Archive | March, 2010

Fairweather Friends

30 Mar

Myles takes his winter preparations seriously

Compared to many parts of Australia, winter in Armidale is usually quite chilly. Sometimes it snows but usually (we’re told) it’s just really brisk. Unlike many areas of the world, there’s no need to plug your car in overnight, salt the roads, or wear neck-to-knee fur-lined puffy jackets. It gets cold but it’s not Siberia. Nor in summer are conditions extreme; perhaps a few hot days but (this year) they’ve generally been lovely and mild.

The residents of Armidale, however, seem determined to prepare me for weather akin to that of far Northern Europe. A small offering of the unsolicited advice I seem to encounter on a daily basis…

“If the cold hasn’t come by Easter, it will come at Easter so make sure you’re ready”

“Everyone lights their fires on Anzac Day”

“It’s going to be a cold winter because it’s been a warm summer”

“It’s going to be a wet winter because it’s been a wet summer”

“I hope you’ve got good heating”

“I hope you have a good coat”

“Oooh I hope you’re prepared for the cold”

“It gets dreadfully cold here”

And finally, because some souls are just a bit too sensitive:

“Goodness it’s been such a hot summer”

“Oh doctor it’s SO HOT today! Oh I can hardly COPE! Oh I hope you’re doing alright having just moved here.” (maximum temp 28 degrees on that particular day)

Well, you’ve been warned. If there are no posts over winter you’ll know why. Expect to hear of the cynical doctor who didn’t heed the advice of her patients and ended up with frozen fingers and couldn’t type.

If you need a reference, find the person who wrote this

28 Mar

Like many, I grew up in a home with a copy of Margaret Fulton’s first cookbook, “The Margaret Fulton Cookbook”, published in 1968. It was  frequently used by my mother.

I think it’s fair to say you’d struggle to find any book with a write-up on its author that could beat this, as seen on the inside back dust-jacket. I encourage you to read it. It’s really something!

“Margaret Fulton is a good cook- that’s indisputable. She is also an intriguing personality. This gives the lie to those who think that someone whose career is cookery is bound to be staid and homely with conversation that hovers on or around matters culinary.  Margaret’s conversation sparkles with wit and shows no preoccupation with her career. She is fascinated by the stock market. Will discuss big business, high fashion, the theatre, modern literature and child care with verve and intelligence.

Margaret has travelled widely, living every moment of every day with an enjoyment, an enthusiasm that would exhaust most people. Of course, she has taken the opportunity to taste and learn how to make the world’s finest dishes in some of the world’s finest kitchens.

Petite and feminine, she loves good clothes and smart shoes. Though she would never dream of putting up with anything but the best quality food, her Scottish thrift (and plain good sense) prompt her to buy most of her fruit and vegetables at a farmer’s market where the freshest quality is available and prices are low. She is not a food snob. Rather a fresh wing of skate than Alaskan Crab or Scotch salmon that may not have travelled so well… a superb chop rather than filet mignon carelessly prepared.

Margaret Fulton, being a wife and a mother as well as a career woman, has a special understanding of working women’s problems and has written her book with this in mind. It is not only the ability to cook, but the ability to impart this skill to others that makes Margaret Fulton a successful cookery writer. People have written to her over the years thanking her for “lovely recipes that work every time”. Her approach to cooking is simple and uncomplicated and gives her readers the confidence to attempt dishes they might otherwise have been too timid to try. To their surprise, they find it easy and rewarding.

In her kitchen, catering for a family that includes a teenager and a grandfather, the food is mostly simple but always superbly prepared. And when Margaret entertains, which she does with the same zeal she applies to everything else, her friends are sure of a memorable meal and lively conversation. Her definite personality, her bubbling zest for living, make her an outstanding human being.”

A weekend with friends

28 Mar

Dan, Sal and Jane came to stay!

Sunday morning coffee at Knight's

More golden than last week

Happy to have had friends to stay

Autumn Festival

21 Mar

This weekend in Armidale is Autumn Festival. We’d heard there would be a parade but we didn’t expect it to be quite as big as it was- people had marked out spots along the Mall an hour before it started! There was certainly variety amongst the participants…

Vintage cars

UNE med students

Just one of the six piping bands. Yes, six.

Remember Happy Harold? Life Education were there too.

Preschoolers in a cage

And my favourite, residents from one of the local nursing homes

And finally, a glimpse of the trees near our place just starting to develop shimmery yellow leaves. We expect the place to be awash with colour in the coming weeks.

Beautiful tall poplars

On our way out for a Sunday morning coffee

Lunchbreak sunshine

21 Mar

Last weekend

21 Mar
Last weekend we were in Sydney for the wedding of my “new” (ie. step)brother James’ wedding to Em, held in the Royal National Park.

The lovely bride and groom

The reception was in a beautifully decorated old tin shed

We were also thrilled to be able to attend the baptism of Jane and Alistair’s daughter, Alice, with the added surprise of seeing (med friends) Steph and Alison there too.

And we’re back!

9 Mar

To celebrate our anniversary we spent last week in the hills outside Bellingen. The area is evocatively known as the Promised Land and running through it is the Never Never River. It’s so lush and wild I half expected to see a Lost Boy or two appear. Instead we saw many a bush turkey, were kept awake by croaky frogs, and woke to kookaburras sitting in old gum trees. The rain poured down on a regular basis, the river changed from a stream to a torrent, and we spent a lot of time sampling Bello’s cafe culture.

We stayed at Aniseed Luxury Villas

Please, Myles, can we get a spa?

We spent a fair bit of time doing this

and avoiding this.

We contemplated swimming here until the river expanded by a few metres!

Carricks In The Mist.