Wednesday, June 12, 2019

BEAUTIFUL ONE DAY...PERFECT THE NEXT....


Me...in a joyful mood...taken by a lovely young man from Germany who was an island guest
This is all that remains now of the cabin once occupied by Annette Kelleman when she visited Newry Island

A young guest on the left...and me carrying on like a loony on the right!
Me in the middle with a couple of resort guests
A fun, mad night on the island where I became a Marriage Celebrant...and conducted a wedding between two guests...all in the name of a good time...not legally-binding!!


Another tale from my Newry Island adventure...tenure....


As well as resort guests who had taken up residence in the resort's cabins dotted along the foreshore, a few day-trippers arrived each day over Easter weekend, setting up their own picnics on the beach or at the tables under the trees. 

Fishermen, professional and amateur, came and went after a couple of cleansing, refreshing cold ales at the bar.

The island was alive with happy, trouble-free holidaymakers. That is, until Easter Sunday night when a “tinnie” (small row boat) bearing four, drunken, young “fishermen” arrived. I’d never set eyes on them before...or after, for that matter.  I use the description “fishermen” very loosely.

Noisily announcing their arrival, they staggered up to the bar area around 9.30pm demanding drinks and food.

Politely, but in no uncertain terms, with my meaning clearing enunciated, I told them I thought they had had enough to drink by the looks and sounds of them.

I wasn’t happy about having to feed them. There was no way I was going to cook them a meal at that hour of the night.  

By the time the invaders arrived, I'd already prepared and fed my island guests, having fired up the barbecue earlier in the evening.   

The guests, mainly families with young children were enjoying the rest of their evening sitting around a fire they’d built on the beach out from where the cabins were situated.

The rowdy infiltrators demanded something to eat.

“All I have left are meat pies. If you don’t mind waiting a little while, I will heat them up for you,” I said.  “However, I’m telling you this…if I see the pies again…you guys will be cleaning up the mess, not me!”

I didn’t need a crystal ball to know I would “see” the pies again! 

Of course, I was right in my assumption!  I handed the young fellows the hose and made them clean down the deck where the regurgitated pies covered the concrete. 

When they finished cleaning up their mess, I asked them to leave the island.

Upon noticing the fire up along the beach, the renegades informed me they were going to join the guests.

“No, you’re not!” I said firmly. “They’re my paying guests enjoying time with their children. They’re entitled to their privacy. You will not go up there. You’ll get into your boat, and go back to wherever you came from! You will leave them alone! Now, get going!”

They mumbled as they staggered down the beach towards their boat. I watched from the deck as they manoeuvred their way through the she-oaks and palm trees on the foreshore.  When they'd reached the centre of the beach, they veered right – off in the direction of the fire and my guests.

Letting out a growl, I hurried after the pests, catching up with them just as they were approaching my resort guests. By then, I was pretty angry...I'd already been angry by their ignorant behaviour, but seeing the heading towards my guests, my ire rose to a burning high!

I caught up with them, and steered them about face.  I marched the unruly pack back along the beach in the direction from which they'd come  They didn’t notice I was walking at an angle, forcing them closer and closer to the water’s edge with each wobbling step they took. 

They were too busy cursing me to notice.  Far too occupied calling me every name they could muster than to notice with each step they took they were getting into ankle-deep water.

My feet remained out of the ocean, and dry. 

“Stop wasting your breath! I’ve heard it all before.” Was my non-interested reaction to their abusive spewing. “Say what you wish, but you are not staying here!”

Continuing their diatribe, one of them blurted out for me to take care of a particular portion of his anatomy that sometimes has a name akin to a certain member of the poultry family.

As quick as a flash, without thought, I retaliated with a very apt, but subtle reply, which embarrassed him in front of his mates.

After my rather clever, quick riposte, not another word was uttered by any of them.  

Like meek, little lambs, or embarrassed little boys, they stumbled into their boat, and headed back out to sea.

I had no idea where they had come from, and cared less.  I was sure they had no idea where they were headed!  It was not my worry. I was not their keeper.

If they were stupid enough to travel at night in their little “tinnie” in the state they were in, I wasn’t going to be responsible for their welfare.

They regained their false bravado the further they travelled from the shore. Their infantile verbal abuse re-commenced. 

Around and around like the idiots they were, they circled one of the trawlers anchored out in the channel between Newry and Outer Newry Island, shouting and yahooing like yobbos.

One of the guests joined me at the water’s edge. Geoff, a trawler-man who was staying in a cabin with his family over the Easter weekend agreed with me in the hope “Rollo”, a fellow professional fisherman who never set foot on the island, but always anchored out in the channel before he sailed into Mackay Harbour, would wake up.

“Rollo”, like all skippers of trawlers, carried shot-guns on board.

Oh! How we wished “Rollo” would wake up! 

I reckon those four fellows shouting abuse would have sobered up pretty damn quickly, and high-tailed it out of there before they could call out for their mothers, if "Rollo" had fired off a few shots in the air...or water.

We did hear a deep voice in the distance...so I think "Rollo" have them fair warning!

I joined my guests around the fire after the rude, unwanted disruption.

The women informed me they’d told their husbands to give me a hand.

Their husbands all said, “Naah…Lee’ll be okay…she’ll be right! She’ll take care of them!”

“Thanks, guys!” I laughed.

They would have been there for me if I had needed them, but I preferred to personally handle situations, when or if they arose.

From the direction my inebriated, bad-mannered, uninvited, unwelcome visitors had headed out to sea, I think they probably ended up on the west coast of South America! 

  
I never saw them again...and I shed no tears....I don’t suffer fools...not even easily....

Monday, June 03, 2019

BEAUTY SURROUNDS – LOVE IS IN THE AIR – AND IN THE HEART...

Newry Island Group of Islands
Foreshore...Newry Island

Newry Island Days...and Nights...
Annette Kellerman









There are times, when least expected, Mother Nature’s beauty takes one by surprise...to the extent of being overwhelming...breathtaking.   This can often occur when least expected. 

As mentioned many times previously, in the early 1990s I managed a small, humble resort on Newry Island, an island north of Seaforth, a tiny coastal, fishing village situated 41kms north of Mackay.  Newry Island still exists, but not the resort. The buildings were demolished around 2001.  The island is now part of a group of eight islands protected in the Newry Islands National Park. 

In the 1930s, Annette Kellerman, the Australian professional swimmer, vaudeville star, actress and writer periodically visited the island when she returned to Australia from the US, where she had settled years earlier.  During the 1930s, her brother and his wife lived on the island.  It has been said Annette Kellerman used to train, swimming back and forth along the channel between Newry and Outer Newry Islands.  Unsubstantiated reports also state she had swum from Newry Island to Seaforth...and back.  I can’t vouch the latter is true.  

In 1905, aged 19 years, Kellerman was one of the first women to attempt to swim the English Channel.

Further information on the life and deeds of Annette Kellerman can be found on the sites below:-

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annette_Kellermann

https://www.nfsa.gov.au/collection/curated/annette-kellerman

A snippet of information - “On 24 August 1905, aged 19, Kellermann was one of the first women to attempt to swim the English Channel. After three unsuccessful swims she declared, "I had the endurance but not the brute strength." The first woman to attempt a Channel crossing had been Austrian Baroness Walburga von Isacescu, in September 1900. Kellermann later challenged and defeated Isacescu in a Danube race.”

“In 1916, Kellermann became the first major actress to appear in a nude scene when she appeared fully nude in A Daughter of the Gods. Made by Fox Film Corporation, A Daughter of the Gods was the first million-dollar film production. Like many of Kellermann's other films, this is now considered a lost film, as no copies are known to exist.”


Returning to my time on Newry Island...an island tale....

One glorious early autumn day, for a few short hours...each 60 minutes in length if you’re wondering...a day-tripper, a lady aged in her early 70s, visited my island home. 

Enveloped by a balmy, sunny, unblemished morning, at length, she and I quietly conversed while sipping on coffee.  

“Quietly” - because as we sat at a table outside on the concrete patio area situated a few metres from the foreshore, the ambience in which we were immersed encouraged tranquillity and calm repose.  

The combination of a faultless, clear, blue sky, a sedate ocean, Outer Newry Island across the way, and Mausoleum Island in the distance, was our natural wide-screen OLED Monitor. 

Encompassing the vista, with a sweeping wave of her arm, my guest commented: “We must never take this for granted – Nature’s beauty.  Too often it doesn’t register with us. We look at it through unseeing eyes.” 

Truer words have seldom been uttered.

Driving back from Beaudesert a few weeks ago I decided to take a different route in lieu of the one I’d travelled on the way down from the mountain...via North Tamborine here on the plateau, passing through Tamborine Village on lower grounds.

Beaudesert is a rural town situated in the Scenic Rim region. The township is 35kms south-west of Tamborine Mountain (which is also part of the Scenic Rim)...down in the valley.  Beaudesert boasts a population of approximately 9000.

On my return trip, upon reaching the Canungra turnoff, I turned right instead of going ahead. I was totally unprepared for what was in store.   

It's something I don't do regularly, but when I do drive to Beaudesert, via North Tamborine I enjoy the countryside – tackling the winding mountain road, which leads onto wide, open spaces; the sensation of latitude. 

The other day when as I drove towards the small town of Canungra (a population of approximately 1,500) I wasn’t expecting the feeling that overcame me, nor was I prepared.

Suddenly, I felt breathless. Spontaneous tears flooded my eyes.  My raw emotions weren’t caused by distress, fear or sadness. 

I wanted to burst into song like Julie Andrews...the hills, and the valleys were alive!
  
To be honest...I've nothing to feel ashamed of, or embarrassed about...I did burst out in song...in voice...probably not as melodic as Andrews...but the depth of sincerity of feeling was fathomless. Many words of wonder floated through the free, fresh country air.

Languidly, large, self-propelled irrigation systems watered pastures - pastures that appeared to be smiling in gratitude. My imagination at times does go wild, I know.

Without warning, I was overwhelmed by the inspirational beauty surrounding me. 

Engulfed by its almost tangible presence it was an intense, wondrous sensation.

Animals frolicking freely without a care in paddocks heightened my uplifted spirits.   

Carefree horses gambolled (not laying bets on champion racehorse, Winx); cattle nonchalantly grazed, or just stood around enjoying their surrounds, ignoring the silly old woman cruising by whose emotions were out of control; emotions to which I willing succumbed, even though, like Jesse James, they had ambushed me. 

The cows, bulls and the horses didn’t care if I was a blubbering, joyful mess; neither did I. 

The intensity of my zealous ardour experienced during my journey is difficult to describe.

Are there enough descriptive words?

Those special moments...my feelings of awe...I’ll not forget; nor do I want to fail to remember those magic moments.

Beauty is at our doorstep - everywhere we look.  

Let’s open our eyes - our hearts - and look...let’s not take it for granted...

Pumpkin Pancakes: In bowl, combine 3c milk, 1c pumpkin puree, 1egg, 2tbs veg oil and 2tbs vinegar. In separate bowl, combine 2c plain flour, 3tbs brown sugar, 2tsp baking powder, 1tsp baking soda, 1tsp allspice, 1tsp cinnamon, 1/2tsp ginger and 1/2tsp salt. Add dry mix to pumpkin mixture; stir just enough to combine. Heat lightly oiled fry pan over med-high heat. Scoop batter onto pan; approx ¼c for each pancake. Brown on both sides; serve hot with Maple syrup.

Chicken in Milk: Allow 1.5kg boneless, skinless chick thighs to rest at room temp at least 20mins before cooking. Pat dry with paper towels; season well salt, black pepper and paprika. Heat 3tbs olive oil in pan. Add 8 garlic cloves; cook until golden on both sides; transfer to bowl; set aside. Pan sear chicken on each side until a little golden. Transfer to a bowl; keep warm; don’t overcrowd pan. Add a little butter and 250g sliced button mushrooms and 3 sliced leeks to pan chicken was cooked in; cook 10mins; add 2-1/2c milk to pan. Bring milk to gentle simmer. Add 20 sage leaves, garlic, 3/4c grated parmesan and chicken back to pan with the milk sauce. Bring to gentle simmer; cover. Cook 30mins. Remove lid; continue simmering on low heat 15 mins, until chicken is tender, and sauce has reduced to your liking. Adjust seasonings to taste. Garnish with parsley, a sprinkle of red pepper flakes and a drizzle of x-virgin olive oil.

Coffee-Glazed Choc Twists: Preheat oven 204C; grease, or paper-line baking tray.  Place 2 puff pastry sheets on lightly floured surface. Roll each to about ¼ inch thick. Beat 1egg with a bit of water, brush over surface of each sheet; sprinkle 125g finely chopped dark chocolate evenly over each. Top each a sheet puff pastry; cut each into thirds; twist each and place about 2-inches apart on baking tray; press down ends. Brush twists with egg wash; bake 12-18mins, until puffed. Serve drizzled with coffee glaze – Stir 2tbs brewed coffee with 1c icing sugar, or more until it coats back of spoon.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

YOGI, LIKE ME, WILL JUST HAVE TO GRIN AND BEAR IT!



Ural Motorcycle and sidecar
Above three images of Tamborine Mountain Distillery
Bristol-Bullet


Please bear with me while I don my cranky boots and cranky pants. I know I’m going to sound like a bear with a sore head.  So be it.

Has anyone ever heard a bear with a sore head? How would you know the bear had a sore head?  The bear could be just baring its soul.  I’ve heard koalas, but they’re not bears.  I imagine the sounds bears make would be more than one could bear. 

Yogi may have made a boo-boo and lost Huckleberry Hound; perhaps Winnie the Pooh discovered his honey jar was empty.  I’m putting forward a few thoughts on the matter...

How we express feelings can vary.  There are instances, of course - dependent on situations – when human reactions are similar.  Some people express little emotion. We’re all different...and yet, similar.  What a conundrum the human being is!

Here’s my whinge. Bear with me, if you will, while I whine.  Some will disagree with me, but that’s okay...I’m not always agreeable.

I’ve a love-hate relationship with Saturdays and Sundays. 

The “love” is easing into the day leisurely reading the paper; a mug of steaming coffee within arm’s reach, and my two furry roomies snuggled up beside me.  The “hate” is the intrusive, thunder of roaring motor bikes, which are often accompanied by the raucous cacophony of souped-up cars. 

If the racket they create isn’t disturbing the peace, I’ve not a clue what is.  Why do motorcycles have to be so damn noisy? 

To make matters, and the noise, worse is the culprits usually travel in packs.  

I’m unable to fathom the answer given when motorcyclists are asked the question why they enjoy riding bikes.  

Uniformly, the reply is; “It’s the free feeling of wind in our hair; on our faces.”    

How on earth can that be when their uniform is that of Darth Vader?  Obviously, their ideas of freedom and mine are vastly different.  Clad in tight, thick, heavy leathers, the heat must be horrendous – a personal sauna. 

Get a sports car, or convertible – like the awesome, iridescent blue Bristol I admired the other day.  Driving along the winding mountain roads in a sports car with the top down beneath a clear, sunshiny sky – now that’s freedom.  Eat your heart out, Darth invaders!

On the flip-side, a few weeks ago, Gordon, the pleasant gentleman from Tamborine Mountain Distillery and I drooled over a beautifully-maintained burgundy Russian Ural motorcycle with sidecar. We found it difficult to restrain ourselves from jumping on board and going for a quick spin around the IGA supermarket car park before the owners returned and reported us to the authorities!  

Once again, I am repeating myself - I do meet the nicest people at IGA, the car park, the newsagency - and at the local dump!  

Only once have I ridden in a sidecar - along the streets of Sunshine Beach in the early 80s. The bike and sidecar were owned by a friend of my then husband and me.
  
I’ve ridden pillion, once, in the early 60s, on a motor bike owned by a friend of my brother. I wouldn’t be able to get my leg over now!  

Motor bikes are annoyingly noisy. And their thoughtless, unnecessary interruption to the peace and quiet does make me cranky...like a bear with a sore head!

Nevertheless, an impeccably-preserved vehicle is to be admired, whether it is a two-wheeler, three-wheeler, or four-wheeler, 18-wheelers etc.  

I’ve friends, including a husband and wife team, who are “bikers” – not “bikies”.  They frequently participate in charity runs raising money, mostly for children in need.  For such selfless deeds, bikers deserve to be commended.


Honey Garlic Chicken: Season 4 chicken thighs. Heat 1tbs each butter and olive oil in pan over med-high heat. Place thighs skin-side down; sear until golden brown. Remove from pan; set aside. Add 1 diced onion and 4 potatoes cut into 3cm cubes to pan; sauté until golden-brown; season; remove from pan. Melt 1tbs butter over med-heat in same pan; add 4 minced garlic cloves; sauté until garlic is fragrant. Add 1/4c honey, 1/4c soy sauce and 1tbs white vinegar; simmer; reduce heat to med-low; simmer until slightly thickened. Nestle thighs and potato mixture into pan; drizzle some sauce over top. Bake at 200C, 25-35mins.  

Honey Garlic Salmon: In  bowl, mix together 1/3c honey, 2 minced garlic cloves, salt and pepper, 1tsp each chopped parsley and fresh basil, 1tbs Dijon mustard, 1tbs soy sauce, and 1/4c white wine vinegar. Whisk well.  Pour about ½c of honey mixture over 4 skin-on salmon fillets. Coat well; marinade 15mins.  In reserved honey mixture, add 1/4ts cornflour; mix well. Set aside. Don’t toss marinade. Spray large pan with olive oil cooking spray. Place salmon skin side up in pan; cook 6mins or until cooked through. Turn salmon over, pour both marinade mixtures over salmon; add slices of 1 lemon; simmer 5mins. As the sauce simmers, use a spoon to continue to coat the salmon and the lemon slices. The sauce should thicken and slightly reduce.

Honey Pears with Greek Yoghurt: Preheat oven 190C. Place 1/3c slivered almonds (or walnuts) on baking tray; toast in oven, stirring once or twice, until lightly browned. Cool on a plate.  Halve 3 ripe but firm Bosc pears lengthwise; scoop out cores. In small Dutch oven or heavy ovenproof saucepan, combine 1/3c honey and 4 fresh bay leaves; simmer over med-high heat. Reduce heat to medium; simmer; stir occasionally, until honey turns a rich amber colour.  Remove from heat. Place 3tbs unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces; space evenly in pot with honey; place a pear half, cut side down, on top of each piece of butter. Cover; roast 10mins. Turn pears over; baste with honey mixture. Drizzle pears with 2tbs amaretto; roast uncovered until golden brown. Remove from oven; cool slightly in the mixture, 30-35mins. Whisk 1-1/2c Greek yoghurt until smooth.  Arrange pears on plate; drizzle honey mixture over top; sprinkle with toasted walnuts or almonds; serve with yoghurt at the table