The house at the beach is on the side of a west-facing hill but you can't see the water because the house is surrounded by moonah trees.
Melaleuca lanceolata is best in the evening when the sun's last orange glow sets its under-canopy tracery on fire and silhouetted birds dance and sing in its boughs; except for the honeyeaters, whose call sounds like someone crunching gears on a truck.
The house has a small balconied deck that is halfway up the moonah, so you can sit outside and eat dinner and watch the honeyeaters. They don't dance. They flit around and hang upside down. They are pretty. I'll give you that.
Saturday night was what, 35 celsius? It was the steamy, overcast kind of heat where the air doesn't move, it just hangs there, thick and heavy, and hits you in the face when you stand up to get another drink. Smack. Whew. Sweat. The ceiling fan doesn't cool anything, it just rolls big chunks of air around like hot boulders.
So we sat outside and had dinner on the balcony and watched the birds. I'm still waiting for an orange-bellied parrot. I don't think I'll ever see one.
Fettucine with tomatoes and fresh ricotta.
Set the fettucine to boil with a pinch of salt and a dash of olive oil. While it cooks, halve and slice some ripe tomatoes. They must be very good vine-ripened tomatoes. Billiard ball tomatoes will not do. Now take some very fresh good quality ricotta - I use Floridia. Drain the pasta. Arrange it on a serving platter, folding through the ricotta and tomatoes. Grind black pepper and scatter torn basil leaves over the top.
Serve with a salad of zesty rocket, chilled avocado slices and finely chopped parsley stalks dressed with balsamic vinegar, lemon juice and flecks of garlic.
Drink: anything cold. And plenty of it.