The Cow Lick Bookshop

Yesterday I was granted an opportunity I’ve been waiting for: I visited the Cow Lick Bookshop in Colac, Victoria. which I had discovered and followed on Facebook about a month ago. 

Colac is in the Western District of Victoria, in the middle of God’s own dairy farming country.  It’s about half an hour’s drive from where I live, but in the opposite direction to where I work, so I don’t get there often.

When I lived on a dairy farm at Princetown and visited Colac regularly, there was no bookstore, so I am super happy that there is such a great one there now. 

Neal, the owner, is very friendly and knowledgeable. The shop is really well set up, and has a refreshingly quirky, welcoming vibe. The store has books on a wide range of subjects, with an excellent range of kids’ books, and Young Adult and general fiction. In addition to all the fabulous books, there are lots of interesting book and pop culture related items, board and card games, and some fabulous gift ideas. 

I could definitely have spent a lot more time and a lot more money there, and I absolutely want to go back. Supporting local businesses and Indie shops is something I value greatly,  so I’m just going to have to call in again and buy a few more books. I like to think of it as a sacrifice I’m willing to make for the greater good. 

If you’re ever in the area or passing through Colac on your way to somewhere else, this is a place you should definitely visit. Feel free to tell Neal I sent you. 

You can find the Cow Lick Bookshop at 90 Murray St, Colac, Victoria, 3250.

You can also check out the website and Facebook page.

Who Says Gentlemen Don’t Exist Anymore?

Today I took my sister, my brother-in-law and my 86 year old dad shopping. Between my dodgy spine and Fibromyalgia, I generally walk slowly.  Imagine my surprise today, then, when I actually found myself walking faster than someone else in the shopping centre.

Sure, he was 90ish and had a walker, but he was very gracious and let me enjoy my moment.

Who says gentlemen don’t exist anymore?

rollator-2298056_960_720

Shopping list…

Sean was making a shopping list for groceries. Then this conversation happened: 

Me: “You wanted yoghurt. Is that on your list?”

Sean: “Yes.”

Jenn: “Do you have enough granola for your yoghurt?”

Sean: “We have that coming out of our wazoo…”

Me: “Is that what that was?”

Jenn: “Wazoo flavoured granola…”

Me: “What other flavour could you want?”

The Challenges of Aussie Cookery in Canada. 

Today Sean and Jenn are hosting a pot luck supper for their family and friends to “meet the Aussie”.  I’m really looking forward to meeting everyone. 

My contribution will be two classic Australian desserts: I’m making a pavlova and a chocolate ripple cake. 

Yesterday we went shopping for ingredients. 

Challenge #1: There are no chocolate ripple biscuits in Canadian stores.
Solution: I have substituted chocolate chip brownie cookies instead. They are a bit softer, but given the premise that the nature of the dessert is that tje biscuits soften in the cream, that should not be an issue.

Challenge #2: There are no Peppermint Crisp bars in Canadian stores. I always top my choc ripple cakes with a smashed up Peppermint Crisp.
Solution: Grated Aero Peppermint bar. It’s chocolate and mint. It works. All good.

  

Challenge #3: My pavlova recipe calls for cornstarch. I am corn sensitive, in a nasty coeliac/volcanic/cramping/wanting to die kind of way. At home, we use a wheaten cornstarch whicj solves that problem. BUT
Challenge #4: We have a gluten intolerant person also coming today.  Same coeliac/volcanic issues. 
Solution:  I found potato starch in the store, which has the same fine, silky texture as corn starch.
I was very relieved when beating the meringue mixture that it looked exactly like my pavlova meringue batter usually does with the wheaten or corn starch. The meringue stiffened up beautifully. So far, so good.

Once in the oven, it did exactly what it was meant to. It rose, it spread and it got all nice and crisp. 

  

How good does that look? It’s just about cooked. Almost there… 

  

Alright! It looks perfect. 

Challenge #4: You have no idea how hard it was to find passionfruit here. Seriously.
When I did find some, the checkout chick didnt know what they were and had to call for a code.
Somewhat incredulous, I smiled and waited patiently. At least the folks who are here today will get to try something iconically Australian, the way it’s meant to be.

Wins all round. Yay!

Oh No, You Didnt!

For some time, LMC has been saying things she’s heard on American tween TV shows. 

One of her favourite phrases is “Oh no, you didn’t!” when someone says or something she doesn’t like. 

Today I was browsing in a shop when I heard stuff land on the floor and an employee say “Oh no, you didn’t!” in exactly the same way and with an accent that LMC had perfected far better than I had previously realised. 

It made me smile.
Even more than that, it made me miss my girl. 

Larry.

I just met a great guy named Larry who runs a store called Clothes Encounters in Farmington, a suburb of Detroit. 

I’ve met lots of friendly people here, but Larry is just that bit nicer, funnier, and sweeter than most. We chatted, talked about politics and the state of the world, we joked and laughed, and then I walked out of the store feeling great. I think Larry is the sort of guy who has a gift for making the day better for everyone he meets. 

If you’re ever in Detroit, pop down to Clothes Encounters in Farmington and tell Larry I sent you. Maybe we can make his day great, too. 

Why one should mind one’s own business in the supermarket. 

It had been a long, busy day at work following several days plagued by severe headaches. I headed to the supermarket to get some things for dinner and to stock up on Tim Tams for my family and friends in the U.S. and Canada, as I am heading back over there in a couple of weeks. 

I had ten packs of Tim Tams and a stack of other Aussie treats in my basket. A lady nearby looked into my basket and then looked at me, as though she were trying to shame me for my wilful flirtation with Type 2 Diabetes.  

I could have called her out on being a nosy cow who makes assumptions about strangers way too quickly but, instead, I looked her right in the eye with feigned innocence as I took the last box of Tee Vee Snacks from right in front of her and said, “What? I’m hungry, okay?”

She couldn’t look away fast enough. 

“There!” I said inside my head, “that will teach you to mind your own business.”

When I got to the checkout, the attendant was looking strangely at my stash and at me, but at least she tried to hide it. Once again, I looked at her and said, “Never can stop at just one, you know!” 

She tried to hide her reaction with a smile, but it was awkward.

“Not really,” I continued. “I’m going to America and Canada in a couple of weeks and they can’t get Tim Tams there. I’m performing a mission of mercy.”

That time, she really was horrified. 

“Those poor people!” she said. “Ten packets isn’t enough!”

“I know, right,” I said, “but I don’t want to be arrested for trafficking a drug of dependence.”

“Can they do that?”

“Yeah, twelve packs and I’d be a goner. They’d confiscate them all at the airport and arrest me. ”

Her eyes were wide and her mouth was open. 

Never mind how tired I had been just twenty minutes earlier. I walked out of that store feeling like an absolute legend.