Travel and work have consumed most of the last few months and I've struggled to find the headspace to set aside any time in my life for more writing as there's been a lot of demands on my creative juices at work of late, so to summarise;

~ I headed off to a quiet rural area of Hawke's Bay on the east coast of New Zealand to learn about permaculture techniques with a group of wonderful people from around the world. Early Spring weather meant it was on the cold and drizzly side and while coffee and the odd tipple were sorely missed during our all natural/zero stimulants/high nutrient dense diet, the raw milk with black barley and apple stewed in butter breakfast did somewhat make up for the loss. Two weeks of traditional European peasant food and I felt like I'd returned to source. I've now got myself a permaculture design certificate and am looking forward to getting on with trying out some of the principles.

~ Discovered many wonderful cafes in NZ, including Auckland's Kokako Cafe and Coffee Roastery in Grey Lynn and Atomic Coffee Roasters in Kingsland, the East End Cafe in Wairoa and Floriditas in Wellington. New Zealand definitely stacks up well against the Melbourne coffee scene (my personal Benchmark of Awesome). I couldn't resist that cute little handmade doorstop from Kokako, made from an old coffee sack.

~ I've started making my own sourdough bread, so far with limited success as I try and figure out how to get the best out of the rising dough in 33 degree buildup heat. I do miss a four-seasons climate, but I'm still managing to cobble together something resembling 'this would be so much easier in a cooler climate' living.

Here's one I didn't prepare earlier
~ The rains have yet to arrive, and even storm activity has been more subdued than normal. Everyone's patience is worn paper thin as 'mango madness' season takes hold. It takes a certain level of forward planning to do anything that takes you out of the immediate reach of an electric fan (when they're running that is, we've been subject to an uncomfortable spate of power outages in the last few weeks).
~ My puppy turned 8! From a little pet store in France, he's been to fancy French restaurants, run around the wilds of Scotland, traveled the tube in London, frequented Lygon St cafes in Melbourne and with his permanent fur coat is now suffering along with the rest of us in this infernal heat. I am starting to see clouds in eyes that used to be shiny but he's in great health and all going well he should be having adventures for many more years to come.

~ I met this guy and had a series of very interesting chats with him - definitely puts the motivation in motivational speaking - and was thrilled to find out he's a close personal friend of Tim Silverwood, one of Australia's recent champions in the fight against plastic pollution.

~ I broached the subject of my plans to leave next year to my boss. This is my way of bringing reality to my intent so that I don't end up procrastinating indefinitely.

An upcoming move to Melbourne? Or maybe somewhere else?...watch this space
That's about the sum of it for now, another year is drawing to a close and despite our treasurer's plea to open our purses for a consumptive Christmas, I'll be sticking with low impact minimalism for another year!

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