Another summer of homegrown goodness, and it’s all come to its inevitable end. No more mangoes. All gone. The last few have been chopped up for one last day of snacking but the rest must be frozen for posterity. Cryogenic mango will save the day in the months to come. – the trick is to use them wisely.
A belated Christmas check in with you all. I hope you had a sane day/s with your family. If not, I hope you were safe and warm and fed and at peace. I fear more and more people don’t have “somewhere to go” during the holidays. I hope if you weren’t with family, you got a smile from someone.
Our family’s Christmas venue changes each year – and that’s ok. What ties us to the years before is what we do on the day. We make sure we do the little things each year to celebrate the season and the beginning of a new year.
It’s a simple as:-
- a tupperware server full of nibbles – chocolate scorched almonds, choccie peanuts, jubes, rumballs, cashews, macadamia nuts. And it magically refills overnight to be full again for the feet up tradition of watching the Boxing Day test and the start of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race
- a bowl of mock chicken dip (my Nanna’s recipe and made by mum)
- a tray full of mangoes – eaten over the sink or in a bowl with ice-cream
- copious cups of coffee and tea and a good chat over each one
- cold roast chicken and ham off the bone with salads galore for lunch, dinner, lunch, dinner…you get the idea!
- christmas cake or pudding with custard – although no-one ever has the room
- short walks in the heat to stretch the legs and amuse the dog
- a christmas tree with gifts under it and cards amongst the branches
- at least one gag gift – this year I got an M&M dispenser….”You get in the bowl!” Ha.
- no twitter/facebook/texting – but lots of calls
And the best Christmas gift of all – a cracking storm that dumped enough rain to fill the tanks and back up the down pipes.
Here’s cheers to you and yours.
So, the second day at the Gabba for the first Australia vs South Africa test in 49 years has been delayed due to rain. Rather than wait all day, I’ve bailed and will go back in for tomorrow’s play (fingers crossed it happens).
Regardless, there’s always a silver lining if your eyes are open – here’s the pretty view on the way back to pick up the car.
I love this time of year. It’s starting to cool down – it only topped out to 25 degrees today here in Brissie. Brrrrrrrrr.
The rug is now down on the wood floor. Still in cotton socks to walk around, but will be breaking out the woollie ones soon enough. If there’s one thing we subtropical people do well, it’s rug up for the chilly stuff.
A few more degrees and I’ll be changing out the northern hemisphere coats and thermal underwear. Yes, thermals and polyprops! In Brisbane! Anything under 20 degrees and it’s positively Antarctic (relatively speaking).
Stay warm, everyone.
Before we move on past Anzac Day, I should teach you all the proper way of eating a Tim Tam. If you’re not familiar with Aussie confections, you may not have come across these lightly wafered choc dipped biccies. (* Aussies do not use the word ‘cookies’. That is American). The Tim Tam is Aussie as, and there is a right and a wrong way to eat one. Let the lesson begin…
Take the Tim Tam in your hands and nibble off one corner. Turn said Tim Tam around and nibble on the diagonal corner. This turns the Tim Tam into a straw – its MAGIC.
Pour yourself a glass of your favourite beverage – scotch, rum, kahlua, baileys…anything you think would go nicely with the choccie flavour of the biccie. Please note, tea and coffee are for advanced students only!
Lower biccie into drink – trick for young players is to tip the glass slightly – without spilling – obviously. SUCK until the smooth liquid is drawn up through the chocolately goodness and becomes mush from the inside out. ** NB: tea and coffee melt the little sucker quicker than you think. One second you’ll be holding a Tim Tam, the next it’s molten lava.
This is my favourite photo from when I was in Gallipoli in 1997.
A bus full of Aussie and Kiwis poured out at each memorial site within the National Park. We didn’t have a guide to go around the 10 or so sites we endeavoured to get to – but then we didn’t really need a guide. We all grew up with the stories of these places. On the bus was the time to share with each other what we’d learned from childhood onwards about places called The Nek, Lone Pine, and Shrapnel Valley.
Once the bus stopped, there was no talking. Everyone scattered. Lots stood quietly, walking the tracks in silence. We tidied the graves as we went – picking out weeds, chipping of bird droppings, using our drinking bottles to water the plants that other visitors had planted previously. At two stops we searched for the grave stones of family.
One of our first stops was Anzac Cove. It was such a beautiful day. The sun shining, birds were chirping. The only thing missing was a bunch of kids skylarking in the water. You could have heard a pin drop, until Scotty started playing the “kiwi lament” on his harmonica. Awesome. Haunting. Extraordinarily touching.
We were running out of time as there’s a curfew on the Park access. We voted to skip a few places so we could make it up to Chanuk Bair – the New Zealand memorial. It’s a stunning memorial. It is also one of the few that still has maintained trenches at the site. The sun was starting to set so we had to go. This is when the boys in particular didn’t want to leave. A lot of bartering and maneuvering was attempted with the bus driver to come back in the morning and pick up those who wanted to sleep rough on the hill. No go. Such a wrench to leave – no one was ready to go.
Lest we forget.
It’s weird how all the imagery for the “big” Christian holidays are from the northern hemisphere. Easter – rebirth, spring, etc – when we’re heading into winter and hibernation. I reckon we time the chocolate fest best though – get a good head start on the winter spread and whack on a lump of lard before it even starts cooling down. It’s still 30 degrees celcius outside, but the chocolate is cool as I like it best out of the freezer. Anyway, happy easter to you. I hope you caught up with family and friends, warmed through a few hot cross buns and had a nice cuppa with a choccie for afters. Our family has a big fry up breakfast and then roast for lunch (a late one thankfully). Too much food, way too much. But lovely to see everyone anyway.