Saturday, February 26, 2011

Bubbly stuff

I've mentioned before that I've been brewing beers.  So far I've done two batches of ginger beer, one of pale ale and one of stout.  Each batch gets a name and a label based on this:

The ginger beer is 'Red Cat' 1 and 2.  The stout is 'Black Cat' and the pale ale is 'White Cat'.

So far, I haven't consumed much of the stuff, but thought I'd give it a go the other day.  I've been lovingly storing it all in cartons in the garden shed (which is damp and has lots of holes). Well, I went in to get a few brews only to find that snails have eaten most of the labels.  So now I don't know what is what.  I think it will be easy to pick the stout, but I'm not sure about the others.  I've put the latest batch in the spare room away from the snails to avoid future disasters of this kind.  (Note to self, get a job that will pay me enough to build a proper shed in the back yard.)

As for the quality of the brews, I did find a couple that had enough of the label left to identify them.  I've had a few of the ginger beers before and they are quite lovely (and a little lethal).  I tried the stout when it was very young and it tasted a lot like Vegemite.  Haven't given it another go yet.  Hopefully it has improved after sitting and brewing for a few months.

Yesterday I tried the pale ale.  It was absolutely disgusting.  I'm going to have to turf the lot.  I think it must've picked up a bug or something.  Normally, when the brew is in the vat, you can smell the air coming out of it through the air lock.  It's nice to have the ginger or whatever scent in the laundry.  I should've been alerted to the possibility of a problem with the pale ale by the fact that the air coming out of it smelled a lot like poo.  The smell improved by the time it was bottled, but I didn't do a sample of the flavour.  I now know better.  Early on, there was a suggestion that I should call the brews 'cat piss' and this would be truly appropriate for the pale ale.

The current brew is a cerveza (should that be thervetha?).  It's bubbling away very happily right now and the air coming out of it smells great.  Phew!  I'm working on a name and welcome suggestions.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Positive Reframe

The positive reframe and epiphany seem to have worked.  I'm really happy at the moment. (This is a very weird experience for me.) Work is still robotic, but it's only a third of my time.........

One of the things I have in my life at the moment is this:

I know what is inside this box.  I've had it for a couple of years now, but haven't had a use for the contents.  I'm just enjoying owning a brown paper package tied up with string.

Otherwise, I've had a plant spring up in the garden which wasn't there last year.  Here it is:

Gorgeous ginger, I think.  Got Ruby Suby in the background.  That's what I love about gardening.  Plants will always surprise you.  There are a few things in the garden currently surprising me. Must be all the rain that is getting them to sproing up.

Had some marvellous friends stay last night.  They're down here for a week to try to find a place to live.  I hope they find somewhere close to me.

It was lovely having drinkies and lovely local food with them.  Hope I've talked them into Devonport...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Someone asked me other day whether the move to Tasmania had worked out for me.  I had to think about this for a moment and then came up with the answer that I had moved here because it was a place where I could afford to buy (with a mortgage) a house and garden.  I moved from this:

This was on a property outside of Canberra and I rented it for $140 per week.  Not much to look at, but the views were spectacular and I got to create the garden.

I realised that I had achieved my goal.  I'm very happy with this little house and am working on the garden and enjoying such mundane things as keeping the lawn mown.  Here it is a few months ago:

The climate here is fantastic.  It never gets really hot or really cold.  This is a distinct difference to Canberra, where I spent the previous 30 years.  It's also far more liveable than Darwin, where I came from originally.

Oddly enough, for someone born in Darwin, I have always wanted to live in Tasmania, and am very happy that I'm here.  The food is fantastic and the place is beautiful.  The cats and I are really enjoying the place.

The only caveat is the job.  I didn't expect to be working in a factory for minimum wage.  A bit naively, I didn't know such places still existed.  I assumed all workplaces kept up with the times.  You know what I mean.  Things like industrial relations, people using things like e-mail to communicate, facilities for staff, being civil to one another and treating everyone in the workplace with respect.  I like most of the people there, but it is a very strange place.

I'm sure I'll get a proper job eventually.  I have a day off on Friday and intend to spend it nagging people at the local TAFE to give me some teaching work.  I have to find something else soon as I'm currently paying half of my salary on the mortgage.  This is more an indicator of appalling rates of pay than a massive mortgage.  It's not a sustainable situation.

In the mean time, I'm establishing connections in the local arty community and keep on applying for work. 

Something will turn up.