Late Monday

I got stuck into a few cut-throat games of Codenames last night with friends via online chat, and before I knew it the evening was over and I hadn’t written my Monday blog post. So here we are doing it over breakfast the next morning.

On Monday I went for a bit of a walk in the morning, around the local shops. I noticed some places newly closed and the premises up for lease. I hope the COVID restrictions don’t cause more shops/cafes/restaurants to go out of business. There were also some places renovating and fitting out for new openings, including our vet, which is moving premises in a week or so. Their old building is being demolished to be redeveloped – almost certainly into new apartments. The building never ceases in Sydney, as more housing is needed for the ever-growing population.

I took a photo of what may be the most hipster barber shop ever:

Most hipster barber ever?

Last time I did grocery shopping, I noticed that the supermarket was still selling hot cross buns. (I actually think they sell them year round now, because they’re so popular, rather than just around Easter.) I bought some, because they’re so good. In the past I only ever had them warmed up with butter melting on them. But inspired by Japanese melon-pan ice cream, I’ve taken to heating them up and then putting on a scoop of ice cream, which works amazingly well.

But in the first post-Easter COVID-lockdown-approved visit my wife made to her mother’s place, she came home with some chocolate Easter eggs. So I’ve been trying heating the buns with a chocolate egg inside, which melts and makes a delicious filling. And then I recently bought some bananas…

Hot Cross Banana Split

Behold the Hot Cross Banana Split! I heated the bun with the chocolate egg in it – so it’s all melty. Then added sliced banana and a scoop of ice cream.

Hot Cross Banana Split

Close the lid and squash it all together…

Hot Cross Banana Split

Oh my…. Highly recommended!

New content today:

Double or Nothing Sunday

Okay, today I did some stuff! Firstly, I restarted using Duolingo to practice learning Italian again. I’ve been slacking off on my Italian since I got back from my trip to Portugal last year, and finally decided to restart. Fortunately it seems I’ve done enough that I remembered all of the relatively easy stuff. We’ll see how I go with trickier stuff later on.

I cleared out another backlogged Snot Block & Roll review, of an amazing sausage roll.

I did another long walk, documented with photos. This time through the historic Coal Loader site and nearby Balls Head, in Waverton (a suburb of Sydney).

For dinner this evening I made carrot and lentil soup, seasoned with coriander and my home made chilli sauce. And I made yoghurt flatbread to go with it, which is so easy and delicious. A simple meal, but it was really delicious and perfect for a cool autumn day.

New content today:

Nothing Saturday

Oops! I forgot to post anything on Saturday (it’s now Sunday morning here). Probably because almost nothing happened. I can barely remember what I did…

I posted a new Snot Block & Roll review (of an old sample). And I did some work on an old travel diary and photos from a trip to Thailand in 2005. And not much else.

I’ve been getting into the Netflix series The Haunting of Hill House. And finished watching season 2 of the new Lost in Space. Yeah, not a very productive day.

New content today:

Food and food

It was time to stock up with some groceries today, so I made the trek to the supermarket. Things are almost back to normal there, however they are still completely sold out of liquid soap refills, and I’m starting to think we might have to get some bars of soap soon.

I also realised that I’ve been overestimating the amount of food my wife and I can eat in one week, as we still have quite a bit of stuff in the house, and so today I bought less than I’ve been buying in the past few weeks.

Most of the work I did today was making more Darths & Droids comics. We’re building up a nice buffer now, which is good, as we weren’t sure if we could keep up a three-a-week production schedule with the current situation.

And since it’s Friday, end of the working week, we ordered dinner delivered tonight, from a local Indian restaurant. We had a lovely meal of: (take-away containers of lentil dhal, rice, and chunks of lamb, plus foil bags of onion bhajis and naan) in a plastic bag of rogan josh sauce. Despite the mess, it was delicious.

New content today:

Drying strawberries

This morning I noticed a punnet of strawberries in the fridge that I’d bought last week, and realised we better do something with them, if they haven’t gone mouldy already. One of them had, but the rest were okay. My wife suggested drying them, if we could, to use as breakfast cereal topping.

I checked some online recipes and indeed, found that I could dry them in a slow oven. So I sliced them up and stuck them in at 90°C.

Drying strawberries

For 4 hours…

Dried strawberries

They turned out nice and crispy, and left an interesting pattern on the baking paper. I reckon this is how you made lickable wallpaper.

“The strawberries taste like strawberries! The snozzberries taste like snozzberries!”

I also made some more Darths & Droids comics today. And in weather news, it was cold! The overnight temperature was about 10°C, and it had risen to 21°C by 9am, but then by midday it dropped back down below 14°C as a cold front came in, bringing heavy rain. The next few days are going to be chilly, and it looks like only getting up to 24°c next week, according to the forecast. Summer is over.

New content today:

Bad parring

We have a good method of making cheap chew toys for Scully. I buy a bunch of 100% cotton rope from the hardware store, cut it into lengths, and tie knots to stop it fraying. Scully loves playing tug-o-war with these ropes, and chewing them.

Scully's old play rope

A couple of days ago when I went past the hardware store I bought a new batch of rope. When I got it home I took the wrapper off… and oops!

Scully's new play rope

We couldn’t get it off her for a while! And just for fun here’s another photo fo Scully, from yesterday.

Scully with flowers

This morning I went to play golf with my friend, at the “pitch and putt” course where I first learnt to play. We did a rematch of the golf “skins” game we did a couple of weeks ago. Since I won that one with a handicap of 18, he suggested reducing my handicap to 16 for today. This meant that for the hardest 16 holes I only had to equal his score to win the hole, but for the two easiest hole I actually had to beat his score to win the hole. I thought he was still being generous after last time, but today I played poorly, and he won easily, 12 points to 6.

Here’s my best tee shot of the day.

My tee shot

Unfortunately I took two putts to sink it from there. Contrast my friend’s best tee shot of the day:

Andrew's tee shot

That’s my ball at the bottom. His ball is less than a forearm’s length from the hole. But that wasn’t the best shot we saw today. Another guy playing a hole near us scored a hole in one! I saw part of this shot, and the ball rolling on the green, but didn’t see it fall in the hole. However there was no mistaking it when people nearby exclaimed loudly and the man himself celebrated, and took a photo of the ball in the hole. So that was pretty cool.

New content today:

Banana bread

I was just trying to remember what I did today, and nothing came to mind… It was one of those days. Goofed around a lot. Well, I cleaned the bathroom window flyscreen and sill. Exciting.

I baked a loaf of banana bread, to use up some old spotty bananas. My wife suggested adding some yoghurt, so I Googled up a recipe that included yoghurt in it. It turned out nice – better than the last time I made banana bread.

I’ve been playing the game Wavelength with some friends via Discord. One guy coded it up as a Discord bot, and it works really well. He’s also coded Codenames into the same bot, so we have a couple of things to play when a few of us are hanging out in chat. It’s a good way to keep social during this virus distancing stuff.

New content today:

Industrial grunge walk

I needed to buy a couple of things from the hardware store today, so I took a walk over there, and then proceeded to walk home via a roundabout route, so I could document another Sydney walk with photos. The previous walk was very touristy and beautiful, so I thought I’d explore a grungier side of the city today. It’s not the grungiest, because I’m limited to suburbs within walking distance, but hopefully there’s a bit there!

Photos and commentary are in this Imgur album.

I also worked some more on Darths & Droids today – made another comic, wrote some annotations.

New content today:

The days are blending together

It’s Sunday. My wife says she’s been losing track of the days because she’s been working from home, but I somehow manage to keep the days straight – except today I felt a bit lost and had to think about it.

We didn’t do much, except take Scully on a long walk this morning. Oh that’s right… there was a bit os housecleaning and stuff – cleaning the bathroom, refilling the wardrobe damp absorbers, washing up, etc, etc.

Oh, and I made chilli sauce out of the chillies I picked and chopped three weeks ago! I’d left them to ferment in brine with garlic, but I think I put too much salt in and the lactobacillus never got going, since there were no bubbles like my friend told me to expect. But anyway, I added some vinegar and blended the result, and it turned out looking like a slightly chunky Tabasco sauce, so I guess that’s good. I’ll try it later in the week.

Home made chilli sauce

New content today:

Virtual Sydney walk

Today was Anzac Day, Australia’s (and New Zealand’s) most solemn day of remembrance. Normally it’s marked by massed gatherings of people at ceremonies held in pre-dawn light in all cities and towns. But it couldn’t happen this year, because of COVID-19 restrictions. Instead there was a movement for people to play The Last Post on any instrument they had, in their driveways, on balconies, out windows, wherever they were at home.

It was also kind of weird and surreal because normally Anzac Day has a big and obvious build up, but this year news was dominated by COVID stuff instead, so Anzac Day kind of crept up until suddenly yesterday we found ourselves thinking, “Wait a second, tomorrow is Anzac Day! Where did that come from??” All in all, it was a very strange version of the day.

Today I went through all the photos I took yesterday and write them up as a virtual walk through Sydney. I put it into an Imgur album here.

I also made some Darths & Droids comics. Now that we’re back up to publishing three strips a week, it means I have to make three strips a week, so it’s a never-ending task.

And there was housework and the usual sort of Saturday stuff. Nothing especially interesting.

New content today: