Thursday, July 28, 2016

Plants in all their glory - Singapore Garden Festival 2016

When I needed to be in Singapore this week, I made sure to check out the Singapore Garden Festival at the Gardens By The Bay. As with all things organized in the island republic, the festival was superbly laid out to showcase the best. My time was limited so I only had a few hours to spend there but I could have easily spent the entire day there to cover all that was on display. I only have three words for it - stunning, stunning, stunning!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Counting my pennies

The other day when I was helping my son, B, pack up his apartment in Singapore for his imminent career move to Hongkong, I noticed a huge pile of coins on his sideboard. “What are you going to do about all these coins?” I asked. On previous visits, I had already taken note of the coins and tried to spend them as much as I could, on newspapers, bus fare and the like. Now that he was moving, there were just too many coins to dispose of. Not for the first time, I wondered at how young people nowadays seemed to disdain things like small change, like they were not worthy of their attention.

Monday, July 11, 2016

The grass is always greener … ?

A flowering rosemary bush in Melbourne
I had a good laugh when friends from Melbourne stayed with me recently. They kept ooh-ing and aah-ing over my modest collection of mother-in-law's tongue succulents. In my tiny collection of plants on the apartment balcony, they’re the only ones that aren’t in danger of my killing them! In fact, I have to constantly prune them back and repot them because they grow pretty easily in the hot climate here. It wasn’t until I made a quick visit to Melbourne myself a couple of weeks back that I discovered that what I consider really common plants here are being sold for many times more in Australia!

Monday, July 4, 2016

Lessons in the kitchen - keep a trusty knife

Someone who recently went to Japan told me that a friend of hers had asked her to pick up a Japanese knife for him, one that was specially made for slicing meat. After visiting several shops that specialize only in knives (Japan being world famous for its knives and Samurai swords!), she decided that choosing a knife is a very personal matter. You have to see if its blade suits your slicing style, and feel if it fits well in your hand. And so she told him that he’d better choose the knife for himself. Me, I just use a cheap, old Chinese chopping cleaver for just about all the cutting, slicing and chopping that I do.