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.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

It's been awhile.....

Sorry folks, it's been awhile since my last post.  Has it really been a month?  I thought that once we were retired that I would have more time to update my blog.  It was my goal to write a least once a week but sadly that has not happened, but I do intend trying a bit harder.
July was "Dry July" for me and I did not ask for donations from friends and family - god knows everyone is doing it tough, so what I did was donate what I thought I had saved by not having any alcoholic beverages for the month.  The dry July campaign raised over $4 million for cancer so I'm very happy to be part of that.
Dry July was relatively easy, apart from the State of Origin finals when I really felt like a glass of champers to celebrate the series win.  Wasn't that a great game!  We get together with a few friends from Julatten to watch the finals.  We all bring a plate of food to eat at the communal table.  I took along a plateful of Spanakopita and Meatballs.



For three months (July, August and September) our cows give birth to their calves.  I love this time of the year and enjoy going out with Philip as much as I can to help him tag the calves.  Two of our maiden heifers have had to have their calves "pulled" this year.  It is not a nice job but it's either that or have the cow die while calving.

Our breeder mob
The winter garden is looking quite splendid with the colourful array of flowers that Trudi has planted, although it's taking quite a bit of water to keep the garden going.  Winter is typically our dry period.


A walk down the garden path where the bromeliads are starting to flower

I managed to get in a walk along Four Mile Beach last weekend.  I thoroughly enjoyed it and it's good to have a change from my normal walk through our property.  There are so many  tourists visiting Port Douglas this year and I'm sure that each and every one of them decided to walk along the beach this particular morning, however, it is a very long and wide beach so plenty of room for everybody.  The day was gloomy and as I walked past a group practicing yoga on the beach, I silently congratulated them for holding their poses in the very strong wind.  
Namaste. 🙏 


That's a wrap for this post.  I promise to not leave too big a gap until the next one! 🙂

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Sunshine...

For the past week and a half we have had cloudy days with drizzle.  As the locals call it "Shitty Julatten Weather".  But yesterday the sun came out and the day was magnificent....perfect for the BBQ lunch that we had pre-arranged with our friends.
I went out into the garden and picked flowers for my table arrangements.  The grevillea are lovely at the moment so I filled a shallow bowl with them and if I do say so myself it looked rather nice on the outside table.

Inside I just filled a vase with flowers in the my favourite colours of purple, pinks, white and yellow. I  weaved a string of LED lights through the flowers and in the evening it is very pretty!

We had invited ten - 4 adults and 6 kids, so including us, we cooked for twelve. We had decided that steak burgers, sausages, marinated rib bones and salads would be the best thing to cook.  Jody brought the dessert - mini carrot cakes and mini lemon meringue tarts (yummmm).  I prepared a giant cheese platter for starters as everyone was arriving at staggered times.

We love having the kids come to visit us as they are kinda like our adopted grandkids.  They are great kids and easily entertained.  We set up the Totem Tennis for them so they had a good hit at that to build up their appetite for lunch.

Philip also took them to feed the weaners....

After lunch we piled everyone in the car and took them to see the (very pregnant!) cows and of course Milly the donkey.  One of our maiden heifers is ready to calve so we had to stay well away from her.  Experience has taught us that the mums become very distressed if they are disturbed during calving.
We said goodbye to everyone late in the afternoon after we had loaded them up with fruit.....SO....MUCH...FRUIT!
It was a beautiful day with lovely friends that we look forward to entertaining again in the not too distant future.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Addendum

Now that I have filled you all in on the great holiday we have just had to PNG and Singapore as an addendum I would like to tell you about the funny thing that happened with our flight from Port Moresby to Cairns. No photos to support this story unfortunately.
We arrived into Port Moresby from Singapore at about 5am and our flight to Cairns wasn't due to leave until 9am.  We were all pleased with this because we would be back in time for Kate and Mike's grandson's christening party at midday.
We all settled into the quite comfortable Air Nuigini Lounge and managed to get a bit of sleep before showering in readiness for our flight.  At 9am there was an announcement to say that the flight would be delayed and to wait for further announcements.  At 9.15am they announced that our flight was ready for departure so we made our way to the plane and were all seated in preparedness for our departure.
After we had been sitting on the plane for 15 minutes the pilot announced to us that he was having trouble starting the right engine so we would need to alight the plane so that it could be seen too.  ***Sigh*** .  When the flight attendant tried to open the one and only exit door, it was stuck.  From our seats in the first row we had a birds eye view of all that was happening and it was quite comical.  Two attendants pushed and pushed with all their might but still the door would not budge.  We saw ground staff racing over to the plane to attempt to open it from the outside.  Still no luck.  The captains voice came over the speaker "Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for your patience.  We are having trouble opening the exit door but we expect it won't be too much longer.  I don't think there is any immediate danger of fire."  Such reassuring words!
Shortly, the captain (or maybe it was the co-captain came out from the cabin and gave the door one hell of a big kick and finally, it opened.  We were all asked to leave or hand luggage on the plane as we alighted , and once more took up our positions in the Air Niugini Lounge (thank goodness we had flown business class!).  After another half hour we were asked to please collect our hand luggage from the lounge area as the plane was now being replaced with another and please be patient while they readied it for flight.  They also told us (quietly) that they were having trouble finding staff for this plane!
We finally made our way to the boarding gate of the new plane at about 10.30am.  By this stage we had made a lot of new friends as we boarded and disembarked the planes (again and again!) and we were all a very cheery mob as we made our final boarding!
It was with relief that we left the international terminal in Cairns at about 12.30pm arriving back to Kuranda just in time to cut the christening cake!

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Day 11 - Last Day

We had our sleep-in this morning. It was pure bliss and we finally made it down to breakfast by 9 am.  We talked about what we wanted to see and do on our last day of the holiday and decided that another visit to Gardens by the Bay would be nice as we hadn't seen too much of it in daylight hours, plus, we wanted to find the walkway from the Marina Sands complex that took you over the highway and ended in the Gardens.
We started our walk and bumped into the rest of the crew just arriving back from their walk.  We all had different things we wanted to do today.  Kate and Mike wanted to visit Raffles Hotel and Linda and Tony wanted to stay in the shopping mall.
Finding the walkway was quite easy with my husbands uncanny sense of direction.  I say that with a smile on my face because he seems to be able to find places that are in the distance but stand him on a street corner in the middle of the city and he becomes totally lost!
The walkway took us around the edge of the Marina Sands shopping mall, across a walkway to the Marina Sands Hotel and then across another walkway through the hotel and straight into the gardens.
Standing on the walkway between the Marina Sands Shopping Complex and the Marina Sands Hotel

Looking down into the Marina Bay Sands Hotel
It was a lovely day to be wandering around the gardens and we came across things that totally amazed us, particularly this 7 tonne baby that sits suspended on just the hand of the child.  It is incredibly well balanced.

Looking at the Supertree Grove was totally different to seeing it lit up at night.

We continued our walk through the gardens passing many ponds with their lovely fountains and others filled with huge Koi.  We passed the children's garden where families were setting themselves up for the day with picnic rugs laid out on the expansive lawns.  We walked on through gardens that are still in development with huge Boab trees being placed into position and wired to hold them in place.  The Gardens by the Bay are truly magnificent.


After we had wandered around for a couple of hours we started to make our way back to the our hotel.  We found a different route this time that took us on a giant escalator right to the bottom of the Marina Sands shopping complex.  Here we stopped and drank refreshing iced coffees while watching the gondoliers ferrying their passengers up and down the waterway inside the shopping complex.

We arrived back at the hotel around about midday but were not hungry enough to go and eat lunch so we settled back on the bed to watch a movie.  Around about 2pm we ordered room service and I decided on the Hainan Chicken.  It was so very delicious and quite different to the one that I make courtesy of my friend Roz's recipe.

A couple of days ago we had asked for a late check-out of our room as our flight home wasn't leaving until 8pm.  The Duty Manager was very helpful and gave us a 4 pm check-out.
We were all a little subdued as we piled into the mini-van that took us to the airport.  We had all enjoyed Singapore in different ways and it is a place that I would like to spend a little more time in.
Our flight was right on time and as our plane passed over Singapore I took some photos and wished the place au revoir - "goodbye, until we meet again".

P.S.
My health app told me that I walked 45.5 kms (66,060 steps) in Singapore. It was not surprising as we walked almost everywhere!




Saturday, 1 July 2017

Day 10 - Singapore

We woke to another glorious morning, so after breakfast we decided to take a walk around the bay before heading to Orchard Road.  The walk was called "Jubilee" and I think it was around about 5kms from start to end.  Philip and I, forever the tourists, stopped to take many photos!
Tony and Kate discussing the route


Anywhere greenery can be planted, it is.  Even 10 stories up!

Our walk took us right around this bay
After our walk, it was lunch on Orchard Road at the Hard Rock Cafe.  Philip and I love these joints and try to track them down in every country we visit.  The menus are the same but each country is encouraged to add a a couple of their own localised dishes.  For example in Singapore they added Chilli Crab to the menu.


We ordered a light meal of  Caesar Salads with the obligatory Onion Rings on the side. Philip and I were booked on the Singapore Flyer that evening for a four course dinner and didn't want to spoil our appetites. The lunch was delicious and was washed down with the local beer.

After lunch we walked along Orchard Road, marvelling at how many upmarket shops there were.  Louis Vuitton competing with Gucci and Prada, Cartier competing with Rolex.  So many shops along the 2.2km boulevard!
We wondered what those large extensions from the building in the distance were.  We decided that they must be swimming pools!

A very upmarket street

Just a stroll along Orchard Road
After our walk and a little shopping we finally made our way back to the hotel for a rest before dinner on the Singapore Flyer.
Our reservation was for 7.30pm and we arrived in plenty of time.  We were shown to a VIP room where diners waited for their "cabin".  Our drink orders were taken and we had already chosen our main course, steak for Philip and Lobster for me.  When our cabin was ready we were taken down a long private corridor so that we could board easily.  As you can imagine, the ferris wheel does not stop so everything has to be planned and timed to the last second.  In our cabin were five tables set for two people.  There were only three couples on this particular night.  The hostess is  aboard to greet you and a nibblie platter is already laid on the table .On the first full circle we were served a starter salad (caesar!) followed by soup.  Main meal and dessert is quickly brought in on the beginning of the second circle.  Such precision and timing!




The whole trip was wonderful and well worth the money.  I highly recommend it.  The night view of Singapore is fantastic but I did get a big spooked standing at the floor to ceiling windows. I had to stand away from the glass a little that meant all my photos had reflections :-(
The whole journey (two full circles) took about an hour and a half so we were back at the hotel by 9pm where we joined the rest of the gang in the lounge bar to listen to some really good live music.
Looking upwards from the lobby bar in the Marina Mandarin Hotel.  The Atrium is magnificent.
We said our goodnights at 10pm and said we would catch up with everyone for lunch tomorrow as it was our last day and we intended to have a "sleep in".



Friday, 30 June 2017

Day 9 - Singapore

Linda and Tony had business to attend to today so the rest of us caught a cab to Mount
Faber, the starting point for the cable car ride to Sentosa Island.

From the Web:
"Sentosa is an island resort off Singapore’s southern coast, connected to the city by road, cable car, pedestrian boardwalk and monorail. By Sentosa Station, Tiger Sky Tower has panoramic views that can stretch as far as Indonesia. On the south coast, Palawan Beach is lined with food stalls and bars, and has a suspension bridge to a small offshore island. Palm-lined, crescent-shaped Tanjong Beach is more tranquil."

I love cable cars and have no fear of heights as long as I look out and not down.  The whole system was overhauled in 1983 after a ship passing underneath snagged the line and seven people lost their lives.  There are two cable car lines.  The first is Mount Faber Line. It takes you from Singapores only hilltop destination, Faber Peak, through a skyscraper and across the harbour before landing in Sentosa Island.



The second line that connects at Sentosa Station is the Sentosa Line.  We journeyed over the jungle, sand and sea on this line. If you like, you can stop at the Merlion station, Imbiah Lookout station and Siloso Point station to enjoy the sandy beaches, Madame Tussauds, Sentosa Merlion, Universal Studios Singapore, S.E.A. Aquarium and more.  We stayed aboard and just took in the views.


After the cable ride we had coffee and muffins at Starbucks, by far the best coffee in Singapore.


A very interesting combination of Apple, Cheddar Cheese and Parmesan.  Surprisingly it was delicious.
We then caught a cab to the Sultan Mosque in Arab Street.  We had to cover up before entering the mosque and I have a great photo of Michael in a skirt but I promised not to post that one :-)


We wandered along Arab Street where Philip bought me a beautiful silk "Dubai" Kaftan.  I have no idea where I can wear it but it is lovely to look at....


We once again hopped on board the Hop-On Hop-Off bus as we had purchased a three day pass.  We alighted at Stop 1 and made our way into the mall for lunch.  Mike and Kate found a place where we could sit down to a feed of hamburgers and fries.  Funnily enough it was called the Aussie Restaurant but sadly the burger was not up to Aussie standard!
Ahhh.....not your typical burger
Our hotel was only a short walk from the mall so back there we went for our afternoon rest, this time poolside.  We were all going to meet in the lobby at 5.00 pm so that we could catch a taxi to the Marina Bay Hotel for cocktail hour.  What a great experience!  Fifty-seven stories above Singapore is this fabulous bar where you can purchase any drink your heart desires.  The views from here were spectacular.
The crew.


It is a very busy bar!

The view!
We stayed for a couple of hours before making our way back to the Marina Mandarin for a buffet dinner.  This was also fabulous and once again catered to everyones tastes but I just could not do it justice, however I did get a good feed of seafood.  The scallops were to die for!
We were all feeling weary after our very busy day so we said our goodnights and made plans to meet for breakfast the next day.  The very upmarket, Orchard Road, is on the list for tomorrow.






Thursday, 29 June 2017

Day 8 - Singapore

Our plan to go hiking this morning was postponed as we woke to a dreary wet day.  Fortunately for us  though, the rain had disappeared by midday.

A rainy morning in Little India
After breakfast we all piled into two cabs and made our way to Mustafa Shopping Centre in Little India.  Linda had quite a few things to purchase for Tufi and this was the place to buy them.  The centre took up almost a whole city block and was three stories high.  It was a place that you could easily become lost in, but we loved it.  I bought a pair of joggers for half the price that I would pay at home and I also stocked up on herbs and spices.  A giant bag of cinnamon sticks cost me just $3! After our shopping spree we headed back to the Marina Mandarin to off load our goods and then we headed to Chinatown for lunch.  What a wonderful experience that was.  The food was delicious and what I loved the most was that I watched my food being prepared from scratch.  None of those ridiculous bain marie's full of food that we see all too often in Australia.

Chinatown "food hall"
The decorated streets of Chinatown
After lunch we once again headed back to the hotel for a rest.  Kate, Mike, Philip and I decided to head to Gardens by the Bay late in the afternoon to catch the light show that evening scheduled for 8pm.  Linda and Tony had seen it all before so they were happy to do their own thing.

 
A different view of Marina Bay Sands Hotel
Gardens by the Bay is an absolute credit to the Singaporeans.  The park is spread out over an area of 150 acres of reclaimed land.  It would take many days to cover this park properly so we decided that we would pick the things that we wanted to see the most.  The first on the list was the giant Conservatory - Cloud Forest:

Courtesy of Wikipedia:
"Cloud Forest covers an area of 2.0 acres. It replicates the cool moist conditions found in tropical mountain regions between 1,000 metres and 3,000 metres above sea level, found in South-East Asia, Middle- and South America. It features a 42-metre "Cloud Mountain" and visitors walk around the mountain via a circular path where a 35-metre waterfall provides visitors with refreshing cool air. "




The next place to visit was Flower Dome.  

Courtesy of Wikipedia:
"The Flower Dome is the larger of the two at 3.0 acres. It replicates a mild, dry climate and features plants found in the Mediterranean and other semi-arid tropical regions (e.g. parts of Australia, South America, South Africa). The Flower Dome is 38 metres high and maintains a temperature between 23 °C and 25 °C, slightly lower at night. The Flower Dome features seven different "gardens" as well as an olive grove. "


The three "suspended" statues really caught my attention.




It took us a couple of hours to look through the two conservatories and after we had taken in our fill of these magnificent places we headed to the Super Tree Grove where the light display was to be held.

Wikipedia again:
"Supertrees are tree-like structures that dominate the Gardens' landscape with heights that range between 25 metres and 50 metres. They are vertical gardens that perform a multitude of functions, which include planting, shading and working as environmental engines for the gardens.
The Supertrees are home to enclaves of unique and exotic ferns, vines, orchids and also a vast collection of bromeliads, amongst other plants. They are fitted with environmental technologies that mimic the ecological function of trees – photovoltaic cells that harness solar energy which can be used for some of the functions of the Supertrees, such as lighting, just like how trees photosynthesize; and collection of rainwater for use in irrigation and fountain displays, exactly like how trees absorb rainwater for growth. The Supertrees also serve air intake and exhaust functions as part of the conservatories' cooling systems.
There is an elevated walkway, the OCBC Skyway, between two of the larger Supertrees for visitors to enjoy a panoramic aerial view of the Gardens.  At night, the Supertrees come alive with a light and music show called the OCBC Garden Rhapsody."

We purchased tickets for the OCBC Skyway and we were mesmerised by the beautiful views that we had from the walkway.  After the walkway we took our places under the super trees for the light show.  The show was okay but it only took about 5 minutes and we were slightly underwhelmed.  However we would have been always wondering what it would've been like if we had missed it!


The Singapore Flyer (giant ferris wheel) can be seen quite clearly in this photo and note how high it is! 


The Light Show on one of the trees.


After the show we walked back to the Marina Sands complex for a light meal in the food hall and then caught a cab back to our hotel as, by this stage, it was about 9.30 pm.  We met up with Linda and  Tony for a nightcap and discussed the plan for the next day.  Sentosa Island for us!