I am very much a Melbourne person, perhaps because I love the changes that come with the seasons, from the food we eat to the clothes we wear. So a couple of my favourite things relate specifically to the seasons.
In winter, lighting the fire, putting on stretchy pants and catching up on either good TV or crap TV – nothing average or in-between. This would be either re-runs of shows I am introducing the kids to – Six Feet Under, The Sopranos, West Wing or current shows like Breaking Bad, Dexter and Game of Thrones, to anything reality-based – Survivor is my favourite, followed by Biggest Loser but don’t mind a bit of Australia’s Next Top Model, Amazing Race or Wife Swap.
In summer, floating around in my solar-heated pool. My husband Neil and I are equally bad with money so a few years ago, when I was given a book advance, we decided to spend it on the most ridiculous, yet fabulous, things we ever bought.
Walking and my dogs go hand-in-hand (or hand-in-leash). I love early mornings or evenings when we usually have the park almost to ourselves. We have some lovely parks where I live that still allow dogs and there are plenty of ducks, rabbits and foxes for them to chase (thankfully without any success). Apart from when I was travelling or living in rental accommodation, I have always had at least one dog in my life and can’t imagine enjoying my walks without them.
I have no idea when my love of black-and-white (Holstein) cows began. Some would say it is perhaps bordering on obsession, but you would be amazed at the knick-knacks you can buy in the shape of a cow. From traditional salt-and-pepper shakers to jugs, cookie jars, placemats, key rings, picture frames, tea towels, pot holders, door mats, garden ornaments, gravy boats … Okay, you get the picture. Maybe obsession is an understatement.
I was a little later than most at leaping into the ‘i’ age, but this was actually a good thing, as those who had gone before could show me the way. Have you ever noticed how gadget users love to share their knowledge with recent converts? Once I took the plunge and sent my trusty Nokia to phone heaven, I had plenty of geek colleagues willing to teach me to drive my phone. Only, of course, this wasn’t just a phone. I have become one of those people who panic if I think I have left my phone at home. It is my diary, newspaper, PC, video, camera, music centre, games console, exercise tracker, and it keeps me up to date with anything from the weather to the latest footy scores. Oh, and I occasionally make phone calls on it.
A pack of cards
As my word games friends will attest, I absolutely love playing games. And while I really enjoy the electronic thrill of competition on my trusty iPhone, nothing beats sitting face to face at a table engaging in an old-fashioned battle. I enjoy most board games (particularly Trivial Pursuit), but really love a good game of cards. In researching for this piece (seriously, I have) I found some fascinating facts about cards. They were invented in the 9th century BC in China and became popular in Europe throughout the middle ages. I could go on, but perhaps the most amazing thing about a pack of cards is the variety and complexity of games you can play. My favourites are 500, euchre, canasta and, more recently, poker.
That first wine on a Friday night. I love to duck out to a local restaurant with Neil and catch up on our week over a wine and dinner I haven’t had to cook.