Cnr of Park Rd and MacMahon St, Hurstville Sundays at 9:30 am and 6:30 pm

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Easter Treats

‘Digestives’! Who ever gave that name to a chocolate biscuit? A doctor? A nutritionist? A gastroenterologist? Really! It’s like naming a box of Turkish Delight, ‘Duodenal Delicacies’, or a bag of Cherry Ripes, ‘Colonic Charms’. I’m a newcomer to these chocolate pleasures, and quite fond of them, but I wonder how many people pass them…

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Shadow puppets

Earlier this year I watched a master puppeteer in action. His ‘puppets’ were shadows, and he moved his hands in front of the light with incredible dexterity to make wolves and rabbits and even an elephant. But my favourite shadow was two monkeys, sitting on their haunches, and laughing and making up mischief. What a…

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Sneaky Scrabble

Apparently the 2015 French language Scrabble championship was won by a New Zealander who didn’t even know his ‘merci’ from his ‘maori’. Nigel Richards won the tournament by memorizing all the words in the French-language Scrabble dictionary. Some analysts of the game suggest that Richard’s feat means that Scrabble is not a game of words…

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An Easter IQ

I failed Question 7 of the IQ test that my son brought home from school. But I’ve not the least doubt that it was the book’s fault! Let me explain. Said the question: “Insert the word that completes the first word and starts the second. (Clue: Leave.) I N (…) T E R.” The answer…

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On the making of spirits

In an article I perused recently on the making of whisky, the writer described the manic way that whisky makers choose a cask in which to mature their spirit. “It’s a mania that takes many forms, from tracking the oak from source to final cask, to insisting on the wood from a particular part of…

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The Year of the Pig

Happy Chinese New Year! Hurstville today is all aflame with red lanterns and golden pigs, and all in expectation of a year of wealth and happiness. For that’s the hope: a time of adding money to one’s “piggy-bank”, and the wish of putting more spring in one’s tail, and the thought of having a crackling…

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Under the Jacaranda

I love to rest beneath it – that magnificent Jacaranda that sits in its gilt-edged pot in the Queensland Art Gallery. I’ve always loved it, and was recently able to see it again in all its lavender glory. Little did I know that the tree in the frame pictures a tree that actually existed –…

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A philosopher had a dream in which he saw the secret of the universe revealed. He wrote it down on a piece of paper, and when he woke in the morning found that he had written: ‘A strong sense of turpentine pervades the whole’. How often I’ve had the cousin of that dream, where I’ve…

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A thesaurus for Christmas?

I’d be lost without my thesaurus. Or should I say, stumped, restricted, even handicapped. It lets me replace a mundane word like ‘tinsel’ with a spectacular word like ‘glitziness’, and helps me discover new ways to disguise important repetition. It is one of the more valuable buttons on my tool bar, and a veritable treasure-box…

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My English teacher would have had a fit, and picked up her red pen. Eight consecutive sentences beginning with the word ‘and’. According to one authority, “In formal writing, coordinating conjunctions (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so) are disapproved as sentence starting words.” But there it is. Eight ‘ands’ in a row! And in…

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