Winter went out with a bang in Melbourne, with bright blue skies and warm sunny days of up to 22 degrees (71.6º Fahrenheit)!
For some reason, yesterday’s warm sunshine didn’t make me feel overjoyed. Looking at the forecast, I could see we’d be back to 12º Celsius by the end of this first week of spring. As a result, the beautiful weather only made me feel edgy and restless and slightly panicked at the thought that I might not make the most of a glorious day, so I was itching to get out and about!
We started the day walking our dog, Cocoa, at the Botanic Gardens. It was too early for the cafe to be open (so no vegan food pictures for MOFO!), but already there were teams of workers setting up white chairs and alters for TWO weddings – one on either side of the Ornamental Lake.
The altars looked lovely…they also reminded me of Owen Wilson’s character from Meet the Parents who carved the alter out of a single piece of timber.
I was feeling quite cross with myself by the time I got home. First, because I had so much housework to do and I just didn’t want to waste the glorious weather standing in the back room folding washing; and second, because I’d planned to go to the March in August to protest against the Abbott Government and I couldn’t be bothered.
I’d lost interest, because at the March in March there was a humungous turn out (I’ve been to MANY rallies and this was the biggest one I’ve ever seen), but it was hardly reported by some media outlets, and many of those that did report on it said it was just a small rally by a bunch of extremists.
I was particularly cross with myself because it was pointed out to me months ago that the Government is trying to “break the chattering classes”, which I think means that those of us who normally speak out against unfairness will eventually give up arguing and quietly go along with the Government’s unfair taxes and policies because we’re not the most affected by them, but we’re also busy making sure we keep our jobs and can pay our bills, so we don’t find ourselves in trouble. I had the feeling that this might be what’s happening, and I couldn’t help feeling personally responsible because I was too apathetic to go to the March!
Anyway, I also knew I had to get out of the house before the washing swallowed me up, and I thought a picnic by the river would be a satisfactory way to spend the day.
With every minute spent inside, I was getting grumpier, so I abandoned my plans to bake vegan mini quiches for my picnic, jumped into my car and headed down to A1 Bakery in Station Street, Fairfield.
I’m not sure if their vegan selection has expanded in the last few months, or whether they’ve just started labelling it as vegan, but either way, it’s working for me, and it’s perfect picnic food.
I chose a Falafel fold over – a pita bread filled with za’atar, hummous, red onion, tomato and felafels; a syrupy, sweet slice of harrissa cake, and lashings of ginger beer (as the Famous Five would say).
I propped my little beach chair by the Yarra River at Yarra Bend Park and did my best to keep clean and tidy while I fed my face with that comfort food. Warning: Syrupy desserts aren’t touch-screen-friendly!
It was just perfect sitting under the shade of a gum tree, listening to the birds singing, watching dogs bounce around on their Sunday walks, while canoeists (or were they kayakers?) prepared their gear for a paddle down the Yarra. It was enough to brighten anyone’s mood, but…
I sat by the river thinking about Tony Abbott and his arrogant treatment of pensioners and students and low income earners and Indigenous Australians and refugees and…pretty much everyone in Australia, and I started getting cross again!
The August March
It was almost 1pm – the scheduled time to meet at the State Library for the start of the March. I jumped to my feet, had the car packed in a few seconds, drove straight to Fairfield Railway Station, stepped onto a train and was at the State Library at 3 minutes past 1!
The crowd was a lot smaller than it was for the March in March – apparently I’m not the only one who has had the feeling that our efforts were pretty much futile – but I clapped and chanted and marched, as required…and then I jumped back on the train at Parliament Station and was home by 3pm. A half-arsed effort, I know, but I was there for the head count, and felt better knowing that there was someone representing all my friends and family who really couldn’t be there because of work, study, illness, age, injury.
Halfway along, I realised that, during my first Vegan MOFO, I wrote about the election of this government, and it could be another 2 1/2 years till the next one. I mustn’t count the days, it’s too depressing…
A cheer-up muffin
When I got home, H (my daughter) had taken a break from essay writing and (as usual) had moved to the kitchen for some baking therapy. A warm chocolate chip banana muffin was waiting for me, with a big blob of peanut butter frosting on top.
H’s choc chip banana muffins
She veganised this recipe from taste.com.au by:
• Using vegan margarine instead of butter
• Soy milk instead of dairy milk
• Replacing one egg with 2 tablespoons of potato flour
• Replacing the second egg with 2 tablespoons of water, 1 tablespoon of oil and 2 teaspoons of baking powder
• Adding an extra banana (ours were small) and a bit more soy milk, because the mixture was a bit dry.
The frosting was made of:
• ¼ cup peanut butter
• 2 tablespoons margarine
• “a bit less than a cup” of icing sugar
• enough soy milk to get the right consistency
If you haven’t met our Prime Minister (& even if you have)…
(Rude word alert, if you’re sensitive about that kind of thing.)