Wednesday, March 28, 2018

HIPPITY-HOP & HIPPITY-HAY, FIVE LITTLE BUNNIES WENT OUT TO PLAY..


Gympie Railway Station Circa 1930 (a little before my time!)
Gympie's old Railway Station Circa 2000...now Heritage-Listed
Gympie North Railway Station. It replaced the old station shown above - proving new is not always best!
Noosa

Boom Chicka Boom!  Easter is here – or is just around the nearest corner as I write.  If I type slowly.......it might arrive before I finish!  

Clint, my Lindt bunny is hippity-hopping and a hippity-haying with glee in my fridge comfortable in the knowledge, even though Easter is on its way he has nothing to fear.  Every day, not only Easter is a celebration for Clint.  After the many years residing in my fridge his tenure remains secure. 

I offered to take him to the “Peter Rabbit” movie.  He politely declined.  I promised I’d buy him a packet of Jaffas, but no amount of bribery swayed him from his determined resolve.  I even waved a carrot in front of him.                

When my band of girlfriends and I were teenagers as Easter Thursday came around we breathlessly counted down the hours and minutes, unable to contain our enthusiasm for 5 pm to arrive. 

From the age of 15...a couple of months shy of 16...unchaperoned, my weekends were spent at the coast. 

My friends and I didn’t need “Schoolies”.   We were mature and capable enough to spend our weekends at the coast long before we turned 18 years of age.

At first Mooloolaba or Alexandra Headlands were our chosen playgrounds, but after a summer or two we lost our hearts to Noosa Heads.  An extra enticement was - Noosa is only a hop, skip and a couple of jumps away from Gympie.

During our regular seaside sojourns we didn’t carry on like loonies, but we certainly enjoyed ourselves. 

The coast – the sand, the ocean and Easter went hand in hand - hence our excitement to hit the road, Jack, when Easter Thursday arrived. 

We weren’t leaving on a jet plane, but our bags were packed; we were ready to go.

From early morn to late afternoon we caught waves - and the eye of a lifesaver or three.

Our nights were spent hippity-hopping, stomping and twisting at the record hops. At the stroke of midnight, off to the midnight to dawn record hops we hopped. 

Sleep didn’t play a major role during our Easter weekends.  A nap here and there, in the sun, on the beach, in between surfs, sufficed.

En route to the coast we’d stop at a roadside stall to grab a few pineapples - something we did most weekends, not only at Easter.   

Sometimes we travelled by train...leaving the Gympie Railway Station at 6 am Saturday morning, and disembarking at Cooroy, a little country town a few miles/kilometres inland from Tewantin-Noosa Heads.  Somehow we always managed to score a ride back home to Gympie Sunday afternoons.

 (The old railway station is now a heritage-listed historical site.  The railway station served Gympie from 1881 until 1889.  Its replacement the Gympie North Railway station is further out of town and doesn’t compare in styling to the old station).


Fresh fruit and salad rolls of our own making were constants during those sunny, fun-filled weekends.  Eating healthily came naturally, with an added bonus of being far cheaper than fast-food.  We had no money to waste.  Fresh was best, in more ways than one. 

Like the rest of my friends, at the time, I still lived at home; paid board; made my own clothes; paid my own way, etc. 

Our respective wages weren’t massive.  I began working in late July, aged 15years. in I turned 16 a few months later, in the November.  

As previously written I gained employment as a Legal Secretary in a local law firm...starting of earning the princely, weekly sum of four pounds eight shillings and nine pence.  I felt as rich as the Queen, but far more independent!

I’m not a religious person, but I’ve always eaten fish on Good Friday...from when I was a little girl forth.  Never have I eaten meat on Good Friday...it’s just a tradition to which I’ve always, willingly, adhered.

Seafood wasn’t limited to Good Fridays only when I took care of the little resort on Newry Island. 

Every day was a Good Day for seafood. 

The humble resort’s bar was the last (only) port of call for trawlers before they off-loaded their catch at Mackay Harbour, about 60-70kms south...give or take – more or less...I’m not sure of the exact distance. 

During my time on Newry Island fresh seafood was in abundance, to the delight of my island guests. Pushkin and Rimsky, my two cats were thrilled, too. 

Prawns, oysters, sand crabs and fish were the daily fare. 

Sadly, the resort no longer exists. National Parks took over in 2001. 

No money exchanged hands between the trawler men and me during our seafood transactions.  The barter system was in full swing e.g. a case of beer and/or a bottle of spirits was the more than fair exchange.  It was a trade that leaned heavily in my favour, I believe. 

My guests and my two furry mates were grateful beneficiaries. 

The family of one of the trawler skippers had booked into a cabin for the Easter weekend with the intentions of enjoying the island’s ambience.  On the Thursday prior to Good Friday, I collected the family (mother and two children) from the boat ramp at Victor Creek, Seaforth, and then ferried them, along with other guests, in my boat, the Trojan De Havilland, across to the island.

On Good Friday morning, the husband and father of said family motored into the channel between Newry and Outer Newry Island, and there he set anchor.   He was spending Easter with his family on dry land. 

Because he wouldn’t be tying up at the Mackay Harbour until the Tuesday, he presented me with a large plastic container, about 90cmx60cmx60cm in size, filled to over-flowing with fresh, juicy, sweet sand crabs aka blue swimmers, saying, "These are yours, Lee, to do with as you wish!"

I gave the crabs to my guests to feast upon - no charge.   They couldn’t believe their eyes, or good fortune.  I gained much pleasure from witnessing their pleasure.

Who needed Easter eggs when fresh sand crabs were on offer?  

The Easter Bunny didn’t visit the island, but the resident koalas did, arriving on cue over the Easter weekend.   They were an added enjoyment for my guests.

Hop to it!   This is one weekend when it’s okay to be a bunny!

Happy Easter, everyone....stay safe...relax and enjoy whatever way you choose to spend your weekend!

(A courier has just delivered to my door an Easter parcel from my ex, Randall....upon opening it I discovered therein...12 blocks of dark chocolate of various descriptions, four packets of mini-dark chocolate Easter eggs of a variety of sorts, a bottle of anchovy fillets (he knows me well)...Remy and Shama haven’t been ignored....for them are eight small cans of fancy treats!  All of this should last us through the weekend! )

Cod & Corn Chowder: Cook 125g bacon until crisp; drain and crumble when cooled. Add 1tbsbutter and 2 chopped onions to pan; cook over low heat, until onions, about 5 minutes. Add 2c water, 1c liquid from bottled oysters, 2 large, peeled, potatoes, cut into chunks, 1 chopped celery stalk, 1/4tsp dried chilli flakes; season; bring to boil; reduce heat; simmer, 20-25mins. Add bacon, 2c corn kernels, 1c milk and 1c cream; simmer10mins. Stir in 700g cod fillets, cut into 2-1/2cm chunks and pepper. Bring back to a simmer; cook until just done, about 3mins.

Lamb Racks with Goat Cheese Sauce: On a large, rimmed baking sheet, season 2x1.5kg to 2kg frenched lamb racks generously with salt and pepper.  In food processor, combine 1/4c olive oil, 4 grated garlic cloves, 1/4v fresh oregano, 1tbs cumin seeds, zest of 1 lemon, and 1tsp crushed red pepper flakes. Pulse until combined. Rub mixture evenly over both racks. Arrange 450g halved carrots (or small carrots) around lamb. Let stand at room temp 30-60mins; or cover and chill overnight. Preheat oven, 220C.  Roast lamb for15mins; then flip; roast another 10mins for med-rare.  Stand 10mins before slicing.  Meanwhile, make sauce. In blender, combine 180g goat cheese, 1/4c crème fraîche or Greek yoghurt, 2tbs honey, and 1/4c fresh basil or mint until smooth. Stir in zest of 1 lemon; season to taste.  Slice lamb in between the bones; serve with the goat cheese sauce. 

Vegan Savoury Easter Pie: Preheat your oven. 175C. Slice 300g mushrooms.  Finely dice 1 large red onion; crush 2-3 garlic cloves. Add a little olive oil in large pan; add chpped onion; cook 6-8mins on med-heat until translucent and being to brown slightly; add crushed garlic; cook 1min. Add mushrooms; cook 6-10mins, and until a lot of the moisture has evaporated. Add 200ml vegetable stock, 1tbs balsamic glaze, seasonings and small bunch thyme; simmer gently, 15-25mins until rich, thick sauce has formed; adjust seasoning. Add 1can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained with 1tbs olive oil to blender; blend to thick puree. Wilt 2 large handfuls spinach; squeeze out excess liquid; unwrap spinach; set aside. Grease pie dish/es; line with 2-3 layers of Filo pastry; brush with oil or vegan butter between each layer; then spoon in some bean puree; smooth down with back of spoon; then top with wilted spinach, arranged evenly to cover; top with mushrooms. Scrunch up side of pastry; brush or spray with oil; cook in oven, 25-30mins, until golden brown. Serve in pie dish.

Vegan Stuffed Tomatoes: Preheat oven. 190C. Lightly grease a casserole dish with olive oil. Slice tops of tomatoes off 4-6 ripe, but firm tomatoes: chop up usable part of tops; set aside. Using a spoon scoop out the inside but, keep and put it aside (not the seeds); drain any excess fluid.  Cook 2c brown rice or quinoa according to package directions (cook in veg broth for more flavour).  Mix together in bowl 1 can drained, rinsed black beans, 2 thinly sliced shallots, 1/2c each diced red and green capsicum, 1/2c chopped carrot, 1c frozen corn, 1tsp chilli powder, cayenne to taste, 1/2tsp ground cumin, 1/2tsp garlic powder, 1/4c nutritional yeast; season to taste.  Add the scooped out tomato flesh; add the rice/quinoa; adjust seasonings.  Stuff the tomatoes with the mixture. Put tomatoes in casserole dish; cook in oven, 30mins. Once tomatoes are soft they’re done.  Remove from oven; sprinkle grated non-dairy cheese on top. Set oven to grill/broil; place tomatoes under grill for 5mins, until cheese has melted; serve.

Easter Nests: Melt 1-1/2c choc chips on low heat; stir often. As soon as completely melted, remove from heat. Stir in about 2c sweetened shredded coconut. It needs to be thick, for the chocolate to completely cover coconut mixture. Lay out baking paper on bench. Drop heaped tablespoonfuls onto paper.  Make a small well in centre of each to create a “nest”. Add Smarties, mini-Easter Eggs, jelly beans, or choice, into centre of nests. Let sit for to allow the chocolate to harden. This makes about 6 to 8 nests


36 comments:

  1. Sounds as if you had a marvellous time at Easter time.
    No chocolate on the island - oh well I certainly wouldn't miss chocolate as I'm not a great eater of it.
    Happy Easter Lee.

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    1. Hi Margaret...There certainly was chocolate on the island...but not as much as there was fresh seafood.

      Life, after all, is like a box of chocolates...how could I, or my guests, do without it? (Dark chocolate, of course)! :)

      Happy Easter to you, too, Margaret...thanks for popping in. :)

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  2. A very happy Easter to you and your furry overlords (and to Clint).
    We ate mostly fresh food too. And I still do.
    Thank you for the vegan recipes. I may test drive them later.

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  3. Hi there, EC....I had you in mind when I posted those recipes. :)

    I mostly eat fresh, too...it is the best!

    Happy Easter to you two down that way, too...and to Jazz from Remy, Shama and me! Thanks for coming by. :)

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  4. Old railway stations fascinate me. The've got style and special atmosphere.
    Dark chocolate (over 70%) is considered very healthy, and yet, I try to keep away from any form of chocolate as it is addictive. Now and then I get some as a gift and I'm glad to feel its heavenly taste.

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    1. Hey, DUTA...I don't eat chocolate all the time...just every now and then when the mood strikes. However, I always have some on hand for when that mood strikes...and now I have even a lot more!! lol

      There is some romantic about old railway stations, I agree...not so much the stark, unattractive new ones as the one I've pictured.

      Thanks for coming. :)

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    2. It sounds such a good place to grow up. I’m jealous. You always make it sound like heaven on earth. All of that sun and sand. The only thing missing is Kylie Minogue.

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    3. Hi there, Terry...I didn't see you sneak in! :)

      It was a great place to spend our teenage years, Terry.

      And, years later, in 1979, my then husband, Randall (now ex, but still good friend) and I left the city life and went to the coast to live...to Sunshine Beach, which is just around the corner from Noosa Heads. It's a beautiful area...I still love it.

      Kylie wasn't even a twinkle her future parents-to-be back then in those days! :)

      I hope you have a Happy Easter...take good care. Thanks for coming by. :)

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  5. While the new Gympie Station is not pebble dash, it and the 60s era were awful for public buildings.

    While I am not Catholic nor religious, I am looking forward to our fish pattie dinner tomorrow night.

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    1. Hey Andrew...I still prefer the styling of the old Gympie Railway Station to the one that replaced it. The older one had/has so much character. The present one is boringly unattractive, to my tastes. The old station had a wonderful refreshment/dining room...the facilities were pretty damn good, even if it was the 50s and 60s. I have fond memories. And my late, older brother began his working life in the railways at Gympie...so that adds to my fond recollections of days gone by.

      I'm looking forward to my salmon mornay tomorrow...mine will be lunch, though...as lunch is always my main meal of the day.

      I hope you and R have a Happy Easter...chin up...relax and enjoy your weekend however you intend to spend it. Thanks for coming by. :)

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  6. Ticket offices with an arched window - a 'ladies waiting room' - a small refreshment room - open fires - a special room for the station master - a parcel/goods office where unaccompanied baggage was stored until picked up. Reminders of old railway stations I knew growing up in England. If you weren't travelling you had to have a platform ticket or say goodbye outside the barrier.

    No chocolate easter eggs in our house - coloured hard boiled ones but we did get some new clothes. Yes things were different and I agree we were far more responsible in a naive sort of way.

    Happy Easter Lee. Oh and thanks for visiting Still Waters and leaving comments.

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    1. Oh, Cathy...your comment has brought back some wonderful memories of days gone by. You painted the picture of the old railway stations so well with your descriptive words. The old Gympie Railway Station when I was a kid was just as you have described.

      When I was a child the sugar Easter eggs are what we had, too...and they were brought by the Easter Bird, not the Easter Bunny.

      My brother and I used to build our nests for the Easter Bird to deposit the eggs...we'd make the nests out of dried grass packed into hats. Good memories. Chocolate eggs came into favour well after I grew out of my childhood years.

      A Happy Easter to you, too, Cathy. Thanks for coming by. :)

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  7. An over-flowing crate of Blue Swimmers? You lucky duck.
    shame about the old Gympie railway station, but sadly, that's what they call progress :(
    I'm not supposed to be eating Easter Eggs, so the two I've been given will be waiting until the doc says it's okay to have a bit of chocolate.

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    1. Hahahahahaha! Quack! Quack! Oh, River...It was a wonderful gesture by that fellow. I could hardly believe my eyes. I'd never seen so many Blue Swimmers together in the same spot at the same time - and have not done since! Neither had my guests...and the looks on their face was a joy to behold in itself.

      It was a dream come true...and they were already cooked!!!

      Yes...the new station doesn't hold a candle to the old one. Sometimes "progress" leaves a lot to be desired. The newer station has no character whatsoever.

      Thanks for coming by. I hope you have a Happy Easter, Easter eggs, or not. Cuddles to the Lovely Lady Lola. :)

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  8. Happy Easter, Lee. I am no longer religious either, but fish will be on the menu on Friday.

    Does anyone ever eat their Lindt bunny?

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    1. I certainly don't, Arleen. My Clint will see his days and nights out in my fridge...I don't have the heart to eat him...he's become a member of my household! :)

      Happy Easter to you, too. Thanks for coming by. :)

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  9. I love reading about old train stations and trips to the ocean. That sounds like so much fun. Thanks for reminiscing about that. You grew up fast, it sounds like. I did have to look up Jaffas--they sound tasty sweet.

    So have to ask, since I have this image of Australian beaches being more rustic with marine life lurking about, did you ever encounter any sharks or other dangerous sea creatures? Also curious since you mention meatless Fridays, do the churches there sponsor fish fries on Lenten Fridays as they do here in Michigan?

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    1. G'Day, Dave. "Rustic" is not a word I would associate with our beaches...rustic being rural/countryside. We are an island nation surrounded by the ocean fringed by magnificent sandy beaches. Australia is well-known for its beaches and its love of both beaches and ocean. I've never encountered any sharks of the marine variety...although, I have met a few of the human kind.

      When I lived on Newry Island I did, one morning, accidentally step on a small coral ray when I was wading out to where my boat was moored. It wasn't too happy about being stepped on, and ensured it made its presence known. It hurt!!

      I have no idea if churches here sponsor fish fries, Dave. I've not been a church-goer since I was a kid, so I can't answer your question...sorry.

      Thanks for coming by. And a Happy Easter to you and your family. :)

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  10. Your girlhood sounds like something out of a dream.

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    1. Hi Delores...My teenage years were lots of fun, Delores. We all enjoyed life, without doing anything stupid. I'd have those years all over again if they were on offer. :)

      Happy Easter, Delores...thanks for coming by. :)

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  11. How wonderful that Randall still views you with such affection - enough to make up such a thoughtful parcel. Mostly when marriages break down there's a legacy of bitterness to contend with. You must still be his Hopkirk Lee.

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    1. Hey there, Yorkie. Randall and I remain good friends...we talk every other day, and often daily. We exchange gifts at certain times of the year. We will always be friends...and I can't imagine it being otherwise. To some, it may sound odd...but that is how it is with us. We know each other well...and have known each other since we were 18...since 1963...much water has flowed under many bridges. :)

      Thanks for coming by...I hope Beau and Peep don't find the Easter eggs before you do. And I hope the Easter Bunny is able to jump over your new wall. Have a great weekend. :)

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  12. love the old train stations and wish lamb was less expensive; nice to have long time friends, tis a comfort for sure to have someone to talk with routinely.

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    1. Hi Linda....The railway stations, and the old steam trains of years gone by, have a special magic...romance about them. Wonderful!

      Have a Happy Easter...thanks for coming by. :)

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  13. It's strange but I can't recall Easter ever being special in any way (in my childhood I went to church every Sunday anyway). I suppose that when I was very young my Dad would have had the weekend off so we probably did things like go to the park or even a bit further afield. Easter still has no significance for me except that I make sure I'm not having to do any off-Island travelling in the Easter Weekend traffic. As YP recently said, and I paraphrase, 'memory is a strange and wonderful thing'.

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    1. Hey Graham...As kids my brother and I loved building the nests for the Easter Bird; but we didn't stick to tradition. We always received our Easter eggs on Good Friday; none of this waiting around until Sunday to stuck into them!! And later,when in our teens etc., as described Easter weekend was a wonderful excuse to spend more time at the coast.

      We went to Sunday School every Sunday when we were little kids, but once we grew out of our "kid" stage, that went by the wayside.

      These days, like you, I stay well away from the madness of the holiday traffic and crowds. That's been the case for quite a while now.

      And there is no way in the world I will be hitting the roads up here on Tamborine Mountain tomorrow...Easter Sunday...because the Commonwealth Games baton will be doing part of its rounds, meaning every man, woman, child and dog will be out bordering the roadsides for glimpse, no doubt; to view the passing parade. Not me though....I'll be happily ensconced in my cabin! :)

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  14. Lee . I love reading your stories again and again Then I think to my self I should deliver a great yarn about my mixed up childhood but time and energy loss are part of my life now And there are times I now must stop or keel over. I only have my eldest son and my female Cat to talk to, mostly the cat who is in love with me so it seems and follows me everywhere sits onto the desk my armchair-bed or where ever I move to she follows gazing into my eyes- She almost has human traits..I shall go to bed earlier today, Tomorrow Minnie the cat will be waiting outside of my bedroom door looking into my eyes trying to say I love you you big Human. Minnie The Magnet.

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    1. Hey there, Vest...I'm glad you enjoy my ramblings. You deliver great yarns...don't sell yourself short! :)

      I didn't have any kids, but I do have my two cats, Remy and Shama...they are my constant companions and talk-buddies. They're both indoor cats...and they, very generously, allow me to share their bed....and computer desk! They are good conversationalists and make more sense, most of the time, than most humans do! :)

      Thanks for coming by...I hope you're having a relaxed and peaceful weekend. Take care. I've been sleeping a lot this weekend, and not doing very much at all other than that...and catching up on a few series via streaming services. No guilt is felt!! :)

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  15. I always love your stories. And that chowder looks amazing!

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    1. Hi Lynn...Thanks...I enjoy writing them, too. Thanks for coming by. :)

      Have a good Easter weekend. :)

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  16. I love the sound of those chocolate/coconut nests, sounds yummy!
    That photo of the sleeping koala? That is just too cute.
    Happy Easter.

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    1. A Happy Easter to you, too, Kay. Thanks for popping in. :)

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  17. I have been all but vegetarian for years but not vegan. However, that vegan savoury pie looks delicious. I also had a meal in a vegan restaurant a couple of days ago and that was fantastic too. I'm glad people are using more adventurous vegan recipes now.

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  18. I always enjoy seeing your recipe suggestions .... thank you.

    All the best Jan

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