Darwin Blog

The Festival aka My Birthday
Monday, 28 April, 2008, 6:46 am
Filed under: Observations, Overrated

I recently celebrated my birthday and it is often referred to in my household as being the Festival of Miranda.  Except this year it appeared to be more of a carnival.

Most years we go away and believe me, it seems to be the least stressful way for me to celebrate.  I am also adamant about being treated as a bit of a “princess”, as it is the only day of the year that is truly mine – never mind Mother’s Day (my mother gets all the kudos here) and Christmas (well I am so busy organising everyone else to have a great day, I’m not that important).

So I thought my two boys, that I live my life for and who know me so well, would put a great deal of effort in.  Well, quite the contrary!

Whilst out shopping the weekend prior, I found a cookbook that I would use and bought it to assist the boys in the gift department as my number one and only son was adamant he was buying me a cookbook.  I don’t believe in buying books to leave them sitting on a bookshelf, so it was important I got one that I would use.

My husband told me that he and my son were also going shopping for another small gift as a surprise.  On the eve of the Festival, I discovered that they did no such thing and the only thing I was receiving was the cookbook – that I bought for myself.  I can’t explain the disappointment I felt for the lack of effort on both their behalfs.

To add to the torment, we went to dinner at a fave restaurant but the boys were ooohhing and aaahhhing over the dishes they would have and with three people, there is only so much you can order – let me remind you, it is my Festival!  They did not book the restaurant.  To add insult to injury, my son decided to wear thongs, because he has heaps of times and we were not allowed to sit inside to eat our meal, but had to sit al fresco with the fumes from car exhausts.

Then on the Saturday night my best friend (she is that because she is low maintenance.  In fact at the moment, she is so low maintenance I better check what she is up to – way too quiet for my liking!) cooked a beautiful roast meal.  It was kinda of last minute, because my husband thought it would be a great idea to invite some friends around for dinner to celebrate the Festival.  He suggested that he cook roast meat the night before and serve cold meat, salads and bread rolls for dinner.  I was just not in the mood to cook a gourmet meal.  I’d lost my oomph!

I’m afraid at my Festival, I was not in the mood for cold meat and salad.  So back to dinner at my girlfriend’s house.  She is an amazing cook, my son was offical photographer and took some lovely photos throughout the evening, including me blowing out the candles on the cup cakes, that I made myself that afternoon.

Well towards the end of the night, my delightful son and his father were wearing each other’s nerves a bit thin, when somehow my son deleted all the lovely pictures taken.  Dinner was over quite quickly and upon arriving home I declared the whole Festival thing over for 2008.

You see, in our household it is known as a Festival because I often celebrate my birthday well and truly over a couple of weeks.  I just felt so much was going wrong that there was no point in prolonging.

Guess what, next year we will definately go away.


Over the Long Weekend…
Monday, 28 April, 2008, 6:14 am
Filed under: Observations


Australia has just spent the weekend remembering the efforts of those who have served and died in the armed services, providing this country with amazing freedoms and national pride.

After watching a delayed broadcast of a number of dawn services and the broadcast of the Anzac Day March in Darwin on Friday, I thought Saturday would provide an opportunity to get out an about for the morning.

I made a visit to the Parap Markets to find it quite busy with heaps of stalls and variety.  I popped into some of my favourite stores, Chocolate Orange and Paraphernalia.

Chocolate Orange has loads of stock and I am pleased to say some new stuff, but there is still stock in there since the day it opened.  Paraphernalia is the same.  I love their jewellery and tend to always buy a piece when I visit this shop, which is starting to become an expensive habit.  Just be wary of some of the pieces, because you will find them elsewhere in Darwin and cheaper.

The stall i normally buy something to eat from wasn’t there, so I decided to buy some take-a-way from the new indian restauarnt, Saffron.  it is great that Saffron opens a take-a-way counter during the markets as they are the only Indian food on offer.  I choose some Rogan Josh and Aloo Matar Rasedar (potato and pea curry) with a couple of rotis.  The cost was $13.50 and was enough for lunch and dinner.

The taste of the food was excellent and I would like to return to the restaurant for a meal at a later date, just to see if the quality is maintained.  I have heard a number of mixed reviews about the restaurant.  As a person with some Indian heritage, I think I am a reasonably good judge of Indian food.

Many have commented on the fact that the restaurant doesn’t use plates, but plates made from recycled product.  Reason being a shortage of people to wash dishes and perhaps their carbon footprint.  It is all the buzz right now.  Irony being is that they used the plastic take-a-way containers for take-a-ways!

When the boys leave town
Wednesday, 23 April, 2008, 1:53 am
Filed under: Observations

So my husband and son have left town for a week, visiting my husband’s parents and celebrating my father-in-law’s 70th birthday.

My son asked me a couple of nights ago what I would do while they are away.  I replied that I wasn’t sure and his response was “Will you have a party like dad and I do when you go away?”

I haven’t seen my husband move so fast to try and clarify what was said.  Apparently the boys enjoy party pies in my absence from the home for extended periods of time, amongst other sorts of savoury delights.  It appears that this is just like having a party!

What will I do – I am still getting over the flu, so I will be trying to rest as much as possible.  I thought I might move the furniture around – a bit of a surprise for when they return.  Perhaps do a little redecorating! A little bit of shopping?  The best thing is not having to cook a meal – I can eat half a round of brie with crackers downed by a creaming soda for dinner and be perfectly satisfied.

Oh the serenity!

UPDATE:  My son has contacted my father and a friend who lives with us from time to time to see if I have indeed been having any parties and if I miss him yet.  I can assure you, no parties.  The silence has been bliss.

Darwin and the Flu
Tuesday, 22 April, 2008, 1:12 am
Filed under: Observations

What is it with the need of people to come to work when they are sick, especially when they are highly contagious with the flu virus.

I work for the government and here in the Territory, whilst it is the largest employer, going by size of Governments here in Australia and the smaller countries of the world, we are tiny.  So why would anyone think they are so fundamentally important to the Territory staying afloat, that they need to come to work sick?

Well they do.  As a result, approximately two weeks ago I got a small head cold – I fought it off as I was about to go on leave.  How did I get the cold?   People I work with came to work coughing, sneezing and spluttering all over the place.  Last Tuesday, I attended a meeting in town (still on leave) and when I returned home , fell into a heap on my bed and then moved very little for the next five days.

I was struck down by the flu.  I don’t get sick that often and when I do, it really has an impact.

Then comes the next dilemma, try getting into a doctor in this town, while you are actually sick – oh please.  My regular doctor, which I am lucky to visit more than once a year was booked up for a week.  I explained I needed a sick certificate and would they be able to assist since  (1) I have been going there for nearly 20 years and they know me; (2) I only every visit the doctor when really ill, therefore me calling them means something is really wrong; and (3) I wasn’t bludging time of work, I was really sick and I sounded it on the phone, wait till they saw me.  No go.

I rang another surgery and since I hadn’t been there before, they were taking no new patients. I rang another surgery and there were no appointments, you need to call from 8am (of which the phone is constantly engaged for the first hour as all the appointments get booked out!) and if you get through, you will be allocated a time, if there are any appointments left – yeah right!

On Friday, I was at my wits end.  I wasn’t getting better and I needed to get medicine as well as a sick certificate for my absence from work.  I finally got through to a new surgery located out Casuarina way.  Whilst they were booked out, they had a number of people call and the receptionist took my details and said she would call back.  What they were going to do is call in one of the doctors who had the day off to assist.  They did call back and I got in.

What did annoy me, apart from looking and sounding as sick as I was, the doctor wanted to know why I didn’t come in earlier.  I said I had tried a number of surgeries with no success and finally was able to get in here.  He replied with “Palmerston had available appointments yesterday”.

I looked at him and replied “I was not driving to Palmerston, when I live in town to see a doctor, when I can hardly get out of bed as it is”.

Is this guy mad?  Anyway, I was given a course of antibiotics as the infection had become quite bad and sent on my way for more rest – I was a bit tired from the whole ordeal.  Oh yes, I did get a sick certificate and the cost – $65.

As for those of you who continue to go to work when you are sick – stop it.  It just makes everyone else around you ill and miserable – this is one thing that you shouldn’t share!

“Why don’t you have sex in the kitchen?”
Saturday, 8 March, 2008, 2:18 pm
Filed under: Observations


Last night we are driving back from Friday afternoon drinks with some friends, when I stated to my husband that I was looking forward to a hot shower and lounging in my pjs.  Nothing untoward with that comment I thought.

Until our six year old on the back seat pipes up with “and why don’t you have sex in the kitchen!”.

Well, I must admit we were gobsmacked and tried not to show any reaction when my husband replied with “Do you know what you said and what it means?”

“Yes” was the reply.

My husband then asked “Where did you come across this?”

Six year old responds, “It was on the King of Queens the other night”.

We all usually watch this show together, but somehow I missed this one – perhaps I was at Indonesian language classes!

Anyway, we like King of Queens, but will now look at it in a different light.

If you don’t know what the show is about – here is a link – http://www.sonypictures.com/tv/shows/kingofqueens/index.php

How Spoilt Can One Be?
Thursday, 24 January, 2008, 12:31 pm
Filed under: Observations, Travel


Since we went away by ourselves, without our son, at some point during our short trip the guilt factor starts to kick in.

Our son needed some new cotton shorts for wearing around the home, but is also a huge fan of Tom and Jerry and Scooby Doo.  Where else but Asia has merchandise clothing for every conceivable children television show.

We were not disappointed in Bali, with Matahari (Kuta Square) having an excellent selection.  They also bring out each year a range of clothing especially for Chinese New Year, of which we bought several pieces, as we do each year.  The quality is excellent and the designs on the t’shirts are nothing like seen in Australia.

Not to mention, Number One son also got a camera case for his new digital camera, an Avatar action figure and numerous DVDs, in addition to the clothing.

My husband decided to take a picture as a reminder of how spoilt Number One soon is from time to time!

Christmas in Darwin
Wednesday, 2 January, 2008, 7:38 am
Filed under: Observations

As the festive season starts to wind down and the monsoon sets in, I am thinking how glad I am, that we decided to spend Christmas at home in Darwin this year.

There is something magical, calming and sedative about having Christmas in Darwin.

During the lead up, yes, we are all a little testy and cranky and there are many expectations from family who also reside in Darwin, but this year it was different for our family.  I also decided to take nearly four weeks off to assist in looking after our child while the six weeks of school holidays dragged out, to try and relax and get in better health for the coming year.

For the past two years, we made the decision to be overseas for Christmas, mainly due to the meltdown I have at the thought of entertaining my family for Christmas and three years ago, Christmas Day was such a humdinger that I think we all ended up in tears at some point during the day!  So the choice to be overseas wasn’t that hard to make.

We celebrated Christmas differently, but we were all much happier and calmer.  Although my family always rang us on Christmas Day because they were missing us!  Never mind when we were together there would be tears.  While we spent Christmas overseas we made the decision to not do presents for people at home, but rather donate the equivalent money to charity.  Therefore the only person who we did presents for was our son.  This too, worked a treat as there was no need for family to buy the obligatory gift for us and particularly if it was something that we didn’t necessarily want.

So this year, we decided to notify our family in advance that we would host Christmas lunch.  Instead of preparing all the food they loved, I decided to put together a menu that I felt totally in control of cooking and could manage with ease.  There was absolutely no need for anyone to bring anything as we would cater for everything.

I also put in place everyone preparing a list of six items they would like to receive for Christmas as a gift and this circulated amongst that family, ensuring everyone got something they wanted, but there was still an element of surprise!  This worked a treat.  This year I enjoyed shopping for people’s gifts, it wasn’t hard and I think we were able to please many.

Lunch was from 11am to 2pm – gave everyone time in the morning to have breakfast, do presents, go to church and time for me to make sure the roast was cooked and salads prepared.  The defined time bracket made sure that everything stayed cordial and no one overstayed there welcome and also let some of us have a nice little nanna nap in the afternoon.

So what did I cook?  I did a large roast lamb, smashed potatoes, a roast pumpkin, baby spinach and pinenut salad, cameo ham, roma tomatoes and Jarlsberg cheese, asparagus wrapped in prosciutto and dinner rolls followed by individual white chocolate cheesecakes with milk chocolate topping and one of the best looking trifles I have made to date – and it didn’t taste all that bad either.  Usually there are leftovers with my mob, but not this Christmas, they devoured the food.  I meant to take a photo of the table and the spread for the blog as I must admit I was somewhat impressed myself.  We dined outdoors on the verandah at my new 12 seater dining table and it looked picture perfect.  It was a gorgeous overcast day, the humidity was there but there was a light drizzle and a cool breeze – making it very pleasant for being outdoors.

After all that, Christmas Day was quite easy and one of the better ones to go down in our family history.  As for next year, we aren’t too sure what we will be doing – though staying home might be quite tempting.