Friday, February 14, 2020


After the debacle with the blue dove (which turned out to be thrush or a starling according to my ornithologically trained friends), a yellow-eyed penguin seems like a slightly safer bet. In light of the fact that penguins do eat fish, I made some oven-baked salmon on black beans with halloumi and basil for this year’s Valentine dinner.

Truth to be told, I should say that I did go swimming with penguins when hiking in Australia back in 2008. Reading an article by a woman in Sydney who describes her life in the current “quarantine era”, it is hard to imagine that we are even talking about the same country; bushfires that have made air quality as bad as in East Asia, gale-force winds and 550 millimetres of rain over a single weekend clearly take away some of the allure of outdoor hikes.

While maybe not the most Valentinesque of reads, Elisabeth Plamqvist, who is the mother of my childhood friend Gabriel, just released her first novel called “The Neutered” which I look forward to reading over the weekend. Given that she is a retired urologist, I fear that she knows all too well what she is writing about.


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