Tuesday, February 11, 2014


Have you ever looked quizzically at a couple and wondered what on earth attracted one to the other? Of course you have!  I’ll own up - I’ve done so many times; and, no doubt, will have cause to do so again in the future.

Unfortunately, the pathway to true love is not always smooth sailing. Passengers who survived the “Titanic”, (both the actual trip and the movie) would’ve willingly testified to this sentiment.  Jack and Rose aka Leonardo and Kate wouldn’t have boarded the ship; taken that route if they’d been warned of their tragic outcome. You can be sure Romeo and Juliet weren’t the first star-crossed lovers. However, they did prove in a pitiable way that sometimes it’s best to stay on your own side of the fence, if you know what I mean. Often our hearts rule our heads; or we’re brushed by the hot flush of lust. Overwhelmed, helplessly we become consumed to the point of blindness to reality and sensibility. Too frequently, in such instances, heartache, disappointment and disillusionment are the only rewards.  No matter how much we try to convince ourselves otherwise, if we become a player in a relationship of this kind the harsh truths eventually have to be faced. Putting it bluntly, the end result is inevitable; and, nine times out of ten, more than one party gets hurt.

It’s come to my attention over the past couple of months an illicit relationship is going on in my rather small neighbourhood - right now.   

I don’t know what to do about it; whether or not I should butt in; stick my beak in and say something.  Who do I say it to?  If I choose to intrude, which one of the participants involved should I approach? Or should I turn a blind eye; do nothing; mind my own business?  I’m sure they both have partners nestled away at home living in total ignorance of what’s going on.  I have no idea how far the relationship has progressed, but it looks very suspicious to me if body language is an indicator.  I’m no prude, but I really can’t ignore what’s happening daily right under my nose.  Blatantly, showing no shame, they flaunt their flighty relationship.

They’re out there now as I write! What am I supposed to do or say?  Their conduct is making me feel extremely ill at ease; it's very embarrassing.  They are embarrassing! 

I do try to turn a blind eye, but their unabashed, brazen public displays of affection make it very hard for me to ignore them.

I don’t know if they go home to their own beds at night, but during the daylight hours they’re inseparable, spending every waking hour together from what I see and hear. 

I’m not a sticky-beak, but, barefacedly, they kick up such a noisy song and dance I can’t fail to notice. They carry on not far from my kitchen window,commanding my attention whether purposely or not. They’re exhibitionists!  Like Kim and Kanye they want the whole world to know about their affair. 

I’m not sure if anyone else around here has picked up on it; but I certainly have. 

There are only four houses in this laneway aka “court” where I live, and then there is my cabin.  I have no neighbours to my left or my right (depending which way I’m standing/facing).  It’s just bushland with no dwellings upon it across that way.  I have no neighbours to the front of me. On the other side of this three acre property I’m a part of, the neighbours’ parcel of land consists of six or more acres.  Their home, built on the escarpment is well out of my view.  Most years I only ever catch up with them at the annual Christmas party hosted by my landlords.

Unashamedly, these two beguilers are disconcertingly very closely associated. They don't seem to care who notices them.

If I asked the status of their relationship you can guarantee I’ll receive that well-known and oft-repeated Hollywood reply: “We’re just good friends!”  Yeah, right!  Pull the other one - it’s made out of feathers! 

These immoral transgressors are a Butcher Bird and a Noisy Miner. They spend each and every day together, side by side like Heckle & Jeckle (or Romeo & Juliet; or more inappropriately, adulterous lovebirds).  Almost day long, every day, while perched on a post a metre or two from my kitchen window, feathered-shoulder to feathered-shoulder they chat animatedly; or alternatively, they sit in intimate silence. 

It’s disgraceful, I tell you! They ruffle their feathers; mine are ruffled, too!

Have they no shame?

Are they confused; or, are they, after all…just good friends?

While on the subject of love - clandestine, glaringly conspicuous or otherwise - I thought I may as well continue the trend. 

Today I’m talking about Valentine. You remember Valentine, don’t you?  Saint is his first name

It is Valentime once again!  Friday, 14th February is Saint Valentine’s Day, in case you’ve forgotten.

I wonder what I need to do for a day to be set aside annually with my name on it. How come old Valentine gets a special day and I don’t?   I’ll consider this thought for a while to see if I can come up with a suitable deed and date. I might change my first name to “Saint”; that could work. "Saint Lee"...that has a familiar ring to it!

Talking of dates, I don’t have a date for Friday, other than it is 14th February, 2014. 

The only dates I’ve had lately have been stoned; each and every one of them. I often pick them up, neatly packaged, as I cruise the aisles at the local supermarket. 

All is not lost! I’ll have a date on St. Valentine’s Day. I’ll have a few because I’ve got a jar full of them.

If I was asked out on a date I’d be all fingers and thumbs and totally tongue-tied. I wouldn’t know how to behave. Do people still go out on dates?  

Maybe I'll just go and hug a date palm tree, instead!

There are some who scoff at St. Valentine’s Day, cynically criticising it as being a commercial, money-making bit of nonsense.   

What’s wrong with a bit of harmless fun; and what’s wrong with making money?  There's nothing wrong with it, in my opinion.

Isn’t making a profit the desired aim when in business? If businesses enjoy boosts in their sales because our dear old softie Saint Val stirs up romantic notions on his one designated day of the year as he goes about sprinkling showers of love, how can that be wrong?  If businesses reap the benefits from St. Valentine’s Day…good on them!

I hope all the card sellers, florists, chocolate sellers, restaurants etc., have a whale of a time in the lead up to and on St. Valentine’s Day.

I hope the shopkeepers’ tills keep ringing till the end of the day!  Love isn’t the only thing that makes the world go ‘round; money makes the world go ‘round, too. 

The physicists out there are shaking their heads at me in disagreement, but I don't care.

Lighten up - you know what I mean!  Shed your inhibitions!  Be aware all is fair when love is in the air; and you don’t have to be a millionaire to show you care. 

I once received a rock for St. Valentine’s Day.  It wasn’t a diamond, if that’s what you’re thinking. It was a rock from a creek bed at Cedar Pocket, a dairy-farming area not far from Gympie. 

Friends and I were swimming in a local, tree-fringed creek.  We were around 13 years of age at the time. The little brother of one of my friends had a primary schoolboy crush on me; prepubescent puppy love personified. My young admirer waded across to me; a shy smile on his freckled face. Gingerly he extended his hand to present me with a small round rock.

Over countless years the flowing waters of the creek had smoothed the stone’s rough edges. I should have stayed in the creek longer; it may have smoothed away some of my own rough edges.

My junior Romeo selected the special stone for me as proof of his heart’s longing.  The rock is long gone, but the memory of the gift remains. Not wanting to hurt his tender feelings, I graciously accepted his token.  A simple yet memorable gesture; it was the first gift I’d received from a boy. It didn’t matter it was merely a water-washed rock from a little kid. His pure offering was from his heart.  Perhaps I was the original cougar!

 Whatever you have planned for St. Valentine’s Day…whether it be grandiose or simple…enjoy the celebration of love.

And if you have no one to share it with…treat yourself. 

Remember the sage advice given by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young way back in 1970: “Love the one you’re with!”
Pistachio-Stuffed Dates: Carefully slit 9 large mejdool dates; remove stones. Put 75g pistachios, 30g honey, 30g water and a few strands saffron in pan; cook briefly until pistachios absorb the moisture. Blend to a coarse paste with 1/4ts orange flower water (optional). Stuff dates with the paste.

Date & Honey-Glazed Chicken Thighs: Preheat oven to 200C. Lightly spray baking dish. Glaze: process 1c apple juice, 12 pitted dates, coarsely chopped, 6 garlic cloves, 4tbs honey, 4tbs olive oil and 1tsp salt; pulse until fairly smooth. Coat 8 large, bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs with glaze; coat well; put into baking dish; bake 35-40mins or until cooked.

One Nutty Date: Preheat oven, 190C. Beat 1c packed brown sugar, 1/2c softened unsalted butter, 1/2c smooth natural peanut paste and 1/2tsp cinnamon at medium speed until well mixed. Add 1 large egg and 1tsp vanilla; beat until well mixed; reduce speed to low; add 1-1/2c plain flour, 1/2tsp baking powder and 1/2tsp baking soda and 1/2tsp salt; beat until mixed. Stir in 240g chopped dates and 1/3c chopped walnuts. Chill at least 1hr. Use a small scoop to drop 1-1/2-inch balls of dough 2-inches apart on ungreased baking sheet. Press gently to flatten slightly; bake about 8-10mins. Cool completely on rack. Melt 240g white choc chips with 1tbs canola oil added. Dip fork in chocolate; then wave over the biscuits to create a lacy finish; let chocolate set for an hour or two; sprinkle with chopped walnuts if you like


  1. Poor old Valentine died a rather an unpleasant (and painful) death to claim his day. Not worth it. Much better to travel under the radar.
    And yes, we have a couple of those 'mixed couples' our way too.

  2. I'm very adept at flying under the radar, EC. I do it continually....I've perfected the art.

    Thanks for coming by. :)

  3. That reminds me of the Charlie Brown Halloween episode where all the kids are bragging about the candy they got and Charlie Brown said, "I got a rock." You probably appreciated your rock more. Mmmm, pistachio stuffed dates...

  4. I have the same problem - I'm having to watch a two people at work getting closer and closer. They are both married to other people and both unhappily married. I don't think that gives the license to all but flaunt their relationship with each other in the office. I've caught them kissing four times now. Excuse me while I gag again. :) Ick. Nothing I can do about it - they are both my bosses.

  5. Hey there Dexter. I think there was a little embarrassment thrown in there upon receipt of the rock, too. :)

  6. I've been sitting on the branch of this tree for an hour now yet no lovebird has come and sat by me.

  7. I think your situation might be a bit different to mine, Lynn. 'Tis best you turn a blind eye to the one you're witnessing. Not like, me...this one going on here gives me much amusement daily.

    Cheers. :)

  8. Patience, dear Adullamite - patience!

    I'm glad to see you've stepped out of that room and are now perched on a tree branch. A little drastic and dramatic; not what I would have imagined...but.....

  9. I think something must be lost in translation here. When you say your dates have been stoned, I thought you had been dating a bunch of hippies!

    I wish people would be honest and say something like, "We're just good friends who are having sex." Or something like that.

  10. Oh these mixed species relationships...the bigots of the human species would have a field day lol!

    I must admit when I first read "stoned dates" I had visions of you smoking the leaves of a certain horticultural specimen before dressing up to hit the town. Hmmmm.

    Even if you don't have a day named after you, enjoy the 14th with memories of your first gift. What a delightful story :)

  11. Happy Vakentines Day Ms Lee. May your two lovebirds provide you with great amusement today of all days. Otherwise those pistachio dates sound yummy.

  12. I suspect that it is the "hot flush of lust" in most cases of mating initially. Thinking back upon the couples we have known in our travels, they total about nine; three of which are still together. It was sad too. They usually had kids and a life forward but could not live it together.
    As an aside: your use of "popping in" reminded me of Peter O'Toole, the actor, who used that phrase quite frequently. I found it quite quaint and friendly.

  13. I think I went on to explain that statement, RK. But I expected assumptions to be made at the reading of it! ;)

    Friends with benefits, I think is today's description.

  14. I agree, Robyn...some humans would have a field day at such goings on, but I don't think the birds judge too much. Birds of a feather do stick together it appears! ;)

  15. Hi there Carol...I hope you get a few apples on your desk today... :)

    If not buy some dates on your way home from work; some pistachios etc. and make yourself a treat.

  16. G'day, Goatman. Relationships break down...that's life. Some make it; some don't. The most important thing is that the parties move on with dignity, not spite and anger.

    "Pop in" or "popping by/in" are used often here...or I use the terms often, speaking for myself.

    Thanks for popping in, GM...nice to see you as always. :)

  17. What does love have to do with it? Love is grand and love is love - right?


  18. And the same to you, Sandie...with bells, balloons, roses and chocolates! :)

  19. What lovely valentines recipes, and how clever to make them all with dates! I laughed too.

  20. Hi Jenny...I'm glad I was able to make you laugh. That was the intention of my post! :)

  21. Methinks you had way too much fun with this piece.

  22. Me did, Jerry! ;)