My Garden ~ a Kiwi's take on life

Life is a lot like a garden


The Public Nature of Private Mobile Phone Calls ~ boring!

Word Press Daily Prompt (YAWN) What bores you?

Sipping my cappuccino at the local scenic waterfront café at times, has become a fraught experience. The very public nature of private mobile phone conversations are made audible across the café courtyard. I can overhear details about commercial transactions, marital woes, family and dinner arrangements. In this small city, it is easy to recognise names and faces. I, the stranger two tables away, become an inadvertent confidante. Yawn!

Hear this loud phone talkers! iPhones and Smartphones are sophisticated devices that enable two-way conversations without the need to shout. Speak in muted tones so that people at the next table cannot hear your personal business. I am not part of your conversation.

Notice that woman, sitting with the man at the table under the red sun umbrella, who just turned her back on you away from the direction of your voice. Quite likely it is me.  I struggle with too much information from unguarded talk. I get bored and to pass the time while I wait for my order, I concoct fictional scenarios around the snippets of information. Are you auditioning to be the central character?

In a café setting, we expect people to be sociable, to laugh, to savour the food and to enjoy face-to-face time with their companions. That is part of the ambience. Stop a while. Be unbusy. Inhale the cinnamon aroma that wafts from the froth in your coffee cup. It is one of life’s simple pleasures. Does that mobile call need to be made now?

Yes, I make and take mobile calls in public settings. I am mindful to talk in a private area so that I cannot be overheard. When I last checked, the café is licensed to sell and serve food and is not a phone booth or designated as an office. Phone etiquette is called for. After a workout at the gym, I like to have a coffee date with my husband away from my garden and to chill out in the sun without being interrupted by noisy nearby phone calls.


Cardamom ~ an aromatic affinity with Arabic coffee

Cardamom is a middle eastern spice I use most days in some way when cooking. My childhood memories are of spices commonly used by Mum in her cooking such as almonds, cinnamon, cloves and ginger in baked goodies, nutmeg grated over the slow-cooked rice pudding and thick vanilla custard. My late mother’s date scone recipe now includes cardamom and orange zest. Aromatic middle eastern spices are a later-on-in-life addition to my pantry.

In the time we lived in Al Ain in U.A.E., we strolled through the souqs inhaling the aromas, learning the names of the spices and herbs unfamiliar to us, chatting with people about food. The Arabic women I worked with generously shared their ways of cooking different ingredients. Arabic hospitality and celebration goes hand-in-hand with fabulous food, coffee and dates. Dates – now that’s a story in itself. The Arabic uses of a variety of dates and their stories about dates is so interesting. Dried dates are used in Mum’s scones.  Next time, maybe I could use fresh dates. That’s something to think about.

Back to the cardamom.  It is fair to say we became ‘addicted’ to cardamom with Arabic coffee. Recently, when I came across a recipe from the Hijaz region in Saudi Arabia in a blog by Chef in Disguise for Hijazi Almond Coffee, an almond milk white coffee topped with a spice such as cardamom, I thought, coffee drinkers everywhere, take note.