Biographical Log of Michael Furstner - Page 191

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The Martinshof Story - A Philosophy of Happiness - Life Awareness - Maps & other Text series

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Thursday - Monday, December 16 - 20 2010 (diary)

The days go by rather quickly and I have been working on a proposal with photos and maps for my student club's summer reunion in 2012 (a tour around some of the many hunebedden in the province of Drenthe), when I hope to be back in Holland. So my Blog has taken second place for a while.
This Wednesday I had my check up with the urologist. My PSA (prostate blood count) is fine and back to normal, so I don't have to see her again.

With Mel at the Surf Club, Feb. 2009 Wednesday evening I had my annual dinner date with Mel at the Mooloolaba Surf Club, which we both, as always enjoy very much. We are both very positive people, love traveling and can be very enthusiastic and exuberant about ideas or things we experienced.
Mel has just had an all night training exercise with the local SCS crew (volunteer rescue organisation) which she recently joined. Came home at 6 in the morning, went straight on to work and from there to our dinner together she would not miss for the world. The 36 hours lack of sleep did not dent her enthusiasm one little bit!
After many years on her own, Mel is at present three months into a new relationship, which sounds good. I will meet the lucky fellow in January when the three of us will have dinner together.

At Chez Claude, Feb. 2010 On Friday Babette and Doug had to go out and I took that opportunity to have dinner at Chez Claude, a small French restaurant in nearby Woombye. Claude welcomed me back with a glass of champagne, after which I had the very best meal I have had this year. First the most delicious escargots (bigger and better than the ones I had in Germany and Holland) followed by one of his vol aux vents : turkey and chicken in a red wine sauce with succulent mushroom slices on top.
This was accompanied by a carafe of Beaujolais nouveau, a very young wine (fermented for just a few weeks, and traditionally released in France on the third Thursday in November). Unlike other reds, Beaujolais nouveau is served slightly chilled. I had not experienced this wine before and found it to be quite nice.
Mooloolaba Surf Club, Dec. 2010
This weekend I looked in at Maroochydore's Camera House and was very attracted to the latest Nikon Coolpix S8100. I slept on it for one night then purchased one on Sunday. It is a great little camera with which I now can take great panorama shots and process them with fantastic computer software which comes with it. Above photo of the Surf Club is my first effort of this. These are only 2 photos stitched together, so I will look out for opportunities to take even wider panoramas.

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Tuesday & Wednesday, December 21 & 22 2010 (diary, politics)

Australia is no longer standing still. It is going backwards! Talking to an employee at the garage while I get new break pads fitted on Monday, he says : "First you are getting really angry, but then our country's politics just become a joke!".   Yes, I agree, but a very expensive joke at that, and it saddens me no end.

Both mining (with a heavy tax) and education (the third largest export earner of this country) have been hit hard by the present Labour Government. Former incentives to come and study here have been taken away and it has become very difficult now for foreign students to come here. As a result numerous private ESL and Vocational schools have closed or gone bankrupt this past year (five in Brisbane this month alone!).
Now the Universities are crying foul, for much of their new enrollments came from those very students who had completed their ESL studies. And all this while the Aussie dollar is very high and industries need all the help they can get.
No, instead the Government is pouring money into their pet NBN (National Broadband Network) project, which of course sits well with the average voter, but is not on any of the top 45 companies wish lists in this country. They require investment in roads, railways, ports, more sensible legislation, and permission to import skilled workers because Australia itself is not producing enough.

Probably like most Australians I have switched off entirely and don't read Australian papers anymore, but focus on what is going on in the world at large (not that that is much better either). My friend Tony Putnam drew my attention to The Economist weekly magazine and I must say it is great. The magazine covers distinct areas around the globe (Asia, USA, Americas, Europe, Britain, etc.) each with a range of most informative articles, and in my view lots better than Times or Newsweek. So I have changed my news reading habits to that.

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Thursday - Saturday, December 23 - 25 2010 (diary, flower 1)

As a teenager I often made oliebollen (Dutch ball shaped doughnuts traditionally eaten at Old and New Year). Now, more than 55 years on I would like to remaster this skill.
This time last year Babette and I attempted to make oliebollen from a ready made packet bought at the local Dutch shop. However the dough did not rise at all (as it should) with the end product, although quite tasty, looking much like flattened frogs on the road (a common sight on Australian roads).
So this year I got hold of a proper recipe and attempted to make oliebollen from scratch, and, as you can see below, quite successfully.
Making oliebollen, Dec. 2010
While going through the preparation process I did a little test my friend Rick (who is a qualified pastry chef with wide experience in hotels in Switzerland and the UK) had suggested to me about a month ago.

Australian flower (according to Rick) is weak and therefore produces very mediocre bread, not to mention French bread sticks or croissants.
The European flower on the other hand is strong producing excellent and wonderfully tasting bread. I sure can acknowledge that from my trip to Europe this year.
To test which is which you can do a very simple test, Rick told me :

Grab a fistful of flower and press it firmly within your hand, then release it:
if the flower falls as a lump back into the bowl it is weak
if the flower elastically expands and falls back as separate small particles it is strong.

When I did this test the flower clearly dropped down in a whole lump, therefore it is definitely weak flower.
I have asked some of my friends in Holland to do the test with their Dutch flower, and I am curious to hear the result.   Did the Aussie flower have any detrimental effect on my oliebollen ? I don't think so, they taste quite good.

According to Rick the flower in the UK is also weak (perhaps that is where we got it in Australia from in the first place). But in England they do mix it always with some European flower, making the mix stronger.

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Sunday, December 26 2010 (diary, flower 2)

With Jaap on our way to Paris, 1958 Well, that was an almost instant response, and of course it came from my friend Jaap van der Goes. He was as student in Leiden already an enthusiastic and capable cook.
He immediately did the "clenched fist test" and after opening his hand found "that the flower simply fell apart". In other words it definitely did not fall down in the bowl as a coherent lump.
So the flower he used was decidedly stronger than the Australian variety I used for my oliebollen.
However Jaap added that the Dutch flower was not very strong and the best flower was imported from France and the USA.

More sun produces more gluten in the flower, and more gluten means more strength. But with all that sun in Australia, why is our flower still weak (and presumably gluten poor) ? It must have something to do with our ancient soils or perhaps the small amount of rain we generally get here.

With Joop Plantenga and Jaap at the Weerribben, August 2010 Talking about rain : we definitely are getting lots of it here now. Huge floods in Northern Queensland and here too, farther South, it is raining almost continuously day after day. It is forecasted to continue like this until coming Friday.
However it is not deterring me from my jump in the surf every day. The water is lovely and the foaming waves most exhilarating, I love it!
But it is unusually quiet at the Mooloolaba Surf Club (and in Mooloolaba generally). People are staying at home this Christmas, the effects of the GFC (Global Financial Crisis) is still very much in evidence here.

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Monday & Tuesday, December 27 & 28 2010 (diary)

Rain, rain, rain and more rain. It simply does not stop. But the crowds are back in Mooloolaba. It is hard to find a parking spot and in the Surf Club it is standing room only these last two days. I go in and have a cup of coffee while watching the cricket on a big screen.
Australia is loosing the Ashes test series against England this year. The Poms have an experienced well integrated team, while the Australians are in a transition phase at present. They will return to strength again in a few years no doubt, but at present they are no match for England.
ThreePonds : view from rear balcony I have been experiencing with my new camera and the Panorama software that came with it. The above panorama is a composite of 14 individual photos, not bad at all.

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Wednesday - Friday, December 29 - 31 2010 (diary)

With Babette and Doug at 'Chez Claude', Feb.2010 Well, there we are at the end of another year. It feels to me (as I mentioned earlier this month) as one of the best years of my life. What will next year bring? We just have to wait and see.

The past few days it has dried up a little with on this last day (Friday) of the year even a blue and sunny sky. I manage to find a parking spot along the beach (a miracle in highly traffic congested Mooloolaba today), have a swim and walk to the Surf Club for lunch.

For the evening I have invited Babette and Doug for dinner at Chez Claude where we have once again a fabulous meal accompanied by some nice French champagne and a couple of bottles of Beaujolais nouveau. After the meal Babette and Doug head off to one of Babette's girlfriends while I happily return home. I watch TV for a bit but am too tired and in bed and sound asleep well before midnight.

I wish you all a Happy and especially a Healthy 2011 !

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