Monday, 26 December 2011

Cracker of a joke.

Just being an atheist isn't enough to guarantee a better class of joke in the Christmas cracker.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Christmas Wreath, Australian Style.


I hope the Christmas season is a happy one for you all, whatever your beliefs.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Vegetable Garden Update


Haven't been blogging much but the garden has been growing in my absence.  Basil in the metal pot (had our first fresh pasta with pesto for the year last week).  The closest raised bed is an Aztec mix - corn, pumpkins and climbing beans.  A salad bed (lettuce, coriander, spring onions, parsley and others) behind that and raspberries along the fence.

My Granny always liked to have ripe tomatoes by Christmas - I may make it.  Time will tell. Another salad bed in front of the tomatoes, a tamarillo in the background.  The green bins have climbing beans in one and rhubarb in the other.  Various things in pots - sage, New Zealand spinach, normal chives, garlic chives, tarragon, savoury, chillies, perennial leeks, rocket, strawberries.  Front beds have zucchini and parsley, bush beans.

The worms in the farm seem happy.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Some taxi!


My mum, 78 year old, uses public transport extensively.

The other day she wanted to get to a particular plant nursery and walked down to her nearby bus-stop.  A bus was there already and she asked the driver if he went past the nursery.

"Yes" he replied.  He then looked at his watch and said "Look, I don't start my next run for 20 min.  Hop in, I've got time, I'll take you there now."

And he did.

There are some wonderful people out there.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

The need for a new word.


I love the English language but there is one word missing that it needs:

A word to describe the emotion that you feel when you get up in the morning, look in the mirror, and realise that you have been given a sh*t haircut.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Massacre at the tree of Mulberries


Our mulberry tree is in full fruit at present.

The reason why you wont see them in the shops is that they are very delicate and difficult to pick without bruising and, consequently, getting a very red-purple stain on your hands.

But you had probably guessed that already, hadn't you?

But they were ideal fodder for the saucy part of our 'traditional' Halloween dessert of 'Mud, blood & poached brains'.

For the prosaic, this is dumplings with red berry sauce and chocolate ice-cream.


The tree overhangs the footpath and we happily let people pick what they want, if they want. Some even come to the door and ask if they can.

Saddest question: Are they strawberries?

Friday, 4 November 2011

Keep your head still!

I have watched the doves on our powerlines and their heads don't move when the line (and their body) does but I was fascinated by the extent of 'head-stillness' shown by this chook.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Wholly smoke!


Hong Kong airport, 5pm last Friday.

Surreal lighting, sunlight through smog.

No wonder Chinese people are amazed at the colour of the sky when they come to Melbourne.

Yes, it is meant to be blue.

Friday, 21 October 2011

A Taste of Prague

A beautiful city, this is just a taste of what we saw and did.

I knew Alphonse Mucha (pronounced 'moo-car') did art nouveau posters, this is a section of a church window in St Vitus Church.

Lots of Trams.

Um...some cafe.

For some reason, St George has a big following in Prague. Lots of statues to him. Certainly seems to have wiped out all the dragons.

Segway tourism.

St Vitus Church.

Lots of Art Nouveau decor about the place.

The astronomical clock - very pretty but couldn't figure out how to tell the time on it.

Lots of shops selling puppets.

Spit roast ham in one of the main squares.

Another doorway.

Bridges on the River Vltava.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Off again...


Off travelling tomorrow. Only for about a week and a half this time.

Nephew's wedding in London and then home via Prague. We have heard good things about Prague - Martin & Roni and Simon have been there - but, always the scientist, I felt the need to test the experiment for reproducibility.

I'll let you know how we go.


Sunday, 25 September 2011

The garden is alive!


Some ornamental grape that the possums haven't found yet.

The lovely kissing flowers of the Dogwood.

Some 'Honesty' that the snails haven't found.

One of the 'democratic jungle' spots in my garden.

My brain is about to flower again.

The vaguely phallic Jasmine.

The always beautiful wisteria.

A new wisteria, in the back yard, heads up to the new trellis...

Some vegetables...


Second crop of the purple broccoli.

Broadbeans in full flower, if not quite with pod yet. (Well, it's Melbourne...)

The last of the Tamarillos (could be a movie title.) lurks in the leaves.

Into the blue...


This last week was the first time our solar production exceeded consumption, since week-ending April 2.

Pretty close to the equinoxes, at both ends.

Minor pruning?


Our neighbour has trimmed his Pin Oak. About a third removed.

To the east of us so doesn't affect much, garden-wise. Be interesting to see how it goes/grows over the summer. Stay posted.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Spring is coming.


I always love it when the magnolia flowers.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Thirty Years


Thirtieth wedding anniversary today.

Where did that time go?

With all that is going on at present, the mood for celebration is not high. But we will have the family around for dinner tonight. My suggestion of Sticky Date Pudding for dessert was vetoed for some reason.

As was Roly-Poly Pudding.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

The Archibalds


The Archibald Prize is an annual prize for portraiture in Australia.

Every year the thirty or so finalists go on tour and I try to catch them when they are in Victoria. This year they were on display at the stunning Tarrawarra Museum (and winery) in the Yarra Valley.

The winner was a painting of Australian artist Margaret Ollie. (Above)

To put its size in perspective, here is a picture of the artist with Margaret, in front of the painting:

A fascinating cross-section of styles on display and then lunch at the winery.

Not very hard to take at all!

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Variety, being the spice of life. And cooking.


Going across numerous food barriers tonight (we have a three course candle-lit dinner every Saturday. Numbers vary depending on who is home, who is visiting, who is in town. If you are in town, drop in.).

Starter: Chickpea pancakes with spicy cauliflower, lamb and yoghurt.

Main: Curry laska.

Dessert: Lime curd puddings with apricot puree and vanilla ice cream.

Something to please everyone.

I have made a laksa from scratch a couple of times before but, today, opted to use a commercial laksa paste. I wandered into an Asian grocer and and a lady asked what I was looking for.

"If you were making a Laksa, which of these pastes would you use?" I asked. (probably she would make her own but I asked anyway.)

"Well" she replied "Caucasians usually prefer this one..."

Now, that wasn't what I asked her. If I wanted the Caucasian preferred laksa paste I could buy it from Woolworths. I wasn't sure if that was racism or not.

I eventually opted for one from Singapore - laksas are from Malaysia so they should know something about them. The other products, Caucasian preferred to boot, were from Thailand.


Sunday, 17 July 2011

Still alive. Sort of. Kind of.


Blogging enthusiasm has been at an all time low of late.

Originally this blog was started as a core family blog but few, if any, family seem to read it. One maybe. Around it were three other blogs covering sex, religion and politics. This meant I could rant and rave 'off broadway' and not startle the gentler members of my reading family. The religion and sex blogs still exist but I am not planning any posts. I think I have said all I want to on those subjects.

The active blogs are listed in the side bar on the right. A chemistry one that will get spasmodic posts, as required, and I am keeping the original political blog as there is too much disinformation out there not to point at it in amazement or dismay from time to time.

Through all of this my alter ego, Mr Newbery, has continued to write his rhyming slant on the world.

The blog no longer automatically posts to Facebook but I will manually add links as it seems appropriate.

Monday, 6 June 2011

How do you say "I told you so" in German?

Several years ago, I wrote that sprouts were the most dangerous food in the world.

You can read the original post here.

With reports out of Germany pointing the finger at bean sprouts as being the source of the current E.coli out break, and associated deaths, it seems I may have been right.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Saturday, 30 April 2011

Yeah, I watched it...


We watched the Royal Wedding.

Champagne, Crown Roast, vegetables and Queen of Puddings. That made it worth it.

You cannot beat the British for pageantry. And that was worth it too.

But the service touched no chords - as an atheist, it made no sense at all.

And The Age, dumb as ever, had a headline this morning "And now the fairytale begins!".

Didn't anyone tell them that fairytales end when the prince marries the princess?

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

A bird by any other name...


Strange bird that stalks around my front garden.

Anyone know what it is?

Rummaging in 'What Bird is That?' suggests a 'Painted Quail'.

Monday, 25 April 2011

But what to eat?


I only recently learned that May 21st is Judgement Day.

Yeah, May 21st this year. Doesn't give me a lot of time to study.

You can get some details here.

And the End of the World is apparently pencilled in for five months later. Presumably it takes that long to do the paperwork, get the permits from council and the EPA, that sort of thing.

But, one thing at a time.

Judgement Day, May 21st, is a Saturday. I always have a three course dinner on a Saturday.

What should I cook for dinner?

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Truth in advertising?


Not only an honest description, they spelt 'dough' correctly!