Monday, April 23, 2018

Cultural Outings with Cake

Having been to see a fascinating exhibition at the National Museum of Australia, The Luminosity and I needed sustenance. Fortunately there was sustenance in the form of cake; the problem now was making a decision.

Persian Love Cake
The Luminosity with cake
When I went home to relax in the garden and read my book (as if my mind wasn't already full), this fellow came to join me.

Praying Mantis
Praying Mantis with Prisma filter
I went for the first jog I have managed in ages. It was good to be out and about among the trees.

Another date with The Luminosity was to see Antony and Cleopatra at the Playhouse in the Canberra Theatre Centre.

From museum, to theatre to the pub; The Phoenix to be precise, where I spied this piece of graffito and wondered if that was a 'w' or an 'm' and whether it mattered.

Phoenix Graffito
I saw Shoeb Ahmad (seen here with Emma McManus) and Passive Smoke (who were part of the COUP: Canberra performance of Vinegar Tom, as was Emma).

Shoeb Ahmad with Emma McManus
Passive Smoke rocking The Phoenix
Him Outdoors made me his version of a gourmet breakfast burger with smoked bacon from Pialligo Estate and black pudding on the side (it didn't fit inside, apparently) from Market Meats at Belconnen

Breakfast Burger by Him Outdoors
And in the afternoon I went to Sue's Salon at the home of Mr & Mrs Lovely Bonkers, where there were friends and conversation and bubbles and laughter - this could well become a 'regular thing'.

At Sue's Salon
The gorgeous Gindelle with tiara

Monday, April 16, 2018

Botanic Beauty and Beer

After a wonderful weekend at the sea, I was spoiled for nature and simply needed more of it. So I went for an afternoon walk around the Botanic Gardens. I am not a gardener by any stretch of the imagination - I have managed to kill cacti. 

When people said they spent the weekend in the garden, I used to reply 'me too', until I realised they had not been sat with a book and a gin and tonic but actually doing physical tasks like weeding and digging and pruning and planting and such. Even the words flummox me - I prefer to let other people do and admire the fruits of their labours. I noted some of the names of the plants; others are simply trees and flowers, but I like them all and they make me happy (admittedly some may be weeds; I can't tell the difference). 

The rainforest gully is planted to represent the types of rainforest along the east coast of Australia with Tasmanian rainforest at the lower end of the gully and mountain rainforest of Northern Queensland at the upper end. The delightfully cool canopy is comprised of towering palms, ferns and trees. It is a popular spot on hot days (such as today's 30 degrees) as the temperature is usually a good 10 degrees cooler in the gully than out in the open at midday. 

Wollemi Pine
I have previously spent many happy hours sitting at the Rock Garden watching the Gippsland water dragons. They can grown up to a metre long and their tail, which forms two-thirds of their length, is laterally compressed to act like an oar when swimming.

Gippsland water dragon
Rock Garden Lawn
This is an Australian Native Bee Hotel, which provides nest sites for solitary native bees that usually nest in crevices and hollows in plant stems and wood. There are over 2,000 Australian native bee species; most are solitary and none are aggressive, which is welcome news. 

Timber hollows for native bees to make their nest

Sweet Hakea (Hakea drupacea)
I absolutely love the Laughing Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae). This fluffy-looking fellow was sitting on a branch observing me. It looks so soft and cuddly, apart from that beak.

Laughing Kookaburra
A Banksia, I presume
Mt Olga/ Kata Tjuta Wattle (Acia olgana)
Scribbly Gum
The Red Centre Garden pays tribute to the physical and symbolic heart of Australia. The Red Centre is a land of arid beauty, endless plains and stunning natural monuments, steeped in Aboriginal heritage with distinctive desert plants and animals. It is an area of Central Australia with no defined boundary. Instead it is characterised by a harsh landscape of desert sands, rocky escarpments and dry riverbeds, where its inhabitants must adapt or perish.


The entrance to the Red Centre Garden is guarded by a larger-than-life model of a Thorny Devil. Apparently this creature can consume water just by standing in the rain, or from dew that settles on its body overnight, which runs down grooves between its scales and is directed into its mouth.

Model of a Thorny Dragon (Moloch horridus)
The pavement design for the Red Centre Garden is the work of indigenous artist, Teresa Purla McKeeman, who describes her painted design thus:
"This painting is about the ceremonial dancing but only women can attend these ceremonies, performing sacred dance and song. The younger girls are taught the dance movements, song, dreaming designs, and stories. 
The women's dancing has been done for many years at the ceremonial site. This painting represents the dance tracks that are left by the women. I...have applied my own style to depict the site and stories that have been passed onto me."
Pavement design by Teresa Purla McKeeman
Sturt's Desert Pea (Swainsona formosa)
Some type of Correa I believe
Aboriginal people have many uses for melaleukas. The papery bark has been used as roofing material, blankets, canvas, baskets, food wrapping, clothing, and rolled tightly to make a torch that repels mosquitoes while it burns. The young leaves can be bruised and soaked in water to make a liquid to treat colds and headaches or placed on the skin under warm mud to treat bites, stings and wounds. 

I think that along with the bark of the Scribbly Gum, they would make a wonderful subject for artistic representation: painting; textiles; cross-stitch; etc. 

Paperbark (Melaleuka linariifolia)
 And here's all of that in a single collage:

The brewers at Bacchus Brewing are experimental genii. We do enjoy their beers, so when one of our favourite pubs was featuring a tap takeover of theirs, we went along to play. We had fun.

Bacchus Tap Takeover at The Durham
A starter for ten (well, nine actually, but we did have another one to finish off)

My favourites were the Passiofruit Gose (powerful fruit aroma from the passionfruit lures one into a tropical mindset, then kicks back with a salty punch), Double Dragon English Bitter (nutty, earthy and hoppy up front with a slightly astringent finish), Frack Jack Imperial Black IPA (chocolate and dark cherries - very smooth with a satisfyingly dry finish) and Timmy Ho's Double Double Sweet Milk Stout (smells of coffee; tastes of tiramisu - full-bodied, rich mouthfeel; sweet creamy taste and very fine). 

The perfect accompaniment to all this beautiful beer was a good honest dish of bangers and mash with brown onion gravy and even some healthy-looking greens on the side.