I refuse to accept the thirty-something number associated with the number of years I have been alive. I skip away from its general direction to rekindle the summer afternoons of youth; swinging and jumping as high as the trees.
Friday, January 28
There was no Donna Hay or Gourmet Traveller styling at this Australia Day celebration. Just the ridgy-didge essentials for a backyard barbie around the Hills Hoist - tongs, paper plates, ETA vegetable oil, and single ply napkins. I dug out my home made dress for its once a year appearance; at this rate, as long as they keep the same flag, and I don't start eating vanilla slice, it should last me for the rest of my life.
After the char-grilled animal protein first course (or salad for the vegans among us), it was time for the annual Australia Day bake off . There was hot competition between the pavlova and lemon cheesecake, with my votes going to the home-made Violet Crumble. After a suspenseful count to rival the Brownlow, the pav' took out the highly coveted "snot block award." Oi Oi Oi!
Tuesday, January 25
We love fruit, adore it, lust after it; it makes up a huge percentage of our diet and when we stock up at the weekly farmer's markets, we don't hold back. Coming home to stone fruit season is a real treat after ten months of bananas, papaya and the odd mango. Succulent nectarines, juicy ripe peaches and tart plums are a taste sensation and perfect fuel for a sweet and active life; and at $1/kg for a box of local nectarines, it is easy on the budget.
Vasse Farmer's Market at Vasse Hall, 1st and 3rd Saturday of each month
Railway Farmer's Market, Rotary Park Busselton, 2nd and 4th Sunday of each month
Bring your basket and fill it with great value gifts from nature.
Monday, January 24
The Feast of Saint Roger of Todi was held on Saturday 22 January in the Year of Our Lord 2011. The celebration in homage to the Blessed Roger, a prodigy of Saint Francis of Assisi, took place in Piazza Beato Ruggiero in the neo-medieval walled hilltop village of Busselton al Mare.
Following the drinking of holy beverages and the breaking of bruschetta, cheese and olives, hardy souls made a short and pain free pilgrimage with eucharistic flare to the shores of the Sea of Geographe. Without any pomp, but with much ceremony and flag waving, four teams went to battle in ancient sports such as Throwing a Leg Over and Russelling of the Quoits. The festivities culminated in the Blessing of the Feet and dunking of the beer swilling, Blunstone wearing Roger in the holy waters of the bay. The assembled then shuffled in a reasonably organised way back to Piazza Beato Ruggiero for feasting, brotherhood and general merriment.
Thank you to the hosts Saint Franktic and Saint Frankophile, with special guest appearances from Saint Gianna and her miracle baby, and Saint Frankofski the horn blower. Roger that.
Saturday, January 22
The Festival of Busselton Sandcastle Competition was hotly contested, with over 300 competitors digging, sculpting and moulding their creations for a chance to win $50 and the prestigious title of best sandgroper. Tom was going to enter solo, and build an architecturally designed solar-passive castle, but his mature age rendered him ineligible. So the competitive McAuliffe family joined forces, and with a brickies trowel, buckets and shovels, set to work on their vision which quickly dissolved due to lack of planning.
The sun beat down on turtles, mermaids, fish, boats and traditional turrets, with points deducted for the use of imported materials such as flags. The family didn't win, but there were smiles on sun kissed faces all round. A great Aussie cultural arvo.
Wednesday, January 19
I am mesmerised by the garden; the smell of crushed leaves underfoot, the smooth bark of a eucalypt and familiar shape of a gumnut in my palm. The variety of species, colour and texture; the dense understorey that provides habitat for tiny honeyeaters, and the sturdy branches of the redgum that shelter the ring-tailed possums and tawny frogmouth owls. The melodic warbling of a magpie and lazy call of a crow over the weekend buzz of a neighbours lawnmower. The joy of fresh water streaming from a sprinkler, and the impermanent beauty of a hibiscus. A sweet contrast from our other life of coconut palms and sand.
Monday, January 17
We are home on Western Australian soil. The state of excitement, land of sandgropers. Back to the clear and cloudless blue sky, the dry summer air, empty white sand beaches, dogs, family, and friends. Stepping out of the Perth airport, the hot easterly wind hit us like a furnace, carrying the familiar smell of eucalyptus and the distant desert. In one short flight, our environment went from 100% humidity to less than 10%.