So I was sitting on the toilet at my local establishment. Feeling buzzy and having fun listening to some cool music (not on the toilet specifically, but that evening). I looked up and just beyond the loo paper, someone had scrawled a message on the wall. It was a very simple message they were conveying. Without fuss, bother, judgement or offence. The word on the wall was just there. Like it had always been there. It said, “Being”.
At that very moment I was being. I was being me going to the toilet. There’s not much I can do about it. I needed to pee. As much as I would prefer to live without many of the bodily functions, I can’t. But with that word I was caught – with my pants down. Caught in a moment of truth.
The moment when you begin to question your very existence.
Perhaps this scribe had been distracted at the time and what was meant to be a longer message had been interrupted. Perhaps it was going to say, “Being tipsy at the pub is expensive” or “Being Lara Bingle is getting poor ratings on TV”. Or maybe they intended it to be a kindly gesture that had gone wrong, perhaps they meant to write “Benign” but got muddled.
Whatever it was that was happening for them was instantly transfered to me. Spiralling deeper and deeper into question. “What is this existence?”, “If this was it, would I mind?”, “Who refills this toilet paper on nights like this?”, “What have I done lately that made a difference?”, “Who brings pens into the toilet? Then must fish them out of their handbag to write on a wall?”, “I wonder what time it is?” …
I pulled up my pants and walked out into my bustling, melodious existence.
This salad is a rough imitation of a dish served at Perotta’s at the Gallery in Cairns, Northern Queensland. If you happen be in the area, go and try the real thing. But, if like me, you can only dream of this taste sensation, you can always make my version. Which is not too shabby.
Rocket leaves, a handful per person
Popcorn, popped (yes, popcorn, in salad, for dinner!), a handful per person
¼ pumpkin, cubed and roasted at 180c for about 20 mins/until golden
½ pomegranate, seeded
2 – 4 squid tubes, cut into 2cm squares (about one per person is a good gauge)
⅓ cup rice flour
2 tbsp salt
1 – 2 tbsp chilli flakes
oil for frying
Make the dressing by mixing to combine. Adjust the acid vs sweet to your liking.
Combine the flour, salt and chilli flakes in a bowl or bag to make the squid dusting flour. Toss the squid pieces in the flour mix to coat then fry them in oil. I used about half a cup of oil in a fry pan to shallow fry them, turning them over halfway through. They only need about 2 minutes in the hot oil. Set aside on paper towel once golden.
Toss the rocket leaves with some dressing to coat.
Either toss the remaining salad ingredients (minus the popcorn as you don’t want it soggy) with the rocket and dressing, OR, plate the items individually and sprinkle some dressing over at the end. (I do the latter because the pumpkin can fall apart easily)
Top with squid and some extra pomegranate seeds.
I’m very proud to inform you that my plan to eradicate weeds using chemical free methods was a huge success. Combining the awesome power of my purchased helper with black plastic sheeting, a highly visible section of the yard has turned from a wild weed infested tangle of mangled vine, to this, a blank canvas.
Now I just have the battle of decision making.
As a commitaphobe, I’ve learnt to live with myself. Drifting from one whimsy to the next. But when it comes to the garden I need a better approach. Plants seem to struggle with my inconsistent approach to their maintenance. That said, I have big dreams. Big unrealistic dreams. In my mind, the garden tells a story. In these dreams, I walk through my garden enjoying a flow of spaces and symmetries. I pick a leaf and eat it as I pass into the shaded cool of the secret garden. There’s flowers, bees and the faint laughter of children (preferably coming from the kids down the street). I might have brought a pot of tea with a cup and a saucer on a tray into the garden. Although, that would have made picking that leaf a few minutes ago quite awkward. But nothing is clumsy in my head. And nothing is overgrown, weedy or browning. There’s nothing plonked. Then I open my eyes to my surroundings and see the reality – a very large garden, battered by recent storms, and far from my vision.
Perhaps in five or ten years, I will walk through that garden. But until then and in preparation for that time, at the very least, I want my garden to look considered.
So here are my current thoughts for this blank canvas. I thought it might be fun to run a poll to determine what the favourites are. And please leave a comment if you have some more ideas. To put you in context, I live in a cold climate, the garden includes both ornamental and edible, and has a oriental theme (ie. azaleas, japanese maples, rhodos, bamboo). So, tell me, what will it be?