Tuesday 16 March 2021

For these are a few of my favourite things.

The Blue Mountains near Sydney, Australia

I couldn't sleep on Saturday night. It was a combination of being in an unknown place, in a strange bed and a lot on my mind. The insistent drumming was a soothing melody, I told myself, and not a strident get-up-now call. My mind game must have worked as when I woke several hours later, it was still raining but the cool, confident drummer had finished his act and stepped aside, replaced by a less heavy handed timpani scratcher. I lay in bed listening to the rhythm of the drops on the tin roof. 

The day before had been one of those rare days when I had been graced with multiple shining pearls of joy. The magpie, that oh-so-Australian bush warbler, was the first. He had watched me prepare my toast, but had remained on the balustrade and respectfully distant, as any good entertainer knows to do, singing - no, serenading me - as I spread first the butter and then, salivating in anticipation, the marmelade; thick, chunky, juicy.

I had already been for an early morning walk through the bush and although nature had done its trick and filled me with deep lungfuls of fresh air and a welcome calm, breakfast was a recompense of sorts.

Fast-forward to dinner and I was hungry. Fresh air, exercise and the mountains do that to me. Not eating much does it too. We had spoiled ourselves and eaten out. Uncharacteristically, I had selected both an entrée and a main course and wondered how the chef would interpret my order: home-made (not French) pâté followed by vegan pie.

Vegan pie

A difficult, quirky or confused client? Yes, I have been all of those things but, of all the menu items, those two from opposite ends of the meat-eating spectrum were what appealed. 

I devoured both courses with bursts of culinary commentary - reminiscing fondly about the first time that I had had pâté served to me. 

Then, years before, and in our BF (Before France) era, our little family unit had been special guests of a French family.

"May I take your jackets?" the most polite teenage boy of our hosts had asked the children when we arrived.

"Where?" Molly had asked, wrapping her cardigan more closely around herself.

My turn to try and exchange discomfort for delight came next when, after a heady pre-dinner Chambord and champagne, the adults sat down for dinner, peeking at each other through the flowers and over the placemats, napkins and formal dinnerware ... holding thick grey grainy slabs of something slightly unsettling, atop circles of dark bread and next to neatly cut cubes of butter and cute-as-a-button cornichons (pickles). Specially ordered from France, we were being treated to the finest of French starters and I consumed it; my pâté, smiling widely, nodding carefully and sipping frequently on my sparkling water.

How our tastes and outlook have changed. And, how grateful I am for each and every morsel. 

Of course, being in the Blue Mountains, there was a quick stop at The French Shoppe to sign books. 

And now, channeling my best Julie Andrews ...

'But you are in France, Madame' for sale
Rain drops on rooftops and thick, luscious marmelade 

Warbling minstrels and wind sighing escapades

Time to savour the delights on my plate

These are a few of my favourite states.

PS  'Sound of Music' another favourite thing.

PPS Not heading to the Blue Mountains near Sydney in Australia any time soon?

Here is a link to purchase the first of my books. Wherever you are in the world, it should take you to a purchase option in your country.

A bientôt.


  1. Wow! What a stunning mountain range. I like the warning sign - very specific! Perhaps they should have more like that in the U.S. National Park System.
    Always good to have an appetite for new things - whether food or places. Hope you are catching up on your sleep now.

  2. Loved the Blue Mountains. Took a tour of Jenollan Caves, many years ago.