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Saturday, 14 November 2015

Need & Passion

I am about to achieve a goal. I am almost at 100 kg (~ 225 lbs). I haven't been this weight since just before Salmonella nearly killed me back in mid-2012. It has been a long, slow process.

I have patiently pursued my goal(s). I have removed refined sugars, carbohydrates and 99% of the salt from my diet. I have through meditation altered my perception of eating. I have a clear need. 

My need is fuelled by the two women  I love. I want to look my best for them. For one of these women, someone not yet in a sexual relationship with me, I want to make the case that she won't be able to control the need to touch me. I want to look stunning. I want to redefine what it means to be in my 50's. I want to complement these beautiful, intelligent and beautifully intelligent women by looking my absolute best.

My passion is making this happen. My passion is eating well and exercising daily. My passion is patience and discipline. My passion is choosing the clothes that complement me. My passion is looking at these women and knowing that 95 kg is an achievable goal. My passion is life.

Need and passion have antithesis. They are detachment and indifference. Detachment & indifference are the path to death. My brother died young because he was without passion. He had no need. He had nothing to get him out of bed in the morning, nothing to get him through the moments he wanted to quit.

What gets you out of bed in the morning? What are your need & passion?

Monday, 12 October 2015

Life as a vegetable Patch

I have recently restored a vegetable patch in the house I rent. When we arrived it was in a very poor state with Wandering Jew (Tradescantia albiflora literally blanketing everything and one sad lemon tree in the middle. Now there is garlic, chives, chickpea, potato, sweet corn and chilli. The veggie patch as a space has been transformed. Where once it was neglected and radiated sadness it is now open and fertile and radiates happiness

I have always viewed my life as being similar to a veggie patch and have wondered why people neglect their lives and then complain about how bad things are for them. People have lives like the way my now emphatically happy veggie patch used to be. Lives that are neglected with all sorts of damaging weeds thriving in them. People also have lives that are like the way my veggie patch is now.

The crucial difference between the two lives is that the latter person takes time to tend their lives. The Dhammically healthy take the time to maintain their lives. They seek out the weeds of anger and grudges. They deal with potential issues as they arise rather than allowing them to fester and eventually result in poisonous behaviour. The Dhammically healthy nourish their lives with acts of kindness towards themselves and other people.

Notice I've included acts of kindness towards themselves as Dhammic nourishment? The Dhammically healthy understand that unless your own house is in order, you can't help anyone else clear up their own mess. It's like a 200 kg junk food binging, chain smoking, beer guzzling horror advising on health, fitness and diet. The Dhammically healthy nourish their bodies properly, they also nourish their minds with meditation, solitude, yoga and Tantric sex. The meditation, solitude, yoga and Tantra all strengthen and focus the mind, they are, in and of themselves healthy behaviours.

I have noticed that behaviours cluster and reinforce each other. Someone who neglects their health will neglect all aspects of their health. They will smoke, eat junk and not exercise a lot, often there will be self esteem issues and their spiritual-religious life will be non-existent. A negative feedback loop kicks into action. The opposite is true of us who cultivate our health, who tend our emotional gardens. We refuse to poison our bodies with tobacco and junk, we exercise regularly and have a spiritual-religious practice that is the foundation of our lives, our self esteem is high.

In horticulture this is known as companion planting. My garden has two types of legumes growing in it. There is the peas that came with the pea straw I used as mulch during winter and there are Chickpea (Cicer arietum). Both fix nitrogen into the soil and both will provide organic material that will be dug in. I have planted my Chickpea in between my potato and maize. I am establishing a positive feedback between my plants. My need for health is nurtured and reinforced by my Dhamma practice. I have the same feedback loop operating in my Dhamma practice as I do in my garden.

My life is a place I consciously cultivate the wonderful in. What do you do with yours?

Friday, 4 September 2015

Cheat Meals

I use a Cheat Meal as part of my weight loss strategies. The idea is that once a week we indulge ourselves as a reward for the sacrifices we've been making all week.
Back in the early 2000's when I was at my heaviest....140 cheat meals was roast duck. Once a week I could go and eat an entire flock of ducks if I wanted to...the crispy skinned, fatty goodness was heaven and I lost a lot of weight.
This time around I have changed my thoughts on the cheat meal. I still have it, and it is still good, but rather than quantity I have quality. So instead of eating my own body weight in roast duck, I now enjoy an eye fillet steak. Rather than drinking a 6 pack of something from a major brewery I now drink one or 2 beers from a microbrewery. It is the quality of the ingredients in my meal that make it a cheat meal.
Now I take my time to enjoy the meal. Often I cook the meal and make this part of the enjoyment.
I don't eat enough to feed half of Africa, but my cheat meal is still worth the sacrifice of the other 6 days.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Toxic People

I buried one of the most toxic people I have ever met last Thursday. He was nasty, vindictive, racist, self entitled and brimming with self pity. He died in pain and afraid. He was my father.

The experience of having toxic people in your life doesn't have to be entirely negative. They can, and should be of great value to you. Once you exclude them and their poison from your life, toxic people have a great deal to teach us. The very first lesson is the one below by Robin Sharma.


Toxic people are invariably frustrated people who haven't had what they think is fair treatment in life. They feel that because their lives haven't been the stellar event they think they should be then no one else is going to have a great life. Toxic people undermine confidence and self esteem. Often they feel threatened by those who are more intelligent, better looking, have achieved more than they have and seek to destroy these people.
Daniell Koepke has it right.

My father who is dead in the photograph above taught me deeply valuable life lessons.

His racism taught me that we are all the same. That we as people, as members of the same species all share the same needs of love and meaning. That the differences between us are essentially cosmetic in nature. The mixing of genes and cultures is the biggest thing we as a culture and a species have going for us.

His violence, both physical and emotional taught me tenderness. The people who I love know I love them. With my boys Ariel, Orson and William I give them the tenderness, the love that they need to grow as people. Ariel knows that I love him deeply and am seriously proud of him as a person. My father never did this, never told me these things. With Selina I do my best to be a loving, patient, gentle husband. My father was violent and abusive. If he wasn't winning one of the frequent fights with my mother who wasn't reluctant to use a gun. Because of my father I have learned to control my anger and the violence within me. My father taught me not only the value of love, but the meaning of it.

Because he refused to travel and explore I have explored and wandered and wondered. Traveling has opened my mind and allowed it to grow. Because of my father I find things to explore in the physical, intellectual and emotional worlds. I seek the trails to walk, the books to read, the thoughts and goals to have and the bliss of Forgiveness in my meditation. Because my father had a closed mind, he taught me the beauty of an open one.

Because he was unhappy and fault finding I have learned the bliss of happiness, of embracing and abiding in the positive things in life. I have found happiness in encouraging the best in people, in seeing them achieve it. I see the rewards in encouraging my children, building their confidence and self esteem.

My father taught me how to die. We frequently die in character. Having led a violent, self indulgent life where we are the sole priority, we rarely suddenly become open, caring, gentle people just because we are dying. The momentum of a lifetime is too great, the surge into the next lifetime too strong for all that many of us to alter course in our final days and hours. My father died in great pain and deeply afraid. There seems to be justice in this. A man who had spent most of his 84 years giving pain of one sort or the other to people, as he began dying found himself in pain of the sort that no amount of morphine could dull. Karma was completing its orbit and returning to its originator.

Because he had lived a life where he destroyed the confidence, the self esteem and damaged the lives of the children that wanted regular contact with him, which I mercifully didn't, my father faced the fact that he had hurt himself in the end.

This is why I can't be angry at my father. His entire life was an act of self harm. As I stood beside his grave the night after he was buried I kept asking his ghost:
"Was it worth it for you?
Did you get the results you wanted from your behaviour?"
I could only see where he had hurt himself.
With this in mind I will end with a simple: Raymond Bowater, where ever you may be, thank-you for being my Teacher.

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Metta and The Body

I got falling down drunk the other night. As shissed as a fraggit.
Yesterday I woke to a Hell Realm.
Getting falling down drunk was an act of violence against my body. It was a clear absence of Metta. I felt so shitful because I had poisoned my body on Friday night. I had intoxicated my body. Because I had intoxicated myself, the body responded to the poison by hurting, by telling me I had committed an act of violence upon it. In intoxicating myself I was getting things wrong.
 This morning as I practised Metta I took the time to examine where else I have been going wrong.
I tend to binge on things. There is the binging on alcohol with the associated pain. I also binge on fats and sugars. The other day I binged on Tim Tams...and then found that in this new 3 Bean flavoured Tim Tam there was a flavouring or colouring that my body didn't like...and then spent the next 2 hours feeling completely shitful. My binging behavior attracted an unforeseen price.
 This morning I was able to identify that I undermine and self harm when it comes to achieving my own goals. There seems to be an unwillingness to accept that I am entitled to looking as fabulous as Mr Reynolds looks. The result is I periodically binge. It's a nasty feedback loop: I'm not achieving what I want to, I binge. Because I binge, I don't achieve what I want to.  It is also the complete absence of wisdom and Metta.
Having Metta for my body means I don't binge. It means that I recognize poisons when I see them and refuse to have them in my body. The simple fact of the matter is that highly processed "food" isn't food at all. As I write in Metta doesn't require a degree in Chemistry, food has an identifiable origin. If you look at a packet of Tim Tams, they aren't food. They have a very long list of ingredients. Raw fruit and vegetables, a steak are food. Hydrologised carbohydrate isn't.
Having identified where I have been self harming for years, this morning I turned my mind to my brother Mark. Yep, the one who suicided by lifestyle.
I asked myself: Is my behavior all that different from his? We both consume things we know are not good for us and in doing this do we not both self harm?
I had to answer: No, my behavior isn't that different from Marks. I do consciously consume poisons and engage in self harming behavior.
In common with my brother and everyone else on the planet my biological clock has an unknown countdown in action. We never know when we will die.
I thought was there a meditation that could be used to recognize and combat the mental habits that have denied me my goals for so long. Here is my attempt at formulating a meditation. A combination of Metta and Maranasati.

I accept full responsibility for how my body is. Our bodies are incredibly and undeniably fragile. Death is normal and natural. My own Death is certain. There is no possible way for me to escape, bribe or out run my Death. My lifetime has an absolute limit and every breath brings me closer to the ending of my life. Every moment brings me closer to my Death. Death can and does come without warning. Death often arrives unannounced. I will die on a perfectly ordinary day, a day just like today.  My body requires Metta in order to function at its best and to postpone death. This body requires balance in nutrition and exercise to function at its highest.

I can be alive one moment and planning my days and the next moment I can be dead. Eating the wrong foods can and will bring this about sooner than I am prepared to accept and before my goals are achieved. The world is utterly unpredictable and random. Accidents can and do happen all the time. Also people can and do simply drop dead. And I am not excluded from the fact that this can happen to me. This body requires constant maintenance in the form of regular exercise, fresh fruit, vegetables and protein in order to be healthy. I can eat my fill of fresh fruit and vegetables. These foods heal and nourish the body. 
Binging on alcohol, refined carbohydrates, fats and sugars is harming this body, for these things are poisons. Alcohol and refined products will kill this body if consumed in large amounts on a regular basis.It is only the practice of Dhamma that will help me deal with and accept my Death. The clutter of possessions, relationships, careers will not help me when I am dying. Often these things make it harder to die with many things left undone and unsaid. I must have my lifetime in such a place that should I die today, that nothing truly meaningful to me will be left unsaid or undone, especially acts and words of love towards my body. I must be ready to leave this lifetime immediately.

I must live with great gentleness and kindness, for how I live will determine in a very large degree the state of my mind when I die. I can choose now to live and die without great mental suffering in both myself and those I love. My friends and relatives cannot do my dying for me.I can however lessen their pain at my Death by living and dying well.

 I know that I engage in self harming behavior that if left uncontrolled will result in my death. I know that I can resist the urge to binge on poisons. I know that I can take control of my health away from my behaviours and I will succeed in having a beautiful body.  As surely as I came into this lifetime naked and bereft of possessions, I will have to leave it the same way. This body if not treated with proper care will  be the cause of death.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

He would have been 61

Today would have been my brother Marks 61st birthday. 61 is hardly old these days. If anything it is considered Middle Aged.
Mark has been dead now for almost 7 months. He died as much from despair as he did from smoking. Mark gave up. He let the opinions of others define him. He let his fears limit him. Mark was afraid of a lot of things.
Mark was afraid of not being liked or accepted. He was afraid that he wouldn't have the approval of his father. He was afraid of risks and challenges.
You may get the impression that I didn't much like my brother. Quite the contrary is true. I adored him and miss him deeply. I, however have no illusions as to his character and the lifetime he lived. Loving Mark does not mean living in denial. Honouring him and growing from his death means that the truth of him needs to be known.
Mark needed to be liked. He didn't much like himself. He had no Metta for himself. When we have Metta for ourselves we are self contained. When we are the sort of people we want to be, the acceptance of other people is nice, but it isn't essential to our happiness. Having Metta for ourselves means that we actively exclude toxic people from our lives. We see the agenda of the toxic and their subtle, insidious undermining of our potential and then because we know that their opinions are baseless, we exclude them. Mark never did this.
Mark never pursued Metta towards his body by reading and then using the literature that told him point blank that his diet and addictions would kill him. The result was Mark suicided in the rather novel way using diet. A diet that ignores every nutritional guideline is one that is a weapon. Mark when he died had returned to eating only refined carbohydrates, sugars and red meat. Having had 3 heart attacks in the space of 6 months, Mark knew that this behaviour would kill him. He knew the opposite behaviour would keep him alive. He had seen me recover from Salmonella using a clean, green diet.
Mark let death limit him. He was afraid of it. This meant that he was a risk free zone. He dared rarely and achieved little.
Death can either limit or liberate us. Had Mark embraced death he would have cleansed his life of the toxic people in it and been liberated from their influence. Had Mark embraced death he would have cultivated Metta towards himself and engaged in healthy practices.


Instead Mark feared death and whilst he suicided, he found his mortality worthless. It taught and gave him nothing. And this is the lesson I take from my brothers death. Death gives me things. Because of the way Mark lived and died I am increasingly determined to go out with a bang rather than the whimper Mark died with.
Because of Mark's death I am pushing the boundaries of my intellect, the need to become Doctor Russell Dunne has grown almost into an obsession. I am being the father and husband that my wife and children need me to be. I am pursuing the healthiest, most active lifestyle that I can. The body beautiful is very much on the way.
Because of Mark's death, when it comes my turn to become bones in the ground like he is now, and because we never know if today will be that day. I am seizing every challenge and living in a way that means my death will be regret free...both for myself and those I leave behind.

Saturday, 6 June 2015


This is an exhausted me with one of my Guru. Yes, I know he is rather young and small to be a Guru. He has a smaller brother.
On March 27 I became the tired father of twin fraternal boys. They are the greatest Dhamma teachers I have ever had. 
In the last 10 weeks I have been thrown out of anything resembling my comfort zone. I have been tired to the point of collapse and functioned on 3.5 hours sleep a night whilst writing my Honours thesis. I have endured 10 hours of babies alternating crying...when one cried the othe slept and when the crier had cried himself to exhaustion the other was refreshed and commenced crying. I have for the time being given up on being sexually active.
I have been taught patience on a level I never thought existed. Equanimity has become the order of the day.
I have also known Love, Metta with a depth I have never experienced before. For all the needing to be alone, the need for sleep, the need for something other than chaos to reign, I have been able/obliged to transcend myself and be the best I can be.
For this I thank my 10 week old Guru.

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Now that I'm 50

Yep, that's me in all the horror. I turned 50 last Thursday. A lot has happened in the last half century. If I have my way it is the next half century that will be the better half century.
As you all know, I lost a much loved brother in December of last year. Mark was 60 when he died. As I've blogged I think Mark had an awful life that ended in a perfectly shitty death. Mark was almost literally the polar oppossite of me in personality. Where I like to self describe as: Mad, Bad, Dangerous to Know. Mark was more: Mad, Sad and Self Harming.
Which has me thinking.
I'm 50. An age I never expected to reach.
Now that I have, what am I going to do with it? What is my Bucket List?
 I will resume my Food Diary and the healthy eating it helps reinforce.
 I will return to my exercise program of weights, walking, Pilates and Yoga.
I will finally deal with the emotional baggage that remains from my exit from Theravada. I have baggage with Brahmavamso Bhikkhu in particular. I won't be wild about the ego the guy has, nor the brain dead adulation given to him, but he is successful for a reason...and that is his teachings on getting into the Bliss States work. so I will  engage him on the Internet and in books where I can filter the ass kissing. I have been stupid in the extreme to let my own dislike of the personality cult around Brahmavamso get in the way of the effectiveness of what he teaches. I will incorporate those teachings into Metta Tantra, let me see if I can cut past the ego of the guy to see if there is something that can be used in a healthy life.

.I will continue to deepen my practice of Metta Tantra. Which is to say I will continue treating my body with great gentleness, I will treat other people with great gentleness, I will continue my efforts towards physical and mental perfection.
In some ways having turned 50 everything has changed, in many ways nothing has.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

House Blessing

We all have all moved house at some point. Most of us who have a connection to Asia want to have our new residence blessed. It helps keep people like demons away. Buddhists will often use the Monastic Sangha such as the ones in the photo below with their percieved virtue to bless a newly moved into dwelling.

Having experienced more bad attitudes and lethal senses of entitlement in the Theravadin Monastic Sangha than I ever cared to, I began thinking that there has to be a more DIY and fun way of putting positive energies into a place. I mean why engage the services of those that are that fucking hopeless at everything they've ever attempted that their last attempt at being relevant is to persuade people that their joyful little dispositions are worth feeding simply because they dress up?

Rather than giving to those who frequently have too much and feel that it is your place in the world to massage their ego's bless your own joint. Surely the photo below has to be more fun?

So do what's happening in the photo below in every room.

Or some

Has to make a place receptive to the right type of spooks. Sex is wholesome. Sex done properly gives very positive states of mind. Beautiful people fucking other beautiful people beautifully is the most wholesome of all activities.

Living a healthy beautiful life is deeply wholesome. It is far more wholesome than failing at what you attempt in life and then taking refuge in a religious order.

Want to bless your house?
Become physically and emotionally beautiful in the way that Metta Tantra teaches and then have lots of beautiful sex with someone you love, who hopefully is also physically beautiful.
Don't throw your food, time and money away on a group of failures.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Metta and Patience


My wife and I have been searching and waiting for someone to join us in our marriage for over the last 5 years. Throughout this time we have been practising  and refining Metta Tantra. 

We are happy to report that we have been dating someone for the last 2 months. The patience and the Metta Tantra have paid off. She is utterly what we wanted, intelligent, good looking and fierce.

You remember that one of the Eleven Benefits of Metta is becoming more attractive to people.. Because as practitioners of Metta Tantra we cultivate a healthy diet, fitness and meditation regime, we are naturally attractive to other people. Because we have proper and proportionate nutrition we bring into existence the benefits of Metta. The idea that sitting on a cushion and wishing everyone the best will make us beautiful is patently absurd. What will make us beautiful is the exercise, restraint and treating our bodies properly that Metta Tantra teaches us to do.

The practice of Patience, another key Buddhist teaching has also been effective. We have carefully and very discretely interviewed without them even being aware it was happening, easily 100 women over the last 5 years that we have been looking for our girl. We knew what we wanted and weren't willing to settle for anything less.

We have been patient, methodical and sure of what exactly it was that we wanted...and now have it. And this is the key to success: knowing exactly what it is that you want, and then being patient and methodical in pursuing it. Whilst pursuing it you must continue creating conditions for what you want to happen to happen. So continue the Metta, continue eating properly, continue exercising and reading the great books and never for a moment take your eyes off your goal.
We did these things and she is wonderful.

A True Valentine

Be your Valentine.
Have a wild and passionate romance with yourself. Dote on yourself. Make yourself the absolute centre of your world.
Eat and exercise in a way that expresses this adoration. Because exercise and diet ARE how you adore, dote and have a wild, passionate romance with yourself.
Stop reading this blog and go visit your local shopping centre/mall.
If you live in the West there is a guarantee that between 1in 3 and half the people you will see there will be obese.
The people you will see and or saw there are people who aren't having a romance with themselves.
They have about as much love for themselves as people who have had a nasty divorce have for each other. Their relationship with themselves may have started out every bit as magical as a new romance, but it has been a long time since they rejoiced in rubbing their hands over themselves and feeling the muscle tone, felt and loved the proof of life, of virility.
It is a long time since they rejoiced in another hill conquered, another milestone achieved.
These people simply do not love themselves. Their relationship with themselves is the most toxic thing in their lives and that toxicity is expressed in their obesity.
Love, romance and dote on yourself by not smoking, not having fad diets, not having toxic relationships.
Express your love for yourself by eating properly, by refusing to listen to the fads, the misinformation about food. Express your love for yourself by minimising your chances of having lifestyle related illnesses such as stroke and Type 2 Diabetes.
Love yourself by treating yourself with respect. By dressing and behaving in ways that flatter you.
By finding your unique style and then using it. We all have the ability to be breath takingly attractive, find your style and be that breath takingly attractive person.
Love yourself by waking each morning and being determined to live and love in the healthiest way possible. Love yourself by making this a central theme in your meditation. Love yourself by engaging in Caganussati when you give yourself exercise or a proper diet or when you behave in a particularly loving and gentle way. Spend your meditation recollecting these deeply powerful and beautiful gifts that ultimately you have given yourself and rejoice in them. By loving someone else you are ultimately loving yourself.
So go romance yourself. Be your Valentine....365 days a year.  

Monday, 26 January 2015

I would like to cook a meal for you

I would like to cook a meal for you. I want to make a meal from scratch. I will cook you Pasta Marinara as a main. With a leafy green salad as a side.
Entree....hmmm! Deep fried sardines.
The dessert: Halva and Kheer.
And a nice wine or two.
The meal is for Saturday evening.
I begin preparing it in the morning. I go to Queen Victoria Markets early and buy the wine. I'm after a Yarra Valley red....Shiraz if I can get it or a nice deep Merlot of the 2005 vintage. Then a Moscato, light, white, sweet, and slightly bubbly.
I visit the delicatessen hall and buy Greek Fetta, Italian olives and a crusty Ciabatta. Fresh pasta is bought. Spaghetti or Fettuccini preferably or a nice Penne. I take my time searching for the right olive oil. I want only local oils and I want them as virginal as I can. No less than Extra Virgin will do, and absolutely from this years crop. It is the colour of new grass, a limpid, emerald green. I can smell the orchard on the bottle and when I sample the oil my mouth fills with the taste of fresh olives. Delicious in its own right on the fresh, crusty, chewy bread.
Then to the seafood. Sardines with nice bright eyes. Five or six of the largest and freshest that I can buy.  A marinara mix with scallops and squid. I buy a dozen oysters to add to the marinara. Plump, lush oysters with the strong taste of the ocean in them.
Now it is back to the delicatessen...I've forgotten to buy the freshly made unsalted butter. I buy three hundred grams of this wonderful stuff. Pale yellow and prone to a very low melting point. Semolina and raisins are bought for the dessert, a hundred…no make that two hundred grams of the semolina and four hundred of the raisins (wonderful, fruity explosions of flavour to nibble on after the meal).  Iranian Saffron and organic milk from the Yarra Valley with the cream bobbing gently on the surface as well. I indulge and buy three litres of this wonder, which is far more than I need for you.
Now to the green grocers. Organic tomatoes, onions, lettuce, garlic and chilli...of course! I visit another stall and buy organic Pecan nuts in their shell.
You are worthy of nothing less than the freshest and finest that I can find.
I go home.
The Moscato goes into my fridge to be chilled. The Shiraz onto the kitchen bench.
I begin peeling and finely slicing the garlic, three cloves...make that four. I love my garlic. I am enveloped in its smell. Next comes the onion, a single large brown onion. My eyes water as I slice it.
Oil is added and the wok  heated. After a minute or two the garlic,  and onion are added, I hear them sizzle as they enter the oil  and left to sweat under a low heat as I finely shred the chilli. Not a lot of chilli....I don't know yet how much you want and besides it would be a shame to despoil a meal like this with overpowering chilli. I settle on a single small chilli, there is enough bite to notice, but not enough to overpower any other ingredient. I have not wasted a drop of the olive oil on frying the garlic, onion and now chilli. I have used a Canola oil instead.
I remove the oysters from their half shells. There is the temptation to eat them immediately. They, in their own way, sit there like fat, happy babies. Temptation passes. I can feel myself almost physically tearing myself away from  it. Wasn't it Oscar Wilde who wrote in The Importance of Being Ernest "I can resist everything except temptation?"  The oysters and the marinara join the onion, garlic and chilli. I have left the exhaust fans over my stove off. The wonderful aroma of frying onions and garlic fills my house. Then the ocean smell of the marinara joins it. The heat under the wok is set on low. I add the pasta sauce. I bring the sauce to the boil. I stir slowly, lovingly. I want the oysters still full, juicy and wonderful for when you eat them.
I let the sauce simmer for about twenty-five minutes. Then I decant it to a large bowl. I put a plate over the bowl to seal in the heat and flavours. For the next six hours the marinara will be left to develop its taste.
The wine is tempting. But I settle for a nice strong, sweet chai.
The ingredients for the salad are  keeping the Moscato company.
I take my time reading last Tuesdays Epicure from The Age newspaper.
A large pot is required for the Halva. I add the three hundred grams of unsalted butter and melt it over a low heat. A cup of fine semolina is added when the butter is liquid gold at the bottom of the pot. I am stirring with a wooden spoon. I can smell the butter. Moments like this are enough to convince anyone that the supermarket owners are giving us second rate food at first rate prices. I can’t quite smell grass, but I can smell the fat in the butter. Making Halva properly is like making love. It is best done slowly and with great care. I stir the semolina like I’m caressing a lover. Slowly, gently, taking the time to touch every last piece.
I combine half the raisins with half a cup of sugar and put them with a litre of water into a pot to boil. The sugar is stirred well and dissolves into the water. I shell the Pecans.
Intermittently I return  to caressing the semolina. I caress it with the spoon until at about the half way point in cooking I add the Pecans.  After half an hour of gently loving the semolina it is a golden brown. The syrup has boiled, been turned low and been left for the raisins to soak up. It is simmering with slow bubbles splashing. I turn off the flame under the syrup. With oven mittens I lift it up and pour it into the semolina.
 There is a fierce moment of hissing as the hot syrup mixes with the butter in the semolina. I stir quickly. The semolina soaks up the syrup and thickens rapidly. I stir until the semolina is thick and clinging to the spoon. It comes away from the side of the pot. I cover it and leave it on a low flame for ten minutes. Then the flame is turned off and the Halva is left for another ten minutes. I spill the Halva into a low baking tray and gently spread with a spatula. It is then allowed to cool on the dining table. The Halva smells of decadence. In a world where indulgence is increasingly frowned on, the aroma of the butter is the smell of another world. It is rich, and tempting and unabashedly sensual. It is an olfactory kiss from a patient and well known lover.
Dishes are washed. Another chai is drunk.
In the large pot I pour two of the three litres of the milk. I cannot help myself. I pour a glass and drink. I can taste. I can taste…summer days, and long waving grass. I can almost hear laughing children in this milk, but I mustn’t get carried away. Cream caresses my tongue and my palate. I let the milk linger in my mouth as I explore the summer days and wander through the waving grass. This milk is alive with subtleties and hidden surprises. This milk is simply alive. It is the polar opposite of the milk in supermarkets. Almost regretfully I swallow. I begin to heat the milk. I stir gently.
The saffron is sitting in its jar on my kitchen bench and looks for all the world like strands of fire.
I measure out the Basmati rice. At three-quarters of a cup I stop. The rice is like plump little balls of snow. The sugar is also measured and this is a full cup.
The milk is almost at a simmer. The cream has melted into blobs of sunshine. I add the rice and begin stirring. I turn the flame low. There is a love song on my CD player and I sing along. It’s a possibly sappy song with Celine Dion and Luciano Pavarotti singing just how much they love and hate each other.
There is no hurry in what I am doing. I stir in a manner that is almost lazy. I want to keep the rice whole. The object is to cook it, not destroy it. The rice plumps under the gentle guidance of my spoon as I stir. The milk thickens. It is time to add the saffron. A large pinch  is added and the milk catches fire as a result. The deep sienna of the saffron enters the milk gently and turns it the colour of a long summer sunset. The aroma of the saffron is subtle. Not quite flowers, not quite sunset, not quite….heaven. Little wonder that the saffron is easily the most expensive of my purchases today, gram for gram it is many hundreds of times more expensive than anything else I chose  for you. It is worth many times more than I paid, or at least the look on your face when you taste it will be.
The Kheer cooks slowly and time passes with the intoxication of the aroma of the slowly simmering milk, the saffron and the gentle earthiness of the rice. When the Basmati is plump with milk, soft and gentle to the touch I remove the flame and stir through the sugar. I spoon some into small bowls and let the Kheer cool in the fridge. A skin will form and be the colour of ancient sunrises. The Kheer itself is the colour of a lightly polished bronze.
Having completely forgotten the sardines I now remove them from their bag. The fish are whole. I gut, and scale them and wash the cavity. Then with a very sharp paring knife I remove the heads and butterfly them. I remove the spine and cut almost to the tail. I then dry them with a paper towel. A tempura batter awaits them. They return to the fridge under some plastic wrap.
At long last the meal is almost cooked. The salad waits for you. I will cook the pasta when you arrive. Oh, I forgot, it’s Penne.     
The appointed hour arrives.
I hear your gentle knock on the door.
I open it to find you looking stressed. A stressed guest is not what is needed for tonight. I must remedy this immediately and tell you so.
I know exactly how to cure this stress.
I pour and offer you a glass of the Moscato. As you sip it, I make preparations.
A blanket is laid on the lounge room carpet. Beeswax candles are lit. Albinoni’s Adagio is put on the CD player. I combine almond and sandlewood oils. And turn out the lights.
I ask you to disrobe. Naked you lay upon the blanket. I warm the oil with my hands and drizzle it down your spine. I set to work rubbing my fingers into your neck muscles. The earthy smell of the sandlewood and the light honey of the candle envelops you. The violins of the adagio soothe you. My fingers find knots of stress and untie them. I work my way down your back and onto your legs. Once again I am in no hurry. Where am I to go? I am already at my destination. You occasionally sip your Moscato, the fruit of the wine dances on your palate. All too soon I’m massaging the soles of your feet.
Your roll onto your back and I commence my journey back up your body. You are beautiful, you know this, don’t you?
I work my way up your thighs and onto your abdomen. I rub the oil into your skin. I gently caress your breasts, a light touch that is almost not there. You are completely relaxed now. I look into your eyes. I lean and kiss you. A gentle, lingering kiss. The kiss is an offer. You accept and begin wandering your hands over my body.  Never breaking eye contact I keep kissing you. 
Every last vestige of stress is found and removed in the next hour. I find your pleasure spots and explore them with my lips, tongue, hands and the other organ. As your breathing slowly subsides you realise that you are hungry. I dress you in a simple silk bathrobe.
The lights in the house are turned back on and I refill your wine.
 You sit and watch as I make the tempura batter. You lean and the bathrobe falls open as I surround the batter with ice cubes and heat the oil. The batter is ice cold and the oil almost smoking hot. I dust the sardines with flour, batter them and fry them in almost a continuous motion. Hot fresh sardines for my dinner guest. We eat at the kitchen bench.
We kiss gently. Why hurry when there is nowhere to go?
I rip apart the lettuce leaves, crumble the Fetta and scatter the olives as the water for the pasta comes to a boil. As it roils, I slice the tomatoes and mix the salad. A drizzle of the olive oil is its sole dressing.
I add the penne to the roiling water and then slice the ciabatta. You take a slice of the bread, dip it in the oil and take an almost scandalous bite. The oil glistens on your lips. I kiss it from them, taking my time and not missing the least hint of oil. There must be oil on your shoulder because I linger there kissing and nibbling gently whilst inhaling the scent of you. Oil on your eyes as I gently kiss them.
The almost forgotten penne is cooked. I mix it with the marinara and the heat of the penne warms the entire dish. I open the Shiraz. We share a glass. The penne is pregnant with flavour. The oysters are as full and as luscious as the woman before me. The sauce is as full bodied as the wine. The garlic and chilli subtle. The aroma is delightful. I take the time to drink and consume you with my eyes.
Don’t eat too much my lovely. The salad has every tomato, every lettuce leaf and the onion speaking with a voice of its own. The olive oil whispers of rolling hills and long summer days. There is no need for condiments when the food is this good.
You mop splashes of sauce with your ciabatta and then eat it in a way that would make Nigella Lawson seem like a staid and frumpy old nun.
I relieve the fridge of its burden of Kheer. It has set perfectly. I find and slice some of the Halva into neat squares. They are put on a plate.
You eat the Kheer with a worrying messiness. I have to, at your request, keep kissing drops of the rice pudding from your mouth, your neck, your shoulders, your breasts and once with a determined enthusiasm between your ……
The Halva and the dishes are left for tomorrow. With a glass of the Moscato we repair to the lunge room and the music and rug. 
In my arms you chat and sip and listen to the music. Slowly the chatting dies and I notice that your eyes are heavy. With a gentle kiss I take away the glass. I pull the blanket up around us. Slipping my arms around you, I gently whisper in your ear what a wonderful lover you are. Your breathing is slow and deep. Snuggling in close, I too slip away into sleep.