September 2009 -

Just a place for my old thoughts

Pickled Onions
Monday, 28 September 2009 11:34 am

I have a good pickled onion recipe and periodically, when I find good small onions I'll take a few days to make a batch. A few weeks before going overseas Serena mentioned that she found good onions that she used for her beef bourginon.

It was four days before I left for overseas that she delivered 2kg to the house. Holy crap.

But I stayed focused, doubled my base recipe and pickled the whole damn lot. And you know what, they are pretty good. I always get a little scared when I crack the first jar to see how they have turned out. But these are crunchy, and sweet and sour but still have that onion tang. Awesome. Now I just have to eat 2 kilograms.

Oh, and Deb is on the way to the airport for the 24 hour trip back to Brisbane. I am so very excited at the prospect of seeing her tomorrow night that I cannot wait for her to get back. I do love her very much.

Me out.

Home without Deb
Saturday, 26 September 2009 3:20 pm

It is late Saturday (aka Sunday) and I am desperately missing Deb. I managed to clean most of the red dust out of the house today but then saw on the news tonight that another smaller dust storm was on its way. Not fair really. But I have most of it licked so can clear out the rest tomorrow when I mop. The garden has taken a pretty hard hit from the heat and is definitely looking the worst for wear. Mr Furrg has decided that spreading out across the floor during the day to sleep is the best way to distribute heat. Then at night he heads out to see what is happening. Speaking of which I really should go and get him.

There is nothing on TV today...or Foxtel. I tried. In the end I was looking around and saw that I had a local copy of JT's wedding video so I fired that up. I hate to blow my own trumpet but I did a pretty good job on that video. In a few places I could crawl under the rug given the camera work but hey, you can't have everything.

It was fun to watch because I often realised that Deb was doing the filming when I was in shot and doing a very good job. Then I started to think about how much I am missing her.

Reports are that the Italy trip is going as planned and other than having to remove a limb to meet baggage limits everything is going very well.

But I am now desperately missing her. It is not fair seeing her in the video and knowing that the person there, no the TV, is the one that I am missing. Kind'a weird to say I guess.

I definitely don't want to cut her holiday short and hope that she is having a ball with her Mum. But I will be very very happy to have her back in my arms and my bed when she returns next Wednesday at 1am. I've arranged to go to work late so that I can pick her up from the airport. I know how I felt coming through the exit gate and see Serena waiting for me. It is just nice to see a friendly face. For me it is a bit selfish because I am dying to see her so I'll be there at 1am.

We're rapidly approaching our 9th wedding anniversary next month so if anyone has some cool ideas of how to celebrate please let me know.

Saturday, 26 September 2009 3:52 pm

Awww, what a lovely post. I saw about the second dust storm. Will be so glad to see you on Wed but feel bad about getting you out of bed. Tell Furrg to get off my pillow. I miss you both hugely.

Now I understand
Wednesday, 23 September 2009 1:21 am

I think I know why I have been hit so hard with the jetlag...I seem to have picked up a bit of a cold. I started sniffling yesterday and today feel even more virtual. On top of some weird sleep patterns it would explain why I am feeling so vague.

I'll probably head home when I get to the bottom of my inbox. At least then I will feel like I have achieved something.

And for Deb's information there is a monster dust storm sweeping up the coast of Australia. Sydney was basically blacked out and I am watching the city here disappear under an orange blanket. Lucky I don't have any washing out at the moment although the car is definitely going to need a wash after this.

Thursday, 24 September 2009 8:28 am

Dust storm... look at the positives, some dude in Chinchilla just topsoiled your lawn for free.

The jetlag is killing me...
Tuesday, 22 September 2009 3:44 am

Well I have been back now for about 36hrs and the jetlag is really getting to me but I am sure that I'll get over it for work tomorrow. And the weather here in Brisbane is HOT so it is an interesting contrast to come back into such warm weather after Tuscany.

Anway, I have finally got a few Europe 2009 posted in the gallery so please take a look.

Here's a little sneak-peek...

Mahon was having a fiesta when we arrived so the town was dressed up with streamers and colour. Here's Ken, Deb and Majorie.

Ken took us to a few of the local beaches to show us what Menorca had to offer. I think I could have simply stayed forever at this one with it's own bar.

In Tuscany they have shops called Enotecas which are loaded with all the local wines, particularly Chianti. The range is mind blowing.

I had a mental image of what I thought Tuscany should look like with stone villas, rolling hills and vineyards. And it is exactly like that...only with insane drivers.

And every Tuscan villa comes with it's own freeloader, I mean cat. Here's Tuscan Tom who adopted us for the week to ensure we were properly taken care of. See, they think of everything on these trips.

Check the gallery for more pictures. I'm going for a snooze.

Singapore airport
Sunday, 20 September 2009 6:30 am

Well, I am still getting home but it is not too bad. Leaving Deb behind was really hard. I hope they have a great time and hurry home safe and sound.

Now just another 6 hour flight and I'll be back in Australia. The last leg is always the hardest because you start to fantasise about a shower.

Oh well. Nearly there.

Homeward bound
Saturday, 19 September 2009 5:43 am

It's 7:39am here and we are packed for the trip up to Florence where Deb and her Mum will continue their holiday and I'll start the return trip.

I can't say that I am looking forward to the flight(s) but you can't have everything. Given the holiday has been very very cool I guess I'll just have to go with it.

In the last couple of days we have just spent our time driving to various towns, having lunch and then coming home for a light meal in the evenings. We visited Volterra yesterday which is supposedly the setting for the new Twilight movie coming out soon.

I will definitely miss the food, the wine and the views. I will definitely not miss the driving. Tuscany is an insane place to drive but I guess it is something that you would either love or hate.

Anway...gotta get to Florence, then to Rome, then to Dubai, then to Singapore, then to Brisbane, then to home, then to bed.

I'll get some pictures posted sometime on Monday, Brisbane time.

Tuscany huh...
Wednesday, 16 September 2009 8:25 am

We don't have wireless internet access from the villa here in Tuscany so we have been in a bit of a communications black hole. It is surprising how quickly you get used to be connected all the time.

Anyway, Menorca was pretty awesome and I have to say that I was really sad to have to leave. Ken was an amazing host and went absolutely out of his way to make sure we had a great time. The wines, the food, the siestas. It all added up to be a pretty amazing week. I had time on the second to last day to checkout the town while Deb and her Mum went shopping. The local museum was a great way to get an idea of the history of the island which is actually really really old. It was first inhabited during the bronze age so people have been kicking around there for a very very long time.

I am definitely going to miss the beer and the jamone ham. I feel like I ate my body weight by the end of the week. And we really started to get into the swing of things by heading back to the villa in the afternoon to snooze and swim in the pool.

I have tons of photos but this PC doesn't have a USB port handy and one of the admin staff is sitting behind me so I can't crawl around under the table. So, pictures may follow this afternoon when I get be alone with the PC for 5 minutes.

Tuscany is, well...Tuscany. It is weird to have a mental picture of a place and have it turn out to be exactly the same. The stone villas purchsed on the top of unbelievably beautiful hills surrounded by grape vines and olive trees. It really is a postcard in every direction. The food, as would be expected has been very very good. We made a fairly seemless transition from jamone to proscuttio. The local region is famous for wild boar productions so from ragu to salami I couldn't let you down and not try some. I have also fallen in love with the local chianti wines. I never really realised they were based on sangiovese grapes and the best ones are 100%. So quite a bit of quality control has been going on at our villa.

Oh, and what a villa it is. Deb has outdone herself with a little two bedroom cottage that has a patio that overlooks a local valley up to another villa on the other side. That and we seem to have adopted a resident cat who we have called Tom. He comes around each morning and night, sticks his head in the back door and yells his head off for food. I think he is becoming more demanding (And loud) each day.

The only downside are the country roads and italian/tourist drivers. Holly crap! They do 80kmph on roads signed for 50kmph that are only safe to do 30kmph on. Most of the local drives leave me with my heart in my mouth as we fly around the corners hoping that the oncoming traffic is not too far over into my lane. Deb had left finger marks in the seat so was much better when she was driving and was able to just stomp on the brake as we came around the corners instead.

Anwyay, we have checked out lots of the local towns and are having a quite day today in which we will most likely check out some of the closer little places and then have a lunch at the local trattoria in San Sano.

I'll try to get some pictures posted this afternoon.

Happy Birthday Danny!
Wednesday, 9 September 2009 10:08 pm

Here in Menorca it is officially Danny's birthday, and they were kind enough to have a firework display in his honour. Or maybe it was for the end of fiesta. Either way, there is serious shopping scheduled for tomorrow, as the following day we have to leave (sob) for Barcelona.

Back at the villa
Wednesday, 9 September 2009 3:53 pm

Today was culture day. We headed over the other side of Menorca to check out an ancient burial monument called a naveta. Now considering the thing is 3 thousand years old and was only really recognised in the 50's it is pretty cool. Unfortunately you can't get inside it anymore. We then headed to check out some bronze era caves that, to her credit, Majorie climbed up too and into. I was having a bit of a momet and really enjoyed checking them out.

From there it was back into town to checkout the food Market as part of fiest. Unfortunately it was a bit od a fizzer because you can't schedule anything across siesta. Fiesta or not the town is going to sleep damn it and there is nothing you can do about it. Anyway, we found a cafe for tapas, had a nice bottle of wine, and then took ourselves home for siesta.

You really can't fight it.

You have got to love siesta
Wednesday, 9 September 2009 6:41 am

We have been having a great time. Ken has been an awesome host suggesting places to visit and giving us a glimpse of his Menorca. Most of our days involve a light breakfast and then a little site seeing. Invariably we end up back in the ville around one pm for lunch of local dried ham, salad and crusty breadstick. Then a swim or just laying around the pool. Around six pm we start to stir a d think about drinks on the deck and dinner. I have been giving the BBQ here quite a work out.

Anyway, to talk about Menorca. Firstly the weather has been unbelieveibly good. Even Ken has said that this is a little slice of heaven. Monday we toured some of the local beaches which are all pretty gorgious. And one had the most awesome bar perched on some rocks with tables under brush wood umberellas. Yesterday we went into the town of Mao to see the fiesta. They cover the streets in sand and uniformed riders parade these beautiful black horses through the crowds. They frequently stop and rear their horses up. It is an amazing sight. The horses up and the crowd only a few feet away. On more than one occation a horse started to head in the wrong direction and the crowds quickly had to shift to let it through. The danger seems to be part of the fun. Even Marjorie got into the act when she found herself with 20 of her closest friends and a horse on it's hind legs bearing down on them.

Today we are going to head out and see some of the cultural sights of the island. It has been populated since before the bronze age so it certainly has some history.

Then most likely back here for siesta for we find a vantage point to watch the fiesta fireworks.

We are definitely enjoying Menorca.

Getting over the jetlag
Sunday, 6 September 2009 5:47 am

The first day was pretty special. We had a lazy start to the day and then went into town. The streets are so narrow and many are one way that I am amazed that there are not more accidents. Again Ken has been an awesome and generous host. We stopped for a beer beside a local flea market and then went for lunch down by the waterfront. After a quick grocery shop it was back to the villa for siesta, a swim and the drinks as the sun set. (am I making you jealous yet?)

Last night I cooked a BBQ on the deck and the we proceeded to finish all the wine in the villa. It really was a pretty special day.

Weather this morning looks just as good so we are looking forward to a great day.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009 3:57 am

sounds like you having a great time. Happy birthday Danny. will catch up when you get back. Love mum xx

36 hours of international travel
Saturday, 5 September 2009 7:29 am

I can say that 36 hours of international travel is enough to shatter anyone. I left home at 5:30pm on Thursday and arrived in Menorca Spain at the equivilent of 5:30am Saturday. In the same Jeans. Deb and Majorie met me in Gatwick and we flew onto Spain.

The only hickup was that we forgot to write down our address in Spain so customs was making it a bit tough. Luckily they didn't speak any English and we don't speak any Spanish so they took potty and let us go. Ken, Deb 's great cousin is putting us up and his place is amazing.

Hey, I didn't suck so badly
Tuesday, 1 September 2009 10:34 pm

I had to guess my bib number in order to find the right certificate, so I am not sure the security is that good. I ended up downloading about 4 others before I nailed this one.

Anyway, here's proof that I did run the Bridge to Brisbane 5km race and actually did fairly well. If it wasn't so hot and crowded I wonder if I would have made sub-30 minutes. That's kind of my target at the moment. Maybe in the Coolnight Classic which is coming up in November.

News from Deb is that she is having a great time catching up with everyone. It is kind of hard with only SMS at the moment but apparently Jan and Kate are well. Deb is heading off to the Ritz today for high tea. Should be interesting.