πŸ“· As I’ve mentioned before I no longer eat mammal meat, which is mostly easy peasy but just occasionally I get the craving for some ham or bacon. Now there are vegan (wheat protein-derived) imitations in the supermarket, I can once again treat myself πŸ˜‡ (Day 7 #mbfeb prompt.)

a plate with a fried egg on avocado toast and a slice of imitation bacon on it

πŸ“· Day 4’s prompt is layers, which I found a tricky one πŸ€” Melburnians are known for our prodigious wearing of layers in the winter, so I went and found a selfie from July. Under this coat I’d have had a jumper or vest and a proper shirt on! Not to mention my multilayered mask 😷

a selfie where I'm indoors in a disposable mask and light blue winter coat

πŸ“· Day 2 of the photoblogging challenge! Today’s prompt is morning beverage. Last year I bought these neat insulated tumblers and plunger, to solve the problem of my coffee going lukewarm before I could finish it. Now I get to relax with my daily brew instead of chugging it 😎

a photo of a metal coffee plunger and a white tumbler of white coffee, on a white bench

Today Viv and I drove out to the Dandenong Ranges on Wurundjeri land to do the Eastern Sherbrooke Forest Walk. We went a slightly long way round, so it was about 10km through temperate rainforest, a bit hilly with one really steep section. (The more direct route has two really steep sections, so I felt like we went the better way.) The weather was warmer and sunnier, but the forest was as beautiful as when we walked through it in June 😊

a photo from Sherbrooke Forest; thin fern-like trees towering upwardsa photo from Sherbrooke Forest; a fallen log amidst the ferns, sunlight behinda photo from Sherbrooke Forest; a fallen log in a shady patch of fernsa photo from Sherbrooke Forest; a walking trail shaded by ferns

Not only is it a scenic walk, but I find the sounds of the birdsongs and chirping insects really peaceful and relaxing. We saw a number of native species that we don’t often see in the city (but kept our distance, so I don’t have good pictures) – a wallaby, who kept an eye on us from a distance, probably hoping we’d leave it food (we didn’t…); two kookaburras, and a few crimson rosellas (we do have rosellas in our suburb, but they’re the Eastern variety).

Viv and I have been talking about slotting bushwalks into our routine more often, and today’s experience – exhausting but fulfilling – has made me even surer that we should. It’s great to get out into nature sometimes.

It was a warm day today, so Viv and I took a late afternoon walk to our local beach.

a view of a beach from up high, with many dogs and beachgoersa view of a different stretch of the beach from up high

On our way home, we ducked into a bottle shop that’s only been open for a week or so. We wanted to check out their range of beers, and were pleasantly surprised – it’s really extensive!

fridges at a bottle shop, displaying many colourful cans of beer

Confronted with so much choice, in the end Vivian was the one who made the decision and went for this novelty lager.

a six-pack of beer cans, branded 'GET ON THE BEERS' by Bogan Brewery. A description on the rightmost can reads 'In these unprecedented times, Bogan Brewery reckons we can all agree on one thing… It's time to grab your mates and GET ON THE BEERS!

In the end, it was a pretty ordinary lager. But surely the sacrifice was worth it to give us an excuse to reminisce about this classic press conference moment by our state premier, and the months Victorians spent moaning, “Can we get on the beers yet?”.

🐈 On Gidget not wanting to see guests

Gidget is an indoor-outdoor cat, but we (try to) keep her in between dusk and dawn (which is even the local bylaw, although hardly anyone abides by it haha). Last week she was giving us some problems: where usually she’d been coming in between 6–7pm, she was jumping the fence to a neighbour’s and not coming home ‘til 11pm, if we didn’t find her and carry her in before 6. She also wasn’t coming in for snacks over the course of the day like usual, nor spending her time chilling in our little backyard where she usually spends a lot of time.

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Since Melbourne’s first lockdown I’ve been growing out my hair (not just because hairdressers were closed, I’d also been feeling like a change from the short hair I’d had for six years). Today after I brushed it, I found it just naturally curling at the end like this! Very cool 😲

a selfie, half-profile angle, showing shoulder-length hair with a curl at the end

When people say they’re “useless until I’ve had my morning coffee”, they’re referring to the debilitating headaches, right? Otherwise, how have I got my body to the point that I just have two cups a day, but get sleep-wrecking withdrawal headaches from 4am until I’ve had them??

Reflecting on 2020

It’s the last hour of 2020 now as I’m writing this, and it’d be far from an original comment to say this has been like no year I’ve experienced before. Early in the year, Viv and I kept remarking on how we felt like we were living through an episode of Years and Years. Not too long later, we stopped making that comment because it became too depressingly true! This year we’ve been through so much that felt surreal at first, but then – perhaps even stranger – they became the new normal.

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photo of Jessica Smith is a left-wing feminist who loves animals, books, gaming, and cooking; she’s also very interested in linguistics, history, technology and society. See her homepage here.