Tuesday, May 31

New Semester

A new semester started yesteday so I and fellow students were quick onto the Internet to find the material associated with the subjects I am doing.  One is Scriptwriting and the other is Reading and Writing.  The latter sounds very academic, and the Scriptwriting sounds exciting especially as I am writing a script at the moment.

It is strange doing an 'online' course where there is limited interaction with tutor and fellow students.  We are in different tutorial groups - about 12 to a group and for one subject we all have the one tutor who is a particularly knowledgeable in the topic, and for the other I have a key academic from the university.

We have a lecture material each week and an online tutorial - with a question we must respond to in up to 500 words.

Some of the material is quite challenging!

Still I have to find time for my other writing - blogs etc.  I am starting in the 31 Day Blogging Challenge too -and have started a new blog for this.   It is called Books Movies and Life.  You can find it here.

Sunday, May 29


When cyclone Yasi hit north Queensland in February this year, the banana crops were affected badly and as a result bananas have been

(a) in short supply

(b) very expensive in the supermarkets

As a result I have not eaten a banana for weeks and I have friends who laugh as they eat their 'million dollar bananas'.
This morning I drove to Paddington central and bought the Sunday Mail, with the free Jamie Oliver cookbook, and then drove to the Bardon Markets.  

They are right behind the glorious Government House, (which is having open house next week too!) The markets are a bit low key - not flash - but there were quite a few stalls with fresh fruit and vegetables that interested me, and a banana grower from Wamuran was there with his fresh bananas - Cavendish and Lady Finger varieties.

And for less than $7 a kilo!!!  I bought some Cavendish and came home and ate one for my morning tea.  So wonderful to savour the taste of fresh bananas.

One of the guys who runs a cheese and olive shop also sells a strange cigarette.  It has nicotine in it, but it is not a smoke.  It does through out steam, so that the 'smoker' looks like he is doing the real thing, and can sit with his/her smoking friends puffing away, looking like it is the real deal.

Sadly his teenage son has not embraced the safer and more economic method.  The man told me that he has friends who have saved thousands of $$$$'s using his safer method. 

Saturday, May 28

The Last Emperor

I booked on line to see the ballet "The Last Emperor" - an amazing  ballet celebrating the Australia China Cultural Relations Program.  The brochure says "Liaoning Ballet's balletic retelling of The Last Emperor, based on the astonishing life of China's Last Emperor Puyi and choreographed by Ivan Cavallari, is touring Australia throughout June and July this year.

My tickets have arrived and I'm rearing to go.  It is an awesome story, and will no doubt revive memories for me of the time I was in China.

I particularly remember visiting The Forbidden Palace in Beijing.

Tuesday, May 24

Overgrown garden

The owner of the house visited for a short time on Sunday - he was on his way to Sydney for a work event, but came from Darwin and had a few hours to spare.  I drove to the airport to pick him up, and had him look at a few things at the house. Nothing needs repairing, but as he was there, I found a few small tasks.

He was amazed at the garden.  He had not been here for several months, and with the rain, the greenery has taken off - we can no longer see the house next door, and swathes of creeper have adorned some of the shrubs.  I do some cleaning up, removing of dead branches etc, and try and keep it in good nick,but it is far too much for me to do.

I didn't have to take him back to the airport, but I spent the afternoon reading and doing things on the computer.  Not much writing, but I made a decision to join the 31 Day Blogging Challenge.  I already had the book, but had not done anything about it.  Here's my chance.  It starts on June 1st, so I have a small head start.  I chose to start a new blog especially for the Challenge.  It is called Books, Movies and Life, and I am going to follow the instructions on a daily basis, if it doesn't interfere with my studies.  Other participants are from the US (why am I not surprised), but I have one other Aussie that I know of.

I've also set up a Facebook page for students doing the same course as me at Swinburne.  Now the task is to get others to join. So far there are four of us.

Saturday, May 21

Cooking for one....

I do cook - I mean, I am not a 'take-away' person.  In any case I don't know where the closest KFC, Macca's, or Big Rooster is from here, but there are a myriad of cafes and restaurants that do home delivery, and I have not used their services.  There's only me - generally - so I am happy to cook for myself.

I love cooking and would love to create more, but apart from making 'Rocky Road' around Christmas time, I'm very basic.  I do like watching MasterChef, and My Kitchen Rules sometimes, and have learned quite a lot.  I was interested in the rabbit meal cooked on Master Chef last night, and the potato dishes.  I do make rosti - though I don't do it quite like was shown on the program.  The trifle was awesome, but the calories were screaming at me while I watched it.

A week or so I saw Maggie Beer demonstrate her famous short crust  pasty recipe, and I have tried it.  I'm not impressed.  She did say that it would shrink in the cooking, and I did allow for that, but I also thought it was too greasy.  Though I like the idea of using sour cream - so will create from my own recipe some time.  I used the pastry to make a couple of quiches - yum, but as I said, disappointed with the pastry.

I do have a favourite cafe here in Paddington, but I confess I have only tried a couple.  Near the antique shops is a bookshop and cafe, The Black Cat, which is divine.  The books are good to troll around and I have purchased there, and downstairs the lovely Dianne plies customers with delicious food and coffee.  On Thursday I met a new friend there, and tried out the poppyseed muffin.  So light, delicious!

Saturday, May 14

Elephant movie

Assignments completed, I celebrated with a trip to the movies, to see the "Water for Elephants".  What an amazing movie.  It was gripping, right through to the last.  So well done.  I must now read the book.  I have been told that it is best to see the movie first. 

Wednesday, May 11

Coffee at The Black Cat

I met Patty at the Black Cat Bookshop at Paddington this morning.  Great place for books and downstairs the cafe with my namesake in charge behind the counter.  It was busy this morning - lots of ladies meeting, chatting, eating etc. 

Thanks, Dianne, for my free cup of coffee!  Bargain.  (It seems she had made one too many for another table, and I was the lucky recipient.

Patty is one clever lady - combining her love of photography, family and telling stories for her Patty Beecham Productions. 

She's having her kitchen repainted after some repairs (I think the ceiling fell in with some heavy rain earlier this year) so her place is like a construction zone.

Coffee at the Black Cat it was.

I didn't get any books today - but say Susanne De Vries book with Governor General Quentin Bryce on the cover.  She writes amazing books about Australian women.  I think she is a speaker at one of our upcoming meetings of the Queensland Society of Women Writers.

House sharing.

When I took on this house sit (and it has been since early September 2010) I knew that the son would also be living on the property.  He lives in a cabin in the back yard, and at the time he was a student.  In a way it is not a bother - where it does become an issue is (a) he is supposed to mow the lawns and I don't think he'd notice if they were 3 feet high (b) we share the washing machine, and he can leave his washing in it for days at a time (c) if he does hang his washing out - he never uses pegs, just dangles the washing over the line, and it can stay there for days on end and (d) he has been known to play loud music and entertain his friends loudly into the late night/early morning.  We've tolerated each other and barely speak.

If I do anything for him (hang washing out, bring it in, fold it, etc) he doesn't acknowledge it - (just one word 'thanks' would be nice), he makes no response.

This year he got a job in the mines, but I suspected it would not last.  Especially after I spoke with him about it.  He certainly did not like the lack of social life.  In any case, for whatever reason, he no longer goes.  He was doing one week in the mines, and one week home.  He now is home all the time, and clearly working somewhere as he goes early most mornings and is working long hours.

Today I went to do some washing and the machine is still 'on' with lights flashing and full of his washed work clothes.  I have hung them on the line.  I needed to do two loads for myself.

We have had a 'fall out'.  A few weeks ago I went to get my supply of toilet rolls. I had bought an 8 pack.  I couldn't find them anywhere.  I knew I hadn't used them, and later in the morning I thought I'd have a look in 'his' bathroom.  My toilet rolls are distinctive.  My love of purple, and I knew I had bought Coles brand, and there it was in 'his' bathroom.  I retrieved 4 rolls, and waited for him to return from the mines.

Eventually I had a chance to speak with him.  His story was that he thought his mother had left them for him.  Likely story.  Actually he probably did see them and think that his mother would have done so, but since she has not done so since September, I wonder why/how he thought this???  In any case they were with MY thing.  And not only that, clearly he had been near/going through my things in my absence.  He is not supposed to be upstairs without my OK.  No doubt I was not in the house at the time.

In any case, he was clearly miffed that I spoke to him about it.  I did ask for him to replace 4 rolls.  I told him it was not part of MY duty to buy his toilet rolls (for him and his friends).

He did replace them.  We've not spoken since.  Not that it is a bother, but I get the feeling he is not going to speak with me now.  I guess, I have just decided that I will not share when I house sit - never, every again.  Oh, well.  I have only a few weeks left here.