From the Chaff

Sometimes on winter Sundays (or public holiday Monday equivalents) the sun goes down and I feel a sense of melancholy that another week of my life is over and now it's cold.

But if I then have a hot shower and dress in warm clothing, I feel a bit better.

The weekend, like the rye and linseed sourdough loaf I bought Saturday morning, lasted three days.

Nash attended all the parts worth remembering.

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On Saturday morning we walked to Plant 4 at Bowden for coffee and a visit to the local bakery where said loaf was purchased.

Sunday Morning was our traditional family walk from the Weir to the North Adelaide Bakery for mini cream puff and coffee.

Sunday evening was spent catching up with Vanessa's family and Kelpie, eating Afghan food and answering trivial pursuit questions.

Monday was friends, NBA playoffs, double beef burgers and my first game of 500 for the decade.

As the night crept in and work emails started drafting themselves in my head, it's easy to see why I'll miss these days.


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The woman with the fake tan stepped into my office, sat across from my desk and lit a cigarette.
At least, she would, sometime in the next 20 minutes. Smelling the future has advantages, but precision isn’t one of them.


5 perfect timings of May 13 2021

The end of a two hour podcast episode coming to a close as I approached the front door after my morning walk.

Finishing my final accessory exercises (single leg glute bridges and supermans) as the final verse in Krafty Kuts and A Skillz' Superchunk mix filled the home gym.

The bank calling me to confirm I can save $2000 by breaking our current fixed loan, right after this fortnight's anaesthetist called to tell me that my anaesthetic gap was going to be $90 higher than the anaesthetist I was going to have last week. (Maybe the drugs will be 40% better - can't wait to find out!)

Bringing the Ice Coffee Maxibons to the checkout at the same moment Vanessa texted to remind me she'd earned ice cream by deadlifting 115kg.

Reaching my 10,000 daily step goal as I approached the front door after my evening walk.

Fleurieu Weekend

A short but sweet trip to some of the dog friendly attractions of the Fleurieu Peninsula.

Friday Night - dinner in the garden at Forktree Brewing overlooking the ocean at sunset.

Friday Night - dinner in the garden at Forktree Brewing overlooking the ocean at sunset.


Starting the weekend with the appropriately named Sunset Amber Ale

Starting the weekend with the appropriately named Sunset Amber Ale


Saturday morning, balmy and cloudy, a view over Encounter Bay after a sunrise drive through the backroads and hills.

Saturday morning, balmy and cloudy, a view over Encounter Bay after a sunrise drive through the backroads and hills.


Nash gets a quick pet stop on the way to the top of the hill.

Nash gets a quick pet stop on the way to the top of the hill.


Top of The Bluff. The Victor Harbor Heritage trail along the cliffs led to some rocky beaches and pools.

Top of The Bluff. The Victor Harbor Heritage trail along the cliffs led to some rocky beaches and pools.


After a coffee, early lunch at Port Elliot bakery. Steak and onion pie, followed by caramilk donut. Good thing I climbed that hill first.

After a coffee, early lunch at Port Elliot bakery. Steak and onion pie, followed by caramilk donut. Good thing I climbed that hill first.


After a nap at the holiday house, a brief trip to Normanville for another walk and some late afternoon sunshine.

After a nap at the holiday house, a brief trip to Normanville for another walk and some late afternoon sunshine.


Saturday Night - the only board game in the holiday house was the 1983 edition of Trivial Pursuit. After three hours someone finally managed to answer a pop culture question.

Saturday Night - the only board game in the holiday house was the 1983 edition of Trivial Pursuit. After three hours someone finally managed to answer a pop culture question.


Sunday Morning - walking the length of the Carrickalinga Esplanade Walking Trail.

Sunday Morning - walking the length of the Carrickalinga Esplanade Walking Trail.


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Bake Love Not War

The timing of our oven's catastrophic failure couldn't have been worse. Since the air fryer arrived last December it has had one job, and that job is to produce a giant cookie for me to eat on Anzac Day. (It also makes pizza but it does that because it likes to).

Traditions are an interesting aspect of human behaviour. The tradition of solemnising the ANZACs of 1915 has evolved a lot since it was first observed in 1942, and commemorated respectfully at war memorials around Australia and New Zealand. By the 60's public opinion was that it wasn't worth the interruption to shopping and sport. During the Vietnam War it was a used by objectors who were protesting the military. Big AFL games may have played a part in it's resurgence in popularity, and by the time everyone was carrying a smartphone to share what they hadn't forgotten on the internet, Anzac Day reached the place it occupies today.

That might sound cynical - which it is - and I'm not saying that Anzac Day can't be observed respectfully if you want to. But the point remains that traditions sometimes change and that's not necessarily a good thing or a bad thing, it's just a human thing. I mean, I've had a lot of takes myself on Anzac Day since 2008. I'm not judging.

Even Woolworths have changed their tune. Six years ago the ANZACs were "Fresh In Our Memories", this April they're advertising oats, flour, butter and golden syrup as "Oat Biscuits".

Besides, if I imagine a reality where I was born in 1898 and found myself in the shoes of a digger dying in the sand on the shores of the Dardanelles I don't think I would care about what people or supermarkets would be doing exactly 106 years later. I'd probably just wish I hadn't joined the army and that I was at home playing board games and eating a giant cookie with the person I loved.

So if Anzac Day is important to you, make it a ceremony. Reflect. Drink a beer at 7 in the morning. Play Two-Up and post that on the internet. Tell a service member you're grateful. Go for a hike. It's your life. Be true to yourself.

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This Anzac Day was the first in twelve years that Vanessa didn't make me a cookie. We tried to get a new oven installed by the 25th, but universe conspired against us. So today we made cookies in the air fryer. This came with its own forms of adversity. Vanessa's heart nearly broke when the first one came out close to like a caramelized pancake. She didn't give up. A giant cookie on Anzac Day means to love to her, and to me. That's what's important. We tweaked the temperature (160°) and reduced the cooking time (about ten minutes), added a few more oats and bi-carb. Four batches later we'd got it right and we'd done it together. It wasn't a giant cookie, but it was four million calories in my stomach again. Vanessa was happy. I was content. Tradition is important, but it's no match for the present.

Sunrise

Today was always going to be the best day of the year to see a sunrise.

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With daylight savings ending tomorrow night, and a "feels like" temperature of 14°C at 7am, not to mention a public holiday - today was the day I could sleep in the longest and be the warmest while watching the sun mount the horizon and drench the landscape in pretty colours. Yes, in June the sun will again rise well after I'm out of bed, dressed and potentially even on my way to work. But today it was a beautiful, bright autumn day with nothing better to do than find a nice place to watch our nearest star reappear.

Sadly, Adelaide is not the best city in the world to watch a sunrise. You have to drive a long way in order to escape the collar of eastern mountain ranges that shield the city from daylight a few extra minutes each morning. We chose to drive to Lyndoch, and take cereal and yogurt to the trails of the former quarry up Altona road. Also, the best sunrise colours happen before sunrise, so even if you get a bit of a sleep in you ideally need to be up and out about thirty minutes before the scheduled sunrise time. And if being up and about means driving an hour out of town then even on the best day of the year to see a sunrise you'll need to be out of bed before 6AM.

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But imagine what time I'd have needed to get up in January to sit and eat breakfast at dawn at the same place. Or how cold you'd be in June.
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And don't worry if you missed it, tomorrow should be good too. Otherwise there's always next Autumn.

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2020 Feelings

I had a lot of feelings during 2020. Here are some of the more memorable ones:

Humidity

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The satisfaction from reading the end of a novella while savoring a delicious craft beer.

The echo of a wood-framed sofa hitting the pavement after a three-story drop.

The paranoia on public transport.

Finding my balance on a bicycle for the first time in twenty years.

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Pricklings from a COVID beard I didn’t need to grow.

Stretching of my stomach after completing another giant Vanessa dessert.

The smell of freshly manufactured olympic weight plates in an enclosed space.

Age of Empires 2 Ranked queue adrenaline.

That first sip of fresh coffee after weeks of closed cafes.

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The cold, winter air fighting to reach the fingers inside my pockets.

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The tickle at the back of the throat after stupidly eating raw almonds right before walking to the supermarket.

Tikka kebab, breast kebab and bolani.

The tension in the bladder during back to back to back Zoom meetings.

Saltiness of that first mouthful of lettuce, hummus and 4 bean mix after days without it.

One side of my body warmed by the fire.

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The grit from a layer of sweat and basketball court dust covering my palms, and the support around the ankles of the Kyrie sneakers, produced in Team USA colours for an Olympics that wouldn’t come.

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Itches of mosquito bites interrupting outdoor salad eating in the garden.

Hiss of gas and the charring of meat filling the air.

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Cheap hand sanitizer’s aroma and the stinging that it brings to the skin.

The ache in my shoulder as the sweat cooled.

The scent of Jasmine on early spring breezes.

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Shampooed dog fur on the inside of my calves while preparing dinner at the official Bradism Raised Cutting Board for Tall People.

The sweet taste of the mulberry that fell from the branch directly into my mouth.

The tingling of my blood, hoping nobody noticed me putting a face mask over my eyes like it was a sleep-mask on an aeroplane.

The heat of a northerly wind on my back, post-sunset strolls on the beach.

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Pulsations from the Compex as it stimulated my hamstrings

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Never-ending water trickling down the fountain.

Merry Christmas Internet 2020

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It was nice to own a full size tree for most of a year.

A Day With A Random Red Bow On it

A tip. If you want to go out in public right now, but still socially distance: visit the cinema. We went to see Fat Man tonight - a Christmas movie! - and had the entire theatre to ourselves.

In further yuletide news, we erected our tree last night, and after the movie we returned to the sparkle of a few lights strung up between its synthetic branches. Probably not enough lights to justify the seven feet of height, but the reflection against the glass doors gave off a sense of a cozy, festive glow.

It was at that point I heard a thump against the back window, something I dismissed as my imagination until like a horror movie a second thump came, and a third, louder. Stepping closer to the window I witnessed scarabs the size of fully-grown raspberry in a child's hand crashing into the window, shaking their brown and gold bodies back upright, and flying back into the glass again.

Christmas had arrived.

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