Recovery Sunday

I slept soundly from 22:30 (after the Rugby World Cup Final) to 05:30, when Scully woke me up requesting to go downstairs to the grass for a toilet. I climbed back in bed about 6 and dozed for another 3 hours, while my wife got up and pottered around.

After a late breakfast, we took Scully for a walk. It was a hot day in Sydney – reaching over 30°C by 11:00. But it was cloudy and a cool wind picked up, reducing temperatures through the afternoon until we got a huge thunderstorm around 15:00. A bit after that we invited Luna (next door’s poodle) in for a puppy play-date for about an hour and a half. The dogs love each other and raced around the house playing and fighting over toys.

I didn’t do much else, taking it easy to get over the travel, except for uploading some more photos from Germany – including my day at the Spiel board games exhibition.

Spiel bisected

I also formatted my travel diary into HTML and uploaded that to my website. I’ll add photos to it a bit later, but you can read the text now.

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Arts & Crafts Market

Sunday was cool and a bit rainy in the morning, but fined up during the day. My wife wanted to go check out a new market that we hadn’t been to before, dedicated to arts and crafts, at Gymea, a suburb in the south of Sydney. A friend of mine who used to live in the area told me that the venue used to be an old heritage estate, with a house and large grounds, but fenced off and inaccessible, with a bit of a spooky reputation. But in the 90s they opened it up to the public and turned the house into an arts centre. It has a gallery and studios where they hold classes in painting, pottery, and so on.

The market had stalls both inside the gallery and spilling out all over the lawn, with maybe a hundred or so different stalls. There was also a stage with a band playing live music, and a small cluster of food stalls. Several other people had brought small dogs, so Scully got to meet some of them.

Hazelhurst market

After browsing around all the stalls, we sought some lunch, heading a block over to Gymea’s shopping strip, where we found a place called The Portuguese Bakery. Figuring this was… wait for it… a Portuguese bakery, we grabbed a table and got some savoury pastries for lunch. Of course they had the well known Portuguese egg custard tarts, so I had to try one.

The Portuguese Bakery

But wait, there’s more! When we’d visited Portugal earlier this year, naturally we tried tarts in many places. All the bakeries there make them. But they make them all in the very traditional way – flaky pastry base, filled with custard. They were great, but quite similar to one another. But the great thing about a traditional baker emigrating to Australia is that they start to incorporate the local tastes into their products. They had not only traditional tarts, but also passionfruit, orange, raspberry, and fig custard tarts!

You would never see such sacrilege in Portugal, but here it makes sense. Passionfruit in particular is used a lot in baking and desserts, and marrying it with a custard tart turned out to be a genius level inspiration. Because I had one, and it had a layer of fresh passionfruit pulp under the custard, which added a pleasing fruity tang to complement the sweetness of the custard. The Portuguese may deny it, but I think this creation is even better than the traditional version. It was that good.

We got home in the mid afternoon and relaxed a bit, before taking Scully out for a run around the local park and chasing some tennis balls. And that about filled out the day!

New content today:

Caught in the rain

Housework this morning – cleaning the bathroom, shower cubicle, vacuuming the carpet. Then I spent the rest of the morning making tomorrow’s Darths & Droids strip, after last night’s writing session.

After lunch I took Scully for a walk while my wife went off to an appointment. We went for a longish walk around the neighbourhood, up and down several of the hills, through a park, past a favourite bakery, and then back along the harbour shore to complete a big loop. Unfortunately I hadn’t counted on the weather, as it began raining when we were most of the way outbound, and I hadn’t brought anything for wet weather. We sought shelter under someone’s carport for a while during the heaviest part, and I checked the rain radar on my phone to see how long it might last. But eventually we just had to push through it and walk in the rain, thankfully a bit lighter, but heavy enough to make us moderately wet.

But the good thing about this sort of weather is you can get dramatic photos:

Scully: rain mood

This was one shot of many – it’s hard to get Scully to pose and sit still for more than a few seconds!

Tonight for dinner my wife and I went out to Via Napoli, a pizza place a short drive away, one of only a handful of places in Australia certified by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana as making true Neapolitan pizzas. They are really good, and they had a special “10 cheeses” pizza tonight, which we had to try. It was amazing. (Unfortunatey we tucked into it before I thought to take a photo…)

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Scully’s PB

So, Scully now has her own jar of peanut butter.

Scully's PB

This happened because we accidentally bought the wrong sort of peanut butter – my wife and I prefer the all natural stuff with no added sugar or salt. I have crunchy and she has smooth. But someone accidentally grabbed this jar. So now in a household of two people, we have three different types of peanut butter.

Besides grocery shopping, I spent the day writing another 100 Proofs that the Earth is a Globe.

New content today:

Comic Sunday

This morning my wife and I went for a long walk with Scully, taking her through the bushland near the harbour for the first time in several weeks. A bit over a month ago the local council deployed poison fox baits in the bushland in an effort to control/eradicate the feral fox population. The area was off limits for dogs, because the baits are also lethal to them, so we had to take alternate routes. But the area was posted as clear a week or so ago, so we took advantage today. And after the bush section we walked along the waterfront…

Scully on Sunday

We didn’t get home until close to lunchtime, since we stopped for morning tea at a bakery. They have the most delicious fruit danishes there – I had an apricot one. The pastry is incredibly crisp and flaky and buttery.

Most of the afternoon I spent completing the batch of Irregular Webcomic! strips I’ve been working on for the past week. The comics are now all assembled, but I still have to write all the annotations and enter them into the database where they’re queued up for publication. That’s another half day of work or so.

New content today:

Basil Sunday

This morning my wife and I took Scully on a long walk, around to a bakery/cafe over in the next suburb, where we stopped for a morning tea. On the way back we ran into another couple walking a dog, and they were new to the area, so were asking us about good routes for walking dogs. We showed them part of the way we were taking home, down a steep set of steps to the Harbour shore and along a cove where there’s a small marina with yachts. It’s a nice walk, and there are often several types of birds around: ducks, cormorants, gulls, swallows, occasionally parrots.

Back at home I continued writing new scripts for Irregular Webcomic!, before realising that hadn’t made today’s Darths & Droids strip yet! So I made that (my friends and I had written the script a couple of weeks ago).

Late in the afternoon we went to the hardware and pet stores. We wanted to get a basil plant so we’d have fresh basil leaves to use for cooking through the summer. And some saucers to go under the pots of the basil and the chilli I bought the other day, to catch any excess watering.

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Bread and Codenames

Saturday – more housework! After cleaning various things this morning I got stuck into writing some new Irregular Webcomic! scripts. I want to get another batch made next week if I can, and then complete another batch before I leave for my trip to Germany at the end of October. I wrote about half the batch today – hopefully I’ll have time to finish it off tomorrow.

It was approaching lunch time and I was getting hungry, so I checked the kitchen. We had 2/3 of a loaf of bread bought from the supermarket on Thursday, so I planned to make myself some sandwiches. I grabbed the bread… and noticed that the plastic bag had a large hole in it at the bottom end. Ragged, like it had been torn open. And a big chunk of the bread inside the hole had been… eaten away. It looked like mouse or rat damage.

Now I’m pretty sure we don’t have mice in the house, and we store the bread under a plastic cake cover so there’s no way anything could get in. So this must have occurred at the supermarket, and we just didn’t notice it until now. My immediate problem was that this left me with nothing straightforward to eat for lunch. (I wasn’t going to eat slices of a loaf that’s had mice/rats chewing on it.) So I took the rodent-gnawed loaf and went for a walk up to the supermarket to exchange it, and to buy some lunch on the way. I got sushi. The supermarket exchanged the bread for a new loaf with no issues, and the woman I spoke to said she’d show the damaged loaf to the manager.

This afternoon: more comic writing, distracted a bit by wondering if I have a Lego Boushh or not, and how much it would cost to acquire one (about $35 it turns out – too much for one comic). Then I watched Australia’s first game in the Rugby World Cup in Japan, as they played against Fiji in Sapporo. Fiji got off to a good start and led the scoring until the 62nd minute, when the Aussies finally pulled ahead – and from there the Fijians were visibly fatiguing while the Aussies stormed all over them, scoring multiple more times to win comfortably in the end. Our next game is against Wales next weekend.

After the game my wife and I took Scully to the park for some exercise. We’re trying a new training treat: tinned salmon, which she gets a morsel of for successfully responding to our call to “come here”. She obeys that one reasonably well, but not if she gets distracted by something, so we’re working on strengthening it. The good news is she likes the salmon, and was very keen to “come here” to get some.

This evening I played some games of Codenames Duet with my wife. We lost the first game when I guessed an assassin card. Here’s the layout midway through the second game, where we’re going better:

Codenames Duet

At this stage I had to clue to my wife MARATHON, ST PATRICK, WEREWOLF, and MONKEY. I considered “hairy” for WEREWOLF and MONKEY, but was stymied by the presence of BEARD. I plumped for “person” to clue ST PATRICK and WEREWOLF, which thankfully worked, and after that it was all downhill to the finish, as we won it handily. So 1 loss, 1 win.

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Day in the city

You know the routine. Saturday is housework day – vacuuming the floor and cleaning the bathroom and other fun stuff like that. After lunch, I went into the city with my wife and Scully. Wife wanted to visit Paddington Markets. Previously we’d just get public transport there, but with Scully it was easier to drive. There’s parking not too far away in Centennial Park, and we walked from there, giving Scully a chance to stretch her legs.

I left the two of them at the markets while I caught a bus into the CBD to pick up some game stuff I ordered online and elected to pick up rather than have delivered. Then I returned to Paddington and found them in the markets. We waked around a bit looking at the stalls and getting a snack, and then left to make our way home. Back in Centennial Park we threw a ball for Scully to chase and get some exercise, and let her explore all the grass and trees and rocks and stuff – it’s the first time she’s been to this park.

Exploring Centennial Park

We went home and prepared to go back into the city for a nice dinner at a fancy restaurant that we had booked a month or two ago. No special occasion, except that we felt like we wanted a nice night out and we really enjoyed this place last time, and we know they allow dogs in the outdoor seating area. The restaurant was Otto in Woolloomooloo. It’s situated on a wharf and has a marvellous view across a small cove towards the city skyline. Parking there is difficult so this time we caught a bus in. Fortunately small dogs are allowed on buses, so that wasn’t a problem.

The dinner was delicious. My dessert was particularly notable: sourdough custard with spiced pineapple and sourdough ice cream. I was going to order something else, but my wife talked me into trying it, and I’m glad I did because it was an amazing combination of flavours – sweet, salty, sour, spicy. Honestly I’m not sure I got “sourdough” out of it, but rather something more like a gingerbread sensation. Which is good because I like gingerbread. Anyway, it was great!

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More comic writing

Saturday is housework day! I vacuumed the carpet and cleaned the bathroom and shower. Then got stuck into finishing off writing the current batch of Irregular Webcomic! I managed to polish that off just after lunch. This batch includes the first strips in a brand new theme – which I’m a bit excited about, since I haven’t introduced a new theme for a long time – the Scientific Revolution theme which began in strip 2154. Over ten years ago!

The afternoon was family time, with an afternoon tea with my wife’s family. We stopped on the way to buy some cannolis from the good Italian bakery near us, but it was nearly their closing time and they only had one left in the display when we got there. So I asked for that and a few other little sweets. Then the owner came out and asked me how I was going, and I said fine, except I’d been hoping for more cannolis. And he said he’d go out the back and pipe some fresh for me! He made some vanilla custard and some ricotta cannolis, but it seemed they were out of chocolate custard, alas.

Scully got to go for a bit of a walk during the afternoon tea.

Last day of winter

Thankfully the rain eased off a lot today, and by sunset the sun had actually come out again.

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Rainy day writing

It rained more today, heavier than yesterday. I wrote Irregular Webcomic! scripts in the morning while listening to the music of Five Year Mission.

After lunch I collected Scully from my wife’s work, and then had to keep her amused for an hour before taking her to doggy daycare. Wife had booked her in for daycare today because of the weather forecast – as we discovered yesterday it’s difficult to get her some good outdoors exercise when it’s cold and raining heavily. I couldn’t let her run around and get soaked in the rain, so I took her to the pet shop where she likes to roam up and down the aisles sniffing everything. And then we went to the daycare place, which is probably her favourite place in the world (besides home of course!). She gets to play with lots of other dogs and usually comes home exhausted. Here’s a photo the daycare people took of her with a friend:

Friyay at doggy daycare

I wrote more comics in the afternoon. Writing a batch of comics can take up to two days of work. I’ll have to finish this batch off tomorrow. That was basically it for the day. Writing comic scripts is the most time consuming part of making Irregular Webcomic!, because of periods of writer’s block, and other periods of doing research. For one strip I wrote today I spent a couple of hours researching the history of various Greek provinces during the Roman era, which included this tweeted appeal for assistance. (I found the answer.) You can probably guess what theme it was for. It’s amazing the amount of research I put into a simple gag comic strip sometimes.

This evening was a relaxing dinner out with wife and Scully at one of our favourite Indian restaurants. We walked up the street, with the rain thankfully just light, easing off for the night.

Rainy night at Crowie

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