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, April 25, 2011

Lest We Forget

Dawn Anzac Day

They shall grow not old,as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
Lest we forget.

A crowd of campers tramped through the puddles and huddled together for warmth.  We had gathered for the dawn service to commemorate Anzac day. In the dark just before dawn the magpies started calling and as the strains of the Last Post sounded a kookaburra laughed.  In the midst of remembered sadness, life goes on and hope reigns eternal. We have had a wet Easter,but the much needed rain has done little to dampen the spirits of the folk on site. I have been watching a couple of young boys riding their bikes through a muddy puddle getting filthier by the minute but as happy as ducks. Lets hope Mum is wise enough not to care! We are back at Quininup, home of the tall trees and a world away from the translucent aquamarine waters of  the Southern Ocean.
We took our time meandering thought the wheat belt of Western Australia to get back here. This is "broad acre" farming and the fields stretch out as far as the eye can see on either side of the highway. They are freshly raked at this time of the year, ready for planting. The  soil is a rich ochre and the Salmon Gums with their smooth reddish trunks fringe the road . Flocks of 28's flew alongside the van urging us on but we had to stop at Hyden a small dot on the map but home to the famous Wave Rock. This granite monolith looks like a vast petrified wave  and is only one of a collection of interesting rock formations .We climbed the huge rocks and had a magnificent view over the surrounding countryside A flat landscape dotted with Gums and She Oak ( a type of Cassurina) and underneath small tea tree bushes

Catching a wave!

 Hippos Yawn  aptly named, is a tafone  within a very large boulder. While tafone or tafuni might sound like some exotic Italian ice cream, it is in fact an Italian word for window or aperture. In Geology it refers to a large hollow in a rock caused by the action of wind and water............so now you know. Another vital piece of trivia for you to remember and who knows might even help you win that game of Trivial Pursuit against your peers!    

Hippos Yawn!

This has been a short hop compared to the journey we will be taking next week. We fly to the USA on Saturday to spend time with my brother Gary and his family. A trip long overdue and we are looking forward to a road trip taking in Utah Arizona and Nevada, Tommy will be fulfilling his cowboy fantasy in Zane Grey country. so my next blog will have a distinctly American flavour.
Hope you have had a Blessed Easter and are not suffering from a sensory overload of chocolate.  Needless to say I have eaten so many Lindt Easter Bunnies I have fur on my teeth.
Till the next time......so long folks!
Soul Food Kichen
This has to be the recipe for this blog..........in honor of heroes and a tribute to the fallen. These were sent to the front by Australian and New Zealand  mothers,wives,sisters and girlfriends,as they kept well . A taste of home in the midst of terrible adversity.
1 cup plain Flour
1 cup rolled Oats
1 cup brown Sugar
1/2 cup coconut
125 gm butter
3 tablespoons Golden Syrup
1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon Bicarb
Sift flour into bowl and add sugar, rolled oats and coconut.  Melt butter and golden syrup in a pan with the water. Stir in bicarb..........it will fizz!  Add liquid to dry mixture and mix thoroughly. Place walnut size balls on a greased baking sheet and bake for 15-20 mins at 175C. Biscuits will harden when cool.
Just hits the right spot with a cuppa!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Adventure before Dementia.

Sandy Bight Cape Arid National Park

One bite away from the Great Australian Bight. We drove for hours along a blindingly white beach in Cape Arid National Park before we stopped for our breakfast of hard boiled eggs and chewy homemade sour dough bread. The Southern Ocean stretched out endlessly to the horizon, the lovely deep blue changing to turquoise as it bordered the white sand. Behind us lay the vast expanse of the Australian outback with Mallee scrub and Banksias covered with their stubby yellow candle flowers. The beach was empty and desolate as far as the eye could see. It was an eerie feeling and I suddenly felt panic. I was standing as far south as I had ever been .The silence was palpable and I felt isolated and very far away from civilization. Would anybody ever find you if you went missing on this far side of the ocean I wondered? For those early explorers it must have filled them with dread “water, water everywhere but ner a drop to drink” One intrepid sealer, James Manning on exploring this area in 1835 wrote “we subsisted on limpets and roots of grass” .......not good tucker mate............arid is a apt description for this stretch of coastline. But it has not all been like this.....

Native Dog Beach
For the last month we have been hugging the south east coast of Western Australia from Albany to Israelite Bay. It has taken us six months to do 700ks.......at this rate it will take us years to do the Big Lap! Where ever we find ourselves the place cries out to be explored and we can't move on until we have savoured it all. The magnificent coastline of Cape Le Grand National Park is a an area of outstandingly beautiful beaches, the sand as fine and white as icing sugar which squeaks underfoot. I started writing this looking out over the stunning Bay of Esperance and the islands of the Recherche Archipelago. The Aboriginal name for this area is "Kepa Kurl", 'the place where the waters lay down like a boomerang', but it takes its name from a French frigate L'Esperance which discovered the bay in 1792 whilst sheltering from a savage storm. 
Kepa Kurl  Bay of Isles Esperance

This place is also known as the Bay of Isles, and the 110 islands were once the haunt of Australia's only known pirate Black Jack Anderson........whose well known slogan "adventure before dementia me hearties" has become the mantra of
many a Grey Nomad ourselves included.
.Every day we discover an even more beautiful beach than the day before........I have discovered it is possible to get drunk on beauty and then an overwhelming inertia falls upon you, and like the roos on the beach at Lucky bay……the inevitable happens and its time to soak up the rays and laze the day away.
Lucky Bay, the whitest sand in Oz

Tommy as usual is not content to sit and dream ,where's there's water there's fish to be caught and he has provided us with Dhufish ,Tommy rough aka herring, and Breaksea cod which around here is called "blackarse" which despite its name is very delicious! I have rediscovered my calling and am now called "women who guts the fish" a primal urge which is totally rewarding. Fresh from the sea it is into the pan within minutes. Lightly dusted with flour and fried in hot nutty brown butter and a squeeze of lemon, this is is food for the gods and one of the greatest taste sensations to delight the palate.

Blackarse and Dhufish......no really!

Our favorite spot has got to be the Duke of Orleans Bay. We are staying at a wonderful caravan park affectionately called  "The Duke" by the locals. James and Wendy and their two sons run this little piece of heaven and it is a perfect place to sit back, relax or do a spot of fishing. The beaches are breathtaking with water so clear its like swimming through glass. You can be up to your neck in the pristine water at Wharton Beach and still see your painted toenails. I have spent hours snorkling and catching a few waves on my "boogie board". Unfortunately all this exercise is not having much of an effect, too many "happies" at happy hour, its still a chunky dunk as apposed to a skinny dip!
Duke of Orleans Bay

Surf's up so catch yer later!....................

Chunky dunking!

Soul Food Kitchen

Zucchini Fritata

This is a quick and easy dish, that's great to snack on at anytime of the day.....and perfect for picnics on the beach.

1 large zucchini cut into cubes (don't peel)
1 large onion finely chopped
250 gm streaky bacon chopped
1 cup self raising flour
2 cups of grated Cheddar cheese
6 medium eggs
1/4 cup of sunflower oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Fry the onions and bacon in a little oil till cooked. Add to the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Pour into a square baking dish. cook at 170 for 30 mins or until a nice golden brown on top and filling is set. Nice hot or cold, cut into wedges and served with a fresh green salad of rocket, baby spinach and a sweet balsamic dressing.