519. Sunday 20th November 2016.Super Moon, a visit to Brisbane, external awnings and much ado about crab meat…

Monday 14th November

Two weeks ago we visited the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium at, Umm err, Brisbane. One of the resident Astronomers encouraged us to watch the so called Super Moon tonight. The moon will make its closest approach to the earth in 68 years. Its approach will be 14% closer than normal. It will be as close as 360,000 Klms instead of the roughly 400,000 Klms distance it is usually. The next time this happens will be in 2034. The close proximity also has an effect on our tides. On my push bike ride yesterday and today which co-incidentally was at high tide I noticed the water level in our creek and nearby Broadwater was higher than usual and one result is the higher tide also picked up a lot of rubbish which normally sits above the mean high tide level.

Tonight, accompanied by friends Marilyn and Barry from our village we went to Broadwater Parklands to watch the Super Moon rise.

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Donnis Marilyn and Barry at the moon viewing.
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Donnis getting into the photo action.

In some respects this was not the ideal location. 141116-moon2Watching from Main Beach would have given us a full bodied red moon rising but without anything, except the ocean, as perspective.141116-moon141116-moon1141116-moon4141116-moon3 At first cloud cover hid the rising moon but soon we could see it in a brilliant yellow hue with the Mares clearly visible. Then the reflection of the moonlight across the water was beautiful. We were not alone as the Broadwater was busy with many people using the picnic and barbecue facilities to have a moon watching family event.

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Even the seagulls lined up to see the moon rising.

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It was delightful in the balmy evening being a part of what turned out to be an almost community event.141116-canoe

Tuesday 15th November

Donnis was using our Dyson DC Motorhead 22 vacuum cleaner when it went “POP” and stopped working. We called Dyson and they have a repair centre in Brisbane.

Donnis airline pilot son, Errol, called to say he would be flying into Brisbane on an overnighter and would we be free for dinner. Here was a chance to drop off the Dyson for a quote and catch up with Errol at the same time.

Arriving at Dyson we were told our old cleaner, bought around 2008 or 2009 would be retired at the end of the year and parts will no longer be available. Theoretically once repaired with a new motor we might get another five or six years use from it. Alternately Dyson offered us a 20% discount on a latest model…with a price tag near enough to $1,000 which discourages us from that option. We are now waiting on a repair quote.

Sigh!

Dinner with Errol at the Urban Hotel at Spring Hill was a relaxed event although the tiny servings of food with big price tags were a disappointment. As we arrived at the hotel I realised I stayed here, overnight, way back in the New Year of 2001 after returning from Norfolk Island. I took a photo of a hot air balloon with my first digital camera the Panasonic DMC FZ7.

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A hot air balloon over Brisbane January 2001. One of the first photos taken with my first digital camera.Taken at dawn from my hotel room at The Urban on my return from Norfolk Island

 

Wednesday 16th November

I was given some roll up awnings with hoods a few weeks ago. The hoods were rusted and the material was beginning to rot. I sanded the hoods and gave them two liberal coats of rust converter primer followed by two coats of rust proof paint. We sourced material from Masters Hardware which is closing down. The material was part of outdoor awnings and we got the three sets for $170. Sourcing new material from another supplier would have cost $400 for enough material for only two awning sets. Over a couple of days we put up the hoods and took the material off the bought awnings and transferred it to the existing awnings. Finally today I worked out how to increase the tension on the internal spring which helps keep the awning material tightly in place. We are pleased with the result and now feel confident the awnings can be lowered and the window left open without fear of the rain blowing in the windows.

Thursday 17th November

I felt like making a Crab and Sweet Corn Egg Flower soup. The easiest method is to use a can of Crab Meat. Aldi, Coles and Woolworths all sell canned crab meat. Country of origin is, in all cases, Vietnam. Fish products and frozen food products from South East Asia are suspect. Woollies has a tub of crab meat in the deli section for twice the price but country of origin is Indonesia. The imitation crab meat sold in the fresh seafood section at the supermarkets is made in Thailand. My only other option is to buy Australian Blue Swimmer crabs from the Seafood Markets at $30 + per kilo and spend ages cracking the shells and extracting the meat. That’s an expensive soup! What happened to the days when our canned seafood came from Australia, USA, Canada or Norway??? Anybody know where I can buy canned crab meat not sourced from SE Asia?

Friday 18th November

I contacted a number of speciality deli’s on the Gold Coast asking for canned crab meat. Either they did not stock it or if they did it came from Vietnam.

Sigh!!!

Saturday 19th November

One of my table tennis opponents mentioned the Seafood store across the road sells crab meat. Today we went to the store and noticed the fresh whole fish, fish fillets, crabs, prawns, mussels, scallops, oysters, calamari etc were all packed in ice. The encouraging sign stated “All products are Wild Caught and Product of Australia”unless signed otherwise.  (We are also a little cautious about locally farmed seafood – it does not taste as good as the wild product and is susceptible to diseases and pests which, like the fish, are trapped in the enclosure). We found a 270 gram tub of Crab Meat behind a glass counter. The helpful man read the label. “Product of Vietnam”. “Packed in Vietnam”.

Why are we concerned about products from South East Asia? When citizens (from Europe, England, Australia, USA, Canada, New Zealand) travel to South East Asian countries they are warned about,

1. Drinking the local water.

2. Drinks with ice cubes and

3. Eating salads which are usually washed with local water.

Water in those countries is often contaminated and not filtered or treated to a safe standard. We do not want to get sick by eating canned or tub crab meat which has been cooked but is then packed in local (South East Asian) brine.  Besides we want to support our local seafood industry. The helpful man pointed to local wild caught, Three Spot Crabs. At $8.50 a kilo it sounded OK. He even offered to crack the crabs and clean them for us. For the same price, $8.90 we got four crabs and much more than 270 gram of crab meat. All we had to do was spend an hour separating the meat from the shell and we were good to go. Donnis had made a genuine chicken broth earlier in the week and we had all the other ingredients on hand. All the recipes I found on line used a canned or semi fresh tub of crab meat. None used fresh crab and none, naturally said what to do with the claws and legs. After making the soup which included the legs, swimmers and claws, I drizzled a beaten egg into the saucepan. (This is the egg flower) The soup and legs and claws were served in big bowls so once the soup was finished we could crack the claws and legs and suck out the juicy meat. The soup was, as expected, delicious.

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A bowl of Crab, Sweet Corn and Egg Flower soup.
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