Category Archives: Russ’s catastrophies

Insurance update

We got the call Friday to say the whole insurance claim on the damage to the van AND the boat trailer has been accepted. So while we are away in Bali in January, the local caravan repairer will fix it for us.

It was a $14,000 job, but the new boat trailer is a further $1800. The repair also fixes a nasty dent Russ put in the van when it was a week old. When he did that and we took the van in for it’s first service, the manufacturer offered to fix it. I said we’d wait until he dented it again so we got more value for our excess. This latest dent wasn’t our fault so no excess!

Like they say, it’s an ill wind that blows no good!

A holiday within a holiday within a holiday within a holiday from home

Wool shed Mt Connor

Wool shed Mt Connor

On our way to Omeo on Saturday for a couple of nights away, Russ came to the conclusion that our trip that day was a holiday within a holiday (from our current “home” in Traralgon), within a holiday (from our current “home in Perth), within a holiday (from our caravan) from home (Warrnambool where it all started). I’d been having similar thoughts about where I have shoes and clothes (see above)! So we decided our life must be one big holiday!

Kobie

Kobie

We’re currently spending just over 5 weeks in Traralgon to catch up with friends and family we haven’t seen for ages. It’s been a fantastic time as we’ve been able to have our grandsons to stay over a couple of times and see them most mornings as Kobie heads to school over the road. It was really special to us to be here to see the boys go off to their first days at school and kinder too.
First day of kinder for Rooke

First day of kinder for Rooke

On Thursday 13th of Feb, we took a road trip down to Port Fairy where we stayed two nights in a lovely motel close to son Ryan and daughter-in-law Kirstyn. It seems so long since we spent any time with them so it was really good. Kirstyn cooked us a lovely dinner on Thursday night, Friday we ate out at a local Italian restaurant, Saturday we attended our unit’s annual body corporate meeting, visited our home and tenants, then went on to stay with our good friends Janette and David and cook them dinner for their birthdays that day. On Sunday we went to Portland and stayed with more friends and did a couple of short drives out and about round town.

Logs waiting to be loaded

Logs waiting to be loaded


Snug as a Bug Motel with our room on the right

Snug as a Bug Motel with our room on the right

This weekend, my good friend Barb suggested they ride their bike down from Holbrook NSW and we drive up to Omeo for a Saturday night together. Omeo is pretty close to the mid point for both of us with each couple travelling around 260ks each to get there. Omeo is an old gold mining town in Victoria’s High Country not far from our ski fields. It’s a lovely old town and relatively quiet this time of year. We got a couple of motel rooms in the old Birnam Homestead which is part of the Snug as a Bug motel. The name would normally be enough to put me off (too cutsie for me) but our first choice-the lovely Golden was fully booked.

Snug as a Bug was true to it’s name-cosy and comfortable (without being cutsie) and just across the road from The Golden where we ate our dinner both nights. Barb and Bill could only stay a night but as we are pretty flexible with our time, we decided to stay an extra night.

Golden Age

Golden Age

Considering Omeo has something of a captive audience being the only place for quite a way where you can expect decent food and accommodation, we felt both our motel and meals were excellent value. The motel was a great base to do some interesting loop drives through the smaller towns/districts of Cassilis, Swifts Creek, Benambra and Hinnomunjie . Barb and I enjoyed ourselves taking heaps of photos along the way. The only bad part of our weekend was a flat tyre while out on a drive around, and the loss of Bill’s reading glasses on the same outing. He put them on to of the car to help Russ change the tyre and we drove off with them still there. They’d gone by the time we arrived home 45ks later!
Bill and Barb head home

Bill and Barb head home

During dinner on the second night at The Golden Age, we remembered it was one of our “anniversaries”. We met 22 years ago that day at a Hash House Harriers run. What a lovely way to celebrate!

One of the other bonuses to our recent side trips to Western Victoria and The High Country has been the clean, clear air. The local open cut coal mine here caught fire around 15 days ago and is still alight. When the wind blows, the smoke is awful. It’s been great to get away from it for a while.

On our way home today, we stopped in Ensay and bought ourselves some gorgeous fresh raspberries from the grower, and later on some tomatoes from another. We’re going to make ourselves an Eton Mess tonight to use our berries, then have my most favourite tomatoes on toast for breakfast in the morning.

In Sale we stopped and took son Dan’s girlfriend Chelsea out to lunch at the Star Hotel. Chelsea is past the halfway mark with her broken leg and it’s cast, and seems much cheered up.

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Thank your mother for the rabbits….

Tomato Lake

Tomato Lake

….is an Aussie saying that has absolutely no meaning and never has, but I was able put it into context as I thanked little Lewis when he handed me 6 bunnies his mum and dad shot and froze for us (well 4 frozen and two fresh).

Yesterday, we drove out to the farm at New Norcia to collect our caravan and boat and bring them back into storage here in Perth. It’s about 140ks each way, through the vineyards of the Swan Valley, the lovely little town of Bindoon (it has a great bakery) and of course the historic monastery town New Norcia.

Pam had made us a yummy lamb stew for lunch so we sat and ate, then Russ went down to the shed to organise the van. He was back about 10 minutes later asking if I had the keys to the van. NO, I didn’t have the keys to the van! Without them, we had no stabiliser bars, no truck mirrors, no way to shut the fridge and freezer and no way to make those last checks we do before we travel. So we arrived back here in Perth with the boat but no van.

It was hard to apportion blame over this one. Russ had the keys in his pocket when we got home from checking it a couple of weeks ago, put them on his bedside table, then I tidied up and put them in the drawer. They usually live in the glove box of the car. Never mind, we’ll go do it all again Friday.

We came home laden with goodies; 6 rabbits, about 10 books, 3 dozen farm fresh eggs and a big bag of some type of citrus fruit for marmalade. The fruit is the love child of a lemon and a mandarin and has characteristics of both-yellow and sour like a lemon, loose skins and segments like a mandarin. It’ll be interesting to see what sort of marmalade it makes us.

Last night I made Rabbit Cacciatore for our dinner. Our rabbits were missing their forelegs, so I had Russ cut each into 4 pieces-2 hind legs and the saddle cut into two. This dish will feed us for 2 nights. I’ll turn the leftover 4 pieces and sauce into a rabbit risotto for our next meal.

Rabbit Cacciatore

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 8 rabbit pieces
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup diced green capsicum
  • 300g mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 400g can whole tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup pitted, chopped kalamata olives
  • fresh basil leaves, ripped
  • cooked pasta of your choice
  • fresh grated parmesan
Rabbit Cacciatore

Rabbit Cacciatore

Method

  1. Heat the oil over medium high heat, add the rabbit pieces, season with salt and pepper and cook turning until all sides are brown. Remove to a plate.
  2. Add the onion, garlic, green capsicum and mushrooms and cook gently until well softened.
  3. Add the tomato paste and cook stirring for a few minutes, then add the wine, stir and cook until reduced a little.
  4. Return the rabbit to the pan along with the tomatoes, stock, dried basil and oregano and cook covered for 1-1 1/2 hours or until very tender.You may (or may not) need to add a bit of water as it cooks and when the rabbit is almost tender, remove the lid and allow the liquid to reduce to a nice sauce consistency(if it isn’t already)
  5. Add the fresh basil and olives, then serve over cooked pasta topped with fresh grated parmesan.

Tuesday, I got a message from DIL Deb inviting us for a walk around her local Lake Tomato. It was lovely. The little lake is just 1.6 ks around, with playgrounds, BBQs, excercise equipment, seats and toilets along the path. It also has a native tree planting with a walk through it. The lake was full of birds and with it being spring, lots of

Deb, Nanna and The Bump

Deb, Nanna and The Bump

chicks as well. We did one circuit, then turned around and did it again the other way.

After our walk, we went to Belmont Shopping Centre for coffee, then some lunch at a local Chinese restaurant. A bit of shopping, a visit to the library, then the charity shops (looking for our New Year’s costumes) and our day was done.

Leah and Blair are away for 10 days, so we are home alone with cat Cosmo, planning all the parties and fun we can have while they are gone!

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4 WDing for dummies

Sign

Sign

It never ceases to amaze me when I see old photos of vintage cars with their inadequate tyres and shockers, suspension and bodies,  sitting at the Jaws of Death in the Grampians, up in the blue Mountains, or somewhere in the very harsh outback.  We really get to do it in relative comfort these days. I always remember my good friend Henry telling me if you let enough air out of the tyres of a company car, it became a 4WD!

Coastal daisies with Ningaloo reef breaking in the background

Coastal daisies with Ningaloo reef breaking in the background

Our 4 WDing skills are similar to our fishing ones-we don’t pretend to be good, but we do enjoy it.  It’s allowed us to see things we’d have had to give a miss if we’d done these caravanning trips with a regular sedan. We’ve been on the Gibb River Road, driven out to the Bungle Bungles, we saw Australia (the movie) being filmed out of Wyndham along the Karunjie Track. Mostly though, we just like to get on to the remoter parts of beaches and fish, or get out of town and look for wild flowers.

Usually, we only drive as far as the person who thought it would be a good idea to go, is prepared to walk back for help if it wasn’t a good idea. So far, I’m happy to report we’ve managed to extricate ourselves out of what little trouble we’ve gotten into, apart from an incident on the beach at Perlubie near Streaky Bay SA last year.

Russ decided the beach we were launching our boat on was as solid as a highway, so didn’t let any air out of the tyres and didn’t engage 4WD (although I had suggested both would be a good idea). Once we got into the actual water and stopped, the big heavy Nissan and boat trailer just sank into the sand and refused to move until we found a man with a tractor to tow us out. The tide was on the rise, so by the time he arrived, we had salt water up to the seats in the cab. Needless to say, “Not Happy Jan” and no fishing done that day! Russ has learned however, the importance of being proactive, rather than reactive when it comes to 4WDing.

4WDing at Maud's Landing

4WDing at Maud’s Landing

The last couple of days with the wind up, we’ve taken two drives. The first one was out to Maud’s landing and along the beach. After our drive, we went for a long walk, then had sunset drinks. We had our part of the beach all to ourselves.

Yesterday, we went out to Five Finger Reef where Russ did a bit of (unsuccessful) beach fishing and I went hunting for wild flowers to take photos of. Once again we had our part of the beach all to ourselves. In a place with maybe

Good Fun!

Good Fun!

2000 people  staying on any one night it’s still so easy to find a place of your own!

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Fishing today was fun until we lost a rod, reel, and rod holder!

Leggy Peggy's Chermoula on Spangled Emperor

Leggy Peggy’s Chermoula on Spangled Emperor

Nothing like the loss of some gear to put a bit of a dampener on things. We were up near the north passage for the first time and fishing quite happily when we decided to have our lunch. Russ popped a fairly good rod and reel into the rod holder and started to unwrap his sandwiches. Something took the bait, steel trace and hook, rod and reel and finally ripped the rod holder from the side of the boat. It was over the edge and gone in a millisecond! Russ nearly tipped US into the drink making a lunge for it all but to no avail. It’s not the loss that’s as annoying as the replacing of it. We’ll have to buy one in Exmouth and it’ll be more than we want to pay there.

We didn’t go out for long but managed to come home with 8 fish including one huge spangled emperor, two trevally and 5 Charlie Court Cod.

The spangled emperor  (or some of him) will be cooked tonight using my good friend Leggy Peggy’s Chermoula recipe. You can find it posted on food.com

Peggy Leggy’s Note:
Chermoula is a North African marinade, used especially for fish. It also makes a great dipping sauce or salad dressing. This recipe has plenty of tang and has been adapted from one by Julie Le Clerc. I use coriander (cilantro) rather than parsley and Lee Kum Kee’s Chili Garlic Sauce rather than a small red chili. I like the end product so much that I can eat it with a spoon. Yummo!

Chermoula

  • 1 bunch fresh coriander or 1 bunch flat leaf parsley
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and bruised
  • 1 teaspoon cumin, ground
  • 1 teaspoon coriander, ground
  • 1 teaspoon paprika, ground
  • 1 small red chili pepper, seeded (or 1 teaspoon of chili sauce)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 lemon, juice of
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
Leggy Peggy's Chermoula on Spangled Emperor

Leggy Peggy’s Chermoula on Spangled Emperor

Method

  1. Pound all ingredients together in a large mortar and pestle or buzz in a food processor. You want a rough-textured paste.

Note: I use all the coriander stems.

Chermoula will keep several days in the fridge.

We also had another food.com recipe posted by NurseJaney. Couscous with Garbanzo Beans (chickpeas) and Golden Raisins (Sultanas).

NurseJaney is from the US hence the different measurements and names of ingredients. I’m making this recipe for a swap game I participate in most months. In return, NurseJaney and two other team mates will make a recipe I have posted there.

Couscous with Garbanzo Beans (chickpeas) and Golden Raisins (Sultanas).

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons garlic oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup couscous
  • 1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup golden raisin
  • salt and pepper
Couscous with Garbanzos and Golden Raisins

Couscous with Garbanzos and Golden Raisins

Method

  1. Finely grate peel from lemon to equal 1 1/2 tsp., set aside. Squeeze 2 Tbsp. juice from lemon.
  2. Combine 2 cups water. lemon juice, garlic oil, and ground cinnamon in medium saucepan. Bring to boil, simmer 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in couscous.
  3. Cover and let stand about 5 minutes, until water almost absorbed.
  4. Mix in garbanzo beans, golden raisins, and reserved lemon peel. Cover and let stand 5 minutes longer.
  5. Fluff couscous with fork. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl and serve.

And lastly we had an eggplant salad. The eggplant, tomatoes, capsicum and spring onion all came from those stalls at the farm gates last Wednesday. The salad can also be found on food.com and was posted by Middle Eastern by Mag.

Lebanese Eggplant Salad – (Salatit El Batinjan)

  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1 cup diced fresh tomato
  • 1 cup diced bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallion (or any kind of onions)
  • 1 garlic clove, mince
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 lemon, juice of
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt, pepper to taste
Lebanese Eggplant Salad

Lebanese Eggplant Salad

Method

  1. Put the whole eggplant as is, (only cut and remove the stem from the top), on a baking sheet and bake it. You’ll notice when it’s done that the juice came out on the baking sheet and the skin is almost toasted and it becomes soft when you punch it with a knife.
  2. Let it cool for a bit then cut it in half and remove the skin; just cut it roughly into small/medium diced pieces and put it in the salad bowl, add any juices. Then add the rest of the ingredients and mix the salad and serve.

This is good with pita bread on the side

Port Smith Day 7

A juvenille Diamond trevally resting on the missing fishing box

A juvenille Diamond trevally resting on the missing fishing box

We managed to get our fishing reasonable early for us (just after 9 and saying goodbye to Kathy and Steve).  As Russ was getting organised to go, he discovered our fish box missing. It was a good one, and quite expensive, so we were a bit pissed off by that. Russ checked the fish cleaning table in case he’d left it there 2 nights before but no. I reported it missing to the office and let the neighbours know what had happened.

Everyone leaves all sorts of things outside and unlocked here so if there was a thief about, best everyone was careful. When I told neighbours Bob and Lynn, they said they’d seen it at the fish cleaning table last night. As we drove up to check one more time, one of the park employees drove down to the office with it in his trailer! Another crisis averted!

Off out to fish right on high tide, we came home with 6 fish. 2 bream, a trevally, a mangrove jack, flathead and my favourite-goat fish.

Broome

Camel ride at sunset on Cable Beach

Camel ride at sunset on Cable Beach

6 years ago we visited Broome for the first time and didn’t really enjoy our two week stay. We decided that in the future we’d pass right by the turn off into town but we have good friends here so visited again two years ago.

Gantheaume Point

Gantheaume Point

Two years ago we stayed 9 nights and loved it. We realised then, that we’d not enjoyed the caravan park (and the site we were allotted) on our first stay. On our second visit, and this one, we decided to stay at Cable Beach Caravan park and our opinion of Broome changed dramatically! The only problem now is cost-at $52 a night for a site, it’s yet another place getting too expensive for us to stay at. It’s a pity because the sites are big and well shaded and the park has lots of ablution blocks with great, big, showers! We were given a site by the pool and although we haven’t swum in it, the water running over the rocks is a very pleasant sound to sit outside by.

It’s the last of our 5 nights tonight, and we really have had another good time. Our boat motor

Taken from Town Beach boat ramp as we launched the boat

Taken from Town Beach boat ramp as we launched the boat

had to be serviced and have some minor repairs done (very important it’s going well for Port Smith where we like to get right out in the sea on good days), then we got in two days of fishing. One the first, we launched off the Gantheaume Point end of Cable Beach. It was fairly windy, we caught no fish to speak off and I really didn’t enjoy the day. Yesterday we put in at Town Beach and headed up the creek-it was sheltered, not to hot, calm and we caught fish! A thoroughly enjoyable afternoon! Right now, I’m in the process of pickling the queen fish and trevally we caught and we’re having sooty grunter for dinner

As well as fishing, we’ve been enjoying sunsets on the beach, the beach, shopping and last night, we had dinner out at a Japanese restaurant with our good fiends Jimmy and Beth. We met Jimmy and Beth 7 years ago at Coral Bay when we were all caravanning. They gave up when they got to Broome, Beth got work and they bought a house and rescued a couple of dogs and a cat. They are the reason we keep visiting Broome now.

Sunset

Sunset

Dinosaur footprint

Dinosaur footprint

This morning with the very low tide, we walked out to the dinosaur footprints at Gantheaume Point. If anyone is liable to hurt themselves, it’s Russ, and he did a great job of it this morning. He slipped on the rocks as we were clambering over them to get back to the car and cut his hand and all the way up his arm on the barnacles on that rock. He really made a mess of it. After we’d been to the dinosaur footprints, we visited the Courthouse Market. It’s very big so I can’t believe that a market of it’s size had only ONE fresh fruit and veg stall which was annoying as we need to stock up for our stay at Port Smith. We go to Port Smith for 9 days tomorrow. This morning, I was pleased to run into Steve and Kathy who we met in Karumba and find out they’ll be spending a few days at Port Smith too.

Quick Pickled Fish

Ingredients

  • White vinegar
  • 1/2 Kg scaled fish fillets (fillets of herring or tommy rough can be used but whiting fillets are recommended)
  • 1 large onion, finely sliced
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil or peanut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • 1 small clove of garlic – crushed
Pickled Fish

Pickled Fish


Optional Ingredients

  • 1/4 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dill

Method

  1. Add all the ingredients to the vinegar and stir. Place the fillets in a suitable glass container and cover with the vinegar mix. Leave to stand for approximately 1/2 an hour

Pickled fillets are ready to eat after 1/2 an hour, but taste better if refrigerated and left for about 12 hours.
The fillets can be stored in the bottom of the refrigerator for up to 10 days. Always make sure that there is some liquid covering them when stored.
They can be used as an entrée,or a quick snack on a hot day – taste great.
NOTE: Quantities of herbs, spices and garlic can be varied to suit individual taste.

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