Archive for August, 2008


August 31, 2008

We went shopping…

Coffee with MissN at a cafe after school: $5.50

2 dresses, a cardigan and retro bag at the Anglicare shop: $37.50

Watching my little girl blossom into a beautiful young lady: Priceless

MissN in her op shop find

MissN in her op shop find

Skywatch Friday

August 28, 2008

Skywatch Friday is hosted here.

Mystery Bay again.

Mystery Bay

Mystery Bay

I love how the shapes of the clouds seem to echo the shapes of the rocks. Montague island on the horizon. We have not yet visited there. Too much to do on the mainland!  Wonderful snorkelling here.  Stingrays and huge sea urchins.  A beach where sea eagles are common. Once I sat on the beach with my binos while C and MissN were body boarding and simultaneously watched a sea eagle, a whistling kite and a peregrine falcon.  It doesn’t get much better than that.

And a sunset from the cottages:

sunset Mystery Bay

sunset Mystery Bay

We need to plan another visit, probably sans MissN who has grown a bit teen-weary of the unspoiled far south coast.  But she has memories for a life-time, of dolphins in the surf at 1080 beach on her 9th birthday, and a plane trip in a 4 seater on her 10th birthday, of fish she has caught in Wallaga and Wallagoot and Corunna lakes and fudge from Central Tilba, and fluffy cow road (Sunnyside road), and coffee at Casey’s and an octopus in the seagrass as we dined at Pelicans at Narooma, and a bluegrass band at Quarterdeck, and black cockatoos and red parrots and a stingray in the rockpool at brain rock and sea stars… but maybe those are just my memories.  I will have to ask her about hers.

The Obama blend

August 26, 2008

I couldn’t resist…

Campos coffee has an Obama blend:

“For those looking for change. Great depth of character, strong, and eloquent. This very appealing blend unites coffees from Africa and the Americas to produce a cup which has gotten us excited. Formidable middle palate flavours, syrupy with an uplifting finish. Excellent drink for going forward.

Of course, there is Kenyan coffee, with other African origins like the Rwandan, blended with solid middle palate Brazil and Indonesian.”

I will have to get some…

Ruby Tuesday #4 – Constanta, Romania and Judgement Day?

August 26, 2008

Today’s Ruby Tuesday photographs (hosted here) are some I took in Constanta, Romania in 2006 when we were on a cruise that visited Greece, Turkey and the Black Sea.  The local press were there to meet the ship – it was the first time a cruise ship had been to Constanta in years! Constanta was dreary and depressing and we were nearly run over.  This car hit the traffic lights not 2m from where we were standing!

almost got hit!

almost got hit!

After an uninspiring time wandering in the town, we were on the bus back to the ship, but I jumped off the bus and went to have a look at this church, St Peter and Paul Orthodox Cathedral, mainly because I was so disappointed with Constanta and was hoping to have one rewarding experience.  The church was interesting, ornate and different.  The frescoes were alarming! The first one depicts a very different view of the afterlife to the one I envisage and hope for!  Here are my RED photos.  It looks like a river of blood is being swallowed by the fish or snake monster in the first.  Scary stuff!  It reminds me of the gruesome Last Judgement by Taddeo di Bartolo in the Collegiata in San Gimignano. The second is less nightmare-ish.

St Peter and paul Orthodox Cathedral

St Peter and Paul Orthodox Cathedral

St Peter and Paul Orthodox Cathedral

St Peter and Paul Orthodox Cathedral

I probably visited 50 or more churches, cathedrals and chapels in the 10 weeks we were in Europe (maybe more) and this was one of the most unusual.

I’m glad I have the assurance of heaven!

Skywatch Friday – Grand Canal, Venice

August 22, 2008

More Skywatch here.

And it’s the Grand Canal in Venice.  We debated about spending 100 Euros on a gondola cruise (we refused the previous time we were in Venice) but we did it and it was WONDERFUL.  Our hotel was situated just near the main gondola basin behind San Marco, and we could look out of the window and watch the activity below.  How could we NOT have a gondola ride?

I love how the buildings play a secondary role to the water and sky, even if they are grand palazzi.  It emphasises to me how transient and ephemeral La Serenissima in all her faded and sinking glory actually is.

Grand Canal - Venice

Grand Canal - Venice

2 Cor 3:11

For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious.

Ruby Tuesday #3 – king parrots & crimson rosellas

August 20, 2008

Today is Ruby Tuesday, which is hosted here and involves posting a photo of your own which features red.

King Parrot

King Parrot

Not a great photo (it was taken through glass) but one of my favourite birds – the king parrot which is found on the east coast of Australia.  This was taken last December at one of my favourite places, Mystery Bay Cottages, at Mystery Bay on the far south coast of New South Wales. We have enjoyed 5 summer holidays there, having gone there the first time when MissN was 3.

These are crimson rosellas.  Well, the birds are.  The crimsons came to be fed a couple of times a day.  The king parrots were very occasional visitors, and the more special because of it.

Crimson Rosella

Crimson Rosellas

MissA, Wendy, MissN

MissA, Wendy, MissN

The first time I saw a crimson rosella (my fourth day in Australia way back in 1987) I could not believe the intensity of the colour.  They continue to bless me now each time I see them, 21 years later, and I never tire of the thrill of spotting or watching them.  They aren’t common around where we live (they need more bush) but I have seen both king parrots and crimson rosellas down on Majors Bay (on Sydney harbour) which is maybe 1-2 kms away.

How can one look at these birds and not thank the creator for them?

The Omnivore’s hundred

August 19, 2008

Thanks to Fifikins for this meme. I couldn’t resist doing this one as I buy something just because it’s exotic, and then find a recipe… hence I have pigeon peas and belacan and masa harina and wasabi seaweed in my pantry!

Instructions are:

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at linking to your results.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht (I cook borscht – Moosewood recipe)
10. Baba ghanoush (I make my own… on occasion)
11. Calamari (we cook it too – but C is a better calamari chef than I am)
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi (a family favourite thanks to “Bend it like Beckham.. Jasminda… )
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle (mostly in Umbria! I have fond memories of a truffle lunch on Easter Sunday)
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras (not for many years.  C had it often when we were in France but I rarely eat meat now)
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters (Sydney rock oysters are some of the best oysters in the world…)
29. Baklava (now I have a craving for baklava)
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi (MissN makes her own with roasted cumin seeds)
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar – no cigars!!!
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects (I tried honey ants!)
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel (fresh and smoked)
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut (surprisingly no!  MissN said they were sickening)
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum (haven’t made it in a while but I love tom yum goong)
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa (why would one put rose petals in harissa? )
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta (a winter staple at Chez Cayless)
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

My total is (I think.. hope I counted correctly, 57 or 56 and a half, considering the cognac without the cigar)

Here is MissN enjoying churros and hot chocolate in the Chocolateria San Gines in Madrid.

MissN enjoys churros and hot chocolate in Madrid Oct 2006

MissN enjoys churros & hot chocolate - Oct 2006

Anyone game to post their list? (pun intended…)

Skywatch Friday – sunset Cathedral Peak range

August 15, 2008

Thanks again to Melinda for “introducing” me to Skywatch Friday. You can see more Skywatch photos here.

This photo was taken about 4 years ago when I made a 3 week trip to South Africa with MissN to spend time with my father who was dying of cancer.  The three of us spent a few days at Cathedral Peak Hotel in the Drakensberg.  Cathedral Peak had been one of our favourite places when we lived in South Africa, and the scene of our ascent of Cleft Peak (3281m and I will never forget that altitude!) on a 4 day hike/bushwalk in 1986 before we emigrated to Australia.

So I took my father (who had been to Cathedral Peak Hotel with my mother at our suggestion) there for a few days and we had a rewarding time.  The sunsets were especially spectacular and “biblical” in the sense that they evoked memory images of Bible story picture books from my youth, and this photograph captured that atmosphere – that sense of the transcendent communion between heaven and earth by means of a pure light which breaks through the clouds.

This is the sun setting behind the Inner and Outer Horns in the Cathedral Range, which comprises mainly the 4 free standing peaks adjacent to the main escarpment – Inner and Outer Horns, and the Bell and Cathedral Peak which are over to the right out of this photo.

Inner and Outer Horn

Inner and Outer Horn

“1 will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.”
Psalm 121 (I don’t often prefer the KJV!)

And this is my dad and MissN in the hotel pool just hours before the above photograph was taken.

It was a healing time.  Not an easy time for any of us, but I am very pleased we shared it.

Ruby Tuesday #2 – Venezia

August 12, 2008

Today is Ruby Tuesday, which is hosted here and involves posting a photo of your own which features red.

Red is not a colour one normally associates with Venice…

laundry Venetian style

laundry Venetian style

This photo, taken somewhere in Cannaregio, evokes the wonderful few days we had in Venice on our last trip to Europe in 2006. We stayed in the most wonderful hotel, Locanda Orseolo, with the nicest people. We ate marvellously (not easy in Venice but we had the best recommendations from the Orseolo family – they would ask us what kind of dinner we would like, recommend a place, then call and book it for us, draw us a map…), saw some wonderful art (Titian’s Assumption in the Frari is one of my favourite works of art. I hope to see it again someday, along with the Bellini’s.  It was as good as I had remembered it from 1993.) We visited too many churches (according to MissN), but mainly just strolled the calle off the main tourist routes, had cafe in the campi, took photographs and enjoyed what someone we met on our first visit to Venice called “Disneyland for adults”.

I can’t finish a post about Venice without mentioning the books of Donna Leon.  (Thanks to my sister for recommending them to me).  I have read all but 2 of them.  Leon writes crime/mystery novels set in Venice, but that reduces to them to a genre where they don’t quite fit.  Her “hero” is Commissario Guido Brunetti who reads philosophy and ancient history for relaxation, can be described as “complex, moral, gracious, and fiercely loyal” and comes home to the smell of squid ink risotto or some other Venetian dish cooked by his university professor wife and worries about his children.  Guido and Paola have some interesting spiritual discussions.   This is a good introduction to the Brunetti novels. One can even do Brunetti tours of Venice!  I read each Brunetti novel with a map of Venice handy.


Do I have enough Bibles?

August 11, 2008

I have

  • a KJV which I was given by my parents when I was confirmed in 1970 (and the font is too small for me to read even with my multi-focals).  The cover is white plastic and is now stained and I have never spent any time reading it.  Not because the cover is white plastic…
  • a NKJV (with a horrid plastic cover – see a theme emerging?  How shallow AM I? ) that I bought when I was doing the Alpha course in 2001 before I knew what to look for in a Bible (and before I had found a congregation/church)
  • a NIV Study Bible which I bought shortly after I joined my Bible Study Group in Feb 2002
  • a paperback ESV NT that lives in my handbag and is pretty dog-eared
  • 3, yes 3, paperback NLT NTs, one which has Psalms and Proverbs too
  • a paperback Amplified NT
  • a KJV NT (used to be my handbag Bible before I bought the ESV)
  • I HAD a NLT One Year Bible.  I took it to Europe in 2006 and left it in the library on the cruise ship
  • a TNIV Bible Experience Bible I bought this year.  It’s the text which accompanies the CD’s which my dear sister gave me as part of my 50th birthday pressie.
  • I also have access to a CEV version MissN owns (, and she has a NIV Backpack Bible I used to borrow if I wanted a portable Bible (but my TNIV fulfills that role now) and she has a school CEV too.

I think that’s all.  I may have missed one.  I would like an ESV but I haven’t found one yet which is the right price/size/font.  I was wanting one as a tote-around Bible but now I have the TNIV Bible Experience, that is my tote-around Bible.  I also have in my cupboard 2 Bibles I have bought for presents and haven’t yet mailed.  One is for my dear sister (hi there, yes I should mail it to you!) and I have had it for over 2 years… It’s gorgeous and girly.

And of course I use bible gateway daily. I have downloaded e-sword but haven’t used it!

This (thanks to the internet monk, Michael Spencer,)

is now on my wish list.

Of course, one only needs one Bible.  The thing is to immerse yourself in it, and not find excuses in the plastic cover or the archaic language or the flimsiness of the paper or the miniscule font.  So many Christians in China, India, Africa… do not a Bible at all.  But I am a bibliophile, and so I am sure I will continue to collect Bibles.  I also would like a Message (oh, I do have a NT paperback Message somewhere…)

Which is YOUR favourite Bible?

Love Wendy, off to to update her wish list…