Another Christmas done and dusted

Well for me anyway.

I know some people here in Australia are probably gearing up for a night-time celebration and others on the other side of the world are so behind the times they haven’t even started the party yet but this year we had a breakfast get together which meant I was back lying in bed in my new pyjama pants by 11am. Seriously, why didn’t I think of this years ago!!

Now that my kids are all older they have boyfriends and girlfriends and friends and other things to see and do so I thought if we had breakfast/brunch together then they could go off and do whatever else they wanted. So I said to my daughter – what time will you be here  – and she said – 8am or a bit earlier! So it was an early kind of start.

I went to the beach for a while at lunch time as it was so hot and humid I figured a swim would be nice however it was as usual,  you drive 10 minutes to the beach and it’s about 15 degrees cooler and there’s no way you’re getting in that water. I mean the water temperature is sitting at 19 degrees at the moment so it needs to be pretty damn hot before I get in.

Meet ups with the family over the next couple of days then bring on the new year.

Merry Christmas and best wishes to everyone. Peace, joy and goodwill – spread the message people, it seems to be getting lost.

three-wise-men

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Won’t you go, a sloppy joe

Sorry, Australian cultural reference there. An old ad campaign from here in the 70s – Won’t you go a Chiko Roll. (Picture young bronzed Aussies gallivanting about the beach eating about 5000 kilojoules of deep fried – who ever knew what was in them). A popular deep fried takeaway food item available from every milk bar during that era they were sort of like a massive spring roll and the ends were delicious and crunchy but the centre was full of some dubious mix that included cabbage and other soggy things that burnt the shit out of your chin if they dropped onto it.

Anyway back to the sloppy joe. What’s the go with them? We don’t eat them here but I look at a lot of cooking sites and they show up all the time. As far as I can tell they’re mince on a roll and they always look kind of, well sloppy and messy and hard to eat and I can’t see the appeal of them. So what’s the story behind the sloppy joe? Where did the idea originate, does everyone in the USA really eat them, is there an occasion where you especially eat them and how the hell exactly do you eat them?

Bluebottle invasion

About a month ago we had an invasion of bluebottles on one of the beaches.

bluebottles

They were thick like this over the whole beach, I’ve never seen this many clumped together before and I certainly didn’t venture on to the beach without my shoes on.

bluebottles2

They were swept in during storms and the thought of being out swimming in the water with them all brushing past made me shudder, don’t want to think about how many stings you could have endured. Probably enough to send you into shock.

It’s the tentacle that stings you and they can be metres in length and they have little barbed hooks on them so once they wrap around something they dig in and release a poison that hurts like hell I believe. I’ve never been caught by one and this sight has really put me off going in the water this summer.

They’re pretty things though – prehistoric looking. You can see the long tentacles here, they don’t even need to be attached to the body to latch on either, they can just float around on their own. Ouch.

bluebottles3Council had to clean them up in the end with tractors as they were getting a bit rank.

Junk Food Junkie – it’s all about the chips

What’s your biggest junk food weakness? Tell us all about it in its sugary, salty, glory.

For me it’s all about hot chips. Not fries – chips. Fries are what you get at McDonald’s or KFC or other places like that and they’re just little worms and scraps that are usually either too soft or too crispy. Chips come from a fish and chip shop, or a corner takeaway or from the kiosk at the beach. They’re thick and actually have potato in the middle and they come in a cardboard cone and they’re good with just a bit of salt. My daughters like to cover theirs in tomato sauce or gravy, gravy is ok but you have to be in the mood and it has to be good gravy – not tinned stuff.

These ones came from Nobbys Beach kiosk and had a bit too much salt and a few too crunchy but they did the job. I had some really good ones a few weeks ago from Bar Beach Kiosk – they were really chunky, lots of potato.

hot chips

Daily Prompt: The Happy Wanderer

What’s your travel style? Are you itinerary and schedule driven, needing to have every step mapped out in advance or are you content to arrive without a plan and let happenstance be your guide?

Funny you should mention it. I was trying not to think about travelling today as I’m getting on that cruise ship tomorrow. A great big heavy ship, with lots of people on it, floating about out on the seas – in the dark. Not permanently dark obviously but it departs at night so we’ll be straight into night-time.

I don’t like being on boats; I like the idea of being on one until I’m actually on it and out in the middle of a large body of water. It’s the large body of water that I’m really afraid of so I should be grateful that I’m in the boat.

But you can’t let your fears mess with your mind and I really do expect it to be a lot of fun and at least this way I’ll know if it’s a sailor’s life for me.

When our kids were small and we travelled I used to map it all out and have a plan because kids like to have a plan; they need snacks and a spare set of clothes and activity books and drinks – but now that we travel mostly without them we wing it more.

This cruise ship came into our harbour a couple of weeks ago and it was pretty impressive. Maybe not for the passengers though as they don’t pull into a nice terminal, they pull in at our coal terminal, which I myself think would be more interesting.

Here it is coming around the lighthouse past dog beach (which is the beach where you can take dogs). It looks like it’s floating by in about 6 inches of water – it’s always amazing to stand there and watch them go by, you feel as if you could just about reach out and touch them.

Bon Voyage!! (There doesn’t appear to be a lot of life boats does there)

cruising

feeling the heat

I used to love summer; I couldn’t get enough of it. If someone told me when I was 20 that when I was 50 I’d like winter better I would have scoffed at the suggestion.

But winters are getting milder here and summers are definitely getting hotter every year. Just last week Adelaide was the hottest city on the planet; that just seems like crazy talk and the poor tennis players at the Australian Open were running around for hours in Melbourne in 50 degree heat (celsius).

7.30am here as I write this and it’s already stifling and clammy. Well I’m clammy, the atmosphere is stifling.

The best place to be on a hot summers day is in at the harbour where it can be 10 degrees cooler than it is here at home and only a 10 minute drive away. Or an 8 minute bus trip if you plan on whiling away the afternoon at a bar that serves cold wine and a good view.

That’s what I did on Friday afternoon with a good friend of mine. I love our old working harbour, you can sit there for hours watching the comings and goings. I’ve turned into one of those weird old people who enjoy going in and watching the coal ships come in. You always know when one’s coming or going because a helicopter goes up first and takes the pilot out and he’s lowered onto the ship then soon after you see the little tugs heading out; they always look so happy about their job.

School holidays end here soon and I’ll be able to head back to the pool. I usually try to avoid it when it’s swarming with kids.

Honeysuckle-January-2014

Newcastle-Harbour-2014

Newcastle-harbour-January-2014

sleepless in spring

So last night I dreamt that some people were injecting me with a sedative so they could take me away and kill me. The only thing that saved me was Chicken Little who (in real life) was on the end of my bed and howled in her sleep and woke me up scaring the crap out of me.

She does this little Hound of the Baskervilles thing where she’s sound asleep but then puts her head up to the sky and does a long howl. She does it when she hears an ambulance or police siren in her sleep, must think it’s the pack calling her.

Anyway this whole sleeping thing is becoming exhausting.

In other news yesterday they arrested an 11-year-old boy who started that fire that was near me. So that gives you hope for the future of mankind doesn’t it.

I had my first swim of spring on Sunday; it was a beautiful day. I could’ve had it any time over the past month really as the weatherman told me last night that by the end of October we would have had 20 days over 30 degrees here (which is ridiculous) but most of them have been incredibly windy and not pleasant beach going days at all.

I don’t usually go to this beach but I was walking past and it looked nice. This is Bar Beach and it’s over the other side of the hill from where I usually hang but I’ve extended my walking route to 6.3kms so I go to it before I turn around and come back over the hill. It does get busy here but a lot of the people you see here are there involved with Nippers which is an activities programme run by the Surf Life Saving Clubs of NSW on Sunday mornings. All the beaches are packed with kids doing sporty water/beach things so I usually go to the ocean baths then instead.

bar-beach

I might go for a swim today before the wind picks up again tomorrow – I need something to clear my fuddled sleep deprived brain.