Reminiscing surrounded by rain, tragedy & thoughts of food

There was a break in the clouds as I headed out for a late morning walk. As I stepped onto the footpath the first thing I noticed was the patch of clover flowers in the fresh green grass that was looking lush after the rains. It took me back to memories from my childhood, a young girl making clover chains with her brothers, and I remembered how lucky we would feel if we came upon a leaf with four hearts.


Of course, just as much as a little girl loved clover flowers, they were also much loved by the bees and many a time we would be stung by said bees, which sent us home hopping madly to the laundry to fetch the little Blue bag which my mum would keep in the laundry to put into the rinse tub to whiten the sheets. Applying the moist bag to the site of the bee sting would provide instant relief.


As I walked, I listened to the latest episode (16/11) of River Cafe Table 4 podcast. I was mesmerised by the melodic voice of the host Ruthie Rogers as she chatted to her guest Pete Davidson. On a cool morning listening to Pete as he reads the recipe out loud for Zucchini and Cannelli Bean soup, and the thought of holding and spooning a warm cup of this simple and flavourful soup into my mouth, warmed my soul and comforted me. I was particularly intrigued by the precision of adding just twelve beans. Here is the recipe.


400gms zucchini

12 cannelli beans

1 head of celery, finely chopped

1 garlic clove

1 bunch parsley leaves

Extra Virgin Olive oil


Roughly cut the zucchini into small pieces, peel and finely chop the garlic and chop the parsley. Drain and rinse the cannelli beans. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a thick bottomed pan and fry the celery and parsley until soft. Add garlic and zucchini and cook for 10 minutes. Add five tablespoons of water and scrape up to combine. Then add the beans stirring for a further 5 minutes. Mash together and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. This is best served at room temperature.


It had been raining heavily over the past few days which meant that the jacarandas had scattered their purple rain all over the footpaths and carpeted the green nature strips with their purple flowers. I walked precariously so as to avoid slipping on the softened bell shaped sludge.

It was a cool morning, a little surprising as it was only a week until we headed into summer. Every now and then a gust of wind would come up and the leaves would swirl as they were lifted from the ground. Occasionally a glimpse of blue sky would part the clouds and the warm sunshine was a welcome relief on my shoulders.

I took the same path in the backstreets of my neighbourhood that I trod most days, a kookaburra on the fence of the tennis courts grabbing my attention. Such wise old birds I felt, a bit grandmotherly in their manner. Around the corner where the old potholed path met with the new was the same curious inscription that I noticed on most days and once again I pondered what it was that would possess someone to draw a sketch of male genitalia into the wet cement!


Curious inscription on Killara footpath


On the way back I stopped by the library to collect a book I’d shortlisted to read a while ago after my brother had died. The Mill on the Floss was a book I’d heard about from an elderly Chinese gentleman I’d stopped to share my sorrow with one morning when I was walking the streets. He’d listened attentively and said that the things I’d said about my relationship with my brother reminded him of the poignant portrayal of sibling relationships in George Eliot’s autobiographical novel. I noted the title to seek out and read and was happy when the library had notified me that it was back on the shelves.


I returned to the car, the pain in my leg radiating upward with each step I took. I’d been doing some rehabilitation at the pool prior to going away and it had been greatly beneficial, however, after a few days of not attending to it, the pain had increased again. It was cold and I contemplated not driving on to the pool, however I continued more out of need rather than desire. Driving into the carpark the first thing I noticed was how empty it was and then I was struck by the presence of three police cars and two paramedic vans. As I approached the gate to enter I was immediately turned away by a staff member who indicated that the facility would be closed for the rest of the day as there had been an incident. I returned to the car somewhat relieved, however pondering at the same time about what might’ve happened. I suspect that it wasn’t good and someone’s day had suddenly been upended by an unexpected turn of events that morning. The next day I returned again and the pool was still closed. I learned that a tragic event had occurred in the outdoor pool. Later in the day I was lucky enough to find the pool open and I attended once again to my rehabilitation exercises.


In the afternoon I cooked the garden fresh rhubarb I had purchased in Robertson. I used a simple recipe, first chopping the rhubarb into pieces about two centimetres long then placing them into a ceramic oven proof dish. I added the juice and zest of an orange to the rhubarb, a dab of vanilla, two star anise and two tablespoons of honey to take the edge off the tartness of the rhubarb. I cooked the rhubarb in the oven until it became soft but still holding its shape. The cooked rhubarb was Ruby red and my significant other would spoon it over porridge for breakfast or with warm custard for dessert.


Rhubarb


My back is still sore and the pain is intensifying in my leg. I thought it prudent to head off to Manly for a remedial massage to try and soften the pain before our next trip away. I was somewhat nervous. I’d never had a remedial massage before and I wasn’t sure what to expect. Margie, a masseuse who had moved to Australia from Columbia around ten years prior was assigned to the task. I put my trust in her, somewhat reluctantly I might add, although she had come highly recommended. After explaining my problems she suggested putting some glass cups onto the area of concern but only after forewarning me to expect some bruising. She told me to breathe through the pain or tell her my life story, neither of which seemed to lessen the intensity of the pain. After removing the cups she massaged my body with a firm hand and I finally started to relax. As the end of the treatment neared she softly fluffed my hair with her fingers and told me that she had finished. When I got up from the bed to dress myself I felt somewhat disoriented and spaced out, however I left the studio feeling better than when I had walked in. I was optimistic. She said I may be in worse pain for the next 48 hours and then I would feel amazing. Trust me, she said. The next day my bruised body lived up to her expectations and it was uncomfortable to sit on my bottom. Ouch, ouch, ouch, I cried! The rain had set in and it was miserable so I stayed in bed for most of the day cocooned in my dressing gown and under the soft doona.


By this stage, Friday morning had arrived and it was time to head off on yet another car trip to the regional town of Tamworth where my significant other's family and aging parents lived. We hadn’t seen them for some time and during the Covid lockdown his mother had moved into an aged care home after being hospitalised for over ten weeks. It was to be a quick drive up the New England highway to Tamworth for a few days. The rain was bucketing down and the visibility was poor, and although I wasn’t driving the car I sat bolt upright and attentive in the front seat observing the goings on. It was the kind of weather where it would’ve been easy to slide on the road or have an accident. Apart from driving in the precarious deluge about two hours into the journey and just south of Scone, the traffic suddenly came to a stand still. We sat in the queue of cars and waited and waited. There was a lot of water pooled up on both sides of the road, however we couldn’t see what was going on ahead of us. I hopped out of the car to retrieve the salad I had packed from the boot and I noticed that the traffic stretched a long way in front of us. When we finally started to move again we drove slowly until we came upon the problem. Flood waters were flowing across the highway and we followed the line of cars in front of us as the water sprayed out from both sides of the vehicles and we were set free to continue the journey. We arrived safely in Tamworth, had a lovely weekend catching up with the family, and were pleasantly surprised how well both parents looked. My significant other was relieved as he hadn’t been sure what to expect when he saw them.


Today we returned home to Sydney and had a much smoother journey. I think I nodded off for a good part of the trip. The flood waters had receded, although many paddocks south of Singleton still looked like lakes. The joy of seeing my terrace garden alive and well when I arrived home made me thankful for the rain.


My potted white hydrangeas on the terrace have a lovely pink hue.


Until next time may your days be both serendipitous and enjoyable.


Eugenia



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