Kensington Pride Mangoes in August! Seriously?

Kensington Pride mangoes in August in Canberra Gary Lum

Kensington Pride Mangoes in August! Seriously? Is this for real?

I was doing my normal grocery shopping this morning, you know, the Saturday routine, when I came across these Kensington Pride mangoes at $4 each. So expensive and so out of season. I can only speculate the weather in the Top End where the best mangoes are grown has been good.

Kensington Pride mangoes in August in Canberra Gary Lum
Kensington Pride mangoes in August in Canberra

Friday night out

I received an invitation to dinner by my friends Peter and Li Peng (aka Jasper and Myrtle). We had a great night chatting about stuff, catching up on stuff and learning what is going down with Australia’s most award winning bean to bar chocolate makers. I’ve known Peter for a long time and Li Peng for a good number of years too. When I first met them, I would never have guessed they would be these world conquering chocolate makers from Australia’s national capital.

Award certificates

Award certificates for Jasper and Myrtle Chocolates Gary Lum
Award certificates for Jasper and Myrtle Chocolates

Peter and I have a strong affinity for seafood and one of our favourite meals is a prawn sandwich.

Prawn sandwich

Freshly boiled prawns with butter and fresh bread and a little vinegar. Salt and pepper also help make a great sandwich.

Prawn sandwich entrée Gary Lum
Prawn sandwich entrée

Peter cooked an Asian noodle and mince dish for the main meal. We joke because Peter likes to add plum sauce to everything. Li Peng claims a real Chinese person wouldn’t add plum sauce. To prove the point, I add plum sauce and hot chilli flakes to my plate  :mrgreen:

Noodles and mince

Noodles with mince and Plum sauce Gary Lum
Noodles with mince and Plum sauce

Peter and Li Peng both know how much I love a vanilla slice, so for dessert, we had a vanilla slice or what my Victorian friends ingloriously call a snot block from Flute bakery.

Vanilla slice

Flute vanilla slice Gary Lum
Flute vanilla slice

It was a great night and I really love times with Peter and Li Peng.


Breakfast

It’s become a bit of a ritual to eat a slice of raisin toast with some butter while sipping on a latte at Everbean Espresso Bar on a Saturday morning.

Raisin toast

Raisin toast breakfast from Everbean Espresso Bar Gary Lum
Raisin toast breakfast from Everbean Espresso Bar

Joy of vegemite joy

While in Coles buying groceries, I came across a real favourite. Vegemite and cheese scrolls. If you look at my Yummy Lummy Instagram feed you’ll see I regularly have these for lunch as a BLT from Urban Bean Espresso Bar. If you’re ever in the Woden town centre at lunch time, check out their Facebook page for the daily chef’s specials.

Vegemite scrolls

Vegemite and cheese scrolls at Coles Gary Lum
Vegemite and cheese scrolls at Coles

Lake Ginninderra

After the grocery shopping, I went for a walk around Lake Ginninderra and shot a few photographs.

Photographs from around the lake

Lake Ginninderra bike park Gary Lum
Lake Ginninderra bike park. Where is everyone on such a good looking day.
Lake Ginninderra Gary Lum
Lake Ginninderra
Cows on Lake Ginninderra attracted to visitors Gary Lum
Cows on Lake Ginninderra attracted to visitors
Spring is coming! Cherry blossom buds. Gary Lum
Spring is coming! Cherry blossom buds.
Belconnen Art Centre Gary Lum
Belconnen Art Centre

Lunch

On Twitter this week, a friend suggested I try a Hash Brown Big Mac combination. It was delicious.

Hash brown Big Mac combination

McDonald's Big Mac, Hash Brown and Vanilla shake Gary Lum
McDonald’s Big Mac, Hash Brown and Vanilla shake 

Saturday afternoon fun and games

I spent the afternoon enjoying Jasper and Myrtle Chocolates and watching Star Trek on Netflix.

My version of Netflix and chill

My weekend is sorted with Jasper and Myrtle Chocolate and Star Trek on Netflix. Gary Lum
My weekend is sorted with Jasper and Myrtle Chocolate and Star Trek on Netflix.

Dinner

Dinner tonight was a simple roast chicken with a cob of corn on some crispy noodles. I like cooking chicken this way by cutting out its vertebral column and flattening the chicken to make it cook more evenly.

Roast chicken with corn and crispy noodles

Cheesy roast chicken and corn on crispy noodles Gary Lum
Cheesy roast chicken and corn on crispy noodles

And so ends another quiet Saturday. I still feel blergh and I hope I stop coughing up lung butter soon.

I reckon I might have to buy one of those Kensington Pride Mangoes tomorrow. It may help me feel better.

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Still feeling blergh

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Still feeling blergh

24 Chicken McNuggets® with garlic aioli and vanilla shake Gary Lum

I’m still feeling blergh after a couple of weeks of incessant coughing and sleepless nights. It’s not just the coughing but the lack of sleep getting to me. Every morning I’ve been feeling crapulent and all day I feel like a zombie.

Last weekend, going to The Ekka was a good thing but it hasn’t helped me feel any better. If anything, I feel worse. The problem is, it’s not like I have a fever, or a severe headache or any other pain, just a persistent, some paranasal congestion and brain fog from a lack of sleep.

I was hoping with this weekend being fine I could get out and try to shake things off.

The weekend started well with a spicy pork burrito and a Bundaberg ginger beer.

Spicy pork burrito bowl from Guzman Y Gomez Gary Lum
Spicy pork burrito bowl from Guzman Y Gomez

Last night I downloaded the Sarahah app and started playing. You should give it a go.

Sarahah comment about Medical Fun Facts Gary Lum
Sarahah comment about Medical Fun Facts

For breakfast this morning rather than raisin toast at Everbean Espresso Bar I made a bacon and cheese sandwich with some freshly brewed coffee to celebrate the Brisbane Broncos victory last night.

Bacon and cheese sandwich with coffee Gary Lum
Bacon and cheese sandwich with coffee

Latte at Everbean Espresso Bar

Latte in a mug at Everbean Espresso Bar Gary Lum
Latte in a mug at Everbean Espresso Bar

Look at what’s on special. Yes, I grabbed a tin.

Spam® on sale Gary Lum
Spam® on sale

I went for a walk around Lake Ginninderra for the first time in a few weeks.

Cloud porn on Saturday walking around the lake Gary Lum
Cloud porn on Saturday walking around the lake

It’s winter but there are flowers. No wonder my allergic rhinitis is also causing me grief.

Wattle Gary Lum
Wattle

I like the texture in this bark

Bark Gary Lum
Bark

How are you brown cows?

Cows Gary Lum
Cows

Lake Ginninderra

Lake Ginninderra Gary Lum
Lake Ginninderra

The little water fall at John Knight Memorial Park

Water fall at John Knight Memorial Park Gary Lum
Water fall at John Knight Memorial Park

Lunch today was 24 McNuggets®

24 Chicken McNuggets® with garlic aioli and vanilla shake Gary Lum
24 Chicken McNuggets® with garlic aioli and vanilla shake
24 Chicken McNuggets® with garlic aioli and vanilla shake Gary Lum
24 Chicken McNuggets® with garlic aioli and vanilla shake

Dinner tonight was Panko crumbed prawns on olive sourdough bread

Panko crumbed prawns on olive sourdough bread with aioli Gary Lum
Panko crumbed prawns on olive sourdough bread with aioli

As I type this I’m coughing and spluttering and feeling blergh. I wish I wasn’t. Despite getting a little exercise, eating some yummy food and having a nap, I still feel like crap.

There’s a lot of circulating viral infections in Canberra

This is a snip from a report I authorised yesterday.

Respiratory panel Gary Lum
Respiratory panel

Hopefully, I’ll start feeling better soon.

Ekka 2017

Iconic Ekka Strawberry Sundae The Ekka 2017 Gary Lum

The Ekka 2017

Over the weekend, Ms22, Ms20, and I went to The Ekka 2017. Unfortunately, Miss16 could not join us. She had a sudden onset of fever with muscle and joint aches and pain. With the spike in influenza virus infections around the country, it’s likely she has influenza. I’m glad I just feel blergh and don’t have influenza.

Going to The Ekka has become an annual ‘thing’ for us. The Ekka or Royal Queensland Show or Show or Exhibition is like most other shows or what American friends may know as fairs (is that the correct spelling?). Only, The Ekka is better (IMHO). Far better than anything Sydney does at Easter and I have to ask, does Melbourne even have a show? Come on Melbourne lovers tell me about your show. I think Canberra has a show but I’ve never been or if I have, it wasn’t memorable. The Royal Easter Show in Sydney is okay and I enjoyed being there the twice I’ve been. When we lived in Darwin, there was the Darwin Show. I remember volunteering for the Territory Health Services booth and I gave out condoms and answered questions. My daughters entered their cooking creations into the cooking competitions. We’d see the animals and enjoy the sights and sounds of the show. Being a small show, it was something you could arrive in the morning, see everything and be home in time for a nap before dinner. The Ekka though is much bigger. It goes for 10 days and is jam packed with all sorts of events.

Now for people who don’t know me very well, the previous paragraph was deliberately provocative because I’m from Queensland and in my opinion everything from Queensland and the Northern Territory of Australia is better than anything else in Australia, if not the universe. Unfortunately, html has not progressed enough to demonstrate my facetiousness and sarcasm, hence this explanatory text as a block quote!

Friday night

I flew from Canberra to Brisbane on a later than normal flight. The cost of flights in and out of Canberra is very expensive so I went with the cheapest fare which was a late flight. At the airport I had a plate of Massaman beef and rice with some polenta slaw.

Beef massaman curry with rice and coleslaw The Ekka 2017 Gary Lum
Beef massaman curry with rice and coleslaw

I got into Brisbane and got an update on Miss16. She was obviously viræmic with fever, diaphoresis, cough, myalgia and headache. She would stay at her place and Ms22 would care for her overnight. This was a good decision. My parents don’t need exposure to an acutely unwell and infectious teenager.

Because I got in late, I had enough time to have a short catch up with Ms20, Mum and Dad and then a sleepless night coughing and worrying about Miss16.

Saturday morning

I called Ms22 and Miss16 had a quiet night sleeping. Apparently Miss16 was feeling slightly better with a mild reduction in her headache and she was less febrile.

Ms20 and I decided to proceed to go out for breakfast and discuss the day’s plan. We walked over to Westfield Chermside and ventured through the new food pavilion. We spotted a Cafe 63 and agreed to have breakfast there. The menu has dishes with names. We thought it would be funny to have three Garys at the table. So we ordered a Gary each plus a Bircher Muesli to share. The Gary is basically a poached egg with Hollandaise sauce, smoked salmon, and (s)mashed avocado on toast. I’m glad we agreed to eat this before the muesli because the Bircher muesli was quite sweet and was like having a breakfast dessert. I’d happily recommend these dishes at any Cafe 63.

Cafe 63 menu Gary the ekka 2017 Gary Lum
Cafe 63 menu Gary

Gary

The Gary at Cafe 63 is smoked salmon, a poached egg, Hollandaise sauce, smashed avocado and toast the ekka 2017 Gary Lum
The Gary at Cafe 63 is smoked salmon, a poached egg, Hollandaise sauce, smashed avocado and toast

Bircher muesli

Bircher Muesli from Cafe 63 the ekka 2017 Gary Lum
Bircher Muesli from Cafe 63

After breakfast

After breakfast I went to top up my Go Card for the bus ride and then we went to visit Miss16 on her sick bed.

The wheels on the bus go round and round…

In years gone by we would drive to Alderley Train Station, park and ride a train to The Ekka. Ms22 explained that there were road works near the train station and we’d be better off catching the Chermside 333 bus from the Chermside Bus Interchange to The Ekka.

The bus trip is pretty good with a service leaving every 15 minutes while The Ekka is on. We get off at Royal Brisbane and Womens Hospital in Herston and walked to the Royal National Association showgrounds which hosts The Ekka.

The showgrounds are close to the Queensland Museum which is a fantastic place to visit. One of these days when I come to Brisbane to visit, I should take my daughters to the Queensland Museum.

Woolworths food Pavillion

After getting through the entry gate we headed straight to the Woolworths food pavillion and line up for a tasting plate of free snacks.

Tasting plate

Woolworths tasting apple, pork and beef. the ekka 2017 Gary Lum
Woolworths tasting apple, pork and beef.

Lunch

The snacks are nice but hardly filling. So we look around the Pavillion for something to buy. In previous years we’ve had dumplings, satays, burgers and pizza. This year we went with Greek food and I had a souvlaki while Ms20 and Ms22 had halloumi chips.

Souvlaki

Souvlaki from the food pavilion the ekka 2017 Gary Lum
Souvlaki from the food pavilion (this was yummy)

Cakes, photography and animals

After eating lunch, we searched out the photography competitions and cake decorating. Ms20 has a special interest in the cake decorating. If find the detail in the cake decorating amazing. The talent people have is awe inspiring. Ms20 has a strong cake decorating bent, I’ve often suggested she consider entering competitions.

Cakes

Cake decorating at The Ekka the ekka 2017 Gary Lum
Cake decorating at The Ekka 2017
Cake decorating at The Ekka the ekka 2017 Gary Lum
Cake decorating at The Ekka 2017
Cake decorating at The Ekka the ekka 2017 Gary Lum
Cake decorating at The Ekka 2017

After that, we wander and wander and wander around as many exhibits as we can. I really like visiting all the animal pavilions and seeing them. There’s just something special about seeing real animals, alive and up close and realise they live and die for us to be able to eat them and gain nourishment from them. I’m grateful for farmers who rear the beasts and then send them to abattoirs. At abattoirs, the animals are killed cleanly and efficiently and then butchered so we can have meat on our dinner tables every day. It’s circle of life stuff. It’s worth thinking about the life and death of an animal so we can appreciate it more.

Primary producers really should get more recognition for feeding us. I know we import a lot of food from Asia and we export a lot of our high quality produce to Asia. The buy cheap sell high approach helps our economy to grow. While I do bemoan the cost of produce compared with other economies, at least we have access to food in plentiful supply and in Australia, especially with our government managed welfare systems, the vast majority of people don’t experience famine. While we do have homelessness and poverty, our governments past and present have all maintained and sustained welfare systems which will provide assistance to everyone who needs it.

Amongst the animal pavillions, a dog collar is purchased and we enjoy a cow milking exhibition with milk, butter, cream, butter milk, curds, whey and cheese all being made in front of us.

Piglets

Animals at The Ekka 2017 Gary Lum
Animals at The Ekka 2017

Cows being milked

Cow being milked the ekka 2017 Gary Lum
Cow being milked
Cow at The Ekka. Her name is Pam. the ekka 2017 Gary Lum
Cow at The Ekka. Her name is Pam.

Clydesdale

Clydesdale at The Ekka 2017 Gary Lum
Clydesdale at The Ekka 2017

Great danes

Dogs at The Ekka 2017 Gary Lum
Dogs at The Ekka 2017

Strawberry Sundae

Once we had our fill of seeing various animals we went in search of a strawberry sundae. These ice cream cones are the stuff of legend. These ice creams are an iconic part of The Ekka. In fact, in my mind, nothing says The Ekka as well as the Strawberry Sundae. The ice cream creations are put together by volunteers and all the profits are donated to The Prince Charles Hospital in Chermside on the North Side of Brisbane. Formerly known as the Chermside Chest Hospital, it’s now a place of amazing medical endeavour with an emphasis on cardiopulmonary health.

Strawberry Sundae

Iconic Ekka Strawberry Sundae The Ekka 2017 Gary Lum
Iconic Ekka Strawberry Sundae | The Ekka 2017

Sideshow alley and showbags

Not much to say other than I bought a Bertie Beetle showbag and we said goodbye to Ms22 who was going to a party that night.

Show meats. Lamb shank, ham hock and turkey legs. The Ekka 2017 Gary Lum
Show meats. Lamb shank, ham hock and turkey legs.
Show bag pavillion at The Ekka 2017 Gary Lum
Show bag pavillion at The Ekka 2017
Bertie Beetle showbag The Ekka 2017 Gary Lum
Bertie Beetle showbag from The Ekka 2017

EkkaNites

After sideshow alley we went to find a seat in the main arena so we could enjoy EkkaNites which is the main entertainment show for the evening with two sets of fire works, a woodchop relay event, precision driving (V8 Holden utes), freestyle moto-X, monster trucks, some form of artistic entertainment and some sort of comedy routine. It’s always good fun and it’s a good way to spend an evening.

While I kept an eye on our seats and things, Ms20 went off looking for dinner. In the 30 minutes she was away, the Machinery Hill stand filled to capacity and I had to keep people from taking her place on the bare concrete “step“.

Ms20 did well and bought burgers. I had one with bacon, cheese, pineapple and beetroot. It was pretty good. I was happy with it.

EkkaNites burger

Hamburger with bacon, pineapple, beetroot and cheese at The Ekka 2017 Gary Lum
Hamburger with bacon, pineapple, beetroot and cheese at The Ekka 2017. (Captured in the dark of night. The iPhone did well to capture any detail.)

Here is the list of the EkkaNites entertainment:

  • Not one but two fireworks shows starting with the Children’s Fireworks presented by MG Motor: ‘Colours of the
  • Great Barrier Reef’ at 6 pm plus the spectacular fireworks finale at 8 pm Jaws of Death Aerial Straight Jacket
  • Escape featuring renowned escape artist Sam Powers
  • Horse Archery Combat Show The Rooftop Express Brumby Muster
  • Showtime FMX Battle for the Golden Helmet Ekka’s Tribute to the Holden Precision Driving Team presented by
  • Track skill V8 Show
  • Monster Trucks – Devils Taxi & Tropical Thunder featuring the RACQ LifeFlight Helicopter

Fireworks

Fireworks at EkkaNites at The Ekka 2017 Gary Lum
Fireworks at EkkaNites at The Ekka 2017

The bus ride home

It had been a full day and at about 9 pm we had one last Strawberry Sundae in Sideshow Alley and then took the Chermside 333 back to the Chermside Interchange.

Sunday morning

After another night of coughing, I awoke and called Miss16 to see how she felt. She was feeling significantly better but very congested with some back pain. She was well enough though to come out for breakfast.

We ended up at Cafe Cherry Beans in Chermside. Ms22 brought her BF along and so seven of us enjoyed a nice breakfast. I ended up having a very nice bacon and fried eggs roll with BBQ sauce. We all enjoyed our meals although we all wish the knives were serrated steak knives because the toast was difficult to cut with the standard dinner knives.

Bacon and fried eggs roll

Bacon and fried eggs roll with BBQ sauce The Ekka 2017 Gary Lum
Bacon and fried eggs roll with BBQ sauce

All good things must come to an end

I flew back to Canberra with a group of school students.

School students on the flight to Canberra The Ekka 2017 Gary Lum
School students on the flight to Canberra

I had a great weekend with my family. Brisbane was lovely and warm. Did I mention that on Saturday the maximum temperature got to 29 °C? It was perfect for an August day in Brisbane (this is the sort of Winter I like). There were none of those dreaded westerly winds which evaporates all the moisture in the air. The air was still and in the crowd, the air was moist with humidity.

Final words

I love The Ekka. I could go by myself, but The Ekka is for family and even though we missed the company of Miss16, it was still a good time. Hopefully, in 2018, we’ll have Miss17 (as she will be then) with us.

Spending time with my daughters and parents is the most precious time I have. It was good to be able to help Dad buy a new telephone handset, help Mum fix a few things on her iPad and just be with my daughters.

As I finish writing this, it’s Sunday evening. I’m back in cold dry Canberra and thinking about the week ahead but also planning my next time with my family.

Chicken Kiev with salad (lettuce, tomato, spring onion, sunflower seeds, lemon juice, lemon zest and olive oil). The Ekka 2017 Gary Lum
Chicken Kiev with salad (lettuce, tomato, spring onion, sunflower seeds, lemon juice, lemon zest and olive oil).

Blergh

Hot chips and potato scallops Gary Lum

Blergh

Is blergh a word? It’s how I feel. The last week I’ve been coughing and feeling slightly febrile with a mild constant headache. It’s like an aborted viral infection. I just wish it would abort completely so I could feel better. There is some mild nasal and paranasal congestion but none of the usual common cold symptoms and no muscle and joint aches and pains associated with influenza. Is it a low-grade enteroviral infection? Who knows? It’s enough to take the shine off every day. I am awake through most of the night so I feel exhausted. I just wish I could sleep. I have this overwhelming feeling of fatigue.

The worst thing is I’m about to spend some time away with my daughters and parents. I don’t want to be sick near Mum and Dad. They are very frail and if they get an infection it takes them so much longer to recover. I also want to enjoy the time with my daughters and not be coughing and spluttering all the time.

This week

So apart from feeling under the weather, what else has been happening this week? Work has been fairly busy and I’ve been doing a little travelling for work. On Wednesday I was in Sydney for a meeting and on Thursday I was in Melbourne. The weather in Melbourne was a little like Canberra in September. It was fresh, meaning it was cold, and there was a strong wind during most of the day. During the meeting, I was told that Melbourne Airport had closed a runway and to expect delays. That’s the last thing anyone likes to hear when all they want to do is finish a day’s work and get back to their abode. While the flight was delayed, it was only by 30 minutes and the tail wind meant the delay into Canberra was only about 10 minutes from the scheduled arrival time. In my mind that was sufficient excuse to not cook, so as I drove back to the flat I stopped at Jamison Takeaway and got a serving of chips and some potato scallops.

You know I’m not feeling that flash when I don’t finish the chips. I finished the potato scallops but only about half the chips. The remainder is in the freezer. I’ll work out what to do with them another time. I’ve come across a few old chip recipes lately so I may do one of those.

Hot chips and potato scallops cure the blergh

Hot chips and potato scallops Gary Lum after feeling blergh
Hot chips and potato scallops

APSC guidance on social media

I suppose the big news this week has been a revision and release of the Australian Public Service Commissions (APSC) guidance on public servants and their use of social media (“Making public comment on social media“). You can find the new guidance document here. It’s not really much different to the previous version and if anything the revised version clarifies the intent and meaning of the document. I know some people are concerned, but for me, I don’t mind it. It’s made it clear to me that on social media I do need to be careful not just about comments I may make but also how I react to material shared by others, i.e., liking and sharing material on social media can leave an impression with a reader. In addition, I need to be more conscious that anything I write or say on social media can be shared even if that is not my intention. While most of my accounts are public, some are private, but all it takes is for someone to capture a screenshot and if it’s clearly a comment made by me it’s as good as me sharing it. The same holds for private e-mail which can be forwarded on or elements can be captured as a screenshot and shared. This may signal a return of making telephone calls using standard telephone services. I wonder about services like FaceTime and Skype whether the audio and video are retained in the cloud for long. I know that the audio when using Siri is kept by Apple for up to 2 years after we’ve asked Siri a question. The difficulty is that for most of my online friends, I wouldn’t know their telephone number to make a call to say hello. For some friends though, a telephone call is so much better. I’m pretty boring on the telephone, but with the right person I can speak for hours.

How will the revised guidelines affect me?

So what do the revised APSC guidelines mean for me and my multitude of social media accounts? I’ll carry on much the same as usual. I don’t make comments about political events, especially domestic politics. I rarely make comments about events that are culturally topical. On Medical Fun Facts I steer clear of anything I’m working on. Yummy Lummy is a food blog and I’ve recently taken to just having recipes there with the occasional review. The only problem with my food blog is that there will be some people who may object to a health professional sharing recipes that don’t necessarily align with current health doctrine. I see that more of a professional issue than a work related matter as a public servant. Here, on My Thoughts and Stuff I’ve been careful not to engage in political commentary so I think in terms of blogging and podcasting I’m doing the right thing. When it comes to Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram I will need to be more conscious of the things I write and post, but more importantly, I need to be more mindful when I like something or share or retweet or regram something.
If anyone who reads my blog posts or other social media activity, feels I’ve crossed a line, please tell me. I want to make sure I stay within the APSC guidance.

So, back to feeling blergh. I hope in the next week I pick up and feel better. I really don’t like blergh!

I desire mutton flaps

Yes, this is a sheep I drew displaying where the mutton flaps are Gary Lum

I desire mutton flaps

Mutton=sheep meat, older than lamb meat, fuller in flavour but slightly tougher
Flaps=Not what most people seem to think, stop thinking what you’re thinking!
Mutton flaps=older tougher flaps of meat that are good to eat

A few months ago I was in a lecture for Australian Government medical officers who are based in Canberra. The lecture was from Prof. Sharon Friel from the Australian National University. She was speaking about policy coherence in a health context with some emphasis on international trade. Sharon mentioned the problem with New Zealand (and to a much lesser extent, Australia) selling mutton flaps to people in Tonga and the contribution this trade has had in Tonga’s obesity outbreak.

Sharon displayed a drawing of a sheep which made it clear that mutton flaps are the breast meat from the lamb or sheep. This meat is about 50:50 fat to meat and the fat is saturated fat. It’s full of flavours and when spit roasted the delicious aroma spreads through market places. These market places were traditionally for trading deep sea fish, but because the fish fetch a better price on the export market and because mutton flaps taste so good, the diet of many Tongans has changed from being fish-based to red meat based with huge amounts of fat.

Yes, this is a sheep I drew displaying where the mutton flaps are Gary Lum
Mutton flaps

As you may imagine, especially if you know me, as soon as Sharon began describing the mutton flaps I was on Google looking up recipes and where I might find mutton flaps in Canberra. I promise I did listen to her lecture and I did take away strong messages about the importance of policy coherence and ensuring policy development considers wider ramifications, especially health ramifications. I also promise I didn’t go to Urban Dictionary to see if an inappropriate thought was recorded there (or not).

It turns out that mutton flaps are used extensively to make doner kebabs and apart from the market to Tonga, most Australian mutton flaps go into pet food. This means that your dogs and cats are getting a good loading of ovine saturated fat in their diet. If I understand the canning process correctly, the meat will be super tender and very tasty.

Anyway, I discovered that mutton flaps could be purchased on the south side and north side of Canberra. Given I’m a dweller of the north and rarely venture to the south of Canberra, I visited the Belconnen Markets this morning at 7 am with a view to getting some mutton flaps to fulfil my carnal desires. To my dismay, I was told that each week all the mutton flaps are bought by a regular customer and they don’t keep any extras. I asked about other vendors in the market and was told no one stocks mutton flaps. It sounds like if I want mutton flaps, I’m going to have to put in an advance order and that may take some time. So what’s a boy to do when he wants to get his lips into some mutton flaps?

Dejected I went on to do my grocery shopping at Westfield Belconnen. In Coles, I came across some scrappy looking meat and noticed they were lamb offcuts. They looked like ribs with quite a bit of meat and fat on them. In my mind, these may as well be mutton flaps. So I bought about $7 worth and started thinking about how to cook them.

Lamb bones ready for slowly roasting Gary Lum
Lamb bones ready for slowly roasting

Now if you want to see how it all turned out, you’ll need to venture to Yummy Lummy and check out the post on slowly roasted lamb bones. Sadly, there’s not much over there about policy coherence though.

Changing the subject to a change on my blogs

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve made a change to the way I’m handling comments here and over at Yummy Lummy.

I’ve been noticing some strange online behaviour here with odd comments. Basically spam but not in the usual spam structure. No links and no abuse, but the comments seemed to be from random people who I had not reached out to and who didn’t seem engaged with the blog. When I saw it I would remove it. I thought the safest thing to do would be to moderate all comments so I had a greater level of control.

Of more concern, I’ve also had a sort of reverse problem with some good (online) friends not being able to comment and their words ending up in my spam folders. I hope by increasing the control I have over comments, this problem will be ameliorated.

Trolls

This raises the issue of online trolls. I’ve been really fortunate that I can count on the number of fingers of one hand the number of times I’ve been trolled on my personal sites (including Medical Fun Facts). On the other hand, from time to time at work, I get abusive messages but that’s very different. Friends who keep an eye open for me have sent some interesting screenshots from various social media accounts. It would be inappropriate to describe these in any detail here but it’s one of the reasons why I try to be polite, friendly and courteous here. There are a few safe spaces where I can be more myself online and in those forums, it is nice to be amongst like-minded people.

When online, I usually write with trolls in mind. I’m not wanting to be controversial and if I have anything controversial to write I’ll try to couch it carefully. Even on my Medical Fun Facts blog/podcast/YouTube when I’m a bit out there, e.g., I have a strong position in favour of conventional medicine including vaccination, I try to make sure I’m on solid ground.

Spam

It remains a constant problem and what I don’t get is with good anti-spam products like Akismet, why do spammers bother. Unlike the tasty canned pork product, I hate online spam, especially now malware and ransomware are becoming more common.

Spam
Gary Lum spam

If anyone has ever sent me an e-mail and I’ve not responded, I’m sorry. Unless I know you, I’ll probably delete the e-mail.

Other posts you may like to read

Is my drawing getting any better?

My warped and twisted mind

10 reasons why podcasting is fun

 

Maybe I shouldn’t celebrate with food!

Six hour slow cooked brisket with olive sourdough bread and some mustard Gary Lum

Food is great to celebrate with but gout sucks. I’m thinking in future I should be more careful with my dietary choices.

Now, just a warning, this is a bit of a rambling post with little to no direction!

So no photographs from a walk around Lake Ginninderra this weekend. I didn’t even manage to walk to the shops, I had to drive. You see my left ankle is in excruciating pain. Well, it would be if it wasn’t for the miracle of modern medicine that are pharmaceutical products aimed to reduce and mask pain.

Let me backtrack a bit. In my past, I’ve had the occasional episode of gout. For those that don’t know, gout is an accumulation of uric acid and in some joints, the uric acid precipitates as crystals in the synovial fluid. A gouty joint is a painful joint. In medical school, we were taught that even the weight of a sheet can cause excruciating pain in a gouty toe. It’s all true. Each time I’ve experienced gout the pain is indeed excruciating and when I lay down to sleep I need to build a little tent at the foot of my bed with pillows to avoid anything touching my foot.

In the past, my experience with gout has always been associated with attempts to lose weight, usually by consuming fewer carbohydrates with a concomitant increase in animal protein. Gout is associated with an increased intake of purines and pyrimidines in the diet. These things are found in the nuclei of cells, so when you have lots of rapidly dividing cells you get lots of purines and pyrimidines. These are found in all meat including red meat and especially meat from the reticuloendothelial system, like liver. The highest concentration will be found in products like bone marrow which is becoming very popular in cooking shows like Master Chef and My Kitchen Rules. So if you supplement your diet with pâté and lots of red meat, gout may be a frequent visitor.

So it’s strange that I’m suffering this weekend. I haven’t been trying to lose weight despite wanting to lose weight. My diet hasn’t been particularly rich in protein and rapidly dividing cells. I’ve been eating a good amount of vegetable matter. However, it’s also winter, so I admit my water intake could be better but I do drink a lot of fluids.

On Friday, I received a little good news and felt like celebrating.

I bought 21 pieces of KFC and enjoyed dinner and used the leftover KFC for a chicken casserole.

Friday night, as has become a tradition, was crapulent. I was awake at 2 am and couldn’t really get to sleep until about 5.30 am and then it was basically time to get out of bed. Why do I regularly experience insomnia on a Friday night? When I stepped out of bed, my left ankle started to hurt. I did wonder if I had hurt it the previous day when I rolled it slightly. The pain progressively got worse over the course of the day and by the early afternoon, I had assumed it was the beginning of an episode of gout. I found some Indomethacin and began the antiinflammatory treatment.

Now, chicken isn’t on the list of gouty foods, but I do eat quite a bit of chicken and salmon. I’ve been deliberately reducing my red meat consumption. I’m a little worried that I may end up having more episodes of gout. I’ll have to restart uric acid lowering medication, be more careful about my diet and drink a lot more water.

I think my attitude to food needs to change too. It’s tough though. I’m always thinking about food. When I arrive at work I think about lunch. After lunch, I think about tea. On Thursdays, I think about Friday take away and on Fridays, I ponder what I can buy and cook and eat on the weekend.

So, what do I do? Well, it has to be more vegetables, less red meat and a lot more water.

So less of this

Slow cooked brisket ready for carving and eating Gary Lum
Slow cooked brisket ready for carving and eating
Six hour slow cooked brisket with olive sourdough bread and some mustard Gary Lum
Six-hour slow cooked brisket with olive sourdough bread and some mustard

Don’t do this as often

KFC for dinner, a selection from a 21 piece bucket. Gary Lum
KFC for dinner, a selection from a 21 piece bucket.

And more of this

Bacon salad with avocado, lime zest, celery, and pear Gary Lum
Bacon salad with avocado, lime zest, celery, and pear

 

Is it getting warmer or is this a false sense of security?

Lake Ginninderra and some floating buoys Gary Lum

Warmer weather would be very welcome. In the last post, I shared some images of frost in Canberra. When I woke up this morning I was feeling quite upbeat. It felt warmer, life was good, so I went for a walk. I needed to go out early. I needed to clean the flat today for a rental inspection this week. For a one bedroom place, it doesn’t take much to get it messy! I need to be more diligent. I tend to focus on other things. I need to regiment myself to be more disciplined.

It was indeed warmer with the temperature an almost ‘balmy’ 5 °C. I didn’t carry my camera with me, I went out in a hoodie and armed with my iPhone.

There were really only a couple of photographs worth editing and sharing.

The lack of clouds and the mild wind made crisp reflections with a moody sky difficult so I was content with some colours on the lake.

Looking warmer

Lake Ginninderra and some floating buoys Gary Lum
Lake Ginninderra and some floating buoys

I like the colours of these bollards on the lake.

Bollards on Lake Ginninderra Gary Lum
Bollards on Lake Ginninderra

I’m really getting quite sick of winter. I know there is a debate about seasonal affective disorder (SAD), I’m inclined to believe the weather really does influence my mood.

On the way home I had a few friends on Instagram tell me about a chocolate sale at Coles. Would you believe, I’m yet to crack one of these open. It’s hard to believe I know.

Lindt chocolate on special Gary Lum
Lindt chocolate on special

And that was when the shine went off the day. I’m not going to go into details, but I ended up in bed just trying to work out some things in my head. I have things to learn in life even at the age of 52. I can still be an idiot.

In addition, I fear this week’s podcast will be a little flat. I made an error with the lighting and made the decision to still record video and audio, but the YouTube show will be a still image with some scrolling text in parts. If you’re interested, this link will be live Monday night 24 July 2017 at 7 pm Canberra time https://youtu.be/rEFD5QP-tNs

Can you guess what the show is about from this drawing I did earlier? I’m not convinced my drawing is getting any better. Episode 76 drops tomorrow (Monday) night at 7 pm Canberra time.

Medical Fun Facts Ep 76 Cryptococcus | A defecating pigeon Gary Lum
Medical Fun Facts Ep 76 | A defecating pigeon

I made pineapple pork and rice for dinner. I just didn’t have the desire for anything complex like a slow cooker meal today. packet rice, pork and some pineapple. That’s it.

Pineapple pork with rice Gary Lum
Pineapple pork with rice

The highlight today has been a FaceTime session with my two youngest daughters.

Other posts which may interest you

 

Learning to ride a bike

 

Canberra is continuing to crush salmonella but not in a good way

Frosty reflections

Frost on the grass near Lake Ginninderra Gary Lum

Frosty reflections on and around Lake Ginninderra

While I don’t count widespread frost as one of the positives from a winter in Canberra, the cold mornings mean still waters on Canberra’s artificial lakes and that means frosty reflections. It’s hard not to admire reflections in still water with a bright pure blue sky.

This morning when I woke it was –6.6 °C (20.12 °F). As I peered out my kitchen window I saw mist gently moving over the surface of the lake. The bright sunlight causing light to flare from the mist in all directions as blinding flashes inside my little flat.

Weather forecast at 6 am

I can see these images every week and I will still delight in seeing them again and again.

As I walked around Lake Ginninderra I reflected on many things. Work, friends, family, wants, needs, the cold, the future…

Frost on the grass near Lake Ginninderra Gary Lum frosty reflections
Frost on the grass near Lake Ginninderra

I pondered new friendships and the enormous joy it brings to meet new people and know that I’ve had some part in bringing them joy.

frosty reflections Reflective selfie while walking past shops on Emu Bank. I saw a reflection of me and stopped and noticed the dome shape of my bald head! Gary Lum
Reflective selfie while walking past shops on Emu Bank. I saw a reflection of me and stopped and noticed the dome shape of my bald head!

This past week has had a couple of significant encounters, one professional and one personal. Such encounters bring meaning to life.

Joy can also be found in the beauty (albeit natural beauty in an artificial construct) of highly saturated colours that come naturally in Canberra with brilliant sunshine through pollution-free skies on a nearby lake.

Then there is the joy in satisfying my desires associated with routines. I walked around the lake twice this weekend. I recorded a podcast. I read blogs. I listened to podcasts. I watched YouTube videos. I shared thoughts and feelings online with friends.

Reflections on Lake Ginninderra Sunday 16 July 2017 Gary Lum
Reflections on Lake Ginninderra Sunday 16 July 2017
Reflections on Lake Ginninderra Sunday 16 July 2017 Gary Lum
Reflections on Lake Ginninderra Sunday 16 July 2017
Reflections on Lake Ginninderra Sunday 16 July 2017 Gary Lum
Reflections on Lake Ginninderra Sunday 16 July 2017
Reflections on Lake Ginninderra Sunday 16 July 2017 Gary Lum
Reflections on Lake Ginninderra Sunday 16 July 2017
I recorded Medical Fun Facts Ep 75 Bordetella Part II today Gary Lum
I recorded Medical Fun Facts Ep 75 Bordetella Part II today. The show will drop Monday 17 July at 7 pm Canberra time.

Then there are the incidental things. Chocolate. My football team winning (Brisbane Broncos defeated the Newcastle Knights last night). A small piece of beef slowly cooking in my slow cooker and filling my flat with the aromas of onions, celery, carrot, meat and potatoes.

M&Ms and coffee Gary Lum
M&Ms and coffee

Weekends like this, even with the cold, with frosty reflections, are worth living.

Frosty Reflections on Lake Ginninderra Gary Lum
Reflections on Lake Ginninderra
Frost on the bridge near the Belconnen Skate Park Gary Lum frosty reflections
Frost on the bridge near the Belconnen Skate Park

Tell me, dear reader, do you like frosty reflections?

What brings you joy?

Other posts you may enjoy

How to make the most of 4 nights in Cairns

 

A simple-minded joy in learning new things in Adobe Photoshop

 

A simple-minded joy in learning new things in Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop is a program I’m trying to learn

From time to time I get asked why I like photography, social media, blogging, podcasting and YouTubing. My usual response is because I get a kick out of learning new things, learning how to use bits of hardware, learning new software and basically converting electrons into stuff.

Today I combined a little photography and something I learned in Adobe Photoshop. I knew you could do short video editing in Photoshop but making a video for Instagram has helped me understand better how to use Photoshop.

An embedded Instagram video from my main account.

I learnt a new Photoshop technique today 😃👍 #photoshop #summer

A post shared by Gary Lum (@garydlum) on

Obviously, this isn’t something I can do on my iPhone, I need a desktop or laptop running the full version of Photoshop.

I’m continuously amazed at just how much can be done on a smartphone. If you noticed in the epic post I wrote about my recent holiday I took in Cairns, many of the photographs I posted were edited in Snapseed including the addition of some text.

The same video embedded in this blog post

You basically create a new document making sure you use a square template 1080 × 1080. Add a new layer and move in a photograph. In a new layer add a solid colour, e.g., black and reduce the opacity to between 20 and 30 per cent. In a new layer add some text and depending on how many text elements you want, add more text layers. In the Windows menu select timeline which brings up a timeline with all the layers separated. From there you can edit each layer and review with the scrubber. Then you export to video. Save as a mp4 file and Bob’s your uncle.

What I did today

I ate of course

Breakfast

Butter with some Raisin toast from Everbean Espresso Bar. I do like butter, perhaps a little too much. I also enjoy the coffee from Everbean Espresso Bar.

Raisin toast with butter from Everbean Espresso Bar Gary Lum
Raisin toast with butter from Everbean Espresso Bar

Lunch

Jalapeño Spam and streaky bacon salad. I cut up a slice of Spam and cut it into cubes. I cooked the Spam with some streaky bacon in the oven and then put a salad together.

Jalapeño Spam and streaky bacon salad Gary Lum
Jalapeño Spam and streaky bacon salad

Tea

Naked beef burger with grilled pineapple. The beef mince pattie had a small amount of smoked cheddar cheese in the middle which melted as it cooked.

Naked beef burger with grilled pineapple and a smoked cheese core with beetroot, chilli, lettuce, tomato and celery Gary Lum
Naked beef burger with grilled pineapple and a smoked cheese core with beetroot, chilli, lettuce, tomato and celery

I walked around Lake Ginninderra

A little photography incorporating some bracketed shots which were merged in Adobe Lightroom.

Lake Ginninderra
Lake Ginninderra
Lake Ginninderra

Other posts you may like to read

How to make the most of 4 nights in Cairns

 

Learning to ride a bike

Best sleep ever

A fish out of water

 

Footy food round up for the 2017 State of Origin series

#footyfood #origin Chicken Maryland, potato gems and avocado #qlder Gary Lum

So for those readers who live in Queensland and New South Wales, you’re already aware of the State of Origin series’s result. For everyone else, whether you are aware of it or not, my favourite team sport is Rugby League and my favourite competition is the State of Origin clash between Queensland and New South Wales.

There was a lot of hype this year that the NSW Blues were ready to create an upset. Over the last eleven years, Queensland had won ten series. NSW won in 2014, which at the time seemed like a change was imminent, however in 2015 and 2016, NSW just couldn’t do it. In the first game of 2017, the Mighty XXXX Queensland Maroons went down in a heap. There were quite a few star players missing and it really felt like the VB NSW Blues were going to overwhelm us this year. In the second game, the Mighty Maroons played amazing football and evened the score one game a piece. This week we had the third and final game of the series. There was so much hype, commentators and sports aficionados were claiming this was going to be the most important game of rugby league ever. In the end, despite not having a star player like Jonothan Thurston, the Mighty XXXX Queensland Maroons outplayed the hapless VB NSW Blues for all but about 15 to 20 minutes of the 80-minute clash. It was more than enough to blood some debutants and seal as a legendary side the force of Queensland.

As many who know me know, I tend to be a Queenslander first and foremost above all else. I’m still grinning from ear to ear.

But enough of that, the title of this post was a round up of the food I ate for each game. I’ve already mentioned what I’d eaten in game one and game two. For game three, I’d been a tad busy and didn’t really have the time I would have liked to prepare so I went with a very simple chicken and potato combination. Two Chicken Maryland pieces along with the cheesy potato gems (tater tots for my North American friends).

Game 1

State of Origin Footy food cheerios wrapped in puff pastry with potato gems Queenslander Gary Lum
State of Origin Footy food cheerios wrapped in puff pastry with potato gems
Queenslander

Game 2

Roast chicken and potato scallops from Jamison Takeaway Gary Lum
Roast chicken and potato scallops from Jamison Takeaway

Game 3

#footyfood #origin Chicken Maryland, potato gems and avocado #qlder Gary Lum
#footyfood #origin Chicken Maryland, potato gems and avocado #qlder

Honourable mention

On Thursday night I didn’t feel like cooking so I went to the Jamison Takeaway and the woman serving me was wearing a Queensland Maroons jumper and she was very attractive, so I figure I should also show you what I may have also had for a footy food feast too.

Battered fish and potato scallops Gary Lum
Battered fish and potato scallops

If you’re from North America, do you have a favourite football team?

If you’re from Queensland or New South Wales, which NRL team do you support?

If you don’t care for rugby league, what’s your favourite team sport?

Please share with me in the comments so I can get to know you better.