This Week I'm eating...

A little early but I've had a big weekend of 'holiday' cheer.

On Saturday afternoon I decorated gingerbread houses with my 'Boston Family'.  Unfortunately I didn't get any good photos until we'd demolished one side of the roof.  But lots of mint leaves (my favourites!), smarties, gumballs.  The gingerbread is also delicious - just the right amount of spice, hard on the outside and soft on the inside. Mmm...

Then lastnight I went to a friends house for the first day of Hannukah and the lighting of the candles.  Sarah had made the most wonderful feast - freshly made latkes with parsley and a wonderful Morrocan spice Hummus with Garam Masala were the highlights.  The hummus was so good that I now have the recipe to try for myself - lemon, garlic, garam masala, chickpeas and paprika.  I think it's the paprika that makes it so good, it adds a slightly smokey flavour to the dip.

And to finish off, these delicious chocolate-mint chip cookies.  We even got our own take-home goodies bag filled with more cookies and a few extra treats for the rest of the holiday season.


This week I'm eating...

New England doesn't offer a lot in terms of local produce in the winter, so my trusty fortnightly box is sourced mostly from the southern states.  Apples, Tangerines, Bananas, a Mango (?), Cauliflower, green beans and my "favourite" lettuce.  I STILL have so many oranges and lettuce leaves.  My cooking skills have also taken a beating.  With exams all next week I have become a lazy cook and steamed or roasted vegies have been the flavour of the week.  If anyone has any suggestions about quick, easy vegie meals I'm all open to suggestions.


Harvard-Yale Game

The 125th Harvard-Yale Game seems a little while ago now, but I thought I should post a few shots of the momentus occasion.  Prior to the game my knowledge of the game consisted of watching movies where people were watching the game.  Limited, yes, but in hindsight probably sufficient.
Here are a few things I learnt:
  • Tail-gating parties are a little like the Melbourne Cup Carpark, only with more beer and less champagne.  And people start drinking at 8am.
  • Watching sport in -3 degree weather is not fun
  • Drinking beer in -3 is not fun
  • Actually, -3 is not fun
  • It's important to be loyal to your team 
  • American football is a little like Rugby, only you can throw the ball forwards
  • The scrum is played four times, at which point you measure whether the attacking team has advanced 10feet.  If they have, they keep the ball.  If they haven't the defenders get the ball.
  • The game moves slowly
  • If it's -3 no one can catch the ball
  • There are different teams for attacking and defending, and for kicking.  Time-outs allow the different teams to run on/off the field
  • To keep warm, the teams that are "off" use exercise bikes
  • There are no exercise bikes in the stands for spectators
  • In -3 degrees you stop feeling your feet at quarter time
  • In -3 you stop feeling your legs at 1/2 time
  • Hot Apple Cider will not warm your feet
I can't tell you who won.  We called it a day at 1/2 time.  I went home, took a bath and started feeling my toes an hour later.



I haven't blogged in a while. I've been busy perfecting the art of international travel. A quick trip back to Australia has meant that when I eventually get back to Boston I'll have spent 80 hours travelling in the last week. Not all of this has been on planes, in fact the flight from Boston - Melbourne was suprisingly stress-free. I was expecting mayhem. Afterall, I was flying on Thanksgiving Eve. But perfect connections and an empty seat beside me between LA and Sydney made for a pleasant flight home.

Being home has been full of emotions. Happy to be back in Australia. Loving the warmth and the sun. But also sad for the circumstances that precipitated my return. Excited to be seeing three very pregnant bellies and yet melancholic that I'll miss the arrival of three friends babies this summer. The list goes on. And a hectic schedule of drving around Victoria has meant little sleep compounding jet-lag.

But through all of this - the joy of a good coffee. And the loveliness of a glass of sparkling Merlot shared with my parents whilst overlooking the vines at the farm.


Pillars of Strength

Almost four months ago now I left Australia for an amazing adventure full of wonderful learning at Harvard. I was able to do this, in no small part, because the women in my family have done so before. We are a family of great adventurers.

My Nana Bennett left her home in Scotland on a 'nursing' holiday that would end with a life of love and family in Melbourne. My Nana Barnett never really left her home town of Myrtleford, Victoria, but she embarked on a life of great learning. As a teenager she boarded at Fintona Girls School and then went onto pharmacy college, when most women's careers were limited to teaching, typing and nursing. At college she met my grandfather and they returned to Myrtleford to run the Barnett Pharmacy for close to forty years. She raised four children whilst working full-time when the phrase "career women" was shameful and the concept of work-life balance unheard of. She was still working full-time when I was small and I remember her shop and her now old-fashioned white coat and pharmacists name-tag. I also remember that there were always Anzac Biscuits in the tin and she was never, ever too tired to read me a bed-time story. In the last few weeks she had been living in Melbourne, with my parents and had been passing her love of learning and books onto yet another generation - my nephew, Rowan.

These two strong women were the matriarchs of their families. Their love of learning and pursuing adventures away from home allowed me to dream of Harvard. For that, I am eternally grateful.


This week I'm eating...

I've gone fortnightly on the Boston Organics box - I just wasn't getting through all the yummy fruit and veg quickly enough.  So this fortnight it's broccoli, sweet potato, spring onions, lettuce, brussel sprouts and butternut pumpkin.  For fruit I have apples, banana, kiwi (not local) and oranges.  

I'm also asking for help.  I am hopeless at eating lettuce.  I still have 1.5 lettuce heads in my fridge.  I'm asking for creative ways so introduce lettuce into my diet.  I looked in Stephanie and she had a suggestion for soup, but frankly I wasn't sold.  Ditto for oranges.  They are slowly collecting in my fridge door.  No points for telling me to juice the oranges, that's too easy and you don't get the goodness of the pulp!  I might hand out bonus points for combining the two ingredients in the same recipe.


This week I'm eating...

A little late, I know. But I've been distracted by trying to fit too much into the week at the consequence of sleep and my intended Halloween Blog Week. More winter vegies in the bottom of my fridge. Butternut pumpkin, turnips, spinach, leeks, brussel sprouts (still on the stem!), lettuce, spinach, celery root... I've tried to capture a few "out and about" Halloween shots, but have not succeeded very well.
On Wednesday I went Karoke Singing with a group from school where Witches Brew was the drink of choice.
Complete with small spider climbing out of the bowl.

My poor pumpkin - not aging gracefully. And a taste of things to come... A great story for next week.


This week I'm eating...

Back by popular demand.  The markets are finishing up for the year and for a while I tried Wholefoods for my local vegetables, but I was finding it too expensive.  Ironically, my saviour has been Boston Organics, a small company that delivers organic, seasonal and (when available) locally sourced fruit and vegetables to your door once a week.  This week in my box, navel oranges, pears, kiwi fruit, bananas and delicious local vegies - pumpkin, spinach, pea shoots, celery root and lettuce.  From last week I still have some parsnip and cauliflower - I'm thinking about cooking up some good winter soups over the weekend


Green is the new Crimson. Al Gore speaks at Harvard.

Thanks everyone, especially Amanda, for your helpful thoughts about how to dress for the impending New England Winter.  Keep them coming!  I implemented some of the suggestions today when I braved the chill to hear Al Gore speak in Harvard Yard.  Today Harvard University launched it's "Green is the new Crimson" campaign, with Al Gore as keynote speaker of the Student Address.  

"Green is the new Crimson" is an ambitious plan to reduce Harvard's Carbon footprint to 60% of the 2006 levels by 2015.  The plan is already in full effect and I am impressed by the zeal that the whole unversity has taken to the undertaking.  The Public Health School has a three-bin waste disposal system (compost (yes!), recycle and rubbish).  Not only that, but all take-away plates, cultery and drink containers are made from biodegradable products.  The cafeteria actively promotes students and faculty bringing their own cups and mugs for tea, coffee and cold drinks.  The cafe has also removed many bottled drinks in favour of self-serve, pour-your-own drink machines.  All our assignments are handed in via an internet "drop box".  Over at my accommodation at the start of the year I was supplied with energy efficient light globes, dish-washing powder and laundry liquid.  At a higher level the university has started a multi-disciplinary "think tank" of students and faculty which crosses all departments with the aim of generating research and innovation into ways to reduce, reuse and hopefully slow the progress of climate change.

Ironically it was about 8 degrees in Harvard Yard when Al Gore spoke to a huge crowd about the need to act on climate change now.  I can truthfully say it was an absolute honour to hear him speak.  He is clearly an incredibly intelligent man with some very bold thoughts about the future.  In a thoughtful, well-measured speach he argued strongly that there is an urgent need for the world to stand-up against politicians and policy makers altering the facts for their own short-term gains.  Using examples from throughout history including Gallieo's jailing for suggesting that the world was not the centre of the universe, to the evasion of Iraq, and most recently the evolution of the subprime lending schemes contributing to the current finanical crisis, he argued that just because we cannot see, smell, feel or touch Carbon, doesn't mean that taking it out of the earth's crust and depositing it into the atmosphere is not going to have huge consequences for the earth.  The "inconvenient truth" should not be shut away, or jailed, but be faced head on with courage and stamina.  A call to arms to which we can all contribute, whether it's turning off the light, taking 30 seconds less in the shower, converting to renewable power sources or researching the latest carbon sequestration scheme.


Harvard Happenings and Notes on Being Cold

Another public health moment, brought to you by the city of Boston.  This time from the toilet of a fantastic bar that I've just discovered near my house in Cambridge.  And yes, for those of you who were wondering - I've started taking my camera EVERYWHERE.  

But I digress, Boston is seriously lacking in night life.  I'm not sure what it is about the town, but you seem to have the choice of a Irish Sports Bar, complete with obnoxious sports fans watching the TV (turned up too loud), or "bars" that insist that you sit at a table and then don't serve you.  But this bar is great.  Although they make you sit down, they do endeavour to serve you.  It's dark like a bar should be, there's grime on the floor, the toilet is, well, less than pristine (and yet somehow perfect), they serve a weird combination of American pub food, Sushi and Indian and the first time I walked in there they were playing a Tom Waits movie.  Eclectic and unpretentious and yet totally cool.  Just as all bars should be.

Changing the topic.  I'm cold.  As predicted post-Columbus day weekend, winter has arrived.  Tomorrow they are predicting "wet sleet".  I don't understand what this means.  Anyone?  Surely all that comes from the sky are wet.  I have a bad feeling it alludes to the arrival of snow, or something much worse, which is "rain but not quite rain, and not quite snow either".  It's about 13 degrees (max) and drops to -3 at night.  I have decided that I am officially unprepared to deal with this climate.  It can only get colder.  My only other experience with this degree of coldness has been visiting the snow, when there is a very real possibility that at the end of the day you will descend the mountain and go back to a tolerable winter.  The thought of being cold for the next five months is alarming.  My hands are cold, my feet are cold and when I step outside my cheeks get cold.  The cold is unbelievably dry, so much so that my hair is officially straight, I am going through insane amount of moisturiser cream for my hands and despite arriving with 4 tubes of lip gloss I think I will need to buy more by the end of the month.  I am seeking all help for how to keep my little toes warm in my shoes and my little nose warm, without looking like an Eskimo.  I beginning to feel that winter warmth and "sexy, sophisticated Australian-girl don't mix".  All help appreciated!


Harvard Happenings... Financial Crisis

Last week I attended a seminar on understanding the current stockmarket crisis in the US. It was organised by the Office of the Dean, Drew Fraust, and brought together six of Harvard's greatest legal, political and economic minds. Over 90 minutes the audience was privy to a frank and open discussion that outlined the historical, legal and political ramifications of the current economic "mess". There's a small amount of hysteria going on in the US at the moment, I was hoping that the wisdom of Harvard's elite would calm my sense of unease. Whilst I did
leave slightly less confused and much better informed, I can't say I was reassured by the experience. What became perfectly clear was that noone knows what's going to happen. The market is in free-wheel. People can speculate, you could even make a reasonable guess, but in the end it is just a guess. Any changes to the system, such as the $700billion bailout could help, but are equally likely to cause changes that move the system in an unpredictable and unexpected way. All anyone was prepared to say was that the system is a mess, in the short-term it is unlikely to improve, it may get worse (potentially much worse) but in the long-run things always self-correct.

Meanwhile I have my first health economics exam this Friday. My first American "mid-term". Just saying that still makes think of Degrassi Junior High and giggle!


Harvard Happenings - Meet the Professor Series: David Carrasco

Lastnight I went to a "Meet the Professor Series" at Harvard.  David Carrasco, a professor in the Divinity School was speaking on his research with the Cuauhtinchan No. 2 Map, from Mexico.  My knowledge of Mexico and specifically Aztec culture is extremely limited (okay non-existant).  Anyway, I found the whole thing totally fascinating.

The history of the No 2 Map of Cuauhtinchan is that it was created by the Aztecs 20 years after the Spanish landed in Central America.  Part historical narrative, part legal document and part traditional map - the 500-year-old document was closely gaurded by a small Aztec community (the Cuauhtinchan) until the 1920s, when the donated it to the Mexican Museum.  In the 1960s the map disappeared, only to resurface in a prominant Mexican families lounge room in early 2000.  David Carrasco and a team of experts have spent the last five or so years conserving and interpreting the story it tells.

The story of the map itself is fascinating.  Some academics cite its use in disputes between the Spanish and Atzec over landrights.  But it also describes the history of the Atzec people, their rich culture and knowledge of the land.  In many ways it reminded me of the traditional paintings and maps for which Australia's indigenous people are famous.  There were also parrallels to the French Bailleu tapestries and probably many other "cultural" sagas from around the world.

The discussion which followed revolved around the concepts of sacred space, land rights and the assimilation of culture.  It was a great night, and again I was reminded of how lucky I am to be at Harvard.  This seminar was free, brought an amazing array of students and professors from different backgrounds and the discussion that eminated was truly humbling.  Perhaps not the "coolest" way to spend a Monday evening, but stimulating all the same!


This Week I'm eating... SUSHI

Sushi Sushi, that now ubiquitous franchise selling dependable, decent Nori rolls is a purely Melbournian industry.  Not only that, but the phenomenon of the $2 Nori take-away roll is probably uniquely Australian too.  Who would have thought that my first food-craving from home would in fact be Japanese food?!  But this weekend I had a craving for Sushi.  (Incidently Noodle-Box, which I always thought come direct from the US via Seinfeld, doesn't exist in Boston either!)  
Anyway, my craving would not settle and so armed with a basic set of Nori ingredients I decided to cook my own.
The avacado hails from Florida, but all the other ingredients are local.  I still had some radishes left-over from last week (now looking a little tired), plus some beans and spring onions which I threw into the rice-cooker at the end to give them 'Oomph'.
I was perhaps a little greedy on the rice front and managed to split all the rolls that I made.
Even though they weren't quite as good as Sushi Sushi, and probably were slightly more expensive to make - they were still delicious and I even had some leftover for tomorrow's lunchbox!  


Health and Human Rights: An International Journal

Today I had another 'Harvard Moment'... I was lucky enough to be able to attend the re-launching of Health and Human Rights: an International Journal. This journal has been floating around academia for twenty years but had a relatively small readership and was generally lacking mojo and street-cred. With new financing and, importantly, backing from two dragons in Public Health, Dr Paul Farmer and Dr Jim Yong Kim, today it was relaunched as an open access internet and print publication.

The distinction as an open access publication is important. Currently four multinational corporations own and distribute the majority of scientific and academic papers published. Unless you are lucky enough to be a member of a hospital or university with a subscription to an online journal database accessing any academic research can be a costly exercise. For many developing nations the costs associated with subscription are simply beyond reach. Thankfully the movement toward open access journal databases is gaining momentum. The Public Library of Science (PLoS) publishes over 100 journals free of charge and making the "new and improved" Health and Human Rights Journal readily accessible is another step in the right direction.

To be honest I found the notion of preaching about free and ready access to academic journals and academia in general to a group of people who attend one of, arguably, the most exclusive and expensive universities in the world slightly ironic. But the general feeling in the room was of empowerment and momentum toward dissolving barriers to information and improving human rights around the world.

It was also an honour to hear Dr Paul Farmer speak. If anyone is still confused about "what public health is all about" and what the hell I'm doing over in the states, I urge you to read Tracy Kidder's book Mountains Beyond Mountains. It is a biography of Dr Paul Farmer and his organisation Partners in Health. Admittedly he (Paul Farmer) is a slightly fanatical genius, and I do not hope, nor want to copy his life in any way. But he is inspiring, and his life mission is what Public Health is all about - the notion of delivering first rate health care to all.


Harvard Happenings - A Public Health Moment from MA

Not much to say this week.  I am awash with the first lot of assignments.  School is officially keeping me out of mischief.  But I have been collecting interesting Public Health messages from the state of Massachusetts.  This one found on the wall outside the fire department.


Harvard Happenings

After some thought, and a small amount of consultation, I have decided to change Tuesday Travel Tips into Harvard Happenings.  The post is a work in progress, but in it I'll aim to give you a small taste of the wonderful array of seminars, meetings and events that I get exposed to everyday at the school of Public Health.  

I thought I'd start it off with a look back at last week.  2008 is a big year for the Harvard School of Public Health.  Dean Barry Bloom (left), who has lead the school for 10 years is standing down at the end of December.  Come January, our new Dean will be Julio Frenk.  Julio Frenk was relatively unknown to me prior to starting at Harvard, but he is something of a legend in america and on the public health circuit.  He served as the Minister for Health in Mexico from 2000 to 2006 where he helped to set-up and implement Oportunidades, one of the most successful
programs to target poverty, health outcomes and educational achievement concurrently.  He has also served on the WHO and is currently a senior fellow with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  Anyway, last week Julio Frenk was officially welcomed into the Harvard Public Health School community with wine, cheese and plenty of speeches.  Julio Frenk gave a wonderful inaugural speech full of optimism and wit, with a whispering of exciting things to come during his deanery.  

For my small part, I would also like to say 'welcome Julio Frenk' - I'm excited to hear more from you!


This week I'm eating...

Autumn is here, although is doesn't really feel like it today with Tropical Storm Hana causing humidity to go up to 80%. But the produce in the Farmers Markets are beginning to take on a more Autumnal feel. There's still plenty of tomatoes, this week I'm trying the cherry tomato mix (foreground).
I'll also be eating:
  • green and white beans
  • corriander
  • orange capsicum
  • what must be the very last of the nectarines
  • McIntosh and Royal Gala apples
  • French Breakfast Radishes
  • and lastly a delicious Sourdough bread
Tomorrow I'm off to a "pot-luck" brunch before our official welcome at the Harvard Faculty Club. I'm going to take a wonderful Cous Cous Salad I found on one of my favourite food blogs, Mostly Eating


Tuesday Travel Tips... Cambridge to Longwood

Having settled in Boston I'm struggling a little to come up with Tuesday Travel Tips.  I'm in the hunt for a new regular weekly post.  Any suggestions?

Anyway, this week I thought I'd wax lyrical about my route to school.  I live in Cambridge, the main hub of Harvard.  It's where most of the schools are situated, the undergrad campus is here and not surprisingly, it has quite a good buzz to it.  Unfortunately the Public Health School isn't here.  It's over in the Longwood Medical Area, a 20 minute bus ride across town.  Every morning I get the M2 Shuttle, a great free service the university offers to get people quickly and easily between Longwood and Cambridge.  Like the tube in London, people LOVE to complain about the service - "it's too slow", "it gets stuck in traffic", "the drivers are terrible".  But I love it.  I love the 40 minutes each day I get to read.  I love eves-dropping and looking at what other people are reading and I love creating stories about who they are and what they do.  Mostly I love the fact that it's someone else and not me driving in Boston!


Tuesday Travel Tips... Computer leads, Cords and Chargers

When I first travelled in 2001 I didn't even take a mobile: my camera had an LCD battery.  Now I travel with (in no particular order)
  • Computer charger
  • Camera battery charger
  • Camera USB cord
  • SLR Camera charger
  • Adapters for USA, England and Europe
  • Back-up drive
  • Phone charger
  • Phone USB Cord
  • iPod Charger
  • iPod USB Cord
  • iPod
  • SLR Camera
  • Point and Shoot Digital Camera
  • Phone
  • Computer
I am amazed how quickly we have managed to complicate our own lives with cords, attachments and plug-ins.  I would award a Nobel Peace Prize to the person who facilitates universal electricity sockets and a universal battery charger.  Music to my ears!


Farmers Markets

I have just finished reading Eat your Heart Out, by investigative journalist Felicity Lawrence (see Gaurdian review on link). Without exaggerating, this book has completely redefined how I think about shopping for food, supermarkets and food marketing generally. It's release coincides with two similar books by Michael Pollen's, The Omnivores Dilemma and In Defence of Food: An Eater's Manifesto. Whilst I have not yet read Michael Pollen's books, people who have say that they have equally shaped and redefined how they eat and shop. Michael Pollen was the academic who when recently touring Australia was widely quoted as saying "don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognise as food". Without getting too much on my soap box I would urge anyone with an interest in their own health and more broadly the health of the planet to read one of these books.

Thanks to this book I am now trying to shop as locally and as directly from the grower as possible. Tomatoes are in prime season in New England so this week I'm eating tomatoes as well as summer
squash, eggplant, basil, corn and for fruit, the first of the apples for the season and probably the last of the white peaches.
Look at the wonderful collection of heirloom tomatoes I managed to get - no more expensive than regular ones bought at the supermarket and with great names like Brandywine, Pineapple, Chocolate and Cherokee. All with their own distinctive taste. If anyone has any suggestions of how to cook with squash I'd be very grateful!

The Biggest Yard Sale

There are approximately 13,000 graduate students and 7,000 undergraduates at Harvard. The majority of these students live in Harvard affiliated housing. Whilst some of this housing is dorm-style where basic furniture is provided, the majority of students live in small, unfurnished studios or one-bedroom apartments. With the average graduate degree lasting 2 years, this amounts to a high turn-over of both lodgings and the furniture that goes with it. The result? Come the beginning of September the biggest "yard" sale of cheap furniture and storage items I've ever seen. Everywhere you look there are things for sale: walk down the street, turn the corner and invariably there will be some piece of furniture going at a price. Walking home yesterday I found myself in a housing complex that caters for families. Outside was the unofficial babies and kids toys Yard Sale: rows and rows of pushes, bassinettes and toys (no photos unfortunately).
Today I discovered this:
This sale is open every weekend 10am-3pm until the end of September. All the furniture in this photo will be sold by the end of the day. They have another two truck loads for Sunday and still more for the following weekends. Everything you could possibly need in a dorm from coat-hangers to couches and microwaves.
The benefit of this (and other sales) is that my apartment is slowly starting to take shape. My mattress arrived today so I am now able to sleep on my bed, I also bought a second hand armchair so that I can do my reading in the alcove looking over the Charles.


Meeting at Airports

Just before I left Australia I was unfortunately part of an elaborate "Airport-Run" disaster. Miscommunication, poor time management and general 'Barnett' vagueness were all to blame. Without boring you with the details - based on someone else's instructions I diligently arrived at the airport one morning only to find that no loved one got off the plane. An hour and a half and several phone calls later I was to discover that I was 12 hours early - the person in question was arriving at 1930, not 0730.

This event has prompted our family to come up with an "Airpot Contingency Plan" - which encompasses amongst other things, the direction in which we exit through customs and a designated meeting place that can be translated across different airports. Whilst this may seem a little OCD I was reminded of the relevance of these rules when I got off the plane in Boston yesterday. Heather-Jean and Don Wheeler (my Boston "host family") had very kindly agreed to pick me up from the airport. The flight was confirmed, the plane was on time, I sailed through customs and then... no one was there! Heather was no where to be found! Perplexed I waited - perhaps there was traffic? Time passed and I gradually became more concerned about the passing of time and what I should do. After what seemed ages, but was really only a little while, Heather and I did eventually find each other. She had also been waiting and watching the Arrivals door patiently (and then impatiently) for a good while. As it turned out we had been only 2 metres away from each other but it took the clearing of the arrivals hall before we spotted each other. If only we had had a Contingency Plan!

As well as picking me up from the Airport, Heather, Don and Adriana also very kindly took me to Target for some "essentials" and then cooked me dinner before taking me back to my apartment. All of this topped off with this gorgeous "welcome" pack - tea, coffee, yummy new england cookies and lots of other little tit-bits to carry me through the first few days in a new city. Thank-you!
Just quickly for those who heard me talk about my apartment many, many times before I left Australia, here is the view I woke up to this morning. That's my window!
And Sunset tonight!
I think I'm going to like living here!


Tuesday Travel Tips - People in Unexpected Places

I've been in London almost 10 days and almost everyday for the first week made attempts to catch up with friends from uni who were staying in Kent.  Try as we might, our schedules never quite aligned and whilst I fly into Dublin tomorrow on my way to Boston (!), they leave to head back to London.  Ditto for a friend from the Women's who is currently moving between Ireland and London.  Trying to make arrangements to see people seemed to be getting the better of me.  

No matter, content to be entertained by Clare and Shane who have generously leant me their 'couch' for the week, I found myself strolling through Portabello market in Notting Hill on Saturday morning.  Maybe it was a mutual love of chocolate brownies, but Tess and I almost literally bumped into each other at the pastry stall.  I didn't even know Tess and Mike had left Australia yet - they were in London for 4 days before heading to Turkey for a sailing trip with other Royal Melbourne friends.  A great chance meeting, and an excuse to have lunch out.

Another chance encounter on Sunday.  A fairly well organised breakfast catch-up with Lucy Forbes who has been living the expat life in London for the last 18 months.  It was great to see her and Louise, another ex-RMH person from Intern days!
It's a small world after all :)