Happiness as Anarchy #72: Garden Possibilities

I look out on my new back yard and see a myriad of possibilities. I have inherited two large raised veggie boxes replete with greens and herbs – lettuce, rainbow chard, thyme, parsley, rocket, dill, oregano and other leafy greens – but the rest of the garden is really a blank slate. Flat and north facing, there is ample room to plant fruit trees, make pathways and spaces, playing with lines and textures created with living, growing things. I will take inspiration from the fabulous gardens of places like Chenonceau and plant with delusional optimism as my little patch of earth takes shape.

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Happiness as Anarchy #71: Sleeping like a log

There’s something very satisfying about waking up feeling like you’ve slept well. I never get enough hours, but I love it when I’m physically exhausted and wake up in exactly the same position as I went to sleep in. As though I fell asleep the instant my head hit the pillow and I didn’t budge until morning.

I’m not sure how well I would sleep in the quasi-public surroundings that the queens at Versailles were subjected to. All those seats were for people to watch her majesty get dressed every morning.

Chambre de la reine Versailles

 

Happiness as Anarchy #69: Wine Tasting

For anyone who knows even a little, this is really a no-brainer – wine tasting makes me very happy. Where to start with all the things I love about it?  First there’s the sensory pleasure, lighting up my flavour, aroma and texture receptors. Then there’s the joy of learning new things, both sensory and intellectually (I love wine stories so much I did a PhD on it). And there’s also the social aspect of tasting with other people and talking to wine producers. I would be lying if I didn’t mention the alcohol – wine tasting means it gets absorbed at a very measured pace, enough to make me happy but not drunk. Cheers!

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Happiness as Anarchy #68: Gooey cheese

Towards the top of my list of things that make me happy is an unctuous, ripe, raw milk cheese. It is entirely worth the 24 hour flight to Europe to experience the delicious taste and texture of a perfect cheese. The ultimate is, without doubt, the Mont d’Or. It is a seasonal cheese, only available from September to May, and is produced from the milk of Montbéliarde cows in the Jura region. It is so soft you have to eat it with a spoon. Who needs a baguette?

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As a genuine Mont d’Or is illegal in Australia I have borrowed the photo from countrycheesecompany.com

Happiness as Anarchy #68: Robust conversation

I caught up with my arts tribe tonight at an impromptu birthday gathering. I’ve missed them, and as happens so often, didn’t realise just how much until they were all there again. We talked of art and life, big things and small, with a wine and a few laughs, but what really stands out is the depth and robustness of the conversation. None of us are very good at small talk – we’re much more interested in the grit of life and making stuff and how everything fits together. I meant to come home earlier, but it was difficult to extract myself. Now I have a head buzzing with ideas and heart full of appreciation for this eclectic group of souls.

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Happiness as Anarchy #67: Environmental Regeneration

They reintroduced wolves into Yellowstone National Park in 1995 (the last wolves were killed in the 1920s) and the environmental chain reaction is extraordinary. Deer population was reduced, forests shot up, birds came back, beavers got busy, bear numbers increased, and ultimately the river changed course. It’s an uplifting story of possibility and hope that is well worth four and a half minutes to watch the video.

You can also read an update on the research project and science behind it.

Happiness as Anarchy #66: Landscape

Moving through the landscape is something I’ve always found inspiring and exciting. It brings a new perspective and sense of space. Maybe that’s what drives the traveller in me. Maybe it comes from growing up in the bush. Maybe it’s what underpins my interest in wine – a liquid expression of landscape. I love the simplicity of the road trip – you just get in the car and go, absorbing the landscapes into your being as you move, adding to the store of memories collected during a lifetime.