The lobster red I crisped myself to on that last day by the pool softened upon waking to a deep golden brown, a shade I'd not seen my skin turn in 30 years. I knew it would be thus, it always is, but ordinarily when travelling I dig up every excuse possible to avoid exposing myself to that much sun. Not so this holiday. Perhaps turning 40 changed more than just my chronological age, for I am hooked - hooked, I tells ya - on doing Very Little, preferably by an infinity-edged pool, when planning the next.
Home to spring proper - sunny blue days, a chill still in the air and the wonder of new garden growth brought on by months of good rain. Saw ingenious methods of farming while away, took notes, and watched with quiet awe the way in which the Balinese approach and appreciate gardening.
Still on Balinese time, so waiting for the photos to return is, thankfully, hardly a wait at all.
For a while now I've been trying to make a well-known recipe less sweet. A chat with Gill a few months ago has only now made sense: we love this salad, the boys are addicted, they end up eating mounds and mounds of shredded cabbage, but it turns out that what we actually love about it is the whopping 1/4 cup of sugar in the dressing. It's off-the-scale sweet which is precisely why one cannot stop, and it leaves me feeling a bit, well, dirty.
Went back through my emails and found a recipe from Sharyn, a good friend of an excellent one. Sharyn and I share incredibly similar thoughts on food, so I trust her implicitly. I've eaten her food. It's wonderful. And there it is: she reduces the sugar to 1 tablespoon. Currently eating solo I went even lower last night, just a big pinch of soft brown sugar and 3 tablespoons of mirin subbed for the caster sugar.
Ate lots. Felt clean. I'd say that's a win.
The ease with which the division of rhubarb happens -- in goes the spade, down goes the foot, no room for indecision, just a confident downward thrust -- means that what was a small patch is, as of Saturday, now a large, wide bed.
This gardening stuff is miraculous. Tiny wonders that reward on many, many levels.
This photograph neatly sums up how our winter, our autumn and yes, even our summer has made me feel. Cold, wet, and grey, with a chance of spiky black stabbing bits getting you in, say, the eye if you're not careful, showering you with raindrops to boot as if to prove some depressing point. Victoria's lack of seasonal shift for most of 2011 - just a slow, pathetic drip toward winter from last September - seeped into my thinking, got under my skin.
One morning late in June, quite unannounced, tiny signs of spring began to emerge. One snowdrop at a time. Then last weekend arrived with glorious warmth, dry and blue-skied with temperatures to match. On Sunday, I wore a single layer and even then had to push my sleeves to my elbows. Bliss.
Was beginning to think I was losing my tiny mind.
This chart, taken from this site, makes so much sense. Of course early settlers were longing for the more defined seasons they had at home in Europe finding themselves stuck on the other side of the planet, so far from what they knew. Of course they longed for the familiar, but that we still, 200-odd years later, stick to European notions of Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter is kinda dumb. I love this chart - it explains why jonquils and snowbells show their faces earlier than the calendar months would have us believe.
Also, why I am sneezing as though it's spring...it IS spring. Pre-spring.