With a royal flourish we added 2 days to the Queen’s Birthday long weekend and escaped to our house up the coast. With no expectation of great weather, we were looking forward to an early winter mini-break & quality time by the fire. We achieved the objective plus acquired a bounty of rural winter offerings.
In sameoldsameold mode we made a Saturday 3.30am departure & 5+ hour drive north. We arrived at Macksville to morning sunshine and the riverbank markets opening for trade. We snapped up coffees and an array of vege-goodies from members of the G.O’s clan at Wilton Farm Fresh: avocado’s, eggplant, sugar snap peas, chilli’s, and from Gumma Seedlings Fresh Produce: silver beet, beetroot, spring onions. From yet another of the G.O.’s clan we purchased a couple of bright bromeliads, for a good cause of course, to assist KW reach his goal of raising $100, 000 for the children’s charity “Plan”.
We ran a few errands, had a cup of tea with the M.I.L., rescued a set of old hand embroidered linen tea towels from her charity bag, and proceeded via the scenic dirt detour which Council now estimates weather permitting will be no longer necessary when the tarred route landslip reparation is completed in August… we’ll see.
Unlike Easter, considerately cool weather since our last break meant we arrived to a winter garden and little to be done other than unpack & tidy which nonetheless took a good hour or so. We’d thoughtfully left ourselves a pre-prepared load of firewood in the wheelbarrow, so the G.O. loaded the fire up not-too-much-later in the afternoon. Bliss.
Sunday defied the weather reports by being sunny but cool. Perfect for a post late-lunch stroll to the river. Enroute as we stacked his firewood delivery, a neighbour warned us “storm cell on the coast heading our way, wouldn’t go too far if I was you”. By the time we cut through the church yard on the way back we abandoned our plan to forage for bush lemons as the prophecy manifested.
Once again the G.O. lit the fire, and it stayed lit until our Wednesday morning departure. The rain far from being a burden lent enchantment to long baths, sleep-ins, book reading, football watching, a foray to town to browse the second hand shops for bargains, oooh oooh, a find! 2 tiny white & gold sweet bowls in the marked down basket, visits from the LHS neighbour’s cat, and the culinary delights of those vege-goodies.
Notable of which, never-before-attempted despite being easy-to-do baked beetroot: place peeled (the instruction to simply scrub them is rubbish) beetroot onto double wrapped foil; instruct the G.O. to acquire an orange from RHS neighbour’s tree (ours aren’t ripe), peel & cut half into chunks, add to beetroot; further instruct the G.O. we need garlic from RHS neighbour’s shed, add half a dozen peeled cloves to beetroot; drizzle with olive oil & balsamic vinegar; garnish with sea salt & pepper medley; and crunch foil into a parcel. Bake in 220-250 degree (celsius) oven for about an hour or until you can smell cooked beetroot. At the same time you may as well wrap oiled eggplant in foil and bake it, because even though the G.O. will screw his face up when requested to taste it, it will the next morning with the addition of the contents of a garlic head baked whole in foil in the fire, olive oil & sea salt, make silky (also never-before-attempted) Baba Ghanoush to be eaten on sourdough toast for breakfast.
As the sun re-emerged on Wednesday morning we were drinking coffee on the veranda prior to departing, in true country style the RHS neighbours appeared proffering shopping bags of mandarins, oranges, a jar of home made marmalade and the caution “you’ll need your teeth in to eat it, I forgot to soak the rind…”