Sunday, 28 June 2015

A new favourite place for a cuppa

I wandered along the street looking for a new place to sit and think about my stories. I have yet to establish a circle of friends in my new town and have not found a favourite cafe yet.

I went to one cafe in an old converted house filled with spindly furniture the parents of the 70s threw out to the tip. Old formica tops, off cuts of greyed timber and chairs with legs so spindly it was a big concern to sit on them and several tables with legs missing. I suspect they think it is de rigeuer, hip, cool and trendy. The food was okay and the service boppy, buzzy, and young. Over priced as these places tend to be however it did serve freshly squeezed juice and I do like fresh juice and the young people made me smile.

I wanted a pastie. Not a frozen food department pastie. Not an old fashioned Cornish Pastie with too much pastry and too chunky vegetables. An Aussie pastie. Neat little chunks of vegetable that includes turnip or swede, some nice juicy meat and a golden crust of pastry, not too thick, not too thin. Something like this...

So I popped into a cafe that had a nice homely feel and everyone was super friendly including other patrons but the food was bland and tasteless and the waitress suggested, in a whispered aside as she served our table, that we go elsewhere for pasties.  The place was clean and the staff helpful but the waitress was right about their pastie. Yuck.
I did tell the proud cook who made them that they were 'just like my mother used to make' which made him beam with pride and made my sister almost choke on her tea as she tried to keep her face straight and her laughter contained.

I went to the other establishment the waitress suggested and ordered their idea of a pastie. The slop I paid for was very very wet mince drowning in gravy inadequately wrapped in a half circle of puff pastry. It was revolting and leaked and was certainly not a pastie like any I have ever experienced.  More like a meat pie with terrible depression.  The staff were super friendly.

 Does no one in this town know how to make a pastie?

I am missing the Clock Tower pasties - now there is a man who knows his pasties- I might have to stock up when I go for a visit.
 Image result for clock tower  warrnambool
ClockTower tea rooms. 123 Lava St, Warrnambool VIC 3280,

I found my way to the, anecdotally, most popular cafe in town. It was certainly busy with not a seat to be had inside by the fire. I was put outside in the cold with a tepid chocolate. Not an ideal place to encourage me to embrace it. Fortunately I had on, my thick coat and a scarf but the irritating  doof doof music of choice reminded me of the drunken idiots of the 2am drive through which runs along the bedroom side of the house. Doof doof for breakfast equals curdled egg and I like my hot chocolate HOT!
I don't want doof doof on Sunday morning after limited sleep due to doof doof in the drive through. I lasted four and a half minutes and watched the small birds land on an uncovered plate and begin to eat the food off it while the missing patron's companion ignored the birds in favour of his phone.
Tick that place off my list even though the staff were super friendly.

I did eat in another place which might as well have been a school canteen, it too was packed and noisy and I don't even remember what I ate. At least I was with visitors that day.
I have tried two other places, neither memorable except that in every place the staff are super friendly.
I am running out of local options and may well have to go further afield.

Warrnambool people you are spoiled for choice.

On a much more positive note, I can have Chinese, Malay, Indian, fish and chips, parmigiana, pizza, pasta, schnitzel and kebabs delivered to my door. The supermarket across the road cooks roast vegetables, sweet roast pork and roast chicken in their deli department and the local shopping plaza has a Vietnamese 'street vendor'. All within ten minutes walking distance and of course there is a drive through next door and one across the road - if I want fast, fast food.

I think instead I will have poached eggs from the best restaurant in town - my kitchen. 

                                          Image result for poached eggs

Happy Sunday everyone.

Monday, 1 June 2015

The Eve of June

11.10pm on the 31st of May and the night is chill. My fingers are cold. I should put the heater on and warm the house before bed but I am going to catch up on my neglected blog instead.

It has been a whirlwind month of moving. Leading up to the move I simply could not get my act together to organise the packing and cleaning effectively. It was such a huge task. I put out panic calls on facebook and people answered. Thank fully I have some incredible and supportive friends. People came from miles around to help pack and clean.Some helped physically, some helped by feeding me, some helped with some moving funds and some with calls and hugs and support in whatever way they could.
 I feel so nurtured.
Helen was a life saver finding boxes for me.

Andy came to drive the first truck and was dreadfully ill. Luke and I tried to load by ourselves and it was taking hours. When I called for help Michael and Kate arrived, Kate packed things and Michael found more boxes then helped Luke load the heavy stuff. Then Bryan and a friend came by and helped shift a few things in the limited time they could spare. Poor Andy slept or found a patch of garden to share his breakfast with.
Shirley dragged a friend along and gave me a solid hour of their time and between us we managed to clean out the shed and helped me load the final truck.
Shay and Angie came by to assist as did Janet and Helen. Shay carted the scrap metal away and did a tip run. Janet was half way through the final carpet clean when the power went out so she kept going with the old carpet sweeper.

Without their support I could never have managed to complete the move in time. I thank each and every one of my wonderful caring friends from the bottom of my heart. (NB Just because your name might not appear on this page does not mean your contributions and support are not appreciated but there is a word limit to the average readers attention span.)

I drove from Warrnambool to Bacchus Marsh and back again so often I swear I could do the trip in my sleep.

Warrnambool is wonderful and I shall miss it. Keep in touch my Warrnambool friends. I am only a keyboard away.

Bacchus Marsh.

So here we are in the fourth week in the new house.
 The view from the front step.
and a lovely picture of the sun through the trees from out on the street.

Day one we could smell gas. Little wafts of it each time any of us walked through the kitchen. I sent off emails to the real estate. Made some phone calls. Mentioned it to the man who came to fix the leaking kitchen sink and the blocked bathroom sink. Sent a few more emails and photos of the still leaking sink, mentioning yet again for the fifth or sixth time in as many correspondences that there was still a gas leak three weeks into our tenancy and please could they have it fixed so I could use the stove without blowing up the house.
Late on Friday and young man arrived at my house armed with a machine reminiscent of Ghost Busters and proceeded to look for the cause of the gas leak. Nothing happened and just to prove the machine worked he switched on the gas and entertained us with a noisy series of click-beeps that slowed as the gas dissipated. Over the stove he waved his wand, behind the over, across the bench, under the knobs and not a beep to be heard. He scratched his head and murmured about the infallibility of his super sensitive device. Finally he slid into the under bench cupboard, his torso disappearing with only his sun ripened legs dangling from his truncated blue shorts sticking out of the cupboard. Way in the shadowy depths the machine went wild. The young plumber popped out of the cupboard and screwed his face into a puzzled frown. "It's the pipe. The skinny one. They don't make them pipes any more. I'll have to pinch it off and let them know." Off went the gas.
Week four and still no stove. Fortunately I am adaptable and we are eating well and my electronic cooking gadgets are finally getting a work out.

So over the past six weeks I have been diagnosed with diabetes type 2, moved house, sewed, made a teensy bit of art, lost 5kgs, attended a class in my novel writing subject, built some shelves, visited people, attended a 3 year old's party, had my first ever IKEA experience and begun to explore a new place. Several of my offspring had birthdays and the days have sped past. I purchased myself a sudoku board from an op shop so each morning I take a pot of tea out to the court yard and sit quietly in the early sunlight and meditate over the pattern of the numbers.

This is my court yard and art space.
This was in the first few days when I had yet to sweep out the accumulated debris and had not yet hung up the fairy lights and wind chimes. The chess board sits on the end of the table now.

It is a lovely place to sit. I can look out over the head stones in the church yard next door.

I made a few more clothing items out of socks for my Lammily doll.I purchased two sets of socks, one on special in a department store cost me $3 and one set from an op shop for 50c. The op shop pair became a pair of spotty blue short pyjamas and a beanie and took about five minutes to snip and sew by hand.

 The second set of socks were pretty white ones with lace trimming and two layers of elastic.

 Cut, trim and hem in less than five minutes my doll had a trendy little skirt.
 Here it is before hemming.

The socks before snipping. I still have one blue and one white sock to play with.

Now my most exciting news. 
For the first time in my whole life I have a complete set of matching bookshelves. All the same colour and brand spanking new.
Here is the before photo of my lounge room.

a small mountain of unpacked bags and boxes, clogging the centre of the room. Bit by bit I have chipped away at it and then...

The progress shots -
 The unpackaging

The tools and parts

 The instructions, tools and parts

The screws going in

 The top, bottom and centre going on

The other side

 The super uber duber screw cap thingys

 The second uh oh moment of discovering a back to front shelf...
 The crack
 Nailing on the back board after careful and precise measurements for the placing of the nails. Thank goodness I have someone to keep me in line with a ruler or I would be doing the artist tradie thing and just guesstimating.

 The oops disaster moment when I stepped over the end and snapped the base board with my clod hopping foot. I managed to glue and plaster a bracer which is hidden from view. OH MY GIDDY CHICKENS!
More nails and then (drum roll please)
The next set of progress shots -
 number one

Number two - getting those shelves just so is my lovely friend Mica getting it right.

 One, two and three and some decisions about the depth between shelves.
 The first four shelves
 The beginnings of Alphabetical Order
 Still more books and more shelves to fill
 The gargantuan pile of bags grows higher and higher as each one is emptied of its precious contents.
And finally 

Ta Dah! I have my very own personal library. Only five more shelves to build for the non fiction. It is such a marvelous feeling. On that note I shall go read a book and fall asleep between the pages.

Special thanks to Gemma.