Despite being home a couple of weeks or so now things are not yet settled into any kind of normal routine. If I thought there'd be plenty of time for online visiting I was wrong!
Last week I was consumed by trying to write up my trip for both a report I have to do and for my next E-newsletter. Emails have been coming in that are really interesting and I've not yet had time to get back to some of them which, fortunately, don't require immediate response.
So what have I been up to?
Coming home one night I drove by this tree laden with paper lanterns in the church grounds in Racecourse Rd. Its such a beautiful tree and its in blossom now... the branches spread out horizontally and if you look closely you will see children running under the tree.
This is a similar tree I saw next day in a nearby street... an introduced species the Poinsiana is so colourful when in blossom. It feels like Xmas is near when the red and green are this vibrant. My neighbourhood has so many of these trees.
With all that time on the computer writing I am relishing the fact I am not stuck in one place since getting a lap-top. Last week was a search for places with wifi to spend the hours... and of course an old favourite destination is the State Library.
Only problem was the day I was there I soon realised the breeze was more like a gale which seemed to have blown away any humidity and most other customers. I retired indoors. The rain soon came!
This upstairs room is a glass sanctuary added on to the side of the Media room. The u-shaped lounge area has individual reading lamps which you can adjust ... its not unusual to see people snoozing here or at least getting very comfortable. I loved the fact you could sit and watch the rain falling on the glass roof.
I parked my chair at a small table here and was tapping away on my newsletter which is still not quite finished. Its taken a lot of writing to get the entire trip down and then the work of culling had to begin in order to make it readable. That's taking the longest time.
The weekend thankfully was taken up with quite different tasks... catching up with friends... a birthday celebration, market shopping.
Last night I created a long table out the back in the garden at home to bring together a few people I wished to thank who'd played a crucial role in getting my trip off the ground. I could have easily created a table for many more who were gracious contributers, however, I decided being so out of practice with catering I'd best have modest aims and so several key people, partners and family sat together in the wonderful evening outside enjoying each others company.
I shopped at nearby markets and took out my Ottolenghi cookbook 'Plenty' which I referenced but ran out of time to follow recipes too closely.
Out of practice is right... I forgot you need some stamina to cook up a storm. My mother, bless her, helped out... making a fabulous big nectarine cake from a much loved polish friend Krysia's repertoire... Krysia recently passed away, well in her nineties, and she would have so loved this dinner. In her memory we made her recipe, substituting blood plums, which are available around january if you are lucky, for nectarines. It was delicious even if the blood plums are unbeatable really because of the stunning colour which stains the cake as it bubbles up in the cooking!
At the end of the night... a few of us sat up late and talked .... the evening was so mild and pleasant. I took a shot of the table at the end of the night My brother had strung the light over the table which was just the best thing ever. One of those odd xmas lights he found that day and thought...what the heck...we'll see how it goes!
It was sublime in that it glowed, you could see each other but it was quite ambient. I rather liked this shot at the end as a reminder of all the conversations that lingered in the air. Halfway through dinner an owl had come and perched on top of the nearby clothesline... contentedly watching over us. Every night it comes... keeping the possums away ... stopping them from eating the contents of the garden!
This morning I took great pleasure in opening a gift that kind friend Marilena had brought along for me. She makes gift giving an art-form... i should take note. My creative energies are generally put elsewhere!
Seeds in various forms... spice mixes and Massala chai tea she'd made herself... so fresh the aroma was amazing! She packaged seeds with small labels for growing. There was a wonderful seed-bead necklace and spicy tomato jam she'd made. A handmade card and envelope and the Indian spice set with recipe booklet.
The beads on the envelope sewn from recycled paper
Massala chai tea mix on a handmade ceramic plate I bought in London
Seeds she packed into these hand sewn envelopes.
Well, tomorrow I hope to finally get the new E-newsletter out. Stay tuned if you want to read an overview of the trip for the link to the e-newsletter.
I hope you've all had a lovely weekend and life is treating you well!