Some Tasmania shots

I know this is not a travel blog but I thought I would show you some of the better shots from our recent little holiday in Tasmania.  We went for 2 weeks which was long enough to see the sites but, clearly, not long enough to see all the state has to offer.  Maus hadn’t been before so we ticked off items on the “must see” list like Port Arthur, Cradle Mountain, Strahan, Stanley, Launceston, etc. but, if we went again, we would skip these places and go on the less touristed path.

First stop was Eaglehawk Neck where you can see the absolutely amazing tessellated pavement.  It is so hard to believe that this formation is all natural.  At first, Maus thought it was an old convict building quarry where they had cut out building blocks and left their scar on the environment but, no, it is all due to tidal erosion. Continue reading

Over the rainbow

This household is over the rainbow that Australia has finally caught up with the rest of the world and legalised same sex marriage.  Congratulations to all who campaigned for the change. It was a fight well won.

Society has come a long way in my adulthood.  I remember marching for the decriminalisation of male homosexuality in the 70’s.  My, how things have changed!

Of course, the less said about that ridiculous postal survey the better.  I am sure the pain of it will lessen over time and we will only remember the victory.

The last of the holiday pics and a recipe …

Hello, again.  This is the last of my foodie holiday posts.  I do appreciate that other people’s holiday shots can be really hard to suffer through.  Next post, I swear, will be back to normal.

We have now moved on from Armenia to Georgia and things are a bit more cheery.   I mentioned in my previous post that Armenia made a sweet meat similar to the Georgian Churchkhela.  In Armenia, we only saw them at the GUM market but, in Georgia, they were everywhere. Continue reading

The women of Iran

I still intend to do one more foodie holiday post but I have been prompted to write this post because of the comments I have been receiving when I tell people I have been to Iran.  I have been asked time and time again, questions like “Was it safe?”,  “Were there police/soldiers/guards everywhere?”  I was chatting with my hairdresser the other day and I don’t think she believed me when I said I did not see one woman wearing a burkah – ie, the full face covering garment. Continue reading

More foodie holiday shots – this time, Armenia

If I had to sum up Armenia in one word, I think it would be “miserable“.

I don’t want to be unfair or to offend any Armenians out there but …

To be fair, Armenia has had a shit history, to say the least.  The people have been massacred.  They have lost territory to Turkey and, on the face of it, are sitting ducks.  It is a poor nation which would have suffered financially when the Soviets left.  Yes, they got their culture and religion back but … at what cost?  There are half-finished Soviet hotels left to rot and towns that used to have 20,000 people now have little more than 1,000.  Everywhere, buildings are deserted, left to decay. The landscape is further tarnished with horrid Soviet concrete blocks of flats that the government doesn’t have the money to renovate. Public squares and public gardens in regional towns have been overtaken by weeds and ornamental ponds are covered in slime.  In rural areas, there was barely a young person to be seen.

OK, this is only one side of the story.  Armenians are very religious people. They are rightly proud of their faith and traditions. Yerevan, the capital, did have a positive vibe.  Public buildings were well maintained and there were young people out and about.

The first of many “churches on a hill” – Tatev Monastery

So what does Armenia have going for it?

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I am home

Hello, everyone.  I am back from my holiday.  People have asked me whether I had a good time.  I don’t know the answer to that question.  I am certainly glad I went but it was hard work in more ways than one.

My favourite country out of the four I visited was Iran.  Azerbaijan was also a pleasant surprise but we were only there are few days so it is hard to make a call on such a short stay.

The main thing Iran has going for it is its people.  They are so friendly and welcoming.  People in the streets come up to you and welcome you to their country.  I heard a thousand times, “Welcome to Iran”, “You are welcome,” and “What country are you from?”  Mothers would thrust their young forward to speak to us in English, then burst with pride when we could understand them.  As we walked past, a group of elderly men, sitting on benches in a park, burst into song for our benefit.  Everyone was cheery and appeared optimistic for the future.

Here I am (on the right) with my friend, Sandra, looking very modest.

All in all, it was a very pleasant experience.  There were only two negatives – no alcohol and having to wear modest clothing and a head scarf.  The lack of alcohol made meals a very quick affair.  There was no dawdling over a lovely shiraz in Shiraz.  We even tried to get a non-alcoholic version just so we could say “we had a shiraz in Shiraz” but it appears they don’t even make non- alcoholic wine.

And, if you thought about the reason women have to wear a head scarf, you would get grumpy so it was best not to think about it.


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Never fail sponge

Don’t you just hate “Never Fail” recipes!  They conjure up one image in my mind, “failure!!!”  It took me three attempts to get a decent soufflé from a “Never fail soufflé” recipe.

So I should have been nervous when I received an email from my niece, Fleur, entitled “Never fail sponge”.  I had asked her for the recipe she used for her son’s first birthday cake.  It was Maus’ birthday yesterday and I thought it would be nice if I made her a birthday cake. Continue reading