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

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Australia Day!

I can't remember celebrating Australia Day when I was young....perhaps we did...I just can't remember, but certainly Australians are becoming more patriotic and Australia Day is now celebrated robustly.
When we lived in "the bush" Australia Day was spent at the local waterhole for a day of water ski-ing with our friends.  They were great days where we swam, skied and dare I say, drank and ate too much and most usually ended up back at our place for an impromptu BBQ.  Ahhh!  Those were the days!
Today we spent a quiet day at home and after lunch we decided to head to Port for a swim, or should I say, hubby swam and I watched.  We go to the Sheraton Mirage Country Club for our swim.  It costs  us next to nothing and we usually have the place to ourselves!  Win!  Apart from that it is also a lovely place to be on a hot summers day.
Happy Australia Day everyone!
The entrance to the lap pool

Hubby doin' his laps

At lap 79 it looks like he is saying "please God let this be the last"!

I was content to lay back on the lounge and let hubby do all the hard work!

We had the place to ourselves…..

….as is usual!

The foyer of the country club….yess….all marble…..Pixie Skase really knew how to do it!

And the entrance to the Club…yesss. marble pillars

All the golf buggies hooked up to their batteries for overnight charge.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014


…(n) A cloud of tiny water droplets suspended in the atmosphere at or near the earth's surface that limits visibility (to a lesser event than fog; strictly, with visibility remaining above 1 km)…..
So I didn't wake up to a "foggy" morning but rather a "misty" morning.

I awoke quite early this morning, about 4.45am, that's what you get when you go to bed at 8.30pm, and in the early morning light I could see that it was going to be a magnificent day.  But by 6.00am a wonderful mist had descended upon us.

I quickly grabbed the camera to get a few shots.  By 6.30 it had almost cleared into what is going to be a beautiful day in paradise.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Thank you Nigel Slater…..

….for giving me the inspiration for last nights dinner.
Hubby bought me Nigel Slaters Kitchen Diaries II for christmas and I have devoured the book, from cover to cover.  In fact it has even been the book I have taken to bed with me.  I love his recipes and simple way of cooking with not too many ingredients and always seasonal.  The fact that the whole book is set out as a diary is also great because even though he is a Brit and his seasons are opposite to ours it is easy to adapt.
Last night called for something light for dinner and Nigel's "lifesaving soup" was just the thing!  Here is what Nigel writes:

"When there is too much going on, I have a fast, fail-safe soup that seems to make life manageable once more.
I put a couple of lightly heaped tablespoons of white miso paste (I used the instant miso soup sachets that you can pick up at the supermarket) into a saucepan with 500ml vegetable stock (mine was home-made from the freezer).  Over a moderate heat, I whisk in a good teaspoon of Vietnamese chilli paste (I used home-made sambal olek) and bring it to the boil.  Just as it approaches, I slide in a large handful of broccoli florets, thinly sliced with their stalks (I didn't have broccoli so I used asparagus that was approaching its end of life) then about 250g salmon, cut into chunks, and a handful of prawns from the freezer (I didn't have any).  I finish the dish with a few spring onions, thinly sliced, a handful of coriander and basil leaves and a squeeze of lime juice.  It works out at a couple of quid a bowl, and serves two."

This soup was delicious and took about five minutes of prep and less than five minutes to cook.

Saturday, 18 January 2014

A Riot of colour in the Garden

This ginger pops up out of the ground once it rains.  It has a very delicate showy flower.
The garden is looking splendid after all the rain we have had recently.  Many of the plants in my garden  are simply green foliage until the first rain falls.  The agapanthas and day lilies have been flowering now for about six weeks.  They will probably stop flowering for a little while and then will send up another flush late summer.  In the meantime the Tuber Rose and Spider Lillies are just beginning to open.   My gardener came to me very excited this week to tell me that one of the gingers is flowering.  It seems to only flower every couple of years.  We don't know the name of it but we think it is quite rare.  It's spray of yellow flowers is stunning. So let's take a walk through the garden.

A rare and very beautiful flower

The Cyanea or Air Plant has thrown out this vibrant pink flower

The ground covers with their lovely little red flower

The aptly named Butterfly Bush

The garden at the front of the house is in full bloom

The potted vincas along the verandah were a wise choice as they are very hardy and flower almost year -round

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Vases of Flowers

Anyone that knows me well also knows that I love flowers.  I have filled our garden beds with as much colour and scent as I can manage.  But the best part of having flowers growing in the garden is that you can bring them inside and they instantly brighten up a corner in a room.  I have a little vase of flowers sitting on the bedside table in our bedroom at all times.  This week the vase holds roses, some variegated hibiscus and a pretty little white feathery flower whose name I can't recall.
A vase of colour in the bedroom

The predominant colours in the garden are all the shades of purple.  When I was about six years old I was a flower-girl for my godmother and I wore the most beautiful lilac dress.  From that time on I have loved the colour.
And little vases of pentas on the shelf in the guest bathroom

Monday, 13 January 2014

Hors d'oeuvre…..

….."first course served before the main meal and often meant to be eaten by hand" (Courtesy Wikipedia)
We had guests for lunch yesterday and I alway like to experiment with at least one dish that I have never made before.  Today it was the hors d'oeuvre….Goat Cheese Spread with Herbs and Olive Oil.  I found the recipe while surfing the web and it looked nice and easy.  As it turned out it was also very tasty.
I served it on a platter in the middle of the table and provided a small plate and knife so that my guests could help themselves.  Goats cheese is a strongly flavoured cheese but with the addition of herbs, lemon zest and a couple of other ingredients it really is a recipe worth trying.
Hubby and I polished off what was left for dinner last night. It was just the right thing to eat after a large lunch.  Here is the recipe:

Goat Cheese Spread with Herbs and Olive Oil
360g soft goats cheese (3 x 120g packets)
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for drizzling
2 tablespoons dry white wine
salt, freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (choose at least two from the following: parsley, chives, tarragon, dill)
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
Good crackers or slices of walnut bread
1 punnet cherry tomatoes
1 celery heart cut into sticks

Put goats cheese, cream, olive oil and wine in a food processor (or mix in a bowl with a wooden spoon).  Pulse just to blend.  Mixture should be spreadable.  If it's too thick add a little more cream.  Season, taste and adjust as necessary.
Reserve 1 teaspoon herbs for sprinkling and add the rest to processor.  Add the lemon zest.  Pulse once more to blend.
Line a small (about 2 cup) round bowl or cup with plastic wrap and fill with the mixture.
Cover and chill at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.
To serve, invert bowl onto a serving platter and peel off  plastic.  With the back of a spoon, level off top of cheese and make a small depression.  Drizzle olive oil over the top.  Sprinkle with reserved herbs and lemon zest.  Arrange crackers or bread slices, tomatoes and celery around cheese and let guests serve themselves. 

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Thai Budha

I want our garden to be one of peace and serenity.  A place that you want to wander through and find hidden treasures in unlikely places.  A place that you really want to visit time and time again.  We are achieving this I believe.  It is now time to start adding a few small features.
We found this statue in Cairns yesterday.  I was drawn to it straight away.  The hint of a smile on the lips, the thoughtful look in the face and all in such a comfortable position.  I want to be this person!
Our garden is a place of beauty and I am so grateful that we have such a place to come to when we need some time out.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Purple-crowned Pigeon

It was with absolute amazement and wonder that we came across this pigeon nesting right beside the path that lead to the escarpment at Mt. Lewis.  It was so well camouflaged and it was simply a fluke that I  (yes me!!) spotted it.  As anyone that knows me will tell you, a bird-watcher I am not!  I seem to walk around with my eyes closed when it comes to birds and always need someone to point one out to me.  Now all four of us had walked right past this bird in our excitement to reach the escarpment and I don't know how, as it was just an arms length away from us.  It never moved while we took photos, but we didn't want to move branches to get a better shot in case it did fly away.  We can only presume that it had an egg ready to hatch or even a chick under its fluffed out body.  We were so close we could have lifted the bird to look but we would never have done that.  We simply gazed at it's beauty.
The wonder of mother nature.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

The next part of our journey.

We drove further up the mountain after our walk into the falls to a place where there was a hut erected that would serve us fine for lunch.  But wouldn't you know it, someone had parked a vehicle in the hut!    We were quite put out but found a shady spot where we quickly laid out tables and chairs.
After a refreshing cup of tea and snack our leader said that she would like to take us to an escarpment not far from where we were.  She said it was one of her favourite places and would take our breath away with its beauty.  We were excited.
My legs, however, were not as excited.  Once I had sat down it was extremely hard to move again, but I perserved and ain't I glad I did!
This walk was not far at all and was all on quite even ground.  Our walk into the escarpment took us past a giant golden bower bird nest that was intriguingly magnificent.  How clever are these birds.  We walked lightly between ground orchids, trying not to damage them.  We came across beautiful red native rhodendrens that will be magnificent when it rains and finally, as we stepped out onto a rocky moss covered ledge the world opened out before us!  It simply took our breath away.  It is one of those moments when you thank god you are alive.  I can't tell you how high we were, somewhere around the 1500m mark, but high enough to think that you were on top of the world!
I imagine the ledge we were standing on would be very slippery once it rains as the moss would be like glass and indeed we remembered the story about one of our photography group members dropping his camera over this ledge and then in an effort to grab it, slipped down the ledge.  The ground orchids growing a little way down where the only things that broke his fall and stopped him tumbling to his death.  Sobering.
We made our way back to our vehicles and started the drive back down the mountain.  It was mid afternoon so our leader called for one more stop along the way at what she called Ferny Creek.  The perfect spot for an afternoon refreshment.  This place was, once again, serenely beautiful. A little creek flowing gently over and between moss and fern covered rocks.  Our leader said that she often came to this place early in the morning and placed her chair in the small clearing and watched as all the inquisitive little birds started digging around in the under growth.  We will certainly go back there one morning to enjoy breakfast with the birds.
Our leader pointing out the bower bird nest

A close up of the nest.  These birds are remarkable.

View from the escarpment

Ground Orchids abound

So do the native rhododendrons

The path into the escarpment was well worn and marked.

Aptly named Ferny Creek

Ferny Creek looking towards the road (Philip is sitting on the bridge)

Entrance to the path that took us to the escarpment

Monday, 6 January 2014

Some places you just want to keep a secret….

and we visited just such a place yesterday.  One of the ladies in my photography group is a mad keen bushwalker.  She is in her 70's but age has, and never will, stop her.  She was telling hubby and I about a waterfall that she had found on google maps and that she would like to try and get to it.  Hubby jumped right in and said he would accompany her if she liked, so a date was set. I didn't realise at the time that I was also included in the invite!  Now, I don't mind a walk through the bush as long as the path is marked out and well used.  I'm not very courageous when it comes to tackling thick scrub where you mark out your own path, so I told them that I would go but would stay at the car….in case of an emergency.
We set off at about 7am and arrived at our embarking point about an hour later.  I don't know what happened, maybe it was breathing all that beautiful fresh air so high in the mountains, but driving up the mountain, I decided that I would also attempt the walk. I had a bit of a panic attack when I looked at the thick scrub that we were going to be heading into but hubby assured me that I would be fine.
Our erstwhile leader was well equipped with a GPS and was as sure footed as they come as we headed into the "jungle".  It was all fairly steep downhill going and I did wonder how I would tackle the uphill coming back up but best not to think too much about that at this stage.  Our leader took it nice and easy and it took our party of four about an hour to reach our destination.  We could hear the falls well before we saw them.  Our leader brought us out into the open right at the falls!  Not bad!
The falls were amazing and all thoughts of aching knee joints disappeared as we took in the beauty above and below us.  We came out onto rocks right in the middle of the falls.  These rocks would undoubtably be a raging torrent in the wet season but there had been little rain in the past months so the rocks were dry and a great place to sit down and enjoy the beauty around us.  We nibbled on some dry fruit and drank plenty of water before we ascended a little higher to get a better view.  The top of the undulating falls were still way above us and we "may" get to the top another time.
We stopped at the falls for more than an hour, taking photographs and exploring, before our leader called us together to make the trip back up the mountain.  It was steep and difficult.  We had drunk most of our water so that had lightened our back-packs a little but they still felt like they weighed a ton! However, we took it nice and steady and stopped often for a breather.  We took a different route on the way back that was certainly shorter but perhaps a bit steeper.
It was almost lunch time when when came out into the open and saw our vehicles waiting patiently for us.  We had another spot marked for lunch so we all clambered into the cars quite quickly so that we could enjoy some air-conditioned cooling.  I will tell you about the next part of the day in tomorrows post.

Setting out along the track, following our leader
The beginning of our bush walk
Sometimes the scrub was so thick we could barely see each other
The first sight of water

And then we stepped out onto a ledge and looked down to this

And up to this!

It was indeed picture perfect

The trek back up the mountain was no mean feat!

Some of the little orchids growing on the trees