Each of us has the right and the responsibility to assess the roads which lie ahead, and those over which we have traveled, and if the future road looms ominous or unpromising, and the roads back uninviting, then we need to gather our resolve and, carrying only the necessary baggage, step off that road into another direction. -Maya Angelou

Monday, September 27, 2010

Wheels Whales and Wildflowers

If "the earth laughs in flowers" then springtime in Perth is hilarious. The highway verges are covered with banks of Geraldton wax with its tiny pink and mauve sprays and Golden Wattle full of fluffy yellow pompoms. The undergrowth is thick with wild freesia and whilst they may lack colour they make up for it with their sweet fragrance, a scent so strong its intoxicating as you drive past. A few minutes from our home in Armadale and high in the hills of the Darling range is a gem of a botanical garden called Araluen, an aboriginal word which means "singing waters" or "place of lilies". Creeks running through a long valley have created a cool moist climate and it a place of great natural beauty with waterfalls and deep peaceful pools surrounded by scarlet rhododendrons, white camellias and lilac wisteria. The magnolias and tulips were in full bloom when we visited and the garden was a patchwork of vivid colours. A tranquil place to linger and recharge our batteries after a hectic couple of weeks spent searching for wheels and our new home.

I lost count of the number of car dealers we visited in pursuit of the perfect "Ute" (bakkie).It made our heads spin as Tommy agonised over torque, manual verses automatic, load bearing capacities, gross vehicle weight and other sundry details of Nissan Nevaras, Holden Colorado's, Mazda BT50"s, Ford Rodeos and Toyota Hilux. My idea of a great drive is more primitive and based on colour and comfort. I spent a lot of time sitting in the cab and fiddling with switches, checking the air con,vanity mirror,legroom and storage facilities whilst Tommy's head was stuck under the bonnet.. We found a great buy but with an unfortunate number plate.....1 DIE 4WA and decided that it was one vehicle we wouldn't be seen dead in............forgive the pun. In the end we settled for a "pre-loved" silver Nissan Navara 3 Lt Turbo Diesel with adequate torque (no that is not a french pastry) to pull our motorhome .It feels enormous compared to the little Ford Fiesta that I used to drive but I am getting use to surveying the countryside from my elevated status.Our next step was buying the right rig (motorhome). After a lot of research online we decided on a Fifth Wheeler and the nearest dealer was in Albany. We drove south through  neon yellow fields of canola and giant Karri forests to reach this small whaling town on the shores of the great Southern Ocean. In the calm waters of the King George Sound we saw eight Southern Right whales playing with their calves, a wonderful sight. This is a favorite habitat for them as its sheltered waters are ideal for young whales preparing to take the long journey south to the deep icy waters of the Southern ocean around Antarctica. From 1820 hundreds of whaling ships left from this harbour to hunt the Humpback and Southern Right  and it was the last whaling station in the southern hemisphere to close in 1978. The whaling factory is now a museum and the town is very sensitive about its whaling past preferring to dwell instead on its claim to fame as the first penal colony in Western Australia in 1826 some three years before the Swan River Colony later to be known as Perth. On a more poignant note it was the last sight of land for the Anzac soldiers leaving Australia in their troopships for the Ist World War in November 1914. Many of them went on to die at Gallipoli, never to return, but the fame and resourcefulness of the Aussie "diggers" is now the stuff of Anzac legends.

Ultima Fifth Wheeler

 The "Ultima", it was love at first sight.. It looked even better in the flesh then in cyberspace. This was a miniature home on wheels,the bedroom complete with a double bed and skylight overhead to watch the stars at night.A shower and separate loo and storage space for our clothes.The living area has a slideout section down one side with a beautiful cafe style sofa which turns into a double bed for guests (book your time share now) and a cute kitchen in the rear end with built in oven, microwave and gas hob, fridge freezer and washer/dryer. Loads of cupboards for foodstuffs and a desk area with a pop up TV for entertainment. As a little girl my childhood dream, never fulfilled, was to have a "wendy house". Now I have one and this one has wheels too! The enormity of what we are doing strikes me .This is now a reality, this is our home for the foreseeable future, life on the open road as a "Grey Nomad" beckons, well less of the grey actually......... with a little help from my friends at L'Oreal I shall ward off the "grey" for as long as possible ......".because I'm worth it. 

 On the journey back  we stopped at a roadhouse to pick up some snacks.  I found an interesting treat called "RoadKill"  apparently the "champagne of jerky" The "Bloody Hot Chili" took my fancy and lived up to its name. The gift shop was a treasure trove and I found just the right Christmas present for my good friend Julius.
 A pack of 5 Dinkum Aussie Disposable BullshitBags

Directions: 1 Open Bag before opening mouth
                 2 Tuck open Bag beneath chin
                 3 Start "talking" Let the BS Flow
                      4 When full, seal bag and dispose of.

WARNING Do not attempt to dispose of your BS through any government agency since they produce more bullshit than they can dispose of themselves. We suggest that you send it to the major networks in return for all they send out each day.

Let me know how many you would like sent..................no charge for postage, just a handling fee.


Honey Fried Prawns with Sesame.

We had a dish of these at our local Chinese the other night, easy to make and very tasty.

Serves 4

12 large green prawns, peeled with tail intact.
I tablespoon sesame seeds
Peanut oil for frying
1 1/4 cups cornflower
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup chilled soda water
1/3 cup honey
Fried vermicelli noodles

Use a sharp knife and cut prawns along the back from top to tail. Remove vein. Place sesame seeds in a non stick frying pan and toast over high heat shaking the pan till seeds are golden. Transfer to plate. Heat oil over medium heat till hot.
Meanwhile place cornflower and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and add egg and chilled soda water. Whisk with a fork until just combined. Dip prawns one at a time into batter and then drop carefully into hot oil. Deep fry 3 or 4 at a time for 3-5 minutes or until batter is crisp and golden brown. Do not overcook. Transfer to wire rack lined with kitchen paper to drain.
Heat honey over low heat till runny. Place fried noodles on serving plates and top with prawns. Drizzle over honey and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve.

To make fried noodles cut vermicelli in 5cm lengths and deep fry in hot oil until puffy. Drain on paper towel.

Makes a great starter.....yummy!

Catch yer later.......................................