Happiness as Anarchy #180: Old, old songs

I can’t remember how I first heard Spanish Is The Loving Tongue, but it’s one of those songs that I loved instantly. I find it intriguing that there are two versions with different opening melodies – one starts with an ascending arpeggio, the other descending; the same notes in the opposite order. My preference is for the latter, and my favourite version is this live recording of Tom Waits at Folk Arts Rare Records, San Diego in 1974. The lyrics were originally published as a poem – A Border Affair – in 1907 by Charles Badger Clark, cowboy poet, and set to music in 1925 by Billy Simon.

Happiness as Anarchy #179: Orange flowers

These bright orange flowers going crazy in my veggie patch make me happy every time I look our the back windows. They seem to like the dreary weather. Perhaps they know that look even more bright and colourful when skies are grey. I think it is calendula, which has the added bonus of being edible. Calendula officinalis is commonly known as pot marigold and poor man’s saffron. You can throw it in a salad or rice or butter for colour and a little extra flavour or put it in a pot to make anti-inflammatory tea.

Happiness as Anarchy #178: Giant Rhubarb

How does something giant manage to hide in the veggie patch? I did a little weeding and discovered the giant rhubarb in the corner, quietly pushing its inch-thick stalks skyward, the enormous leaves flapping gently on the ends. The new growth is incredible – a compressed mass of verdant energy ready to explode in slow motion, gently but persistently, into the world. I foresee rhubarb tarts in the making.

Happiness as Anarchy #175: Walking Home from Dinner

Having moved from the country into town I’m still marvelling at being able to walk home from dinner. I took my brolly with me (and needed it) to wander into the centre of town for drinks and dinner – no traffic issues, no parking hassles, no need to track my drinks. The stroll home afterwards was brisk, but I didn’t even mind the chilly fingers. Who would have thought it’s possible to combine exercise and eating so well?

*There is not photo because it was dark!

Happiness as Anarchy #174: Life in old buildings

I’m a big fan of old buildings, and I’m not particularly fussy about which era. Old, stylish, beautiful, ornate, well-designed … a few of those factors and my heart is happy. My favourite kind of old building is one that is being used, rather than the museum model. Struan House just north of Coonawarra in South Australia is a fabulous example. It is a magnificent house built in 1875 by Scottish pastoralist John Robertson, and is now home to the Department of Primary Industries and Regions SA (and where I had a meeting this morning – best board room ever!). The splendour and history of the building is only enhanced by the presence of people working in it. If you’re in the area and curious you can take a self-guided tour during office hours.

Happiness as Anarchy #173: Aged Cab Sav

It seems it’s a winey week. This evening, in the most unlikely of motels in regional South Australia, I had the pleasure of sharing a bottle of 1998 Cabernet Sauvignon with colleagues. The wine was not on the list, but on the shelf, and staff had to call the manager to find out how much it was – as it turned out, the same price as the other, much younger, wines on the list. I didn’t know the winery, but we thought we’d take a gamble, and it certainly paid off. A touch fortified on the nose, with lots of aged oak and remnants of fruit on the palate, and incredible length – the kind of wine that hangs around longer than your great aunt Beryl at a family funeral, but in a good way. Delicious, complex, and beautifully aged.

Simon Hackett Foggo Road Cabernet Sauvignon, Maclaren Vale 1998

Happiness as Anarchy #172: Riesling & Dark Chocolate

By pure chance I happened to take a sip of Riesling right after I’d eaten a square of dark chocolate. Quelle belle surprise! What a delightful flavour combination – the fruity, acidity of the Riesling perfectly complements the bittersweet smoothness of the dark chocolate.

The details: Mount Langi Ghiran 2015 Cliff Edge Riesling (from my cellar) with Cadbury Bournville Classic Dark Chocolate (on half price special at Coles).