Archive for October, 2019

RtR – Armidale to Pokolbin

Posted: October 21, 2019 in Travel

The included Continental Breakfast performed its duty so after a good nights sleep we were on the road at 730 am. Another good run with some road work still had us motoring along at a good lick. We use Google Maps mostly on the road but you need to be aware of some of its shortcomings. The fastest route not always the best route as we found when stuck on 5 kms of gravel road to avoid the 3 min detour via Tamworth! We chose Willow Tree as a midway point for no other reason then it was …… midway😏. Research had indicated that Georgie Browns Cottage at 8 New England Hwy was a good coffee stop. We stopped at place that looked like photo but was called La Chikky Cafe now. Sold coffee so went in and ordered and sat in Courtyard waiting. The white look was first concern for a Flat White – the second was the taste. The grass wont need watering under our table tonight if ya get my drift. Checked coffee app and it suggested The Plains Pantry next door. Much better. We bought 2 coffees each in space of 10 mins but only drank one. Life is too short for crap coffee. There were two tourist buses stopped at Willow Tree but its allure still escapes this LBD. It’s a one horse town and the Glue Factory has openings

Back on the road and another 2 hrs had us as Estate Tuscany in Pokolbin. A bit early for check in so we parked and walked up to nearby Broken Back Bar just at the bottom of Brokeback Mountain. Had a very cold and tasty Kirin beer and a small plate of canapés. Kirin beer is a Japanese named beer brewed in Australia by a Scotsman served to us by a Kiwi! I bring people together , its what I do

We then checked into a tres pleasant room and at present the place looks quiet . Just need a stepladder to get into bed

Then it was time to start the wine tasting. First up was the ever reliable Brokenwood and have to say it was amazing. Not only is the Cellar Door brilliant now but staff were so friendly and helpful. CLP ordered a dozen to be delivered as she was always going to and so the lady threw in a bottle for us to drink tonight. By now we were a bit peckish so headed to an old fave – Usher Tinkler – for a cured meat platter . Pretentious Pratt’s call them Charcuterie. Usher Tinkler called them “Closed” as in food stopped at 230 pm and the chef has closed the can . Oh well onto McWilliams Mt Pleasant as our last stop for day. Another wine tasting and bought a couple but by 330 pm tummy was growling so dropped into adjacent Cheese Shop who didnt serve Wensleydale but did serve a perfectly acceptable Charcuterie. Go figure eh. I knew it was time to stop drinking when tipped excess wine into water jug instead of spittoon. The look on lady’s face suggested I was not the first to have done that

Then it was back home and although it was 430 pm we Qlders knew that it was really 330 pm so straight to the Pool Room. Lovely

We had a dinner booked for 6pm to avoid a large booking at 630 pm so sun will be up but so is my appetite. Not often that the most important item of clothing apparel for dinner is Sunglasses 😏 Easy stumbling distance so no probs having a few sherberts. Apart from fact we need to be up at 4 am tomorrow for our Sunrise Balloon Flight!

There was no trouble at or finding The Old Mill restaurant as it was next to Broken Back Bar. Meal was excellent and a perfect end to a great day . And it was almost dark when we left the restaurant. Damn if I am going to eat that early should have gone for the Seniors Discount

RtR – Armidale

Posted: October 20, 2019 in Travel

Left Toowoomba at 0730 and decided to drive to Warwick for breakfast rather than go the Maccas Drive Thru option. Lovely clear day and easy drive first up. Stopped at Cafe Jacquis just as you entered town and had a very passable breakfast and a rather ordinary coffee. Our luck has to change soon. Then we took requisite photo of town highlight before continuing on to Glenn Innes

Light traffic and good roads with plenty of overtaking lanes made for a relatively easy trip. We crossed into NSW and suddenly lost an hour of our lives and also 10 points of our IQ…. Rather than risking another coffee and still being rather full from lavish breakfast I devised a clever plan. How about for our driving break if late in morning we drop into a pub for a cold beer instead. The Imperial Hotel in Glenn Innes ticked most boxes and then came next lesson. Learn the lingo – midis or schooners?

Having rinsed the tonsils adequately and still being BAC of 0.001 we continued onto Armidale. Our Air BNB was an easy find and looks great for one night. Not much relaxing area but there is an outside setting which we will abuse when sun goes down

Time then to get lay of land and some lunch. We knew town centre was close by but sadly headed in wrong direction on foot. No dramas as we found a fish and chippery which hit the spot perfectly. Left premises and looked right but went left. Sure enough we were middle of town Licketty spit. Mind you downtown Armidale on a Sunday afternoon makes Maryhole look like a thriving metropolis! Dan Murphys was only place open which as luck would have it the only place we needed. Wine bought and ready to abuse said outdoor gear if sun ever goes down

It did

Road to Rooin’ – The Wedding

Posted: October 19, 2019 in Travel

Before heading off south for a few have a very important date in Toowoomba with a certain daughter. Headed out day before as it was TACAPS Grandparents Day and they are always a treat. Very impressive school and lovely to see the 3 Grandkiddies interact together so well as they show me their school

First though we picked up hire suit only to find the shirt was a bit tight in the neck as in no way could do up collar! Found the next size up in an off the rack shirt and it will do. I suggest people are not there to look at me. The City Golf Club motel looks tres impressive as well. Great service and we got in early at 1030 so knobber knobber. Led to a relaxing afternoon as family slowly rolled in. It’s not set up well for nearby eating/drinking establishments but not an issue. We headed off to Golf Club for dinner with brother and family for an early reconnoiter. Easy walk and impressive place. Should be able to stumble home if needed after Reception.

Wedding day dawned foggy/cloudy. Who knows in Toowoomba. Have been watching weather forecast daily and of course it changes daily and we have gone from a glorious sunny warm day to now a cooler but maybe drizzly day. Time will tell

Weather hung in until 1 pm and then bucketed down! It did clear in time for ceremony so went ahead outside in a lovely setting but was hot and muggy. The girls all looked lovely and it was a true honour and privilege to walk this special lady down the aisle . So lovely to have Grandchildren as part of ceremony as well

A lovely reception to follow with great food and plenty to drink but for once this LBD was sensible. May be getting too old for speeches without cheat notes as did freeze a couple of times and cant blame alcohol. A wonderful night though to celebrate the union of these two amazing people who are so clearly in love. Left the younguns to the dancing and drinking and took the pleasant walk home option.

Of course the next day dawned clear and beautiful and time to hit the road for Armidale where expected to be only 2 degrees overnight . Darool Darool

Road to Rooin’

Posted: October 7, 2019 in Travel

Now that CLP has settled into retirement her days mostly consist of Sewing, Scrapbooking and Sleeping. Two of those are about to fade away as we set off on our road trip next week to complete Retirement/60th celebrations. Yes, she will still have to darn my socks so that she has a reason for living.

To kick things off with a bang first up of course is the rather major event of GC2 Ranny’s Wedding in Toowoomba on Oct 19th. Not just a great event but also an opportunity to catch up with family and see all the Grandkiddies together. Some even have parts in ceremony which will be magic. We will head out a day early as due to amount of driving planned for said road trip we need an early start on Sunday after wedding to make first stop that night of Armidale

The Road trip can be broken into a few segments with the first major event being a few days in Melboring to celebrate CLP 60th with offspring who are flying in for 2 nights. We need to be in Melboring by Thursday so our track takes us via Armidale, 2 nights Hunter Valley and one night in Gundagai. Some stops on this trip simply pick themselves being midpoint between Point A and B and trying to limit ourselves to < 5 hrs driving a day. Road works of course can screw up the best of plans. One highlight of Melboring trip will be an all day French Cooking class in St Kilda where we get to eat the product at the end. Just hope Toast is the first item.

From there we bid farewell to family and head west towards Kangaroo Island. Once again there is a "forced stop" at Hicksville along the way to break the trip. Rather shocked to see the Ferry prices for getting to KI from Cape Jervis – $400 for car plus 2 folk. Seems you cant just sit in the car! Monopoly = Price Gouging 101. On second examination though a bit of a knob kiss when we noted Senior Discount was available and save $50. Our teeth almost fell out with our good fortune

After a few days on KI we head to Penola in Coonawarra region. Having visited the other Wine regions in SA this was a no brainer – which kinda reflects my state after a day of red wine. A couple of quaffing days then sees me head back in Victoria with a different route. No, still taking CLP, I just mean we are using different highways…..

Time then to chill with brother and wifey for a few days at Harcourt in regional Victoria. Should be tres pleasant after a lot of driving and suggest some drinking may be involved. It will be the closest we have ever been to Flemington on Melbourne Cup day. A record likely to last forever. From there we head to Echuca if for no other reason then we saw the option of a Gin and Beer cruise on a Paddle Steamer available for a reasonable price. Once falling off said Paddle Steamer on dusk we thought staying the night in Echuca made sense. Then the fun starts

Leaving Echuca on Saturday, we need to be back in Brisvegas for a Wednesday 8 pm date with Steve Martin and Martin Short at Brisbane Entertainment Centre . And we have planned no accommodation! I believe it is called flying(or driving) by seat of pants – a term I am not familiar with! We plan at least to travel in part up Thuunderbolt Way and be at Canungra for Tuesday night to catch up with Bruce and Therese – and grab free accommodation. We are retirees after all

So about 3.5 weeks in total with many highlights to be sure. Catch up with family along the way and complete our SA Wine Region Bingo card to boot. Beauty of driving is you dont have to worry about shipping wine home before catching flights. Mind you, it never seemed to diminish our purchases on previous trips

Now I just have to work on that Father of the Bride speech….

CLP Becomes An RLP

Posted: October 1, 2019 in Midlife Crisis in Maryhole

As in Retired Lady Person. Having recently turned 60 and realising she was in fact 10% of rolling in it, CLP has pulled up stumps on a working career in the Health field of 40 years. Some public and some private and sometimes even up to 5 days a week. As in most significant life events it all started back in Maryhole and from there on an endless search to try and recreate that magic mix of culture , class and confusion that Maryhole so completely embodies. Alas no success but my presence as her guiding light in later years ensures the connection is never lost.

So, in keeping with the momentous occasion of turning 60 and no longer having a reason to live we decided to celebrate with a couple of days in Brisvegas. As old habits die hard CLP still wanted to catch the 5am train down but assured her we could drive down at a more reasonable hour. I suspect she just wanted to try out her new Seniors Card on the train.

Visited Ferguson Matriach at Twilight Home for a lovely morning tea and then onto Group Linen at TPCH for their Multicultural Day which CLP had been kindly invited too. What a marvellous event to attend. Plenty of great food including a spit roasted Pig shared with such warm and wonderful people. They danced and sang and I even shook my booty to a Samoan Love Song. They gave us a lei but as no fresh flowers it was made up of Cadbury Favourites. I feel this could catch on

We had two nights booked at our go to hotel in Brisvegas – The Stamford. Great location and views with good facilities. Only real gripe is paying $57 a night for valet parking. Hey, that train down not such a bad idea after all….. I said I was happy to park it myself Chauncey but was then informed it would then be charged hourly and for a full day would be $89! Threw him the keys and headed to our room. Mine came with a 60 yr old Flower arrangement on the bed! To the pool Boy Wonder

Two major celebrations planned – one known, one a surprise. Surprise for CLP that is, obviously one of us had to know all of the plans……The surprise part was dinner at Alchemy Restaurant with da boys and partners on Monday night. Tuesday night would then be spent with Dame Edna at QPAC. I suspect there may be others there as well but one can hope. In between and all around some chilling by the pool, some drinking at watering holes adjacent and even a bit of shopping. Having had a rather bigger than expected lunch it was time to take it easy for a few before hooking in again big time

CLP was suitably surprised when progeny were noted loitering adjacent to our table. It was a wonderful night with great food and even better company. Alchemy do a special treat with nitrogen infused ice cream at the end of night which is perfect ending to a gourmet delight

Tuesday morning dawned clear. Now if my head will catch up. The room at Stamford is great but think the AC runs on a couple of rubber bands. Have to set it to “Wind Tunnel” and 16 degrees to have the room feel close to a pleasant mid afternoon in Maryhole in Summer! Time for a walk and find some breakfast options. Once again being next to Botanical Gardens is another thing we love about this hotel. Simple breakfast for simple folk and then some shopping before morning tea in the Brisbane Arcade

Back to room briefly to offload shopping spoils and then around to Felons Brewery for a frothy lunch with cheese. It certainly is a growing area at Howards Wharves much like my waistline after the last 36 hrs.

Last thing to sort out now is dinner options before Bazza tonight. May need to sleep on that

Settled on OLE for dinner, always a safe bet . Good crowd at Bazza and they opened the doors quite early for a change. We had great seats with unobstructured view and a walkway in front. Barry Humphries is a true comedy legend but time to give away mate at 85. Reading of TelePrompter is a tad embarrassing. At his best when ad lib with audience but highlights few and far between and even though I could hear what the audience member said 25 rows away Barry struggled from 3 rows in front. The songs have great lyrics but the voice falters. Glad we saw him but couldn’t recommend the show for your hard earned especially with no Dr Sir Leslie Colin Patterson

A great 48 hrs to celebrate a special occasion