Saturday, May 27, 2006

We are in Italy

We arrived in Praiano on the Amalfi Coast three days ago and we are in love. We are staying in a Hotel half way up the cliff with magnificant views to the bay of Naples and the other buildings on the side of the cliff. I have taken 150 photos as at lunch time yesterday. Some will end up here. J and I enjoyed local olives, cherry toms, local cheese, red wine and proscuto on our balcony last night and we are in heaven. The kids are enjoying the pool twice a day. The food here is delicious and very reasonable. Yesterday we paddled in the mediteranean and meandered the streets of Positano. I did not buy any sandles as I was hoping to do, however it was still a wonderful day. There is a small bus that stops right outside the hotel and will take you to Positano or Amalfi or the beach - beaches here are pebble and grey sand and yesterday part of the beach was blocked off and you could pay to have a deck chair. Even the sea in front of that part of the beach was blocked off for paying customers. We plan today to go down to Praiano and the local beach, as well as check out the local Chiesa that chimes every quarter hour.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Two sleeps to go

I'm going to count down in hours from now on!

7.41am and I have made a batch of biscuits for Michaela's farewell party.

I have written a report, sent several emails and organised clothes.
I will have coffee with B today, get the car washed and pack and much more - there is a very long list that J and I developed last night.

S and I try to meet once a week for coffee and chat, now that S works in the same complex as me. S and I go back to 1985ish. Due to lack of time and me being delayed by lunch at the Hippodrome, I only met with S for a five minute chat. She has lent me "Haunted pubs in England and Ireland" by Marc Alexander. A good read on the plane.

Had a farewell afternoon tea for work yesterday - it was supposed to be a surprise, however someone let the cat out of the bag on Tuesday - you know who you are!!!! Thank you to all.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

We will be here on the 24th of May

Last day at work. Have to pack up the workstation (when I get back I am going to a new job in another section of the library, do I really have to come back?) and then home to pack suitcases and check lists. Tomorrow I pick up the car vouchers, rail tickets for Rome to Naples, Paris apartment vouchers and I will finally meet the good fairy of travel agents.

Only 3 sleeps to go!!!!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

4 Sleeps to go

*TSS is fast approching Bermuda on a ship, Bec & Mark are approaching the next leg of their trip out of Ireland and into Europe and we have 4 sleeps to go.

*Micheala is having a "have fun in Europe we will miss you" party on Friday and I have instructions to make 2 cakes! Sure I'll find time, nothing else to do?

*J passed his exam - whoo hoo and LOL. Now he has time to do some serious research into where he wants to go and what he wants to do.

This is absolutely the best time - all anticipation!!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Itinerary in England

The washing machine is on, the dishwasher is running, as is the dryer (another story), the kettle is boiling, I have packed Michaela's lunch and I am listening to my music playlist. All this at 6.40am. Now I can blog. This is a pretty typical morning.

I thought I would publish the general route we intend to travel in the UK - this is by no means set in concrete and should not be relied on to predict our whereabouts too closely. We have used the AA site extensively for the planning and found it invaluable. We think "The AA best drives Britain : 30 car tours for the independent traveler" great for this sort of planning. There is a kid section for each of the drives, explaining exactly what there is for kids in the area. We also have the "AA bed and breakfast guide 2006"

We leave London on the 15th of June and head to Ashford, Kent to collect a Renault Laguna for the next 19 days of our trip.



Berkeley (2)

Aberystwyth (Wales)



Oban (2) (Scotland)


Edinburgh (3?)


Ulceby (3?)



As we go clockwise around England, Wales and Scotland we will stay mostly in B&B's that we book as we go.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Mothers Day

Here is the card that Michaela made me for Mothers Day



Here is the Mother's Day card Andrew made for me

Sunday, May 14, 2006

What a weekend - 7 sleeps to go

So much to do so little time. Michaela has packed her bag! Note the signs Porta and Finestre (Italian for door and window)

Saturday, spent the afternoon cleaning out the garage so that Anne (who is looking after the dog and the house) can put her 1967 Holden car into the garage. JC, Ryan and Kelsey came to help. No photo's of the assistants, only the results.

We had a beautiful evening meal last night and I thought I would share it with you. It is from the"Food lover's diet : a GI plan for losing weight and living well the French way" by Michel Montignac

This is called Grilled Beef with spinach and horsradish sauce.

200g french beans
500 g rump steak
1 red onion halved
Good quality Olive Oil
85 g Baby Spinach
50 g Watercress
200 g sundried tomatoes

Horseradish Sauce
125 ml Greek Yoghurt
1 tbsp Horseradish Cream
2 tbsp Lemon Juice
2 tbsp Double Cream
2 Cloves of Garlic, crushed
2-3 drops of Tabasco

Steam the french beans for about 4 minutes, until tender. Set aside.
Preheat the grill, grill the meat for 2 minutes on each side, set aside to rest for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, grill the onion for 3 minutes on each side.
Arrange the spinach, watercress, tomatoes and beans on a serving platter.
To make the horseradish sauce, beat together the yoghurt, cream, garlic, Horseradish cream, lemon juice, tabasco, and salt and pepper to taste.
Cut the beef into thin slices and display over the salad. Slice the onion thinly and sprinkle over the dish. Add the horseradish sauce and serve.

Mothers Day today and I had beautiful cards from both children and lots of presents - thank you all. Michaela went over to her friend T's to play and the rest of us went to Fletchers Fotographics and bought a video camera, as you can see here.

I must go now and put the kids to bed and have a glass of wine.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Eggplant, spinach and pumpkin stacks

1 Large eggplant(500g)
200g pumpkin, sliced thinly
700g of bottled tomato pasta sauce
80g baby spinach leaves
4 green onions sliced thinly longways
1 cup coarsely grated mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts

1. Discard top and bottom of eggplant, cut eggplant lengthways into ten 5 mm slices. Discard rounded skin side slices, place remaining eight slices in colander, sprinkle all over with salt, stand 10 minutes.
2. Rinse eggplant well under cold water, pat dry with absorbent paper. Cook eggplant and pumpkin, in batches, on heated oiled grill plate (or grill or bbg) until tender.
3. Place sauce in medium saucepan and bring to boil. Reduce heat, simmer uncovered, 2 minutes 4. Place four slices of the eggplant, in a single layer, on oven tray: top with half of the spinach, half of the pumpkin and half of the onion. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the sauce over each then repeat the layering process, using remaining spinach, pumpkin and onion and another 2 tablespoons of the sauce for each stack. Top stacks with remaining eggplant slices, pour over remaining sauce, sprinkle stacks with cheese and nuts. Place under hot grill until cheese browns slightly.


This was really delicious and only lasted a few minutes on the plates. Unfortunately the 35 minutes the recipe claims to take to get it to the table, took me 1 hour and 10 minutes. I used two small eggplants, I did not have pumpkin and used slices of potato. I did not have spring onions so used finely chopped onions. I only used a 500g jar of tomato sauce. However my dish looked very much like the one above.

From: Women's weekly low fat fast

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Reading and watching in May

If you are interested in which movies we may watch as we fly around the globe, check out the Singapore Airlines site, their inflight movies for this month and next are here.

Have finished Just enough French and also the coach travel book, which I found really easy to read and informative. If you are going on a tour it is worth reading.

I am now reading "Not another book about Italy" which is Ann Rickard's first book on Italy and covers more of the south were we are going. I have already read her book "Last book about Italy". She is a humorous writer and enjoys the trip, doesn't take herself too seriously, while telling you lots. She was a ten pound pom and now lives on the Gold Coast, writing travel articles for the local paper.

Also reading "Blogging in a snap" at home and "Blogging and Libraries" at lunch time. Can't imagine why.

Voted in the bookclub at work today. This is the order I voted for them.

1.Wit's end before breakfast / Emma Robertson
Emma is coming to talk about her book at work for Library week - that will be the first week that I am away!!
2.Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell: A Novel

3.The Great Cat Massacre:And Other Episodes in French Cultural History

4. Undead and unwed

And the winners are Undead and Wit's end.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


Sunday 21 May 06
Depart: Canberra Arpt 0815 Non-Stop,
Arrive: Sydney Kingsford Smith Arpt 0905 00hrs, flight time 50mins

Singapore Airlines Flight Sq 232 Confirmed
Depart: Sydney Kingsford Smith 1130 Non-StopTerminal: Terminal 1
Arrive: Singapore/Changi Intl A 1745, flight time 08hrs 15mins

Tuesday 23 May 06
Singapore Airlines Flight Sq 340 Confirmed
Depart: Singapore/Changi Intl A 0100 Non-StopTerminal: 2
Arrive: Rome/Leonardo Da Vinci, 0740, flight time 12hrs 40mins

On the road touring around England, Wales and Scotland, in a hire car. Major sites to see are Bath, Edinburgh, leaving on Eurostar to Paris from Ashford, Kent on the 4th July.

Sunday 09 Jul 06
Singapore Airlines Flight Sq 333 Confirmed
Depart: Paris/Charles De Gaulle 1225 Non-StopTerminal: 1

Monday 10 Jul 06

Arrive: Singapore/Changi Intl A 0700, flight time 12hrs 35mins

Thursday 13 Jul 06
Singapore Airlines Flight Sq 221 Confirmed
Depart: Singapore/Changi Intl A 2030 Non-StopTerminal: 2

Friday 14 Jul 06
Arrive: Sydney Kingsford Smith 0555, flight time 07hrs 25mins Terminal: 1
Aircraft - Boeing 747-400

Qantas Airways Flight Qf 787 Confirmed
Depart: Sydney Kingsford Smith 0810 Non-StopTerminal: 3
Arrive: Canberra/Canberra Arpt, 0905, flight time 00hrs 55mins- Aircraft - Boeing 737-400

Monday, May 08, 2006

Westbourne Woods

TSS and JC and I met for Breakfast at the Oaks Brasserie and dined suptuously. TSS and I then walked to the bridge, through Westbourne Woods. There is a feeling of winter in the wind today.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

14 Sleeps

Did I mention that in 14 sleeps I wil be on a plane to Singapore (oh and J, Andrew and Michaela)!!!!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Spider and Rosie

Why do I do it - after trying to photograph a particularly large spider that has taken to living on the mirror of Little Grey (our small car) I thought I would collect the newpaper delivered onto the drive. While walking back up the drive I managed to trip on the concrete join and landed on my forehead and nose. Having yelled "ow" and "help" I checked that the camera was alright and walked back to the house and had Dr J look after me, ably assisted by junior Dr Andrew.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Today's haul

Now I am ready to go, roll on 21st of May

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Caramalised Onion Tart

4 good sized brown onions thinly sliced
1 dtsp brown sugar (optional)
2 tblsp balsamic vinegar
1 sheet ready made puff pastry

Cook onions slowly in frypan for 30-45 minutes with a little olive oil then add balsamic vinegar and sugar if you are using it and cook for a further 15 minutes.

Score a line all the way round the puff pastry, an inch inside the edge.
Pile the cooked onion inside the line and cook for 25-30 minutes in medium oven (180c) until the pastry is golden and puffed.
Serve warm or cold.


  • Use 4-8 sheets of filo pastry, sprayed with olive oil, instead of the puff pastry
  • Add crumbled fetta (before cooking) and/or thinly sliced sundried tomatoes (after cooking) to the top of the tart.


Picking up the tickets today! Can hardly contain myself. Do I really have to go to work?


I am so excited.
I have got the refund back on the Eurostar for the fifth of July and we are now going on the 4th for five nights in our Parisienne apartment!!!!!

Then Cheryl (also known as the good fairy of travel agents) has found us a bus out of Rome at 3pm to Amalfi - the only one I could find was one at 6am - I am not good at 6am or 7am, in fact mostly not until about 10am, but that is another story. So hopefully will get the quote today and be able to book.

Louise (in San Francisco) has developed a blog Sean and Louise, so I can keep up with her adventures. Only wish I could go to SF as well!

I am so excited that I have woken up J and now he is running around asking questions and getting excited (even though he is extremely tired and wants to sleep until the plane takes off on the 21st!!! Not long to go now).

If anyone is interested in looking at and experiencing Italy J found this great site yesterday A Trip to Italy. Really hope I can do something half as good.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Walking with JC

Just so you know, JC is my earthly friend, not the other JC. Most weekends JC and I try to walk (and talk and talk). We have walked round Lake Gininderra, in Belconnen and got "lost". D came to rescue us! We have walked up and down one side of Lake Tuggeranong, several times without getting "lost" or exhausted, but it is a bit ordinary and breakfast is at McDonald's ugh. Our favourite place at the moment is walking along Lake Burley Griffin, from the Yarralumla Nursery, along the Sri Chinmoy peace mile, through the Westbourne Woods. We walk towards the Governor Generals House, in and out of the trees, across a footbridge and alongside the Royal Canberra Golf Club course, before crossing Dunrossil Drive and on. We once saw a remote controlled Golf Buggy fly across the road by itself - I am sure J wants one. Currently the leaves are turning beautiful autumn colours and combined with the glints from the lake, the whole walk is stunning. We have breakfast at the Oaks Brasserie Yarralumla Gallery, outside in the gardens which are heritage listed. The menu is large and includes food for dogs, as well as humans.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

One of my favorite words

Are you a librocubicuralist? I know I am!
Back in 1985 CT and I were trying to find this word - It was in the days before the internet. I knew there was a word that meant "to sleep with a book", but not the word. I consulted dictionaries, rang the National Library of Australia (I was living in Jabiru, NT at the time) and harassed people I thought might know. Eventually CT and I gave up and went to visit a ranger friend R. R is a veritable mine of information and he said instantly "oh you mean librocubicuralist".

One New Years Day, early this century, we were all returning from a trip to the Blue Mountains and ABC radio had a competition on for people's favorite word and I entered Librocubicuralist. I had to spell it over the mobile, while J drove down the mountain. They were supposedly going to publish a poem (on their website) with all the words that had been entered, I never did see that poem.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Reading and watching this week

Still reading "Just enough French", should be finished tonight! Then have to decide what to read next, only 20 titles waiting. This weekend more books and DVD's came home. The second DVD set of Montalbano, the Scicillian detective joins volume one on the shelf. Montalbano is a gourmet:– above all, he loves seafood in all its variations. He is always well dressed. Alternatively he is dripping wet and half naked as he runs in from a quick swim in the Mediterranean. He has a deep-seated aversion to flying and solves his cases using his instincts and an ability to practically become one with his surroundings and delve into the murderer's soul; he's direct, smug, unpredictable, truly Italian and a great detective. These mysteries have a definite Italian feel to them which only adds to their charm. They may not be for everyone, but if you want a gritty story that keeps you turning pages (and don't mind a few foul words and so on...) these stories will intrigue you. He makes it easy to practice my Italian.

A book on Pompeii for children, as well as Lemony Snicket volumes 7-10 made their way into the basket.

Started watching Cinema Paradiso on DVD last night. More Italian practice. It is nearly 3 hours long, watched about an hour yesterday and will work on it this week.

Can't believe that three weeks from now I will be on a plane for Singapore! So excited, don't know where to start. Still adding things to the box to take.