mr FD spied the toilet and detoured which I knew was going to cause complications, and it did. No sooner had we settled, we being me and a very small boy with his father, when an ancient female volunteer appeared to take us downstairs. I apologised for Mr FD and she settled in a chair to await the bathroom escapee. I belittled Mr FD in his absence, as was his due.

Never one to disappoint, Mr FD arrived and as way of apologising announced that it was a fine thing he had gone to the bathroom as it had allowed him to discover that his boxer shorts were on inside out. I mumbled something about “too much information” with which small boy’s father agreed with a smile and nod of his head as we shuffled behind the old woman into the elevator and descended into the depths of the surgical area.

Another half hour of trying to not cough phlegm over anyone (in a hospital!) and to blow out the mucous factory in my nose somewhat discreetly and less like a trumpet passed by until Mr FD was finally handed more paperwork, asked more questions and then taken beyond the swinging doors.

While Mr FD was whiling his time away in surgery, I went for breakfast in the hospital cafeteria where I treated myself to a bang up breakfast of pre-prepared bacon and hard poached eggs and the flattest toast I have ever witnessed. I had been kind enough not to eat in front of Mr FD as he had been nil by mouth from 8pm the night before and this is how I get repaid! It did only cost $8 which was considerably better than the $23 the hotel wanted for a “continental breakfast” of single serve all bran cereal, artificial milk, muesli bar and dried fruit mix.

After my hospital grade repast it was time for the morning constitutional, or in my case a slow, huffing, puffing, coughing stagger through the Roma Street Parklands across the street from the hospital. We lived in Brisbane for 10 years and in all that time, despite numerous self-promises to do so,(hello, anyone there? Am I even listening?) I had never visited the Parklands (sacre bleu!)

Roma Street Parklands July 2013 012

Roma Street Parklands July 2013 013

Roma Street Parklands July 2013 017

Roma Street Parklands July 2013 018

Roma Street Parklands July 2013 021

Roma Street Parklands July 2013 025

Roma Street Parklands July 2013 026

Roma Street Parklands July 2013 028

Roma Street Parklands July 2013 029

Roma Street Parklands July 2013 030

So, being a country visitor to the big city I turned tourist and took in the local sights, not only the parklands, but also some of the quintessential original Queensland architecture.

Roma Street Parklands July 2013 003

Roma Street Parklands July 2013 005

Roma Street Parklands July 2013 008

Roma Street Parklands July 2013 009

At 11.30 I got not one, but two phone calls from the hospital to say that Mr FD was in recovery and could be collected at 1.45pm. Two calls, because the nurse forgot she had already spoken to me and called again! Mr FD was not allowed to walk the 100 metres back to our hotel, so I drove out of our hotel, turned left, turned left again and then turned left once more, with a final left into the hospital entrance to park at the front door. Does that qualify as a square route?

I asked very nicely for Mr FD at the front desk as instructed, but apparently they wanted him a little longer so I was forced to wait in the lobby. After about five minutes I looked at my arm and realised that I had pulled my pullover on inside out! I thought I could probably carry it off as a fashion statement until I realised that the laundry tag would be exposed at the neckline and so pulling my scarf a little looser to camouflage what I could I slunk over to lean, back against the wall. (Now you know why Mr FD and I are such a match – we are challenged by dressing. I have to honestly admit that it has happened more than once or twice…)

Mr FD was wheeled out in a wheelchair, right to curb’s edge, something I had only ever seen previously on American television shows. Last time, Mr FD two knees had been operated on in the very same hospital and he had been forced to hobble out to the car park. I have undergone cancer operations and the loss of body parts and never been offered a wheel chair for Big Whatever’s sake!

I was handed back a very chipper Mr FD who, if it is humanly possible, was even more talkative than usually. He was feeling no pain, but I soon was as he talked and talked and talked. His medication was working a wee bit too well and would continue to do so all day. It was about this time that I regretted my suggestion that we take the hotel room for two nights in case he needed an overnight stay in hospital, and was now trapped in a very confined space for the rest of the afternoon.

There was no escape, and so a woman has to do what a woman has to do. I drove out of the hospital grounds, turned left, and then turned left before turning left into the underground hotel car park and depositing Mr FD at the car park elevator.

Mr FD really enjoyed his surgery. He told me (again and again until bedtime) about the various conversations shared with fellow patients, the caring nurses who had seen to his every need and ha ha ha about the many jokes he had cracked with the doctors (and yet he escaped a lobotomy). A little social butterfly was he, as he worked the operation theatre.

The surgeon is not sure how long this repair job will last, eventually Mr FD will require a knee replacement. I think the poor man is actually looking forward to it. Do you think he needs more care and attention at home?

I’ll talk to Augie Dog, perhaps he will care and attend…

this is becoming a habit, a very nice habit

Another Saturday, another open house run by our realtor. This week there was a very interested family, and they said that they would be back next week with a friend. The importance of the friend I don’t know. Perhaps someone who can advise them on changes they might want to make. So, still playing the waiting game.

This week we went to a local Austrian cafe. It is called the K&K Bakery, but it actually serves full Austrian style meals and serves alcohol, so not your usual bakery!

I ordered the bauern grostel . My mother used to cook a version when I was a child. From memory it was a Sunday night dish, I suppose made from the left overs from Sunday lunch.

Mr FD was having difficulty choosing what to order and I jokingly said, “Surely you will order the bluzen (with black pudding)” and so he did. Once the waitress; who was Indian, just goes to show you how multicultural Australia is, took his order he started to worry about it. In fact he tried to say I had made him order it, which was blatantly untrue and all at the table gave him no sympathy.

However, once his plate arrived he was quite impressed, and did in fact enjoy his meal.

Mr and Mrs Boy (daughter1, now looking pregnant as into her second trimester) and Son joined us for lunch. Mr Boy went for a schnitzel.

Mr FD and I were quite taken with the serving dishes, well, rather the handles of ours serving dishes.

We got quite carried away with the Austrian cuisine and ordered a mulled wine to finish our meal.

 Our house better sell soon, or we are going to run up quite a meal bill eating out on a Saturday!


Not me! Look what we ate for Sunday Breakfast :

Daughter2's gingerbread pancakes

and more importantly, my breakfast of salmon and poached eggs!

It was the first time that we had been to The Nook. We were surprised how busy it was, but not surprised as the western suburbs of Brisbane are absolutely starved for restaurants and eateries of all kinds. The food was great; breakfast is my favourite meal to eat out, and the pot of tea I ordered went at least three cups.

Then on to shopping, which was a little disappointing. Ever since the GFC clothes have slipped in quality. Too many badly made items imported. They are wondering why clothing retail is in a dive, I think it is more due to bad buying and over priced, bad quality items than lack of money. So, I purchased one item as did daughter who usually shops up a storm. Their mistake.

Home to bake a birthday for Daughter2. We are celebrating next week, but she has requested a chocolate fruit cake, so I made it this week, so that the flavours have time to blend (included 2/3 cup brandy!).

Do hope your day was pleasant, though I know my day, naturally, would be superior!