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Good friends and good food

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It’s not often that I chose to stay in a city when there’s countryside available. But this weekend I packed a bag and checked myself into the YHA Brisbane City. Yes, that’s right, I stayed at a backpackers in my home town; a rather random thing to do. It just made sense and turned out to be the best idea because my weekend turned out just brilliantly.

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After a night at the footy (Rugby League) with my Dad, sister, niece and nephew (our team won) I woke on Saturday morning to bright blue skies and a feeling of freshness about me. With no commitments until 1pm, I casually made my way to the West End Markets to find something for breakfast. I love a good market: the food, the buskers and the produce. I ended up with a mandarin, an apple, a banana, a spring roll, a ciabatta pocket and a bottle of home-made lemonade. Good fresh food with a touch of naughtiness in the spring roll.

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The mandarin, apple and spring roll were devoured as I meandered my way through the crowd but then I heard this busker’s song and decided to take a break. With soft grass as my blanket I sat back and found myself tapping my feet as I munched on my bread. Others had come armed with picnic blankets and camping chairs to enjoy the morning. A coffee van did a roaring trade nearby. The busker continued to sing his tunes and play his instruments. This is what I traded in my old life for: moments of pure joy like this.

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One of my pre-departure priorities is to catch up with friends. I am blessed to have some of the most amazing friends a man could want. I don’t have many and we don’t see each other often. But that doesn’t diminish the care and affection I have for my friends. K & G run a support oragnisation for transgender men and women. They were there when I started my transition and have always been a source or inspiration and support. Over the years, we have become friends and I absolutely adore them both. We shared an afternoon of laughter and stories.

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On Sunday I set off to visit another of my close friends. M and I met when she was my boss about a decade ago. We share a love of good food and poor M knows more about me than anyone ought. She is an amazing cook and treated me to the most divine lamb salad with feta, olives and figs fried with garlic. I was glad I didn’t skimp on the dessert because anything less than the Samford Patissier’s wares would have done the salad a gross injustice. Before we knew it, it was 8pm and we’d been talking for about 9 hours. I know I will miss M and my lunches.

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After another comfortable night at the YHA, I woke this morning to my third last day in the office. So I treated myself to a delicious breakfast of eggs with chilies, baby spinach and mushrooms served with a side of sun dried tomato and basil focaccia that I toasted in a fry pan. I felt totally relaxed as I ate outdoors overlooking the Brisbane River. This is what I love most: good food, good company and good scenery.

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