Melbourne in lockdown- September 20-2020

Firstly, a good news story. Peregrine falcons nesting in Melbourne again this year.

Image may contain: bird
Photo from 367 Collins Falcon WatchersFacebook page

The nest is on top of a high rise building in Melbourne’s central business district. And a webcam captures every shot. A facebook page keeps up with the status of the falcon family…Collins Street really is in the middle of a usually bustling city. Something of a ghost town at the moment with lockdown and curfew…All of our great cafes and restaurants are closed, and we are only allowed out for essentials and a two hour (up from one hour last week) exercise window.

So, what to fill the day with…? I am enjoying a little online teaching, and some cooking and calligraphy.

One student trialling an English Conversation and Listening session with me, at intermediate level, commented that the lessons were interesting, fun and “nearby to reality”… I loved it.

The calligraphy first. I have a teacher in Mumbai, India. His name is Ashok Giri, and he is very patient. I was beginning to feel like nothing was coming together;- my straight lines are not straight, and I was practising a lot but if anything I seemed to be getting worse… But today, he said I was improving! Now I understand the importance of praising student effort!

This represents considerable effort on my part. I know it doesn’t look like much…

This week, I move on to joining some letters together. I think if I learn the basics of this engrosser style I will feel I achieved something during Covid lockdown.

Cooking is no doubt a more universally useful hobby. I ordered a Staub cast iron casserole dish 2 months ago, when winter was in full swing. It arrived last week and was immediately followed by some glorious spring weather. So I made one casserole dish out of principle.

Chicken casserole made on cooktop with new Staub.

A once in a lifetime purchase, it simmers away on the lowest setting, and doesn’t burn or stick. I have an inherited Le Creuset dish, but it has no lid, and the inside is a pale enamel colour. This is altogether more appealing. The lid is spectacular. It has indentations which capture the steam and spread it evenly through the dish. Innovative. There is a cookbook but I would like to see if it is inspiring before I commit.

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