blackboard, verity lakes (qld)

blackboard - varsity lakes, gold coast Blackboard coffee. 7/240 Varsity Pde, Varsity Lakes. Close to the Gold Coast campus of Bond University is this slice of coffee-making expertise.A fairly hip crowd (to say nothing of the staff) nonetheless make way for families with strollers, professors, and everyone in between. 

blackboard - varsity lakes, gold coast

There’s no decaf on offer, so it’s a chance for me to try an aeropress single origin. They certainly know what they’re doing with their coffee preparation. Glad to have visited.

filter - blackboard

No Decaf.

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canteen, burleigh heads qld

canteen, gold coast
Deluxe Boutique Coffee Roasters Coffee. 23 Park Ave, Burleigh Heads. In a  lane way between two streets, this place is bursting with personality. From the moment you approach and see the old cinema seating sitting outside, or the attention to detail on the fit-out, you know you’re in for a treat here.

canteen - if these seats could talk

The work behind the machine is of a high quality. The cafe’s logo, taken from the style of light bulb in use in the interior lights appears on the staff aprons.

canteen - where the magic happens

There’s plenty of coffee-related reading to be had, and equipment on sale for making coffee at home.

canteen - spectacular decaf

Coffee is excellent. Their Mexican decaf is one of the top three decafs I’ve ever had, and their single origin coffees come with tasting notes – this is an essential one to visit if you’re looking to determine the best coffee on the Gold Coast.

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canvas, nobby beach qld


Canvas Coffee. 7/2221 Gold Coast Highway, Nobby Beach.Tricky to find (it’s actually a little way down a side street), this place is well known to locals as a spot for great coffee.

A mix of quirky gift shop and cafe, this was a crowded space with a few spots to sit inside amidst t-shirts, books, toys, and much more. There’s plenty for kids to do here, with their own toys to play with and opportunities to draw. 

Coffee is good here: if you’re up this way, it’s worth calling in for a visit.

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Book: The Godfather

The Godfather is one of the novels on the BBC Book Meme list – having watched the movie but not read the book it was something of a backward experience. There’s some extra violence and other (ahem) adult behaviour in the book that’s not in the movie, and it’s fascinating to think that people like this might exist, and that power might be handled in this way. A sometimes troubling read, but well put together, and deserving its place on the list.


Memorial site

It’s been a sad week. First I want to spend a moment acknowledging the sadness of two families whose lives merged in a tragic way this week, with the death of a five-year-old boy who was hit by a car while walking to school with his Mum.

An intersection I walked past every day on my own way to school, where a quiet street meets a busy street. There’s been a big outpouring of community grief – I’ve never seen the equal of this telegraph pole memorial.

It’s too early to say exactly what happened that morning, though the local press has some opinions to share. Reduce the speed limits! More police presence! Stop people double-parking!

Later in the week, we see the school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, and a knife attack, wounding over 20 children in a school in China. Do we argue with Roger Ebert that it’s the media’s approach to reporting that is to blame: helping troubled kids find someone who will listen, even if it’s too late when they finally do? That works for the US case, but not the China one.

Christian blogger Nathan Campbell has reflected on this, the first US school massacre since he became a father, and using it as an opportunity to think through the problems with the human heart. Are the Christians onto something when they say that there’s a problem with everyone that can’t be fixed?

Elsewhere, there are cartoons trying to make the point that mental health care is much harder to access than firearms, articles listing all the mass shootings in the US since Columbine.

You might have noticed Rupert Murdoch and Malcolm Turnbull interacting on twitter on the subject.  It might be obvious to someone from a country with strict gun control that there’s an easy fix to all this, but gun ownership is a much stronger part of American culture than it is here in Australia.

As obvious as it might be to Australians, it’s nowhere near as self-evident across the US. So it seems (as ever) that there’s no easy fix to this particular long-running conflict.

But in the midst of this week’s sadness, let the reader remember, are heartbroken families heading into the Christmas season – a holiday that emphasises family gatherings.

These families that are a little smaller, damaged by loss. And as tempting as a soapbox may appear, it will do little to help. If you have the chance, showing some compassion, and some practical help would be more effective than joining the echo chamber and throwing more mud around: sharing an opinion on who to blame. 

For myself, I’ll be praying for the families involved, as they grieve, and that later they might see some hope in the message of Christmas: the start of an earthly life that can transform everything.