We harvested the grand total of four pumpkins from our rambling plants.
This time last year I was busy baking in my kitchen. I tried my hand at ginger bread cookies. Having purchased some delightful cookie cutters from an American on-line store called House on the Hill and they included a lovely recipe. Apart from the usual star shapes, I bought a cabin in the woods mould and an acorn. I guess I have a romantic notion of a cold Christmas surrounded by warm hearths and warm glows. I guess a cold climate is more conducive to trying your hand at specialty baking and crafts.
This year we are in Brisbane with family here. I have to say, give me a cold Christmas any time. The temperatures during the day have been a constant 32 degrees C with humidity and blazing sunshine. All great, when you’re by the sea, but not so great in a city, or in a weatherboard cottage. Too hot to bake, too hot to eat really. So I guess we head for the air conditioned shopping – but away from the “madding crowd”. Instead our usual vintage haunts never fail to lure us.
So whether you are enjoying a hot traditional Christmas dinner or a cold seafood lunch, whether you are with family or friends or on your own, in a cold climate or a hot one – what classic or traditional elements will you include in your day?
(Ours will be Spumante, Panettone and plum pudding!)
I have begun to lose count of the many flights we have taken from Melbourne to Brisbane over the years. Waiting at the airport always reminds me of that John Williamson, play made into the film, Travelling North.The protagonists leave their families in cold Melbourne for a new life of warmth and laughter in Far North Queensland or more colloquially known as FNQ!
For us it’s the other way round. Yes, we take the opportunity to escape the winter cold but also use it to spend time with my ageing mother, visit Daughter Number One and One-And-Only-Grand-Daughter.
We departed in 5 degrees C and arrived at a comfortable 13 degrees. Long, light sleeves are still required. We make it a point to walk in and around the steep slopes.
Robert McFarlane in his recent tome, The Old Ways describes walking as “enabling sight and thought rather than encouraging retreat and escape”. Even though as a child I did indeed escape mundaneness by walking up and down these slopes, the reflective time enabled me to have a sense of disciple and endurance.
Walking, for both Colin and I, is a time to talk, reflect, plan, laugh and reminisce, often on the lives of our grandparents and parents who came to this country, post war. One of our favourite walks when we come here is to take a nostalgic visit to one of the many vintage stores. He has his favourites and I head straight for one which is named after a film starring Maggie Smith and based on a humerous novel by Graham Greene.
Steering away from his usual religious allusion, Travels With My Aunt tells of a lonely, serious banker, who loves dahlias, meeting his long lost Aunt Augusta at his own mother’s funeral. They embark together on a series of adventures, journeying to exotic places as well as time on the Orient Express. During the course of the novel, these two diverse characters form a bond. There is a twist in the story, which you might guess! They reclaim each other through their travels, talks and adventures.
What is it about the simple foot-fall that places many things in perspective?
The little vintage store which I visited (I do hope the proprietor does not mind me taking a quick snap of some of the wares) is perfect in its nostalgic nod to the past.
Overall, what are we to learn from returning to our places of origin? I alluded to this in a previous post Streets of your town. For me it places things in perspective. We have four more days here so stay tuned….