Sitting at the kitchen table, all we can hear lately on weekday mornings (and all day long) is the sound of earthmoving machinery and trucks excavating the centre of the road, making way for the light rail, which is said to be coming one day. We long for some quiet, so an invitation to enjoy a short break in the countryside is most gratefully accepted.
The day becomes more solemn and serene
When noon is past there is a harmony
In autumn, and a lustre in its sky,
Which through the summer is not heard or seen,
As if it could not be, as if it had not been.
- English poet, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Hymn to Intellectual Beauty, 1816
"Which side of the Danube would you like to be on, Buda or Pest?" Peter, the patron saint of bookings, asked, when he was planning our itinerary. He had never been to Budapest, and it had been more than a decade since my last visit, so we sat down together at the computer and poured over the map of the city on Google Earth.
There was a fascinating segment on Words and Music on BBC Radio 3 this week, in which the conversation focused around the use of hands in our everyday lives. The speakers touched on the topic of working with one's hands for both practical and creative purposes.
Daily rituals change, and the pace of life slows down by a good few notches, when dear old grandma comes for her annual week-long visit.
I'm compiling this post from the deck of our holiday cabin at Kiama on the Illawarra Coast of New South Wales and, frankly, there's no other place in the world I would rather be at this moment.
Of the many cookbooks that have crossed my desk over the years, I think the ones that capture my interest most are those with an exotic flavour. Pomme Larmoyer's Istanbul Cult Recipes, being one of the latest.
In the autumn of 1997, a few weeks after the sudden death of my mother, I sat down with my elderly father, András, and listened intently as he told me his life story. He and I talked for several hours, our precious conversation, and my father's rich narrative, preserved on film.
'Just look at the "picture-skew" view from our balcony,' Peter exclaimed, as he drew back the curtains in our room. He had been longing for us to stay at the Sebel Harbourside in Kiama - among his favourite hotels in the region and one he had frequented when travelling as a Search and Rescue Training Officer with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority. 'I love this place, it's such a nice hotel' he added. 'And wait until you see the outlook from the breakfast bistro!'
I could sense that there was "something different" about the vibe when we arrived at the Olympic swimming pool this morning - but I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was. I just knew it was going to be a good day.
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I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.