Caladryl Is The Seventh Ocean

Because we learned yesterday that one litre of tea at breakfast means I go to bed at 4 a.m. instead of 11 p.m., it's not good that it's 7:49 and I'm up and at 'em.

New discovery in this strange land: The mosquitoes I encountered at Mike's mom's place 36 hours ago have a stealth time-lapse toxin, leading me to at first exclaim "What?! I'm not insanely allergic to Aussie mozzies?!" but now, after not-quite four hours of sleep, to stagger awake and moan "Saw my legs off! Saw them off!"

Alternative: Meaner, nastier mosquitoes got into the bedroom.

Even though my sense of betrayal will be greater, I hope it's the first scenario, because down here in the southwest we're under advisory that the local mosquitoes may carry Ross River virus. Given how maddening and holistic my reaction to ordinary mosquitoes can be, I'm not sure I'd notice if mosquito bites also caused polio, scarlet fever, and Tourette's. But seriously, RR is nasty and lingering.

Mike just briefly woke. "Are you okay?" (He still equates an empty side of the bed with my agonized pacing as I pray for the meds to calm my back.)

I explained that my legs had been savaged and asked if Australia's national health system would give me new legs, just like Lieutenant Dan's. And now Mike just snores. Oh, that's right, most of our married life was spent in Las Vegas, the blessed mosquito-free country, and our unmarried life together took place during the winter. He never knew me in those Texas Hill Country years when I had to coat-up in 100% DEET to leave the house. He doesn't remember that some of the scars on my legs are from mosquito bites I had over ten years ago, so violent was my sleep-scratching.

Ah, but blogging is serving as a nice distraction, so in the absence of Caladryl or cauterizing irons, let us look for salvation in typing, and catch up on the photo challenges.

Early this morning I uploaded my recent Perth photos, including some black and whites for the photo challenge topic for that day. It doesn't feel right to rob from the content of a separate here-was-my-outing-to-Perth post, but how sure are we that this post will ever even happen? How many times have I posted about trips to Perth in the past nine months? Exactly.

Fitting Pants

This photo - the whole reason for the trip to Perth - ended up in black and white because 1) the color version was a muddy mess taken quickly with my phone (I'm ashamed to say that's the only time I usually think about going black and white), and 2) even though their faces aren't shown, I wanted to stylize the other people in some way to make it less personal. 

B/W Line Play

Whereas this photo, taken at a stoplight, is one where I said, "oh, look at the lines, that might be acceptable in black and white." I know it's not a proper "let's set out to make a good b/w shot," and I don't like how the whiteness of the Globe Hotel ends up just sort of washing out (to me), but it allowed me to advance to the next photo challenge. Level up!

(For a proper look at the Globe Hotel, built in 1883, see its entry on the Heritage Perth site. The restored building is the home of the Treasury Department. I would think they'd be at the Royal Mint, but I guess this is okay, so long as they're somewhere Gringottsy.)

Last night, before midnight (I swear), I composed a snapshot for the theme of "Sun," taken with my phone. (I know people do beautiful snaps with their phones. I have no excuse.)

Harvey Cheese - Sun

(Such are the ideas for "Sun" that come after the sun has finally set and you realize that the day is leaving. But please, know that I would never serve tortilla chips with Camembert. Not even Frontera chips imported from USA Foods. It's an affront to both tastes.)

This Camembert comes from Harvey Cheese. Strangely, they aren't located in the town of Harvey, but instead down the street in Wokalup.

I never visited Wokalup or Harvey until that fateful afternoon ten days ago after my visit to the physiotherapist. So excited were we that I could sit for the ride home and not be packed lengthwise into the back seat, we decided to detour. What was close by and not the grocery store? Hey, what about Harvey Cheese? We'd always meant to visit.

Harvey Cheese - Building

I think a trip to Harvey Cheese should become a new tradition after people unexpectedly recover from infirmity. Like when Grandpa Joe could get up and walk to Wonka's factory.

Mind you, that situation was more like this:


Harvey Cheese - Inside

Once inside Harvey's, the destination for your beeline should be the tasting corner, where you can sort of see people gathered in the photo above. To the right are the refrigerated cases full of the cheeses they make.

Despite the showroom of condiments and the "sexiest ice cream" stand on the other side (out of frame, and for some reason I didn't even walk over to look at it, probably because I'm off ice cream), I admit to being disappointed by the display of what was for sale. I don't know what I was expecting. Wheels of Comte to come rolling up from a Parisian cellar, maybe.

But the cheese is so delicious, after the first bite, that all vanished. All I could think about was how many varieties were coming home with us.


And let the record please show that this was the place where Mike finally tried blue cheese!

The woman behind the counter said it was a blue that would convert a blue-hater, and after some begging from me, Mike caved and tried a bite. While he won't say that he's now a fan of blue, no longer will he avoid an entire menu item just because it involves blue cheese. (And then he'll probably be disappointed since I think the Harvey blue was the best I've ever tasted.)

This sounds a bit like a sponsored post. (I should be so lucky.) So, let me throw in a little criticism. Harvey Cheese offers an all-day Saturday cheesemaking class. "OMGeezers!" right? Not just fresh cheese but stuff like Camembert! 

Yeah, but the cost is $185... and you have to bring your own lunch... and you only walk away with the cheese you made, not any cheesemaking equipment. For $85, I could see making an afternoon of it with some friends and taking home a little sampler packet of calcium whateverstuff and a vial of vegetable rennet (props to Harvey Cheese for being all vegetarian), plus light snacks and water would be served. For $185, I assume there's an after-manicure and I get to name one of the cows.

(I know I'm not completely used to some Aussie prices, but considering how easy it is to buy supplies and find detailed cheesemaking instructions online... $185 seems steep. I value the hands-on learning and access to expertise, but not that much. Okay, I guess I'm just cheap.)

Note that in the foreground of the last photo are some jars of dukkah. I know I was kind of out of the loop for fashionable dining during my last year in America, but is dukkah currently the ubiquitous shiznit in the States that it is in Australia? You cannot go to a food purveyor of any sort without encountering some artisanal variety of the stuff. It's the new salt flakes.

(And I wish I could say I was a fan, but it just tastes like spicy sawdust to me. Then again, I've only ever had it on olive oil-dipped cubes of bread dangling off toothpick spikes.)

Harvey Cheese - Inside the Factory

Despite some bad information floating around, there are no tours of Harvey Cheese's facilities. You can step outside among the rusting farm equipment (including a foosball table?) and watch something like the above through the window, though.

Across the way, by the entrance, are sheep ("baa-lambs" in Mike-parlance) and camels.

Harvey Cheese - Sheep and Camels

I didn't notice any camel's milk cheese inside. I wonder what's the most exotic milk regularly used for cheese production in the world? What does pig's milk cheese taste like? (Some say terrific, but pig nipples are a headache.)

Harvey Cheese - Sign

We left Harvey Cheese with a chilled bundle and a resolve to eat more fiber in the coming days. Our haul included Havarti Rosemary, Feta Rosemary, Havarti Chili and Garlic, Feta Chili, Feta Thyme, Feta Moroccan, plain Feta (all the fetas - or fettas as it is spelled here - were part of a small variety pack), "Smoked Savoury," something called "Ring Stinger" that I'm not sure lasted until morning what with Mike's heat-seeking mouth on patrol, "Soft White," and the already-shown garlic and chili Camembert. If you go to HC, definitely look on the left side of the left case, under the goat cheeses, for the small markdown packs, so you can justify trying more flavours. I never would've known what a beauty the rosemary Havarti was otherwise. Next time I want to see what the Blonde Ash soft cheese is like. Doesn't it just sound so creamy?

And in a surprise move, let me present the pieces for today's photo challenge - yes, on the very day! The topic is...

Hidcote's Companions


"What a shame," I thought last night, "that the unexpected mushroom in our Egerton Blue lavender pot showed up before the "Tiny" topic and was accidentally* killed.

(*According to Mike, aka he-who-hates-fungi-more-than-blue-cheeses.)

But then I remembered that Mike had noticed strange lumps in the other lavender pot, the Hidcote. Hmm.

Sure enough, three little mushrooms were huddled together in the sun this morning. What the heck - they don't even look like the first mushroom. "Perhaps something in the potting mix," Mike offered. Really? Now? And all at once? And not even the same kind.

More like the sleeper agents from the planet Mycoluxia IV have been activated, am I right?

The Latest Mushrooms

Maybe this itching... maybe it's not mosquitoes. Maybe this is where it begins. The becoming. The be-fung-ing...

17 January 2014 |






Carnival Elation (2009)
Carnival Splendor (2009)
Carnival Spirit (2010)
Carnival Spirit (2011)
Carnival Splendor (2011)
Norwegian Pearl to Alaska (2012)