Saturday, March 27, 2021



Some of you may recall in previous years I’ve mentioned my friend Clint. To put your mind at ease...yes, Clint Lindt, my chocolate bunny, immaculately clad in his golden suit, remains in residence, rent-free, safe and secure, fully chilled-out in my fridge.

And there, Clint shall stay. I should plan a birthday party for him. Many a year has passed since I adopted Clint.  It’s about time we had a celebration.  After Easter weekend has come and gone would probably be the best plan.  I don’t want to put the fear of God in him by throwing an Easter party!  

I was eyeing off the Lindt chocolate bunnies in IGA, our local supermarket, the other day, tossing up whether or not I’d get Clint a roommate, but I decided against the idea. Bunnies breed like rabbits, I’ve heard.  If that is the case, I’d soon have a herd of bunnies hopping around in my fridge, leaving no room for anything else. By the permanent smile on Clint’s face, I think he’s happy the way he is in his domain.

As long as I’ve got a good supply of Cherry Ripes and Batch 37 Darrell Lea Liquorice on hand to chew through...I’ll be content throughout Easter, and beyond.  In readiness, I’ve already begun stockpiling!  I’ve previously admitted I’ve not yet grown up...additional evidence not required.

When my late brother, Graham and I were kids our brightly-feathered, most generous Easter Bird...not Bunny...was an early bird....always arriving during the wee small hours of Good Friday morn, not to catch a worm, but to deposit a stack of Easter eggs in the nests we’d made with dried grass. The nests were snugly fitted into our rather large sun hats.  Knowing where we’d find our eggs, we never had to go in hunt.  

Fish was always our Good Friday fare, and Easter Sunday lunch was, without fail, a grand affair.  Knowing what lay ahead, we’d scurry home from Sunday School.  

Sunday School was conducted in the Scots’ aka Presbyterian Church, a couple of blocks from where we lived.  In those years Gympie boasted two Presbyterian Churches.  Many Scots settled in the Gympie area having flocked to the rich goldfields in the mid-1800s in search of a nugget or two.  My Scottish ancestors were part of the early influx.

As a carefree teenager, along with a couple of girlfriends, our Easter long weekends were spent at the coast...either Mooloolaba or Noosa Heads...mostly Noosa.  We’d head off after work on Easter Thursday, returning home again on Easter Monday afternoons.

 Also, one year I spent Easter weekend participating in a honeymoon...mine. 

In my case, neither a coastal Easter, nor a honeymoon, will ever occur again in the foreseeable or, unforeseeable future.  Nowadays I prefer to stick at home munching on my delicious treats, with my two furry mates as company.  Thankfully, they don’t have a sweet tooth between them.  Very spoiled, with many treats of their liking, they want for little, if anything.  I suppose, I could give them a couple of Kit Kats.

To compensate for what they miss out on in the sweets’ department, I’ll make Remy and Shama, my feline best buddies, an Easter bonnet each to wear over the Easter weekend. The three of us will have our own Easter Parade. We’ll prance around in tune to Gene Autry’s “Peter Cottontail”.  Don’t spend too much time thinking about it, you’ll spoil the image!

The thought of warm Hot Cross buns loaded with lashings of butter (definitely never margarine!) and raspberry jam is already making my mouth water.  Diet?  What diet?   

Locked in with my furry rascals, armed with an Amazon load of Cherry Ripes, Batch 37 Liquorice, Hot Cross buns, maybe a chocolate Easter egg or two, along with Netflix and Stan (not Stan the Man, but the streaming service)...and Clint, the Untouchable...I’ll be well-primed for Easter. 

Have a safe and Happy Easter...whichever, whatever way you choose to spend the special weekend. Take care if you're out on the roads....take care wherever you may be....

Enjoy the company of the people you’re with.  If you’re alone, enjoy your own company; if you have a pet or two...cherish the companionship of your furry or feathered mates.  That's what I intend doing with my two four-legged, furry-pawed beloved roomies...


Easy Fish Bake: Preheat oven 180C. Grease 20x30cm baking dish. Bring saucepan of lightly salted water to boil; add 1kg boneless fish fillets; cook 4-6 mins; drain. Melt 3tbs in a med-saucepan; remove from heat; mix in 6tbs plain flour, ½-1tbs mustard powder and 2c milk. Return to stove over med-heat; stir until thickened; season. Flake fish into baking dish alternating layers with sauce. Sprinkle top liberally with grated cheddar (add some dry breadcrumbs and parmesan to the cheddar, if desired). Bake 20-25mins, or until browned.

Chocolate Bird Nests: Melt 700g semi-sweet choc chips, or choc chips of choice; stir often, until smooth and creamy. Stir in 1/2c peanut paste/butter, if desired. Break up into small pieces, 375g pretzels; add to melted chocolate; mix to fully coat. Line 2 baking sheets; place scoops of mixture onto pans. Press mini Easter eggs or M&Ms into centre. Set at room temp, 1hr; or chill in fridge. Store at room temp.  If desired, add 1/2c shredded coconut to choc mix for scragglier looking nests.

Hot Cross Bun Pudding: Preheat oven 180C, fan-forced. Butter baking dish. Slice 6 Hot Cross buns into bread slice thickness. Butter slices on one side; jam of choice on the other. Arrange slices on baking dish. Blend together 200g cream, 50g milk, 20g sugar and 4 eggs. Pour over the Hot Cross buns; allow it to soak in for 5mins. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Loosely cover with foil.  Bake in oven for 20-30mins, or until golden brown and set. 



Thursday, March 18, 2021



This morning I was busy trying to talk myself out being busy...of doing housework. I didn’t completely succeed.  I weakened. I succumbed and ended up doing a light load of laundry.  Also I lifted the broom and waved it around a bit.  I thought of going for a ride on it, but decided against that idea...for now.  

While being busy trying not to be busy I worked out that I probably, unintentionally in most instances, read, watch, hear and catch glimpses of the world’s news on a daily average of four hours...give or take...if I took the time to add up the time spent!

It would be similar for most of us, I suppose.  Every which way we look, we’re inundated with news – the good, the bad and the ugly...and the very ugly.  

There’s far too much of the latter three.

However, among all the mayhem and horrors are the positive, inspirational stories, which abound with goodness, bravery and empathy.  

Relating stories of individuals reaching for the stars, fulfilling their dreams, win or lose; some pushing themselves beyond the point of human endurance.

Unselfish actions and random acts of kindness touch our hearts, often making us question our own values in life.  We don’t hear enough of those stories.  Too much emphasis and repetition is placed upon the negatives...not the positives. Not enough light is shone upon the good.  Too much light is placed on the bad.  Surely, the latter is not beneficial to one’s frame of mind....I know it’s not beneficial to my own.

It's so easy to become weighed down by the heavy burdens the world thrusts upon us. Also, it's easy to become cynical, if we allow ourselves to be. We must train ourselves to look beyond the evil-doers.  Train ourselves to open our hearts and minds to those inspirational people who each moment of each day selflessly give of themselves to the betterment of others.  

I find cynicism, as well as bitter, nasty sarcasm to be very destructive to one’s well-being...

We should learn to give praise where and when praise is due. We should not allow ourselves to fall into traps filled with derision and harsh criticisms.

Unfortunately, many find the latter easier to do than the former!



                                 Graphite sketch and acrylic me

Tuesday, March 09, 2021




“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair...”  


I’m sure Charles Dickens wouldn’t mind my use of his words. The quote is, of course, the opening paragraph of Dickens’ historical novel, “A Tale of Two Cities”. In the rare case you’re unaware the novel is set in London and Paris, covering the years 1775-1792.  The masterpiece was originally published in 1859.

“Epoch” means a particular period of history...a period of time marked by distinctive features, noteworthy events, changed conditions, etc; a point of time distinguished by a particular event, or state of affairs. 

The meaning behind Dickens’ phrase points out the major conflict between family and love; hatred and oppression; good and evil; light and darkness; wisdom and folly; of a time of despair and suffering on the one hand; of joy and hope on the other; a time of chaos, conflicts, and of happiness; a time of extreme opposites.

Any bells ringing?  Do you feel there is something familiar about the quote? The bells are ringing loudly and clearly as far as I am concerned.  I can hear them clanging away...surely you can, too.   

It sounds like Quasimodo, the Hunchback of Notre Dame, is working overtime. Esméralda must be busily running up and down the stairs bringing him mugs of hot coffee to help keep up his energy.   

Quasimodo began being busy at bell ringing a couple of decades before the tale of two cities began to unfold.  Once he got the hang of it, he couldn’t stop.  He really was in the swing of things.

Dickens’ words, to my way of thinking, could be used in the context of today’s crazy, mixed-up world...and this is 2021, not the 1850s, nor the 1700s! Dickens’ sentiments, even so long after he penned his perceptive insights, remain applicable and, no doubt, will continue... ad infinitum.... 

Have humans learned nothing in the intervening years?  I’m afraid you and I know the answer.

To make matters even messier, we now have the out of control “woke” mob.  This current craze is an irritating use of the verb. I wish the “woke” mob would wake up to themselves. 

I also wish the “cancel culture” would get cancelled. Negativity is allowed too much say these days.  It’s time to boycott both the “woke” mob, and the “ccs”.  (Not the CC’s corn chips...let’s leave them be, for God’s sake!) 

Add the gender-neutral idiots who suggested banning the term “breastfeeding”....turning it into “chest feeding”  Instead of “breast milk”....their suggestion is...”human milk”...or “breast/chest milk” or “milk from the feeding mother or parent”.   What???????

Other changes include replacing the use of the word “woman” with the phrase “woman or person”, and the term “father” with “parent”, “co-parent” or “second biological parent”, depending on the circumstances.

It has also been suggested changing the term “mother” to “gestational” or “birthing parent” and using “non-gestational” or “non-birthing parent” instead of “father”.

Some have even gone as far as declaring boy should not be referred to as “boy”...and girl as “girl”!

Surely (not Shirley) this is political correctness gone mad...totally insane!

(Oh! Look!  I have one strand of hair left on my head!)

Who comes up with all this nonsense?  Do they go to university to get a degree in “Nonsensical Behaviour”?  

The “Extinction Rebellion” wastes-of-time and space are another group of pains in the...well, you know where.  Do they study, at the expense of others, which adhesives are the best to use when sticking one’s body to bitumen, and/or concrete? 

I wish they’d become extinct, or get jobs useful to the community instead of disrupting the lives of others trying to go peacefully about their business.

Appropriately a few weeks ago the Extinction Rebellion idiots protested while dressed as zombies, I’m sure they were too stupid to realise how right on the button they were!

It’s time we supported, got behind the PPs....Positive Persons; of the CCs...Commonsense Concepts.  

Maybe I think too much...over-think things.  Thoughts just keep chip, chip, chipping away. Perhaps I should stick to reading “Garfield” and “Hagar, the Horrible”.


Chicken Soup with Corn Chips/Tortillas: Heat 2tbs olive oil in heavy-based saucepan; add 1 finely-chopped large onion, 1tsp minced garlic and 2 seeded, finely-chopped jalapenos Sauté until onions are soft. Add 1tbs chilli powder, 1tsp paprika, 1tsp cumin, 1tsp dried oregano, 410g crushed tomatoes, 3 skinless, boneless chicken thighs diced into bite –sized pieces, 4c chicken stock, 1c corn kernels,. 1tbs lime juice, and 1tsp salt.  Bring this to a boil; simmer 15mins.Add 410g drained can of black beans; simmer 3 more minutes. Serve hot topped with corn chips and your favourite toppings...sour cream/lime juice, and/or guacamole or tomato salsa, for example.

Beef Nachos: Preheat oven 180C/160C fan-forced. Heat 1tbs olive oil in large frying pan over med-high heat. Add 3/4 of large, finely-diced red onion. Cook, stirring, 5mins or until softened. Add 500g beef mince. Cook, stirring break up lumps, 8-10mins or until browned all over. Add 2tsp Mexican seasoning. Cook 1min. Stir in 410g canned tomato and 420g, rinsed, drained red kidney beans. Reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring, for 5mins. Remove from heat. Arrange 175g corn chips in a 6cm deep, 10-cup capacity round ovenproof dish. Spoon over mince mixture; sprinkle with 1/2c grated tasty cheese. Bake 10mins or until heated through and cheese has melted. To serve, top nachos with 1 chopped tomato, remaining chopped onion, guacamole, sour cream and coriander.

Baked Chicken Nachos: Line large sheet pan with foil.  Spread 1 bag of Corn Chips over it in a thin layer, making sure there aren’t any super thick areas of chips. Sprinkle 240g shredded sharp tasty cheddar over the corn chips.  Then evenly top them with 1c rinsed, well-drained black beans, 1c well-drained corn kernels, 1 chopped medium capsicum, and 2c shredded BBQ chicken; spread another 240g shredded tasty cheddar over top. Place in preheated 218C oven; bake for 10-15mins or until they are heated through and the cheese on top is just starting to brown. Remove from oven; top with your choice of guacamole, salsa, sour cream, and fresh chopped coriander. Serve immediately.