The thunder of a hundred hoofs (Camping in your backyard)…

Breaking the bounds of urban living from Australia’s largest city and heading bush into the Australian Outback without a care in the world is always tantalisingly attractive.

Fortunately, as a family we are to be able to hitch up our camper trailer and head west at least once or twice a year.

The glow of a setting sun on a faraway horizon, the warmth of a camp fire crackling in harmony with the sizzle of a roast cooking in the camp-oven, and the chorus of laughter and banter with family and friends is what draws us to camping in this great country of ours.

And if you are like me, my mind’s eye pictures this scene almost every other day!

The problem for many of us is that work and the studies of teenage children tend to get in the way of a sojourn across a parched, rugged landscape under a never-ending blue sky.

Such is the beauty of Australia.

Recently, the call of the bush and a shoulder of lamb roasted on the fire was far too great to resist so we headed for a camp in our own backyard. Well, not quite literally our backyard, but a short drive up the freeway to a place called Glenworth Valley.

Glenworth Valley is a sprawling 3,000 acre property located just to the north of Sydney that caters to a variety of activities including, horse riding, quad bike riding, and for the less active inclined, a float on a li-low down a quiet meandering creek or if you like, just a leisurely stroll along many of the bush tracks.

Glenworth Valley has it all…!

And for those who cannot go a couple of days without a coffee fix expertly prepared by a barista, don’t be alarmed, you are catered for in a small café located near the stables.

Usually, we avoid camping with the crowds, in fact, as a family we are quite comfortable being in the middle of no-where without another soul in sight. The trouble with living and working in an urban environment is you usually need to travel some distance to find your idyllic spot, especially one that you won’t need to share with someone else…

The trip to Glenworth Valley was a rewarding way to re-charge the soul with family and friends despite there being just more than a few other campers who were perhaps encouraged out by the warmer weather and a long-weekend.

But don’t be put off by there being other campers, we still had plenty of room to kick-back and enjoy our camp-oven roasted lamb, washed down by a glass or two of red!

If you ever make it to Glenworth Valley don’t miss watching the horses’ race out of their holding yard and along the bush track that leads to their paddock. The thunder of the hoofs of over a hundred horses in full flight is a daily ritual that happens not long before the sun slips below the western hills, a spectacle not to be missed, that’s for sure…

Australian Kookaburra

And don’t worry about taking your alarm clock, the kookaburra’s will herald in a new day dawning just before you hear the sound of the horses returning from the paddock to be saddled up for another day of riding in the picturesque Glenworth Valley.

Enjoy, XPLORE…

Photos: Baz – The Landy

Never, ever underestimate the importance of having fun!

 

The Camp Fire

One of the best things about camping is sitting around the fire cooking camp food…

And with a long-weekend on offer we are heading bush to escape the bounds of modern urban living, well for 48-hours at least!

On our travels we always cook on an open fire using our cast-iron camp oven. What better way is there to bring everyone together, hey?

Rest assured there is no shortage of laughter and friendly banter as we raise a glass to friendship, the setting sun projecting a montage of ever changing colour on a ruggedly beautiful landscape…

And what better way to greet the warming rays of the sun as it reaches out on a brisk spring morning than devouring a batch of scones with lashings of butter and jam, expertly prepared and cooked by my wonderful partner, Janet…

Camp food and fun in the bush with family and friends, you’ve gotta love it…hey?

Photos: Baz – The Landy

A Call to Service (Where timing is everything)

Yorkshire

 You have to love the class system in Great Britain, it defines who you are and helps you fit into your neat little place in life.

 Well, at least that is my take on it anyway…

Mind you I’m no expert on the subject, after all, coming from the Colony of New South Wales the closest I get to an insight to the lives of the upper class is watching The Real Housewives of St Kilda.

Just for a change I am not immersed deep in the Australian Outback, travelling along some dusty track in the middle-of-nowhere under a deep blue sky, or sitting beside a campfire under the Milky Way, telling a tall yarn.

Nope,

I am entrenched deep in the Yorkshire countryside where you’ll get a few minutes under a blue sky every hour, if you’re lucky!

It is no wonder those Chelsea Housewives have got orange tans that are more fake than their boobs.

Hey, I’m sure they really do have nice personalities so let’s not get into a class war here.

Anyway, as you can see, my propensity to digress hasn’t diminished despite being on the other side of the world so let me push on otherwise it will take me another two gin and tonics to get this story finished.

Bath

Speaking of which, I was in a small bar in Bath the other day, well evening really, and strike-a-light, they had every type of gin known to mankind and that was all in a bar that measured six-by-six feet – cozy really. But hell, who designs these places?

And how good are those Country Estates they have over here, hey?

Manor Houses, where you cross the country from east to west just to get from the front gate to the front door and when you arrive there is a bloke all dolled-up in a penguin suit to greet you.

Very civilised…

It reminds me of that television show starring Carson and the Gang down at Downton Abbey, which coincidently is set in the Yorkshire Countryside, despite being shot anywhere but near York.

But who am I to get picky, after all I’ve told one or two porkies in my time just to suit the yarn…

Hey, let me share my story of a “Call to Service”…

There I was being chauffeured through the York Countryside when we came across a sign for Harewood House, the ancestral residence of the Earl of Harewood, inviting all and sundry to come and visit.

For a fee of course.

You know what those Aristocratic Pom’s are like, never miss a chance that lot and good for them, strewth, it costs me a fortune to maintain my shed with toys, imagine how much it must cost to run a joint like that, especially with a stable full of Bentley’s!

Anyway, here was a chance to roll up the driveway and be greeted by Carson and the Gang. In reality, we were directed to a car park in a field and Janet was heard mumbling that I would indeed start looking as portly as Carson if I drank any more pints of that warm cask ale they serve over here.

Nice one Janet, but hey I’m not counting the number of cream teas you’ve had (fifteen).

Those three gin and tonics are starting to work their magic, so best I get on with this story.

What a fabulous home this was, truly Stately, and whilst we weren’t greeted by Carson, the staff were friendly and showed us around the home, which is full of artifacts and paintings collected by the Earl’s over the years.

And you oughta see the size of the bedrooms they had in this place. You needed a map and compass to get from the door to the bed and a bloke would need a rest before he mounted anything in here, especially the four-poster, which for some reason was about about ten-foot off the ground…

Now it was pointed out that the second wife of the Seventh Earl still lives in the house and occasionally one might catch a glimpse of her, rare as that might be.

Well stone the bloody crows, just as I was about to leave who should turn up but the Countess herself, who coincidently is an Australian.

Yep, a fair dinkum Aussie, all class and no (whoopsie).

Anyway, standing at the front door in all-my splendor, wearing my usual bond’s black tee shirt, I opened the door with all the grace befitting of the occasion and welcomed Her Ladyship home…

G’day Ma’am…

And with all the air of the upper class she breezed by with a slight nod, but without familiarity, as it should be…!

 Welcome to service Baz, where Timing is Everything, hey!

Photos: Baz – The Landy

Ps: Janet didn’t really say that I would look portly like Carson – she’s far to nice to say that!

…Speaking Welsh (And Jibberish)

Aberystwth, a seaside town deep in the Welsh heartland is about as far away from the red ochre soil of the Australian Outback you could get, but it has much in common.

The locals are warming and friendly, the beer is cold, and I’m sure if you drink enough of it you’ll be able to converse in the Welsh native tongue.

The amber fluid usually finds its way around most language barriers…

Strewth,  speaking of cold, it is the middle of summer, 15 degrees and the wind so strong that it’d  “blow ‘ya dog off its chain”…

But hey, I’m not complaining, blimey, I could get used to this, for a while anyway!

Photos: Baz – The Landy

Ps: Did Benny Hill ever “Carry-On” here?