Thursday, 31 January 2013


Yesterday Rocco wanted a toy from one of those $2 machines. He'd been so good, sat so still during all my appointments. I gave him a shiny gold $2 coin which he rolled over in his hands.

He stood at the machine and looked at the assortment of prizes through the glass. And I knew straight away what he was thinking because I am his mother.

"Mum, I want to get ..... it's just .... I just want ..."

He cupped the machine with both hands and bowed his head, overcome with the choices and the knowledge that only one toy would come out and that would be it. One final prize from all those possibilities. He hated not knowing which one he was going to get.

Put his two bucks in, and before he fully turned the dial he looked at me and said,

"Mum. I'm gonna want what I get. I'm just gonna want whatever thing I get." 


The Summer Day - Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean -
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down -
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.

I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down into the grass,
how to kneel down in the grass, how to be idle and blessed,
how to stroll through the fields, which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?


Thank you for answering me on my last post, telling me who you are. I wish everyone could feel heard and listened to and valued. I have put myself on hold. Feeling it all.

Change is ahead.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Basically, I'm Just Gonna Walk The Earth.

I shouldn't write a post like this but I shouldn't have written a lot of posts so let's just press on.

Today in a meeting I referred to my twenties as "the barnacle years." I was in some shitty, dark places. But I held on and I'm still alive. This makes me really good at enduring and coping. The past few weeks, (months? years? MY ENTIRE LIFE!?) I have felt my grasp on .... everything .... loosen. Unhinge. My mind keeps saying over and over "I don't feel so hot." This has all culminated spectacularly into one of the worst bouts of depression I've ever had. Which is saying a lot. Being a barnacle is hard work. It literally is a bout. A round, a fight.

I hate the word depression. It gets used too much. Anyway, there's nothing "wrong" with me. I have seen poverty first-hand. Slum piles and sick children and sad faces. There is nothing wrong with me.

I can travel to Africa on five different planes by myself but I can't pick up the clothes on my floor. I've spent the past week pretty much uncontrollably crying. I'm in a bad way. I don't want to write this and I don't want to admit it.

This is the third time I've written this post. It keeps coming out wrong, keeps sounding so weary and tiresome. Who gives a shit, really. I'm so sick of people spewing out their bullshit to the internet like it means something. Who gives a motherfucking shit about any of it. We're all clear that nothing means anything, right?

I keep forgetting which realm I'm in. Keep forgetting how I'm supposed to be.

The thing about blogging is that the blogger is continually editing their own lives, polishing up shiny or clever parts. I'm doing it right now ... going back to the first few paragraphs above, taking out words and sentences that don't fit or are too exposing.

I feel like printing off some MISSING posters of my face and distributing them evenly around my neighbourhood. I don't know where I am. Have you seen me? I should be more together and successful than this. I should be having a proper career somewhere. I shouldn't have spent four days in a row lying prone on the couch crying, only getting up to order a pizza, take a piss, and charge my phone.

Climate change, poverty, covert global anarchy, non-government, the need to consume so we don't feel our feelings ... I'm frightened, Aunty Em. My mind keeps falling in on itself and I wrack it for a time when I've ever actually been ok. My online friendships and boundaries are getting blurred. My childhood issues are incredibly triggered, and I have huge trust issues.


Yesterday I dragged my sorry arse into the car and drove Max into town to buy some cans of cream. He's been planning this big sleepover with three of his mates for some time. On the way there we heard American Pie - man that's a long song. It's quite fabulous. I stealth-cried, and asked Max what he thought of it. He's eleven, and was hearing it for the first time. He shrugged, said it was ok.

"The church bells all, were broken."

Maybe my church bells are broken. Maybe this is all spiritual stuff, because I have never doubted God the way I've doubted God these past months. I'm thinking the atheists might be on to something. Jim was agnostic. I wonder where he went when he died. I was taught by nuns who used to whack my bare arse in front of the whole class, in kindy. I just knew from an early age that I'd be going to hell. Now I know that's not true, because hell is actually on earth.

So I'm buying these cans of cream for my kid yesterday because he told me that he just wanted to do something crazy, like make cream pies on paper plates and have cream pie fights with his friends like there's no tomorrow. I get wanting to do something wild. All our kids ever get told is "no" and "you can't do that" and "behave." Fuck all that. Sometimes all kids need is to smoosh the shit out of each others faces with cream pies so I let them all and it was hilarious.

I stood there inhaling all their eleven-year old boy reverie and joy.

In return for the cream fight, I made Max come with me to an art exhibition at the new cultural and resource centre. (That's all parenting older kids is, by the way. Dealmaking.)

Walked in. Fell in love.

It's called Dark Stations, by Julie Harris. I was transfixed, transported. I want to go there every day for lunch and eat a cheese sandwich on the chair in front of it. This piece has energy. It's dark, it tells the truth. There's so much in it. Even angels cast shadows. 

"The 14 sheets are highly-personal meditations on Christ's Stations of the Cross. To convey the intense emotion and suffering embodied in the event, Harris has wrestled aspects of the Devil's Wilderness to act as a physical and psychological prelude to the horror of crucifixion."

Max was so bored. I felt so much better. We went home.

Thank goodness for my meetings, for my children, for art that shows that dark is just as important as light.

There's a quote by somebody famous about how, we must not be afraid to share the hard times in our life. Something about poets heralding the darkness, because if it doesn't get documented, how will people know we got through? That they can get through?

Like a reverse lighthouse. A darkhouse.

So. That's where I'm at. I'm ok enough to log on to my computer and upload some photos and write some words, so that's something. I miss the days of just coming to blog and offloading like I used to, without triple-guessing every little goddamn thing. Because what will people think?

At this point I don't care. It's night-time and it's raining. Tomorrow is a whole new day where I'll have to keep fighting and proving to people that I haven't wasted my entire life, that I'm NOT a fuckup. (Actually, they probably have a point.)

I will make some kind of appointment with some kind of professional. I've made a few in the past six months but kept cancelling because I felt better. But I'm getting worse. There's no pretty bow for it. I'm really struggling in a mental rip, like probably millions of other people in the world are too, right in this moment. Free lifejackets for all!

Let's just end this post with a song that came on in the car with Max. I got him to shazam it for me - I knew it was Nick Cave, but I never knew Nick Cave was in a band called Grinderman. I just heard it for the first time yesterday. There's so much new art to discover. It'd be a shame to turn back now.

Why do you read my blog? Who are you? I'd really like to know. Because I forgot why I write it and I'm lost.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Street Talk: Darren The Artist.

The thing about doing Street Talk every Friday is that I have to go up to a stranger and start talking to them. I don't always feel like doing that, because for someone who's so passionate about human rights ... I kind of don't like humans very much.

Anyway, I walked up Katoomba Street with Max yesterday. We were buying pastries, sushi and a lot of chocolate for a movie marathon. Max thinks Street Talk is "the coolest thing, mum!" Which makes me want to keep doing it. I told him I have to find somebody for this week, so started scouting around. As we walked past some guy sitting on the street playing a didgeridoo, he looked up at me and raised a finger as a hello. I raised a finger back.

Obviously, this was my guy.

Max was too embarrassed to stop, asked if I could meet him in the gaming shop when I was done. I went back and crouched down next to the didgeridoo guy and felt SO EMBARRASSED when I asked him if I could ask him some questions for my blog. He turned to look at me straight away, said, of course, he'd love too!

His name is Darren Cooper, an extraordinarily talented Aboriginal artist. He'd just hitchhiked ten hours from West Wyalong to deliver one of his pieces to a local Katoomba gallery, but they'd shut just before he got there. He patted the rolled-up green bag next to him, said he'll spend the night in Katoomba then go the gallery tomorrow. I told him I hoped he was getting a good deal and the gallery wasn't ripping him off. He laughed, told me that as he's grown older he can stand up for himself better.

A member of the Wiradjuri people, Darren said he used to get a lot of awards for good behaviour in the boys home he ended up in as a child. He was eventually made a ward of the state. His voice was so calm and matter-of-fact. He is a true artist.

"I flew to Austria for Swarovski ... my piece is hanging next to one by Salvador Dali."

His work has been commissioned by the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council. His website is Koori Creations. His art is extraordinary.

Basically he's this amazing human being who, five minutes beforehand, I thought was just some guy on a didge.

Have you ever heard somebody play the didge? It's bloody awesome. Darren told me that he goes out deep in the bush with a mate to find the perfect trees to strip, and they make them together.

I told Darren that I think the treatment of Aboriginals in this country is shameful and wrong, that I didn't start learning the truth about what white people had done until I'd left school and studied welfare at Tafe. (I even did "Aboriginal Studies" at a private high school, which was a complete and literal whitewash. We used to do class exercises in writing our own dreamtime stories. Nice.)

Darren and I started talking about race relations, Australia Day, the problems with being white ... and black. His son is an Aboriginal activist, who playfully calls his dad, "white." Darren is trying to connect to a family he never really knew. One of the major themes in his work is mercy.

I thanked him profusely, for talking to me. He stood up to shake my hand and told me no worries at all. He went back to playing his didgeridoo and I walked up to the gaming shop to meet my son. I felt different.

Imagine if more of us are on the same side than we realise?

Darren Cooper - ABC Open DreamBox from ABC Open Central West NSW on Vimeo.

More info:
Darren Cooper Biography
"Something Deep Within My Spirit."


Previous Street Talks:

Noelene The Young
Megan The Mouse
Harpal The Australian.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Street Talk: Harpal The Australian.

My first week of high school, I became best friends with a girl called Suzanne. We were inseparable. Very quickly I noticed the questions that followed her around school wherever she went. The main one being,

"Where are you from?"

I couldn't BELIEVE the gall people had. Kids she didn't even know would come up and point-blank ask her. Her reply was always the same.


Some would get the hint and move on. Some would press and ask her again and again. I took on the role of her ethnic defender, told people to piss off, stop asking, and leave her alone. She would get really upset. One day I went to her house and noticed that her dad was white Australian, and her mum was from Singapore. All had broad Aussie accents.

I was struck by how other people saw Suzanne as so different from themselves. I saw her as my friend, my best mate, someone who I got into a LOT of trouble with.

My two boys have this cute habit of shouting SPOTTO! whenever they see a yellow car. As soon as we walked outside Melbourne Airport last week, they took one look at the long lines of yellow taxi cabs and it was game on.

"SPOTTO SPOTTO SPOTTO SPOTTO." (Taxis cabs are boring white here in NSW.)

We took taxis everywhere in Melbourne. 

(SPOTTO SPOTTO SPOTTO. It grew old real quick.)

Some drivers were rude, some lovely ... one dreadfully racist one was unbearable. There's a thriving Indian community there, many of them are taxi drivers. In our last cab to the airport to come home, we met Harpal. He's called Australia home for fifteen years. Has a wife and two girls, aged 3 and 5. ("She must be busy!" I said. He laughed.)

Harpal is from the South of India, and I asked him if he missed the food.

"HA! I do, but there are very many restaurants around Melbourne that will suffice."

He told us if he saves $20 each week, at the end of the year he can take a road trip holiday with his family. His wife rang during the ride and he apologised for taking her call. I loved that he took her call, and even though I didn't know what he was saying, I loved the way he spoke to her.

I asked him what the racism situation was like for people in the Indian community in Melbourne.

"Well .... it's ... ahhh .... you are either a decent person, or you are not. It has nothing to do with colour."

He said that some parts of India have snow, that he misses it but he really loves living in Australia. Dave asked him if he was viewed as rich when he went back for a visit, and Harpal did that beautiful head-lilting thing that the Indian people do.

"Yes! Very much ... I am not rich here but over there, my friends and family think that I am very lucky. And I am."

He is. We all are. Driving up to departures he shook his head when I asked him about the gang-rape, sexism and equality outcry going on in India.

"Yes, it is very big and very sad. That lady went on the bus ... should have made it home. It was a terrible thing to happen. To anybody."

Dave told him to look us up if he ever takes a road trip to the Blue Mountains.

Harpal said he would.


I'm quickly sorting out the "rules" to Street Talk ... has to happen organically, cannot be somebody I already know. 

Previous Street Talks: Megan The Mouse, Noelene the Young. 

Have a lovely weekend. Talk to somebody you don't know.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Heaven Is A Safe Place

I found this in Roccos preschool book from last year and it quite literally made my knees buckle. Mum is collating a book of all the beautiful things people said about Jim at his funeral, including the few paragraphs Max wrote and read out about sharing a love of books with grandad.

Now she can put something from Rocco in there too.

Later I showed it to Dave ... we had a bit of a laugh about how Mischka is waiting for him.

"Looks like you're next, hon."

Monday, 14 January 2013

Would You Like Food With That?

Sometimes we're on a road trip and the only options are the golden arches, so we stop, the kids play, and it always feels a bit wrong saying,

"Finish your burger and nuggets please guys." 

When what I actually MEAN is,

"Finish your processed, unhealthy garbage please guys. Or you won't get your pig fat ice-cream."

I've seen how they make chicken nuggets. (Click link at your own peril.)

Beaks'n all, people. Beaks. N. All.

I've pumped crap into my body with the best of them .. obviously, not just food either. I used to wake up in the middle of the night, light up a ciggie, smoke it, and stub it out in the half-eaten pizza next to my bed. I lived three galaxies away from healthy eating. The older I get, the more I realise that while it may be boring, its all connected. The food we eat, exercise we get, books we read, things we pay attention to.

Last Thursday I drove from the Central Coast to Sydney and back, to appear on the Today Show. It was such a nerve-wracking experience that I didn't eat anything so on the drive back I was SO HUNGRY, also with added man-wee. Pulling off the freeway, I'd already resigned myself to fries and a diet coke because that's the only option. Until I saw a place next to the petrol station that had a sign simply saying,

"Real Food."

I thought I'd give it a whirl. Expecting some mangy sushi in the corner with buzzing flies. Oh how I was so glad to be so wrong.

I fell utterly in love and felt like crying. IT IS REAL FOOD. Ordered an organic chicken salad with hot garlic pita bread, alkaline water, then finished it off with a fair-trade organic coffee.

Instead of a side of greasy fries, you can order a side of steamed green beans. There's a sign underneath the green bean side order sign saying, "Are there any lights on that can be turned off?"


Hot pita pockets, wraps, sandwiches, minestrone, sushi, organic treats ...  they also sell vitamins and books, DVD's, magazines.

I almost cried from ... relief? THIS kind of stuff, this mindfulness about what we put into our bodies and how important it is? This is true and real. I'm in no way affiliated with Oliver's, they don't even know I exist - I was just some teary weirdo walking around the place taking photos for my blog to spread the word as far and wide as I can. Because it's important. Because there's something (a lot of things) about how humans are living on this planet that are WRONG.

Maybe the whole Mayan calendar ending thing did mean the end of the world .. as we know it. I feel like human consciousness is evolving at such a rate that there is no longer any excuse for bad farming practices, poor quality food, and people continuing to be uneducated about it all. The correlation between how and what we put into our bodies and the effects of that can no longer be ignored.

The creator of Oliver's Real Food is Jason Gunn, and I wish him all the power and success in the world. There's four outlets so far, all located north of Sydney up near the Central Coast.

I hope we get to see an Oliver's everywhere. At every stop on the freeway, in every suburb. I took the boys there on our way home last night, it was incredibly gratifying to see them enjoy real food.

Alkalising Green Dream smoothie: Linseed meal, broccoli, artichoke, spinach, kale, alfalfa, guava, peppermint, spirulina, wheat grass, nettle leaf, cucumber, kiwifruit, green tea, kelp, chlorella, aloe vera. This is coming from a chick who used to drink a six-pack of beer and two bottles of wine BEFORE going out.

Rocco had a wee tasting plate for kids, Max had pumpkin soup, and I had a burrito hot pita pocket stuffed with black beans. The jizz of God himself. I just want to eat at Oliver's for the rest of my life, is this too much to ask.

Max said, "Mum you really love this place. You should get a job here!"

Last night I saw a lot of people on twitter talking about the documentary on environmentally harmful corporate farming in the US called FOOD INC. I haven't seen it yet, but will be hiring it from my local Civic Video as soon as I pay off the ninety dollar overdue fine I racked up because I flounder through life and didn't take the movies back before we came away for christmas over a MONTH ago.

I'm sick of floundering. I want to be more deliberate, more mindful, pay more attention to the right kinds of things. And I will, as soon as I dismantle my dusty and forlorn christmas tree. Wonder if I can just pole-vault it fully laden with decorations into the nearest dump?

                                    "MUM! GOO-GOO GA-GA!"

              Oliver, Oliver, never before had a boy wanted more.

Oliver's Real Food WEBSITE and FACEBOOK

It's all I can think about and I can't wait to go back. Do you go out of your way to eat proper? Any cool places to share?

Friday, 11 January 2013

Street Talk: Megan The Mouse

"We are the music makers, 
And we are the dreamers of dreams."
- Arthur O'Shaughnessy

Megan dresses up as a mouse and goes dancing on Chapel Street, Melbourne. She has a big cardboard sign next to her saying "JOIN ME" and I wonder if anybody ever does. Funky beats from her huge white double iPod, white makeup and black sunglasses, black stockings and shorts. That's all she needs for a day in the office.

She talks to me and straight away I notice her American accent. She's from Chicago, has two older siblings, and grew up in a conservative house with Christian parents. Megan lives with her husband in Melbourne and she just scored a part-time job collecting funds for charity. She doesn't usually talk during her performances so I'm grateful she spoke to me. Dave kept telling me to stop and talk to her but I didn't want to interrupt her, felt too shy and self-conscious.

Megan wasn't self-conscious. She was beautiful and sensual. I always look at buskers and wonder who they are, how they feel. They're the lucky ones, watching all the rats from the race scramble past. Buskers are free, on the street, doing their thing with a little bit of magic.

Sometimes Megan gets abused by meth-heads which is a bit hairy, but she loves what she does. Her husband works in a bank and I picture them arriving home at night, making dinner together, talking about their day. They might move to America, or stay in Melbourne. Or go somewhere else. They're not bogged down with a mortgage or kids or the stagnancy of life.

I shook her hand and thanked her so much for talking with me. A few days later she sent me an email, thanking me.

"Eden it was so nice to meet YOU! Talking to people like you and seeing kids smile and have fun is what keeps me going as a performer. That day you spoke to me it was like a ghost town on Chapel Street - you guys just came out of the blue and turned my whole day around. Thanks for that. Enjoy the rest of Melbourne, and if you find yourself on Chapel Street again, give this mouse a nod."

I punched my self-consciousness out of the way and did go up and dance with her. I like dancing. We desperately need our artists, our dancers, our music-makers. The next day we were in a taxi and Max saw Megan the Mouse out of his window, doing her thing down in St Kilda.

"Mum there's that dancing lady!"

Melbourne if you see this amazing mouse, watch her for just one minute. Tell her I say hi, maybe pull out a gold coin. You'll feel better and you won't know why.


Street Talk is here each Friday. I love how everybody adored Noelene The Young last week! Every single one of us has a story. Sometimes all it takes is a question to find out. Have you talked to any strangers lately?

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

The Red Shoes.

Every woman needs to own at least three pairs of red shoes. Wild and free. Celebrating our femaleness and our power .. there's something almost magical about roaming the bad earth in bold shoes.

These are my baby shoes.

I’ve taken them to every house I’ve ever lived in, put them up on the shelf like ornaments. Relics of the past. I like that I learnt how to walk in red shoes.

Years later after many, many pairs of red shoes ... I purposely bought these to wear to a concert.

I’ve been to every U2 concert since I was sixteen, all amazing but this one was different. I waited twelve hours in those red shoes on a hot day for the chance to run into the stadium and snag a place up close, near the stage.

The red shoes spirited me to the very front of the stage and I stood there wearing them for the whole concert. Tip-toeing up as Bono sang straight to me, holding my hand. It took my whole life to get to that moment wearing those pointed red shoes with him, 60,000 people behind us. MAGIC. They're not even real leather and I'll never wear them again, but I'll never let them go.

The other night, Max and Rocco were sharing a big bounteous hotel room bed but wouldn’t go to sleep. Just kept punching each other and whining.

Who, us?
Instead of yelling (again) - I plonked down in the middle of the bed, announced I was going to tell them a story. Not read - tell. There's a big difference. The boys like my "tell" ones because they're always full of ridiculous things that I make up on the spot to make them laugh.

"What’s your favourite ever story, mum?” 

I said the Red Shoes was my favourite ever story. Rocco told me to tell it so I told it, told my two wild ponies the familiar story of a girl that couldn't stop.

Did you know in the proper version of Little Red Riding Hood, the wolf eats her dead? We sugercoat too many things for our kids, shelter them in so many ways. I told my boys about the wild girl who disobeyed her mother and wouldn’t stop dancing. Night after night, creeping into the forest and dancing and dancing until the sun came up, then creeping back home again. Abandonment, mother issues, addiction, female disobedience, being wild. So many juicy themes!

"The only way she could stop dancing was to get her feet cut off by the local woodcutter." 

I held off telling them how the red shoes with the amputated feet still inside danced gaily around town, purposely tormenting the girl.

Rocco asked me if her feet grew back.

“No sweetheart, they didn’t grow back and she had to sit in a chair for the rest of her life. Now go to sleep and stop punching your brother.” 

“Ok mum. NITE!”

I wonder if there's a version where she grows up, gets wise .. and wears red cowboy boots in memory of all the red shoes she had to say goodbye to? I'd like that version.

What's your favourite fairy tale? How many pairs of red shoes do you own? 

Friday, 4 January 2013

Street Talk: Noelene The Young.

Noelene and I met last week on the street outside Websters Vintage in Long Jetty. I looked at her, turned away, then looked at her again and couldn't help but say something.

"You look absolutely beautiful."

She smiled, SO thrilled at my compliment.

"Not bad for eighty-one years old!"

You know those times when you talk to a stranger like it's the easiest thing in the world?

Noelene grew up in a terrace house in Redfern, said it was pretty tough.

"But back in those days, nobody would lay a finger on children. Not like they do now ... we were surrounded by hard people, Tilly Devine and all of her associates. But none of them ever touched a child. We we so much freer on the streets than kids are these days. We'd stay out from dawn til dusk. Doesn't seem like children even have a proper childhood these days. Such a shame."

Her father was an alcoholic, so she's never had a drink or smoked a cigarette in her life. Noelene taught herself how to sew and has made her own clothes and dresses since she was young. Her two sons are both exceptional high-achievers. She just shrugged.

"Had nothing to do with me!"

Noelene had a spunk and wit about her, a sparkle in her eye. She looks like she's on her way to a sock hop. I love the way her scarf sits just-so, the care she took in accessorising, and the delight she had in life. She's still got it ... she never gave up. We stood there talking for half an hour. Her son was about to head up to the Blue Mountains the next day .. we worked out he was staying literally around the corner from my house.

When she told me that her husband had died in October, her mask slipped and for an instant I saw her grief. It was big. She said she was glad he went first because she knows there's no way he could have lived without her. I held her arm and told her about my mum and we spoke of the meaning of life and the importance of looking your best when you set out each morning. Her son (a university Professor) came out of the shop just as Rocco came hurtling down the street with Dave behind him. I introduced them all, snapped her picture, and asked if I could write about her. She preened and giggled, asked me what could I possibly say?

So sprightly and young at heart. I adored her. She liked me too, even with the tattoos. We kissed and hugged goodbye, and meant it.


Inspired by meeting Noelene, I'll be featuring somebody I meet on the street here every Friday. Because sometimes, talking to a stranger is the easiest thing in the world.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

My Mum Susie's Salted Chocolate Caramel Slice

Dave describes my mothers salted chocolate caramel slice as:

"Lethal. It will cut your liver in half. You cannot get enough."

We are a big chocolate caramel slice family, have had a few in our time. NOTHING tastes like this slice. Unbelievable ... I'm sorry in advance. Here's the recipe and method, then underneath is how NOT to make it. (Aka, how I made it.)

Susie's Salted Chocolate Caramel Slice 
280 g unsalted butter
2 cups self raising flour
2 cups desiccated coconut
1 cup castor sugar
Cocoa powder to decorate

Salted Caramel 
3 x 395g cans sweetened condensed milk
1 cup brown sugar
5 tablespoons Golden Syrup
2 teaspoons salt (use good quality salt flakes or fine Himalayan Rock Salt)

Chocolate Topping
400g dark or milk chocolate chopped
120g unsalted butter chopped

1. Grease a 23cm x 34cm x 6.5cm baking tray. Line with baking paper.
2. Place flour, coconut and castor sugar in bowl, gently melt butter and pour into dry ingredients, mix together and press firmly into base of pan.
3. Cook in a moderate oven (180c) for about 10 minutes or until light golden colour, cool.
4. To make caramel, place sugar, milk and syrup in heavy base saucepan, bring to boil, simmer, stirring constantly ( careful not to burn) for 5 mnutes or until starting to thicken and be golden in colour. Add salt starting with 1 teaspoon and gradually add more to achieve subtle saltiness. Pour over base.
5. Cook in same moderate oven for ten minutes, remove and cool.
6. To make topping, melt chocolate and butter in heatproof bowl over pan of simmering water. Spread over caramel, refrigerate until set.
7. Dust with sifted cocoa powder. Cut into pieces.


I had a big hankering to make this the other day. I said, Dave .. if I make it instead of making dinner, then surely that's ok? We drove to the shops and got the ingredients.

The biscuit base turned out really well. My helper pressed it down for me.

And here's where things went wrong.

While I was cooking pasta for the boys, I burnt the caramel. Black flecks swirled around the mixture in the pan so I switched it off, swore, told Dave it was ruined. He begged me not to throw it out.

"Keep going, hon! It tastes fine!"

Dave likes the taste of burnt things. After a brief five-minute sooky sojourn on my bed, I got back up on on the choc-caramel slice bike.

After burning the bottom of the biscuit base while I lay on my bed deciding whether to still make the slice (!!!!) - the chocolate melting went off without a hitch. I smooshed it all over the burnt caramel, then realised it was almost 9pm on a hot summer night, so was going to take a long time to set.

Here is the slice the next day after a couple of hungry vermin took to the not-yet-set mixture with SPOONS the night before. (Confession: I was one of those vermin.)

And here it is ready for eating. Didn't taste or look as good as mums, but it was STILL ridiculously divine.

It sat in the fridge for a few days until Dave and I agreed we had to get rid of it. For our own good. He gave some of it to his mum, and the rest to our neighbour. I clutched it a bit, felt how I always do when I must say goodbye to something I love: like Meryl Streep in Sophie's Choice.

"Take it! Take my creamy slice away!"

He did. No demons are calling me from the fridge, I've been on two long walks to come good ... but I will make it again one day. I will get that caramel right if it kills me.

Dave and I took mum and the boys to see Life of Pi yesterday. SO GOOD.

It was as amazing and beautiful as she is.

Let mum know if you make the slice ... just watch that caramel like a hawk!

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

A Light That Never Goes Out.

"Lighthouses don't fire cannons to call attention to their shining. They just shine.” - Dwight Moody

Today I got lost on the way to a lighthouse, which is pretty funny. I didn’t set out to walk to the lighthouse, just felt yuck from eating too much so told Dave and the guys I’d be back in an hour. Walked all the way over to Norah Head and looked across at the beaches we’ve been coming to for years.

I’d never seen them from this angle before. We only ever see the lighthouse in the distance, use it as a backdrop for our photos. I have a penchant for lighthouse symbolism. We have about three paintings of them at home. On a mission, I googled directions and followed my phone like a compass. When I rounded that bend and saw her, I teared up. How come I've never come to see her before? She's been here all this time?

Doesn't she look like a magnificent church?

I raced back and got Dave and the boys to meet me at the turnoff on the freeway, told them I was going to take them somewhere AMAZING.

“Is it a waterpark mum?” 

Rocco was in a bad mood, Max was visibly disappointed …. but we did it anyway.

Owen, a maintenance worker volunteering his tour guide services, took us on a tour today. We all loved his stories. The light can be seen for fifty-four kilometres. There’s seventeen shipwrecks in the surrounding seas. It was built in 1903, is fully automated now, and the very first thing he said when he started talking was an acknowledgement of the Aboriginal land the lighthouse was built on.

"Son, this is the first iPod ever made."

I want all of our kids to believe in a power greater than themselves. Universe, nature, divinity, whatever they want to call it. I want them to know that there is a Light that never goes out, that when they’re in danger of falling onto rocks they just need to look around, get their bearings, accept guidance.

Told Owen that if anybody could break a lighthouse, this guy could.

Rocco soon perked up because an old man kept talking to him and he loves old men. He patted Rocco on the head and told him he had very beautiful eyes. We had to keep stopping so he could catch his breath on the way up. His name was Jim.

The view from the top. Spectacular. Imagine all the shipwrecks out there, under the sea.

It was so exciting to get up there. The boys ended up having a great time. Dave was a trooper for just dropping everything and coming and he LOVED it, I love watching him love things. The history and the way it was built, the technology they used back in the old days was meant to LAST. I wish more things were built to last.

I now present to you .... my batwing! And also a lighthouse.

It was the best way to start the year off. I love the lighthouse so much I wanted to put her in my pocket when we left, take her out when I go through tough times.

This song has nothing to do with lighthouses, but I kept thinking of it today. Used to blast it right when me and Davey Gravey got together. Happy New Year, everybody. We made it! 

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