Columns

Ponderance

The first Saturday of the month is always marked on the calendar: **MARKET**

I don’t want to miss it, but often do and I’ve been known to harbour that disappointment for several hours upon realising the day or time has passed.

All other plans for the day are made around this all-important trip to the market.

I phoned a couple of friends, set up the rendezvous point and we met, with kids in tow, to wander along the river.

I’m sure most readers have enjoyed the market walk so I will not go into details of stalls and stallholders, sights and sounds.

You know it well. But this particular market trip stands out amongst others.

We set off with the idea that the children, four of them, aged between six and nine, would be happy souls, wandering under gum trees with money in pockets and the promise of frozen yoghurt to spur them on if they grew weary.

We had visions of children skipping through the dust under a canopy of gum trees, happy to be beyond walls.

It didn’t take long before this vision of ‘free range’ had turned into the dusty reality of hot and grumpy children, and the coffee van seemed to be an ever moving mirage, just out of reach.

Our dreams of being earth mothers wandering by the river were fading with each utterance from the mouths of our babes.

We didn’t walk the full stretch of the market last month, although we did make it to coffee, run into friends and join the queue at the frozen yoghurt van.

As we headed to our cars we laughed at ourselves, we are just not the earth mother type.

 Blessed are we who can laugh at ourselves for we shall never cease to be amused – Proverb 

In the weeks since this market trip I have been pondering the idea of “the absence of annoyance”, a phrase often linked to the Danish concept of ‘Hygge’, pronounced ‘hue-gah’, that is described as the philosophy of enjoying life’s simple pleasures.

The “absence of annoyance” is a place in which we can reside between ease and effort. Where gritted teeth are replaced by a calm breath — an eternal yoga session.

Grace seems to be the key to this place of residence, grace in movement, in thought and in response.

Effort is required, but, as in all things worthwhile, the more I practice this mindset, the easier it is becoming.

I observed our household one afternoon, I sat back deliberately and listened to everyone interacting; I heard in them what I hear so often in myself — annoyance.

I listed the things that annoy each of us all regularly: the dog that is underfoot as we work in the kitchen, is also the dog that greets us when we walk in the door and sleeps at the feet of the one that is burning the midnight oil; the child that causes me to grit my teeth is also the one that hangs on for a longer cuddle at the end of the day; the dishes left on the dining table are evidence that someone has stopped awhile and been at home rather than rushing out the door.

We don’t want to take away the things that are annoying us, for life would be lonely, that I am certain of, instead I choose the absence of annoyance.

Next, I decided to tackle rush.

The idea is not new, I know, but it’s new to me.

Deciding not to rush to the next task but instead to stay focussed on what is at hand, is, I can honestly report, keeping my heart rate down a little.

This insight came after spending time with my 23-year-old daughter recently.

We had gone supermarket shopping together and I heard myself say in so many different ways, hurry up; I used “come on”, “let’s go”, “you go get this, I will get that”, “let’s get this over and done with,” and other phrases that maybe you have used too.

We rushed, we sighed impatiently at the queue at the checkout, (how dare everyone else be shopping at the same time we are), we loaded and unloaded, then moved on to the next thing in our day.

Later, I reflected on the shopping trip and realised that it was more about spending a few hours with her than getting the job done.

We don’t shop together very often, actually we don’t do a lot together these days.

I was thinking over how that time could have been different had I switched off ‘rush’, all that was needed was a little tweak.

So next market day my friends and I will meet up again to grab a coffee and wander – with kids in tow – I’ll let you know how it goes.

Songlines in Warrandyte

When British settlement in Australia began in 1788 the colonists were essentially blind to Aboriginal technology. The manicured environment they saw had been carefully shaped by constant burning off and it looked for all the world like an English gentlman’s estate. However, it was nevertheless thought of as the “natural” state of affairs. These misapprehensions permeate our history books and continue to influence our thinking right up to the present day. So in this sense we have been brought up to be virtually blind to many aspects of our Aboriginal heritage.

It is exactly the same situation with Aboriginal trade and travel routes, which are known as Songlines. The reason they are called Songlines is because the landmarks, ecological features and creation stories along each route were coded into a song. Aboriginal people had to learn hundreds of these songs that had verses patching into each other, thus enabling them to diverge at any given point onto a different trail and a different song.

These Songlines criss-crossed the whole of Australia with the important travel routes covering many hundreds of kilometres. These major Songlines were even coded celestially, so that the various landmarks were represented in the constellations. For instance, one such celestially coded Songline goes from Alice Springs to Byron Bay.

Now just pause and think about this for a minute. Why would people from Alice Springs want to travel to Byron Bay and vice versa? The answer is both simple and stunning.

People from the central desert wanted to go to the far east coast to witness the local people working in co- operation with dolphins to catch fish. Every dolphin was known by name and responded to their name in working as a team to drive shoals of fish to the shore. Aboriginal people would net the fish and then share the fish evenly with the dolphins. On the other side of the ledger people from the far east coast of Australia wanted to travel to the central desert to see the majestic Uluru for themselves.

When settlers first arrived in Melbourne in 1835 they simply got on their horses and in their carts and started spreading out into the hinterland. They of course followed the ridge lines, valley lines and easy contours that seemed to be remarkably free of trees and offered convenient travel routes. These Songlines then became established cart tracks and were progressively gravelled then bitumenised.

So while Melbourne itself was established on a surveyed one mile square grid of north-south and east-west roads, all the meandering roads out of Melbourne were originally Aboriginal Songlines. If you take an aerial view in your mind’s eye, you can see all the main roads radiating out of Melbourne: Geelong Road, Ballarat Road, Calder Highway, Sydney Road, Plenty Road, Heidelberg Road, Maroondah Highway,

Dandenong Road and Nepean Highway. They were all originally Songlines, but are not recognised as such, and our kids at school are not taught this part of our heritage.

It is in fact quite easy to identify Songlines and being on the Yarra, Warrandyte has an abundance of them. You can for instance be certain that any shallow rapids area on the Yarra was the point at which a Songline crossed the river. The street where the Police Station is situated is one such place where the Songline taking you to Research crossed the river to follow the Research-Warrandyte Road. Barely a couple of hundred metres further up where the bridge stands, is where the Songline to Kangaroo Ground starts. Take a trip along the Kangaroo Ground Road and see how it follows the ridge line and gives you 360 degree views. It is of course also a Songline.

Another good example is Tindals Road. Take your kids along it and enjoy the panoramic vistas to the east and west. Tell them, “Hey kids, this is an Aboriginal Songline, You know this because you can see for miles.” Originally the Tindals Road Songline branched off from Doncaster Road to follow Old Warrandyte Road. It then went past the Donvale Christian College, followed the ridge line and dropped down into Pound Bend. However, it is now bisected by Warrandyte Road where a cutting has been put in.

Much of Warrandyte Road itself was also a Songline. The route followed the ridge line as it does today past Warrandyte High School, but the original Songline then followed Melbourne Hill Road. With a little bit of thought it is relatively easy to identify the original route of these Songlines by seeing where cuttings and diversions have been put in.

So if you have any information that could help to map these local Songlines and restore knowledge of this part of our heritage, please let me know.

Fond farewell to our Kibbled King

I have just been helping Herself make this year’s Christmas cake. The Christmas puddings were made a few weeks ago and at the moment, they are sitting in the fridge waiting for the flavours to meld and develop. Actually, there are two different puddings in the fridge as we now have family members who are gluten intolerant and others who are vegan and run screaming from the room if confronted by any ingredient that, at some time in its life, has had a face. The result is that for any extended family meal, before a dish can be made, all ingredients must be scrupulously scrutinised for evidence of gluten and uttering eyelashes.

When Christmas Day dawns and we are all around the table and the puddings come steaming to the table, Herself, saint that she is, will assuage the questioning glances by indicating which of all the offerings on the table pass muster. I don’t remember Mum having to worry about such things. The food was served and if you didn’t like it, wouldn’t eat it or were philosophically opposed to currants or orange peel, then you would be assured that there was always the dog waiting for your leftovers. My fading memory suggests that the dog usually went hungry.

But back to the cake – let them eat it! I am eternally amazed at how recipes come into being. Surely there wasn’t some tireless cook who was chained to a kitchen bench, endlessly experimenting with the proportions and types of ingredients. And I cite the Christmas cake as an example.

My bench chaining was brief but in that time, I was instructed to weigh several tonnes of currants, sultanas, cranberries, raisins and candied peel. To these was added a sack of our, several kilos of brown sugar, slabs of butter, a lorry load of slivered almonds, a farm load of eggs, most of the remaining spices from Batavia, salt and all the orange juice and zest from Sunraysia. All this was poured into a cement mixer and moistened with the odd keg of Muscat, Port and Brandy. All this is now regularly churned and left to ‘prove’, ‘cure’ or do whatever a mixture like this does over night.

How on earth was this recipe concocted? Perhaps a castle was besieged and there was nothing better to do to while away the months than experiment with whatever was left in the cellar pantry. How many failed, trial Christmas cakes were fed to the chained prisoners and how much reheated and tipped over the ramparts onto the vegans below?

Eventually, perhaps over generations of trial and error, we arrived at a recipe that works. Over that time the excesses have been eliminated and what remains is a balanced, fail proof recipe. It seems that we only advance through trial and error.

I suppose the same is still going on. In the never ending quest for novelty or to gain a hat for a restaurant, chefs seem determined ‘to go where no man has gone before’. Occasionally, I glance through one of Herself’s food mags and I’m gobsmacked at some of the offerings. Why, in the name of baked beans on toast do they have to try and convince us that turnip and lime macarons are worth trying? Yes, I know I’m a boring old fart but I’d like to think that I’m a BOF with some taste and discretion.

I know that on Christmas Day, I will devour the turkey and ham, gobble up the roasted potatoes and whatever vegetables are deemed suitable. I will have a few servings of pudding, complete with delicious animal by products. Both before and after CD I will enjoy the slabs of Christmas cake, subtly complemented by shortbread and chocolate-dipped, candied orange peel. All without a politically correct thought! You see, it’s time to pass over that task to others as this is my last ‘Kibbled’ column.

It’s sobering to reflect on the fact that some of you out there were not born when I started writing ‘Kibbled”, 34 years ago. Of course, I was just a youngster at the time. We had built a house in North Warrandyte, our two kids were going to WPS, I was involved in the Warrandyte Drama Group, Herself was at the Eltham Living and Learning Centre and we were ‘happy locals’.

In my years with The Diary, under the professional editorship of Cliff Green and more recently, Scott Podmore, I have been privileged to be able to share my life with you; my joys, my gripes and reflections on life. Throughout those 34 years, Jock’s fabulous cartoons have improved whatever I have written.

I have kept copies of all my articles and one day, I will sit or lie down and read the lot to discover what sort of man I have been. Whatever I discover, I know that without Herself I would have been a lesser one.

That said, all I have to do now, is press my … last … full…stop.

ROGER KIBELL

Ah Roger, it’s a sad, sad day saying farewell to one of our greats! On behalf of the Diary I offer a heartfelt thank you for all your wonderful columns, engaging and entertaining turns of phrase. We also thank the lovely Herself for being the subject of so many great yarns. You will always be a part of the Diary. – Scott P, editor.

Wine and dine at Dolans

Say hello to our epicurean super hub

Two years after being awarded Best New Winery in Australia by James Halliday, Rob Dolan has opened his schmick new cellar door in Warrandyte South. Set on 100 acres of rolling farm- land and vineyard, and just 30 minutes from Melbourne CBD, Rob has “location, location” sorted.

The space is open seven days per week (10am-5pm) offering complementary wine tastings of 15 wines (we recommend the Black Label Four + One – a Mediterranean style blend of Grenache, Sangiovese, Barbera, Tempranillo and Shiraz sold exclusively at the cellar door).

The stunning tout was designed by Dale White and Bek Gallagher (The Public Brewery, The Cellar Door by The Public Brewery, Bekendales and The Farm Yarra Valley) and makes a statement with restored original features, reclaimed timbers and a huge wrap around recycled timber deck. Wine is available to purchase and take home or enjoy on site with picnic blankets and games such as Finska or Bocce provided free for guests.

The winery is also home to the Stone and Crow Cheese Company’s “Crow’s Nest”. Founder and cheesemaker Jack Holman may be better known for his role as head cheesemaker at Yarra Valley Dairy for the past 12 years, making him an integral part of our region’s food and wine heritage (some like to refer to him as “Cheesus”).

Ever the innovator, Jack sees Stone and Crow as a vehicle to move the Australian cheese scene forward by creating his own styles without boundaries, and this is his opportunity to be truly experimen- tal. The core range of cheeses are readily available in the cellar door to take home or enjoy as part of a platter on site. Our personal favourite would have to be the Galactic – a 1-2 week old cow’s milk cheese – think soft and delicate with bread flavours and some acidity – perfect with the True Colours Field Blend.

To complete the offering Rob has commissioned the chefs at neighbouring dining and events venue The Farm Yarra Valley to source and make in-house a selection of crackers specifically to suit Jack’s cheeses. Chef Ben Van Tiggelen has worked for the likes of Jacques Reymond, Dan Wilson and Neil Perry so knows a thing or two about sourcing the best produce.

It also doesn’t hurt to have kitchen gardens on-site that are lovingly tended to by Fabian Capomolla (aka the Hungry Gardener). Fabian also co-founded The Little Veggie Patch, the company behind the famous Pop up Patch at Melbourne’s Federation Square.

And if for some reason you still find yourself wanting more why not try something from Rob’s accompaniments range – perhaps the Cucumber Pickle or the Pinot Noir Jelly? All of his accompaniments are made exclusively for the cellar door by Caroline Grey from A Bit of Jam and Pickle.

Rob Dolan Wines Cellar Door, 21-23 Delaneys Rd, Warrandyte South. Open 7 days 10am-5pm.

Council elections arrive

Elections are underway. Look closely at the candidates…and their promises, writes Val Polley

We’re having elections again – this time it’s local government elections this month.

We don’t have to turn out and queue this time, however. It’s a postal ballot in both Nillumbik
 and Manningham but if we intend to treat it seriously there’s some work to do. Local government is the closest level of government to where we actually live. It deserves some of our time to give some attention to the candidates and their promises.

North Warrandyte sits in the Sugarloaf Ward of Nillumbik Shire Council. This is a single councillor ward and there are 14 nominations to ll the seat left vacant by Ken King who has retired. Warrandyte is included in the Mullum Mullum Ward of Manningham City Council. It sees the three sitting councillors renominating as well as a further 10 nominations for the three seats. With the move to postal ballots the only guaranteed information voters can access comes via the candidates’ own 200 or so word CV.

These can be found on the Victorian Electoral Commission website. They should also be included in the posted out papers.

If you care about the issues in Warrandyte then it pays to read through the candidates’ CVs and what they have to say on our two page spread showcasing them on pages 14-15 of the Warrandyte Diary, October 2016 edition.

There are very few public meetings, door knocks and personal interaction. Very few of us will meet our candidates before we fill out our ballot papers. It comes down to their words to capture your interest and encourage you to vote for them.

When looking for your ideal candidates there are a few things to keep in mind. Have they submitted a CV?

If so, look at what they write. Are they truly involved in the community through sport, schools, organisations or other interests or just paying lip service to community involvement? This can be a major indicator of their real interest in being a councillor. If they haven’t provided a CV then are they really serious about their chances of election?

Are they standing on just one particular issue? The work of a councillor is all encompassing and councillors have to be involved across the range of subjects that will come before them.

Do you want them to be independent or can they represent a political party?

The Greens candidates have clearly stated their allegiance. Other candidates’ possible party allegiances appear more opaque.

Are they setting preferences in their CV to benefit one particular group looking for specific outcomes? Recent Electoral Act changes were designed to eliminate the practice of dummy candidates, it remains to be seen if this will be the case.

Would you like them to live locally?

Both wards are very large and a truly local representative can often be a major asset. Incumbents enjoy a privileged position. Their names are usually more recognisable particularly if they have played a major role in the local community.

That said, do you want to re-elect a sitting councillor? Is their record good enough, how long have they served and have you been pleased with their efforts on your behalf?

Being a councillor is an arduous four year long round of meetings, decisions, negotiations and con- stituent involvement across the whole of the City or Shire. It is not for the faint hearted and indeed it is very encouraging for local democracy that so many of our fellow residents are prepared to put up their hand for the privilege of serving their community.

If we want the best possible out- come for these elections and the next four years then we must take the time and make a balanced and considered decision on how to mark that important ballot paper. If not we will have no-one to blame but ourselves if we don’t like the result.