Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Dessert anyone?

Today was one of those days.  The sort of day when you come home feeling drained.  I knew AGA would be in the same boat and so I made us a nice dessert to finish off with.  Lemon madeleines, fresh out of the oven, together with raspberries and bourbon vanilla ice-cream.  Very delicious!

Sunday, 26 August 2012

A little more about me.

Now that the formalities are out of the way I guess it is time I provided my letter of introduction as a writer of this blog.
My name is Kirk Dale (this isn't my full name though) and my people are mainly of mixed English and Welsh stock with a dose of Scottish and Irish thrown in for leaven.  My father died when I was in my early thirties.  My mother is very much alive.
When I was at school my father moved from outer London to Australia for work (he was an engineer), taking up residence in Melbourne.   Children who move from one country to another at such at formative time are often at odds with life and the same was true for me.  Where did I belong?  Who was I?  Running away never seemed to work out and eventually all settled down and I plodded on, finishing school and shocking my parents by not going to university, opting instead to go to work in the corporate world – a world the family had always shunned seeing it as a somewhat soulless world where feelings were subverted in favour of money.
Going as high as I could in my chosen field and by this time, already tired of it, I made the decision at age 41 to leave and go with my partner in search of fresh fields and fresh opportunities. 

(I should point out here that my partner is a ‘he’ for we are a ‘male couple’, and after ten years are tossing about the idea of making it ‘legal’ by having a civil partnership.)

Anyway, for the past few years, we have been residing in this little corner of Germany. I have followed my dear father’s wish, attended University, and am now a qualified librarian – a job I thoroughly enjoy.  
My partner (he will be known here as AGA) and I enjoy our slightly nomadic lifestyle although we feel that we are coming to the end now and a return to dear old Melbourne (a town I have grown to really love) is on the cards.  Added to this we are getting rather cramped in here with all our new acquisitions.  Our plan is then to buy an old house in the country (or else build our own) in which to put our ‘stuff’, welcome our friends and family, and where we can live in cultured refinement for the rest of our lives!
So that is my potted history.

Now on to something possibly a little more interesting.  I have tried to catalogue the things that are important to me as these will be appearing in my blog.  Of course first and foremost is AGA.  Then comes Mama and rest of the famille. Then comes our circle of friends.  But what about other things?

Tea is important to me.  I drink a lot of tea.  I love it!  I must like it a lot because it was the first thing that came to my mind when I thought of this list!  This is the Georgian silver teapot that AGA bought for me when I passed my first University.  I like to use it on weekends.

Nearly ready for afternoon tea!

Music is important to me.  This is our harpsichord.  Coming from a musical family I learnt to appreciate music at an early age and develop my own taste.  Music of the Baroque period is my first choice with Jean Philippe Rameau and Georg Friedrich Handel sharing an equal place in my heart.  AGA plays the harpsichord very well.  I play very badly although it sounds fab to me.

Our Harpsichord

Books are important to me.  Old Books.  New Books.  But mostly old books.  They teach me, feed me, soothe me, and invigorate me!

Some of my books
Cooking is important to me.  Real Cooking.  The ability to transform ingredients into something at once sustaining and artistic.  I love to cook.  I love my collection of cookery books.  I love to eat too!

Part of this afternoon's supply of Madeleines

Our stuff are important to me.  Tangible links with the past.  AGA and I like to live surrounded by them.  We mostly collect antiques, tangible links with the past, but the stuff doesn’t always have to be old.  They do however have to be beautiful. William Morris believed the golden rule to be:

“Have nothing in your houses which you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”

I would add that useful things can and should be beautiful too!  I might write something on that later one.  Some visitors have said we live in a palace, others say we live in a museum.  We say that we live in a home - and decorate it our way.

Gardens are important to me.  Gardening is something that I ‘sort of’ like.  I prefer being in the garden than doing the gardening, although having said that I do like to dabble.  Luckily AGA is an avid gardener.  Like Christian Dior I find that being in the garden takes me away from the day to day cares of the world.  Living in this apartment means that we do not have a garden however we do have a balcony garden that AGA takes great care of.


I love nature.  Trees, Rocks, Mountains, Lakes, Streams, Meadows, Forest, Flowers and Leaves.  I adore it.  When you are out in the countryside there is beauty and form to be found wherever you look.

An old cottage in country Victoria

Well I think that that is enough for now.  There is more that I could add but it might get rather tedious.  Furthermore, AGA has been doing a fair bit of tidying up today while I have lolled about doing very little so I had better go and assist!

(All photographs were taken my me.)

Good Afternoon!

Good afternoon gentle reader and welcome to my 'blog'.  My name is Kirk Dale and this is my foray into the world of blogging.
You will have to excuse the lack of furnishings as we moved in today and many things are yet to be unpacked.  Indeed the only profile photo I could find is of me as a very young child!  As time passes I shall get all sorted.

One’s first blog post is rather an awkward affair.  Does one launch immediately into prose (without so much as a by-your-leave) which has the reader wondering what on earth they have let themselves in for?  Or does one opt for a lengthy introduction on the whys and wherefores of this blog-amongst-many?  Might this not bore the reader and have them vowing never to return?

For my part I prefer to start self-indulgently with a ‘grande opening’ and you are welcome to take part.

The fare will be simple as this is a small and rather intimate afternoon gathering, surrounded as we are by half unpacked boxes.
We will begin with an aperitif: Cassis I think will do the trick - or there is Cointreau for those who prefer.  Served in nice old liqueur glasses: A pleasant aid to polite conversation.
Freshly baked Madeleines (the Commercy type; not the Parisian ones), scented with either lemon or orange, and liberally sprinkled with sugar, will be handed around on warmed silver salvers.
Guest will them move to the semi circle of chairs.
The blog will be officially opened.  Perhaps Catherine of Braganza might be available?  I am thinking of bouquets of pale pink, lemon and cream roses, a short but heartfelt speech by a local dignitary, polite clapping, the cutting of a large deep red ribbon, more polite clapping and perhaps a photograph of two.
The formalities being over with, music will be provided by Giuseppe Tartini (rather a favourite at present) and that old stalwart, Jean Philippe Rameau
There may be dancing of a sedate sort but there will most certainly be recitation and I am hoping for Dame Edith Sitwell’s ‘Country Dance’.
The event will end with cups of tea and fairy cakes after which goodbyes will be given, continental kisses dispersed with abandon; effusive congratulations bestowed upon your truly, and everyone vowing to return next time.
A review will later be published in which it will be stated that ‘a jolly good time was had by one and all’.

And so, without further ado, I declare this ‘blog’ open!