Isn’t Spring the most wonderful time of the year? The heady perfume of the jasmine vines snaking their way along fences and climbing up into the trees, the stunning clusters of azaleas and the delicate ground cover of blue forget-me-knots all stop me in my tracks and make me step up and take notice.
I’m feeling like I have writer's block this week. Today is the most beautiful day. Outside it feels like summer has marched on straight over the top of a cold winter. You could be forgiven for wanting to head down to the ocean and letting the sun's rays warm your weary body as you listen to the waves roll in and crash along the shoreline. This week I have been feeling the wear and tear of an aging body. Whilst normally I approach my days with a certain vibrancy and enthusiasm, this week I haven’t been feeling that energy at all. Lower back ache and a thumping thigh pain have killed off my vibe and any motivation to move. It saddens me immensely. In despair I long to be able to move freely again. My significant other coaxes me out the door with the promise of a stroll along the river bank in the Lane Cove National Park. It’s our wedding anniversary and we hold hands and hug as we walk. He supports me in so many ways. His optimism is the antipathy of my pessimism. He assures me that things will come good again and that things take the time that they take. He makes me laugh when I feel melancholy. He holds me and his warmth radiates positivity and hope into my being. We see colourful rowboats tied up to the shoreline and giant white swans that you can peddle along the water. He jokes that one day we will come back and hire one of these swans and go on an adventure together upstream. I laugh. He pleads with me, telling me it would be romantic.
Rowboats, Lane Cove National Park
Heading back to the car we take a detour passing one last section of the river. Nestling in the pine spindles under a shady tree is a nest of baby ducklings huddling together. They look warm and soft and their mother parades protectively around them. My face lights up as I rush to point them out to my buddy. Their innocence is joyful and I bathe in their beauty for a few more minutes before we head home.
Ducklings, Lane Cove National Park
On our way home we went the long way. My significant other detours passed the flower shop to stop and buy me sweet smelling white freesias and purple sweet peas. I inhale their uplifting fragrance as I sit in the car with the sun shining in through the front window. Like an excited little girl I almost skipped through the front door of our apartment whilst admiring my beautiful bouquet. I place them into a white ceramic jug and display them in the living room where I can enjoy their beauty and their perfume. I feel blessed to be loved by my companion and friend.
Bouquet of white freesias and purple sweet peas
Later in the week we head out on another adventure this time to the Wildflower Gardens at St Ives. It’s another hot day and I tread precariously as I listen out for rustling noises in the dry bush land. I stick to the safety of the fire trails rather than heading off on the various bush tracks along the way. We try to identify the wildflowers as we walk, the wonderful wattle trees prolific with golden yellow flowers, the various banksia specimens, rock orchids, grevillea, and vibrant yellow wildflowers with contrasting deep red and purple centres. We head off on the sensory trail towards a wooden platform that allows us to capture the view of the valley below. Beside the path I sense some rattling in the leaf litter and I listen carefully. Out of the corner of my eye I spot some movement and a leathery lizard starts to amble towards me. I move off quickly as he scurries into the burnt ash, the remnants of a bushfire, as my brave companion captures his movements with his camera. With that, I decide it’s time to head home and I make a beeline for the car park.
This week I cooked two dishes I hadn’t made before, one a sweet Apple, Honey and Oat Pancake, a recipe from The Dish on Healthy we enjoyed for breakfast on our wedding anniversary, and the other a lovely spicy tray bake with cauliflower and potato called Aloo Gobi, the recipe by Sneh Roy on her ever popular food blog Cooks Republic. Aloo Gobi was so tantalising it will definitely be part of my repertoire of recipes I will make over and over. You can find the recipes for the pancakes here and the Aloo Gobi here.
Aloo Gobi, recipe by Cooks Republic
I was so delighted to enjoy a ‘meal out’ during lockdown, whilst ‘staying in’ when a box from food delivery company Providoor turned up on my doorstep with a vegan banquet from the hatted restaurant Yellow carefully packed inside. A surprise gift from my kind son as a ‘cheer me up’, come belated Father’s Day/ anniversary present, it included a creamy dreamy cauliflower soup with Szechuan pepper which we paired with crusty sourdough, a vibrant salad of beetroot and radicchio sitting on top of a sesame curd and topped with the crunch of hazelnut dukkah, a hearty white pea and spicy pumpkin braise sprinkled with a crumb made of buckwheat, served with a side of cabbage in a white smoky onion and mustard sauce, alongside broccolini greens smeared in a pesto sauce and crunchy almonds. We rounded out the meal with silky coconut panna cotta topped with syrupy roasted pineapple pieces and fragrant star anise. What a treat, warmed and plated at home, it made me feel like a five star chef with every ingredient prepared before delivery. Kudos to me for very little effort, and big gratitude to my son for being so thoughtful.
This week on the ‘box’ we were watching a comedy series called Miracle Workers on Stan starring Danielle Radcliffe, Only Murderers in the Building, the highest rating comedy show ever to be released on Disney, and for anyone who ever loved the movie Nemo, the feel good coming of age story about a boy called Luca who morphs as a sea monster and goes on an adventure through the streets of a seaside town on the banks of the Italian Riviera.
I learnt a really interesting fact I didn’t know about tea. With a few minor exceptions, there are only two words for tea in the world. One is like the English tea, for example ‘the’ in French, ‘te’ in Spanish, and ‘tee’ in Afrikaans. The other is some variation of cha found in Punjabi cha, Mandarin ‘Cha’, Hindi ‘chai’ and Arabic ‘Chay’ for example. This stems from how tea was historically traded around the world. If it was transported by land it was ‘Cha’ or a variation of Cha, and it was ‘tea’ if it was traded via sea transport. How amazing is that?
Now I’m off to dream about a holiday at this beautiful beach in Sardinia for when we can travel again. Would anyone like to come with me?
Punta Molentis, Sardinia 📸@mimmomandone via Traveller.com.au
Until next time may your days be both serendipitous and enjoyable.