Sunday, 31 January 2010

Culinary Magic Arts

For the last couple of weeks, two of my colleagues have been very busy. Tomorrow the auditors will arrive. They are prepared, they are organised enough to take on the most stringent inspection.
This afternoon I made a batch of date scones to take for tomorrow’s morning tea. They love date scones. I reckon they will need the sustenance – a sugar high should float anyone through spreadsheets and columns of figures (or whatever they do at audits). It’s the answer to everything. “You’re sad – eat”, “You’re stressed – eat”, “You are about to meet your future mother in law –eat” “You are going to an interview for CEO – eat”.
This got me thinking, perhaps the financial crisis could have been averted if there had been more access to comfort food in the lofty towers of Wall Street. You have to admit, major decisions are always easier during or after a sugar high. Maybe if Alan Greenspan had been offered date scones with his coffee, he wouldn’t have given such lousy financial leadership for so long. Lehmann Brothers should have served cupcakes at their board meeting. Complementary macarons could have made traders fingers even stickier at the New York Stock Exchange.
There is no science to this theory, but it beats into a meringue a few of the others I’ve read about.

Friday, 29 January 2010

All rather obvious really!

One of my pleasures in the summer is going to bed just before sunset, and leaving the curtains open, so I can watch the lights go on in the houses that snuggle on the opposite hill. There have been a few new builds recently, and the plots of land between each house are becoming smaller.
Last night I kept looking up from my book and squinting at a house that was all in darkness. Was it for sale? Was no one at home? Had they all gone to the rock concert in town (AC/DC were whipping up a frenzy in our stadium)? I was just about to lose hope, and one light blinked on. I was unreasonably excited by it. Who were the new people on the hill and where had they been all evening?
This morning, as I walked down to the station to catch my train into town, I had reason to smile at the hedge, which borders the long steep set of steps. About half of the hedge comprises a very delicate bamboo, which has become overgrown with neglect. I began to imagine pandas scattered randomly around the neighbourhood, grazing and stripping the hedge. Large, fluffy black and white puddings sitting on back doorsteps and at picnic tables, chomping their way through the hedge-cuttings.
Then I connected the two pictures. That was why the house was in darkness last night; the occupants were on a panda hunt.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Closing the circle

When I was 14, I had a Saturday job working for a lapidarist. His studio and shop were up two flights of stairs in the attic of a mid Victorian building in the town next door to ours. It was the 1970's and polished semi-precious stones were very "in" for jewellery. I made a number of pieces myself from various underwhelming mineral specimens. I loved the job and would have paid my boss just to be there!
All my adult life I have haunted jewellers and gold souqs. I even had coffee once with the wonderful Greek designer, Illias Lalaounis. We met quite by chance. I didn't know who he was, I just happened to be in a museum dedicated to his life's work! I rattled on over a very strong Greek coffee about my passion for all things gemological. He waited until I drew breath to introduce himself! Possibly the most embarrassing experience of my life. But I digress.
Fast forward thirty years, and I am "hobbying" again with jewellery, selling the pre-loved kind to raise funds for various charities. The experience of these last four years have stirred up that passion for gems again. I don't want to own them, but I love handling them and identifying them.
Last Saturday was grey and miserable, so I headed to the library with my better half. I did a search for every book I could find on gemology. I left with four heavy tomes. I have since sourced a course to study gemology by distance learning. So armed only with a Geology "O" level and a Kimberley mine of enthusiasm, I'm going to put my passion to the test and sign up for a course based in the USA.
And for those of you who know me well, and would like to assist me on my journey, dig out a few rocks and let me see if I can identify them for you.

Monday, 18 January 2010

And now, the weather

Quote from this morning's Dominion Post. "The Wellington region was lashed by wild weather at the weekend, recording double its average monthly rainfall in just two days." It's no wonder the cats never bothered to get out of bed.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

The Princess and the laundry basket

The weather has been so hideous in the last 48 hours, the Princess has taken to her bed. She has emerged only for food and toilet.

I have not slept much in the last two nights, the storm has been so noisy. She has slept through it all.

I want to house hunt - anywhere warm without wind. She has her house, under the heating vent; her own mini Italy.

Humpf - if only it were as easy as that for a human. Move over Ms Biscotti, I'd like my own slice of the Riviera!

Saturday, 16 January 2010

That which disturbs our night

Why is it that when we wake in the early hours (in my case 3 am), things that generally don't bother us during the day, suddenly take on gargantuan proportions?
We have a terrible storm going through at the moment. It started about 8pm last night, and the wind has HOWLED for 12 hours. It shows no sign of blowing out. We have a 3 metre high cabbage tree in the garden, and if it were to ever fall down the hill, would cause significant damage. In 120km/hr winds it rocks like a metronome. But on a still day is as steady as a rock.
However, last night, I was convinced that branches would snap off and fly around the garden. I thought our roof would peel off and the cats would escape and die.
I gave up trying to sleep at 6am and got up. Now I'm exhausted, but all the nightmares have gone, and all I see now is a storm in paradise from the comfort of my lovely home.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Blousey and beautiful

Bee landing pads

Poppy Central

A patch of garden which was destroyed when we laid new drains has produced some of the most amazing flowers, planted by nature herself. This includes miniature pansies and these ENORMOUS poppies. There has to be a lesson there - about rubble hiding beauty.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Parliamentary Pohutukawa

A glorious sunny day yesterday, and the pohutukawa were blossoming outside parliament.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Mr Jack and the bed of bark

Jack is a guard/receptionist/rodent exterminator/orchard prowling cat at Eden's Edge. After a morning checking out the property, following the guests to their accommodation and generally keeping an eye on things, he has earned a cat nap on the bark.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

And now, the weather

Once again, Britain is coming to a halt because of snow. Admittedly, they are experiencing severe snow dumps, but when oh when will the government invest in an infrastructure and travel system that can cope? Scandanavia doesn't grind to a standstill because of snow. Neither does Canada. Perhaps a few government "fact finding" jollies should be aimed in that direction? Let the politicians do something useful for a change.

Climate change isn't going away people!

And to my friends who are snowed in or facing meteorological challenges, please take care out there.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Friday, 1 January 2010

Waiting to hear from you

Post boxes Upper Moutere