Archive for January, 2011

Woodsmith

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

Tomorrow night I am leaving for Paris – I can’t believe this day has actually arrived and that soon I will be walking and talking the french life. I am somewhat teary about leaving the family and all of my friends so I am now going to completely avoid the subject of moving away and focus on what I have been secretly doing for the past two weeks.

Last night I watched my best friend marry her lovely man in a beautiful, small and elegant ceremony in her parents’ garden. It was an amazing night full of love and happiness. I wanted to get the newly weds a fruit bowl, preferably made from jarrah, as they are both avid fruit eaters and I felt that a fruit bowl is one of those things that will last forever (unless dropped.) I searched high and low for a beautiful, simple and timeless piece but I just could not find anything suitable. All of the jarrah bowls were clunky or had kangaroos carved into them and nothing matched what I had in my head. That’s when my Dad, a wood working genius (in my head he is, anyway. I’m sure he’ll refute it) suggested we  attempt to make a bowl. And so we did.

In less than two weeks, we designed a prototype, worked out the logistics of how to make it and then set about creating the final product. The end result, I am proud to say, brought tears to the receivers’ eyes and is one of the most beautiful things that I have ever made. It is functional, clean-cut and oh so smooth. And I got to use a Festool power saw! Fun times!!

Bowl

Curvy.

bowl

Long enough to hold even the biggest of bananas

bowl

Sanded and oiled for a beautiful finish

bowl

It even sits nice and flat!

bowl

Two simple legs on the bottom stop it from rolling around

Perhaps when I get back from France, my Dad and I will set up a production line as clearly there is a gap in the jarrah bowl market.

How Rude!

Monday, January 24th, 2011

Over the past few weeks I have been having various discussions with people about swear words. Usually people look at my hair and general complexion, assume I am angelic and fear that my heart may explode if explicit language is used with a 500 metre radius of me. They find it genuinely difficult to associate vulgar language with me but I find swear words and explicit phrases fascinating. And while I may not be one to regularly curse in my native language having a few derogatory terms up your sleeve is quite handy when it comes to dealing with sleazy French men. Swearing in a foreign language is so much easier because the words hold no meaning – they’re just sounds that come out of your mouth and you haven’t grown up being told never to say them. It surprises me that despite living in France for seven months AND working at a school full of naughty teenagers I don’t know many swear words. So some of my French-speaking friends have been kind enough to teach me a few.

My Dad even got on board and bought me a book for Christmas entitled “Talk Dirty French” that is full of cursory terms and slang that may just come in handy one day. I thought I might share a few so that if I swear at you in French, you know what I am saying.

Ma Porsche, c’est un vrai aimant à femmes. – My porsche, it’s a total chick magnet.

J’vais pas chanter pour ces blaireaux. – I won’t sing for these morons.

Ce pécno n’a même pas de voiture. – That country bumpkin doesn’t even have a car.

I think that will do for now. We don’t want to get too nasty.

How Long?

Monday, January 24th, 2011

Sorry for the lack of updates – have been a tad busy, what with there only being

1 week to go.

Two Week Warning

Monday, January 17th, 2011

Today marks the arrival of Two-Weeks-Until-Paris which is both ridiculously exciting and freakishly scary. Two weeks is 14 days. Tomorrow it will be one week and six days. That’s less than two weeks. I’m not sure I can quite understand or accept that fact. Things that I still need to do:

  1. Decide what to take to France (I’m doing the less is more approach so this shouldn’t be too hard.)
  2. Pack my bag.
  3. Buy last minute toiletries.
  4. Go to a wedding.
  5. Say “So long, suckers!” to my friends and family.
  6. Eat my favourite food cooked by my mum.
  7. Don’t miss the plane.
  8. Get excited.

That seems achievable.

Sustainable Living

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

For Christmas, Tom’s dad gave us a two night stay in sustainable, eco-friendly accommodation that he had won at a sustainability fair a few months prior. With January being our last month in Perth, we  had to rush to fit it in before our departure and managed to sneak it in last weekend. One of the best yet weirdest parts about this accommodation is that it is located in South Fremantle so it was hardly a holiday far away from home.

Named the Painted Fish, it comprises three different accommodation types – two of which we sampled. The first night we stayed in a converted train carriage which had an outdoor bathroom. Yes, the toilet was outside which was fine apart from night time visits that required a torch and a thorough check for rats/spiders/cockroaches/frogs/etc. The outdoor bathroom was also located at the end of the entry pathway, so anyone who accidentally took the wrong way while looking for one of the other rooms would walk straight into our bathroom. Not really my cup of tea but as they say, new experiences are good for you and what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.

Outdoor toilet

I guess it was somewhat private, but your legs stuck out beyond the walls when you sat down.

The second night we were in the studio which catered more for my toffee-nosed needs. a beautiful glass cottage, the studio considered of a kitchen and lounge on the lower level, bedroom on a mezzanine and an outdoor patio on the top level. It was very relaxing to sit upstairs and eat some cheese while looking out towards South Beach. We ventured back inside at night time as the one or two rats that had been building a nest in the wall cavity in the carriage the night before, also liked running up and down the tree next to the patio. I think they may have wanted to eat our cheese.

Studio

The studio lounge and kitchen area

The nature-friendly vibe of the place certainly brought out the wildlife with rats and insects living happily amongst the buildings. My personal favourite (and this isn’t sarcasm) were the frogs that were living in the large garden ponds. It was amazing! Growing up, I had motorbike frogs in my garden who would spend all summer moaning and calling to one another at night. The past few years the frogs have disappeared so I was overwhelmed with excitement as I arrived at the Painted Fish to hear the sweet sounds of motorbike engines. Tom and I went frog spotting on the second night and stood on the rocks in the middle of the pond, surrounded by groaning frogs. It was wonderful.

Sunday morning we strolled down to South Beach for a swim and Friday night we went to Missy Moo’s on South Terrace for dinner. The accommodation is definitely worth considering for visiting family and friends who want somewhere relaxing to stay. Make sure they like nature, frogs and outdoor toilets first (although the studio’s toilet was indoors, but it did have big french doors that opened straight into the garden for that “outdoor toileting feel”.)

Studio garden

Ponds! Frogs! HOORAY!

Typical.

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

A few weeks ago, I wrote an entry complaining about the excess snow in Paris, concerned Tom and I wouldn’t be able to arrive in our new home. Now, with just 18 days until departure, I am writing to ask the weather gods to please provide weather that is at least cool enough for me to wear my jacket that I finally received from Canada and have never been able to wear. At the moment, the forecast for the next week in Paris says it is going to warm up to 13 degrees! That’s HOT! It’s supposed to be -1 so that I can wear layers and put on the woollen beanie my Grandma is knitting for me. I’ll have to have words with someone about this. It just will not do.

Paris forecast

Always a good sign when the forecast is for "Grey" weather

No Idea.

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

I went to Millbrook Winery in Jarrahdale for lunch today and uncovered an amazing secret that had been kept hidden from me for years. Up until a few years ago, I was always under the impression that beetroot consisted of soggy purple slices that came from a can. I then discovered their bulbous raw entities in the fresh fruit and vegetable section of the supermarket and my life was turned upside down. But that was nothing compared to today when I ordered roasted beetroot with haloumi and lentils for my lunch and received a plate with three different versions of beetroot!

Beetroot

I only recognise ONE of those vegetables!

Really, none of them look like the original canned version and they all tasted SO GOOD! It was a brilliant dish with amazing salty haloumi cheese sitting nicely along side the sweet beetroot. The leaves scattered over the top were somewhat pointless and would have chosen to use a single flavoured green. But then I’m not a chef of a fancy winery.

Beetroot

Yum num num!

As a group of three girls we, of course, had dessert. My two companions (two French sisters with fastidious palates for French cuisine) chose the french style Frangipane tart which they both ‘mmmmmm….’ed over. I went for the chocolate and berry tart which was deliciously rich and had great chocolate flavours but was somewhat hampered by the berries that were scattered throughout. A personal preference – I don’t really think chocolate and fruit need to live together. Super delicious though and I felt perfectly sick afterwards so it must have been good.

Chocolate tart

Drool...

Millbrook Winery on Urbanspoon

Hate ’em, hate ’em, hate ’em

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

With summer well and truly hitting Perth, the past few weeks I have been going to the beach almost every day. The water has been lovely but North Cottesloe has received its usual visit from the bastardly creatures, Stingers. I hate them. They force me to wear a dorky, bright blue rashy because they have some sort of inane ability to sense my presence in the water, drift my way and sting me where it hurts.

wet suits

Maybe I should try wearing a wetsuit so I can look as great as these dudes

This morning the water was quite choppy due to approaching rains and in my rush to get to the beach I forgot to bring my ugly protective wear. There hadn’t been many stingers around in the past few days and I figured it would all be fine. But no. The one single stinger that was floating about in the shores of North Cottesloe found me and grabbed hold of my arm. And I don’t just get a little sting – my arm is currently yelling “SCRATCH ME!!! I’M SO ITCHY!!!”  and is covered in red lumps. Not impressed. I thought I had cured it by applying vinegar but my declarations of “I beat the stinger!” were too early. Bastards.