For the Labour Day long weekend the G.O. and I took a well-earned extra couple of days off and headed up to our house on the Mid North Coast of NSW. The night before we left the G.O. packed the ute with bits and pieces we’d accumulated, clothes, wine and the coffee machine.
We didn’t alter the G.O.’s alarm clock setting so departed at the usual time he’d be going to work on a Friday – 5.30 am, fathoming the error of pre-packing the coffee machine. We were saved a long hour and half later by Oliver’s Real Food on the freeway where we grabbed coffees, and takeaway sandwiches for later. We hadn’t stopped there before. Their philosophy is “Fresh. Natural. Organic.” Their locations are where you’d normally find only fast food: “we know how hard it is to get food when travelling for people with special diets”. The G.O. and I don’t have special dietary requirements but we were hoping to continue the evolutionary food process upon which we’ve recently embarked.
After driving almost 6 hours and visiting briefly the G.O.’s Mum in town, before heading home we needed to do a quick fresh food shop. I wanted to see how we’d fare buying local food so we opted for the co-op supermarket we’d eschewed for the last few years after witnessing certain deli hygiene violations.
Success was better than I anticipated. The produce section was signposted local, Australian or imported, and we scored local: Dorrigo potatoes (including kipfler); Ricardoes Tomatoes from Port Macquarie; apple cucumbers; small sweet brown onions; shallots; bananas. From the dairy section we bought Lismore based Norco nonhomogenized milk, cream, sour cream and butter; and Wauchope’s Hastings Valley Dairy tasty cheese. And Bowraville “Organic Ways” eggs.
Lastly we ventured to Macksville Quality Meats because we’ve often admired but not tried the wares in their shop window. They were happy to discuss the provenance of their meat: local beef from Bowraville; pork and lamb from the Northern Tablelands. We came away with a variety destined for the G.O.’s bbq.
Happy enough with the results of our shopping quest we set off home to tidy and unpack, where I recognised the potential for the pantry to be better utilised (and organised) as I deposited a jar of olives next to three others, and noted similarly for jars of jam, pickles and relish.
Later we dined splendidly on local fare: steaks beautifully barbequed by the G.O. accompanied by baked kipfler potatoes with sour cream and tomato, cucumber & onion salad. A great start.
On Sunday we browsed the Hub n’ Pub markets which happened to be on, all 4 stalls which had eggs and plants predominantly, neither of which we were in need of… After buying a homemade red velvet cake we embarked on our plan for a longer visit with the G.O.’s Mum followed by a trip into Davis Seafoods at Nambucca Heads. The G.O.’s Mum had other plans of the timber venetian installing kind for the G.O, and for the cake which we never did get to taste.
Fortunately a local oyster farmer has opened up a seafood shop across the road, so we made a last-minute dash and came up with Nambucca River oysters and Coffs Harbour king prawns. Doing so created a need for the G.O.’s favourite supermarket white bread from Woolworths, which with butter, lemon, sweet chili mayo and a couple of glasses of wine, was a simple seafood dinner and reward for his efforts.
We occupied several hours of the weekend on maintenance jobs and gardening what at the moment is a very parched yard as the usually verdant area heads into summer having had not much winter rain. Our garden is dry but there were a couple of gems. The yellow iris rewarded the G.O.’s sprinklings of water by offering up all its blooms the morning we left. Our yellow climbing rose flowered for the first time, pale but triumphant. Our elegant champagne standard rose decided glamorous crimson climber suited it better.
But if each man could have his own house, a large garden to cultivate and healthy surroundings – then, I thought, there will be for them a better opportunity of a happy family life.
Postscript to My father’s daughter: Our weekend away also gave us the opportunity to cover off one other item on our agenda, a visit to Dad. We found ourselves ahead of time on the return trip to Sydney, so detoured his way for a cup of tea and chat. Dad, of course, didn’t miss the opportunity before we resumed our homeward journey to encourage the G.O. to forsake work and retreat for a few days there.