Hello Southern Hemispherites!!

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  • Catch-up:

    Thank you everyone, we’re going quite well.

    Our best news is we now have a beautiful new little grandchild who is doing well. The challenging bit is that we may not see them and the baby for a couple of years at least. They are in lockdown in a viral surge in the US now, though thankfully, they are in a good situation re work, abode, and co-ordinated and safe family support there, with the focus on keeping everyone on track there, and as little affected by the ongoing saga as much as possible.

    Otherwise, we have some local active cases of Covid in our postcode, and a little bit of planning is needed to make sure our physical, mental/emotional and medical needs are met, as I’m sure many of you have too.

    Up date: – 70.1 kgs this morning after a successful FD yesterday.

    Bye for now,
    Merry and Mr M,
    and if you fall off the horse, just get back on it.

    Hi again

    Cali, I hope everything remains calm over your way but our media is warning there are some Trump fanatics that are planning armed uprisings. I hope it’s just media hype but please stay safe

    Ouch Lindsay, that bee sting sounded so painful. And to think it wasn’t even when you were attending the hives! I heard a funny joke: a lady bought 12 bees from a bee seller and when she arrived home she counted 13 bees. She rang the bee seller and said ‘you have given me an extra bee!’ to which the seller replied ‘oh, that’s a freebie’ 🙂

    I too suffer from insomnia and also get leg/foot/toe cramps when I don’t have much salt. I do have tablets but I prefer to have a banana or a glass of diet tonic water to help with the cramps. Glad to see Brisbane has (fingers crossed) dodged a bullet with the cleaner infected with the terrible new UK strain.

    I was sorry to read about your hubby’s deteriorating good eye. I hope they can stop any further damage

    I heard about the terrible heat in Adelaide and Melbourne but I hope cooler weather is on the way, if not already there. LJ, I’m with you about swimming in the ocean; my sister is a fish and swims way out past the waves and is very brave. I paddle on the edge as I don’t want to encounter anything that fancies me for dinner. John / G’day – your shark/porpoise stories sent a chill down my spine.

    Sorry about your lost post G’day – there is nothing more frustrating! And you can never recreate what you wanted to say the second time.

    Maxx loved the beach but he was a VERY naughty boy. Each time we let him off lead he would run to the top of the beach where there is bits of grass and sniff around madly. Our calls were completely ignored and we would have to go and haul him back to the waters edge. Then once he simply turned tail and took off up the path towards all the houses and completely vanished. Dear God. We raced up and were frantically searching and calling but there was a maze of grassy paths leading to many luxurious beach front homes. Luckily a young girl on the beach saw a yellow flash and ran up to tell us she thought he was in her backyard. Luckily the little (rhymes with grit) was there gleefully inspecting their chicken coop. Needless to say, no more off lead for him. We luckily took the extra long lead so he could still scurry around and jump around in the shallows without being restricted to the short lead

    I bemoaned our terribly behaved dog to the labrador friends forum and imagine my surprise when many said that their dogs lose their minds at the beach. Even one who regularly wins obedience awards loses it and once ran off into someone’s backyard and into their house to counter-surf a whole fresh loaf of bread. Story after story came back so I felt a bit better. The moral of the story is unless you have a dog that recalls like a robot, don’t let them off lead. It would be different if we lived there and he went every day I guess.

    Cinque, I love the sound of that new ramekin; I really must start hitting the Op shops as I enjoy new cooking / kitchen things. It is just so great that you can see your family regularly again. I do hope you can also get plenty of rest in between busy times.

    Lovely to hear from you again too Merry and congratulations on your new grandchild but so sad that they are in the US. Hope all is well

    Lovely to hear from you too Turn, over there in beautiful NZ. I am so sorry to hear about your brother and yes we are all still asking ‘why’. I know there is no answer to the question but the bewildered brain just doesn’t stop. Time will be our friend, I know.

    Take care all

    Monday FD today and I will hopefully see good results on the scales in the morning. Between the pandemic and election related news this was a stressful day and one with BP problems most of the day.

    Merry, congratulations on your new grandchild! I hope it will be less than 2 years before you are able to visit with them in person, but hopefully you’re able to do some Zoom or other media meetups. I’m glad to hear their work and home situation is safe. They’re pushing out the vaccines now and that will eventually help, even if it takes a while for everyone to get them. Vaccinating healthcare workers and those most vulnerable should eventually take the stress off of the hospitals.

    Klondi, it’s so good to read your posts again. It’s good to see you here. I’ve been struggling with fasting since the pandemic started but am working on doing a better job this year.

    Gday, sorry to hear about your high temps again. It seemed like the hot weather for most of the country was later in getting there this year, but with all the improvements you made to your home last year, it should make it a bit more pleasant. Good to hear that your classes are going well and that they will be useful when you set up your own practice.

    Anzac, sorry to hear about Maxx’s craziness at the beach and beyond. It sounds like he is a typical Lab who is easily distracted and much safer when he’s on a lead. I wouldn’t trust our dog off a lead any further than the next squirrel or bird or whatever should run into his path.

    LJ, so you are the mean aunt who made the kids walk all the way to the bakery? I laughed when you said it wasn’t too hot for the trampoline after you returned.

    Cinque, that small ramekin sounds lovely. Op shops are the best places to find interesting kitchen accessories at great prices. I found several beautiful serving platters and bowls in the past couple of years at op shops. I would love to buy even more when this lockdown is over, but storage space is always a challenge.

    Thin, glad to hear that your grocery stores are doing a better job of requiring masks and social distancing. That’s a problem here at some stores but I mainly go to one where someone is at the door checking and spraying the trolleys with disinfectant. We’re lucky to have a choice of markets nearby.

    Neil, hope your knees and fully recovered by now and your bike is getting fixed or replaced. Sorry to hear that work is so busy though.

    Well, time to get some sleep and hopefully I’ll wake up to a less stressful day. Have a great day and stay safe, everyone.

    Anzac, what a hoot that dog of yours! Lucky that child said something. Ha ha, your comments about not wanting to be on the shark menu. I have two shark stories, one from Key West Florida, one from Shark Bay, WA. Too lengthy to explain here (the stories, not the sharks).

    Merry, I’m happy to have you back and to learn that Mr M. is well. You mention 70kg but I can’t recall where that falls on your scale. Are you happy with it? I hope you’ll be a regular poster again. Congratulations on the latest family addition – boy or girl?

    CalifD, I hate to think of you all stressed out over these events. It’s not the America we know and love is it? Our lifelong American friends are so divided and both sides have become so extreme and vitriolic in their views, we hardly recognise them. Confirmation bias. It’s like that silhouetted ballerina that’s either turning left or right depending on your perspective.

    Can you find something else to occupy your time? The news makes me anxious too. My current project is a 1000 piece jigsaw of a gorilla and its baby in some shrubbery! The entire thing is either black or green, ridiculously difficult. I’m only doing it because it was included with some gadgetry that enables you to roll up the unfinished puzzle for storage – ideal for us on the boat. It was a charity shop find. After lockdown, I’ll look for some more WASGIJ puzzles which are bright and cheery.

    Hi all, quick check-in

    Weigh in today and I’m still hovering in the mid to late 80s, I had a lot of stress eating over the last couple of days. I’m pushing the re-set button because I want to get back to where I was before Christmas when I finished my whole30 programme. Still no word about my bike from the insurance company yet, I’ll wait until next week and if I haven’t heard anything by then I’ll give them a call to follow it up.

    Next month is the Aotearoa bike challenge so I’ll be trying to do better than I did last year. I managed 850 kilometers last February and was third in my workplace behind 2 guys that were riding the length of New Zealand that month.

    Morning all. Beautiful sunny day in Brisbane. We’re meant to be heading off to the island this afternoon but after a hectic start to the week, we’ll put it off to tomorrow. We had the little girls yesterday, and all the things I’d planned to get finished didn’t.

    Congratulations Merry and Mr Merry, on your grandchild. How wonderful to have this new little child in your lives. Does the baby have a name yet?

    Mixed news on OH’s sight. The opthalmologist found no deterioration in his glaucoma, and although there was some sign of macular degeneration, it was the type that comes with ageing and he and felt ‘wear and tear’ was the cause of OH’s sight loss.

    LJ my serenity was shattered yesterday when the new neighbours decided to finally dig out their pool (it’s been three quarters full of fetid water for months), filling it with soil they’re digging from the front garden. We are watching for development applications – they’re on a 1500 sq.m block so could feasibly do it. Another neighbour called the Council a few weeks ago when they had tree loppers in and virtually stripped the top of the block. The Council stopped them before they took out two heritage trees. Sigh.

    I’m doing ok with trying to shed a few more kilos (of many yet to go). I’m like you Cali – struggling a bit with settling back into this wol. But …for all my ups, I’m having some downs too, so we will get there,I know. And of course, I don’t have anything like the stress you are going through with the election, and the terrible Covid numbers.

    I laughed out loud at your bee joke Anzac. A good one for me to share. Ooh Maxx….he may settle at the beach as he gets older. For all Rosy’s naughtiness in most other things, at the beach she’s a dream. Runs and swims, runs and swims, then does it all over again. But if she’s in the park, no way will she come on call. And still, no pair of glasses safe.

    I also laughed at the wicked auntie LJ, forcing children to walk to a cafe but then letting them wear themselves out on the trampoline. My DD was sitting in her sunroom a few weeks ago, just as it was getting light, enjoying a cuppa before the kids got up. And she heard it …the trampoline…..squeek, squeek, squeek. And there was her English springer spaniel, bouncing away to his heart’s content in the early light.

    Lionel really sorry to hear your news about your Rosie. How distressing for you. What type is she? I meant to ask what part of town you live in? We were in Yeronga the other day, and there was a Rosie there too.
    Here’s my girl, looking uncharacteristically calm (and scruffy, after a day at the beach) https://imgur.com/a/EPTXE0w

    Thin how could you tease us with shark stories, but then not tell us? How about one a day?

    Neil will you get a new bike for the challenge? What a result last year! Will having a new bike hold you back? (I guess my question is whether new bikes need to be broken in).

    OK if I go back a page I’ll lose my post, so I’ll end there. I’ll look out for your post Cinque – you posted just after I finished last time. How are you? Feeling better?

    Hello to all I’ve missed and those who aren’t posting .. Penguin, Intesha, Turn, Jony, Gday, Klondi (and thank you for the tip on the bamboo wipes).

    Good morning.

    It took me until 3pm yesterday to be able to peel myself off of the couch and go for a walk. After reading Cinque’s recent descriptions of op shop hunting, I decided that it a long overdue activity for me too. So I popped into the local Salvation Army Thrift store on my way home. No clothing that fit nicely, but I found a large green glass cake plate ($2.50) and was very excited to find a 2 tier antique cake stand ($6.50). I have seen some of the new ones available but none have really appealed and I didn’t want 3 tiers, which seems more common. I’m much happier with an old one. My finds have been washed and put into the cupboard awaiting their first use.

    Cinque, I hope you are enjoying your little lidded pot. I’m going to head back to the thrift store in a day or 2 as they had a complete set of ceramic mixing bowls that I covet. Unfortunately there was only so much I could carry home on foot so another trip is needed.

    Merry, congratulations on the grandchild. What a wonderful blessing to remember 2020 by. I hope it takes less than 2 years to safely meet in person.

    Cali & Lindsay, mean auntie LJ insisted the kids walk for all of 6-7 minutes to the bakery. It’s such a short distance it’s over before they know it. I actually vetoed the trampoline as they can’t keep their hats on when they are bouncing around and it was too hot to be outside without a hat.
    Lindsay I love the image of the spaniel getting its morning exercise on the trampoline – a “springer” living up to its name.

    Thin, you have mentioned before that you like jigsaw puzzles and I had wondered how you managed to spare the table space until the puzzle was finished. A storage system is a very good idea – is it a mat that rolls up or something else?

    Neil, hope the pile of work that you returned to starts to shrink soon. Is your old bike going to be ok for the challenge, or do you need the new one by then.

    Anzac, it’s a good thing that you have a long lead that allows Maxx some freedom without the risk of running away. There’s a couple of people who take badly behaved dogs to a local park that I walk through often – I wish they used something similar.

    I am waiting for my nephew’s wife and the kids to arrive shortly. We are walking over to the large chopping centre that’s near me to do a build-a-bear workshop.

    Have a lovely day.

    Hi all. Welcome aboard Lionel – great 5:2 story and I’m sure your wife will have the same success given you are a model 5:2er.

    Temps a bit cooler today, 36 degrees and for the next week it will be in the high 20’s so welcoming the change. Our worm farm seems to be coping well with the heat. It’s made from styrofoam boxes (broccoli boxes) so is well insulated, in the shade, top layer inside the farm is sheets of wet newspaper and the entre box is covered with a large wet hessian bag to help keep it cool. I only have to sprinkle water inside the farm about once a week so the insulation is certainly working well in our hot temps.

    I have yet to start my extended fast as indicated in my last post, but I have had quite a few very low calorie days (under 500) and have kept carbs to an absolute minimum. Happy to report that I am down by just under 1 kg since my last post…..Yippee.

    Yesterday I added to my kitchen tool collection. We are fortunate to have an Italian deli in the regional town where we shop. Apart from general groceries and specialised Italian foods (all top quality) they also have an extensive range of cookware etc (again – all top quality). Whenever we visit I always drool over the kitchen ware and wish I could have one of everything….lol. So I walked away with a garlic press (I use oodles of garlic so this will make preparing quicker than using a knife) and a large carbon steel wok. My gas cook top has a specific burner for a wok and I’ve always used my large Scanpan paella pan to stir fry so looking forward to our next stir fry using a wok, however first I must season the wok so hoping to get that chore out of the way today.

    Must dash, as I have other kitchen chores to do. Coles had wombok on special for half price so I bought 3, they were quite large so I picked off the outer layers for the chooks/ducks and will turn the rest into sauerkraut. I’m also making a large batch of stem ginger as I want to make some ginger biscuits from Clare Mosely’s new book, all made from healthy ingredients of course and they are low carb. I wasn’t able to find any stem ginger at any of our 3 supermarkets (lots of other types of packaged ginger) so perhaps it is just an English thing. Anyway it’s quite easy to make, lasts for 12 months and I can use it in many other different recipes as well.

    Happy Wednesday everyone.

    LJ, I haven’t been able to do jigsaws on the boat before because of the space constraints (not that I’d have time when we’re cruising). The boat chandleries sell a mat for £20 but I’d been too cheap to buy one. So the £2 op shop find was great. It comprises a large piece of felt, a telescopic cardboard tube and three elastic ties with velcro fasteners. Works a charm.

    LJ, I’ve also ramped up my cryptic crosswords and online bridge games – you haven’t mentioned bridge for a long time. What’s your status with your club?

    Lindsay, well one story involves hand gestures and can’t easily be told in text. The Florida incident I thought was too lengthy even by my standards but I’ll try: a friend and I had driven from North Carolina where we lived to Key West with an inner tube attached to the car roof. It had been a real pain causing drag on the freeways, requiring multiple stops to re-adjust and my friend had been determined to make use of the wretched thing.

    We slept in the car at the beach on the first night and, at first light, took this bulky inner tube out for a very splashy paddle a long, long way out. Not a soul was on the beach. A bit later, while having breakfast at a beach cafe, we could see a crowd gathering by the shore. When we walked down the beach, we saw about seven sharks in the shallow waves and, further out to sea, an elderly lady floating on her back completely oblivious to them – and the concerned crowd. Her daughter was screaming at her but said she was deaf. I can’t remember now how the life guards got her back to shore but she was safe. We were thinking that we’d probably attracted them with all our earlier splashing. They weren’t huge sharks but we were feeling very lucky to be safely on land by the time they arrived.

    I don’t know what kind of sharks they would have been. I think sharks like white pointers are solitary and territorial, not swimming in schools like that.

    A lovely cool grey day (but once again I feel quite drained by yesterdays heat).

    It is a fast day for me.

    Anzac, what is with those bosses squeezing a year’s work into 3 months? Call the genius IT programmer contractors union at once. (Apologies if I got your work title way off). (I know the genius part is right anyway.) Or are they paying you 4x as much and giving you 9 months holiday at the end?

    Ooh that naughty Maxx, every time you think he has matured, he surprises you.

    My little ramekin is a good tool for one person who wants to make a quick small meal in the microwave. Good for hot days. I am getting the hang of arranging the veggies to cook best and changing things so every meal is nicely different. They should have hired me when they brought the things out! All the youtube recipes are a) microwave eggs or b) an onion with a bit of butter and a stock cube pushed into the middle, and cooked for 5 mins. Not worth the $20+ someone is trying to get for it on gumtree!

    Merry big congratulations on your new little grandbaby. I do hope there is lots of zoom and photos and conversations. It is very hard not to be able to cuddle them straightaway, and maybe for ages.

    Impressive fish work (except I study it and come away with the idea 100g fish, around 100 calories). I am not very nuanced when it comes to calories.
    (I read further and think: other types of animal protein, 100g, a bit more than 100 calories. haha)

    You will love getting under 70kg again, wishing you a lovely 5:2 week.

    Neil, sympathy for the stress eating, I do hope the stress calms down. You will get your new habits into place, it just takes time – and a bit of up and down…

    Cali, news just playing that Trump is impeached for the second time. Thinking of you, and your countrymen. Earlier when they had an Australian expat living in California and talking about being in self imposed lockdown since March I thought of you even more, as that has been your life too.

    Thin, that gorilla jigsaw sounds SO HARD! You will feel so triumphant when it gets done. Excellent shark story.

    Lindsay it is all go at your place. I hope the pool transformation next door is sorted soon.
    My health is tiresome at the moment, I need a couple of days to recover every time I do something (boring things like shopping, or preparing for home help, or getting through a hot day, as well as minding grandkids or catching up with a friend). Still grateful for all I can do… I just want more! But maybe this is it from now on, so I will concentrate on settling into it and be pleasantly surprised if I can ever do more.

    LJoyce, great op shop finds! Your cakes deserve beautiful stands.
    I hope the build a bear workshop was fun.

    Gday, lucky worms to have such a comfortable home.
    It sounds like you are in good form to move into your extended fast, when the time is right.
    Ooh you got some fine kitchen things, such wonderful equipment you will use again and again. Plus yum to stem ginger (we used to be able to buy it easily, but I haven’t seen it for years).
    Hello to the kitten!

    Okay, time to go.
    Hello to fellow fasters today, and to the rest of you with your mindful eating!

    Cinque, you are having fun with that ramekin! I hope the day comes when you recover from this tiresome health issue. People do emerge from it, don’t they? Maybe some good research will come from studying the CFS-like symptoms experienced by covid recoverers.

    Thin, someone was bitten by a bull shark in the swan river today. Isn’t that where you used to kayak?

    Hi LJ, yes it is but we lived close to the South Perth foreshore so that’s where we usually put in. A short swim for a shark though. We miss our kayaks! Blackwall Reach is a popular place with children jumping off the rocks into the river. It’s been snowing for the past 3 hours here so it seems odd talking about such activities.

    Thin, it’s hard for me to imagine snow during an Australian summer too.
    I was a bit shocked that the sharks would swim into the river, I just assumed they wouldn’t leave the salt water.
    I was thinking about your issue of getting written notification for your vaccine. Would you be allowed to use your daughter’s (more stable) address for delivery of that type of mail, as she would know where you are when it arrives and could forward it? I don’t know what the UK rules are, but here you can write c/- before the address to indicate that you want the mail sent care of this address, but it isn’t your actual residence.

    Cinque, you’ll be writing a ramekin cookbook soon.
    My op shop cooking purchases have continued. On Wednesday I bought a complete set of stoneware mixing bowls (very heavy to lug home in the backpack) and yesterday I bought a glass cake plate that has a lazy susan mechanism attached. It means I can use it for both cake decoration and also as a serving platter.
    Yes the build a bear workshop was fun. The kids as usual wanted to buy every accessory imaginable for their new friend and needed to be reined in a bit.

    After a day of eating too many bad things on Wednesday I did another FD500 yesterday. I feel on a more even keel today and not as likely to raid the fridge – the amazing 9 hours of sleep I had lat night really helped. It’s a very rare night when I get 9 hours. It’s low 20s here today so I get the luxury of 2 walks instead of just one morning walk.

    Hope everyone is having a good day.

    Evening all.
    Oh LJ I envy you your good sleep. Never a good sleeper at the best of times, mine was punctuated last night by the sound of …..falling mangoes and curlews. The latter shriek like they are being murdered, and the mangoes hit the roof and the ground with such a thud, there’s no sleeping through it. My SIL said last time he was here he almost put on a hard hat when he was mowing. We have four huge mango trees and despite having the tree over the roof trimmed last year, still some land on the metal.
    My day was made by spotting a koala in the tree over the road – I thought at first it was an ants’ nest, until it moved, and by a lovely late afternoon long run on the beach and swim with OH and Rosy. Bliss.
    FD for me today too, and so far so good. I see OH has opened a bottle of red, but if I sacrifice my one square of dark Lindt, I still have enough calories left for a small glass.
    Cinque I am so sorry that your illness continues to trouble you. Like Thin, I hope one day there’ll be an effective treatment that will allow you to get your full strength back and do all the things you want to do. In the meantime, I tip my hat, because you balance your life so well.
    Oh those bull sharks – dangerous, nasty beasts. They come up the Brisbane River too ….they can move from salt to fresh water, and the Gold Coast canals are full of them apparently. Here, sharks follow the fishing boats up the channel between the island and the mainland. A young woman was taken here by 3 bull sharks maybe 15 years ago. She was in the water at dusk with her dog, in an area which goes from knee deep to very very deep almost instantly, where the channel meets the surf. So sad. I surf swim (cautiously), and there’s an enclosed lagoon at the end of the street, which is very safe.
    LJ such wonderful op shopping….you describe things I’d adore.
    OK OH has made dinner (!) …BBQd chicken, with two salads. What a man!
    Have a good night all

    LJ, so kind of you to give thought to our vaccine logistics. Yes, if we could be certain the NHS was using DD’s address consistently that definitely would help pinpoint the timing (they intermittently send mail to the marina and I’ve already bothered the GP surgery several times to try and rectify this which I feel guilty about). But come 1 March, we resume constant cruising which means we’d again need a physical address in the catchment area of a GP surgery near wherever we happen to be, whenever I happen to get that invitation letter – if indeed it goes to DD. (Sorry that’s all so boring).

    Lindsay, that’s so exciting to spot a koala. I saw a kingfisher today. It would be my dream to have mangoes falling from the sky!

    It snowed all day yesterday and was the first time in decades that I didn’t get some exercise. I made a goulash on the diesel stove that was so tender and delicious. Around 8pm, we set off in the snow to ALDI to find only two cars in their carpark. Blissful shopping. Like you, LJ, we each take a daypack and sometimes a couple of shopping bags each.

    Is this issue with the wrong thread page loading not bothering anyone besides me and Cinque?

    Hi thin
    I’m not having trouble with the wrong thread, but my page doesn’t open on the latest posts. I thought it was just me.

    Oh a kingfisher. How beautiful. Are they quite small? The kookaburras are part of the kingfisher family, but as you’d know are quite large birds.

    The trouble with falling mangoes is that mowing is going to be quite tricky, and even Rose hates the squish between her toes when she steps on them. These ones are turpentines – can be quite stringy – while the tree at home is a Bowen, and the flesh is perfect. If I can find some that have fallen that aren’t too ripe, I may give mango chutney a try.

    These are the rather large trees – and the result.


    Where is everyone today? Enjoying the long weekend? I guess it’s business as usual in NZ and the UK. I have mixed feelings about celebrating Australia Day on 26th Jan.

    Another hot day here in Queensland and as low tide comes mid-afternoon we’ll hold off going to the beach until after 3.

    Successful FD yesterday resulted in a .8 kilo loss. Yea. Another 800 cals today, and I’ll cement that in. I find even with a moderate post-fast day, the scales can bounce back up quite alarmingly.

    Enjoy your day all.

    Oops date check. I’m a week ahead of myself. Of course the long weekend is next weekend. Island life has fogged my brain.

    Lindsay, sorry I didn’t mean wrong thread, I meant wrong page on our thread. I’ve read LJ’s post on that page so many times, I could quote it verbatim now. JJ said it would take a while to fix it.

    Yes, a kingfisher is much smaller than a kookaburra, more the size of a sparrow, which surprised me the first time I spotted its unmistakable flash of blue last summer. This one had a darker blue plumage than those I’d seen last summer leading me to think it might have been a different bird – but I couldn’t find anything else in my book. Perhaps it just looked different against the backdrop of snow. Mango chutney, now you’re getting me salivating.

    Agree with post FD gains. That’s why 2 FDs work better than one. I’m hanging by a thread below my trigger weight but no alcohol helps a lot because then the cheese comes out, plus something to put it on …. I like to take advantage of the variety and price of cheese while we’re here. We could get anything at our local deli in Perth but it was SO expensive, the locals nicknamed them ‘the robbers’.

    Thin, the forum always opens up on page 1 for me, always has. So I’m greeted with the very first post from Alamax each time I log on.
    When I push the submit button on a post it throws me back about 5 pages. Very strange. No time to chat, we’re off for a drive to another town to pick up some plants I ordered from the garden centre and collect a kneeling chair I purchased from the regional buy, swap, sell FB page – bargain – brand new still in the box and half the price of a new one. Happy Sunday everyone

    * that should say Alimax

    Good morning from a cool Melbourne Sunday (but dry enough to hang washing on the line, I hope).

    Flowers for you Penguin https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0011/9721/1718/products/Wildflower_Bunch_849x.jpg?v=1553356161
    I’m really hoping we hear from you soon.

    It is fast day for me today, and an easy slow day for catching up with things (washing, gardening) I hope.

    Thin, I bet we all thought of you when the Swan River shark story came through.

    Thanks for the kind thoughts, friends. It would be so nice to get over this horrid illness, especially because I seem to be less resilient each year and it is such a burden. How are you going Merry? Fingers crossed you are on a good run.

    In the meantime we just need to manage symptoms as best we can, and try not to exacerbate anything, which means living a very small life. So glad for the things I can do though.

    (But I helped Miss4 ride her bike to the park on Friday, quite an energetic activity!)

    LJoyce, you are on a cake stand roll! And the bowls sound wonderful as well.
    I also had an overeating day, sigh. But back on track now.

    Ooh 9 hours sleep is a wonderful experience.

    Lindsay, the poor lawn and roof, the poor mowers and sleepers. Definitely mango chutney time!

    Thin, hooray for empty shops and blissful shopping. And delicious tender goulash.
    There must be lots of travellers for the vaccination rollout to contact, I hope they find a good system.

    I was thinking about the pages again too, since it is taking JJ longer than I expected. I presume it is a matter of going through removing all the spam manually, it is a pity we can’t help with the job, in a citizen scientist sort of way. Ah well, maybe it would have gone to three pages behind if it wasn’t being sorted!

    Ok off to do my Sunday fast. Best wishes all.

    Good evening all.

    FD for me and I’ve been ready for dinner since 2pm! I had a piece of fruit and that just made me hungrier. I’ve taken myself out of the house for another walk to get away from food for while.
    I have a bowl of minestrone thawing ready for dinner.

    Lindsay, the mango mess on your lawn reminds me of the mess that cockatoos used to make every summer in my back yard with my walnut tree. They were loud squawkers too. Thankfully they are day time eaters and didn’t keep me awake at night. You might need to invest in a set of ear plugs. I used the soft foam ones when my neighbours first got their dog so that I wouldn’t be woken up at 5am every morning. Their dog has since learned to be quiet so I no longer get disturbed.

    GDSA, is the kneeling chair for your study? I’ve heard that they are good at encouraging good posture.

    Thin, thanks for that explanation – I’m not surprised that it isn’t as simple as just using your daughter’s address. I’d forgotten that the NHS requires people to register at a local GP clinic.

    One of my christmas presents was a box of chocolates. I opened them the other day when my nephew’s kids were here but they didn’t eat many. Of course I then ate far too many on the following days. I decided the best place for those remaining was the bin yesterday. I have trouble throwing food out, but decided that cheap chocolate isn’t food so it was fine to go in the bin. I felt nothing but relief once I’d done that.

    Well It’s now after 5pm so I can go and enjoy my bowl of minestrone.
    I’ll need an early night as babysitting starts at 8am.

    Hello again

    Two posts in one day – I can’t have enough to do 🙂

    LJ OH collected the fallen mangoes from the front garden only….and picked up 553 mostly overripe mangoes. Yes that wasn’t a typo. 553! The back garden has even more. I salvaged some and I’ll go over to the mainland in the morning and buy the ingredients to make mango chutney. I have to go to the mainland unfortunately – we bathed Rosy after we came back from the beach today, and I found OH absentmindedly brushing her with my brush! So it’s a new one for me.

    We’re having soup tonight too …OH hasn’t cottoned on that I’m on an 800 day. Zucchini soup …I’ll put some sourdough with his, and a big dollop of sour cream.

    I realised today that I need to rethink my modus operandi ….I get to my trigger weight, and panic, and follow the program religiously and get well below it, then I relax and it creeps up again. So, from tomorrow, after 1 x 500 and 2 x 800 FDs, whatever my weight is will be my new trigger weight. And so on. I can’t imagine why I haven’t done this before.

    Thin I am a sucker for cheese – so keep my purchases pretty contained. Goat cheese, and also haloumi which I often have for breakfast. OH (and Rosy) love blue vein of all varieties – he usually has it on his second slice of toast for breakfast. The little one early on couldn’t identify it by sight, and going on smell, asked if Barbar was eating vomit on his toast. So that’s what it’s now called in our household. Disgusting, aren’t we?

    LJ, coming back to your chocolate ….old habits are hard to break. Even cheap chocolate has that aura of something delicious …even when the taste test disproves it. Good for you, for consigning it to the bin.

    Thin, than you for the shark story. I have such visions of you frolicking in a tyre, after that drive. I read in National Geographic, I think, that while many shark species are solitary, Great Whites are school creatures. Scary.

    LJ, Cinque, of all the noises in the world, mangoes falling on a tin roof isn’t at all bad. Glad Cinque you could take the 4 year old to the park….special outings, aren’t they? Is she in prep this year?

    OK to all of you MIA….our Dunedin friends, Anzac, Merry, G’day, Turn, Betsy, Penguin, Cali. and the others I miss until the second after I post. Hope to read about your latest news soon.

    A bit of a sleep in for me after a restless night listening to OH’s snoring (despite using the ear plugs you described LJ). There’s nowhere to go for respite in this box, fortunately, his mouth guard does its job most of the time.

    Lindsay, what a number of fallen mangoes! That’s a lot of chutney. I love all the cheeses you’ve mentioned. Haloumi is a good staple for cruising as it can be stored in the fridge for many weeks taking up little room. I’ve been meaning to ask LJ how she manages it on a FD though as it’s so high in cals.

    On the vomit thing, you’ve reminded me that the family we were pet-sitting for the Christmas before last gave me some kefir grains. I’d kept them frozen ever since as fresh milk isn’t a constant for us but recently decided to bring them to life. The result smelled and tasted like vomit (as did her own kefir that she gave me to try). After several weeks, I was close to committing the cardinal sin of throwing it out when it started to smell and taste better. Now it’s drinkable so I’m very lucky to have the real McCoy on the boat.

    Lindsay, interested to read what you said about Great Whites. When OH and I arrived in Australia thirty years ago, we knew no-one but understood that spending Xmas Day at the beach was the right thing to do. We sat on a Perth beach and unwrapped our presents to each other. I’d given him “Dangerous Creatures of Australia” and he’d given me “Crocodile Attack”. Two large graphically illustrated coffee table books that kept us out of Australia’s oceans for three decades.

    I’ve just been reading that Emirates airline is charging Aussies $15k for a o/w flight home.

    GDSA, that’s annoying. I wonder how Alimax is getting along and whether she’s still fasting.

    Cinque, good point. Once we get constant cruising, we’ll be able to talk to others in the same boat – so to speak. Some over 80s were vaccinated in Salisbury Cathedral yesterday – with organ music.

    LJ, amused by your account of being ready for dinner at 2pm! It’s a FD for me too though yours and Cinque’s will be almost over by now.

    Morning all

    Back at work and we’re back to a full compliment and caught up on the backlog, so things should be less stressful this week.

    A tragedy happened this weekend. I drove to Roxburgh on Friday night for a frisbee golf tournament that was going to be on the following day. Since it was super hot I rode my bike to a local swimming hole called Pinders Pond to have a swim and cool off. While I was there I heard someone yelling at the other end of the lake that some people were drowning. They managed to pull one guy out, but they said “Did the other guy come back up?” I jumped out, put my clothes on and rode my bike round to that end of the lake. By the time I got there there were 20+ people diving down trying to find him, but he never came back up and the police divers retrieved his body a few hours later. The guy was a 23 year old student, I feel really bad because if I had been around that end of the lake I probably could have helped. I’m a decent swimmer and I’d done some lifesaving training when I was a teenager.

    I hope you all have a good week

    Good morning,
    Yes, I got my clothes dried on the line yesterday 🙂

    And I got fast day done and dusted.

    But I somehow ended up with the kitchen just as messy as when the day started! At least the garden got watered and the compost turned.

    Gday I crossed posts with you. Enjoy those plants and the kneeling chair!
    Going straight to the SH first page is just as efficient at the moment.

    LJoyce, the chocolate would have gone into the mouth bin if you hadn’t put it in the bin bin. Cheers! The bin bin is much better.
    Life is too short for cheap chocolate! (I wish I could have told my 14 year old self that!)

    Lindsay, I developed a mango allergy finding a tree like yours and gorging myself on fallen mangoes. (The allergy is to the sap.). What do you do with all the overripes ones? Too much even for a compost heap!

    I hope you found a lovely new brush!

    Miss four is waiting one more year before starting school, so I hope to make the most of having grandma kinder one day a week.

    I so laughed at that query about Barbar eating vomit on his toast. It’s up with my mum’s story of my sister looking at the soft toys going around and around in the washing machine, and asking “Have you got kittens in there?”
    And I also remember my daughter coming into the kitchen when I was cooking parsnips, she was 4yo, and commented “It smells like armpits in here!”
    Still makes me laugh. Yummiest armpit smell!

    Thin, I hope you have had a good fast day and get a refreshing, snore-free night’s sleep. Ooh that is interesting re the kefir. If you can make it without the vomit small, maybe I would try.

    Now the Emirates are suspending flights to Australia! So frustrating for those who had booked.

    Neil, I am so sorry to hear of that drowning tragedy, there have been too many similar ones here too, in the last week. But you were so close, and not close enough to maybe save a life. That is so hard.
    I’d be really shaken, I am glad you have got family you can give precious hugs to.

    I’m also happy to hear things should be easier at work this week. Enjoy.

    It is this Thursday I am heading off with my daughter’s family for a couple of nights on Phillip Island. One of the things I need to do is buy a new (refurbished, hopefully) ipad since mine has been dropped too often and doesn’t work too well any more. Wish me luck finding what I need.
    And plenty of other prep too, which I need to spread gently over these three days. I haven’t even written a list yet! Off I go.


    Cinque have a lovely trip with the family, I bet you haven’t been away for ages. Funny parsnips story and one I hope I have forgotten by the next time I have parsnips. My FD was great thanks but only 500g lost.

    Neil, a tough weekend for you. Don’t be hard on yourself, you weren’t there.

    LJ, I grappled with your story about the chocolates! We always had a ‘re-gifting’ cupboard and cheap chocolates would have ended up in it before opening.

    Our UK vaccine programme is going so well. 140 people vaccinated per minute. Today, the over 70s are being included so I’m relieved that OH may receive an invitation soon. My brother has been working in a residential home in various capacities to help an old school friend who owns it (no acting this year). He’s taken his responsibilities very seriously and not seen his friends all year to protect the residents. He and all the residents and staff received a jab yesterday.

    Even better was that, at the end of the day, staff were invited to call at risk friends who could come and use the leftover doses at short notice. My brother got two of his friends in and then they literally knocked on doors in the street to invite others so the vaccine wouldn’t be wasted. There are often more doses in a vial than stated making it hard to plan ahead but this is a fantastic way of making sure none goes to waste.

    Good morning quiet little SHers, I do hope you are going okay.

    Thanks Thin!
    The UK vaccination program is doing such a brilliant job. What a wonderful story from your brother. A terribly sad segment is on the news right now, about how the UK hospitals are struggling, but hooray that case numbers have started to fall.

    I am such a chocolate snob that I don’t want anyone to eat cheap chocolate and so could only regift it to someone I particularly disliked!

    I had a big day opshopping yesterday (not for ipads ;), that is today’s job) and nearly found a sun hat for my SIL, and also found the original microwave ramekin that my ones are a rip off of. I bought it and will see how it compares (it is wider and lower and without the irritating rim that make the other ones hard to clean. AND I found an African cook book! It is 25 years old and most of the recipes have been tweaked by the author, but she seems to have tweaked them very nicely. I enjoyed reading it when I got home and am keen to try some recipes.

    I was out for hours and didn’t feel the slightest bit hungry! Isn’t distraction wonderful. (Or is wanting to eat my ‘at home’ distraction?).

    Well, fast day tomorrow!

    Best wishes friends, for a good day today.

    Good afternoon from a very sluggish and tired LJ. As usual after a full on day of baby sitting, I feel like every drop of energy has been drained away and will take time to replenish. So much for my plans of walking and grocery shopping this morning – I’ve barely left the couch!

    Neil, so sorry to hear of that local drowning. Feeling helpless during tragedy is a difficult place to be.

    Cinque, I hope your weekly sessions with miss4 are manageable, given how easily fatigue impacts you. I feel like we have the same pattern with this – it’s nice to spend that precious time with the kids, but it takes a physical toll.
    I find I can cope with the weekly Thursdays as it’s only a couple of hours and most importantly doesn’t involve an early start. Anything that requires me to be out of bed and behaving sensibly before 8am is a problem.
    We will expect to some more lovely African recipes from you – I must make that Nigerian red bean stew again soon. (I remember you telling us not to overdo the peanut butter – which I promptly ignored! I do love peanut butter.)

    Thin, I agree about re-gifting (I do it with the endless amounts of expensive scented soap I get given from my aunt). I just couldn’t think of a suitable recipient for the chocolates while they were still well within their best-by-date. The people I usually give chocolates to like Haighs and would be seriously unimpressed with Cadbury.
    The trick with using haloumi (and also other high calories foods like nuts) on FDs is all down portion size and what you put with it. The brands of haloumi available here are 1200-1600kj per 100g, but most are around 1400. I try to get the Lemnos low sodium one (still plenty salty) which is 1420kj. A packet is usually 180g. On a NFD I consider 1/3 packet-60g (200cal) to be a serve, but sometimes reduce this to 1/4 packet-45g (150cal) on a FD. I have it lightly grilled with a large salad that is mostly green leaves, cucumber, tomato and perhaps a little red capsicum. I dress it simply in lime juice or apple cider vinegar and will add a teaspoon of olive oil to the dressing if I can afford the calories. These are such low calorie vegetables that a generous bowl should be no more than 100 calories. Once I’ve sliced and grilled the haloumi I cut it into quite small pieces so that most mouthfuls of salad contain a tiny nugget of that salty cheese.
    Very pleased to hear your bother has had his first vaccine dose. Lets hope when they come back with the second dose that they can remember which doors they knocked on.

    Lindsay I did have a giggle about the hairbrush mixup. I was reading your description of your husband picking up all those mangoes and marvelling at how well he does with such limited sight – only to find that acuity doesn’t extend to hairbrushes.

    I am thankfully having a normal NFD today without a strong appetite. I did ok yesterday until I got home and then gave into my craving for scones. I intended to have 2 with a pot of tea and freeze the rest. I unfortunately ate four of them, which was way too much (the equivalent of a whole cup of flour).
    I shall be doing a FD tomorrow. We will be getting warmer days from Thursday so I’m hoping that helps me moderate my eating. It’s still much more erratic than I’d like. At least I know that a poor night’s sleep is by best predictor of a day of poor food choices. I had only 3 hours sleep before a full day of babysitting yesterday, so I’m not surprised I was craving starchy food.

    Lindsay, 533 mangos would make a huge amount of chutney! It’s hard to imagine sleeping with something as large as a mango falling on your metal roof. Having acorns fall from our oak trees onto a big metal table out in back makes enough noise. I’m glad to hear that some were salvageable. I love mangos. The ones in our stores come mostly from Mexico I think.

    LJ, scones are definitely hard to resist when you have several of them sitting around. I made some brownies after dinner last night and they were gone by noon today. Thankfully there were 3 of us eating them. I always add a little ground cayenne pepper to the batter. I love the hot sweet combination. But not too spicy.

    Thin, I’m happy to hear that your brother was able to get the first vaccine jab. I hope you and OH get an invite soon. The three of us are scheduled for Feb 18 for our first one. They lowered the age to 65+ after Biden said he would do so after the inauguration. We’ll be getting the Pfizer vaccine. It will be 3 weeks before the second dose if they have it available. Apparently the stockpile they said they had may not exist.
    My uncle who lives in the Midwest passed away from Covid a couple of days ago. My aunt is still in the hospital, but my cousin told me she is improving. They apparently caught it at church or possibly in a restaurant. With so many cases in their state I’m very surprised they would go out, especially since they were/are both in their 80’s. We’ve never been very close to them and haven’t seen them in years and I talk to them maybe once a year, but before Christmas my aunt told me that she wasn’t that worried about Covid because she didn’t know anyone who had it. It’s tragic that the messaging in this country is so conflicting.

    Neil, I’m sorry to hear about the drowning nearby. It was so good of you to try. It sounds like you were too far away to get there in time.

    Cinque, home fermented kefir usually smells similar to yogurt. It sounds like thin had to do a few batches to get her frozen grains back to health. It can smell bad if they sit too long or are neglected. I’ve been thinking about getting some grains and making it again. It really is high in probiotics. It’s just that it needs to be harvested every 24 hours or so and it’s easy to get overrun with kefir. I wonder if your GD’s would drink it?

    Well, about 30 hours from now we will have a new president. I hope peace prevails for the inauguration. I think almost everyone is under a lot of stress. I wish these next few days were over.

    Penguin, are you in your new place yet? Please, just a couple lines to let us know how you’re going.

    LJ, thanks for the info on the haloumi FD consumption. Yes, I agree about the chocolates. How old are the children that you babysit?

    Ha ha, re the random door knocking – don’t worry, the lucky recipients still had to attend the designated facility and complete forms giving their NHS numbers and GP names and addresses. So, it’s all properly documented. I thought it was a sensible, logical, feel good idea to be applauded but, predictably, elsewhere the practice has come under fire in the press as ‘unfair’. Last week, facilities were criticised for wasting vaccine.

    Cinque, someone is admitted to hospital with covid in Britain every 30 seconds. NHS staff are under incredible strain. They’ve been working insane hours, putting their own lives at risk all year and watching their colleagues die. 90,000 people have died within 28 days of receiving a positive covid result. And still people think it’s fine to ignore the rules while demanding to be next in line for the vaccine. Sigh.

    CalifD, our posts crossed. Good to hear from you. Great news about you three getting the vaccine so quickly. What a relief for you. Sorry to hear of the death in your family. I thought of you when we watched a new Netflix series, ‘Safe House’ wondering if you’d enjoy it. Four episodes.

    Good morning friends from a thankfully cooler Sydney today. Not for long I’m afraid, back into the 30’s from Friday

    Apologies for not posting; the days just seem to melt into each other in a ground-hog style.

    I saw the shocking and tragic state of the UK hospitals and the poor medical staff on the news Thin. Most of the people on my labrador friends forum are in the UK and whilst they are being very stoic, you can read the sorrow and terror in between the lines of their posts. This vaccine can’t come quickly enough.

    Cali, I am so very sorry to hear about your Uncle and I hope your Aunt makes a full recovery. If the news out of the UK is bad, it is even worse from the US. Thank goodness you have a sensible (we hope) president coming in from today.

    Neil, I am so sorry to hear about the drowning that happened right near you. I did post a message about this on Monday but I can’t see it now so apologies if this is a double-up. I’m sure you must have been in shock for a while and I hope you are ok.

    LJ – three hours sleep before a full day of babysitting! I feel exhausted thinking about it and no wonder you were craving starchy food. I would have eaten an entire loaf of bread. I hope you had a better sleep last night. Thanks for the info on Haloumi – it is the only cheese I actually like but we don’t have it very often. I made a very nice lamb and haloumi salad the other day and enjoyed every mouthful. I do need to watch the quantity I put in

    Cinque/LJ/Betsy – we have a hot weekend coming but nothing compared to Melbourne / Adelaide. Stay cool!

    Did you get your IPAD Cinque? What fabulous purchases and I bet that cook book is amazing.

    That is an incredible amount of mangoes Lindsay! The only fruit I don’t like are mangoes, pawpaw and papaya – I guess the heady perfume is what I don’t enjoy. It does remind me of my Mum as she absolutely adored mangoes. She and my niece had an annual ritual where they would share a box of mangoes early in the season and too bad about the cost. Fond memories.

    So I have decided to practically give up wine….my favourite thing. However getting so sick and ending up in hospital was a big kick in the head about getting healthy, losing weight and having a good look at my wine consumption. I knew it had crept up with the excuse of work stress so now I am strictly sticking to 2-3 small glasses on a weekend and that’s it. It has only been a week and a half and I feel so much better already. Our 4 day holiday down the coast was our last hurrah for wine and bad food and since then I have already lost 600g and it is downwards from here and reasonably quickly too.

    I’m also being very strict about my work hours. If they want to get rid of me for not doing the insane 14-18 hour days that the rest of the team are doing then too bl00dy bad. I get 2-3 calls a week from other banks / recruiters about jobs so there is plenty of work around. The only thing is my application to WFH permanently was agreed so that is a HUGE benefit for me. Commuting into the filthy, crowded city used to drive me nuts but that’s not the biggest thing. I do very intense analytical work and the chatter and distractions in the office used to send me completely mad. So let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

    Take care all and hi to everyone else

    Good morning.

    Neil, I’m very sorry about your tragic experience. You sound really shocked, as you would be. You tried, and that is important. Was it an international student? Every year here, some underestimate the conditions with the worst consequences.

    Such storms we’ve had the last two nights. Just over the water from us, suburbs received 140 ml in an hour. A lot of rain. DD and the two girls are with us on the island (with dog!) and I had to go to rescue them from an early sudden storm, after DD went out for an early walk. Mr 6 is joining us on Friday for a couple of days. I’ll go over on the flyer and meet my DIL to bring him back to the island. It will be chaos – three adults, three children, two dogs, one small house. It will also be fun.

    Thin, very good your brother is now protected, and that the rollout continues with such pace. And what a good idea, to not waste any extra doses.

    Cali, sad your relatives have succumbed. The mixed messages on the disease have been very damaging in the US.

    We are currently getting ready for the Australian Open, and there are very mixed feelings in the community about the wisdom of allowing so many athletes and supporters in, while so many Australians can’t get home. It does seem wrong. My niece is stuck in Japan and has had so many flights cancelled. One airline even told my brother that they were continuing to take bookings, because they needed the cash flow, even though there was no likelihood of the flights taking place.

    LJ I hadn’t realised haloumi was so high-calorie. I should have known that something so delicious would have a high cal price. I do just have a very fine slice on FDs, to go on top of my tomato.

    Speaking of which, I’m down just over a kilo, which has become my new trigger weight.

    Thin I’ve never managed kefir. I’ve been given grains, but haven’t know what to do with it. I should investigate that.

    LJ it wasn’t as much my OH’s sight that led him to using my brush …. it was his general absent-mindnesses. “there’s a brush … that will do.” And thank you – he does manage pretty well, and hasn’t let his poor sight stop him from doing things. Reading he finds particularly hard, but I’ve boosted the point size on all his electronic devices and that helps a lot.

    Cinque, how lovely to have a few days away with the family. And also nice to have another year with Miss 4. We will watch our little one grow in her first year in school, but with a little wistfulness as she leaves her funny baby ways behind.

    So, just one more day until the inauguration. Hope it goes peacefully Cali, and the US moves on.

    Well this has been a quiet old forum for the past week or so…..hope you are all well, and have been busy doing wonderful things and hence few posts.

    Good morning,
    Wednesday fast day for me and it is going to be a fasty mcfasty one.

    I worry for my aging brain, I woke up this morning and realised I have completely forgotten I need someone to look after the cat while I am away. I am so embarrassed that I will have to hassle neighbours at the last minute to find someone to help. (I don’t have any family or friends close by to ask). Fingers crossed someone can do it.

    LJoyce, thankyou. It is all Catch22 with CFS, as I do think the good things that come with minding kids are much needed for my brain and body, not to mention my heart. I might need to balance a bit better though.
    Sympathy to you too, I really understand that tiredness. I do hope you have a bit of zip today. I also understand about mornings!

    Cali, so sorry to hear of your uncle dying from covid, and your aunt so sick. I think it is hard to understand the gravity of covid 19 when we don’t know people with it. It is extraordinary, given the devastation it has caused, how many of us have no family or friends who have suffered from it.

    That is a big part of the problem with my home help, she has that typical service provider style of agreeing with everything her client (me!) says, and then says things like “But there hasn’t been one case of Darebin Council staff passing it on” as if that means they are doing a perfect job and “But there are worse things” her example being a relative who died suddenly of a heart attack, I think because that was a real thing that happened in her life, while covid deaths seem hypothetical to her.

    I am glad to read what you say about kefir. I was offered a drink of some (shop bought drink) and I couldn’t bring myself to taste it because of the smell, but maybe making it at home means it is fresher and not as funky. I would definitely prefer the water kefir, if it has advantages over the yoghurt whey drinks I brew.

    Our coverage of Biden’s inauguration is beginning at 3am tomorrow morning on the ABC news channel! When I wake up I will check it out, and be thinking of you.

    Thin, so much sympathy for your poor hospitals, patients and staff. Thankgoodness for that hard lockdown now, working inspite of the covidiots.

    Anzac I am so glad glad GLAD you are putting your foot down over those insane hours. Yes, you are in demand, so demand the conditions that suit you! All power to you. Good boundaries are important.

    And kudos for giving up the wine. It is hard to let go of pleasures, but better health is worth it. There are plenty of other pleasures to enjoy in your long healthy life!

    Lindsay I am glad you all have your heads above water. So much rain!
    And hooray for the best sort of chaos, family fun. Yes, it is wistful as the darlings grow out of their preschool adorableness.

    Ha, the Australian Open is so much entertainment already. The complaints and the apologies.
    But I hope the outcry propels the government to bring more people home, including your niece.

    Well, I’m off to get organised: housework, packing, catsitter, everything! Best wishes all.

    Hello all.

    After a very lazy day yesterday I’m feeling a bit closer to normal today and well able to tackle a much needed FD. I’ve just had a small banana and I have a tub of Greek lentil soup thawing for dinner.

    Cali, I’m so sorry to hear of your uncle’s death. I hope our aunt continues to improve. It’s good that you have a firm date for your fist dose of vaccine. It will make life so much safer (and hopefully less restricted) for you once vaccinated.
    I’m not surprised about that tray of brownies. It’s one of the reasons I rarely bake for myself – resistance is very difficult when the baking aromas fill the house and you can’t enter the kitchen without temptation being right under your nose.
    I will be hoping for a peaceful transition tomorrow and better things ahead for you and your country.

    Cinque, I really hope one of the neighbours can take care of Miso for you – maybe one of those who already feed her extras. I hope you get everything sorted and can enjoy your time away.

    Thin, my nephew’s children are 7 1/2 and 9. They were 5 and 6 1/2 when I started regular babysitting and it’s both amazing and challenging seeing the way they change so much over time. My great nephew in particular has become so much more independent since about age 8.
    I’m surprised facilities are getting criticism for offering the unplanned spare doses to others – I thought was was a sensible way to avoid waste.

    Lindsay, it’s unfortunate when a food you love turns out to be so high in calories. All firm or aged cheeses are roughly 1400-1750kj for 100g – because most the calories come from fat. The main exceptions are soft fresh cheeses such as cottage, ricotta and bocconcini.

    Anzac, yes lamb and haloumi go beautifully together, yum.

    Well I must rush. It’s taken me 2 hours to write this as I kept getting distracted. I’m off to the GP now. Take care everyone.

    Well my afternoon did not quite turn out as expected. I went to drive over to my GPs surgery only to find my car battery was dead. All I can say is thank goodness for telehealth appointment which meant I didn’t to need to cancel.
    I’m now waiting for the RAA to come and install a new battery. I’m also going to need to do another walk here later as the one I had planned for the suburb my GP’s surgery is in didn’t eventuate. A pity really as it’s a lovely leafy area with lots of shade and lovely old houses with beautiful gardens.

    Lots of entertaining posts to read with my first coffee.

    Lindsay, Kefir – everything you need to know is on this website including water kefir, Cinque: https://www.yemoos.com/pages/milk-kefir-step-by-step-guide. Mine is tasting and smelling fine now but I don’t know what will happen once we get cruising and fresh milk isn’t necessarily available. It’s a highly recommended addition to your diet especially if you’re lucky enough to already have the grains.

    Our ex-neighbours in Perth ended up booking their daughter on a business class flight to ensure getting her back from an exchange trip to France (undertaken pre-covid). She already had a return flight but apparently you were less likely to get bumped off a business class booking. If your niece can afford it, a possible solution maybe, although outrageous.

    Anzac, so pleased to read your post, especially that you’re digging in your heels about the work hours and cutting down on wine. It’s just empty calories and leads to so many poor food choices. I drink so little alcohol nowadays that the difference really shows on the scales when I do. My walking buddy of 20 odd years didn’t drink and she always said, “I don’t need alcohol to enjoy myself”. I keep this in my head. Mango and papaya are my absolute favourite fruits.

    Cinque, I had a laugh about the cat. I bet it’s been a while since you had some time away so these things are not imprinted on your mind. Did you find a helpful neighbour?

    We tried a new cheese called Parlick yesterday. It’s made from ewe’s milk. It’s not my favourite but I like to try different varieties of cheese.

    LJ, thanks for the info on your babysitting charges. Hurray for the RAC. We always found them to offer a wonderful service.

    Have a great day everyone.


    Kia ora, everyone! Winter has returned to Dunedin so we had to drag out the firewood baskets and light the logburner again. This is sposed to be midsummer!

    I’ve been busy planning the launch of my fourth social biking group here in Dunners. In the end I went online to cancel yesterday’s launch because of wind and rain just pre-ride and then I was amazed when I drove down to the Esplanade and found a fair number of riders all rugged up and ready to ride. I didn’t have my bike but I appointed a leader and suggested they go for a ride. Eleven riders pedalled off for a 24km jaunt and had a good time. I hope I’m able to join them next week!

    Today’s pix show my little grandie Luke pre- and post-haircut this week. I think static electricity from the trampoline exacerbated his wild hairdo in the pre pic but I reckon his first decent haircut (he’s 1 1/2) made a big difference. Apparently he caused a scene at the barber’s, as he wasn’t going to have a man wielding sharp instruments doing anything to his head.

    My 5:2 fasting has been going well after the madness and upset schedules of Xmas-New Year and I’ve now lost 8kg since I started the programme 17 weeks ago. Last week I did a FD on Wed instead of Thurs cos we had some good friends coming to stay for four days. The visit involved lashings of good food and wine and we had a great catchup with the couple. However, when I jumped on the scale on Monday, my first FD this week, I was amazed I hadn’t stacked on any weight in the four non-FD days!

    Cinque, yes, the Aussie Open tennis is proving entertaining even though it hasn’t started yet. I see now the authorities are imploring players imprisoned in their hotel rooms not to feed the mice which are apparently infesting some of the rooms. Maybe all that sweaty gym gear lying around the rooms has something to do with it? I note they didn’t say anything about not feeding the rats, so they’re still OK – and they make good pets, apparently.

    OK, gotta go as I want to have a decent walk today and I’m sick of waiting for the rain to stop. It’s a great day actually, because finally the US has told Trumpy “you’re fired!”. Our newspaper’s headline today is “Biden: his time”. Clever.

    Ka kite, John

    hello friends, lovely day in Sydney – currently 28 degrees

    I did respond to your car battery saga yesterday LJ but once again it has vanished. Perhaps I need to move off the page and come back to make sure my posts are sticking; or perhaps I am just not hitting submit? I will endeavour to be a bit more careful

    I’m glad you didn’t have to reschedule your doc’s appointment LJ and I hope your car is now back up and running again. You will need to get out and about early for your walks in the next few days looking at the forecast in Adelaide – 39 on Saturday and 41 on Sunday. Phew. We are not too far behind here – low 30’s for Sydney but we are always 4-5 degrees hotter here in the Sutherland Shire as we are a bit inland.

    Your grandson is seriously cute Jony and you can just tell how cheeky he is from that gorgeous grin. Sorry you are having wintery weather over there; very frustrating when it is supposed to be summer. That said, I remember only a few occasions of really summery weather when I lived in Wellington for 20 months.

    Thin, I am astounded that we still have so many poor Aussies stranded overseas. And I can’t even imagine how much that business class flight would have cost. I hope your neighbour’s daughter makes it home. I wonder what it is like for you to hear us moaning about the heat when, according to my labrador friends, it is snowing, raining, sleeting, frosting and all things cold over there.

    I wonder, re alcohol, if weight gain is paired with what you eat? I used to find that if I had a low carb day but 2-3 glasses of wine I wouldn’t see any negative impact on the scales. But add too many carbs in on the same day and WHOOSHKA – scales have an upward swinging party. Hmmm. But either way, for health benefits and a thankful liver, the wine has been reduced by about 80%

    How was your mcFasty fast face day yesterday Cinque? I’ve been meaning to ask about CFS treatment with the hope that is has improved a lot since my friend went through it in the 80’s and 90’s. Back then, many people saw it as someone being lazy and not wanting to work. Other than close friends and family, no-one else truly understood (or cared to try to understand) what she was going through. She had to travel quite a long way to a dedicated doctor and team who were focussed on this disease. I do hope you have a lot more medical support and science these days that helps you?

    Those storms sound pretty dire Lindsay. 140ml in one hour is a LOT of rain. I do think it will be lovely chaos when all of the family are there. We were invited to my sisters beach house when there were 6 adults, 2 toddlers and one small dog (two bedroom little beach house with a spare bed in the sunroom) but we declined! That is way too crowded for us and we would have been on air mattresses on the floor. Way too old for that! We waited patiently until they all went home and had the whole house to ourselves. Lovely.

    Back to work, take care all

    Good afternoon all.

    I am taking Anzac’s advice and staying cool. I have the aircon on and my house is lovely and cool now. I’m pleased that I managed a very long walk this morning so I can stay indoors all afternoon.

    Anzac, I hope work isn’t being too awful at the moment.
    I think you were very wise to opt for the holiday house all to yourselves – sounds much more inviting.

    Jony, Your little grandson is adorable. That’s a cracker of a haircut – very cute.

    Thin & Lindsay, My best friend’s daughter (and boyfriend) were stuck in Montreal after she completed her masters last May and after several cancelled economy flights home both sets of parents stumped up the money ($16,000 for two one-way fares) – these were the cheapest business class flights that they could find. Of course that expensive fare wasn’t cancelled and they made it home in November. I’m still not sure if they have refunds for any of the cancelled flights they’d also paid for – I think some of the foreign airlines are insisting on it being flight credits. I concluded that really the only way to get home was to book business class and frankly with all the money they lost on cancelled economy fares it would have been the better option from the beginning.

    Thin, I’m not a fan of sheep or goat milk or cheeses, so I admit I pulled a bit of a face when you mentioned ewe’s cheese. I had a giggle at them marketing it as ewe’s cheese rather than sheep’s cheese – it could hardly be ram’s or wether’s cheese now could it. Although I’m sure all those distinctions could confuse a few city folk.

    Cali, I was hugely relieved to see a totally uneventful inauguration. A blessing after the violence of earlier this month.

    After the drama yesterday I managed to have my GP appointment by phone and then called the RAA and had to fork out $200 for a new battery. I bet it doesn’t last as long as the previous one. It came with the car and lasted an unbelievable 10 years.

    I’m on a NFD and trying not to overdo it. I think I might need to heat up dinner early to avoid any more snacking. I have defrosted a serve of chicken basque (Delia Smith’s yummy recipe) with cooked barley grains.

    Have a good evening all.

    Jony, Luke is the cutest! I love the photo of his hair sticking out at all angles, full of electricity, and then the follow up after the trim. I would say the barber did a very good job! Sorry to hear that you missed your bike ride because of all the wind, rain and cold weather. Please send some of that rain over here, but keep the wind, please. We had a pleasant, cool and sunny day and had to run the sprinklers and drip irrigation system because it’s been so dry.

    Thin, thank you for the suggestion of the Netflix series “Safe House” but our Netflix doesn’t include that one here yet. But I’ll keep watching for it as they add shows all time. Keep the suggestions coming as we are watching more tv in the evenings than we’ve watched over several years combined due to being at home so much.We like to keep about 3 series going at a time since all the stay at home TV watching. We’re finished a few already. We recently found a series called “East of Everything”, another Aussie one and just finished the first short season and will begin the second. It apparently takes place in the Northern Rivers area of NSW.

    It was a light eating day. We had quite a few leftovers which we ended up eating today so they wouldn’t go to waste. A nice variety, but smaller portions. Tomorrow will be a FD. We spent much of today watching the inauguration of our new president which was quite different from past inaugurations, given the pandemic and security concerns. But it was still very dramatic and luckily a bright sunny day. It concluded with a fireworks display which I missed, sound asleep on the sofa after talking on FaceTime last until the early hours due to a 19 hour time difference with SA and then only a few hours sleep because of the 3 hour time difference with our east coast and not wanting to miss anything. 😁
    It is a relief to know that the pandemic will be a major focus of our new president and quite different to see everyone at the inauguration wearing face masks and setting a good example.

    Anzac, your weather sounded great there today, a nice summer day. You seemed to escape the very hot weather or the cold which NZ is experiencing.

    Cinque, I am going to have to make your Nigerian bean soup recipe again this week. I hadn’t thought about it for a while until LJ mentioned it recently. I too, add a little extra peanut butter. It’s a soup that tastes even better the second and third days. It’s also a great way to add more legumes to our diet. I think it is an all time favorite on this thread of the forum. Some of the ingredients sound like such an unlikely combination, but it comes together perfectly.

    Well, time to get back to sleep after that long nap on the sofa and get my body back into the correct time zone. Stay safe everyone!

    LJ, our posts crossed. I meant to ask everyone here why are there so many cancelled international flights into Australia? Covid numbers are so very low there. Is it because of the quarantines or lack of many outgoing flights?

    LJ and Anzac, that business flight for the young lady returning from France cost AUD7k. And I mentioned to you that Qantas put up the fare from Sydney to Perth from $300 – $1300 one way in December. CalifD, with all the testing now available and the low infection numbers, I also don’t understand why Australian returnees can’t quarantine at home – at least after the first five days following negative tests on days two and five if they can’t be trusted.

    Jony, that’s a nice steady loss, well done. You must be getting comments now which is always encouraging.

    CalifD, I hadn’t realised that our Netflix offerings were different. Last night, we watched two episodes of ‘Cheat’, a drama/thriller series of four episodes and then, because OH prefers action, an Australian movie about the Vietnam war called, ‘Danger Close’. I’m not usually a fan of Aussie movies, (which I can only think must be due to decades of conditioning about how an accent should sound in a movie) but I enjoyed that one.

    Anzac, all alcohol adds a huge amount of empty calories but, for me, it’s often the excuse to bring out some cheese and olives. I wouldn’t ever have more than one drink in a session but I’m definitely better off without it. Yes, the weather here isn’t great although it was 11C here yesterday. Lots of flooding, we’re hoping it all subsides by 1 March otherwise we won’t be able to get out of the marina (due to the low bridge at its opening). Five weeks and four days to go.

    Cali, the cancelled flights are because, although the plane has plenty of spare seats, they have strict caps on the number of people allowed to fly into each city per week – based on the number of places available in quarantine hotels. Airlines will often sell more tickets than the current quarantine cap will accommodate hoping that the limits will have been lifted by the time the flight occurs.
    As Thin has said, we could let Australians quarantine at home. We actually did that in the first half of last year when many people returned home at the prime minister’s urging. While many did the right thing and quarantined properly, there was a proportion that didn’t and I guess no state leader wants to be the one that allows people to quarantine at home and then has to deal with a community outbreak as a consequence. Especially as many of the flights either leave or transit through the US or UK, which now have much higher infection rates than last year. There is also the issue of being able to isolate properly at home – you need a quarantined area within the home with at least a bedroom and bathroom that nobody else can enter, plus a safe way to provide meals and retrieve plates without transferring infection. Many houses and families can’t achieve that. Not to mention small children who don’t understand quarantine and may inadvertently open a door.
    Thin I think another complicating factor is that many people don’t land in the city they live in. The vast majority of places in quarantine have been in Sydney, so that is where most people have to land. So it’s only after quarantine that you can actually fly home to your state. As those domestic flights will also have plenty of covid free Australians on them, it’s a high risk confined space to spread infection if people haven’t quarantined first.
    It’s a far from perfect system, but I understand why the federal and state governments decided it was the safest option.

    It’s a difficult balance for politicians around the world, isn’t it? So easy to criticise in hindsight. Many of our friends support the WA govt. stance on border closures but some do not and then we have a friend who was locked out of returning to his home on Flinders Island by the Vic govt. for 308 days, and I have to agree with him, that’s just silly (especially as he owns a plane).

    Our friend’s daughter flew directly into Perth and wasn’t allowed to cross the quarantine hotel room threshold or her two weeks would start again. One day she opened the door too quickly to the person dropping off the food tray and received a strong rebuke. Her mother is involved in developing covid tests so she knows a fair bit about the virus. On the other hand in Victoria, there was an outbreak due to at least one case of those entrusted with enforcing the hotel quarantine rules of ‘sleeping with the enemy’. I wondered whether a national policy might have made more sense. WA flew in plane loads of fruit pickers from Vanuatu and Timor while furloughed Western Australians collected job keeper payments. And then there are the tennis players! Restricting incoming flights seems all over the place. But I’m sure they’re all doing what they believe is best. They’re our elected officials so my view is we should let them get on with making decisions even if we don’t always agree. Covid-wise, Australia is in a good place.

    Tamed the beast at last! 1000 green and black pieces: https://imgur.com/9VkCpFs

    LJ and thin, I hadn’t considered the possible lack of enough quarantine hotel rooms for people coming back into the country affecting the flights. Thin, if the honor system of quarantining at home worked as well in Australia as it would here, you really don’t want to go there. Given the very low Covid numbers, I think Australia is doing it right. Economic consequences are nothing compared to other countries with high case loads, not to mention to human misery and deaths.

    Thin, great job on that puzzle! Such a challenge with most of it being green or black. Many of the Netflix offerings are the same between our countries, but some aren’t. I seem to remember that when you told me about Outlander we could only see one season, if that, while you could watch several. We had to subscribe to another streaming service to watch. Most of the Aussie series we watch are streamed on Acorn.

    CalifD, I’ve not heard of Acorn but, now you mention it I believe you have said before that not everything is available in all countries on Netflix. I do find that there’s an awful lot of rubbish on there to wade through, not to mention some very old movies. Yes, that puzzle was a wretch and took me ages. But time’s all I have!

    It’s so hard to discuss issues in any depth in this format, too bad we can’t chat over a coffee. Same goes here with compliance – a nurse was telling how much abuse she receives from some track and trace recipients. Complaints that she woke them at 8am on a Sunday morning to advise they had covid, people saying they can’t talk now because they’re in Starbucks (when they were supposed to be at home isolating), phone being slammed down on her and lots of swearing.

    Australia’s a lot different, just a relative handful to monitor shouldn’t be too hard – and why not use the ‘five day release’ method instead of ten? Not sure for how long citizens and permanent residents can be denied the right to come home. Many ex-pat Australians quit their jobs and gave up their housing only to have their flights home cancelled at the last minute. We have to learn to live with this at some point.

    Thin, it is hard to discuss issues in any depth in this format, but it is easy to chat over a cup of coffee using FaceTime or other Zoom type apps.

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