Orangutan from Borneo photographed using a spear tool to fish

Next time, orangutan!


Tool use among orangutans was first documented by Carel van Schaik. In 1994, Carel observed orangutans developing tools to help themselves eat, while conducting field work in Gunung Leuser National Park, in the northwest Sumatra.

Specifically the orangutans were using sticks to pry open pulpy fruits that have “Plexiglas needles” capable of delivering a painful jab covering them. Using the tools, the orangutans were getting past handling the prickly husk and into the nutritious fruit. From an anthropological viewpoint, tool use represents an aspect of culture, since the entire group participates in a behavior that has developed over time. One unique thing to clarify is that only Sumatran orangutans have been observed to use tools, not orangutans from Borneo.

Recently, Gerd Schuster co-author of Thinkers of the Jungle: The Orangutan Report, took this photograph of,

“a male orangutan, clinging precariously to overhanging branches, flails the water with…

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WOMAD: Planet Earth Saved

Adelaide knows how to host a festival. The weekend of the 8-10 March was WOMADelaide, Captain Planet’s music festival of choice. Three days in the Botanic Park sitting on the lush verdant grass in the shade under towering pines listening to music from around the world. Thirty five degrees celcius? No worries, have a coconut, refill your water bottle at the refill station and run under the sprinklers and then you’re ready to shake your booty to Jon Cleary and the Monster Gentleman or for those struggling to isolate their posterior have booty shaking lessons with dancers from Femi Kuti and the Positives.
Rock before lunch to the Coloured Stones then ragtime to Pokey LaFlarge with a fresh blackberry jam doughnut. Happy hip hop with Arrested Development and chow down some Coffin Bay oysters. Lior, burger, string quartets serenading shepherds, baklava, Red Baraat, govindas.

Starting to feel guilty about over consumption? Listen to life affirming talks by individuals like Femi Kuti.
Fairy lights and lanterns, folks, make everything better… except poverty… and greed.

So basically, living the ideal gluttonist hedonistic latte-leftie white middle class dream with bonus recycling and biodegradable eating utensils. All to do now is donate to some world saving charities, fight the good fight, love, respect, learn and educate and buy some harem pants. This is Clare signing out and saving the world through one self indulgent edible treat at a time (and having a hell of a good time).

Garden of Unearthly Delight

Mad March in Adelaide – it’s the Fringe Festival and WOMAD all at once. Dinner in the garden of unearthly delight, with silent discos and sparkly lions and comedians and naked ladies reading. Rush ticket to shows generally around $25. Festival food above par. Freshly made pizza, freshly made doughnuts. Fairy lights.

Cooking with Clare!

This post is about to start but I had to pause because just how awesome is my name for an aspiring foodie and blogger? Hence title. Alliteration is the bomb! To be honest, in the first draft I wrote “alliteration is amazing!” (because why waste opportunities for really lame word play) but amazing just didn’t have the explosive power that I was looking for. See what I did there?! And after that splatter of words like awesome, amazing, the bomb and lame let us proceed.

Sometimes I am required to cook dinner. This happened last Friday. Around lunchtime, I removed some beef mince from the freezer and put it in the fridge to defrost. When it came time to cook dinner, I ordered take away pizza. It was delicious!

Over the next four days I went to the local shops six times. This is roughly three times my usual grocery shopping trips in six months. I also went on a picnic, went to the doctors, watched some Ryan Gosling move with pine trees in it, had a blood test, wrote a proposal, drafted a quarter of a report, practiced the double bass, had a double bass lesson and went for a run. If there was an imaginary crown for living, I’d be wearing it.


This is me wearing a crown-like hat. I imagine winning looks a bit like this, only less manic. 

And then it was Tuesday. In our fridge was some truly defrosted beef mince to be cooked. “Perfect” I thought. I’ll cook tacos. My go-to signature dish. I’ll call it Clare Mex – the perfect blend of Mexican themed ingredients but available in every Australian supermarket and only taking 30 minutes to prepare. As an example, some prep for the Mexican themed dinner I made for some friends last month…


Look at all those delicious limes and cilantro and tomatoes and avocadoes!!!


To the kitchen, Clare! (I’m imagining the scene transitions in the old Batman and Robin tv show. Feel free to join in). Onions, capsicum, garlic sizzling in the saucepan. In goes the beef, kidney beans, tinned diced tomatoes, splash of tomato sauce, a spoonful of honey, the requisite spices. Basic taco mix complete. Clare: Winning at Life. 

Next the accoutrements of tacos:

  • Tacos. We don’t have any tacos. Not to worry, pack of burritoes acquired from under biscuits;
  • Carrots. Carrots grated;
  • Lettuce. Into a bowl goes all my brother’s carefully harvested, precious home-grown lettuce. 
  • Refried beans. Mouldy. Oh well.
  • Capsicum for salsa. Mouldy. Meh, I can live without.
  • Cheese. There appears to be a bag of cheese in our fridge – brie, sweet chilli and ploughman’s Mercy Valley cheese, fetta, haloumi. Not very Mexican or Tex Mex or even Clare Mex. I liberate a small portion of light, fatless cheese from beneath a mountain of cheese. It may not be enough for everyone.
  • Limes. No limes. No lime juice. This is disappointing. 
  • Corriander / Cilantro. No cilantro. Mouldy basil. 
  • Tomatoes. One half used mouldy tomato. Crap. 

Tomatoes are critical for Clare Mex. Our kitchen had insufficient accoutrements for tacos burritoes. It became clear that to complete my signature go-to dish I was going to have to go up to the shops. Again. I really didn’t want to go up to the shops.

Tomatoes. Tomatoes. Tomatoes. Tinned diced tomatoes. Basically the same as fresh diced tomatoes, right? You say tomato, I say tomato (Hilarious! That joke will never get old no matter how many times I use it). Whack a bit of spanish onion in it, some dried corriander leaves. Salsa on a budget, right. 

No. Just no. 

Waste not, want not. I pour Abomination Salsa into the taco burrito mix. Crap. What else can I do so I don’t have to go up to the shops?

Guacamole? The $3.48 price for an avocado has hit our usual stocks of avocado hard. No avocado. Crap.

Pumpkin? Too much chopping. Buckchoy. Hells no. Ah, sweet potato. Pumpkin’s easy chopping pal. To the oven my delightful yam!

I have burrito mix and baked sweet potato. But what is this in the cupboard? Enchilada sauce? 


Dearest Family,

I present you with baked beef enchiladas with a side of baked sweet potato and homegrown organic lettuce sprinkled in carrot. Except you Sibling, I haven’t prepared a gluten free version of this meal for you. I made you beef mince with baked sweet potato. And I gave all the lettuce to our parents. But thankyou for your excellent hard work in the garden!




And that completes Cooking with Clare, Winning at Life! 

Jazz picnic on Berry Island

Once a month, Sydney Jazz Club puts on a performance around Berry Island near Wollstonecraft. They played some fun old standards and channelled Louis. We sat on a picnic blanket under the gums and ate cheese.