5 things – Monday, October 12 2020

On the whole not a bad week. My calf muscle has improved enough that last week I was able to do half my normal morning walk and this morning I did the whole thing without any nasty twinges. I’m back, baby!

As for the rest of the week, here’s what caught my attention.


Normally there are not many mornings go by in late September/early October where we don’t see that telltale plume of a whale “blowing” off-shore – they come in closer to shore on their way back down south than they do on the northern migration. It’s almost like a reward for getting up early.

This year though we haven’t seen any – until last Monday. Not only were there three groups of two or three whales but each were doing whaley things to get the attention of the others – and we got to see the show from the shore. Just fabulous.

2. Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef

Over the past week I’ve seen a few stories come up on Instagram about conservation group Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef and the census they’re carrying out on the reef.

Believe it or not, a full census has never been done on the reef before – it’s estimated that to do so would require a billion-dollar research fleet – so this is a world first. By recruiting a flotilla of tourist boats, fishing vessels and superyachts to complete the census it’s also taking the idea of a sharing economy to the next level.

The vessels and their citizen scientists will survey up to 150 ecologically significant reefs over the next 10 weeks – from the tip of Queensland down to Lady Elliot Island.

If you want to read more about it, the story is here.

While on the subject of the reef, I loved this pic by @passionsofparadise, the tourist boat that Sarah and I went out on when we were in Cairns a few months ago. It shows the regeneration of coral which had been bleached in March.

The crew of Passions had also been involved earlier this year in a coral “planting” exercise, but that’s a subject that’s for a different time… If you’re interested though, this article is a great start.

3. Bits and pieces

It was great to get out for a stroll again during my lunch break last week. While we don’t have a spring as such, I’m loving the new growth and the blossoms on the native plants.

Also spied was this mural on the side of a building in Maroochydore…

…and this fabulous overhead pic of the end of the rock wall at Mooloolaba. This is where we walk to each morning and it’s really cool to see it from above.

There was also this story about daylight saving in Australia and why it’s all so confusing.

4. Watching, reading and writing

My binge fest of The West Wing has continued. I’ve now completed the 2nd series and was reminded just how powerful the final episode was – and how perfect the choice of Dire Straits’ “Brothers In Arms” was. If you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favour. I reckon this is my 4th viewing and it’s no less powerful for that.

I picked this book up at the op shop and read it last week. I loved it from day one and found out yesterday that the BBC have made it into a mini-series and now I can’t wait for that. Aside from being a great story, the writing is beautiful.

On the writing front, Escape To Curlew Cottage is off with the copy editor and I got the first look at a possible cover concept. Because this is a new series set in The Cotswolds, I’ll be going for a completely different cover look – more in line with similar titles in the British market. Watch this space.

The final instalment (for now) in my chick lit series, It’s In The Stars, is well underway. I’ve hit the half way point (word count wise) and it’s looking very different to how I envisaged – although there’s nothing new there. I’m still aiming to have this draft done by the end of the month as I’m starting something completely new in November.

5. In the kitchen

I made a batch of this ginger slice for Grant and Sarah to take into the office. I featured it in Wish You Were Here and it’s a Kiwi classic.

Saturday night was Destination Italy. On the menu was fried zucchini with a cheese dipping sauce and home-made pasta with crab, lemon and chilli. They mightn’t look much in the pic below but the zucchini was next-level good. We tossed the leftover cheesy sauce with the leftover pasta and some bacon and mushroom for Sunday night supper.

As for my recipe for the week? Last week I made friends with salad – it is, after all, that time of the year and I’ve run out of soup in the freezer. This salad made a perfect weekend lunch – Smoked Salmon and avocado with a drizzle of lemony yoghurt. Yum. You can find it here.

Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

17 thoughts

  1. Jo, I am very happy to hear about your calf muscle and doing your whole walk this morning. You seem to be doing the right things to recover. It is tempting to do too much. And your walk is such an important part of your day. Amazing about the whales. Always a treat when you do get to see them. I only know a little about coral and reefs. I will check out the links you highlighted. Australia was going to be on our next adventure until everything changed this year. Possibly within a couple of years we will be able to visit. Impressive rock wall photo!

    Great to hear you are onto the next step with your book. Oh, a kiwi classic. Must try. It looks prettier than my damper results. Your menu and photos, mouthwatering! Our Thanksgiving this weekend. Thankful for you, Jo and our community.

  2. Jo, I love reading about the whales and the Great Barrier Reef. You’ve got so much done with your writing, so awesome how you manage everything while working full time. Glad to hear you’re back to walking without pain. All your food photos and recipes are mouth watering. Have a wonderful week! #lifethisweek

  3. Hi, Jo – I’m happy to hear that your calf muscle is feeling better. Super cool about the whales. I am scheduled to go whale watching tomorrow. It is now predicted to be a bit rainy and windy – fingers crossed it does not get cancelled.
    Oh, and I love the Maroochydore mural. Maroochydore is one of the few places in Australia that I have visited (so far, that is)!

  4. Hi Jo – loved the story about the GBR census and volunteers making it happen – just saved a billion dollars – winning! Great pics as always and I’m glad you’re getting out and about again. That ginger slice looks delicious and I’ll be sure to add it to my I’ll-never-get-around-to-making-that recipe collection xx

  5. Maroochydore is a lovely place and so is the mural. Whale sightings are magical and I spent years viewing an island looking like a whale and you guessed right it’s Whale Is!

  6. You’re watching West Wing Jo. I love it so much. We have watched all 7 series during isolation. Was my 4th time but my partners first. He’s hooked and keen to start again. I’m also listening to the podcast. Very pleased that your injury seems to be ok now

    1. Oh my goodness I love that show – even now, even again. President Bartlet is the best president the US never had. The podcast was great too.

  7. So amazing you see whales on a regular basis. It took years before “we” saw whales… not for lack of trying. Hawaii in traditional whale season – nothing. Alaska cruise – nothing. Washington State Islands (resident orca’s supposedly) – nothing. Finally a whale watching cruise off Maine coast… and I swear to hubby I saw whales. He was massively seasick, as was half the boat. It was not pretty. I swear to him I saw a whale. 🙂 Years later, we did see some off California coast… but I stand by my story on the Maine one!

  8. Wow so much to love here Jo, whales, salmon dishes (i’m off to look at that one), your calf has improved and you’re writing words for us all! I also love the daylight saving bit – erasing an hour from 2020, that made me laugh!

  9. You live in such a beautiful place, Jo! So glad you can get out for your walks again to see it. I have seen very few whales in my life and never from the beach – always out on a whale-watching boat. That Great Barrier Reef census is such a cool concept. I wish I could volunteer.

    And, ohhhh….that salmon salad!

  10. How interesting to know that about the whales coming back closer to shore on their way back. I actually like salads but they are quite the challenge for me to eat but eat I can and do…even if it takes me forever. I make a version of caesar salad with lots of dressing, chicken schnitzel chunks (my recipe is coating it in breadcrumbs and parmesan) and all the bits and pieces I can try to eat. Lettuce, funnily enough is a challenge post head and neck cancer but cut up cos aint bad! So good to know you are walking again….

    Thank you for linking up for LifeThisWeek and I hope you join in again next week, where the optional prompt is 42/51 Self-Care Stories #6. 19.10.2020. Denyse.

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