Monday, November 11, 2013

An Unexpected Day Off

I had a day off today, and an unexpected bonus befell me when my wife's scheduled shift was cancelled. This meant that my 1 day off of the week was shared with my soul mate. The only problem is that this can lead to plans and schemes. To start with we had a late start and went for a late breakfast together in one of our favourite cafe's in Albert Park Village. The Dundas Place Cafe is friendly, spacious and comfortable with a great menu and great coffee. My favourite breakfast is porridge with butterscotch bananas, which is what I had this morning.

Caroline on our recent roadtrip

While we were at the cafe we were discussing things ranging from novels we have read and want to read, to what we should have for dinner later, and how amazing our holiday was and where we would like to go to in the future. We have plans to go back to New Zealand next year to wonderful Queenstown in the south island. Then we were thinking of another roadtrip but this time to Europe. A trip to France and Italy to experience the historical and culinary sounds fantastic. In fact, it sounded so good that our dinner tonight was inspired by this. We drove round the short distance to South Melbourne Market to buy the vital ingredients for a French Onion Soup which I then came back home to make. I used a recipe from the Not Quite Nigella site that I follow, though winged it a bit as well. Besides the ingredients in the recipe, we had:

1. French Stick
2. Triple cream Brie (not for cooking, we bought some Gruyere for that)
3. Bottle of Arrogant Frog Cabernet Merlot (partially for cooking with)

Tonight's French meal, Onion Soup with Gruyere, Brie and French bread

This rounded things off pretty well, but we talked of another plan. My bucket list the other day included a trip to India, and Caroline entered the spirit of things at the Cafe saying how much she'd like to go to India. But it's a big place so where should we go? I would love to see Everest and it was Caroline who suggested he go to Nepal and Kathmandu. This started us thinking and looking at the East of India. Kolkata seems like a main hub, and probably a good place to fly to, and then there are places such as Puri on the Bay of Bengal and Varanasi in central north India. We'll see where we go with the planning of this trip but the Ganges and Everest are starting points.

I guess that reading 'The Accidental Apprentice' by Vikas Swarup put thoughts of India foremost in my mind. This was a beautiful novel from the author of 'Q and A' which most of know from the film, Slumdog Millionaire. It is written as a modern day fable, and follows the exploits of a young woman who is given the chance of a lifetime to become the CEO of a multi billion dollar empire. She has to pass through some tests and these bring our attention to some real issues in Indian culture, such as the treatment of women in rural India, religion, corruption and bureaucratic procedure. The plot twists wonderfully and the ending is powerful. However, if every time I read a book about a different country it makes me want to go there and start planning there will definitely be some places that miss out. The latest novel I read is possibly my favourite of the year so far. 'The Messenger' by Australian author Markus Zuzak is another fable and wonderfully written. The main character is so believable, especially for us who live in Australia. That the things that happen to him are so unbelievable doesn't matter, because the characters who he meets and interacts with are just as beautifully created. The interactions bring laughter and tears to the reader and this is one of the few books I've given 5 stars to this year on the Goodreads site.

So to sum up today, my wife had the day off and I spent it with her when I didn't think I would, I went out for breakfast when I didn't think I would, I planned a future adventure when I didn't think I would, I cooked a meal that I didn't think I would. It's always good to be prepared to expect the unexpected in life.

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