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.

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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!



Glass with Class
Monday, 24 March, 2008, 1:53 am
Filed under: No Longer With Us

glasswithclass.jpg

Whilst I have put this under “Best Kept Secrets – Darwin”, I was a little unsure.

There are elements of this store that makes me cringe.  You know, borderline tacky.

Although, I have bought lovely glass birds from the Czech Republic for $36 and they are beautiful.  They make some lovely glass handbags in many different sizes, although I could not bring myself to buy one.  What do you do with them, unless you like to collect dust!

I have a girlfriend who loves the miniature shoes that they sell.  They also have glass jewellery and from time to time they have some really beautiful pieces.  I guess the shop is a bit of a mish mash of styles, but then it probably caters for everyone.

Worth a look, but tread with caution.  Some of the colour choices are interesting.



Australiana Quiz Night
Monday, 24 March, 2008, 1:01 am
Filed under: Best Kept Secrets - Darwin

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It has been sometime since it was Australia Day, but so much happens in Darwin over the Australia Day weekend, that this event is so worthy of a mention.

The Australiana Quiz Night was resurrected this year as part of the Australia Day activities (it had been part of the program for a couple of years before being rested) and going by the full room and happy quiz goers after the event, it was a resounding success.

The night is organised by the Australia Day Board in conjunction with the Australia Day NT Office and is an evening of questions about Australia.  The local cartoonist, Colin Wicking, puts together ten rounds of questions all relating to life, politics, culture, sport, arts etc in Australia.  This year’s quiz master was Tony Pickering and in this venue it was handy having someone who knows how to throw their voice and use a mic.

It can be quite an eye opener about how little we all know about our own country.

It was a good night, despite a small stuff up with seating, tickets and the Casuarina Club overselling.  I think a larger venue is in order for next year’s event.  Darwinians love a good quiz night and what better way to celebrate Australia Day!



Value Travel
Monday, 24 March, 2008, 12:51 am
Filed under: Best Kept Secrets - Darwin

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These days travel agents seem to be becoming extinct, with everyone doing their travel online.

I still use a travel agent from time to time, mainly because I like the idea of receiving service (and I don’t mind paying for it) and perhaps being old enough to remember a time when your travel agent organised your holiday, it sort of is part of the whole experience.

I went to Value Travel because my agent of many years, since she was with Westpac Travel (when they had a travel arm), was Jean Lee.  She is the best when it comes to travel agents.

Jean now works for Value Travel and she is the first person I go to when I am organising travel.  She is so reliable, always looks for the best possible fares and always has a number of recommendations to be taken into consideration.

The net has taken away some of the luxury and pleasure of dealing with a travel agent, but as long as Jean is doing travel, I will be certainly engaging their services.