As Monday rolls around it is time to reflect on another great weekend in the mountains with family and friends.
On Saturday morning we boarded The Landy and headed to Turon Gates, a rural property not too far from a great Australian wine growing region, Mudgee, to the west of Sydney.
It is a comfortable three-hour drive in the The Landy, which is no speed machine, especially when towing our T-Van, a specialist camper trailer designed for extreme travel. This weekend it would not be put to its full potential, and with plenty of mountaineering and overseas travel over the next 12 months, it is unlikely to see the red bull-dust of the Australian Outback anytime soon.
We did pass some of my favourite climbing areas on the drive, but this weekend was about relaxing, eating, and eating, and relaxing, with Janet, TomO and family friends.
Crikey, did we eat or what?
And don’t you just love camp food prepared in a camp oven and dining under the stars beside a crackling camp fire…
Now I must say, Janet and I both love experiencing different foods from around the world, and enjoy a night dining out. But it is hard to beat cooking up and dining on some camp grub!
And no camping trip would be complete without Janet knocking out one of her (world famous) dampers. Lavished with Golden Syrup, or Cocky’s Joy, as it is commonly referred to, it is simply the Bees Knees. From the time it is pulled from the camp oven, to the time when the last piece is devoured, you won’t hear a whisper from anyone, just the sounds of the Australian Bush punctuated by the groans of delight as the Golden Syrup trickles down your hand…
Joining us for the weekend were our good friends The Todd’s; Bob and Annette, and David and Stephen. They’re like family to us and we’ve been travelling this great country of ours with them for as long as we can remember. A work colleague of Bob’s also came along to experience the Australian Bush…
The Todd Boys, The Boys, as we affectionately know them, are like brothers’ to our son TomO, and talk about being as thick as thieves.
Apart from growing taller, The Boys and TomO haven’t changed much. Although, the conversation seems to have moved from toy cars and teddy bears to girls these days…
Bob and I go back a long way…I even got to spin a few tales about him in my role as “Best Man” on their wedding day.
Together, we’ve cut a path along the Kokoda Track in the wild jungles of Papua New Guinea and paddled the Papuan Coast extensively on our kayaks.
Strewth, we’ve even spent a great New Year’s Eve on the small island nation of Nauru, at the Nauru Phosphate Club, helping to de-stock the Nation’s supply of Foster’s Lager, but heck that is a yarn for another day, if I ever get around to remembering it.
I’m sure Bob was a pyromaniac in another life-time, but rest assured he can set the best camp-fires ever and then cook up a storm in his camp oven. The Todd’s feasted on roast lamb and vegetables, while we settled for a good old rump steak on the barbie.
Now I must do a couple of call-outs here.
I have been fortunate enough to have found a fantastic blog called Picture Real Food, by Marisa, which has some wonderful recipes. This weekend I tried out her Bull’s Blood Mushrooms, and all I can say is if you are into mushrooms give this a go…and if you’re not into them still give it a go, because you’ll end up a convert!
The other call-out is to a mad-as-a-cut snake New Yorker who goes by the name of Icescreammama. Recently she had some really nice things to say about some Aussie bloke so I drank a toast to her on his behalf and the recent success she has had in a writing competition.
Geez, I actually had a couple of beers, a bit unusual for me ahead of my preparation for next year’s full-on mountaineering calendar.
Blow-me-down, I thought people like Icescreammama only existed on those American sit-coms you see on the Telly, when it is working. But there she is, larger than life. Mind you, I’m betting she is one of those New Yorkers’ that drinks cor-fee instead of coffee.
And did I get around to mentioning one of my favourite parts of any camping trip.
And this is after we get our fill of vegemite on toast, after all it wouldn’t be Australian to leave it at home!
There is something that is good for the soul about a lazy start to the day, getting a fire going, and then throwing a couple of jaffle irons onto the coals with your favourite filling stuffed between two slices of bread!
Janet made up some savoury mince, and her jaffles were the ant’s pants; seriously to die for.
And no outing would be complete without someone falling into the water. Usually it is TomO, because he was a fish in a previous life, but this weekend it was my turn as I filled up the water bucket – it must have been those two beers I had the night before that gave me a wobbly boot.
Geez, you just gotta love getting “Out and About” – bring on life!
And hey!… Don’t forget to Like The Landy on Facebook to catch up on more photos and happenings while he’s “Out and About”…
Besides with only 29 likes he’s starting to think he’s more “off” than an “Outback Dunny” in the mid-day sun!