Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Mittagong Preschool Kindergarten 2012 Family Fair Bush Fun Run

A girlfriend of mine Sky Hunt, moved from Sydney to the Southern Highlands NSW a couple of years ago with her partner and two kids. She is an amazing Personal Trainer and this is what she has been organising in her spare time. If you are in the area and feel like running for fun sign up. Visit the Mittagong Preschool Kindergarten website for details. 

Monday, 30 July 2012

Monday, 16 July 2012

The Snappers

A gorgeous and brilliant friend of mine, Catherine Merchant, works for ABC Radio National. She recently produced this program called The Snappers. Check it out. 

This program recalls an almost forgotten era of media social history—of men and women who were passionate to the point of reckless about their profession, about the next big picture, who rubbed shoulders with cops and crims alike, and bonded amid the glamour of the celebrity set, or the tragedy of a grisly crime scene.

Says Merchant:

"The Snapper’s is a revisit and a celebration of the wild and woolly days of Australian press photography in pre digital times. Some would call these the halcyon days of papers and magazines.
These days so many of us have an interest in photography..there are 6000 photos a minute loaded up onto the photo site flicker, but what was required of our snappers in the halcyon days of newspapers and magazines?
These were the times when just getting the film back to the office might involve more than a stroke of genius..the days when the pub was the other office, and practical jokes were a part of life. The era when Rupert Murdoch was looking over your shoulder and Frank Packer was calling you into his office.
When I began looking into my late father’s lifetime occupation, I heard about Damon Runyon style characters who congregated on jobs and bonded in darkrooms. They were people who predated OH&S and made up their own rules. Characters, who were prepared to do anything to get the shot despite limited technology. They were up close and personal with Australian life and they lived and breathed our history through their camera lenses.
Despite the fact photographers prior to the 70’s were often considered like tradesmen, there work was vital as nobody was tweeting photos of huge events around the world or daily life.
It occurred to me If you were a photographer who lived through all the technical changes that occurred in photography from the 30’s and 40’s to 2000, it would be like going from flying a tiger moth to a jet plane..
In producing this story, I found a family I never realised I had. I dedicated it to the late Cliff Neville who believed I ought to make it a much bigger project.
The response to the program was wonderful. So many people wrote in to me personally and there were 20 comments from different listeners on the website."

Sunday, 15 July 2012

The Honesty Box

It has been really refreshing to come across the honesty box. I couldn't believe they still existed, but in the country it seems they do. There are lots of local produce stands along the roads where we live and depending on where you stop, the fruit and vegetables are of amazing quality and cheap. Run by local farmers who grow a lot of what they sell, it is a full time business for most and extra money for some. Our area is well known for citrus, and has been one of the largest citrus producing regions in Australia. Stone fruits and avocados are also locally grown. Some stalls are fully operating stores, which have grown from small stands over the years. Others are a bit of tin roofing on poles selling whatever is in season. I have even seen a wagon with bags of oranges hanging off it. When the stalls are closed or unattended, they have an honesty box. You take what you need and honourably pop the correct money in the slot. Can you imagine this in the city? Good old country honesty.

Thursday, 12 July 2012


We recently got a second dog. Our first dog came from our local RSPCA shelter a year ago, when he was 8 weeks old. He is a Kelpie cross - his mix has been the blue plate special mystery - as he grows we think it could be Greyhound. I have spent weekends over the last month driving to the RSPCA shelter at Somersby to see if they had anything suitable. The first visit I was stoic and desensitised myself to the fact that many of the dogs could be euthanised if they couldn't find a home. The second visit was not so easy. My partner was no help - he is so soft he had to wait in the car. We wanted a female puppy - there were none, but there were so many dogs that for whatever reason had ended up there: stray, unwanted or injured. My heart bled walking away leaving them potentially waiting on death row if they were not reclaimed or rehomed. Just over 34% of all dogs taken in last year were reclaimed, 27% were rehomed. A staggering 29% were euthanised. 

My third and final visit was more focused - I was a woman on a mission. I had looked on the adopt a pet website the previous night and seen a listing for a 6 month old Border Collie/Kelpie cross. I arrived at the shelter as soon as they opened in the morning and found her. She was full of beans and initially a little annoying, but was so pretty and the fact that our dog loved her sealed the deal. I had forgotten my phone (accidentally on purpose) so had to make the decision alone. I couldn't bear to leave without a dog and the thought of returning again just killed me, so I filled out the paperwork, paid her adoption fee and sat her in the back seat of the car. She has worked out very quickly that she has landed on her feet in what is equivalent to canine heaven on earth. Aside from the retraining we will have to do, the mess she adds to my floors and the hassle of taking a holiday and finding a babysitter for two dogs instead of one, we adore having a new family member.

If you are considering getting a new pet, visit the RSPCA as one of your first options. 

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Old Fashioned Marmalade

It has been a slow news week. I've decided to make Marmalade. We have a huge, mature orchard behind our house. Oranges, lemons, grapefruit and mandarins. Short of setting up a stand outside our front gate and selling lemonade, each citrus season season rolls around and I am at a loss as to how to use our masses of fruit. Not yet ready for canning and preserving, I am going to start with simple old fashioned marmalade. Love or hate it.

4 large seedless oranges
2 lemons
8 cups sugar

Cut the oranges and lemons in half crosswise, then into very thin half-moon slices. Discard any seeds. Place the sliced fruit and the juice into a stainless-steel pot. Add 8 cups of water and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring often. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar until it dissolves. Cover and allow to stand overnight at room temperature.
The next day, bring the mixture back to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for about 2 hours. Turn the heat up to medium and boil gently, stirring often, for another 30 minutes. Skim off any foam that forms on the top. Cook the marmalade until it reaches 220 degrees F on a candy thermometer. If you want to be sure it's ready, place a small amount on a plate and refrigerate it until it's cool but not cold. If it's firm - neither runny nor too hard - it's done. It will be a golden orange colour. If the marmalade is runny, continue cooking it and if it's too hard, add more water. Pour the marmalade into clean, hot Mason jars; wipe the rims thoroughly with a clean damp paper towel, and seal with the lids. Store in the pantry for up to a year.


Last weekend our Son went to stay with his Grandmother. It felt so good to have some time off, the freedom was overwhelming. There were moments I almost forgot we had a child.  My partner and I went on a couple of date nights to reconnect. Fine dining is slim pickings around our parts, in fact the only option to go out locally is the Memorial Club - great if you are looking for a cheap meal, meat raffle, beer and 50 in the pokies. Feeling like something a little more romantic we thought we would make an effort and look further afield. Googling "fine dining Gosford", top of the list (which also included Trackside Restaraunt) was Byblos Lebanese Restaraunt and Bar. It seemed an exotic choice. 

Fine dining it ain't, good food it is. The place was buzzing. If you had not made reservations, you were assured by the owner that he would do his very best to accommodate, despite being booked to 160 capacity. The classic menu was authentic and fresh. The cocktail list inviting, the service professional. The night was chilly and not even my Martinis were keeping me warm, so for me it was all about the neatly folded blankets on offer for patrons dining outside. Tres nice.