June 2011 - alvers.info

Just a place for my old thoughts

The last night of Deb's Birthday Month
Thursday, 30 June 2011 10:09 am

As the final gasp of Deb's birthday month tonight say drinks at Bar Barossa and then dinner at Sake. Sweet...the highlight being the venison sushi.

Hqppy Birthday Baby!

Nearly the end of Deb's Birthday Month
Wednesday, 29 June 2011 2:54 am

And it has pretty well sucked. On the upside Deb's mum is now home and on the mend. We went over last Friday night and cooked her a roast to help her settle back into things.

Then on Saturday Deb had a bunch of errands with her Mum while I tried to make the house look less like a bomb zone. We then headed up the coast to Serena's. With JT and Jason arriving shortly afterwards. We all sat around on the back deck drinking wine until it was time to get ready. A very nice intro to the trip.

We'd all booked tickets 'A taste of Coolum' which is held at the Hyatt. The first event was an Italian night in the main piazza. So we all get dressed up, walked down to the resort to the outdoor event and then got completely rained on. I mean the skys opened and the rains came down. Luckily it was pretty brief but enough to create chaos for the organisers for at least the next hour or so.

Allowing for the drenching the food was fantastic and the wine plentiful. On getting home we were off to bed ahead of the lunch time event on Sunday. This one involved 45 wine producers and a dozen food stalls serving a wonderful mix.

We quickly found ourselves a table that formed our base for the day. Someone would hang around while everyone else scouted out for wine and food. Initially we were getting once tasting of wine and one small plate of food. It sort of required that you kept jumping up over and over again. After a while we figured out that 2 of us go out and get 3 plates each. Then come back and share with everyone. This produced a much more pleasant process with all sorts of wonderful things such as risotto, pork belly and fresh prawns & oysters. Yummy.

Then back to Serena's place to pack up and head back to Brisbane. Since then it has seriously just been work-home-work-home. We both can't believe it is only still Wednesday.

We feel like we have easily put in a whole week already.

Happy Birthday
Wednesday, 22 June 2011 1:10 am

Yesterday was Deb's birthday. And for the first time all month I don't think anything went wrong. The current phase of her project finished, she had lunch, she went to see her Mum, I picked her up and we went out for dinner to a new place on Oxford Street. Event the cats crashed all night and didn't wake her up.

I got her a Kindle for her birthday so she is now happily searching for books to download and read. (Hint here, if you want to send through a birthday gift then Amazon gift cards are perfect!)

And today is my Dad's birthday. Thanks to being in the Barossa last week and Coolum next weekend I won't be able to get over to see him until later in the month but that is the plan.

Happy Birthday Everyone!

Back in Brisbane
Monday, 20 June 2011 6:29 am

Life is insanely busy at the moment. After the long weekend last weekend I had to head to Sydney for the week while Deb had to keep running up to see her Mum at the hospital.

Marjorie is on the mend and has been moved to rehab where they work on increasing mobility and getting you moving. It will probably be a week more or so that she is in there before they let her out.

With all of this craziness Serena came down to help with the cat wrangling and in preparation of our trip to the Barossa and the Stonewallers lunch at Rockford winery on Friday.

The week in Sydney was also pretty insane as well. With workshops and high pressure meetings I let off a little too much steam Wednesday night and ended up with a killer of a hang-over on Thursday. It was the going away lunch for one of the Sydney based guys in my team. I could barely touch my lunch I felt so green. And I previously taken my emergency pack of panandol out of my overnight bag so I just had to tough it out till I got to the airport in Sydney.

From there I was flying to Adelaide with Deb and Serena going down from Brisbane. Luckily out flights landed at the same time so there was no waiting around. We grabbed out bags, collected the hire car and were on the way to the Barossa Valley. It was a fairly quick run and we were in the town of Tanunda pretty quickly. We then went out for dinner at 1918 which is the great restaurant that Deb has wanted to go to for ages. I was feeling a little better but still only went the soup broth for dinner.

Friday morning I was feeling much better and fixed a breakfast of mushrooms on toast with bacon and fried tomatoes. We had lunch booked at Rockford's at 12 so we thought we could get in one quick wine tasting before hand. As it turned out we took nearly two hours and only just made it back to the cottage for our ride to lunch.

Oh, and what a lunch it was. We started with sparkling red at 12:00 and finished with vintage port at 4:30. In between were some beautiful wines cooked from produce that could be sourced from their own house garden. I should mention that when we booked this back in December there were 7 of us going. By the time we arrived there was only 3. But with a table seating 16 there we got a chance to meet a ton of other people.

As part of the trip Serena had arranged for Kate, who is the sister of friends of ours, and lives in the Barossa, to organise a few wine tastings. Kate had come along to the lunch as a ring-in due to the drop outs and brought along Tim O'Callaghan who is the wine maker at Digger's Bluff. The conversation around the table was fantastic and before long Tim had invited everyone along to a tasting at his winery the next morning. It was one that Kate had picked out for us so it was on the list.

So the next morning we headed into town to meet up with a convoy of cars headed for Tim's place. We all stood around his farm and wine equipment and tasted his wines while he did is best 'wine talk'.

From there we headed up to Soul Growers for a lunch and wine tasting. They have this amazing shed on the hill with a fire and tables. You could live there if the council would let you. There were three of the guys that run the winery there and they were all great guys. Just chatting about the wines and what it is like to make it. They had put on this brilliant spread of meats and cheeses and breads. And Paul, who is the general manager, had even made soup that was heating by the fire. I could have stayed all afternoon, especially when James took us down to show us how grape vines are pruned. It was a great education from people that are absolutely passionate about what they do.

Finally we had to wave everyone goodbye and head for David Franze wines. Again we just stood in the chaos of his wine shed and tried about a dozen of his wines. He is known locally as being a mad genius and his wines exhibit that. Being able to talk with him while sipping his wines (and spitting into a collective bucket) was a real joy. When we started discussing his Pinot he even ran around and pulled wine directly from barrels that is the current vintage so we could see what it was doing. A brilliant afternoon. We then headed home to crash.

Sunday we cleaned up and packed ahead of our last day tasting and then back to the Airport. We made it over to Charles Melton and Turkey Flat but I have to say after spending a couple of days with the actual wine makers and getting a taste for their passion and the smell of dirt at your feet the Sunday experience felt very clinical.

We then made the dash to Adelaide, checking in with only a few minutes to spare and then back to Brisbane. We got in late enough that we raided the freezer for soup and were in bed by about 10:30pm.

All up a very nice weekend although getting back to work to find 193 emails is still a bit scary.

So, where was I.
Monday, 13 June 2011 12:47 am

I have been looking back at the blog to try and figure out what I have missed out over the last few weeks. It seems like forever ago that JT, Deb and I were headed down to Byron for the weekend.

Check-out Deb's page for her update and details of her Mum. She's doing better and is in much much less pain now that she has had the hip replacement surgery. The hospital is doing the whole gamut of tests and stuff so she is going to be better than new when she gets out.

Work has just been insane for Deb and I. You can tell things are out of control when we start getting to work earlier and earlier and leaving later and later. By the end of the week before last we were in by 8am and not leaving until after 6pm.

I am working on a huge project at work so was in Sydney for most of the first week of June. I find I can't get a good nights sleep in a hotels rooms so after 3 nights I was very happy to be home to my own bed.

We caught up with JT and Jason last weekend to see all the pictures that he had taken from his trip to Mt Everest base camp. Some of the shots are absolutely beautiful and should be framed up. My love of prayer flags was well founded with most of Jason's pictures have a string of them in sight. He brought back two packs of flags for me and a scarf for Deb. JT made a wonderful spaghetti meatballs and a pretty outstanding baked cheese cake for desert. By 9:30pm we where flagging so we said our goodbyes and headed home to bed.

Since Marjorie has broken her hip our days have been racing home to feed the cats and then up to the hospital to visit. Poor Dinah is all alone in her house but is in very good spirits. And I am putting her on a diet that is doing wonders for the quality of her fur. At this rate, by the time Marjorie gets home, Dinah will be trim taught and terrific.

Between visits to Marjorie we've hit the kitchen this weekend to work on the recipes for the Christmas in July. We've cooked 4 different types of duck ravioli and a few difference sauces but I think that Deb has decided on one particular combination that should be great. And the new ravioli pan that Deb got is working a treat.

I just got back from dropping Deb up to the hospital to visit and now I have about 5 hours of work ahead of me. Deb is going to continue on into the city to work as well. A tragic way to spend this public holiday but on the plus side we are taking Friday off next week to travel to South Australia and Rockford winery for lunch. So it is all swings and round-abouts

Not a good night
Tuesday, 7 June 2011 3:00 pm

I know that I haven't posted for ages but things have just got away from us.

It's 1am and Deb and I just back from the hospital. Unfortunately Majorie had a fall this evening and basically has broken her hip.

She's in good hands but understandably scared as hell. We'll know more tomorrow (today) once the surgeon has had a chance to take a look and make a decision on the best course of action.

Off to bed.