Category Archives: Photographic Posts

Travel Post: Paris, with Bois de Boulogne, Saint Denis, and some museums

So.  After my perfect Paris chocolate day (which still makes me smile whenever I think of it – it really was an absolute gift), I realised that Wednesday could not POSSIBLY live up to the same level of Parisian wonderfulness, and that was OK.  Really, one fantasy-Paris day in a visit should be enough for anyone.

On Wednesday, therefore, I decided to get started on my project of walking through as many arondissements in Paris as I could.  Having already explored the Tuileries Gardens (before getting distracted by chocolate), I took the Metro to the Place de Concorde, and began heading westward along the Champs Élysées.

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The Champs actually starts out quite leafy and green, but pretty quickly becomes a very busy and rather touristy and expensive shopping strip.  There is even a McDonalds, which I thought was a little sad.  I walked along, and snuck into a FNAC to pick up my concert tickets for later in the week and continued my approach to the Arc de Triomphe.

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Travel Post – Bath, and back to London!

OK, I should probably take a pause from revelling in Paris to write about Bath and the rest of my time in England.  But before I do so, I do need to update you on the important question of vegetable pectin jellies.  I have not yet tried them all, but the fennel and tomato ones are lovely (the tomato ones taste like some sort of stone fruit – peach or apricot or nectarine), and the capsicum one is *deeply* weird.  It tastes like a sweet capsicum jelly.  Which is what it is, of course  But I’m not at all sure that capsicum was ever meant to be a dessert flavour, even if Jacques Genin says so.

So.  Bath.  Which is already nearly a week ago, how did that happen?  My friend E organised the entire Bath trip, which was awesome, because both of us, alas, had the plague – I was still beginning my plague, and E was at the long, drawn-out, endless coughing stage of hers.  This was good in some ways, because we were both entirely in agreement about not overdoing things, and it was amusing in other ways, because at any given moment, one of us would be completely spaced out on cold drugs.  Fun times!

The train down was an exercise in two people who really shouldn’t be using their voices chattering incessantly.  Oops.  But we don’t see each other often, you see…

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We got to Bath, and went in search of our B&B, which turned to be uphill from the train station. Continue reading

Travel Post – Paris with chocolate, chocolate, chocolate, chocolate

I was going to be good and write about Bath today, and I still might, but first, I must tell you about the absolutely excellent day I spent in Paris.

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Which is still quite underwater, incidentally.seine2

There are those who feel that I have an idealised view of Paris, and they are probably quite right, but honestly, today lived up to and beyond my wildest chocolate-related Paris fantasies, and this post might be a little incoherent because I am very full of chocolate right now (and not of much else, since it must be confessed that my essays into healthy, non-chocolate related food today were rather disappointing).

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Basically, I got to spend a really quite significant portion of the day discussing chocolate, in French.  With attractive men.  Who were offering me free chocolate to taste.  And they were really good chocolates. Continue reading

Travel Post! Shakespeare’s Globe, and a Preview of Paris!

Up until now, I’ve been virtuously writing up events in the order they happen, but I really do have to start with Paris today and go backwards.  You see, I’m sitting right now at a beautiful, old-fashioned, fold-out desk like my grandmother used to have, with the fireplace on my right and the open window on my left, through which I can see a courtyard garden and hear what I suspect is a blackbird singing.

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My bedroom has wallpaper with little sprigs of flowers, and antique-looking furniture and a rug on the floor, and is basically the most idyllic possible place to be writing.  I might never leave.

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This is my room in Paris. Continue reading

Travel Post! Todmorden, York again, and a little of London with the Ritz and Côte

OK, I have reached London, and am staying with my lovely friend N, which is a good thing for many reasons, not least of these being that I have a nasty cold *and* cramps, and the weather is uninspiring, so it’s a good day for staying inside and catching up with my travel journalling!  And there has been much to journal!

On Sunday, I went to the 11am Mass, at St Mary’s Todmorden, celebrated by my friend Jo.

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It was a really lovely service, with a sermon that made me think, which is always a fine thing (also one which contained, apparently, completely unintentional subliminal pro-EU propaganda in the form of hymn tune choices. Who knew this was even possible?).

Gallipoli window at St Mary's. I hadn't realised that East Lancashire had sent regiments to Gallipoli, too.

Gallipoli window at St Mary’s. I hadn’t realised that East Lancashire had sent regiments to Gallipoli, too.

I do wish Jo lived within reasonable churchgoing range of me, but while Todmorden is many lovely things, convenient to Melbourne is not one of them.  Also, I was amused to find that I did, in fact, know all the hymn tunes – Alistair at Wesley was raised Scottish Presbyterian, as was Jo, so perhaps this isn’t surprising!

View from Saint Mary's.

View from Saint Mary’s.

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Travel Post! Newcastle, Wallsend, York, and the Blackbird Bar, Todmorden

I’m having a domestic sort of day today, and the friend I’m staying with is busy writing her sermons for tomorrow so I thought I’d pop in with a quick update on my trip so far, my English Food Experiences, and a review of the bar we went to last night.

I reached Newcastle on Wednesday, and was greeted by my friend Tora, who I have known online for more than a decade, but have never previously met in person.  She drove me back to her house for a much-needed nap, and then pointed me in the direction of a walk in the countryside of Blaydon on Tyne, to stretch my legs, and help convince my body that it was on UK time.

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Blaydon Burn is extremely pretty – I’ve never been to England in spring before, and so I derived an unreasonable amount of pleasure from things like hawthorn blossoms and buttercups.

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Also from spinning around on the buttercup field pretending to be Kate Bush singing about Heathcliff.

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Show Off Post: Hamlet!

Squeezing in one last post before I go, in between madly writing about tiny political parties and finishing my last Paris story before I actually go there…

As I think I mentioned earlier, I recently turned 40, and also Shakespeare recently turned 400 years of deceased, and since these events were a mere week apart, I thought I would take the opportunity to get our reading group together again after a long hiatus and read the last Shakespeare play left to us – Hamlet!

I apologise in advance for these photos – the timing meant that we did our reading in the late afternoon / early evening, and so the light was not auspicious for recording all the food.  But I do want to keep some record of the event, so here goes…

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Farmers’ Market post: Return to Coburg!

It has been so long since we got to our local Farmer’s Market!  We have made it to Flemington a few times, by dint of the fact that it is on a Sunday and on the way to choir, and thus doesn’t interfere with much-needed weekend sleep-ins, but Coburg, falling as it does on a Saturday morning, has been a victim of exhaustion and all-day cooking classes.

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Return to Bundoora Farmers’ Market!

It’s been a couple of months since we visited a weekend farmers market (we’ve been quite diligent about going to the ones at Melbourne Uni, since they are so convenient to where we work, but the range of produce is much narrower there, and one doesn’t really want to be carrying bags and bags of veggies home on the tram), and in that time, the season has changed from summer to winter.

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Though, this being Melbourne, the red cabbage and Brussels sprouts at one stall were being blatantly upstaged by the eggplants, sweet corn and strawberries available at the stall across the way.  Apparently, these were grown in Wandin.  I was wondering if Wandin has a wormhole to the Northern hemisphere, but it’s probably just really good hydroponics and glasshouses…

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Return to the Farmers’ Markets (and, hopefully, to blogging)

Well, that was a longer break than I expected it to be.  I’d like to thank the NHMRC’s insane grants schedule, Easter, and the cyst on my wrist for providing the synergy of silly working hours, non-existent weekends, pain, and general exhaustion that led to the blogging hiatus… hopefully, things will start to calm down soon, and you will see more of me here.

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To be honest, I haven’t even been doing much new cooking – these busy months are when I revisit old favourites and am quietly thankful for a fairly good repertoire of simple recipes in my head, and a large array of take-away options in my suburb.

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To read my blog this year, you might think that I’ve abandoned the Farmers’ Markets.  This is truer than I might wish (those aforementioned missing weekends have rather curbed my enthusiasm for marketing early on Saturday mornings), but fortunately not entirely true.  The good news in my marketing life has been that the Victorian Farmers Market Association recently began running a lunchtime market at Melbourne University on a Wednesday.  This is conveniently close to where I work, and also conveniently not early in the morning, and Andrew (who is also currently working in the vicinity) and I have become regulars at its stalls.  While the variety of fresh produce is not as impressive as at the weekend markets (they are still building their stable of stallholders), it has been a fine way to get *some* proper, farmer-friendly vegetables into our weekly shop, and it’s also a highly enjoyable way to spend a lunchbreak… and it’s always fun playing ‘spot the WEHI person’ as I wander around the market…

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Still, between my Wednesday indulgences and my weekend madness, it has been over a month since I last visited one of the weekend markets.  I was therefore pretty determined to get to the Flemington Farmers’ Market today, even though choir meant that my visit would be relatively brief… Continue reading