Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Lake Eildon

We just spent a fantastic five days at Lake Eildon on a houseboat - eating, drinking, reading, wake boarding and getting pounded on the biscuit. All with the most excellent of company with our generous hosts, the beautiful Nelson family.

Eildon is full (well close enough) but it wasn't crazy busy on the lake - it's so huge it's hard to feel busy! The water was glassy at times, the weather sunny but not too hot. We slept in our swags under the stars  on the roof of the houseboat and I was kicking myself for only knowing one measly constellation, I should improve on that! Eildon is in our old stomping ground, within cooee of the property we once managed, Ythanbrae. It was great to be back in the area, we really like it in north east Victoria.

Matty's feeling a little worse for wear after a bit of a stack off the wakeboard - sore ribs/muscles around his lungs. Poor possum. We spent a day in Bendigo yesterday doing boring jobs like changing my name everywhere and getting a new zip we needed for the camper. All good jobs to get done while we're not really on the move though.

That's it for the update for now - have a great Australia day! I think we will be spending ours doing much of the same - skiing/boarding and eating/drinking in the sun. We leave Boort later next week, hard to believe it is almost February already!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Discing Up A Storm

Tyler and Matt have got busy here discing, creating a lot of dust as they go. Kate and I have been entertaining ourselves by (almost) starting painting the house, playing with Tilly and coffee excursions to The Cup and Saucer in Boort.

This week we're going to Lake Eildon with Tyler's family on his grandparents houseboat. Bound to be lots more skiing, eating and relaxing. Before we know it it will be the end of January and our time at Inverness will be up. Time flies when you're having fun.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Pseudo-Christmas Feast

Our lovely hostess with the mostess, Kate, had a 'hand of pork' in the freezer. We arrived at Inverness laden with a plum pudding (made by my clever mum for us to eat Christmas night at Matt's family Christmas, but it never eventuated). Basically, both items were begging me to make a roast meal out of them. A pseudo-Christmas feast with our pseudo-family here in Boort.

First of all Kate and I had to google what a 'hand of pork' is. Turns out it's the foreleg of the pig, sort of like a shoulder of pork...but not. Some further googling had me convinced that I needed to try Jamie Oliver's slow roasted version. 

Kate went to Bendigo for the day, and I got to work scoring fat and rubbing salt into my 'hand of pork' to get some crackling out of my miss piggy. 

Six hours later, some roast potatoes, my friend Ange's recipe for an amazing thing called 'parsnip puff' and an equally amazing gravy made with the juices from the pork - we had our pseudo-Christmas feast. 

The pork wasn't as amazing as I was hoping for (although everyone seemed quite pleased with it). I don't think I wrapped it tightly enough in the foil so it may have dried out a bit. The gravy however was delicious, and after thinking my usual awesome roast potatoes wouldn't work as well due to the low temperature of the oven for the pork, they seemed to crisp up enough. Success!

Boil mum's pudding for an hour, serve with lashings of brandy custard and ho ho ho - meeerrry Christmas...in January?! 

We're off to Swan Hill tonight for dinner at an (apparently) good Thai restaurant with my friend from school, Olivia, and her fiance Andy who now live in Robinvale. Swan Hill is a bit over an hour from Boort, halfway to Robinvale. Should be a hoot!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Meet 'Tilly'

Yesterday was slightly cooler, Kate and I ventured south east to the nearby town of Inglewood and picked up this little bundle of shaking fur...

Meet 'Tilly' - she is Tyler's Christmas present to Kate, a Jack Russell x Fox Terrier pup. 

We pulled up in front of two houses in Inglewood, a relatively nice house and a relatively very 'rough' looking house. We couldn't read the numbers at first and secretly hoped the nicer looking house held Kate's new pup. Unfortunately it didn't and we crept into the yard of the second house with the falling down front fence and gutters, littered with kids toys, bikes and general rubbish. Oh dear. 

We joked that it was like RSPCA puppy rescue mission! Unfortunately it turned out more like that than we joked about. We were handed a box at the front door with the tiniest runt of a puppy inside, all quivering and with bulging eyes. The ad in the classifieds had said 6 weeks old.

"When was she born?"
"December 3rd"

Clearly maths was not these people's forte. We basically just wanted to get out of there after an incident with a 6 year old telling us we were lesbians and then his old sister yelling for his mum to tell Jake to $#%! off. Nice. 

We couldn't get out of there fast enough. When we eventually got the little pup home we discovered she was riddled with fleas, ticks, mites, had worms which might account for her bulging eyes, big head and lack of growth. She was also just generally filthy so we gave her a bath in warm water and eucalyptus oil, which seemed to kill most of the fleas/ticks/mites which were crawling all over her, especially on her face and ears. Kate combed them out with a nit comb and Tilly promptly vomited three times all over her new custodian. Being a mother isn't very glamorous is it? quipped Kate.

Last night Tilly didn't cry too much, she slept in a box in the laundry, shaking herself to sleep as she was so scared. This morning she is much better, cleaner, happier. Yesterday she wouldn't leave the darkness of Kate's arm, now she is exploring a little bit on the grass.

She is off to the vets to get a check up and for pseudo-mum's Kate and I to be advised on how on earth to deal with a pup who clearly should still be with her mum?! 

We've decided though that she is much better off with us and healthy, than with her mum but struggling to grow and survive. 

Poor little Tilly. She's started off life a bit behind the 8 ball, but she's going to be ok. She's tiny, tough, Tilly. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Skiing in the New Year

On New Years Eve the four of us headed up to spend a few days on the Murray with another friend who did ag at uni with Matt and Tyler, Ashley and her partner Hayden. Ash's Dad (also Hayden, confusing) lives at Gol Gol, near Mildura.

We arrived straight to the river and got skiing/wakeboarding/biscuiting. It was about 40 degrees with lots of boats and jetski's in the river. Tyler and Matt wakeboarded and Kate one-skiied off Hayden Snr's boat, 'The Water Rat'.

Somehow Matt, Kate and I thought it was a great idea to have a go at the huge three person tube Hayden Snr. had in his repertoire/arsenal. 

All was fine on the mega tube, it was a relatively soft and leisurely ride...except when we inevitably overbalanced and came off. 

Oh. My. Goodness. There was nothing that didn't hurt. We came off four times, two of which it seemed my face hit the water first at high speed, my contact lenses flew out of my eyes and I bit my tongue until it bled. Thumping headache ensued. I also must've kicked Kate in the head on one stack as her head and my foot were pretty sore. 

Back to Hayden's for a neighbourhood New Years Eve barbie. He has a great outdoor entertaining area with a bar and huge paved area. Mountains of food and drink, including several different flavoured daiquiri's made by Ash and Hayden Jnr. Dangerous. We rang in the New Year with sparklers and nearby fireworks scaring the dogs into hiding :(

New Year's Day was a scorching 43 degrees. And I couldn't feel the majority of my body. Apparently the tumbles off the biscuit were worse than anticipated. I couldn't move my neck and my left shoulder, elbow and wrist were painful and weak. We retreated to the cinema to see a movie, I saw my phone flashing with a call from Matt's best mate and one of the groomsmen in our wedding, Mika. When we got out of the movie we had message's on our phones - Mika and his girlfriend were engaged! Off to the Gol Gol pub for celebratory drinks.

We took Hayden Jnr's boat, 'The Hulk', out later in the evening when it cooled down. Ash had a one-ski before Matt saw spark's and the motor started smoking a lot. A bit of panic ensued with the boys ripping open the motor cover and Matt hovering with a fire extinguisher, me not sure whether to bail out of the boat into the river! All seemed ok but we packed it in for the day.

Next morning we headed the three hours back to Boort, on the way up we had gone through Swan Hill and Robinvale along the river, this time we went through Sea Lake and Wycheproof.

A great weekend, if not a little hot! Happy New Year from The Happy Campers, 2012 is going to be a good one!


Monday, January 2, 2012

Look right...

You'll see I've added a handy little widget over there on the sidebar....

You can zoom in and out and see where we have been so far on our trip. We went up to Gol Gol, near Mildura, for a few days over New Years so it's a bit all over the shop, as we have now backtracked back to Boort. Like most things on this blog, it is a work in progress! The map's a little bit wrong also in that we went up through Swan Hill and Robinvale and back through Sea Lake and Wycheproof. But you get the idea. 

I will put some photo's up today hopefully of our skiing and wakeboarding efforts on the Murray in 40 degree heat!

Hope you are staying cool wherever you are, today here at Inverness it's a not-so-lovely 43 degrees with a hot westerly wind blowing dust and spinifex about. Foul. The acclimatisation continues...

Sunday, January 1, 2012

We're off! Welcome to Inverness...

A new year, a new blog. A new adventure awaits us.

Here on The Happy Campers we will track our progress on our around-Australia honeymoon. We don't have a timeframe that we plan to be away for - a year? Two? Five? Ten?! We don't have a home or jobs to come back to, we've packed up all our belongings into storage and re-homed our three dogs. Nomadic gypsy's indeed.

We finally pulled out of the Brindabella driveway at 12.17am on Wednesday 21st December. At last on our way to Boort, our first stop on our adventure, helping our great mates Tyler and Kate with their grain harvest on the family farm 'Inverness'.

Three days of chaser bin driving for Matt, with Tyler in his prized header, to get the crop off before Christmas. We had planned to get up to Boort four days earlier but totally underestimated the painful process of moving/packing!

Kate is a primary teacher and was still working with school not yet finished for the year. I busied myself making lunches for the boys and taking it out to Leaghur where they were harvesting, about fifteen minutes from Inverness.

The mallee heat was a rude awakening to living 'north of the divide'. We figure we are acclimatising ourselves gradually as we head further north?! 

We do love how very different the landscape is up here compared to our lush green rolling hills of Gippsland. It makes for a nice change, if not a stark contrast!

I made myself at home, making rocky road for Christmas and loving Kate's cute Aussie Christmas tree. No pines up here I guess, not like at home in Thorpy. Boort's a nice little town, with a small supermarket, a few pubs, hardware, little cafe and very friendly locals. My trip to the supermarket was met by lots of smiles and hat tips. Lovely.

We headed back to Gippsland for Christmas with our families, before turning around and really starting our journey north (we're not sure if we will be back 'home' before leaving Boort). Back at Inverness to start our five week stint here, the first day back we went for a wakeboard and biscuit on Little Lake Boort. Needless to say Matt thinks he's in heaven, even if he can't sit still as he's 'on holidays' and not working!

Settling in well to life at Inverness I would say...