Weekend Coffee Share 18th June, 2016

If we were having coffee today, I’d be offering you a Cornish Pasty to go with your beverage of choice. Given the number of guests I usually have for my weekend coffee shares, I might have to make them a bit smaller so there’s enough to go around.

Have you ever tried Cornish Pasties? I must admit that I had to tell both my kids that they don’t contain corn and hail from Cornwell in England. However, our Cornish Pasty is better known as the “Curley” and hails from Scottsdale in NE Tasmania where my husband grew up.

We’re still fully engrossed in Masterchef here and after hearing so much about recreating your childhood memories on the plate, I decided to try to make Geoff his much loved Curley. This act of love was by no means an easy feat because I only tried the Curley a couple of times 10 years ago so I have no idea what it was like. Moreover, unlike my husband, I’m not a Cornish Pasty connoisseur and fusspot of the highest order, which made recreating the Curley pretty difficult. So, after reading a few recipes and seeing Jamie Oliver shot up in flames for not sticking to the original ingredients, I opted to go with this Traditional Cornish Pasty Recipe All went well aside from being ready at 10pm and needing to cook a quick second dinner. I also ended up with a lot of extra filling and still had some left over after making a second batch of pastry. Despite the late finish time, my husband gave my Curley his royal seal of approval, although the original had more pepper and a soft pastry. This pastry had a lovely crunch. Our daughter loved hers the next night, which is a serious endorsement as she is the fussiest eater I’ve ever met. Our son found his pastry too salty. When it comes to food, my kids have incredibly sensitive palates reminding me of The Princess and the Pea!

Needless to say, Curley will be back on the menu very soon and I’m looking at making an authentic Australian Pasty…especially as anything made outside Cornwell isn’t supposed to be a Cornish Pasty, even if it’s made by people of Cornish descent. I suspect there was an influx of Cornish immigrants into NE Tasmania looking at place names such as Launceston, Devonport and the River Tamar. Indeed, my husband’s grandmother had Cornish ancestry and was descended from Francis French from Pelynt, Cornwall who arrived in Hobart Town  on the 23 August 1831.That family was huge and populated much of Northern Tasmania.

Last Monday, was a Public Holiday in Australia celebrating the Queen’s Birthday. While she didn’t invite us to cross the high seas and join her at Buckingham Palace for High Tea, Geoff and the kids had a day off. Well, our son had a sort of day off. A friend of ours is going through her psychology registration and needed a guinea pig to sit through a supervised IQ test. These tests can be very helpful so I jumped at the opportunity which found his sister and I checking out a nearby surf beach and going out for a scrumptious lunch of corn fritters and fresh Belgian Waffles with caramel syrup and ice cream while he toiled away indoors. Meanwhile, Geoff caught up with her husband, who is his best mate, best man at our wedding. So, you have to agree, our son drew the short straw which enabled the rest of us to have a great day. We will be making it up to him.

I was really stoked with the photos I was taking of the roaring surf crashing into the beach with such vengeance. It’s been awhile since I’ve been to Wamberal Beach near Terrigal on the NSW Central Coast but we’d had nasty storms and reports of dangerous surf. Indeed, like Colloroy Beach in Sydney which saw a backyard swimming pool fall into the waves, a strip of homes in Wamberal is also seriously under threat. While I was taking the photos, I turned on the flash to freeze the waves in their tracks and captured some really dramatic effects. I was stoked…especially with my best ever photograph of a surfer.

surfer zoom

Winter Surfing, Wamberal, Australia…..Photo: Rowena Newton

However, while it’s all very well sharing about what’s been going on in my own little bubble, the Orlando Massacre is on my mind. Firstly, I’d like to express my heartfelt condolences to their families and loved ones and then I’d like to express my anger and wrath towards the gunman and the US gun laws. I’ve never been to America but I certainly get the impression that guns are everywhere and that it’s almost a case of getting a gun thrown in with your McHappy Meal.

I would like to urge Americans to finally take a stand against such prolific gun ownership and learn from our Australian experience.

Australia dramatically tightened our gun laws following the heinous 1996 Port Arthur massacre where the gunman brutally and rapidly murdered 35 people and injured 23 others using semi-automatic rifles. Prime Minister John Howard, supported by Walter Mikac who’d lost his wife and two young daughters in the attack, crusaded to get all the Australian states onboard and heavily restrict the legal ownership and use of self-loading rifles, self-loading shotguns, and heavily tightened controls on their legal use by recreational shooters. The government initiated a “buy-back” scheme and some 643,000 firearms were handed in at a cost of $350 million.

I really admire then Prime Minister John Howard for taking this stand, which wasn’t without serious risks. He received death threats and faced intense hostility.  Meanwhile, Walter Mikac founded  The Alannah and Madeline Foundation which supports child victims of violence and runs a national anti-bullying programme.It was launched by the Prime Minister on the first anniversary of the massacre.

The Australian experience shows that it can be done. Indeed, this story from NBC News written a year ago in 2015,  turns to the Australian response for inspiration. Australia too has it’s gun lobby but politicians and the community need to decide what is more important…the right to bear arms or the right to life. For me, it’s a no brainer.

So, while I enjoy catching up for a good social chit chat, getting together for coffee has also been about reflecting on the state of our world, the need for change and somehow turning thought into action. That’s a challenge for me personally but I do hope that through writing and raising awareness, that can somehow become a form of action.

I hope you have personally had a good week and that the week ahead goes well for you too. After researching the Port Arthur Massacre and the news from Orlando, I’m reminded how fragile life is and that we need to hold our loved ones close and never allow water to flow under the bridge, building division, fracturing relationships and bringing hurt. We need to love.

Love & blessings to you all!

xx Rowena


24 thoughts on “Weekend Coffee Share 18th June, 2016

  1. merrildsmith

    I wish we would follow your country’s plan, but I think there are too many in the US who oppose any restrictions on gun ownership at all. It’s ridiculous, but we seem to be excelling at ridiculous these days. Look at the presumptive GOP candidate.

  2. vanbytheriver

    Thank you for your thoughts on gun control. When Port Arthur happened, changes were made. Let’s hope that happens for us soon…maybe even tomorrow when our Congress takes a vote. It’s a start, that has come after too much pain and heartbreak.💔
    And…set me a place, Ro, I’ll be down shortly for those pastries.

  3. Rowena Post author

    Van, you have to hope gun laws in the US have to change soon. You would think that Obama is in a prime position to do something as a parting gift to the nation. I saw a recent documentary that interviewed John Howard at length about his resolve to reduce guns here. He is a staunch conservative and I don’t think he ever sought to be popular but to do what he saw was right and I think he had pretty sound values on most things, although I’ve forgotten the details. He was known as “little Johnny Howard” or “Honest John”. I don’t really feel I can trust either side of politics to follow through on their promises.
    I will certainly set you a place, Van. It looks like I’ll be needing a big table!
    xx Ro

  4. Rowena Post author

    I love so-called trivia like that. Local slang really makes a story much more intimate and personal, at least, for me. Were these Oggy’s meat-free variations? I read that on Wikipaedia.
    I bet Ray would love to sink his teeth into one. My dogs have been hovering very close.

  5. Melissa @ Ever Growing Farm

    It looks as though you’ve had a lovely week! Good food, gorgeous waves…I’ll be right over to share in some of the peaceful bounty 😉

    Thank you for your thoughts on the state of our country. I’ve decided that with all of the ridiculousness around us these days…the Pulse shooting being the icing on the cake…to practice more self care and do my best to affect change locally for the time being. My heart is too raw for massive action, but we all must do *something because what we’ve been doing has really never worked.

    Wishing you a lovely weekend and week ahead!!! xoxo

  6. colinandray

    Meat free Oggys? Rowena, you are asking me to go back to the mid 1960’s and remember what was in an Oggy! My initial thought was yes, of course they had meat in them but, the more I think about it, the more I would lean towards no meat! That’s the best I can do! 🙂

  7. Suvi

    I would love to taste a Cornish pastry. Wish I’d remembered the Queen’s b’day so I could’ve celebrated with homemade scones 😛

    Love the surfer pic. I used to be quite the fan of surfers when I was younger, LOL!

    Interesting to hear about Australian gun laws, here in Finland it’s very strict too. For example you cannot own a gun for self defence purposes. xx

  8. bettylouise31

    Your Cornish pastry looks delicious. The purpose of a gun is to shoot something be it cans, bottle, trees, posts, animal both wild & domestic or a person. A moment od Silence for all victims of violence. PEACE.

  9. Corina

    Unfortunately, change comes too slow and too late here in the United States. We have had so many shootings; so many innocent lives lost. And still there is no change. Perhaps it would take a more personal loss for politicians to be willing to ignore lobbyists and take action against these senseless and useless weapons. Perhaps it would take a huge civil suit naming each politician and each lobbyist as guilty of the deaths of each person that has lost their life in a shooting of this sort. That’s what it boils down to…they are guilty of those murders even if they did not pull the trigger.

  10. Deb

    On the opposite side of gun laws in the US and at the risk of backlash…I am a gun owner. I am also licensed to carry a gun. Guns are not passed out in Happy Meals and a person does have to pass an investigation before being allowed the privilege of a permit. I use my weapon for target shooting at a range with other law abiding gun owners. I carry for my protection and yours. Gun ownership does not make you a killer. My gun will not kill you. My finger on the trigger will. The Orlando shooter did obtain his gun legally. He was in the FBI terrorist list for two years and removed for lack of reasonable cause for further investigation. That should not have happened. People with intent to do harm will find a way to get a gun regardless of how strict the gun laws are. Perhaps if there had been a licensed carrier inside the establishment in Orlando that person could have shot back and there would have been less carnage. I see no reason to own a machine gun and most people believe an assault weapon is a machine gun. Its not the gun’s fault.. Its the person holding that gun who decides to misuse it.
    The terrorists won’t abide by gun regulations. Two jets killed thousands of people but we still have planes and tighter security.
    I’m sorry if this offends anyone, but I hope that an open mind can see the two sides to this issue. If we were walking down a lonely street and approached by someone wanting to do us harm and my drawing my weapon saved our lives, would you still hate my right to own it?

  11. Rowena Post author

    Thanks for your openness and honesty, Deb. I live in Australia and all we hear is the bad stuff…not just with terrorists but kids accessing firearms at home and having all sorts of accidents. When you see America on the news here, mostly what we see is shootings and then there’s Donald Trump…not representative of America by any stretch of the imagination and I fully appreciate all the lovely Americans who read my blog and are my friends. I know that isn’t America.
    We have two dogs who are pets but one in particular is very protective and I have no doubt he’d defend us to the death. We haven’t been broken into and I feel very safe with him around….especially if I was being attacked by the postman, someone riding a bicycle or strangely the school bus which made him really go troppo! We also live in a fairly quiet beach town out of the city. There is a bit of violence here so it’s not perfect but it’s pretty safe. We also live on Peninsula so we know a lot people and people keep their eyes open and know what’s going on in town….for better or worse.
    For me, the right to bear arms is a foreign concept and we don’t take our constitution as seriously here either. Most Australians wouldn’t even know what was in it.
    Yet, at the same time, I do believe we need to work towards peace and understand that some times that does involve bearing arms either in the military or to save a life.
    xx Rowena

  12. Deb

    I know us Yankees get a bad rap. We are NOT what you see on the news. Even here in the states all we see are shootings, murders, protests, etc. Those are newsworthy stories I guess. You won’t see much about the kind and compassionate people most of us truly are. You know the old saying, “one bad apple spoils the bunch”. I live in a secluded area in five miles from the closest town and 1/2 mile from neighbors. I’m alone. Nobody is going to hear me cry for help. I have been stopped on the streets of our small town while walking a block from work to the bank, or followed by a group of boys/men not of our country, who have attempted to intimidate me. I was thankful to know I had my weapon tucked away just in case, but thankfully it wasn’t necessary. It is a matter of last resort.
    It would be great if we could have peace and understanding in this world, but I honestly do not believe that this is possible. The best we can do is TRY to achieve that on a one on one basis and pray it spreads. And, yes..Mr. Trump scares me to death as well. But, so does Hillary. We have nobody running for the presidency that is worth a hoot. I am truly concerned for the fate of our country.
    My dogs bark a lot at the wind blowing, or some other sound, but when it is a car in the drive, they hide behind me. LOL

  13. Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

    Well said Rowena. There are 12,000 deaths a year from guns in the US and twice as many people are injured. I would think that gun reform would be an essential. Our experience and the benefits of reform speak for themselves. I guess we don’t know what it is like in the States but you have to wonder. Loved your sea photos and the pasties made my mouth water – the pastry looked lovely.

  14. Inspiring Max

    I haven’t had a Cornish pasty in years. I can remember making them in school and loved them. As you can’t just go to the local cafe and by one I guess it will be out with the old Commonsense Cookery Book to make them again over the next few weeks. Great to meet you and thanks for the memory.

  15. Rowena Post author

    Great to meet you too. You’ll appreciate my little find at Vinnies today. I found an old LP record: “Ugly Dave Gray’s Singalong”1970-1979. I remember Blankety Blanks from when I was a child and couldn’t resist it. The jokes went over by head at the time. I also picked up an Oroton handbag for $20.00 and a pair of knee-length black boots. Really needed the boots. I pretty pleased with my haul!

  16. New Journey

    Hello my friend from down under….beautiful pasties….may have to give them a try….I certainly have been doing my share of drinking coffee all weekend…my cousin drinks thick French roast….so my motor gets a great kick off in the morning…we have worked out that she uses what she makes and I make a new pot with her left over grounds…LOL nice to be home, well at least back in California….I was so devastated over the Orlando shooting….how incredibly horrific….I have never understood why they have ever allowed the sales of assault rifles used in wars…its crazy….all I can come up with it boils down to money and whos getting paid off for allowing them to be sold….however on the side, if anyone over here really wanted a gun, they would be able to buy one on the black market….they keep saying that these type of incidents would stop….I don’t believe that for a minute….you want it,….you can find it here…money talks…on that note the beach looked lovely….I will be putting my big toe in the Pacific very soon….we have plans for the lunch at the beach on Friday….I plan on spending a great deal of time at the beach….really miss the water….I am pretty sure there is salt water in my blood…LOL Have a fantastic week…your already onto Wednesday I think…we are watching the Euro Cup and Copa America over here all week so busy cheering on our favorite teams….I have been out weeding the flowerbeds…and that feels so good to get dirt under my nails…LOL..later my friend…xxxkat

  17. Inspiring Max

    You have done well sister. I love shopping at secondhand stores. Some of my best outfit have come from there and people even many years later have commented.

  18. Rowena Post author

    Thanks. A new boutique moved in just two doors from our local Vinnies and I really don’t know why anyone would shop there when you can get good quality clothing for a fraction of the price at Vinnies. I’m actually having to stay away for a little while. Behave myself!

  19. Rowena Post author

    Hi Kat,
    The Orlando shootings have devastated, shocked and stumped so many people who are still wondering why the laws don’t get modified.
    I had another awful reminder of the horror of gun violence this week when Australian Paralympic Gold Medalist, Liesl Tesch and an official were attacked at gunpoint in Rio while training for the Games. They were riding bikes and had their bikes stolen. Liesl is a local and teaches at the senior campus of my son’s high school. I know her somewhat because I used to be on the Status of Women Committee at our local council and she was the guest speaker. I walked down the main street with her wearing her medal. Ha! I was the great pretender! She also came and spoke at the kids’ sea scout group and her partner helps out. She was really helpful at the time because I was struggling to get out and thinking about getting a scooter and she offered to lend me an electric wheelchair. I ended up not needing it but it was really good to talk things over with her and see how she used equipment to get more out of her day. She uses her chair at school and while teaching to conserve her energy and rides her bike too and from work. Knowing this, also just made me super angry and sad about what happened in Rio. She seems to be coping well and she’s been through a lot so has those survival skills but you don’t want to see anybody go through that…especially someone so lovely who gives so much. I dropped a card off for her this morning. What can you do?
    Actually, this week hasn’t been good for people I know. A close family friend’s daughter’s husband suddenly dropped dead at home of a heart attack after going for a surf. He was only 45 and they have a 12 year old boy. As much as what we’ve been through has been really hard, we have had some warning. To lose someone so suddenly would be awful http://wwos.ninemsn.com.au/2016/06/16/12/06/wide-world-of-sports-reporter-steve-gee-dead-45
    Both these situations remind me of my eternal angst with bad things happening to good people. That life isn’t fair.
    I should leave you on a bit of an upbeat. My daughter looks like she’s trading in the Baritone Horn in for my Mum’s Clarinet. Mum brought it up yesterday and she was home “sick” from school today and kept playing it and is actually sounding okay…some squeaks but last night we were listening to a strangled goose so big improvement. She was on the phone playing to her friend and she was teaching Miss the notes. I thought it was so sweet and her friend’s Dad was encouraging her. It was really nice. I am now reading up on playing the clarinet and my goodness the things you have to do with those lips!!! And your mouth! And your breathing! Yikes! I admire her for taking it on.
    There you go. Couldn’t leave you on such a sad note…minor key!
    Hope you’re having a great week!
    xx Rowena

  20. New Journey

    Yes my heart aches for all the sorrow in the world….I really am saddened for those in Rio….just wrong..!!! I wish I could do something about gun control. in the USA but really besides letters and group protest I am afraid we, the little people, are up against the house and congress….I see the democrats are having a sit it waiting for the republicans to pass a bill on gun control….its actually really sad to see something so logical come to this…again I believe this all comes down the all mighty dollar…calling for gun control would take lots of money out of someone’s pocket….obviously they are lining the pockets of those who control the vote…just frigin sad…!!! I played the clarinet in high school, I had a chipped front tooth and had to give it up as it vibrated my tooth and caused me extreme pain….but it is a beautiful instrument…..I have no solution for the gun issues in the world….I wish I could wave a magic wand and make it all go away….have a great weekend….Kat

  21. Tails Around the Ranch

    Love and coffee…yup, that’s what we all need. Well ok, some of us need some chocolate to go with that, but still, love and coffee seem like a terrific start even without the sweet treat from the gods. Happy weekend!

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