Monthly Archives: August 2014

Iris and morning sunshine

A perfect combination; clear blue skies, crisp cool morning, glorious sunlight and a cup of coffee brewed by my husband. We have divided our meals according to our skills. He does breakfast, usually toast and coffee, yoghurt and fruit and I do dinners.

Iris along pathIris in sunshineThis August morning was too beautiful to stay inside, so I stood on our landing soaking up the early sunshine admiring my hard work in creating a garden path that blended so well into our small suburban plot. I had planted clumps of iris along the edge of the path and the lime green leaves scraped against my bare ankles as I walked along the sandstone pavers. I love the look of these delicately ruffled flowers that are mid to deep purple with a striated white centre standing on mid-height stems. They look so pretty particularly when teamed with my white iceberg roses and lavender. When a girlfriend was moving house about 15 years ago, she gave me some rhizomes from her garden and they have flourished ever since.

I think they are a type of bearded Iris that my husband calls Flag Iris but we cannot find out why they are called that. They such a resilient plant which is necessary to survive our hot sub-tropical summers and desultory watering that they get in my garden. They don’t even get affected by the ants and mealy mite that are destroying local plants in our area.

When I put them in a vase they remind me of an impressionist painting. So gloriously intense and so wonderful to have these flowers during winter to brighten up a garden and home.

Remembering Julia Child

I have just noticed that this past week was the anniversary of Julia Child’s death in 2004. How could I have let this important anniversary slip by without cooking something from her books. It is now in my diary to do so each year.
She was such an influence on my cooking style and still is: a perfectionist who persisted with a recipe until she got it to work, and then was prepared to adapt that recipe with variations.Mastering the Art of French Cooking

I cooked so many recipes from her books that I have worn out a couple of copies of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. In 1976 I was 20, earning very little and living in a tiny flat in London with my boyfriend. I had never cooked a meal other than out of a saucepan whilst camping around Europe and by some wonderful piece of luck I bought my first copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

Eventually this copy fell apart from overuse, so I bought a second copy which I keep together with ribbon gradually losing the odd page. Now my third volume has been recovered in plastic and seems to be holding together under constant use.

I love cooking Julia’s recipes because she put so much time and effort into making sure they worked. No leaving out a vital ingredient for her. Her recipes are reliable, taste delicious and can be adapted to suit different trends and tastes and her strong vital personality comes through in all the helpful hints that are included on the pages and it is always a pleasure to read her books.

Vietnam War and the music

We enjoyed the Rolling Thunder Vietnam concert drama at QPAC last night. The cast did a great performance representing the guys and girls affected by this war accompanied by the terrific music played by the band. I spent my teens listening to this music, that took us through the gamut of angry protests against war, political lyrics, soul mixed with blues and rhythm. By the end of the concert we were dancing in the rows.

Helo dropI kept nudging my husband asking, ‘Do you remember this one?’

‘Some, not all. Occasionally we would have to tell the guys in camp to lower the volume because it was too easy to find us.’

‘If you can’t remember it you weren’t there?  Spaced out?’ was my unkind response.

‘Nope, working to darn hard; we would come back for a meal and a beer, go back to our tent, put on earphones, listen to a little music before passing out from exhaustion.’

Prang I accepted the gentle chastisement. This was true and he had been through as much as anyone had in Vietnam but not to know and feel that this music was in his blood.

How could he not know the lyrics and rhythms? ‘I bet your sister knew these songs.’

‘Probably, she was vehemently opposed to the war.  Made lively dinner table conversation when I was home on leave.’

Of course, headphones – ‘Light bulb moment’. Andy has always loved classical music, and despite the damage to his hearing from his military career, can still identify the differences between versions of the same operatic pieces.

‘Didn’t you listen to the music at the bars?’War and Peace

‘Didn’t go to many bars. Too busy working and looking after our helicopters.’ I should have guessed: his other passion.

So while I jigged in the aisles, he stood watching the fabulous screen shots, remembering what seems like a long time ago.


If you can see this concert do so. We had a great time and it has memorable music entwined with some strong messages.