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Showing posts from March, 2012

The Legacy of Generations…Cookbooks …and Love

A gift from my son, published 1971 My son recently returned from a brief holiday in Italy.  He is now in his mid 20’s. With his sister and me he first visited in 1997 when  the three of us travelled through the UK and Europe for six weeks so that I could show the children the wider world.  As their father is an Italian-Australian it was important to me that they knew of their heritage…my French/English background and their Italian background.  Needless to say it was a wonderful  and very bonding trip.  My son also visited Italy in 2005 when he attended a language school in Florence with his father for two months.  So he was not unfamiliar with the language and the culture, and so a great help to his travelling “mate”. I never expect gifts from my children when they are travelling, or at any other time, actually.  But my son bought me the most thoughtful of gifts which he found in a little bookshop in Rome and as he said:  “Mumma I just had to buy it for you”.  It is a cookbook writt

Life Skills...Manners and more....

Yesterday I addressed the WA Division of the Home Economics Institute of Australia during their World Home Economics Day Afternoon Tea, on the subject of the Origin and Etiquette of Afternoon Tea. I thoroughly enjoyed researching the subject, which has been a favourite of mine for many years.  Afternoon tea, or High Tea as it is regularly marketed, is making a huge resurgence in Australia and many of the hotels and restaurants offer it as a glamorous and gracious respite particularly on a Sunday afternoon.  The function I attended was held in a private dining room at The George in Perth. The George The Royal Room at The George (photo the author) I discussed the emergence of the tea trade in Britain from the 1660’s;  the development of porcelain manufacture in England; the revolution against the tea tax which resulted in the  Boston Tea Party in America; the rise of more democratic tea houses; the emergence of Afternoon Tea as a gracious ladies function from 1840 with A

Boyfriend, Manfriend, Partner, Companion…a new word required….

Dance "partners" (microsoft) I read a really interesting article the other day written by a Generation Y male lamenting that his girlfriend no longer referred to him as her “boyfriend”, but in an overheard conversation as her “partner”.  He took exception to this expression writing: “I must have missed the memo on my sexless new categorisation – I would certainly not have approved it.  A ‘partner’ is someone you twirl around at a barn dance”. (Andy Jones, Grazia magazine) I have had a business partner;  there are partners in law, stockbroking and accounting firms. And so to refer to my personal life-sharer as a partner was not comfortable for me. But despite the fact that the English language is alive and evolving, there is not a word or an expression to reflect the status of one’s “life companion” whether in a gay or straight relationship if not committed to, or already married. The word “companion” actually applies in both French and Italian. Although in Engl

Breakups and manners...and the friends we need...

A card from my travels (artist unknown) It has been a time of reflection for me lately.  After a distressing personal break I have encountered the generous support of my family and friends in so many ways.  They have all truly inspired me to question and verify the value of friendship, loyalty, the ability to share confidences and tears…and to want to give back more than I have been given by them all. After some time my heart is feeling as if it could begin to heal. And as most of us do, we look forward as much as we can.  There are a plethora of websites to give us the emotional tools to use; to share with others in similar situations; to offer sympathy and condolence…and the advice that a few extra wines each day can help… But the best advice is from those who care.  In times of crisis we often reach out to those closest and they are supportive, considerate, kind and aware of the pain.  But everyone is so busy these days, that I believe most of us feel that we real

Cairns…idyllic, iconic and so friendly….

An iconic Queensland Hotel, Cairns (photo the author) I have enjoyed going through my photos of Cairns.   I’ve written about the food and the reef, the vast spaces and the experiences of travelling and staying with friends. But what about  Cairns itself?  I have been visiting this city in far north Queensland since 1977.  I was going out with Bob, whom I had met in Canberra when he was the Naval Aide de Camp to the then Governor General.  And he was then appointed as captain of a RAN patrol boat based out of Cairns.  It was so romantic to head north on vacation into the tropical heat from the cold, dry environment of Canberra, and the enclosed walls of Parliament House where I spent most of my time working in the Prime Minister’s office. Port Douglas, about 1977 (author unknown) I remember the first time Bob drove me the 60 kms north to Port Douglas.  It was about 5 years before the first large resort, The Sheraton Mirage would be built there. It was fun visiting t