Tag Archives: Julie Goodwin

Weekend Coffee Share 20th May, 2017.

Welcome to Another Weekend Coffee Share!

This week, I’m going to be a better host, and offer you a choice of coffee, tea or Bonox before we get started. I know there have been some weeks where I’ve forgotten my manners. My apologies. This week I’m going to try to be a better listener, reminding myself that I have two ears and one mouth.

So, how was your week?

Perhaps, we should come up with some kind of rating system to sum up the week. You know, the sort of thing they have on those survey questionnaires where you rate your attitude between one and ten. The trouble is, that my mind goes a bit blank by the time it’s Sunday and last Monday seems a lifetime ago.

In so many ways, it was a fantastic week.

On Monday night, my adult dances classes started up again and this term, we’re doing tap. This is the first time I’ve really done tap, other than a few classes at school. I wasn’t too sure how I’d go and wondered whether I’d go for six trying to walk in my tap shoes. I was also concerned that it would be too hard on my legs and I’d need to sit down. That was quite a realistic expectation and I was getting tired. However, fortunately we ended up shifting to the corner and taking turns, giving me a chance to rest. I really loved tap and felt almost euphoric by the end of the class. I might not be Ginger Rogers, but I extended myself out of my comfort zone and all this exercise is so good for me.

DSC_5378

Thai-Style Chicken Burgers.

Tuesday night, I finally summoned up my courage and I cooked the Thai-Style Chicken Burgers from Julie Goodwin’s Essential Cookbook for dinner and her Apple Crumble Slice for dessert. They were both sensational. You can read about my efforts Here

Sometime last week, my daughter also found out that she’s been accepted into the dance stream of the selective performing arts or CAPA class at our local high school. She’s thrilled about this, as she’s really got into dance this year. It’s really become her thing. Meanwhile, she’s still waiting on the results of the selective high school test. I think it will work out either way.

Friday morning, I went to My First Yoga Class  Like the tap class, this was another tentative, new experience. Given my mobility and health issues, trying something new can be more daunting and those usual fears and concerns ramp up a bit, sometimes to the point of paralyzing panic. However, my physiotherapist had recommended this particular yoga class because it’s being taken by an occupational therapist. All of us in the class, have the same physio and it’s turning into what’s known as “adaptive yoga”. They have the same thing in other sports. It just means that its designed for people with disabilities. I loved yoga, particularly the last 15 minutes where we lay on our mats under a blanket and wearing lavender scented eye-masks and falling into a deep state of relaxation. I had such a glowing sense of well-being at the end. Needless to say, I’ll be back next week.

In between all these upbeat happenings, I’ve steadily been reorganizing our home. A few months ago, I received a government assistance package for people with disabilities called the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme). In addition to receiving occupational therapy and physio at home, I also get  7 hours of cleaning and a mentor for 7 hours. So far, we’ve been focusing on reorganizing and getting rid of stuff. I don’t know quite how I feel about all of this. There a lot of stuff to process and you have to decide what you’re going to do with each and every item, which becomes quite draining after awhile. The other problem is that you pull all this stuff out of nooks and crannies, but it doesn’t seem to fit back in. Inevitably, I’m left with huge mounds of stuff and need some kind of compacting system…something like the station guards on Japanese bullet trains who heave commuters into the train. Today, I just wanted to move a book shelf about 40 cm to the left, but because I needed to empty everything out of it, it became a massive and really quite overwhelming job. Both our kitchen table and another large foldout table were both piled with books. Indeed, I had enough books left over after I’d filled the bookshelves to fill another book case. Unfortunately, I’ve only found about ten I can part with.

My son did offer to burn the extra books. I told him that burning books was a crime and you could be sent to jail. He’s 13 now and he knew better, but I almost got him.

Clothes Horse

Clothes Horse??

I also had a run in with an Obstinate Clothes Horse

By the way, last week I mentioned that I’d taken our son to Emergency with weird symptoms. Thanks for your concern and best wishes. He seems to be doing quite well and doctors are suspecting migraine aura, without the accompanying headache. Still, that generated medical appointments with more to come just to be sure. Next week I also have an appointment with my rheumatologist in Sydney. So, there’s another day gone.

I am starting to feel quite conflicted by the amount of time which is going into sorting the house versus do my writing and research. While I was happy to put them aside short term, getting the house sorted is turning into a long term, intensive project and almost a full time job. While I want the whole family to become more organised and sorted, it does come at a cost to me. I am now conjuring up ways to get the kids to do more. Kids seem to be rather pampered these days, and have taken to enslaving their parents.  I’m now needing to turn the tables a bit. Get us all working together as a team, when none of us is exactly what you’d call team players. We seem to operate better as Lone Rangers.

Kings Cross

Kings Cross’s Famous Coca Cola sign viewed from the Sydney Tower Eye.

By the way, I also wrote a flash for Friday Fictioneers. Every week, I marvel at what enters my brain for these challenges. It’s always such a long way from my everyday life in  an Australian beach town. This week’s was Missing: Kings Cross, Sydney.

Hope you’ve had a great weekend. It’s now Sunday night here and I’m heading off to find something for dessert. Sweet Week on Masterchef starts in ten minutes. My laptop could well be in danger as I drool at the screen.

This has been another Weekend Coffee Share hosted by Ally over at Nerd In The Brain. You can click on the linky and I hope you’ll join us.

xx Rowena

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cooking Like A Masterchef.

As I’ve mentioned before, Australia’s First Masterchef, Julie Goodwin and her radio co-host “Rabbit”, arrived somewhat announced at my place with a meal last week… as well as a signed copy of Julie’s latest cookbook…Julie Goodwin’s Essential Cookbook.

Naturally, I wanted to cook a meal from Julie’s cookbook.

Well, actually I wanted to bake a dessert (or two, or three!!!)

However, being a parent and needing to role model nutritional and healthy eating, I launched off with a meal.

I don’t know about you, but choosing what to make for dinner every night causes me serious apoplexy. Indeed, my usual speedy, intelligent mind goes completely blank in what could only be described as “Cook’s Block”. Desperately seeking inspiration, I often end up staring through the butcher shop window like a starving mutt looking for the meaning of life, or at least dinner.

In the last week, this daily quest transferred to Julie’s cookbook. I really enjoyed reading the intro and picking up tips and feeling like I was still talking to Julie in my kitchen. However, I think it might’ve been the ghost of Rabbit coming back to haunt me. There was this loud chastising voice booming in my ear: “You’ve done enough reading. Stop talking. I’m hungry. Where’s dinner? Ten minutes to go…”

Actually, it wasn’t Rabbit. It was the kids. They were sick of staring at an empty plate!

Well, I finally decided on a recipe.

Last night, I made Julie’s Thai-Style Chicken Burgers (pg 75) for dinner, followed by her Apple Crumble Slice (pg 262) for dessert .

However, before I could power up the stove, I was off to the supermarket…ingredients.

supermarket trolley2

 

Due to my health issues, my husband usually does the big weekly shop. However, I set out to buy the ingredients for Julie’s meal all by myself. This wouldn’t have been an issue if I was sticking to the baking aisle. Fish sauce? Not an ingredient in your average chocolate cake. As for chilli…Don’t talk to me about chilli. Fresh chilli terrifies me after our local Thai takeaway redefined “mild”.  As for “Kewpie Mayonnaise”, I remember seeing Kewpie Dolls at the Royal Sydney Easter Show, but what did they have to do with mayonnaise? Not much.

I was pondering these challenges, when my phone rang. Lady, our Border Collie x Cavalier x Houdini had got out. That meant, a race through the supermarket and mad dash home.

That meant another trip back to the supermarket and Kewpie mayonnaise remained a mystery.

Kewpie Mayonnaise

While recipe books are pretty good with providing preparation times for meals, they don’t tell you how long it’s going to take you to find the ingredients. By this I’m not only talking about doing the shopping, but also delving through the flotsam and jetsam in the kitchen pantry. After all, most of us don’t have a “Tupperware Pantry”. Indeed, my pantry could well be described as a “mystery box” along with the fridge.

So, by the time I’d sorted the dog out, I was onto my fourth shop chasing ingredients. That’s not because I didn’t have a list and kept having to dash back again. It was just the usual thing of my day stop-starting and it wasn’t helped when the chicken shop had run out of chicken mince. The butcher came to my rescue again.

Swedish-Chef_Spring-Chickens

So after hunting down minced chicken and doing the Kewpie mayonnaise victory dance, I was back home. Time to get the show on the road. Not that I had any film crews filming me. I might be cooking from the Masterchef’s cookbook, but I’m not Julie Goodwin and no one’s filming yours truly in action. This could well be a good thing because I could get the Health Department closing my beloved kitchen down. As I’ve mentioned before, I cook like  the Swedish Chef from The Muppets and the inspectors don’t like seeing raw chicken flying around, even if the dogs do clean it up afterwards.

Actually, even I’m very careful cooking with this raw chicken mince and am wearing disposable gloves. There’s no way I could touch the raw chicken with my bare hands. For me, this is the equivalent of an arachnophobe trying to embrace incy wincy spider. Erk!

On that note, my daughter who has been chopping the coriander recoils at the smell of the fish sauce. As complication builds on complication, I wonder whether Julie faces any of these hurdles when she cooks at home. However, after listening to Julie on the radio, I know she’s very human and her family is real.

I’m mixing things together and I must admit I added half the red curry paste and sort of “forgot” to add the fresh chilli…just in case. Once you add heat to a dish, it’s impossible to extract. So, this being my first attempt at Julie’s Thai chicken burgers, I added half the stated amount of red curry paste, but will add the full amount next time. It seems Julie’s chilli-meter is well-calibrated and well-suited to my palate.

The only points I would add to Julie’s notes, is to be really careful cooking with raw chicken. With mixing multiple ingredients into the raw chicken mince, you can’t go touching other stuff.  You need to have everything else set up first. Indeed, in future I’ll put everything else in the bowl first and add the mince last next time. Being conscious of food safety issues, especially when using raw chicken, it’s not being mysophobic. It’s critical.

Fast-forwarding, we’ve squished our mince mix into patties, fried them on the stove, spread our mayonnaise mix on our brioche buns, sprinkled chopped coriander leaves over the patty and added the lettuce.

DSC_5373

An endangered species…the chicken patty was out of the frying pan and straight down the hatch.

It’s hard to describe how something tastes. A better indication is how much is leftover at the end of the meal and are there any scavengers (other than the dogs) chasing leftovers? My kids are very fussy eaters. It’s a rare that my daughter even finishes her meal, let alone asks for seconds and she was almost hoovering the chicken burger off her plate. She also polished off a small leftover patty. You couldn’t get a better endorsement.

DSC_5378

Meanwhile, after polishing off the burgers, I was peeling and chopping apples while watching Masterchef for Julie’s Apple Crumble Slice.

More yum!

All but straight out of the oven, I cut the slice into civilized squares, which were soon by-passed in preference for double-servings all round (except our daughter who’d filled up on the burger). This slice is deliciously moist with a scrumptious crunchy top. Moreover, with all that apple inside, you can appease your conscience. It’s healthy.

We’ll be doing this meal again next week, although I’ll be doubling the chicken burger mix.

You can never have too much of a good thing!

Have you ever tried making any of Julie Goodwin’s recipes? Even if you’re overseas, you can still check out her web site and try making something wherever you are. You too can cook and eat like an Australian.

xx Rowena

PS Oops! The Apple Crumble Slice mysteriously vanished before photographs could be taken. The photographer succumbed to temptation.

PPS I just had a phone call from my Mum. I sent her home with the last piece of Apple Crumble Slice. Here’s her verdict: “Never tasted anything quite like that. Quite perfect by itself. Unique. No idea how you’ve made it. Didn’t need anything with it…other than a cup of tea.

 

“Weekend” Coffee Share 15th May, 2017.

Greetings and Welcome to Another Weekend Coffee Share!

It’s now Monday arvo here just North of Sydney, Australia and I’m having to get a wriggle on because the linky closes in one hour and nine minutes. Well, that nine minutes probably just dried up while I’ve been tweaking so I’d better hurry up.

Anything, I have much to celebrate this week and I’m not just talking about Mothers’ Day, although that’s a great place to get started. Why not go backwards through the week for a change?

So, Happy Mothers’ Day. I know it’s a bit late, but I hope you had a great day  or are enjoying the tail end of it. At the same time, I am mindful that Mothers’ Day is also a time of reflection, grief or even raw anger for many and my thoughts are particularly with you. I get how special days can really exacerbate those emotions.

We had a great Mothers’ Day, which was completely unplanned and spontaneous. The kids made us French Croissant Toast, where you slice croissants in half and dunk them in an egg and cream custard with a bit of added lemon zest and thyme. They were very scrumptious indeed (quite aside from the thrill of the kids cooking for us!!) Balloon Bag

I also had an unexpected surprise when my son launched a shopping bag with a Mothers’ Day card in it into the clouds, trying a bunch of helium balloons to the handle. The bag looked amazing as it flew steadily upwards, looking very much like a hot air balloon and gondola in miniature. I wonder if anyone found it?

Late afternoon, I spotted some striking clouds and headed down to the beach with my camera. I really enjoyed that short afternoon walk while mesmerizing over the clouds.

Yet, as I mentioned, we had an amazing week and Mothers’ Day was just the icing on the cake.

On Monday morning, the local radio station Star FM, turned up as my place as expected to give me my prize. I listen to their breakfast show every morning while driving the kids around, which is hosted by Rabbit and Australia’s first Masterchef, Julie Goodwin, who has recently put out a new cookbook. Their visit followed up a blogpost I wrote after they visited my daughter’s school. I am a serious Julie Goodwin fan and was unashamedly gushing when I presented her with my copy of her first cookbook for signing.

Anyway, I’d mentioned that Julie had never turned up at my place with a meal in that post and that’s why they were here on Monday. Julie had made me her Butter Chicken and we were off to the kitchen to make a salad together for the cameras.

They posted this video of their visit on their Facebook page, which has already had over 6,000 views: Rowena & the Masterchef

Anyway, I just received a phone call from my daughter’s school saying she’s sick and needs to be picked up. Humph! She goes to school 45 minutes away so that’s me gone for awhile. I’ll come back and tweak this later.

xx Rowena

Masterchef: Julie Goodwin’s, Essential Cookbook.

As I’ve mentioned often enough, Julie Goodwin, Australia’s 1st Masterchef, made a surprise visit to our home on Monday to drop off a meal and a copy of her latest cookbook, Julie Goodwin’s Essential Cookbook.

So, I thought you might like to join me as I flick through the cookbook and choose something to cook. After all, she didn’t just give it to me  to be nice. Or, to be framed and sent “straight to the pool room”. It was to be used.

Used and even abused.

Indeed, Julie gave me carte blanche to all but destroy the book during the cooking process. Apparently, she loves to see a well-used book,which could well have sampled a few meals itself. For better or worse, my personal cooking style was inspired by the Swedish chef from the Muppet Show back in the 80s. So, this poor book could well be in for a smorgasbord of splattered delight…

Although Julie needs little introduction here in Australia, I thought I’d better introduce her to those further afield.

Julie Goodwin is many things.Every morning when I listen to Julie on the radio, I’m struck by her infectious laugh which jolts me out of the morning’s challenges. Julie has a real depth and sincerity, and I know I’ve only glimpsed the edges of that. Right from her first appearances on Masterchef, she’s worn her heart on her sleeve. Her love of her family and being their Mum, radiate from her heart. You can tell how much she loves and cares for people, and that cooking and food is all part of that. There is no divide. So many of us who cook for our families, feel the same. That there’s nothing like a home-cooked meal. It’s infused with love.

DSC_5220

So when Julie gave me her cookbook, she was also sharing the joy of cooking and sitting around a table laden with scrumptious offerings laughing and chatting with family and friends. Cooking and eating great meals, are joys to be shared, and not to be kept to yourself…top secret.

In her introduction, Julie explains why she put this cookbook together:

“The point I find myself at at the moment is as the parent of three boys who are new adults. They are all still at home right now but I guess the clock is ticking, and although I have taught them what cooking knowledge I could over the years I feel an almost desperate need to get all the important recipes, information and tips together so that when they go, they’re set.

That’s what this book is for. It’s a collection of everything I think is important to know in order to be able to nourish yourself and the people you love; it’s the recipes that bring back childhood memories for myself and my kids;it’s the little bits of kitchen wisdom that have been handed down through generations, or passed on from friends, or discovered by accident or through trial and error. It’s the book I want my books to have when they have families of their own.”

My Mother-in-law did the same thing for Geoff when he moved out of home and we still have a much treasured cookbook she put together for him in an exercise book. I also have detailed recipes my grandmother sent my Mum. One even included a snippet about the birth of a friend’s baby. I have cooked with my own kids both as a bonding experience and to teach them practical life skills. It actually takes quite a lot of smarts to put together a great meal.

DSC_5255

So, after enjoying  Julie’s Butter Chicken on Monday night (thank you Julie!!), I decided to cook something from her cookbook on Tuesday night.

Something…

With 300 pages of recipes to choose from and possibly two recipes per page, I was bamboozled by choice.

Where to start?

Of course, my sweet tooth went straight to Baking and Desserts. I’m already making plans to bake her Flourless Chocolate Cake on page 250. Actually, I just spotted a recipe for Chocolate Fondant on page 287. I’ve been wanting to try making one of those for years, along with tiramisu, but have never had the guts. Not because I can’t cook. Rather, it’s the paralyzing perfectionist in me. That stupid fear of making a mistake, which stops me from lifting my wooden spoon. Indeed, I use it to beat myself up instead.

Well, it doesn’t stop me entirely. I obviously have to feed the family and every year when Masterchef starts up, my home cooking goes up a zillion notches. The other day, for example, I made pan fried perch with lemon and raspberry, a dash of honey and sprinkled with macadamia nuts…just something I threw together.

DSC_5266.JPG

Hasselback Potato.

So, rather than being ambitious, I started with something simple…Hasselback Potatoes on page 192. Actually, with my fine motor challenges, these potatoes, which have horizontal slices 2 mm apart, could’ve been more challenging than the fondant. However, aside from chopping off a few pieces, all went well. I poured the mix of melted butter and oil over the potatoes and threw them in the oven. They emerged with a scrumptious crunchy crust, but soft in the middle.

Wow! Those potatoes were so good. We ate them as finger food like a row of scalloped, potato chips.

Indeed, we loved them so much, I swapped them for our usual roast potatoes. I’m doing a roast lamb tonight. Sorry, Julie, I went AWOL on the roast and did my own thing.

By the way, if you haven’t seen the footage of Julie and Rabbit’s visit to our place, you can see it here: Rabbit & Julie Goodwin Visit Rowena

If you would like to try some of Julie’s recipes or purchase her cookbook, please visit her web site: Julie Goodwin

Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to MY big day tomorrow and arrival of the fairies during the night.

xx Rowena

PS I thought you all might also want to check out Rabbit’s new cookbook as well in these very entertaining clips. As much as I love Rabbit and did pass on one of my own recipes, I am concerned he’s trying a bit too hard: Rabbit Tells Julie about his cookbook on air and Rabbit & Julie:The Battle of the Cookbook Signings

The Masterchef & the Rabbit.

Rabbits are usually the target, and not the decoy. However, this was no ordinary Rabbit.

This was Rabbit as in “Rabbit & Julie Goodwin” Star FM’s breakfast radio hosts. A few weeks ago, I was contacted by our local radio station. I was simply told that I’d won a prize and Rabbit would be at my house on Monday morning. Mia on the phone didn’t say much and was very adept at evading questions.

DSC_5140

Naturally, I had to do something for Rabbit’s visit. Create a bit of theatre. On Sunday night, I finally came up with the idea of Mad Hatters Tea Party…an Alice in Wonderland theme. After all, where is White Rabbit? I have quite a lot of Alice in Wonderland paraphernalia and it all came together very well….especially with some home-made, gluten free cupcakes which our daughter decorated. I also tied a scarf to the massive Norfolk Pine Tree in our front yard so they could find our house (as if they couldn‘t spot the crowd in the front yard and the tea party and don’t have GPS.) Well, my daughter and her friend were feeling “bored” and nabbed armfuls of my scarves and tied them to the tree. It looked fantastic, but very out there.

Suddenly, Rabbit and Mia arrived…along with a cameraman. Now, I should warn you that Rabbit knows how to keep a straight face and tell pure porky pies without flinching. Rabbit apologises that Julie couldn’t be there and presents me with a signed cookbook…Julie Goodwin: The Essential Cookbook.

As much as I appreciated the cookbook, I sensed there was more. That something else was up his sleeve. After all, they could’ve posted the book. AND, a radio station wouldn’t film someone who isn’t the author, presenting a book.

Then…  a dashing white mini convertible with “COOKING” on the number plate, pulls into our driveway and out steps Julie Goodwin, Australia’s first Masterchef. She’d arrived at our place with a meal…butter chicken, rice with saffron and we were off to the kitchen to prepare the salad together…and for the cameras.

OMG!!! Obviously, I’ve never been the mild-mannered reporter type, but I was uber-excited. I was so happy, that I all but burst into song. Julie was here!

DSC_5220

Well, you might ask why Julie Goodwin came here. After all, our place is hardly Masterchef Central.

Well, that’s a long story.

As I said, I received a message from the radio station a few weeks ago saying I’d won a prize. I suspected this was in response to a post I’d written after Rabbit and Julie Goodwin hosted the breakfast show on Star FM at our daughter’s school. I’ve been a mad Julie Goodwin fan ever since I first saw her battling it out on Masterchef eight years ago.

When I heard that Julie and Rabbit were going to be at my daughter’s school, I drove the 45 minutes up the freeway along with her cookbook and my heart was almost palpitating. Once I saw her on air, I was absolutely transfixed and I found it so hard to pull myself back and harder still to watch her leave… “Julie! Julie!”

Pathetic, I know! Yet, there was just something about Julie, which made me feel home. There was something about her which calmed a raging sea I didn’t understand. I was having a wonderful day and yet something inside me was drowning. The waves were crashing overhead and yet there were blue skies and things were the best they’d been in a long time. Indeed, I’d even become a believer in miracles.

rowena-amelia-with-rabbit-julie

My daughter and I with Rabbit and Julie at her school.

Anyway,  when I wrote about meeting Julie, I made a tongue-in-cheek remark about how Julie’s never dropped around here with a meal. Of course, I’d never expected that, but around the time season one of Masterchef went to air, I’d been diagnosed with a life-threatening acute auto-immune disease called dermatomyositis, where your muscles attack themselves causing debilitating weakness. Although I’d improved, I wasn’t out of the woods. Our kids were aged 5 and 3 at the time and with Mummy being an endangered species, it wasn’t uncommon for Church or friends to drop in a meal. It’s what you do.

DSC_5254.JPG

Dinner with Julie (she’s the cookbook at the end of the table).

Now, I’ve not only received a meal from Julie. I also have another of her cookbooks and it’s time for me to share the love. Pass it forward…at least to my own family.

Bon Appetit!

xx Rowena

PS You might also enjoy reading Bilbo’s account of events. I must admit he did write quite a lot about himself: The Queen of the Kitchen.

The Queen of the Kitchen…Dog Reports on Intriguing Home Visit.

G’day, Mates!

This is Bilbo, Rowena’s superlatively intelligent and inimitably handsome Border Collie and the reigning ball chasing champion of the universe. Not that I boast. Rather, I’m actually surprisingly timid. Mum’s always telling people I’m like that reserved guy standing in the corner of the pub holding his beer. I need time to warm up. Not that I’m unsociable, or one of those whimpering dogs who hide under the house whenever someone comes over. Yet, I certainly don’t jump all over strangers either. I call that “respect”.

bilbo & Lady friends

This is Lady on the left and I’m on the right.

Anyway, despite my prowess with the tennis ball, I also have a way with words. Being a philosopher’s dog, I also ponder the meaning of life inside, outside and upside down until my rattling, rusty brain short circuits.

It’s been a long time since I last launched myself into cyberspace. I apologise for my long absence and could easily blame writer’s block, but I’ve been busy. That wretched posty still insists on coming round here every day delivering the mail. Although I’m now considered “elderly”,  I haven’t lost my touch. Indeed, it’s a bold and intrepid posty who knocks on our front door with a parcel.

There’s been a series of macabre machinations around here, and that’s why I’m back. I’m trying to get to the bottom of it all and could use your help. Lady, my canine companion and troublemaker extraordinaire, keeps telling me that I’m over-thinking all of this. However, I have a scent for trouble and I smell trouble in capital, huge, bold letters with four exclamation marks…

TROUBLE!!!!

So, let me run through the evidence, and perhaps you could help me make sense of it all. Please explain!

Actually before I launch into what the family HAS been doing, I thought I’d better eliminate the obvious. They’re not going on holidays. That’s the usual reason routines go out the window around here and pandemonium prevails. However, the suitcases aren’t out and instead of packing, they doing what I can only describe as “reverse packing”. All the crap’s being picked up off the floor, couch and even the kitchen table and put away. Mum won’t want you to know this, but much of that, was stashed in the laundry. I don’t think Mum’s planning on doing any washing for a month.

That might also be a clue.

The other bizarre thing was the magical appearance of a new garden out the front.

Now, I bet Mum hasn’t fessed up about her gardening disasters, but she’s a serial plant killer. I pity all those beautiful purple flowers and that striking plant with the colourful leaves, because unless I come to the party with my personal watering system, they’re going to die. Indeed, I’ve even heard her talk about the convenience of heading down to Bunnings, whenever we’re having guests to “buy new friends”. Mum might write a lot about changing the world and making a difference, but she’s supposed to be making a difference in a good way, and not leaving a trail of dead plants in her wake.

Next, Mister was mowing the lawn. That could’ve made it into the Guinness Book of Records, if they recorded personal greats and the rare occurrences when teenagers levitate out of their rooms, put down their devices and move. Indeed, I should be training those kids to take Lady and I for more walks. Find their true calling in life.

As you can see, the evidence is really starting to mount…reverse packing, a new garden and mowing the lawn…my super-sensitive sniffer was very suspicious.

Yet, I was still stumped.

Then, Mum got her Sunbeam mix master out and started baking. I’m always telling her not to turn it up too high at the start or she’ll end up with chocolate splatter paintings on the ceiling. But, does she listen to me? Of course, not! AND, the busier she gets, the less she hears until her ears completely switch off. Humph! However, she actually listened this time, which also meant that no mixture splattered on the floor either. Grr! Of course, all the food which falls on the floor is automatically mine, although Lady my canine companion, now thinks she has rights as well. I was here first and that’s all that matters!

Queens-Corgis

By this stage, I’m starting to think the Royal Corgis are coming for a visit. However, why would they come here when they could go for a run off the leash at the beach?

Humph! As much as I delve into and grapple with humans, the pieces never fit together and none of the dots ever join up either.

What’s going on?

Well, on Sunday all this frenzied activity climaxed with an event of diabolical proportions.

Lady and I were given a bath.

 

Bilbo being bathed.jpg

While I understand other dogs have the misfortune of being bathed weekly and even endure the horrors of the dog salon, I can take care of my own coat and refuse to suffer the indignities of the hose. That’s why I make myself scarce when that excited anticipation of a walk, quickly turns south when my beloved leads gets tied to the dreaded clothesline instead.  Indeed, I feel perfectly justified in getting narky and having what Mum has described to the Vet as a: “pathological hatred of the hose”.Well, by now the evidence was more than mounting. Indeed, there was a veritable mountain of paperwork outside my kennel, as I tried to sleuth my way towards the truth.

If it wasn’t the Royal corgis, who is it?

What if the Queen herself was coming?

The Queen of Australia…

Hang on. Who is the Queen of Australia?

I might be all-knowing, but there seems to be something wrong with the cogs in my brain…a breakdown of sorts. Who is the Queen of Australia? This brain of mine is a veritable Google, yet it keeps bringing up the Queen of England. Humph! It must need a restart. .

morning tea.jpg

Mum prepared an Alice in Wonderland morning tea for Rabbit, but I have no idea why.

I was starting to ponder the philosophical ramifications of all that, when there was a knock at the door. Another knock and a whole pile of kids arrived. However, before I could even find my tennis ball, there was more commotion and I was back to defend the house. Be it the Royal Corgis, or even the Queen of Australia, they could still be a security threat. So, I dashed into position at the side gate. I’d keep the lot of them out if I had to.

Mum had clearly lost the plot.

Then, I hear them mentioning something about the barking dog messing up their sound recording and Mister grabs me by the collar and drags me away from my post with no appreciation whatsoever.

That’s okay. I’m used to it.

They might’ve got me out of the way but through a very complex interconnecting network of mirrors and reflective windows, I could still keep an eye on things. Moreover, despite being somewhat “senior”, my hearing’s just as good as it ever was.

Rabbit

Rabbit in our kitchen.

All I could hear was: “Rabbit! Rabbit! Rabbit!” and I was a bit concerned Lady might get confused. Before she came here, she was a farm dog and between you and me, she knows exactly how to prepare rabbit. Mum died a thousand deaths when Lady ate a rabbit at Palm Beach.

Of course, Lady needs to watch out. Eating humans is a dog’s one unforgivable crime.  However, just this once, Lady behaves herself.

Rabbit gave Mum another book and I couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about. A book? You can’t eat a book.

Juli Rabbit Rowena in kitchen

Then this car pulls up and everyone goes hysterical, especially Mum. They’re all calling out: “It’s Julie! It’s Julie!”

I don’t know if this Julie is the Queen of Australia, but I know chicken anywhere and Julie has chicken in her handbag.

Meanwhile, while I was barking on high alert, Lady, my ever-unreliable canine companion, was swanning around with the royals being rather glam, while secretly plotting to nab  the chicken. Of course, I’m no fool. I smelt the chicken too. What dog wouldn’t, but somebody had to keep a level head.

However, before Lady could strike, the chicken was put straight in the fridge. It was “dinner” and I didn’t need to be told it wasn’t my dinner. I already knew.

Well, this Julie might not be the Queen of Australia, but she’s definitely Queen of the Kitchen, because she was teaching Mum how to cook.

By the way, if this Julie character ever comes round to your place, you’d better be good. I saw the way she cut up an onion and trust me, I was being a very, very good dog!!

At this point, I also wanted to mention, that Julie was there showing Mum HOW to cut an onion. Not only that, everybody was watching that onion, as though it contained the very meaning of life. In all the years that I’ve been watching and interpreting humans and feeling completely out of my depth, that onion incident had to be the most confusing moment of all.

What does it mean?

Cooking with Julie.jpg

And what is it about humans and onions? Day after day, Mum’s there crying as she’s chopping them up. I told you. Humans are crazy!!

Then, just as suddenly as this Queen of the Kitchen and the Rabbit person and al the camera people arrived, they were all gone and Mum and her friends were all huddled round the book.

Of course, they take me for some foolish illiterate. However, as I’ve said before, I’m a Border Collie of vastly superior intellect which stretches so much further than simply herding sheep, chasing my ball and getting rid of the posty.

I can read.

Humph…Julie Goodwin’s Essential Cookbook. It just happened to open up to page 43…Roast Leg of Lamb and Lamb Chop Tray Bake. I can already taste that scrumptious lamb fat.

So much for reading, this dog is learning how to cook!

On second thoughts, it’s time for me to put my herding instincts to good use.

Where’s Mum?

xx Bilbo.

Weekend Coffee Share May 6, 2017

Welcome  to Another Weekend Coffee Share!

If we were having coffee today, I’d be offering you a quick cuppa and then I’d start talking one thousand miles an hour about how Rabbit from our local radio station is coming to our house on Monday to deliver “my prize”. I have no idea what “my prize” entails, but I have to admit that I freaked out when I heard they were coming here. We don’t have anyone round here. Well, not without a thorough interview process beforehand. Neat freaks and declutterers are banned.

Anyway, I hope you’re enjoying our instant garden. I made a mercy dash to our local Bunnings store and bought a box load of plants with a view of creating something lived in that doesn’t suggest we’re trying too hard. These were to replace the weeds and grasses , which had invaded my pots, after I’d murdered more plants. As much as we’ve been doing some heavy duty cleaning and escavating to get ready for Monday, I dont want it to look that way. It’s a bit like going on that first date and spending all week getting ready, but when your date compliments you on your dress, you downplay it all. “This thing? Something i dug out of the cupboard.”

In addition to the radio station visit, we had a big day today where We are in the process of getting our son set up with a sail boat he can race next season. The we largely includes mGrandpa…his sponsor. I really appreciate what my Dad is do. He hasnt bought him the boat. Rather, they are shareholders. Our son is 13 and as many of you will agree, it can be a difficult age and teens need something which lights their fire and as a parent, you,re hoping the whole dating thing can wait. would much rather he falls in love with sailing. So it looks like my husband, the young man and the boat will be hitting the road in a few months racing. In the meantime, they’ll be on dry land for a bit learning how to rig the thing. Just as well the lad is a scout and knows his knots. I dont. Im lucky to tie up my shoelaces.

The other news this week is that both my laptop and desktop computers have been rushed to Emergency and their doctor has been otherwise occupied and you know what its like waiting around those places. That’s made it very hard for me to blog this week. However, it’s meant that my productivity in other areas has skyrocketed. It does make me reconsider my time. That said, I’m a writer, not a cleaning machine.

I have felt rather cut off. Calling it a  sense of “amputation” diminishes all that entails and yet as a tappittytaptap writer, it has been difficult. Would’ve been unbearable if I wasn’t racing aroung trying to get the house and garden sorted for the radio station visit, which has proven quite a catalyst for change.

Anyway, that’s about it for this week. What have you been up to? I hope you’ve had a great week and I look forward to catching up.

This has been another Weekend Coffee Share.

xx Rowena