Sunday, February 8, 2009

Smoke in the Sky

This weekend is a very sad one.

In Victoria and New South Wales, bushfires continue to claim property and lives, with 35 now confirmed dead and many more missing and assumed dead.

Bushfires are part of our national identity, and not a summer goes by where they don't cause destruction all over the country. I vividly remember a week summers and summers ago, I might have been twelve or thirteen at the time, when we were sitting outside our Sydney home, watching the sky turn sludge brown in the 40 degree heat.
By mid-afternoon the sun was almost completely blacked out by the smoke in the sky, and the light was like nothing I'd ever seen before. It was like looking at the world through red-tinted glasses, still daylight but strangely coloured.
Ash started to fall. Big white flakes all over our balcony railings, carried from the fires in the bush straight to us.
My next door neighbour kept the most beautiful roses, perfect, enormous blood red blossoms. That's the image I remember. White flakes of ash on blood red roses.

I remember exactly how I felt then, and still feel now. There's a very perverse beauty in a fire. It's an exquisitely beautiful assertion of nature's phenomenal power. It reminds us that we are mere mortals and that nature can still trump us on every account. It's hostile and violent but even in our fear and anger towards its seemingly pointless destruction we have to feel a certain reverence for it.

Even as I say that, there is still incredible sadness in our hearts today as we hear more and more reports of destruction and loss of life in Victoria and New South Wales.

Please, keep your thoughts and hearts with the 500 firefighters that have been working 16 hour shifts overnight, trying to combat the 50 or more blazes that speckle the East, as well as with those who have lost their homes and loved ones overnight.

Please, if you are in Australia (or in fact anywhere around the world) you can lend your support in the following ways:

- Donating to the Rural Fire Service ( or via the Victorian Fire Hotline (180 2211 180 2211)
-Sponsoring NSW Fire Brigades.
- Encouraging and supporting volunteer fire fighters and becoming a volunteer fire fighter yourself.
- Donating to State Disaster Relief in Victoria and NSW.
- Donating blood as soon as possible if you are a registered donor.
- Observing the TOTAL FIRE BAN, including not smoking or chucking your butts outside.

Volunteer fire fighters have gone out into fire zones after losing their own homes and loved ones. Would that we could all show such selflessness and bravery.

Please keep residents and fire fighters in Rural Australia in your thoughts and prayers.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Towers and Trees

Once upon a time our cathedrals were the trees. We worshipped with our knees in the earth and our eyes on the sky.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Sunday in Pictures

Good morning, beautiful flowers from a beautiful boy. Good morning fresh fruit! Good morning beautiful Sunday morning!

A feast of thick crunchy toast, antipasto and other delicious things I found in the fridge.

And of course my mum's fantastic (yumyumyumyumyum) Greek Salad.
And here comes the darling flower-bearer's requisite appearance in Sunday, doing his newspaper crossword... I must say I find there to be something so wonderfully intimate and endearing in that image.
I decided to go swimming at the beach... I can't go for a week without being with the ocean, it's so silly. So we packed our beach bags and waited impatiently to get there.
A sweet little fabric flower wrapped around my belt-loop made my day (and my outfit... heh).
Finally we got to the beach. I look like I've been swimming in this picture but it is in fact because my sister poured a bottle of water over my head. Still, it was so wonderful to be on the sand again. I was so so very excited to go swimming with my goggles and look at all the amazing fish that live in Clovelly (there are a family of Blue Groper that are like big beautiful puppy dogs under the sea).

Alas, it was not to be... as I first stepped out into the water I noticed something bobbing on top of the water. It was a bluebottle.
FUCK. That is so annoying.
For anyone who is unfamiliar, bluebottles are fucking horrible little stinging (for lack of a better word) jellyfish that sit on the surface of the water waiting to sting the shit out of people who are dumb or unlucky enough to swim through their path. My mum tells horror stories about big dirty long ones that wrapped themselves around her leg when she was young. They're not life-threatening but they are incredibly painful. And there's never just one - if you see one you can bet your life there are a thousand more blobbing towards you.
Basically, when you see one, you get out of the water. So there goes that great beach adventure. Poo.
The funny thing about bluebottles is that they have no choice in who they sting - they have no muscles or motor skills, they are just a pouch of air that floats on the water's surface and a tangle of blue tentacles that stretch out below. They don't attack, they just float where the sea takes them. Tomorrow morning the beach will be covered with them - they'll wash up on the beach and die, turning dark as they dry up in the sun. Wouldn't it be horrible to have that little control? One thing's for sure, when you're at the very bottom of the Buddhist cycle of reincarnation, you're a fucking bluebottle. Poor bastards. Still, get the hell away from me.

After our failed swimming expedition we returned home where I cooked my weekly meal. This week it was Emily's delicious Cherry Pilaf, with lovely firm grape tomatoes and beans.

Followed by DESERT PIZZA. Banana/Apple with caramel sauce. Oh my goodness. Death and heaven all in one.

Have happy weeks ahead, my loves!


I succumb ridiculously easily to illness.

It's a pain in the... yeah. So anyway. It has been Cold City here in sunny Sydney for the last couple of days (hence the lack of posting... I have light-sensitive eyes when I get sick and the computer screen, she kills me...) so my usually robust diet has been limited.

Let me share with you my Cold & Flu Diet. It's very very simple.

1. Sweet Elixir Of Life (Lemon Honey Drink)
Half boiling water half tap water, the juice of half a lemon and a big teaspoon of delicious and nutritious manuka honey.

2. Solids.
Good toast dipped in olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It's about all I can handle and it's just perfect on a weak stomach and stuffy head.

I hope this little diet soothes you my dears when you are feeling sick in the future.