Australian finger lime love 💚 and enhancing baked beans with anchovies

This is a photograph of three Australian finger limes on a cutting board.

Finger lime love 💚

Before we get to me expressing love for the Australian finger lime…

Three Australian finger limes

This is a photograph of three Australian finger limes on a cutting board.

Visitor behaviour at Yummy Lummy

Earlier in the year, I mentioned a spike in views on Yummy Lummy as a result of the vanilla slice article written by Jolene Laverty.

This week I noticed a similar spike. However, the difference was a high number of views without a corresponding number of visitors. I could see the visitors were likely from Australia when I interrogated Google Analytics.

Graph showing a spike in views

Graph of Yummy Lummy blog statistics

I hope whoever was trawling through Yummy Lummy found whatever he or she was looking for. It’s not the first time. I’ve written previously about internet and social media trolling and the unpleasant behaviour that can occur when people try to make life difficult. I’d prefer people who have an issue with me to confront me directly rather than in roundabout ways. If whoever was doing it was after something to have a go at me, feel free to contact me.

It would be nice to think whoever it was, was looking through recipes, however, the posts that were visited weren’t recipe posts and many of them were from between two and four years ago.

If you’re reading this and wondering how do I know what visitors were looking at, it should come as no surprise at just how useful Google Analytics is for bloggers.

Finger lime love 💚

Have you ever enjoyed the mouthfeel of the firm juice-filled sacs of the Australian finger lime? It’s not so much the smooth sacs of juice but the little explosions of tangy goodness as you move your tongue and gently squeeze the sacs as you masticate. The result is a cascade of spurts of refreshing nectar.

Finger lime enhanced fennel salad with Coles chicken Kiev

This is a photograph of Saturday dinner. Coles chicken Kiev with finger lime fennel salad.

Finger limes are native to Australia and are now a so-called gourmet product popularised by Australian TV cooks and chefs. I’m not sure if finger limes are exported or if the shrub can be grown overseas for commercial cultivation. You can find more about Citrus australasica on Wikipedia.

I remember the first time I tried finger limes. It was in a salad at a Canberra restaurant, viz., Black Fire Restaurant in Braddon. The next time was around Christmas a few years ago and a friend added the taut juice-filled vesicles to some fresh plump Sydney oysters with mirin and miso. Best oysters ever.

So this week I found some finger limes in Coles and thought the translucent caviar-like vesicles of happiness would go well with a fennel and lime salad. I served the salad with a little leftover roast lamb shoulder which I had cooked on Sunday evening.

One of my favourite flavours is lime and I usually make my fennel salad with lime zest 💚 and lime juice.

Valentine’s day

My gut feeling is that this day didn’t gain much traction locally. While social media was full of red roses and romantic wishes from Tweeps and Facebook friends, I hardly saw any evidence of Valentine’s Day while I was out and about.

As a curmudgeon in-training, my hope would be we could do away with this day forever. I mean, what’s the point?

Florida mass murder

There has been so much written about this already, the facts can be found elsewhere. Regular readers know I don’t express political opinions here, however, what I hadn’t really appreciated until very recently was the drilling school students in the US go through in preparation for active shooter events.

I read a status update from a US-based friend on Facebook and it really hit home just how the lives of school students in the US are dominated by very real threats of injury and death. My friend’s son mentioned how concerned he was about the protocol of locking the classroom door and getting behind desks. He assumed a shooter would shoot out a lock and simply walk in and unload. My friend is an expert in doors, especially locks and security doors and she was able to reassure her son that schools in the US require doors on classrooms to meet some basic requirements and it’s unlikely a lock could be shot out so that the door would simply open.

I hope school students in Australia never have to experience this sort of drill requirement let alone a real active shooter situation. That said, I hope fire and natural disaster drills occur regularly. I remember at Royal Darwin Hospital we had to drill for tropical cyclones and flood events. I remember at the Princess Alexandra Hospital we had regular fire drills which resulted in regular visits from local firefighters. More recently, I’ve participated in fire evacuation drills at the Canberra Hospital and Health Services.

Anchovies

Do you like anchovies? I love the little salty oily fishy tidbits of joy. I really like them on a pizza, even if it’s a plain tomato paste, basil and cheese pizza. The addition of those little fish that go crispy in the pizza oven really enhances the flavour. I was reading a blog post from a food and photography lover in France and he described how he enhanced an humble tin of baked beans by adding a little garlic and anchovies. I did a short show about it over at the Random Yummy episode 3. Please have a listen and let me know what you think.

I tried to do the same thing and made a tin of Heinz baked beans taste so much better.

The anchovies and baked beans I used

This is a photograph of a tin of anchovies and Heinz baked beans on a cutting board.

Sydney

On Tuesday I found myself flying to Sydney for a meeting in the CBD.

Canberra Airport public art

This is a photograph of "The Athlete" at the Canberra Airport. It's a piece of public art depicting a naked woman in the stance of a shot putter.

While there is a lot of criticism of the public art in Canberra, especially the very large sums of money spent on the artworks, I’m a bit of a fan. Most of it is gaudy but for reasons I can’t explain, I like it.

The Athlete is one of my favourite pieces.

Circular Quay fire

This is a photograph from The Exchange building on Bridge Street Sydney. It shows a cruise liner berthed in Circular Quay.

Even though the meeting was scheduled to begin at 10 am, I booked the 6.30 am flight from CBR. The Sydney traffic is unpredictable and flight delays out of CBR can occur. It is fortunate that I did make the early booking. The traffic was very bad, especially in the CBD. There had been a fire which resulted in evacuations and street closures in the CBD. From what I’ve read, gas cylinders exploded and it’s fortunate no one was seriously injured. From what I could see seated in a taxicab; fire, ambulance, and police services were in full swing doing all they could to protect lives and property.

All I could see from the building I was in was a cruise liner and some smoke.

High speed Wi-Fi

A screenshot of an internet speed test showing really good download and upload speeds.

While the humidity of Sydney made me happy it was the free Wi-Fi on offer at the meeting venue which had me ecstatic. It’s not often you go somewhere and you get this sort of quality Wi-Fi. I wish I could get this sort of service in Canberra. I used to think my little MacBook was slow and getting old, but when the internet speed is good, that little machine sings sweetly.

Chicken Kiev and the MEATER3®

The MEATER®️ inserted into a chicken Kiev

This is a photograph of a chicken Kiev with the MEATER deeply inserted.

One of my most visited posts on Yummy Lummy is How long do you cook a Coles Chicken Kiev. Now that I have a MEATER® meat thermometer, I wanted to see what the ideal cooking time would be.

I used 75 °C/165 °F as my target temperature and went for it. You can read the new post at Yummy Lummy. It was a good quality assurance exercise. Check out the post to read why.

What I ate this week

I wasn’t as diligent this week with my food photography. I was in meetings for much of it.

Monday dinner

Baked crispy skin salmon with a stir-fried kale slaw

This is a photograph of Monday dinner. Oven baked torch seared salmon with stir-fried kale slaw.

Tuesday dinner

I went out to the local Canberra Southern Cross Club and had a chicken schnitzel with beans, guacamole and sour cream.

This is a photograph of Tuesday dinner. Mexican chicken schnitzel with chips and salad.

Wednesday dinner

Chicken Maryland with anchovy and garlic baked beans served with crispy Brussels sprouts.

This is a photograph of Wednesday dinner. Garlic and anchovy baked beans chicken maryland with crispy Brussels sprouts.

Thursday dinner

Leftover lamb with finger lime enhanced fennel salad.

This is a photograph of Thursday dinner. Finger lime enhanced rosemary lamb and fennel salad with Australian finger lime.

Friday lunch

Chicken schnitzel with chips and gravy.

This is a photograph of Friday Lunch. Chicken schnitzel with chips and gravy.

Friday dinner

Leftover lamb with spicy creamy cheesy vegetables

This is a photograph of Friday dinner. Super spicy leftover lamb with cheesy creamy Brussels sprouts.

Saturday breakfast

Baked eggs and Spam

This is a photograph of Saturday breakfast. Spam and baked eggs with cheese.

Saturday lunch

Chicken salad

This is a photograph of Saturday lunch. Chicken salad sans dressing.

Saturday dinner

Coles chicken Kiev with finger lime enhanced fennel salad

This is a photograph of Saturday dinner. Coles chicken Kiev with Australian finger lime fennel salad.

Sunday breakfast

Cheesy seedy baked Spam with poached eggs garnished with dill and parsley

This is a photograph of Sunday breakfast. Poached eggs with Spam 💚

Sunday lunch

McDonald’s (Maccas) McNuggets (Nugs)

This is a photograph of Sunday lunch. McDonalds McNuggets (Nugs) and mustard.

Final words

So dear reader, what do you have planned for the coming week? Have you had weird behaviour on your blog? Have you tried the Australian finger lime? What would you sacrifice for decent internet speeds?

Feel free to interact in the comments or via Twitter or Facebook.

Catch you next week.

Oops I ate too much

This is a weight chart showing my daily weigh in since the beginning of 2018. I've marked the weight I recorded this morning 79.5 kg.

Oops I ate too much

I’ve been relatively well behaved this week in terms of my food consumption but the end of the week saw me blow out a lot.

This is a weight chart showing my daily weigh in since the beginning of 2018. I've marked the weight I recorded this morning 79.5 kg.

It started on Friday when I chose the staff special chicken schnitzel with chips and gravy for $10.50. That evening I went a little further and enjoyed a crispy Balsamic Brussels sprouts and Spam dish with fennel salad.

This is a photograph of the staff special chicken schnitzel with chips and gravy.

This is a photograph of a plate of crispy Balsamic Brussels sprouts with Spam and a limey fennel salad 💚

On Saturday morning I weighed in at 78.5 kg/173 pounds and enjoyed a Coon cheese® omelet with sesame and poppy seeds. The real weekend splurging started at lunch when I bought a plate of roast pork, applesauce, potato bake and roast vegetables from Fancy Fillings at Westfield Belconnen. I asked for a small plate. A big plate must be huge.

This is a photograph of Saturday lunch. Small pork and vegetables plate from Fancy Fillings at Westfield Belconnen..

Saturday dinner was huge with a 300 gram/10.6 once piece of scotch fillet steak plus cheesy horseradish cream roasted vegetables. Not to mention the bags of almonds and cashews I ate in the afternoon.

This is a photograph of rare scotch fillet steak served with cheesy creamy horseradish roasted vegetables.

When I weighed myself this morning (Sunday, 11 February 2018) I was 79.5 kilograms/175.3 pounds. An ordinary bloke would look at that and think he should refocus and be more careful with what I ate today. Not me though, I had a special date to keep.

Dobinsons has recently opened at Westfield Belconnen and I’ve been enjoying a coffee every Saturday and Sunday. Today I was due to claim my free coffee and cake 😃💚👍😋🍰 Of course what cake would I choose but a vanilla slice.

This is a photograph of the coffee I bought on Saturday with my Dobinsons coffee card showing the next coffee would be free and I'd also get a piece of cake.

This is a photograph of a cup of coffee and a vanilla slice from Dobinsons Westfield Belconnen.

What else has been happening?

I’ve been missing podcasting. I have been planning a regular weekly show which will be called the Yummy Lummy Cooking for one Podcast. I’ve been prevaricating though, I’ve been busy and the planning has been placed on the back burner. The feeling to do something hasn’t gone away though and I thought I needed something short sharp and random. Hence, the Random Yummy.

I’ve recorded two episodes and dropped them Friday and Saturday night. The first was on cooking Balsamic Brussels sprouts and the second was on cooking a cheese omelet with seeds. These shows will drop randomly and you can listen to them in your favourite podcatcher. Just search for Yummy Lummy and hopefully you’ll find them. If you like them, please subscribe.

MEATER® review

Last night I released a review on my MEATER® meat thermometer. I really like using it. It’s so easy, the iOS app works well, and so far, the meat has been perfect. I’m cooking a lump of lamb with it tonight.

What I’ve eaten this week

Monday

Lunch

Leftover chicken thigh and a recipe

This is a photograph of Monday lunch. Leftover chicken thigh seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic powder. I’m reading a recipe.

Dinner

Baked salmon and fennel salad

Tuesday

Lunch

Leftover salmon

Dinner

Pork chop and stir-fried kale slaw

Wednesday

Lunch

Leftover chicken thigh and reading about date formats

Wednesday lunch. Leftover chicken thigh while reading about formatting dates. I prefer YYYYMMDD.

Dinner

Bacon and cheese wrapped chicken maryland with fennel salad

Thursday

Lunch

Leftover chicken thigh and dreaming of Spam

This is a photograph of Thursday lunch. Leftover chicken thigh with sugar-free creaming soda, while reading my Hawaiian Spam cookbook.

Dinner

Chicken maryland and more fennel salad

Friday

Lunch

Chicken schnitzel with chips and gravy

This is a photograph of the staff special chicken schnitzel with chips and gravy.

Dinner

Crispy Balsamic Brussels sprouts with Spam and fennel salad

This is a photograph of a plate of crispy Balsamic Brussels sprouts with Spam and a limey fennel salad 💚

Saturday

Breakfast

Coon cheese® omelet with sesame and poppy seeds

Lunch

Roast pork with apple sauce, potato bake and roast vegetables

This is a photograph of Saturday lunch. Small pork and vegetables plate from Fancy Fillings at Westfield Belconnen..

Dinner

Rare scotch fillet steak with cheesy creamy horseradish roasted vegetables

This is a photograph of rare scotch fillet steak served with cheesy creamy horseradish roasted vegetables.

Sunday

Morning tea

Coffee and vanilla slice from Dobinsons at Westfield Belconnen

This is a photograph of a cup of coffee and a vanilla slice from Dobinsons Westfield Belconnen.

Final words

So, I ate too much this weekend. It’s not the end of the world and my goals are still clear. I’m still headed in the right direction.

I hope you have a good week.

On the radio

This is a photograph of a Dog staring behind a tree. It looks like a pointer. It's tail is at a 45 ° angle and the dog is standing erect.

On the radio

So today I was on the radio. Regular readers here and over at Yummy Lummy will know of my love of the iconic Australian pastry treat, viz., the Vanilla Slice. I joined Jolene Laverty on Lish Fejer‘s Sunday Brunch show on ABC Canberra, and we talked about our love of vanilla slice.

As an aside, Who listens to the radio? by The Sports was one of my favourite songs growing up.

I mentioned Jolene earlier in January after she wrote a brilliant piece for The Guardian and she was kind enough to mention my vanilla slice review on Yummy Lummy. Lish reached out to Jolene to appear on her show and she generously extended the invitation to me too. I had a lot of fun. I’ve appeared on radio and TV before when I was working in Darwin, but this was my first in-studio experience.

Jolene had made some vanilla slice after she wasn’t able to buy any at her chosen bakery yesterday. I brought in some from the new Dobinsons Bakery Cafe at Westfield Belconnen. I really liked the flavour of Jolene’s slice. It had a lovely caramel flavour to it and the pastry was thin but it held enough without being friable.

This is a photograph at ABC studios Canberra of Vanilla slice from Jolene Laverty and Dobinsons Bakery cafe. I was on the radio.

The Dobinsons slice was really very good. I brought it in because Jolene had mentioned she hadn’t tried a slice with passionfruit icing. The custard of the Dobinsons’ slide had a near perfect consistency. It was soft and tongueable. As Goose would say, these are the ducks guts.

It was fun eating and talking while on the radio.

Hear me on the radio

You can hear the fun we had from about the 35 minute mark. Click on the link and it opens the ABC site and you can listen to Lish’s entire show from today. We even had the High Commissioner from New Zealand telling us about his favourite vanilla slice too.

More cooking news

This week I received in the mail two products (which I paid for) to help me cook meat. The first is a MEATER® thermometer and the second is an Anova Culinary precision cooker.

MEATER® thermometer

This is a very fancy meat thermometer which despite oven temperatures can communicate via Blue Tooth or Wi-Fi with a smartphone app. While I do own an old fashioned meat thermometer, I like the idea of using something that I can read in real time without having to open the oven door. I’ll be writing a proper review for Yummy Lummy soon.

This is a photograph of my new MEATER probe in its box.

I like that with meat thermometers I won’t overcook my meat. I just need to get the internal temperature to the desired temperature, remove the meat from the heat source and then let my meat rest.

My default for cooking chicken has been to cook for an hour at 200 °C. The meat was always moist but I always wondered if I could cook the muscle for a shorter period. Obviously, cooking chicken requires some care, so getting the internal temperature of the largest muscle bundle to 75 °C is paramount. The MEATER® turned out to be a great aid. I was able to more than halve the cooking time. The flesh was juicy, moist and tender. The juices ran clear and I felt safe.

Last night I cooked a piece of Scotch fillet steak in the oven using my MEATER® and it was delicious. I even went to the extent of searing the outside with a kitchen torch.

Sous Vide Everything

Over many years I’ve contemplated sous vide cooking. I know it’s recently become a fad and up until recently, I had assumed that unless I used old second-hand laboratory equipment I’d be up for a really expensive closed system. I didn’t realise I could purchase a water recirculator and a plastic bucket to do the job.

This is a photograph of the box containing the Anova Culinary Recirculator on a window sill

I’ve been watching Sous Vide Everything on YouTube and the hosts (who are South Americans living in Florida), have convinced me there is an affordable and space conscious way to cook sous vide.

One of my major concerns was where to set up a cooker in the one bedroom flat I rent. There is barely enough space for the bench top oven and induction hob I use. I see that with a detachable water recirculator I can use a plastic bucket to store things and put it away after each use.

While the recirculator arrived this week, I’m still waiting for the plastic bucket and lid. I bought the container via Amazon Australia and expect delivery later this month. I’ll let you know how it goes. I’m excited about cooking salmon and red meat sous vide.

What else happened this week?

Not much really. That said, I did break the 79 kg barrier that I’ve been sitting on for so long. I expect after today’s vanilla slice extravaganza though, I may be approaching 80 kg when I weigh in tomorrow morning 😳 😜

Graph of my weight loss since October 2017

This is a graph demonstrating my weight loss since October 2017. It's a graph of time on the X axis and weight on the Y axis.

What I ate this week

Monday dinner

Baked salmon and a colourful fennel salad

This is a photograph of Monday dinner. Baked poppy and sesame seed, chilli crusted salmon and lime flavoured fennel and radish salad. This is a really colourful photograph.

Tuesday lunch

Leftover salmon

This is a photograph of Tuesday lunch. Leftover salmon with fresh garden tomatoes. You can see the beautiful sweet globes with the leftover salmon.

Tuesday dinner

Chicken Maryland cooked with the help of the MEATER®. The tomatoes were a gift from a workmate. They were amazing.

This is a photograph of Tuesday dinner. Poppy and sesame seed crusted Chicken Maryland with fennel and tomato lime salad. It's really colourful.

Wednesday dinner

Chicken Maryland cooked with the help of the MEATER®

This is a photograph of Wednesday dinner. Celebrating breaking through the 79 kg barrier with #meatermade Chicken Maryland and fennel and tomato salad. Using my MEATER thermometer, I cooked the chicken until it reached an internal temperature of 75 °C and allowed it to rest for 5 minutes. The meat was moist, juicy and delicious. The salad contains fresh garden tomatoes from a work mate, lime zest, lime juice, fennel, radish, red onion, capers, parsley and dill. #weightloss #lowcarb #igfood

Thursday dinner

Baked speck and vegetables

This is a photograph of Thursday dinner. Baked speck and vegetables with cream and cheese. It's still in the oven-proof dish I cooked it in.

Friday lunch

Chicken schnitzel with chips and gravy

This is a photograph of Friday lunch. Chicken schnitzel with chips and gravy. I ate this at the Canberra Hospital and Health Services tuck shop.

Friday dinner

Speck and fennel salad

This is a photograph of Friday dinner. Speck and spicy fennel salad with radish and lime zest. It is a colourful salad.

Saturday breakfast

Crispy bacon and poached eggs

This is a photograph of Saturday breakfast. Worcestershire flavoured poached eggs with crispy bacon.

Saturday lunch

Macca’s Nugs and mustard

This is a photograph of Saturday lunch. Nugs and mustard from Maccas.

Saturday dinner

Scotch fillet steak cooked with the aid of the MEATER®

This is a gallery of photographs showing a sequence of what I did to prepare the steak. Click on one photograph and scroll through each image.

Sunday breakfast

Coon cheese and sesame seed omelet

This is a photograph of Sunday breakfast. Coon cheese and sesame seed omelet served with a slice of lime and a caramel cream coffee. I love lime juice.

Sunday lunch

I ate vanilla slices

This is a photograph of Vanilla slice in the display cabinet at Dobinsons Bakery cafe, Westfield Belconnen. This is a photograph of Vanilla slice from Dobinsons Bakery Cafe. I shot the photograph at Westfield Belconnen. It shows a tray of four slices in a cardboard box. This is a photograph at ABC studios Canberra of Vanilla slice from Jolene Laverty and Dobinsons Bakery cafe. I was on the radio.

Final words

I’m not sure if you’ll ever hear me on the radio again, I hope so, it was a lot of fun.

I’ll be enjoying a pork chop for dinner. I’m not sure if anything exciting is happening in the week to come. I hope you have a good week and eat well.

Ducks guts

A great piece of Australian slang and best epitomised by one of the best sequences of cinema ever made. In fact, I prefer watching this than anything else I’ve ever seen at the movies including Star Trek movies.

Hear Goose at about the 1 minute mark but better yet, watch the entire clip.

NATIONAL CLUBS GYMNASTICS CARNIVAL 2017 MY JOURNEY TO AND FROM BENDIGO

This is a photograph of Metal straws and a straw cleaner because I hate that plastic straws are killing marine mammals and reptiles.
I like metal straws because I hate what plastic straws are doing to marine mammals and reptiles.

 

Australia Day long weekend

Gary Lum at Caloundra beach Australia Day

Australia Day long weekend

So dear readers the last week was a short one. Friday, 26 January 2018, was Australia Day and as a public holiday, it meant a short work week and a long weekend! 😃👍

Sorry, if I start to ramble in this post. I’ll probably meander here and there. Stay with me though, it was a good weekend.

Star Trek Discovery update 🖖💯

Last week was pretty uneventful. Monday night though (for the time being, Monday nights are my favourite nights) saw an amazing episode of Star Trek Discovery (#DISCO) which took Trekkers into unchartered territory. I’ve not been as excited about Star Trek since the last live action series, viz., Enterprise (#ENT) was on free-to-air TV. Certainly, the Jar Jar Abrams movies were a let down. That said, DISCO has taken some of the Jar Jar cinematography like the heavy use of lens flare. I know a lot of fans were disappointed in ENT, but I know I’m in the minority who loved it. I even love its opening theme. I will happily rewatch it over and over again. I love each character. Unlike most of the other series in the franchise, there’s not a character who I do not like in ENT.

As far as DISCO is concerned, I’m loving Captain Lorca and Commander Saru. Lieutenant Stamets is growing on me but Dr Culber is plain annoying. He doesn’t fill me with awe like Phlox or Bones or Crusher or the EMH.

Spoiler alert

The recent two episodes which have brought us into the mirror universe have been fantastic and it’s got me so excited for more. I’ve been pondering the best way to eat Kelpien. I’m thinking, I’d like the threat ganglia raw, avulsed just prior to consumption and served with fresh gagh. Ideally, I’d be fed from the chopsticks of the Emperor herself in her personal stateroom.

Australia Day weekend

The highlight was obviously travelling to Brisbane on Thursday night and spending three nights with my parents and children.

I’ve recently shared how a close relative has experienced a diagnosis and treatment of bowel carcinoma and the ensuing post-operative complications including an admission to anthe intensive care unit. The good news is, the said close relative is well on the road to recovery.

QF1550 CBR to BNE

I left work a little early on Thursday evening to board QF1550 CBR to BNE. I enjoyed a nice sweet potato salad for dinner on the flight. On arriving in Brisbane, my vulgar ichthyoid skin began drinking in the sweet nectar that is the sultry humidity of balmy Brisbane. My skin felt immediately better. It’s nice to exist without physical discomfort.

People often talk of the humidity of the Top End, but I reckon if you can live January and February in Brisbane, you can do any type of humidity.

It was good to see my parents and children when I got to my parent’s place.

Sweet potato salad in seat 14D

Thursday dinner. QF1550 sweet potato salad. Australia Day.

Australia Day

Australia Day has become very controversial and I’m keeping my opinions to myself. Suffice to say, I’d like to see respect for all views being observed by everyone, everywhere.

We didn’t have much of a plan for the day apart from eating Breakfast, Lunch and Tea.

After a breakfast of scrambled eggs, I took Mum grocery shopping and I bought some stuff for dinner which I was going to cook.

New thongs. Maroon! Because Queenslander!!! Australia Day.
New thongs. Maroon! Because Queenslander!!!

Photograph of scrambled eggs

Friday breakfast. Scrambled eggs with mixed dried herbs and butter for flavour. Australia Day.

Lunch turned out to be a lot of fun. One of my cousins and her partner were visiting Brisvegas from Sin City so we enjoyed a meal at a local Thai restaurant.

Photograph of my first of many plates at Kinn + Derm

Friday lunch. Kinn Derm Thai. Australia Day.

For dinner, I cooked a slight Australiana theme with baked salmon that looked like a Lamington.

Friday dinner Australia Day 💚💛🇦🇺 Poppy and sesame seed crusted salmon with Moreton Bay bug topped kale and avocado slaw salad flavoured with horseradish cream.
Friday dinner Australia Day 💚💛🇦🇺 Poppy and sesame seed crusted salmon with Moreton Bay bug topped kale and avocado slaw salad flavoured with horseradish cream.
Friday dessert. Australia Day 💚💛🇦🇺 Golden Gaytime Gaynetto
Friday dessert. Australia Day 💚💛🇦🇺 Golden Gaytime Gaynetto

You can read a better account of my Australia Day food over at Yummy Lummy.

I spent part of Friday afternoon shopping with my youngest daughter. She was keen on a dress. I take my hat off to her. She’s been looking at this dress, she knew it would go on sale and then she also had a voucher, so, for a $100 dress marked down to $50, she used a $44 voucher and handed over $6. I’m not naïve enough to think the dress is worth $100, but it does me proud to know my children think about how to exploit money as much as possible for the best gain.

We all slept well after a good day of eating.

Saturday sunshine and seawater

The plan for Saturday was for an early start. One of my daughters had to finish some work, so I got up at 5 am and made her scrambled eggs on toast. I think she liked it. I’m quite proud of the way my scrambled eggs taste. I only use butter and eggs. I don’t use any milk or cream.

We hit the road for Caloundra a little after 9 am and arrived a little after 10 am. The traffic was reasonably moderate the entire drive. During the 100 kph spots, I’d say we averaged about 95 kph and using the 110 kph spots we travelled a little over 105 kph most of the way.

On the drive, I started listening to my favourite podcast, “No Such Thing as a Fish”. I had forgotten that JJJ* had its “Hottest 100” on that day. That’s what we listened to on the return journey.

Finding a spot to park the car near the beach was like finding a needle in a haystack. We drove up and down the main drag for about 15 minutes before we spied someone about to pull out. In the end, we got an ideal spot, near the beach and near where we had booked for lunch.

Caloundra beach Australia Day

After a liberal application of sunscreen, we sat on the fine sand and enjoyed the sunshine and sea air. After letting the sunscreen absorb into our skin, we ran into the water and it was perfect. Cool but not cold and oh so refreshing. I love the feeling of swimming in seawater. It feels good. It smells good. It is good.

Caloundra beach Australia Day

I’ve been suffering for many years from two frozen shoulders. I have attended many physiotherapy sessions and over the last year or so after daily exercises, I feel like I have near my normal range of movement, albeit, I don’t have the strength I used to. It was nice to crawl and breaststroke against the current. I doubt I’ll butterfly again, but it was nice to have that movement in my shoulders.

Gary Lum at Caloundra beach Australia Day

After about an hour in the water, we walked up the beach towards our towels and dried off in the sun. It felt so good having sand between my toes, sun on my skin, and being buoyed by seawater.

Alfie’s Mooo Char & Bar

Regular readers will know my NRL team is the Brisbane Broncos and in State of Origin, I’m a Queensland Maroon supporter first and foremost. Alfie Langer played halfback for the Broncos, for Queensland and for Australia. He was the greatest halfback ever. He’s certainly better than the likes of Andrew Johns from Newcastle, NSW.

Alfie's Mooo Char & Bar Australia Day

Alfie owns Alfie’s Mooo Char & Bar at Caloundra. I’ve not been there before but my parents and brothers have been and they have raved about how good it is.

I plan to write a review over that Yummy Lummy, suffice to say, I went with the Hot and Cold Platter for two people. I shared it with one of my daughters. It was filling and it was really very nice. The platter is presented in two tiers and consists of a spanner crab, Moreton Bay bug, cooked prawns, deep fried battered prawns, crumbed fish, oysters natural, oysters Kilpatrick, crumbed calamari, hot chips and a nice Queensland nut and toasted coconut salad.

Alfie's Mooo Char & Bar Seafood Platter Australia Day Alfie's Mooo Char & Bar Seafood Platter Australia Day

Queensland nut Oyster Kilpatrick Australia Day
Queensland nut Oyster Kilpatrick

Dinner at Motto Motto

Even though we had a huge lunch, I took Mum and Dad out to dinner at Motto Motto. They really like it there.

Rather than a full main course dish, I just ate a side dish of soft shelled crab along with some Teriyaki chicken wings. We also had wagyu beef and green salad, pork belly ramen noodles and a chicken karaage roll

Wagyu beef and salad

Wagyu beef Australia Day Motto Motto
Wagyu beef

Chicken karaage roll

Chicken Karaage Australia Day Motto Motto

Soft shelled crab with Teriyaki chicken wings in the background

Australia Day Motto Motto Soft shelled crab and Teriyaki chicken wings in the background
Soft shelled crab and Teriyaki chicken wings in the background

Sunday

I had a bit of a slow start on Sunday morning. One daughter had a party to attend on Saturday night and I happily took her there and agreed to pick her up. I didn’t realise how late the party would go for. I received a text message at 1.21 am and after a round trip into Fortitude Valley, got to bed at 2 am. I woke at 7 am and felt a little groggy.

Breakfast

I took Mum and my daughters to Hermosa in Chermside. We’ve been there before and enjoyed breakfast so I thought we’d have another go.

I like that on the menu there is an option to build your breakfast. The base is eggs anyway you like them plus some sourdough toast. You can then add sides. I went with some chorizo sausage, avocado, and sautéed mushrooms. It was pretty nice. Mum and my daughters also enjoyed their meals too.

Photograph of poached eggs on sourdough toast with chorizo, avocado, and sautéed mushrooms

Poached eggs on sourdough bread with chorizo, avocado and mushrooms from Her Mosa, Chermside Australia Day
Poached eggs on sourdough bread with chorizo, avocado and mushrooms from Her Mosa, Chermside

The end of a great long weekend

Like all good things, I had to end a great long weekend in Brisbane by leaving for Canberra. I managed to have a light lunch at the airport. It was some tuna and coleslaw.

Sunday lunch. Tuna and coleslaw. Australia Day.

On arriving in Canberra, I went to Coles and bought some groceries and meat for dinner.

Sunday dinner

My last meal for the weekend was roast chicken thigh and vegetables.

Photograph of roast chicken and vegetables

Sunday dinner. Roast chicken thighs and vegetables. Australia day.
Sunday dinner. Roast chicken thighs and vegetables.

Final words

It was a great weekend. I ate a lot of food. I enjoyed my time with my family. I loved feeling happier and healthier in the balmy Brisbane humidity.

The week to come will be busy. Catch you next weekend.

Focussing on food blogging and enjoying a Bânh mì

Spontaneous changes in meal planning can have a great result, especially if it involves pork

Spontaneous changes in meal planning can have a great result, especially if it involves pork

Today’s breakfast. Green eggs and ham Benedict from Ricardo’s Cafe and Patisserie

Hello there. It’s been a quiet week. Not boring by any stretch but there’s not much to write about. I also haven’t been walking around to shoot many photographs. Hopefully, when the days get cooler and there are less flies around Lake Ginninderra I’ll get out more.

I’ve been enjoying each new day and getting into a groove and routine again after the Christmas New Year break.

As the week progressed, it got hot and dry in Canberra. I don’t mind the temperature rising I just want the humidity to rise with it. I’ve been using a humidifier in the flat to stop my skin from drying out. I only turned the air conditioner on on Friday evening because it got to 38 °C during the day. I feel for my friends in other parts of Australia where the maximum temperature peaked above 42 °C. I’m jealous of my friends in the Top End and FNQ where the temperatures are much more temperate and the humidity much more comfortable.

Coffee revelation and a low carb tip

So I’m living a low carb life and most mornings I will have a black coffee to kick start my brain and get moving. From time to time, it is nice to have a white coffee but I don’t keep any milk in the flat. This week I started adding a couple of teaspoons of pouring cream, noting the carbohydrate load is minimal (<1 gram). It’s like a revelation. The coffee tastes great. One morning I also added a couple of drops of peppermint flavouring and that coffee with cream was really nice. I think I can do this more often.

Weight update

I’ve hit a plateau and to be honest despite desire, I haven’t really committed to breaking the 79-kilogram barrier. It’ll happen but it may take some time.

Completing my work move

Flags

When the flags go up all is good. I’m surprised most people don’t know these flags. It shows people don’t know me that well.

Do you know these flags?

Queensland and Northern Territory flags Northern Territory and Australian flags

Plant

A workmate has entrusted me with a plant. I hope it doesn’t die.

Planning for the new podcast

What will the Yummy Lummy Cooking for One Podcast cover?

I plan to cover recipes, meal planning and reviews. The reviews will range from products, foods and if I can get out and about restaurants.

Writing draft episodes or shows

I’ve written the outline for three shows now and hope to get a couple more done before I start recording next month.

Should there be a YouTube component?

I’m in two minds about this. I could make it a VLOG, but really I think in terms of YouTube I’ll probably focus on recording how I cook dishes that get posted as recipes on the blog.

I’m happy to take suggestions from readers.

Pork belly for the win

Twitter made me do it

Click on the bluebird and check out the conversation with Ubrmthr

Photographs of pork rashers

Pork belly with stir-fried kale slaw

Vegemite and chicken thigh meat

Click on the photograph and read the blog post about how I made this.

Chicken thigh fillet stuffed with Vegemite and cheese served with horseradish beetroot slaw

This week in food

Monday

Crispy skinned baked salmon with fennel salad

Tuesday

Roasted chicken thigh and a Queensland Maroons stubby cooler
Roast chicken thigh and fennel salad

Wednesday

The weight loss journey continues with protein for lunch
Chicken wings with avocado and fennel salad

Thursday

Leftover spicy nutty chicken and kale slaw stir-fry
Pork belly with stir-fried kale slaw

Friday

Hot chips and gravy covering a chicken schnitzel
Chicken thighs and sweet corn

Saturday

Crisy bacon and poached eggs with coffee
Pork belly Vietnamese salad from Rôll’d
Chicken thigh fillet stuffed with Vegemite and cheese served with horseradish beetroot slaw

 

Australia Day

This Friday is a public holiday. I’m hoping to eat well but who knows. I’m not sure what I’ll be eating.

Focussing on food blogging and enjoying a Bânh mì

Rôll'd Vietnamese Food Gary Lum food blogging

Rôll’d opened in Westfield Belconnen

On Saturday, Rôll’d Vietnamese opened in Westfield Belconnen. There was a good crowd at lunchtime. I wanted to suspend my low carb life for a Bânh mì. I chose a pork belly sandwich with extra 🌶 and a bottle of water. The baguette was nice, the pork was tender and the spicy flavours were really nice. I know there are better custom-made Vietnamese sandwich bars in Canberra, but the convenience of Rôll’d will likely win me over I reckon.

Rôll'd Vietnamese Food Gary Lum food blogging

Rôll’d Bânh Mì wrapped food blogging

Rôll’d pork belly Bânh mì food blogging
Rôll’d pork belly Bânh mì

Sick relative update

My sick relative was discharged from hospital on Friday after five weeks as an inpatient. After a major surgical procedure, post-operative complications including an ileus and a metabolic acidosis with a pH of 7 followed by ICU and then rehabilitation, my relative is now home and feeling better but still very weak. Thanks, everyone who reached out and expressed concern.

Weight update

It’s been a week of little movement and hovering around the 80 kg mark, getting as low as 79 kg and as high as 80.7 kg. I’m not too concerned, although I still need to lose more kilograms. I’m feeling better and moving better so I’m pretty happy.

Dobinsons Bakery Westfield Belconnen

I’ve been enjoying the coffee here and I’m steadily getting through the coffee card. I wonder if I’ll be allowed to have a vanilla slice as my ‘free’ cake?

Dobinsons coffee card food blogging

Dobinsons breakfast wraps food blogging

Dobinsons pies food blogging

New hat and shirt

I bought a new shirt and received a free hat from Brainstorm Gear. I now have Star Trek pyjamas and socks as well as some shirts and a hat.

Me in my new Star Trek hat and shirt Gary Lum food blogging
Me in my new Star Trek hat and shirt 🖖

Food this week

Baked cheesy spam and poached eggs

Baked Spam and cheese with poached eggs splashed with Worcestershire and Tabasco sauces food blogging
Baked Spam and cheese with poached eggs splashed with Worcestershire and Tabasco sauces

Scrambled eggs splashed with Worcestershire and Tabasco sauces

Scrambled eggs splashed with Worcestershire and Tabasco sauces food blogging
Scrambled eggs splashed with Worcestershire and Tabasco sauces

 

Spice and nut crusted chicken breast with vegetables

Spicy nut crusted chicken breast and cheesy cream stir-fried salad food blogging
Spicy nut crusted chicken breast and cheesy cream stir-fried salad

Coffee and doughnuts at the Canberra Hospital and Health Services

coffee food blogging

doughnuts food blogging
I resisted the temptation

Scrambled eggs and baked spam

Scrambled eggs with spam and Worcestershire sauce food blogging
Scrambled eggs with spam and Worcestershire sauce

Chicken thigh and Coke Zero

To lose weight I’ve been eating chicken thighs for lunch

My view while preparing to eat my lunch food blogging
My view while preparing to eat my lunch

Lunch with a friend at the Hellenic Club

On Wednesday I had lunch with a friend. I even arranged car parking for him.

Hellenic Club car park food blogging

Chicken breast schnitzel with chips and gravy

Chicken schnitzel with chips with gravy food blogging
Chicken schnitzel with chips with gravy

Bacon and avocado salad

Bacon and avocado kale stir-fry with horseradish cream food blogging
Bacon and avocado kale stir-fry with horseradish cream

Gifts from workmates

I love when friends give me food. This is a macaron shell.

Macaron biscuit from a friend food blogging

Baked pork rashers and vegetables

Cooked in a Microwave pressure cooker and then baked with cream and cheese.

Pork rashers and creamy cheesy vegetables food blogging
Pork rashers and creamy cheesy vegetables

Smashed avocado with a tin of salmon and some celery

The avocado was smashed with sour cream, lime juice, chilli flakes, Worcestershire and Tabasco sauces.

Smashed avocado, tinned salmon and celery food blogging
Smashed avocado, tinned salmon and celery

Crispy skinned salmon

Crispy skinned salmon with cheesy cream cauliflower, pumpkin and food blogging Crispy skin salmon and beetroot salad food blogging

Whisky flavoured chicken and blue cheese casserole on Yummy Lummy

Click on the drawing and you’ll be taken to the recipe

Whisky flavoured casserole drawn by Gary Lum food blogging
Whisky flavoured casserole drawn by Gary Lum

First week back at work

Focussing on food blogging

During the week I was informed that my blogging and podcasting about health and medical matters could be perceived as a conflict of interest.

After getting to 💯 episodes I’ve removed the posts and media files from the Medical Fun Facts Podcast and will now focus on food blogging at Yummy Lummy.

My other website has also been enjoying a clean out. Given that site is a Squarespace site I’m thinking of using it as a portfolio site for some photography. I’m not sure yet. I still want to podcast, and I’m thinking it will be about cooking meals for one.

Name my podcast

Not many people know that the name Yummy Lummy was suggested to me by a work mate. If I start a podcast, I’m wondering what I should call it. My first thought was something like, “The Yummy Lummy cooking for one podcast”. What do you think? Can you suggest anything better?

My other thought is to somehow incorporate a low carb aspect to the name. It may need to incorporate “❌CHO” as a shortcut for low carbohydrate.

I would like to start a podcast as part of my food blogging at Yummy Lummy.

Food blogging thoughts

With a renewed focus on food blogging, please let me know what suggestions you may have. I’m keen to get any thoughts and ideas.

I’m thinking of putting together an e-book of low carb recipes and providing an audio version of it too.

Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

First week back at work

Canberra Hospital and Health Services tuck shop Vanilla slice First week back Gary Lum

First week back at work

In the last post I mentioned that in 2018, I want to be more consistent with this diary blog. The aim is to post weekly and share the highlights of every week.

Like the first week of January for many people, it’s a quiet one. Many people are still on holiday or vacation and many workplaces use the time to prepare for the year ahead.

At the end of 2017, I was informed that I needed to relocate my workstation. I have returned to an area I’d previously worked in many years ago. I’m very happy. Normally, and I think this is true for many people, moving workstations is stressful and is a real hassle. This was no exception, but the thought of going ‘home’ made it much easier. It will be good to re-engage in some work that I haven’t focussed on for a while.

One of the nice things about my job is the regular opportunities to stretch into new areas of thinking. Health is really a great place to work.

The view from my workstation First week back Gary Lum

True Blue

To celebrate the return to work after an unexpected extended break I went to dinner on Tuesday night at the Canberra Southern Cross Club Jamison.

I went for the “True Blue” chicken schnitzel, it’s a standard chicken (breast) schnitzel with chips and salad plus caramelised onion, melted cheese, bacon and a fried egg. It’s a huge meal and the schnitzel itself is large. I also asked for a jug of Hollandaise sauce to make this a ‘Courtney’. The only thing that could make this better would be to use thigh meat rather than breast meat. I highly recommend this meal.

Chicken breast schnitzel with caramelised onion, melted cheese, bacon and a fried egg along with chips and salad and a serving of Hollandaise sauce. First week back Gary Lum
Chicken breast schnitzel with caramelised onion, melted cheese, bacon and a fried egg along with chips and salad and a serving of Hollandaise sauce.

Vanilla slice

The really big thing to happen was the publication of a vanilla slice review by Canberra media identity, Jolene Laverty. She published the review in “The Guardian” and she was kind enough to mention a Yummy Lummy vanilla slice review. It gave me a nice bump in my analytics. Please follow Jolene on Twitter @jolene_laverty

After having vanilla slice occupy my mind I was keen to enjoy one and when the opportunity presented itself at the Canberra Hospital and Health Services tuck shop (aka Zouki) on Friday when I work as an Honorary VMO in ACT Pathology.

This was a nice vanilla slice. The icing was a little thick but it had a subtle passionfruit tang to offset the sweetness of the icing sugar. The custard had a good vanilla flavour and was soft and not too full of gelatine. The pastry was fine, but because it was refrigerated and not room temperature, the pastry was a little stiff. Overall though the flavour was good and I’d be happy eating this again and again.

Canberra Hospital and Health Services tuck shop Vanilla slice First week back Gary Lum

Jolene’s kind mention of my review gave me a nice bump in views and visits.

Yummy Lummy statistics First week back Vanilla slice Gary Lum

Weight loss

My weight has fluctuated a little and it’s no surprise given the treats I’ve been indulging in like the vanilla slice on Friday plus a Guzman Y Gomez pulled pork burrito bowl after work. Then yesterday there was McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets. I asked for six Nugs and received seven of them (plus sweet mustard sauce).

Pulled pork burrito bowl from Guzman Y Gomez First week back Gary Lum

McDonald’s McNuggets ‘Nugs’ First week back Gary Lum

The nadir this week has been 79 kg but this morning it was back up to 80.4 kg. I expect that reflects not only the extra carbs but also the significant amount of water I consumed yesterday. My evening meal was super hot and spicy and super salty, plus it got to about 38 °C (98.6 °F) yesterday so I was drinking iced water all day to keep hydrated in the awful dry oven-like heat of a Canberra summer. Give me the warm and sultry tropical summers of the Top End any day.

Dobinsons Bakery Cafe Belconnen

Dobinsons has been a Canberra institution in the Canberra Centre in the CBD for many years. A new store recently opened in Westfield Belconnen. I enjoyed a nice flat white coffee there. I look forward to my tenth so I can get a piece of cake.

Dobinsons coffee and coffee card First week back Gary Lum

Dobinsons Bakery Cafe on Swarm First week back Gary Lum

Yummy Lummy

Last night I made super hot and spicy chicken wings after watching Megatoad aka Matt Stonie eat sixty-five wings of varying heat and spiciness on his YouTube channel. Some of my podcasting friends were also talking about buffalo wings so I thought I should cook wings on a stinking hot night 😂

Check out the recipe at Yummy Lummy.

Blazing hot chilli and pepper nut crusted chicken wings ready for the oven First week back Gary Lum

Blazing hot chilli and pepper nut crusted chicken wings served on stir-fried kale and cabbage salad with French mustard and cream First week back Gary LumI’ll never make it as a meal planner

 

 

Poor planning on my part led to some bizarre dinner combinations

Poor meal planning led to pork rashers, sweet corn and cauliflower first week back Gary Lum
Poor meal planning led to pork rashers, sweet corn and cauliflower
Bacon and poached eggs with pumpkin and avocado first week back Gary Lum
Bacon and poached eggs with pumpkin and avocado

Other morsels from my first week back

Celery and cheese first week back Gary Lum
Celery and cheese

Spam and eggs first week back Gary Lum

Crispy skinned baked salmon and kale salad stir-fry with French mustard. first week back Gary Lum
Crispy skinned baked salmon and kale salad stir-fry with French mustard.
Low carb lunch of roast chicken thigh and Coke Zero first week back Gary Lum
Low carb lunch of roast chicken thigh and Coke Zero

No 1206 2CC AM radio for a year

Mind the dust. I should have dusted before shooting the photograph.

No 2CC AM radio for a year

For nearly my entire adult life I’ve woken up in the morning and turned on the radio. When I was growing up in Brisbane it was 4QR (which is now better known as 612 ABC Brisbane). When I left home I listened to ABC’s Radio National mainly to get a more national perspective.

Between 1996 and 2007 in Darwin I listened to 8PNN (Parliamentary News Network) on the FM spectrum. It was a new news format and the presenters were interesting. It also pulled in feeds from the BBC (UK) and NPR (USA). I preferred it to Radio National which had a lot of boring programming that I couldn’t give a toss about. Mostly the music and arts stuff which held no interest for me.

Radio in Canberra

When I arrived in Canberra in September 2007 I thought I would change from ABC News Radio and try something local because I had little understanding of Canberra and the local scene. I first listened to 2CN (666 ABC Canberra). I can’t remember the host of the breakfast session but he was boring and uninteresting. Watching paint dry would have captured my attention better. Within a few days, I had switched to 2CC (1206 Talking Canberra). The breakfast host was Mike Jeffreys and he had a terrific rapport with the newsreader whose name was Jane. I liked the talkback format and being able to listen to what Canberra people had to say on various topics and issues of the day.

Mike Jeffreys was replaced by Mark Parton who brought a different style and approach. It took a while but I got used to Mark and we remain connected via Twitter. He’s a member of the ACT’s legislative assembly now so I avoid contact unless it’s purely social with no political dimension. Before Mark embarked on his political career he resigned and was replaced with Tim Shaw. Tim is a very well known personality in Australia), famous because of television advertising in the 1970s and 1980s. He’s a very capable and impressive breakfast radio host too. I grew to enjoy listening to him and his producer, Geoff Koop, as well as the various news readers on the program.

Up until 31 December 2016, I’d been happy waking up every morning, turning on the radio and listening in while I went about preparing for the day. Last year, I had a thought, what if I gave up something I was used to doing. What effect would it have on me? What could I give up?

I felt guilty giving up radio, it was like unfriending someone on Facebook or blocking someone on Twitter for no good reason at all. When 01 January 2017 clicked over, I didn’t touch the radio in the morning. Not even in the car driving to work. I haven’t listened to breakfast radio for an entire year.

I have listened to radio though during the day but it’s only been the Parliamentary News Network when the Australian Parliament has been sitting and when something I’m working on or interested in is being debated by politicians. Otherwise, radio is pretty much dead to me.

What effect has this had on my life?

The immediate effect was the silence. The only noise was from the kettle or food sizzling in a frying pan. The sound of water when I wet my toothbrush, the sound of water in the shower, and the sound of the toilet flushing. Otherwise there was silence. It was strangely peaceful. I felt more peaceful and relaxed.

I found I got through my morning tasks more quickly. I found I was arriving at work earlier because I was ready earlier. Rather than listen to the radio when driving to work, I listened to podcasts. Sometimes, I would drive with nothing playing, no radio, no music, no podcasts and no audio books. It gave me time to contemplate things. Contemplate life. Contemplate my day. Sometimes I found that depressing, other times it was nice to day dream about something I’d like to happen.

Will I go back to morning radio?

No, this year has been a revelation. I’ve enjoyed the time saving and the learning from podcasts. That’s not to say I’ll never listen to talk back radio again. When I’m 70 I will retire to the life of a curmudgeon. I look forward to insomnia and listening to the radio all night and calling in and arguing with the host and criticising others. I have opinions and when I’m free from various workplace codes of conduct I look forward to letting loose.

What else happened this week?

My ill relative has begun a slow recovery after some initial postoperative complications. The road to full recovery will require inpatient rehabilitation and then a lot of work at home to regain fitness and mental agility.

I returned to Canberra this week and missed being in Brisbane immediately on landing. It was good spending some time with my daughters in Brisbane and other close family members. It was also good being able to get around in shorts, T-shirt and thongs the whole time.

A week in Brisbane

The Last Jedi

I went and saw the latest instalment of the Star Wars franchise. I really enjoyed it. It will certainly make episode 9 in the series very interesting.

The weight situation

The good news is that while I was in Brisbane I could maintain my low carb lifestyle even though I was also cooking for someone else too. When I measured my mass on Thursday morning after returning to Canberra, my mass had not changed. Better yet, on Friday morning, I measured myself at 79.9 kilograms. I’d temporarily broken through the 80-kilogram barrier. Of course, on Saturday and Sunday after some indulging, my weight was >80 kilograms. The trend remains though in the right direction.

What have I been eating this week?

Celery sticks

Celery and cheese products are a nice refreshing low carb snack.

Celery and cream cheese
Celery and cream cheese
Celery with salmon and avocado with a little cream cheese
Celery with salmon and avocado with a little cream cheese

Eggs

Cheese and herb omelettes are a great breakfast as are poached eggs with crispy bacon and avocado. It’s also hard to beat scrambled eggs made with just eggs and butter.

Cheese and herb omelet
Cheese and herb omelet
Cheesy scrambled eggs and crispy bacon
Cheesy scrambled eggs and crispy bacon
Relaxing Sunday breakfast. Poached eggs, crispy bacon and avocado.
Relaxing Sunday breakfast. Poached eggs, crispy bacon and avocado.

Crusted salmon and chicken

I’ve become quite a fan of encrusting salmon and chicken with a dry rub made from crushed nuts, iodised salt, black peppercorns, chilli flakes, paprika and onion powder.

Chilli crusted salmon with stir-fried kale coleslaw with horseradish cream
Chilli crusted salmon with stir-fried kale coleslaw with horseradish cream
Herb and seed crusted salmon with stir-fried kale coleslaw with horseradish cream
Herb and seed crusted salmon with stir-fried kale coleslaw with horseradish cream
Spicy nut crusted Chicken Maryland with pumpkin and cauliflower with cheese
Spicy nut crusted Chicken Maryland with pumpkin and cauliflower with cheese

Steak

Because I’m now a first degree relative of someone who has had carcinoma of the bowel, I’ll cut down the amount of red meat but every once and a while I’ll enjoy steak. I crusted this one with crushed Queensland nuts, almonds, iodised salt, black peppercorns, chilli flakes, paprika and onion powder.

Chilli, herb and nut crusted rib-eye fillet steak with kale salad stir-fried with horseradish cream
Chilli, herb and nut crusted rib-eye fillet steak with kale salad stir-fried with horseradish cream

Christmas lunch

I’ve posted about Christmas lunch elsewhere but it was too good not to show again.

A coffee tamper makes for a useful tool to crush nuts
A coffee tamper makes a useful tool for crushing nuts
Roast lamb, roast chicken, king prawns, pumpkin, onion, and coleslaw
Christmas lunch. Roast lamb, roast chicken, king prawns, pumpkin, onion, and coleslaw.
Pavlova with whipped cream and mango
Pavlova with whipped cream and mango

Coffee

I’m letting myself have the occasional milk-based coffee. It’s so good.

Flat white coffee
Flat white coffee

Double shot latte

Treats and temptations

When I broke through 80 kilograms I had six nugs (McDonald’s McNuggets) and blogging friend Mabel tempted me on Instagram to have a bucket of KFC popcorn chicken. I didn’t go a bucket, just a regular box.

Nugs or McNuggets from McDonalds

Nugs or McNuggets from McMcDonald’s

KFC popcorn chicken
KFC popcorn chicken

A mistake not to be repeated

On Saturday I felt like making myself a refreshing drink. I had some frozen strawberries and mint. I also had some bird’s eye chillies. I’ve been eating these chillies pretty regularly lately so it didn’t dawn on me that putting them into a drink would be a problem. I’ve been eating at least two a day with dinner for a few months and have enjoyed the extra flavour these small chillies add to my meals.

I had not thought that adding two raw bird’s eye chillies and blending them into a drink would intensify the heat. OMG, I was in extraordinary pain for 30 minutes. My lips and tongue swelled, they became a bright red and they felt like they were raw and on fire. I treated the pain by applying ice wrapped in a washcloth to my lips.

Never make the mistake I made. Chilli mint strawberry drink.
Never make the mistake I made. Chilli mint strawberry drink.

Last supper before 2018

I wanted a Moreton Bay Bug Thenus orientialis but had to make do with lobster.

I cooked a piece of Chicken Maryland in the oven and served it with some stir-fried kale salad mixed in with the lobster meat and flavoured with horseradish cream and Dijon mustard.

Chicken Maryland with lobster and Queensland nut kale salad with horseradish cream
Chicken Maryland with lobster and Queensland nut kale salad with horseradish cream

Resolutions for 2018?

Do I have any resolutions for 2018? Not really. I hope to stabilise my weight around 77 kilograms. I hope to see my daughters more often in 2018. I hope to be a better public servant and work harder. I hope to increase my professional development as a pathologist and attend a couple of relevant conferences.

I also hope to be more consistent with blogging and podcasting. I’d like to see this diary blog maintain a steady weekly schedule. I also hope this year to add some more reviews to Yummy Lummy.

 

A week in Brisbane

A week in Brisbane

A few weeks ago, at the beginning of December, I wasn’t expecting to spend the end of 2017 in Brisbane. In my mind, I was attending a WHO meeting in Lyon, returning to work for fours days, and then spending a week in Canberra between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day enjoying some warmth and a little humidity.

Lyon to Canberra

That was until a close relative needed to have a colonoscopy which revealed a significant malignant tumour requiring immediate surgery. Then there were complications of the surgery which meant a long spell in intensive care which will need to be followed by time in rehabilitation.

I’m now in Brisbane helping to care for relatives.

The bright side

As is my want, I will try to spend part of my conscious living focussing on the positive aspects of this situation. I will be spending time with family. I will an opportunity to spend some time with my daughters. I will be in my hometown (Brisbane). It will be warm and not hot like Canberra. It will be humid and not dry like Canberra.

I think I’ve written this before and my closest friends know this too, I love warm weather, I don’t like hot weather. Anywhere between 28 and 32 °C is fine by me. In Summer, up to 34 °C is tolerable. Anything >34 °C is not what I regard as pleasant. Certainly, Tuesday’s 39 °C in Canberra would have been horrible.

In addition, through social media and messaging apps, I can continue to stay in contact with IRL and online friends who I rely on to keep me in good spirits. You know who you are JM, FC, SGM, BCM… 😃👍😁

Working remotely

One of the nice things about modern work as a public servant is the capability to work remotely. So long as I have a 4G connection, I can check e-mail and if I go to a shopping mall, I can use the free Wi-Fi to get deeper into the work IT system so I can access files and other areas of the network.

QF1546 waiting on the tarmac in Canberra

Airport coffee, waiting for my flight to Brisbane

Weight situation

Would you believe my weight didn’t go up while I was away in Lyon? I ate croissants for breakfast, morning tea, afternoon tea and occasionally dinner. I also ate cream and custard-filled pastries. It must be something in the water because I saw less than a handful of overweight people in Lyon. Everyone looked lean and healthful (apart from those smoking cigarettes).

I won’t be able to measure my mass while I’m in Brisbane but I hope to return to a low carb life. I will have to prepare meals suitable for others including a diabetic and heart disease safe meals. In many ways, a low carb life works well for people with diabetes mellitus.

Please note, again I should point out a disclaimer, I do not provide medical advice in my blogs, I will never form a doctor-patient relationship with a reader.

Diabetes mellitus

Getting back to a low carb life and diabetes mellitus though; diabetes mellitus is a small constellation of diseases associated with poor control of glucose. The islet cells of the pancreas produce insulin which is a hormone which helps regulate blood sugar. An insufficient amount of insulin causes an increase in blood sugar. This can create manifold problems acutely as well as chronic problems associated with pathological changes to blood vessels and nerves (blindness, heart disease, impotence, lower limb infections, amputations, kidney disease, kidney failure to name but a few problems). Because of the lack of insulin, people with diabetes mellitus should eschew foods with a lot of simple carbs and especially sucrose (sugar). This means bread, pasta and rice. Sugar and sweeteners like honey or maple syrup, albeit ‘natural’ should not be added to food. A diet rich in non-starchy vegetables and some fruit is good. Meat in moderation is also good along with some cheese. Proteins in small amounts help to sate appetite and ensure that overall carb intake is minimised. Fibre is also important for bowel health. As a first degree relative of someone with a bowel malignancy, I’m now even more conscious of bowel health and maintaining a good fibre content and a reduced red meat intake. If you follow my food socials, you’ll see more salmon and chicken and probably duck.

A low carb life can assist with a more stable and better control of blood sugar. If you’re reading this and wondering about the potential benefits or threats to your health, please see your own general practitioner (or what some people call a family physician). Again, I stress, see a proper doctor, not someone into supplements complementary and alternative medicine (SCAM) services. This includes people who claim to be integrative practitioners who try to combine modern conventional evidence-based science-based medicine with practices not steeped in the scientific method. Always remember good + bad ≠ good. Your GP may not be a nutritionist but your GP is a specialist in your life and can work with you and other professionals to optimise your nutrition.

Blue skies over Chermside

Black and white meeting rooms at the bank

Train Tragedy in the USA

What a tragedy. I paused as I read accounts on Facebook from friends in the USA. It made me think about the amazing train ride I had between Lyon and Paris last week. I finished that ride feeling very positive about very fast trains.

Christmas 2017

This coming Monday is Christmas Day. With Boxing Day a public holiday too, we have a four-day long weekend. I’m not sure what I’ll be doing. I’ll be spending some time at the hospital visiting and then I hope to cook a chook for lunch. Hopefully, I’ll also be able to buy some prawns too. It’s not going to be an elaborate Christmas this year.

The food situation

I’ve been cooking for a family member and also taking some time out with other family members. When times are difficult, food is a good way to get some happiness.

Leftover lamb korma with two poached eggs

Scrambled eggs made with eggs and butter

Herb and seed crusted salmon with stir-fried kale and cabbage with horseradish cream

Mangoes in Brisbane are cheaper than mangoes in Canberra

Crumbed fish from the hospital tuck shop

Chicken wings ready for the oven

is worth having in the cupboard. Iodine is critical to the development of the brains of unborn babies and infants.

Iodine deficiency

Herb crusted chicken wings and hot chilli kale coleslaw stir-fry

 

The Wesley Hospital tuck shop chicken thighs and vegetables

Saturday night dinner to celebrate a little good news

Click on a photograph and scroll through the gallery. This was a Pork and Moreton Bay Bug (Thenus orientalis) spicy chilli kale and cabbage salad with horseradish cream. Here is the post on Yummy Lummy describing how to make it.

Kinn + Derm Chermside

We went for dinner here on Friday night. Read my Google review. We enjoyed chicken Pad Thai, crispy skinned chicken, crunch pork belly, soft shelled crab and a spicy green paw paw salad. Click on a photo to see a larger version and scroll through the gallery.

For dessert, I had a salted Queensland nut gelato

Salted Queensland nut gelato Brisbane Gary Lum

 

Lyon to Canberra

The building next to the Appart'City Lyon part-Dieu Gary Lum

Lyon to Canberra

Lyon has been an interesting place to visit. I really only saw the inside of a hotel room, a meeting room and the train station at Part-Dieu. These are the places where I spent most of my time. I went for walks early in the morning and after about 6 pm in search of food and coffee. Because it is winter, it was dark while I was out and it was cold. In the early mornings, it was about –3 °C. There was also a lot of traffic so the walks were not exactly in the fresh air. There was a constant smell of exhaust fumes.

The building next to the Appart'City Lyon part-Dieu Gary Lum

That said, it was a blessed relief to be out of the hotel and its oven-like heating system. I turned the air conditioning off and had the windows open but the building heating was just full on. I would lay on the bed in just a pair of shorts and my skin would dry out like a potato crisp. I always had a mug of water by the bed so that whenever I woke up I could take in some water. There was also a lot of moisturising cream applied. It’s a pity the air couldn’t be humidified. I should have brought a small plastic pipette with me for my nasal mucosa. It got really dry and crusty. After a couple of nights, there was blood from cracks which had developed in my nasal mucosa. Hopefully, the blood washes out of my handkerchiefs.

Fire hydrant Gary Lum Lyon

One really good thing about Appart’City Lyon Part-Dieu

If you ever stay in this hotel, ask for room 423, the Wi-Fi is really good. I managed to download and install updates to Adobe Lightroom Classic CC, Adobe Bridge, Adobe Camera RAW, Final Cut Pro X and Compressor. These were all large downloads (some >3 GB) and there was no problem. Please note, I didn’t wait to do these downloads for when I’d be away, they just happened to become available while I was away. It was a nice coincidence that I was somewhere with better Wi-Fi than the ADSL I use at home in Australia.

Jet lag and sleep

My sleeping pattern wasn’t too bad. I tended to fall asleep a bit after 8 pm and then wake just after midnight. I’d then fall back to sleep after an hour or so and wake again at 3.30 am. At that point, there was no value in just laying in the bed. I’d get up, shave, shower and make a cup of coffee. I’d then go through work e-mail and personal e-mail and listen to podcasts until it was time to walk to the meeting building which was the building for the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) on 150 Cours Albert Thomas, 69008 Lyon, France. This was a pleasant 25-minute walk.

See the Google map

I’ve already referred to my experience getting to Lyon and the reason for being here. Check out the most recent blog post.

As I began typing this missive, I was rejoicing in the warmth of the TGV5192 train from XYD (The Lyon Part-Dieu train station) to CDG (Charles de Gaulle International Airport). I had been waiting five hours for this train and the station was very very cold. It felt like 7 °C inside the station, and outside on the platform, it felt like it was close to 0 °C. My fingers wouldn’t move and my ears were freezing. I’d already packed my beanie and gloves deep in my main bag and didn’t want to risk opening that bag on the platform because it was packed very tightly. Can you imagine it springing open and stuff spilling out for all to see.?For those who would recommend it, no, I didn’t bring a scarf.

You may be asking why I spent five hours in a train station. Well, the check out time for the hotel was at 11 am and my train was scheduled to depart at 4 pm. I checked out at 10.30 and walked to the train station. After finding the ticketing agent I was told I could not catch an earlier train to the Charles de Gaulle International Airport unless I was willing to pay close to €100 for a new fair. There was no way I was going to fork out that kind of money just to spend more time at an airport. I spent the time in a waiting area either sitting on a hard chair or standing or pacing. The cold air rushed around the station slowly over five hours chilling me to the bone. Fortunately, with my Vodafone plan, I still had a few GB of data left so along with a portable battery I was able to keep in touch with family in Australia and friends all over the world via social media and a Slack chat space with some podcasting buddies from the USA. You can see what I shared on Facebook.

Bicycles at Lyon Part-Dieu train station Gary Lum

The discomfort of the cold was compounded by an abdominal distress consisting of griping colic and a significant feeling of gastrointestinal uneasiness. This is best described as a lack of confidence in farting. I hate messy surprises. I had a feeling the baguette I ate on Friday night for dinner may not have been that fresh. I hope it wasn’t the chocolate custard in the chocolate eclair because that was a fabulous tasting pastry.

I spent the day sitting or pacing around the train station listening to an audiobook by the QI elves who do the podcast, No Such Thing as a Fish. The book is titled, “Book of the Year”. So far, the highlight has been listening to Anna describe vaginal glitter and magicum. If you’re not familiar with the elves, including Anna, and the podcast “No Such Thing as a Fish”, I highly recommend it. I’d happily recommend their new book too. It’s full of fun facts.

Revelations on visiting Lyon

I’ve learnt some new things while travelling to Lyon. I’m not sure how applicable these observations are beyond Lyon or into France in general.

It costs money to go to the dunny

I remember as a young boy around the age of five having to give a coin to a person to be able to use a toilet in a department store. I also remember a few years ago when I took a holiday in Vietnam that I had to pay for the privilege of emptying my bladder in a ‘public’ toilet. Living in Australia, I’ve taken for granted that when the urge occurs, there are free public toilets which are well maintained all over Australia.

In Lyon, in this train station in Part-Dieu, I had to pay €0.80 each time I needed to attend the lavatory. Given my abdominal discomfort, this could have become expensive.

I wouldn’t have minded so much but the toilets were dirty and the smell was offensive. I truly do not understand what anatomical position people put themselves in to be able to spray the seat and back of a wall with faeces.

The toilets accept credit card payments which make the lack of coins in my pocket less of a problem.

Note for non-Australian readers. The dunny is the toilet, from when we had outhouses and people would micturate and defecate into a metal can, known as the dunny can. The dunny cans would be collected each morning. I will always be grateful to longtime Lord Mayor of Brisbane, Clem Jones for bringing sewage to Brisbane before I was toilet trained.

Active begging

While there is passive begging in Australia with people sitting on a sidewalk with a sign asking for money because times are tough, Lyon has people in shopping precincts coming around and asking for money. At first, I didn’t understand what was being said and when I said ‘English’ the response changed to ‘Money!’ With a handout and fingers rubbing against each other. In a five hour span, I was asked more than half a dozen times and the same woman asked me thrice. One woman was pushing her baby in a perambulator and asking for money. I only had a credit card so I couldn’t help them. Not that I would be tempted if the person pulled out a smartphone and card reader. I wonder if that will be a thing in the future, begging for credit card payments? Maybe that’s a business model that could be exploited. Maybe it’s already being done somewhere.

The French countryside is beautiful

The train ride revealed some picturesque scenery. Between 4 and 5 pm, the sky is dark, cloudy, and misty, but the fields are green. The farm houses look well kept and the sheep even look orderly. It is very pretty. Some of the farm buildings in some of the fields look like they are hundreds of years old just by the design. I didn’t see a shoddy shed amongst them. Between 5 and 6 pm it was too dark to see anything beyond the window of the train. The scheduling was spot on, board at 4 pm and alight the train at 6.02 pm.

Cigarette smoke is everywhere

It’s remarkable just how common smoking is. I’ve seen school children smoking and outside nearly every building there are people standing outside their offices all sucking in the carcinogenic tobacco smoke. Some are chatting with one another while breathing in each others’ exhaled smoke while some stand solo, durry between fingers while reading or looking at something on their smartphone. Being France, everyone was looking very fashionable, mainly in very dark colours and form-fitting clothes.

I wonder what the prevalence of carcinoma of the lung is in France. I see in the shops, unlike in Australia, the cigarette packets are on display and the packaging features the graphic pathological depictions of malignant disease or emphysema. For non-Australian readers, cigarette packages are no longer permitted to be displayed, cigarette packets must be beyond an opaque locked door. The plain packing in Australia uses a drab green colour (not to be confused with the colour olive). There is a market again for cigarette cases. What is nice in Australia is the significant drop in the number of people smoking.

Living a low carb life would be difficult

Every few hundred metres there seems to be a bakery or patisserie. Croissants and sweet pastry treats are everywhere in abundance. In the same places, there are baguettes, each about 30 cm in length and each looks like they have chicken and brie plus some lettuce and a sauce in them. Some baguettes have cured meats, others seem to have lots of olives in them, and occasionally I see tinned tuna filling a baguette.

In some places, the baguettes look like they require two hands to eat them. I’ve watched people eat them in public. Men tend to get crumbs all over their clothes while women seem to be able to eat a foot long roll of bread with sauce laden filling and not drop a crumb. I really wish I could go on a diet of eating baguettes every day.

At breakfast time I struggled to find a place that would do eggs. I didn’t find anywhere where I could get a couple of poached eggs and some bacon. As far as I know, bacon doesn’t seem to exist in Lyon, I didn’t see any the entire time I was here. I did see ham, but no bacon. I cannot imagine a life without bacon at least once a week.

I ended suspending my low carb life and ate croissants for breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. I had a nice ham and cheese croissant one night for dinner.

I saw little evidence of obesity

Okay, in the train station on my last day, I saw one or two obese people, but other than them I struggled to see anyone who was overweight and I actively looked out for them. Apart from some of the meeting participants (who were from other countries), I didn’t really come across anyone as I walked the streets who I’d say was overweight. This is different to when I’ve attended work meetings in the UK, Canada and the USA. The other obvious difference between Lyon and North America, in terms of sophistication, was the lack of large V8 pickup trucks. One of the thrills of North American trips has been the ability to take in all the big V8 pick up trucks made by all the manufacturers, even Toyota. While it’s unlikely I’d ever choose a V8 Toyota pickup truck over a Ford F-250 twin cab or a Dodge Ram, knowing the option exists would be nice. Australia is so backward when it comes to decent motor vehicles. Soon we will be inundated with hybrids and all-electric engine monstrosities of ugliness. The future of motor cars sucks, long live the internal combustion engine with 8 cylinders in a V configuration and hemispherical heads. Yes, I am one of those people.

When I was in Helsinki last year for work I was also struck but the appearance of vigour and fitness in the Finns. The French also have a healthy look to them. I know they walk a lot, although I did notice a lot of people use scooters on the sidewalks and there were not a lot of cyclists.

Clearly, French fashion helps to show off the general lack of excess body fat.

Food

Last evening meal in Lyon

I enjoyed the baguette which may not have been entirely fresh. It simply had some brie and lettuce along with some olives.

Brie cheese baguette Lyon Gary Lum

The chocolate eclair was filled with a chocolate custard and it was delicious.

Chocolate eclair Lyon Gary Lum

The final breakfast

I had some funny little pork sausages, scrambled eggs, croissants and a caramel pastry.

Pastry and croissant with sausages and scrambled eggs Lyon Gary Lum

The flights back to Canberra

So I’ve mentioned the trip between Lyon and Paris was by rail. It was a fantastic ride and at one point the train was travelling at 300 kilometres per hour.

Can you imagine if we had a fast train between Canberra and Sydney. I would spend more time out of Canberra that’s for sure. I don’t understand why the ACT Government is spending vast sums of money on a tram line from a northern town centre to the CBD, when, in my opinion (which counts for nothing), it should have worked with the NSW Government on a very fast train line between Canberra and Sydney. It could have touted the tourism benefits and draw fresh money into Canberra. Very few people (again in my opinion) living in Canberra will really benefit from the tram. I will never use it given I live in Belconnen and work in Woden. If there was a very fast train to Sydney though, I’d use it frequently to get out of Canberra and spend time in Sydney. Given the price differential in airfares out of Canberra compared with Sydney, it’s entirely possible I could avoid the airline price gouging and get cheaper travel to Brisbane albeit it would some extra time to the journey.

Charles de Gaulle International Airport (CDG) to Abu Dhabi (AUH)

I didn’t get much time to explore the Charles de Gaulle International Airport. The train arrived on time but the border control process was lengthier than I expected. Boarding for the Paris to Abu Dhabi flight also began early.

I’m one of those people who likes to board as quickly as possible to make sure I can get space for my bags and so I can settle into my seat before the cabin fills up with passengers. I know this behaviour annoys other people and travelling companions, but that’s me and I’m not about to change.

Are you one of ‘those’ people too?

This Boeing 777 flight is 7 hours in duration and I used the time to get a little sleep and to just relax. In fact, I managed a solid four hours which was pretty good.

On arriving in Abu Dhabi, the weather was pleasantly warm but there wasn’t time to do much.

Passengers deplaned (the word deplane always sounds strange) onto the tarmac and buses were waiting to move passengers to the terminal. The bus I boarded got full quickly and the driver began remonstrating with passengers who were standing to get off and onto another bus. No one budged. I had got on early and was seated down the back so it would have been awkward to get off, and besides, trying to set an example probably wasn’t the thing to do. The driver gave up, got into the cab and began driving but he let everyone know in no uncertain terms he wasn’t happy. He was speaking in what I assume was Arabic given the expression of many passengers who looked like they had arrived home. Some passengers got upset and began banging on the perspex partition between the driver’s cab and the passenger cabin. He eventually stopped. I was very tempted to ask someone what he said, but thought better I don’t know. It wouldn’t have any bearing on my life.

More bad news

On getting into the terminal I quickly connected to Wi-Fi and sent a message to a brother who is caring for my sick relative; who, unfortunately, isn’t doing as well as expected and is now in the intensive care unit. The post-surgical recovery has become complicated. I will be there in Brisbane soon.

Abu Dhabi (AUH) to Sydney (SYD)

Boarding the flight to Sydney was slow going. There are now enhanced security measures at the airport for flights into Australia. Bags are searched and some passengers find this unnecessary and vent their frustration. I’m not sure there is anything to be gained by upsetting the security personnel. They are just doing their job. A couple held up the process for some time because they had bound their carry on bags with plastic freight/cargo tape. They didn’t want their bags opened just scanned via the imagine machines. That resulted in a pair of scissors appearing and the tape being cut. I’m grateful that when my bags were inspected the dirty underwear and socks were well secured in a compartment and no one had to finger my grundies (note for non-Australian readers, grundies are underpants).

The Airbus A380 gets between Abu Dhabi and Sydney in about 14 hours. After a 2 hour stop in Abu Dhabi, all I wanted to do was get some sleep if I could. After drafting my meeting report for my bosses, there’s not much else to do on the flight apart to listen to podcasts, listen to a book on the Audible app, and read a book on the Kindle app. I refuse to connect to Wi-Fi on board a long haul flight. Work e-mail will still be there when I land. As far as I know, work will not pay for onboard Wi-Fi. I hope that situation doesn’t change.

I downloaded quite a few of my favourite podcasts to listen to and I also downloaded “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” narrated by Stephen Fry.

Sydney (SYD) to Canberra (CBR)

Getting from the Sydney International Airport and the Virgin Australia terminal in the Sydney Domestic Airport is always potentially dicey depending on how long it takes to get through border control and customs. I had nothing to declare and only carry on bags so the wait wasn’t too long. The transfer between the international and domestic airports is one of the reasons why I prefer Melbourne Airport. The international and domestic terminals are colocated. There, I said something nice about Melbourne, I know that doesn’t happen too often!

Final words

I arrived back in Canberra on Monday and as soon as I got back to the flat I put all the dirty clothes into the washing machine, bought some groceries and got ready for my flight to Brisbane to begin some carer duties.

Catch you next week.

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