JUstDreamInparadise.......JUDI living in Paradise

I am fifty something and I love my family and the life I live. I'm an optimistic person by nature and I try to find a positive for every negative. I'm not a vegetarian, but the animal I eat is. I enjoy cooking, photography and scrapbooking. Since living here I have become a gardener and take immense joy in the beauty of my garden. My husband and I feel that we are the caretakers of the land rather than land owners. We run a grass fed Droughtmaster Stud on our little piece of Paradise and the cattle are a never ending supply of photo opportunities.

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Construction

Construction of our pool started 7 weeks ago, and judging by the speed of the team of men it will be another 7 weeks before we get to swim in it!  They drive all the way over to our place from Mareeba - 120 km round trip, and work for just a couple of hours and then they are gone.  I'm just pleased that we have a written quote otherwise it would be doing my head in.  We told them on Friday that it has to be finished in two weeks for the Labour Day weekend but we'll see.  Their work has not been amazing and we have had to make them re-do sections that were just not acceptable.
On the other hand we have our builders who started this week, on Monday, just like they told us they would.
They start work each day between 6.30 - 7.00 am and work through until 5.00 pm, only stopping for a half hour lunch break. They are incredibly fast and the rotunda went up in no time at all.  They will have the floor down tomorrow and the roof goes up on Tuesday.  How good is that!
It has been very noisy and I had forgotten how much I dislike renovating.  The house is full of a fine dust that no amount of vacuuming will remove.  Ahhh......breath.....and think of all the enjoyment this area is going to bring us in years to come.
Some quick photos that I took this afternoon on my phone.  Apology's for the tree shadows :-)







Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Dirt n Dust 2018

It was a bit of a rushed trip to Julia Creek this year as we have tradies working at home and it didn't feel right to not be here.  So, we left after lunch on Thursday and were home again by Monday afternoon.  We were away about 96 hours and travelled a couple of thousand kilometres.
Those 96 hours, I can tell you, were jam-packed.  We got as far as the Oasis Roadhouse at the Lynd Junction on Thursday night.  This is a great place for an overnighter.  The grounds are nicely grassed, although there are a few khaki burr.  The restrooms are kept sparkling clean and there is nothing like that hot shower at the end of the day.
Oasis Roadhouse Van Park
The next day we arrived into Julia Creek at around about 3.00 pm.  We collected our tickets for the weekend including our life member tags and headed across to the camping grounds at the Race Course where our friends were staying.


Catching up with the Mossman crowd.
There was time for a couple of cool beverages before making our way back into town for Philip to sign-on for the Triathlon the following day.  After that we headed to the Julia Creek Caravan Park where we were booked in for the next two nights.
We had a quiet night and were in bed by 8.30 pm for the early start the next day.
Saturday we awoke to a beautiful day and no wind!  It is highly unusual to have a calm day for the triathlon and there was talk amongst the triathletes that records were going to be broken today without the gruelling head wind on the cycle leg.
We were at Dirt n Dust Central by 7.00 am so that Philip could be numbered and attend the race briefing.  I think after 24 triathlons Philip pretty much knows this off by heart!  Pre-race is a great time to catch up with old friends and in Philip's case chatting to his arch-nemesis, Mal.
Philip and Mal chatting

Competitors at the briefing

After the briefing we drove the 20km to Eastern Creek for the swim leg and bike transition.  The flies at the creek were atrocious.  Actually there were atrocious everywhere and Julia Creek sold out of fly veils on Friday.  They apparently jumped in price from $4 to $14!  We didn't bother as the flies don't seem to worry us as much as they do others.  Perhaps it was all those years living in the west that made us oblivious to them.
Bike Transition area at Eastern Creek

The chilly muddy waters of Eastern Creek

Awaiting the start of the 24th Dirt n Dust Triathlon

The swim leg started on the dot of 9.30 am and I said my goodbyes to my husband and drove back into town to wait for him to cycle in and then begin the run leg that is three laps of the main street - 5kms.
I parked the car back at the caravan park and walked the short distance to the main street where I caught up with our friends.  It didn't seem to take long at all before we were cheering Philip on his bike leg and then watching him limp through the run leg.  His old football knee injury, although painless, inhibits him greatly in running however he just keeps going.
Philip on the cycle leg

And on the run leg

By the time the run leg had started the temperature was up to 36 degrees

Philip came third in his age group and was very pleased with his times.  Love that man!
After the triathlon it was a quick shower and change and on with the glad rags to head over to the Turf Club for the race meeting.  We had pre-booked a luncheon ticket and along with 9 others friends we sat back and enjoyed the day.  The food and drinks flowed along with the chatter and the afternoon passed very quickly.  No betting for me and it seems that no-one we spoke to had much luck at all. Saturday night we once again hit the sack early, knowing that we had a long drive in front of us the next day.
Sunday we woke to a windy day and Philip was thanking his lucky stars that it was Sunday and not Saturday.  It took very little time for us to pack down the camper and make our way to Eureka Waterhole where Philips mum had asked that her ashes be spread.  Kurt's ashes are also at Eureka as it is a place where we have so many great memories.  Eureka Waterhole borders both Caleewa and Lands End Stations and it was a place where we spent many hours swimming, fishing and water-skiing with the Beach family.
Goodbye Dallas
Sunday we drove until the temperature dropped and ended up pulling over at a gravel pit along the Hann Highway halfway between Hughenden and the Lynd Junction.  It was a lovely spot to stay and very quiet.  The occasional road train passed us and tooted their horn as we waved to them.  We played a couple of games of Backgammon and were once again in bed quiet early.


Monday we woke to a very foggy and erringly beautiful morning.  We cooked up a substantial breakfast and then started on the remainder of our journey.  It started raining around about Mt. Garnet and didn't stop all the way home.  What a great welcome home.

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Good times, good food.

We finalised the purchase of the storage shed in Port Douglas this week.  For us, this is the first step towards living there. It's going to take some time.....years in fact, but we are looking forward to this next part of our retirement. The storage shed is zoned industrial and is 88 sq metres.  We will rent it for 12 months and then look at where we are at.
Consequently we spent quite a bit of time in Port this week and visited one of our favourite restaurants - Cafe Fresq - twice.  This little restaurant never disappoints and is always packed with customers.....a testament to the food.  One day I had the zucchini and corn fritters and the next time I ordered the roast vegetable salad.  Both meals were outstanding and packed full of flavour.  I loved the basil oil drizzled over the roast vegetable salad and the addition of a spicy little salsa and whipped feta took the fritters to a new level.  If ever you are in Port Douglas I highly recommend this place.




On the home front I had leftovers from our lunch on Easter Sunday but nothing ever goes to waste in my household.  The Thai Beef Salad made a very tasty stir fry with the addition of chilli and sesame oil, the rib bones were reheated and eaten with the coleslaw, leftover coleslaw was bagged and frozen so that will be taken with us on our next camping adventure, and lastly the leftover potato bake was the perfect topping for a vegetable packed shepherds pie....


We have also had the drone out each afternoon as we need lots of practice before we head away on our next camping trip.  I can envisage lots of fantastic photos from above so it will be perfect when we go to Lawn Hills Gorge.  This is one of the photos that we took of "Kuramar" this week.


To end the week nicely we enjoyed a night at the Clink Theatre in Port Douglas to watch the production of the Full Monty.  We love this old Queenslander that has been converted to a  pint-sized theatre that only holds a maximum of 120 people.  The atmosphere is wonderful.  Full marks to the performers who played their parts with enthusiasm.  All the double entendres and one liners kept the audience laughing and I loved the athleticism of the little asian actor.  It really was a great show and if you live in this area you really should get yourself along to one of the shows.


Well that's a wrap for this week.  Stay safe and I will meet you here again next week.

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Easter - a full report

There is something about Easter.  I love it.  As a kid growing up it was the excitement of finding easter eggs at the end of the bed in the "nest" that we had made from straw laid in cardboard shoe boxes.  Our kids followed the tradition of making nests by filling their cowboy hats with straw or torn up newspaper.  Today as I scroll through Instagram it was filled with photos of kids on an Easter Egg Hunt.  What a great tradition!
We started our Easter Weekend on Good Friday with Hot Cross Buns for breakfast and a whole deep fried coral trout with a Thai Salsa for lunch.  Dinner was mud crab and beers.
My first ever attempt at Hot Cross Buns.
We invited friends for Sunday lunch and it was lovely to sit around for hours and just "shoot the breeze".

Lunch was very laid back as I had prepared everything the day before and it was just a matter of throwing a few things in the oven and firing up the BBQ.  I love this style of preparation and it is so different to the way I used to do things.  In those days I never seemed to be able to sit down and enjoy my guests.
This was the menu....

and the prepared meal....


While they were waiting for lunch the kids had a game of "Pick up Sticks"


One of our friends made some absolutely delicious mud cake cup cakes and a marshmallow bunny.  I can't remember the last time I have eaten homemade marshmallow and I had forgotten how good it tastes.



We took the drone for a bit of a fly when the rain had cleared a little but we had forgotten to charge the control so we had a bit of trouble getting it up.  However we did manage to get this photo....

Hudson is always part of the action and is not at all worried by the Drone flying above!
It really was a pleasant Easter and I'm already looking forward to next year!




Monday, 2 April 2018

40th Wedding Anniversary

Last weekend on the 25th March Philip and I celebrated 40 years of marriage.  It seems like quite a milestone these days but interestingly enough our very closest friends have all been married 40 plus years.  I guess we were all just lucky enough to find our soul mates first time around!

We had decided some time ago to celebrate quietly by ourselves.  We booked into the Sheraton Mirage at Port Douglas and made dinner reservations at Harrisons Restaurant inside the Sheraton.  Harrisons is owned and operated by Spencer Patrick....the only hatted chef in Port Douglas.
We woke to a very bleak rainy day on our wedding anniversary but it never crossed our mind to cancel our reservations.
We left home after lunch and made our way very tenuously down the range. There were many landslides and trees across the way.  We weaved our way in and around the debris and were relieved to make it to the bottom of the range.



As we continued on to Port the rain got much heavier and we were questioning whether we would actually make it as the creeks we crossed were rising very rapidly.  Onwards we went and were relieved to finally arrive at the Sheraton.  As we approached the check-in counter the staff were very surprised to see us and said "where did you come from?" .  Apparently we were very lucky as every road in and out of Port was now closed.
After we checked in we were escorted to our room.  The rain continued to tumble down and we had to wade through ankle deep water to reach our room!  Our room was lovely but it was quite a waste to have a "swim out" room.  We certainly didn't want or need to go for a swim!  It was much nicer to stay in our cosy room and sip on the complimentary Champagne that the Sheraton had kindly given us to celebrate our wedding anniversary.

The rain had still not eased by the time we needed to walk to the restaurant for our dinner reservations. We once again removed our shoes and waded through the water.  We made our way to the cocktail lounge where we sat back and enjoyed our cocktails while playing a game of Backgammon - we are addicts!
After cocktails we walked the short distance to Harrisons only to find this when we arrived......

It was such a disappointment but neither the chef or his staff could get to work as they were all flooded in.  We knew that we had another restaurant choice so all was not lost.  As we were shown to our table the waiter apologised in advance that there may be a wait for meals because they we also understaffed.  As it turned out the wait was minimal.
Our meal was very tasty.  I started with Oysters Kilpatrick while Philip chose the Bruschetta.  Next course for me was Beef Cheeks whilst Philip chose the Pork.  Neither of us could fit in dessert so we opted for a nightcap instead.


I can report that during dinner the rain eased so by the time we walked back to our room there wasn't any water to walk through.  We were impressed at how fast it ran away.
The next morning we made our way back to the Restaurant for our complimentary buffet breakfast.  What is it about buffet breakfasts.  No matter where you go in the world they all look identical!  As the sun was now shining we decided to take a walk along beautiful Four Mile Beach.  What a shock it was to see it with so much debris brought in on the high tide.  There was literally nowhere to walk so we headed back to get a few photos around the Sheraton pool area.



The magnificent marble staircase the Pixie Skase designed

Port Douglas had received 600mm of rain in 24 hours.  There was a massive landslide on Flagstaff Hill that sent a deluge of muddy water down the hill and into many businesses in the main street. However I am pleased to report that the council staff worked overtime this past week to once again have Port Douglas spick and span for Easter.
Back home again we found our rain gauge overflowing.  For the month of March we have had 1004 mm of rain......just over a metre.  This is what we expect for a normal wet season but it is still a lot of rain!



Sunday, 25 March 2018

We have great friends......

We've been lucky enough to catch up with quite a few of our friends in the past couple of weeks.  We always look forward to the time that we spend with our friends.  It is all too easy to settle into our life at home and almost become anti-social!  We need friends to exchange and challenge our thoughts and ideas.  We have also become friends with a couple who have taught us to play Backgammon.  It is a game that I have always wanted to learn and so far Philip and I are loving it!

Last week we had lunch with one of Philips cousins and her husband.  They were holidaying in Port.  For 40 years I have been exchanging christmas cards with cousin Sandra without ever having met her.  It was strange meeting her after all these years but we got along like a "house on fire".
Peter, Sandra, myself and Philip
Last weekend we drove to Cairns to have a bbq dinner with another group of friends.  It's always great to catch up with this crowd.  The men all went to boarding school together, more than forty years ago, and us women just love getting together for a good old chin wag over a glass of wine!


Yesterday we had another friend and her kids come to visit us.  Katrina was Kurt's first "real" girlfriend and she has remained in contact with us all these years.  She and her husband are both specialists working at the Cairns Base Hospital and lead very busy lives.  They have four children with just 18 months separating them!  The kids could be a handful I'd imagine but thank goodness they have parents with great parenting skills and they are amazing kids.  They all introduced themselves to us.....even the youngest at just two and half years of age!  Unfortunately it was a wet miserable day but we did manage to find a mini break in the weather to take them for a drive around the property.  They loved to see the cattle, as most kids do when they visit.

Such a beautiful person inside and out.

Jackson and Hudson

I made fruit ice-creams that went down a treat with young and old

We've had the opportunity to eat out a couple of times over the past two weeks and we had the good.....

Scotch Eggs, Crispy Kale, Creamy Mushrooms and Bacon.  Breakfast at Coco Mojo Clifton Beach

and not so good......
And the winner of the worst burger ever......The "Donald Trump" Burger. It was about as good as it's namesake.....

Well that's a wrap folks.  Today is our 40th Wedding Anniversary and I will give you a full and thorough report on my next post.

xx Judi