A couple of weekends ago we farewelled The Five Mile, the 100+ acre property of our dear friends that Farmer Nifty in particular has loved and nurtured now for over 16 years. In what we affectionately called ‘The Wake’ we remembered all the good times that had happened there in that time including their daughter’s weddings, summer holidays showing their grandkids the delights of rural life and the long cherished dream which came to fruition of Nifty embracing long distance horse rides up through the mountains and the rugged Australian Bush in a ‘man from Snowy River’ type fashion. 100 acres is a lot to look after however and especially when you do not have the luxury of town water or a garbage collection and there are a gazillion fences to constantly check on and paddocks to slash. It’s always hard to know when to pull the pin and leave, especially when you still love it. He is struggling in particular with saying goodbye to his beautiful horses who he has loved and cared for for many many years and my heart crumbles for him for what I know will be the hardest goodbye.
On our last night as we sat in the back paddock in front of a glowing camp fire under a billion stars and reminisced about days gone by I could see that there would never be an easy time to say goodbye. The good thing is that a wonderful new adventure is about to start for them with a new house and new location to love and cherish. The other love of his life is fishing and they will now be a mere 150 metres from the water on beautiful Jervis Bay, closer to their kids and grandchildren and happily closer to us! It is so good at this age and stage to be able to reinvent your life and enjoy a different part of the world, see new things and meet new people – just as we have here in The Meadow. It isn’t always easy to leap off a cliff into the unknown but it can bring unanticipated joy and happiness!
These two have been great friends, colleagues and partners in crime for more years than I care to remember and I’m so glad we had this last hurrah at The Five Mile and a poignant last walk on Congo beach together before closing the gate for the last time……
We had a quick trip to The Big Smoke last week, a multi faceted trip involving a working bee at our house prior to new tenants moving in and a lovely social visit with our good friends. In 24 hours the painters had freshened the house, fixed and varnished the back deck and we had replanted the courtyard, all things that hopefully will be appreciated by the new people. I am always constantly horrified at the lack of work done by landlords in Sydney. My son lives in a lovely old terrace in Paddington but it is in dire need of a bit of TLC and a repaint etc. They have an overseas landlord who doesn’t seem to care and knows he will always get young people willing to pay exorbitant rent to live in the Paddo precinct no matter what the conditions. Greedy and selfish I reckon. We arrived perfectly in time to celebrate our friend’s daughter’s engagement and then enjoyed a fabulous meal at Lotus in Barangaroo after drinks in a great place sporting the most amazing whisky bar – glowing amber in the evening light it was quite magnetic!! Thanks for a super evening G and M !!
One of the girls in my Pilates class kindly invited us all to her house for a ‘healthy lunch’ to belatedly celebrate Christmas and the New Year. Nothing fancy she assured us and I had envisaged an interesting salad and a fruit platter or something similar and I was so surprised when I arrived at her gorgeous home to see a table laid beautifully and a feast awaiting us. The presentation of everything was exquisite. On top of all that everything was from her garden or made by her – from the mandolin thin zucchini stuffed with home made labneh and scattered with dried beetroot dust, violas and thyme served with a pickled chilli cucumber salad to the fluffy cheese roulade filled with roasted veggies and home made pesto, the quinoa salad with roasted hazelnuts and pepitas and a salad of fine slivers of marinated squash and zucchini flowers to the dessert platter of fresh peaches and cherries, home made lime curd tarts and a ‘healthy’ coconut ice using rice syrup and that gorgeous beetroot dust again! So creative and tasty. She is my new mentor, she fits soooo much into every day and makes me feel like a lazy cow in comparison. We finished with some lemon verbena tea plucked straight from the garden and after a few hours of a lovely girly lunch (is there anything better??) I went home vowing to make my days count a little more!! I have now bought a mandolin and some muslin to make my own labneh – I think I’m turning into a groupie!!
I am not the most diligent housewife in the world. I love things neat and orderly and tidy but I am not obsessed with cleaning products, in fact I try and stay away from the chemically laden bottles and opt for some old fashioned vinegar and bicarb of soda to do lots of the dirty work around my house but every now and again I fall in love with a product and today I am going to share with you my current favourite one – the magic eraser. They purport to get rid of those stubborn marks on paintwork and woodwork (which they do) and most recently they have also come in very handy with my new induction cook top. I am still getting used to this new method of cooking and over Christmas I completely forgot the rules when I turned one of the rings on and popped the saucepan on it with a drizzle of oil and then got distracted with something else until I suddenly noticed smoke pouring off the pan. The end result was my beautifully shiny glossy black cook top now had a horrible ugly burned circle on it. I tried to wash it off the usual way to no effect and day after day it stared at me, reproaching me for my stupidity until I had a light bulb moment and tried the magic eraser on it and indeed, just like magic it disappeared and my beautiful new oven has regained it’s status as king of the kitchen, gleaming and perfect! ALWAYS have some of these little babies in your kitchen cupboard just in case of disaster folks, you won’t regret it!
Australia Day was spent with a small group of interesting and fun people at The Heads Hotel participating in the old fashioned delights of crab racing and thong throwing and a menu of fish and chips, a good old Aussie pie and the obligatory prawns, all set to the sounds of Aussie songs being played and sung by a local musician. The lovely Maryann had invited me along as she knew I was home alone with the Master of The House being in Europe persuading people to make some fabulous new cocoa products for him. In what is fast becoming synonymous with an outing with Maryann I had a “2 degrees of separation” moment when we discovered that one of the couples on our table had been a previous owner of our house in Rozelle! What a crazy coincidence!! Needless to say a big day was had by all but none quite as big as this little girl who just had to crash there and then on the grass! Crab racing is emotionally exhausting you know………
As my children will attest I can see a spelling mistake at 50 paces and my pet hate is incorrectly spelt menus, brochures and signs.How can anything that’s been published and therefore passed through the hands and eyes of at least 3 different people still contain mistakes FFS??? However with the advent of tiny phone keyboards and fat fingers I am a little more magnanimous – this is me to a tee……………..
(Ps….just a little tip for those of you that receive this in email format….I was informed that the little video of George the baby wombat that I uploaded last week was missing from the post and when I investigated I had the same problem, along with a really strange format with tiny photos etc. So folks, if you too experienced this please just make sure you always click on the green square pattern on the left of the title of the post each time and it will transform into the correct visual format for you with access to all the links etc.)