Jacaranda season is well and truly upon us. From the backstreets of Killara, the popular instagrammable McDougall Street arch in Kirribilli on the drive up to the Prime Minister's residence, to the side of the highways near Alstonville, at this time of year we see those beautiful trees with lilac flowers in abundance. They are even more striking when they sit beside the bright red Illawarra Flame Tree which also dot the streets. When the flowers fall, the purple rain carpets the ground which some see as pretty whilst others find it to be an inconvenience when they decay on footpaths or fall into backyard pools.
After what has been a particularly challenging year for many, we are all looking for there to be light at the end of the dark. Many people all over the world are coming together to celebrate Diwali and our feeds are peppered with delicious handmade sweets that have been prepared to share with family and friends. Of particular note were these delicate and almost too pretty to eat Coconut Modaks made by my friend Rethika @cupcakeree If you’d like to try making them you can find her recipe here.
Coconut Modaks 📸 @cupcakeree
This week was somewhat of a momentous week as it was the first time in around five months that we have been able to travel somewhere out of the city to visit family and friends. After having an ultrasound, I received confirmation this week that the pain I had been suffering over the previous months had arisen as a result of a thickening of the wall of the bursa sac covering the greater trochanter bone of the femur which had become inflamed. In recent weeks I had been doing everything I could to remedy the problem, rehabilitation sessions at the pool, short sessions at the gym pedalling on a recumbent bicycle, walking the backstreets in a nearby suburb and doing stretching and exercises recommended by my patient physiotherapist, I was determined to leave no stone unturned. The pool rehab was starting to yield some small improvements and with this in mind my significant other and I decided to take a long weekend in the country to visit my elderly mother who was residing in an aged care home around a nine hour drive away.
Mum had not had a visitor for some time, so in order to maximise our time with mum, we decided to jump on a plane rather than drive. We booked our tickets and headed to the domestic airport and it was only when we arrived there that the full impact of the lockdown on businesses really hit home. There were no long queues to check in or pass through security, the public areas were deserted and very few shops or food outlets were open. Some shops had been boarded up, whilst others had windows covered in newspapers or shelves that were empty. Looking through the walls of glass and onto the tarmac, we were shocked at how few planes there were. Boarding and arrivals gates were predominantly empty and it had been like this for months. It was here that the real sense of loss as a result of the restrictions imposed due to the pandemic were being felt across so many businesses and this was just a small part of the tsunami that had washed over so many.
When we arrived at the nursing home mum's excitement at seeing a familiar face was palpable. There were many tears shed in those first few moments and then the conversation flowed. It had been a hard year for mum after the shock death of her youngest son, and further being cut off from the family after the nursing home took precautions to protect the residents and closed its doors to visitors for many months. Surprisingly, mum looked really well and she seemed happy. We sat together in the courtyard garden, admiring the roses, enjoying banter and hearing about the seedlings she had helped to plant. Mum was very proud of the garden just as she had always been years before when she had lived in her own home.
Whilst our weekend was predominantly focused on visiting mum, my significant other and I did manage to squeeze in an outing for dinner at Three Blue Ducks at The Farm in Byron Bay. In the convivial atmosphere of the outdoor courtyard looking out to the gardens and paddocks beyond and with colourful chooks waddling between the tables, we enjoyed a tasty plate of sea scallops, a slow cooked shoulder of lamb and a side of kale massaged with a dressing of lemon and chilli.
An entree of scallops at Three Blue Ducks, The Farm in Byron Bay
After a bumpy return journey through booming and thunderous skies we arrived back in Sydney to an empty home where we both noted the absence and warmth of our dear little Chili, who, in the past, had always been there to greet us at the front door. Out the back on the garden terrace we witnessed the first blooms of sweet peas that Chili had fertilised, when through deteriorating health he had been unable to make it into the garden. After two months of missing his dear little face he was still able to spark a little joy into our lives.
Remembering Chili, as the first sweet peas bloom in the garden
Until next time may your days be both serendipitous and enjoyable.