Overcoming Viruses and Fires in Isolation




Mandatory masks have been the fashion accessory around town this week, serving to keep out not just the virus, but the smoke.

Our hearts go out to those in the Perth hills impacted by the terrible fires; hopefully the current cool change and lighter winds will help get things under control.

Once more, our firefighters have proved themselves tireless heroes and deserve our profound gratitude and thanks.



While Australia has always experienced bushfires, even the experts now say that the recent conflagrations sweeping our terrain are more extreme, ferocious, long-lived and dangerous than in the past.

No matter what our opinions might be on climate change, science has now indisputably linked the increased size and intensity of the fires to a drier, warming climate, and it is high time government and industry started to seriously factor in the root cause of these terrible events. If they do not, it will only get worse in future years.

Sandgropers did a great job maintaining lockdown this week, and hopefully we have zapped the potential for another outbreak in the West.  We have been the envy of the east coast during the pandemic, with some over yonder even growing a tad resentful of our mainly virus-free status. On the first day of our lockdown here, I got a Facebook message from Sydney: “Your turn, mate.” Ah, east and west, the twain will never meet…




Of course, foreign travel remains a distant dream so we have decided to rerun a piece from The Starfish Italy sojourn in late 2019.  Our wonderful e-bike tour around the Eternal City can be found in this edition.



Cooking, of course, has been a cathartic go-to activity for many in these peculiar scourge times. Even those who couldn’t boil a carrot have become galloping gourmets (well, some have). Check out our delish Hetty McKinnon recipe for Ketchup Fried Rice Arancinifrom her new book To Asia, with Love.



Margot has filed a review of the Festival film Dating Amber, a funny, touching and rough-edged coming-of age story from Ireland. To a degree Irish filmmaking has been overlooked, but some good stuff comes out of the Emerald Isle, not least this one about high school angst and self -discovery at the end of “The Troubles” in the 1990s.



We’ve also got film giveaways to three flicks to celebrate our return to the wider world. We have five free double passes for the movies Love, Weddings And Other Disasters, The Food Club, and Long Story Short. Get in quick to see a flick!

So, here we are out of iso, and our smoky skies are clearing in a post Trump world. Things are already feeling a little less barmy!

Peter and Jacqui