19 September 2008

Shiver me timbers - it's Hanno's birthday!

It's Hanno's birthday today - 19 September, he is 68. It's also International Talk Like a Pirate Day, a fact I'll remind him of over lunch. LOL! We have made plans to have lunch at a restaurant up in the mountains, we'll meet a friend there and, no doubt, have a lovely time. I have to tell you, he is getting better with age. The days we spend together here now are the best days of our lives - we have the freedom to do whatever we want and each day is full of interest as, piece by piece, we work towards our plans. It's a wonderful thing to know you can completely trust someone and to have a deep mutual respect. I doubt there are a lot of things we can be sure of but I know, without a doubt, that we'll be together until we die. Hopefully that's a long way off for both of us.

One of the ladies who reads my blog has two cartons of size 27 Fowlers jars to give away. They have no clips or lids but are in good condition. If you live on the north side of Brisbane and can meet her somewhere local to collect them, send me an email: rhondahetzel at gmail dot com and I'll pass on her details. First email to arrive from Brisbane's northside will get them.

When my mother was alive she used to often send me letters written on fine air mail paper containing news of the family and carefully cut out articles from newspapers and magazines. They were all articles she thought I'd be interested in and it always made those letters fascinating because not only did I get to read interesting, funny, sad or bizarre articles, I also discovered what she thought I was interested in. She usually had me 100% right. Anyhow, now that mum has gone, my sister/friend Kathleen still regularly sends me letters full of the best articles that otherwise I would never see because I don't buy magazines. Yesterday's was a long complex letter with, naturally, a "Jean cutting" and a little card. The card says: "When I count my blessings, I count you twice." It's an old Irish proverb. I love that the card is of fish swimming upstream against the tide - something I have done all my life. Kathleen knows me well. (Thanks Kathleen Alice.) The Jean cutting was an article by Germaine Greer talking about her own aging. She is almost 70 now and is still in fine form. I sometimes see her on ABC TV now and having spent much of her recent life in the UK, I was surprised and delighted to fine that she now lives near me here in south east Queensland.

She writes: "If I eat too much in the evening I can't sleep, so I don't cook big dinners or eat them or go out for them or accept invitations to them. This means I've dropped out of the bottom of the chattering classes and cafe society. I'd rather be somewhere, anywhere else, on this most adorable of planets. I can be happy wherever there's a patch of waste ground with a few wild things on it. I'm happiest on my scrap of Queensland any time, but best of all in the indigo evening, as the sunlight on the rhyolite crags above the darkening green canopy turns gold, then rose, and fades altogether, and the microbats swing overhead, the stars rush out, and the forest comes to life." Nice. Welcome home, Germaine.

We are still getting a lot of food from the backyard. They are always simple meals, we are passed the days of extravagant food. Last week we dined on the most delicious Dutch cream potatoes, newly dug from the garden. I peeled and chopped them into chunks, fried a small onion in olive oil, then added one teaspoon of curry powder and one teaspoon of turmeric, salt and pepper and let them cook to develop that lovely golden colour. After about 10 minutes I added half a cup of water - that was allowed to evaporate off and they were ready. It was served with a garden salad, just picked and on the plate ten minutes later. Dessert was strawberry tarts with fresh strawberries (pictured above). I had some uncooked pastry leftover from the lemon tart I made when my cousin Suzie was here so I used that to make a few little tarts. I filled them with home made strawberry jam, the last of my September 2006 batch, and still as good as the day I made it. The cooled tarts were topped with fresh local strawberries bought for 99 cents.

Life's good.

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