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

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Christmas 2012 in review

We had a very enjoyable christmas in Toowoomba with mum and John.  We never cooked a meal, apart from the ham and eggs for breakfast and it made christmas very stress-free for all of us.  We flew to Brisbane two days before christmas and flew home again the day after boxing day.  We went by Greyhound bus from Brisbane to Toowoomba.  That was totally worthwhile because we didn't have to negotiate the Brisbane traffic.
Dinner at the Chinese Restaurant
Santa at Audrey Court
Our first night in Toowoomba, John went to the local fishmonger and bought many kilos of lovely fresh tiger prawns.  We sat around the table and made complete pigs of ourselves as we devoured the prawns and washed them down with an ale or two.  Delicious.  Boxing Day DH and I made our way to Grand Central so that DH could visit the barber and I could purchase a few last minute gifts.  We arrived early to miss the crowd but by the time we left, the mall was chock-a-block.  We made our way home and had a rest before dinner at one of the local chinese restaurants.  This was also another memorable  meal.  After dinner we drove over to Audrey Court to have a look at the beautifully lit houses.  Boy does that street know how to do it and it was heartwarming to see the christmas spirit between neighbours.

One of the many houses in Audrey Court
Mum adding "Merry Xmas" to her eggs

Christmas Lunch at the Federal
Masterchef John
Christmas Day was fantastic.  After a leisurely breakfast of ham and eggs, cooked by the mastcherchef himself, John, we showered and changed into our "Sunday Best" and made our way to the Federal Hotel for lunch.  What a feast!  Who would ever have thought that I could eat as much as I liked of my favourite food, Lobster! And that was just starters.  The main was roast pork, turkey, glazed ham and of course every conceivable vegetable to accompany it.  The dessert table was laden with such a wonderful variety of desserts.  Everything from plum pudding and custard to trifle to mud cake to fruit salad, and the list goes on.  We were joined for lunch by my sister and her family.  It was such a treat to be able to be able to celebrate christmas with them.  After lunch we made our way back to mum's place where we sat around and chatted over a few drinks and opened our "Secret Santa" presents.  After my sister and her family left to go back to Beaudesert,  DH and I quickly showered and made our way over to Curzon Street to visit the Reids for a backyard BBQ. We didn't know until Christmas day that they were also in Toowoomba to celebrate christmas so it was great to be able to catch up with them and their news.
The Family
Dessert at the Reids
Boxing Day we were meant to be going to the Warwick Races to meet up with my neice and her little girl but due to an exceptionally heavy downpour on Christmas night the races were cancelled.  We compromised instead by going to the Cambooya Pub for a slap-up lunch.  We were joined by Aunty Ann and Uncle Ken, an unexpected surprise.  After lunch John took us for a drive over to the winery and then on to Picnic Point for coffee and ice-cream.  That night was an early night so that we would be refreshed for our trip back to Cairns the next day.
It was a truly wonderful Christmas and it was the first time that DH and I had eaten Christmas
lunch at a restaurant but it will not be the last.  Mum, John, DH and I are already planning the next one in Port Douglas!
Boxing Day at Picnic Point

Thursday, 20 December 2012


I love these flowers sooooo much.  For me, they are the holy grail of gardening,  something that only the gardeners with really green fingers grow.  I remember as a child, growing up in Warwick, my mum had a wonderful display of hydrangeas that took pride of place along the side of the house.  They were very large bushes with huge blue flowers.  I loved them even back then.   In those days everyone had hydrangeas growing in their garden.  Sadly they lost there fascination for many years but now they have regained their popularity.  It is not easy growing them in the tropics.   Our bushes are more than three years old and it's taken all this time to get a nice display.  I think the very dry summer has helped somewhat but I'm not sure.  Anyway, I've been bringing them inside as my cut flower display for a couple of months now and will do so until the wet starts.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Photography at Mossman Gorge

Our young friends Rachel and Christian bought themselves a brand new Canon camera so they asked if I could give them a few camera tips.  The best thing by far is just to get out there and take photos so we arranged to go to Mossman Gorge for a photo shoot.
Our first stop was at the new Mossman Gorge  Centre where we enjoyed a good cup of coffee at the Mayi Cafe before boarding the shuttle bus to the gorge.  This is a much better arrangement than it was previously where you drove your car to the gorge.  That used to be a nightmare as the narrow road to the gorge gave cause to many games of "Chicken" and when you finally got to the car park you couldn't find a park!
The gorge is usually a delightfully cool place to be on a hot summers day but as it has been so dry of late, we all found it very humid.  Anyway, we persevered the heat and took a walk through the rainforest, stopping for some nice photography.  Christians mum and dad (Kate and Mike) also joined us.  I did dip my toes in the water at the gorge and was very surprised to find that it was extremely cold!      Here are some photos from the day.

Our friends and DH (stands for Darling Husband NOT Dick Head)

Some of the little ferns on the rainforest floor

Very inviting!

I wonder how this young person got to the  middle of the river without getting wet!

Even the Cassowary is into the Xmas spirit!

Visitors enjoying the VERY cool waters

Saturday, 15 December 2012

I Won a Prize!

I entered the photograph of my pineapple bromeliad into the Newsport photo competition and I won third prize!  Newsport is an online newspaper covering the Port Douglas/Mossman area. The photography in this competition is very stiff so I feel pretty good.  I won a cookbook and apron, that of course suits me very well.  Click here to go to the Newsport page and scroll down to the November entries.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Wish it was mine!

In March next year it will be our 35th wedding anniversary and we are going to celebrate with a reunion of our friends from Julia Creek.  There will be 18 of us if everyone can make it and we want everybody to stay here at our place.  This will take some organisation.  We have been asking around our friends here at Julatten to see who has caravans or campers.  One of our friends told us that they had a caravan that might be OK to use.  These friends are off to the US at the end of the month and will be away for three months and they were concerned that their van was going to be out in the weather during the wet season.  So they asked if they could store the van in our very large shed and in return we can make use of it for the reunion.  It was a win for both of us.  So our friends arrived with the van yesterday.  We had not seen the van up close and to say that we were gob-smacked when they drove up our driveway with it in tow is an understatement.  It is huge.....almost 40 foot of it.  Fully air-conditioned, two bedrooms, full size kitchen, bathroom, toilet and an extendable (push button!) lounge area complete with flat screen TV!  Wow!  I could live in this van no problems at all and as it sleeps four we will make good use of it at the reunion.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

When Dance Takes Over....

That was the title of this years Bodies in Motion dance production.
We have been attending this annual showcase of the shire's young dancers ever since moving here in 2006.  It is such a great show.  We both love dance and music in general but to watch these young people perform such incredible dance moves is something beyond words.  Every year it does the same thing for me.  It sets the heart racing.  Oh, the excitement of it all.  Last year our photography group won the contract to photograph the performers, but unfortunately this year we missed out.  I missed that.  Here are some photos that I took at the performance inside the Glade at the Sheraton Mirage where the show was held.  We were sitting some distance from the stage and every time we are sitting so far back I say to myself "next year I'm going to get from row seats".....but I never get in fast enough!

Monday, 10 December 2012

Tufi Resort

While the "girls" were having their weekend at Mooloolaba the "boys" had their weekend at beautiful Tufi Resort.  DH came home full of high praise for this resort that is set against a backdrop of pristine rainforest and glorious blue ocean.  The boys spent the weekend fishing, eating and drinking - a lot!  They also took in a cultural tour that DH thoroughly enjoyed.  He took some photos on his I-phone  but he says they don't do the place justice.  DH has promised to take me there, so, maybe the "girls" and "boys" can all go together for a bit of R & R.
DH with the resorts mascot - Coco

Looking from the breakfast deck towards the Fjords

Native Outrigger Fishing Boat

Crystal Clear Waters

One of the lovely waterfalls

Locals selling their wares

BBQ Lunch in the junge

Native climbing the palm tree to take a photo of the group

Culture tour of the local village

Sing-sing at the cultural tour


Lunch on the beach 

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Anyone for Roast Pork?

Son keeps an excellent eye on his roast.
Living on a cattle station meant that we always had a freezer of beef and pork for us was a real treat.  It was always the meat of choice for birthday celebrations and christmas was never the same without roast pork.  So when son and DIL invited us to Caleewa for their annual christmas party with a Pig-On-A-Spit, all other plans went out the window!  We were off to Julia Creek!
Happy Roasting.

Removing the extremely hot rod.
Making certain that the pork is cooked.  It is.
We took Grandma with us for the drive.  She loves going back to Caleewa and enjoys being with the family.  On the morning of the party DIL cooked up a storm in the kitchen. Vegetables were prepared for cooking in the coals and all types of salads and nibbles were created.  Son and DH started preparations for cooking the pig first thing in the morning and by lunchtime the pig was happily spinning away on the spit.  There is something about the smell of pork, with that wonderful crackling, cooking over coals.  It is a smell like no other.  Guests started arriving at Caleewa before the sun went down and just on dark son and DIL set out the food for all the lucky guests.  What a feast!
Gathering around for the feast ahead.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Cooking up a storm.

A little while back "The Girls" and I flew to Brisbane and then on to Mooloolaba for a week-end of fun and relaxation.  It was Linda's birthday so, of course, it was her choice of activities for the weekend.  She chose very well especially the cooking class at Spirit House.  Anyone that knows me well also knows I'm a bit of a foodie.  I love food, not so much the cooking these days, but most definitely the eating!  Spirit House is at Yandina and after using Google Maps we found the place very easily.  What a beautiful place.  I've never been to Thailand but I'm guessing that this place is as close as you could get to it.  The classes are held every day and the day that we chose was a vegetarian thai cooking class. Now, as everyone knows, I'm not a vegetarian so the thought of eating Tofu was not something high on my list.  However, DH and I have meat-free days occasionally and I have to admit I enjoy them as long as it is flavoursome.  As it turned out at least half of the class of 17 were not vegetarians and the Chef gave us plenty of ideas to adapt our vegetarian meals so that they included protein.
The Chef was amazing and I learnt so much in just four hours.  I didn't know that you peeled ginger with a spoon (who would have thought!) and I also wondered why my chilli and capsicum always slid around the board when I was cutting them.  Turns out I was cutting them on the wrong side.  We learnt basic knife skills and I am now quite chuffed that I can make shallot "curls" - very "Cheffy" We chopped, pounded, tossed, wok'd our way around the kitchen and after all our hard work we were rewarded with a feast fit for a king.  What a great day we had!

The girls enjoying a "smoko" break in the garden.
All that pounding was hard work!

Linda's turn to cook

 This was the Menu:

Crispy Sweet Potato & Coconut Fritters with  tangy sweet/sour sauce
Yellow Curry of Water Spinach and Pumpkin
Garlic and Pepper Field Mushrooms
Tomato & Tamarind Relish

Glass Noodle Salad with cloud ear mushrooms
Steamed Silken Tofu with Ginger, Black Beans and Shallots