An Oasis in the Desert – Boodjamulla National Park

lawn hill NP

Situated in the Gulf Savannah country of northern Australia, with its deep gorges and craggy rocky outcrops, is the rugged and spectacularly beautiful Boodjamulla National Park…

 

This is an ancient, sunburnt land, and archaeological evidence suggests the area has been continuously occupied for at least 30,000-years, possibly longer than anywhere else in Australia.

 

The attraction is the permanent water source of Lawn Hill Creek. During arid times, when other sites where abandoned, this area was like an oasis in the desert for aboriginal people, Australia’s first people, who gathered here to camp, fish, and hunt.

Janet, TomO, and I have explored this region previously, but it has drawn us back like a magnet on many occasions, and being in North Queensland I could not resist the lure of another visit, to walk through the country and swim in Lawn Hill Creek.

In the Dreamtime stories of the Waanyi people, “Boodjamulla” is a spiritual person, the creator of all animals.

In the words of the Waanyi people…

“He made all the animals in the Lawn Hill area, and all the billabongs such as the green swamp, and all the bush tucker. Boodjamulla’s dreamtime travels started in Waanyi country at Cabbage Tree Spring, up above Riversleigh, giving water to O’Shanassy Creek, Lawn Hill Creek, the Gregory River, Louie Creek and Lilydale Springs.

Waanyi believe that Boodjamulla created these rivers as healing waters – known in Waanyi language as Bougli Water”…

Perhaps for the Waanyi people, the “Bougli Waters” has a different interpretation, but I certainly found the cool spring fed water of Lawn Hill Creek soothing after a day of walking in the gorges and climbing the Constance Range.

As a base for this trip I stayed just outside of the national park at Adels Grove, a private campground that we first visited in the early 1990s. Not much has changed over the years, and that is a good thing.

Adels Grove was declared a ’Miner’s Homestead Perpetual Lease’ in 1920, being within the Burketown Mineral Field at that time.

According to the history provided by the current owners, Adels Grove lease was purchased by Albert De Lestang, a French botanist, who experimented with the growing of tropical trees and fruits and had in excess of 1,000 trees and sold the fruit to supplement his income.

Lawn Hill

Tragically, in the early 1950s the ‘Grove’ and buildings were accidently burnt down. By this time Albert was in his seventies and after loosing everything, including all of his written records, he succumbed to depression and died age 75 at Charters Towers in 1959.

‘The Grove’ has certainly provided shade and comfort from the heat of the winter sun during my stay, with temperatures reaching up to 36 degrees throughout the day and around 15 degrees at night…

Apart from the rugged and rocky outcrops surrounding the gorge, the country has a prolific amount of wildlife. This includes the Johnstone’s crocodile or Freshie as it is usually known, turtles, the olive python, a large variety of birds, and a favourite of ours, the Gilbert Dragon, or Ta-Ta lizard due to the peculiar little wave it gives with its front legs before scampering away.

I managed to photograph some of the wildlife on my walks and at other times, simply sat back and enjoyed the calls of the birds flittering through the trees, and of the birds of prey soaring overhead.

And yes, I did swim with the Freshwater Crocs. Unlike their Saltwater cousins, the Freshie’s are generally timid and will leave you alone, if you stay out of their way…!

Boodjamulla National Park, truly an Oasis in the Desert in Australia’s Gulf Savannah.

Photos: Baz – The Landy, in the Gulf Savannah, Northern Australia…Hinchinbrook Island

 

 

 

 

Miss Redhead – My burning desire…

Red heads

The Australian Outback, an ancient land where the red-parched soil is touched by an endless blue sky and where confetti flutters on the breeze.

 

Hang-on, since when was confetti part of our outback landscape…?

On a recent foray into the outback we thought we were travelling behind a bus full of Japanese newly-weds…

You know, the ones you see down at the Historic Rocks precinct in Sydney on a Saturday morning.

Lots of smiling faces, nodding as only the Japanese can in their most polite way, married in large groups on the steps of Mrs Macquarie’s Chair overlooking the magnificent Sydney Harbour, and more confetti than you could poke-a-stick at.

Strewth, and just to be clear, lest I be accused of casting a racial slur…

I love the Japanese people.

What would lunchtime be without sashimi – Nikon camera’s weren’t the only thing they shared with the world.  And hey, I’m not suggesting there were busloads of them in the outback throwing confetti everywhere either.

I was speaking metaphorically…(okay?)

But crikey – somebody must have been.

There was so much of it you could be forgiven for thinking that it must have come from a mass wedding.

Now I get it, it isn’t the most popular dinner party topic, but thanks to the hilarious 2006 movie “Kenny” we have at least got a little more comfortable discussing the issue around the camp fire these days.

And let’s not beat around the bush here, we are talking about “Poo Tickets”

Crikey, I thought everyone has watched that movie?

Toilet paper, you dill…!

Oh, stop cringing and shuffling in your seat…

And spare us the protest, Kenny dispelled many of those urban myths about…

Mine doesn’t smell and I always clean the bowel…

As a kid I used to visit my grandmother’s home in a small country town and she had an outhouse down the backyard. Anyone from the bush will know what an outhouse is and without doubt they’ve been the butt of many jokes for time eternity.

In Nan’s outhouse there was always a small box of matches sitting behind the door and she insisted one be lit each and every time you arose from the throne!

I thought this was normal and I don’t recall anyone ever complaining about the need to do it, it was just part of the routine…

Although, Uncle Bluey did complain about it once, but that was when my cousin accidently set alight to his prized Playboy Mag he had tucked down the back of the seat that us kids never knew about.

And mum’s still the word on that one..!

So why a box of matches?

Well nothing beats a freshly lit match to kill all other lingering smells …

Come-on,  you’re not still cringing, surely?

Needless to say, caution should always be exercised when playing with matches and there was the time Bluey sent the outhouse door over the back fence after a brekkie of Heinz baked beans…(thank God for flushing toilet’s these days, hey)

I’m not sure what was funniest, Bluey sitting there in his navy singlet with his Y-Fronts around his ankles, or the dunny door in the neighbour’s mango tree.

He had that “eyes rolled-up, embarrassed” look that dogs get when your eyes meet as they do their business.

Dog owners will know what I mean…

But, here is the thing, we’ve always carried a little box of redheads when we are Out and About.

In one bold strike you fill the air with the smell of a freshly burning match after a squat, removing the need to protest yours doesn’t smell, and importantly, you can use it to burn your poo tickets…

So, for those of you that head bush please take “Miss Redhead” with you.  

She may not ignite your passion, but in the least, she will put a flame to your “poo tickets” and spare our wonderful country the indignity of the unwanted and unsightly “confetti” that has increasingly become part of the landscape…

Baz – The Landy

Ps: Seriously, this is a major problem these days!

Your Mind’s Eye – A wonderful gift…

Bathed in the glow of a setting sun, this tailor’s shop took me on a journey to another time…

Who went through the front door, what did they buy, what banter did those inside share, was there laughter to be heard over the sound of a sewing machine?

Your mind’s eye is a wonderful gift that enables you to indulge your own thoughts, to pause and reflect…

Sitting around the fire later that evening, embers glowing a soft orange and providing warmth against the chill, I wondered, what thread did the tailor weave in this once thriving bush community…?

I’ll leave you to reflect…

Photo: Baz – The Landy, Yerranderie, Australia…

XPLORE – Out and About (On Facebook)

Australian Outback

Hey, did you notice we have created a new Facebook Page?

XPLORE – Out and About – it is in the sidebar of our blog…

If you are “Facebook Inclined” please like or follow us to stay up to date with our adventures…and if you like what you see why not share it with your friends!

The more the merrier we reckon…

Cheers, Baz – The Landy and Janet-Planet…

Nature’s Alarm Clock…

Alarm Clock

 

The Kookaburra’s bush anthem rings out, typically at 4:30am every morning, but hey, what would Australia be without them..

Photo: Baz – The Landy, Out and About in the Australian Bush….

 

 

Yes Sir, No Sir…how high Sir!

 

It may will be a case of Yes Sir, No Sir, how high Sir, over the coming week.

As part of TomO’s school curriculum he does military cadets and is keen to advance to a full military career in the future and this coming week he is off to an army cadet camp at Singleton Army barracks in the Hunter Valley.

And this year I get to tag along and join in the adventure, although I suspect for me it will be peeling sacks of potatoes and onions to feed the “starving” cadets who will number approximately 330.

Mind you, a week in the bush is right up my alley and with a bit of luck I get to drive one of the army trucks and take a ride in a black-hawk helicopter – such is life in the “retired ranks”…

Speak to you in a week, Baz – The Landy

Photo’s: Janet-Planet

Graduating From Work…

 

You’ve what…?

I’ve retired!  

I hear the cry go out, but you’re too young to retire…

Hey, isn’t that the point.

Besides, I am seeing it as a “graduation from work to full-time adventure”.

But what does retirement truly mean in any case?

Perhaps it is a word for another age, one long past – for me retirement means I have set a different course with my life, reclaiming some of those dreams I have long-held.

Australian Outback

 

After all, you can’t just keep laying “railroad tracks” in the same direction and simply hope you don’t run out of tracks. It is empowering and invigorating to seize control of your life; to make changes as you look to new horizons.

Speaking of which, the Australian Outback beckons and perhaps there are still some mountains that I can climb and plenty of our wonderful coastline left to kayak…

Without doubt this change in my life affords me a better opportunity to claim back my fitness, something that has been lacking over these past couple of years!

It is 42-years since I commenced work with the Bank of New South Wales at age 15-years in 1975. “The Wales” as it was affectionately known was renamed Westpac Banking Corporation following a merger with the Commercial Bank of Australia in 1982.

 

“Dear Mr and Mrs O’Malley, it is now 6 months since your son entered on probation with the bank.

During that time, Barry has settled into his new surroundings and applied himself to his various duties to the extent he has shown himself suited to bank work…”

 

bank of new south wales

And whilst I have left the building today, my official finishing date will be 10 April 2017 and following a significant milestone in the history of the bank.

The 8th of April marks the date 200-years ago in 1817 that the Bank of New South Wales opened its doors to business for the very first time. And those that do the maths will see I have been with the bank for over one-fifth of the time since it took those first deposits from customers.

Coincidently, it was on 10 April 1989 that I commenced working in the bank’s 60 Martin Place Financial Markets dealing room after my return from a secondment to the bank’s operations in Papua New Guinea.

The bank has given my family and me a wonderful life, one that has been filled with the opportunity to develop professionally and personally…

“I am proud of the contribution I have made to the bank and today as I walk out the front doors of Head Office in Sydney, perhaps with moistened eyes, I will look back at the mosaic that is the Bank.

I will remember fondly the people I have worked with over the years, the challenges we faced, the successes we achieved, and, importantly, the laughter and banter we have shared.

I will wish those who remain all the best for their future as they continue to weave the living tapestry that is the bank; as they continue to make their own impression on that mosaic…”

 

People have asked me, what will you do?

Well, TomO, the Crown Prince, has just started Year-11 at school and I’m looking forward to simply “being around” for him as he navigates his way through these two important remaining years of his high schooling.

And the future, how do I see that taking shape…?

My answer is simple, to spend it with the love of my life, Janet-Planet.

All who know this wonderfully kind person will attest, she is an absolute angel – I was so lucky to marry the girl next door thirty-three years ago.

Yes literally, next-door neighbours making eyes over the back-fence!

Together we plan to enjoy the next chapter in our lives and look forward to watching our TomO make his mark on the world as he paints his own picture on life’s canvas…

A romantic notion?

For sure it is, but Janet-Planet and I are romantics to the core and loving every minute of that, it has kept us young at heart…!

And who knows where those “railroad tracks” will takes us, but sometimes you just need to walk to the edge and not be afraid to peer over it.

We truly believe the world becomes your oyster when you are willing to put your fears aside and simply…

“Live in the moment”

After all, that is the only moment that we can ever truly live…

“Thanks for your friendship and the memories, Big Bad Baz…!”

 

Heat wave hits Australia (How to survive…)

Keep the fluids up…

Okay, yes Janet-Planet, I will put up the disclaimer

…”Please drink responsibly”

Crikey!

Photos: Baz – The Landy, and Janet-Planet, Out and About toasting Australia!

Surviving an Atomic Bomb!

In 1956 the British Government built an atomic bomb testing site in the South Australian outback with assistance from the Australian Government of the day…

We discovered these beautiful flowers growing at “ground zero”…   Don’t they demonstrate the tenacity of nature by defiantly shining through in spite of the brutal treatment this wonderful landscape was subjected to?

You can read more about the area in our blog titled “An Atomic Blast (In the Outback)”.

Photos: Janet Planet – Maralinga, South Australia

A Termite Mound – You’re kidding me?

 

Strewth, how big is that termite mound, hey, and what about the spectacular colours of our parched southern land…!

Photo: Baz – The Landy, Plenty Highway, Outback Australia…

The Australian Outback – More than just a state of mind…

Australian outback

Deep in the middle of one of Australia’s remote desert lands at a place where perhaps only a handful of Australian’s of European descent have stood, if that many and not a soul in sight

Photo: Baz – The Landy

Breakfast, in the Australian Bush…

Campfire cooking

An egg poached in an orange over a coal fire with bacon on the side. Seriously, it’s gotta be the best thing since sliced bread, hey!

Photo: Baz – The Landy

Dawn over the Billabong, and not a care in the world…

Ourimperee Water Hole - Outback Australia

 

Ourimperee Water-hole, Currawinya National Park, Australia…

Photo: Baz – The Landy

Everyone has a plan (Until they get punched in the face)

Outback Australia

Rest assured I am not about to start throwing punches, but I came across this quote recently.

And it is quite sobering, especially given it was from Mike Tyson.

Remember Mike?

Could there be anything worse than being on the receiving end of a Mike Tyson punch?

Mind, you I suspect he is correct in the assessment he makes about plans and it got me thinking about the topic and how it might relate to remote area travel.

And can I confess upfront, I’m a “planning nutter”…

Many of you will be aware we spend plenty of time Out and About in the great Southern Land, Australia, exploring its natural beauty and wonders and much of this is done in very remote locations.

And if it isn’t the Outback we might be on the side of a mountain somewhere in the world…

So what about planning and what considerations should be taken into account?

Whilst the degree of planning may vary from one person to another, I am sure that almost all of us have one in mind, whether committed to memory or in written form…

Mind you, everything has risk attached to it, right?

The question is whether the risk can be managed to a level that is acceptable, firstly to you and secondly, broadly acceptable to those who may be called upon to provide assistance if something goes wrong.

And I use the word broadly because it is subjective to make a judgment on what others might find acceptable.

To get around this, I use the reasonable test and ask myself the question – would, on average, reasonable people find this a reasonable assumption to make?

In my view planning is one of the most important aspects of any trip and should be approached as a risk management exercise. I put planning at the top of my list…

Whilst in the stress free environment of your living room at home you can assess all aspects of the expedition without the pressure of things crumbling around you out in the field and for which you have not developed a response.

When it comes to remote travel in Australia I find many place a lot of focus on equipment, and vehicles,  communications; how much food and water needs to be taken along with the required fuel.

And for sure these are all important aspects to any trip planning, falling under the heading of trip logistics.

But what about your health and fitness and that of your travelling companions?

Are you in suitable shape both mentally and physically for this specific expedition?

What about expected weather conditions and how will you respond to changing conditions?

At what point do you call the trip off – what decision criteria have you established for this both in the time prior to departure and once it is underway?

This is an important one; more than one person has died from the “press-on-regardless” mentality.

We’ve planned this trip and we’ll complete it at all costs…regardless!

How can this type of thought trap be avoided?

…Establish criteria to prevent it from happening!

No one wants to call off a trip once under way, but it might be the best decision despite the disappointment. Having guidelines decided and agreed upon in advance takes much of the angst away from this type of decision making it easier to arrive at if faced with a particular circumstance.

And what about a point of no return decision?

How many people consider this when travelling from point A to point B in remote and arid countryside, crossing the Simpson Desert, for example or other remote areas?

Prior to arriving at this equi-distance point consideration should be given to whether the destination can still be reached, or might it be wiser to return to the previous checkpoint whilst you still have sufficient fuel and supplies to do so.

There could be any number of reasons that might affect your decision; weather would be an important one for example. But there could be many others that should be assessed at this critical point before continuing on your journey.

Once the point of no return is crossed the decision has been made and you are now committed to it regardless, possibly with dire consequences if not well thought out, or even considered.

Planning for a trip begins and ends at home…

By the time you head down through the front-gate you should be confident in your endeavours and that you have thought out potential issues and how you will deal with them. By now you and your travelling companions should have committed to some form of template as to how you will respond to specific and non-specific situations.

Once under way the expedition progress should be evaluated against what you expected and anticipated in your planning – and if it doesn’t align consider the impact it will have on your objective and how you should response to these changes…

And for sure, there may be issues that crop up that you didn’t have a specific plan for, but you can still have a response for these situations along the lines of  how it might affect the successful completion of the trip and what is the implication of continuing or not continuing?

Consideration should also be given to the well-being of the group or others that may be called upon for assistance especially if things are going as planned.

Problems often arise not because of a primary occurrence, but the impact it has as it cascades down through a number of scenarios and usually we receive plenty of opportunity to address these before they manifest into a much larger issue.

Have a plan, have a plan, and have a plan – that is my pre-trip mantra regardless of the undertaking or where in the world I am planning an adventure…!

It is one thing to be confronted with an issue and making the incorrect assessment or choice, but it is almost unforgiveable to not act and make any decision at all when something goes wrong…

…History is littered with the deaths of people who simply failed to act, having a plan is a good way to avoid being in such a predicament!

And hey, planning needn’t rob you of the spontaneity that travelling can bring, to the contrary, hopefully it enhances the experience by giving comfort that you have considered how you will respond to adverse and changing conditions as the trip progresses.

How much time do you put into trip planning and would yours withstand that…

 “Punch in the face”…?

Photo, Baz – The Landy

In-Vehicle Computer Mount (A Solution)

Panasonic Toughbook

A favourite catch-cry in the corporate world, of which I am firmly entrenched, suggests any goal needs a plan and a “road map” detailing how you are going to arrive at your objective.

But what about “road maps” when we are Out and About – Having Fun?

Exploring the OutbackI grew up wandering the bush with a compass in hand and a bunch of paper maps and in my flying days I had similar.

Even with the advancement of GPS technology I still haven’t been able to give-up my paper maps and compass.

Mind you, “The Landy” our Toyota 79 Series Dual Cab is fitted with a VMS In-Dash GPS running Oziexplorer mapping software. Although, I find the VMS lacking in functionality as it only runs a “light” version of the full Oziexplorer program and the screen size challenges even those with 20/20 vision.

On an outback expedition to the Gibson and Little Sandy Deserts I was able to review a Panasonic Toughbook in action.  A robust laptop, the Toughbook has its genesis in the US Military and could survive almost anything thrown at it, especially the bone-jarring corrugations found on many of our outback tracks.

Rest assured, this sort of toughness comes at a hefty price for a brand new unit, but on my return from the expedition I purchased a reconditioned unit from a Melbourne based dealer for a fraction of its new cost.

It can be turned into a “tablet” and I use it with a wireless keyboard and it has a solid-state hard-drive, which makes loading up extremely fast.

The challenge was where to locate the unit so it would be accessible to both driver and navigator in the front seat, but without comprising comfort and safety, especially if air-bags were activated.

I reviewed a variety of over-the-counter products, but concluded none were likely to survive the corrugations of our outback roads and a custom made mount was the only way to go.

I settled on working with the team at Industrial Evolution, a Sydney based company specialising in making computer mounts for police vehicles.

The owner, Brett Franzi, was pleased I made contact as he had not had access to the more recent batch of Toyota 76, 78, and 79 series vehicles and my request provided the opportunity for a design template to be made.

Why go with the in-dash mount?

It is centrally located and securely attached to the dashboard and whilst it does take up some real estate in the central dash location, the alternatives would have done so also.

Importantly, it meets ADR Standards and fitting is a straightforward process and is easily achieved by the most basic of handymen.

Mind you, the proof is always “in the pudding” and tests on all types of road surfaces covering in excess of 30,000 kilometres over the past couple of years has proven the Panasonic Toughbook, combined with the in-dash mount from Industrial Evolution, to be a great partnership…

A great solution that gets my vote, but hey, don’t leave home without a map and a basic compass – they have never been known to fail…!

The cost, well it will depend on what items you purchase, but don’t expect too much change out of $500.

Photos: Baz – The Landy

Bark Art (Postcard from the Outback)

anne beadell highway

Australia’s Outback is like a giant canvas full of visual wonders.

And whilst we both like to capture the “big picture” framing our wonderful red landscape against a never ending blue sky, I like to put the macro-lens on the camera and photograph…

 “Bark Art”

With so many species of trees in the Australian Bush and Outback I have a never-ending supply of material to frame that special shot.

And I look forward to sharing many of them with you, Janet-Planet…!

 Photograph: Janet-Planet, Anne Beadell Highway, Outback Australia

 

The Pink Lakes…

Murray Sunset National Park

Situated in the far north-west of Victoria is a park that showcases the rugged and spectacularly beautiful Mallee landscape of low scrubland and sand dunes, the Murray-Sunset National Park.

Murray-Sunset gives you a feeling of being Out and About in Australia’s vast outback without the need for travelling the vast distances usually associated with visits to “the interior”…

On a recent trip south to Kangaroo Island we took a couple of days to traverse parts of the park and view the Pink Lakes for which it is renown. Pigmentation caused by algae colours the lakes pink during the summer months and is quite spectacular to view later in the day.

Throughout the 1900s salt was commercially mined in the area with operations ceasing around 1975, but relics of this era can be viewed as you make your way around the lakes on the Pioneer Circuit.

Our starting point for travelling into the park was the small township of Linga where there is a well-signed and formed dirt road that takes you to the Pink Lakes. The Pioneer Track is a circuit that is suitable for two-wheel drive vehicles taking visitors on a tour around the lakes and can easily be accessed from the larger towns of Ouyen or Pinaroo for those wanting to do a day visit.

Being summer, we were cautious to ensure temperatures were not too high in the park before committing to travelling through it. Not that we are unaccustomed to extreme heat and humidity, after all, we grew up in Queensland and lived in tropical Papua New Guinea for a number of years. But at this time of the year the park sees far less visitors and despite being not too far from a number of towns it remains a remote area that should be respected.

Pink Lakes

 

After a short drive from the highway we arrived at the Pink Lakes and Janet took the opportunity to photograph numerous plants and flowers at Lake Hardy before we moved on to Lake Crosby, a larger lake with camping sites available.

For those travelling the Mallee Highway this would be a good overnight spot to take a break, or alternatively, a good base to further explore the park over a number of days.

Murray-Sunset is a large area with a seemingly endless amount of tracks that you can explore, but for the most part, this will require a four-wheel drive vehicle due to the many sandy sections that are encountered.

And come well prepared with plenty of water and basic recovery gear as you may be on your own. We did not see anyone else in the park during our short visit.

With only a limited time to explore the park we headed north along the Underbool Track with an overnight camp at the Underbool campsite, before continuing north the following day to the intersection with the Pheeney ‘s Track and a drive towards the western boundary of the park.

There is a campsite not too far from the western border of the park on Pheeney’s Track, however we headed northwards along the North South Settlement Road and had our second night in the park at the Shearer’s Quarters campsite.

This is a campsite set amongst the trees not too far from the Shearer’s Quarters. And there is a walk that you can take through the scrub, but this is best done late in the day during the warmer months. And if you are lucky you’ll be rewarded with a glimpse of some of the wildlife and wonderful display of wildflowers.  And not to forget, marvellous bark-art as we like to call the patterns found on the many types of trees one encounters when exploring…

After a pleasant overnight stay at this campsite, which we had to ourselves, we made our way out of the park at Taplan, a small town on the park’s western border, before making our way south to Cape Jervis, the stepping off point for our Kangaroo Island Adventure.

We had frequently looked at Murray-Sunset on our maps and had it penciled in our “places to see book”.

Exploring the Outback

This short visit gave us a taste of what the park has to offer and provided an opportunity for us to give our new Track TVAN Firetail a test in the sand. We had no doubt it would perform as well as our older TVAN Canning that it replaced, and it did, flawlessly…

We have vowed to return in the cooler months, although we suspect that in the depths of winter Murray Sunset would be a very cold place, but with changing seasons comes new perspectives, a warm campfire and the opportunity to XPLORE…!

thelandy.comPhotos: Baz – The Landy and Janet-Planet, Murray Sunset National Park, Australia.

 

Seasons Greetings from the Australian Outback

Western Deserts

 Crikey, it is Christmas day in Australia…

Janet, TomO and I would like to wish all our friends around the world a happy festive season however you may celebrate it.

And if it isn’t something you usually celebrate, that’s okay, just give your family and friends a big hug, or something like that and have a little sing-a-long with us anyway…

Jingle Bells – The Aussie Way

 

 

 

 

 

 

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?

Sucking the life out of “The Local”

Gulf Savannah

Have we gentrified our pubs so much that the life and soul of “the local” has all but disappeared?

The thought came to mind recently as I sat in the bistro of our local, a typical suburban pub in Sydney within walking distance from home.

I lamented that there wasn’t anything as simple as bangers and mash on the menu as I drank a beer served in a glass that would look more at home as a vase with a bunch of flowers in it…

Let’s face it, there is nothing better than the company of friends and good pub food washed down with a couple of schooners of Fourex.  Not some beer brewed with water taken from a stream on the eastern side of a mountain in some place I couldn’t pronounce even if I wasn’t into my third schooner.

I mean, what’s wrong with a good old Fourex?  Okay, VB or Carlton Draught if you prefer and a Chardy for the girls…

Perhaps I’m showing my class here, but one of the things I truly look forward to is a trip into the bush, the outback, down a dusty track where you are likely to develop a thirst that can only be quenched with a schooner or two at day’s end in a pub that is most likely called “The Royal” or maybe “The Railway” or “Tattersall’s”.

Crikey, even Janet (Mrs Landy) has been known to down a beer or two in these revered establishments!

It’ll be nothing fancy mind you, a few bar stools here and there mostly occupied by Bluey and the boys who’ll tip their hats and give you a G’day as you step through the door. The menu simple, but tasty and its okay to toss your dog a couple of scraps to clean off the plate when you’re done…

The conversation is typical, but mostly amusing, no-one is taking it too seriously, or concerned that you are wearing the right clothes, after all shorts and singlets are the go, if you like, and you’re not going to need to mortgage ya’ house when it comes to your turn to shout!

Crikey, Mrs Landy and I have enjoyed some great moments in some out of the way places in the Australian Bush, The Outback – and we might have had just that one too many on an occasion here and there, but that is usually because our classic pubs in the bush are timeless, especially when the amber fluid flows and the banter ramps up!

So tell me, where is your favourite “watering” hole, hey?

Photos: Baz – The Landy

Nirvana – in the Australian Outback

Lake Cohen, Outback Australia

 

Under the stars in the Australian Outback…

Yes, I thought you might ask…

No, I haven’t been hiding under a rock, nor chanting away in a Tibetan Monastery, as appealing as that might be sometimes.

And don’t worry I wasn’t eaten alive by an Australian Drop-Bear! 

Seriously, vegemite behind the ears has always worked a treat for me in warding off these dangerous critters whilst I’ve been Out and About…!

Crikey, you know me, I’ve been busy preparing for some upcoming adventures, but more on that later, just enjoy the campfire for now, okay!

Photo: Baz, The Landy at Lake Cohen – in the middle of nowhere (and loving it)…