|A section of Noosa's North Shore|
|Noosa North Shore...Forty Mile Beach|
|Randall and me in the Austin Healey Sprite...circa January, 1965|
|"Fire Truck" on Teewah Beach...Me and Troy, who was our chef when Randall and I managed a Noosa Restaurant...on a Monday...our day off.|
Many years ago when I was a “we”, not a solo “me”, or just solitary “Lee”...when my then husband, Randall and I lived at Sunshine Beach, we purchased a four-wheel drive so we could drive, fancy free, along the North Shore beaches, from Teewah to Double Island Point.
Back then, in the late 70s and early 80s, I drove a 1958 MG Magnette Varitone; a saloon/sedan, not a sports car. I loved that black and grey car with its wooden-panelled dashboard and leather seats. It had style; it had class; a vehicle hard to surpass.
We named the MG, “Remy”, the same name as one of my furry rascals...my male cat, “Remy”...who is presently, along with his sister, Shama, snuggled up asleep on "our" bed!
You may have already guessed...I like the name. I used to love Remy Martin cognac, too, in moderation – although, a number of years have passed since any has passed my lips.
Years before Randall and I married – when we were still in our late teens and early 20s, an Austin Healey Sprite was our wagon of choice. Randall sold that little Junior Navy Blue chariot before he headed off overseas in late 1965 – an odyssey that was to endure for nine years.
Before the Sprite came along, a little white Goggomobil Dart was our fun machine– another story from another decade for another day, or decade.
At the same time the MG Magnette was part of our lives, we also owned a Ford Cortina Ghia – cream with a tan roof - having sold the mustard-coloured Volkswagen Passat we'd owned in the prior couple or so years.
Somewhere in between and along with the Passat, the Cortina and the MG-Magnette, we also had a Holden EH Wagon.
The Holden wagon was red, with a white roof. Imitation wood-panelling ran along each side, which made the vehicle not unlike the American Ranch Wagons of the Fifties.
We christened the wagon “Tonto”, and I, because I was the one who drove it most of the time, was known as “The Lone Ranger”. ..a portent, perhaps, of what was to come a few years into the future. (Previously, I’ve written about these vehicles).
Not wanting to take either the Magnette or Cortina over rugged bush tracks or sandy, salty beaches, somewhere around 1981-1982, we purchased a 1948 Land Rover from a Noosa hinterland farmer, solely for off-road use. With its steel box-section chassis and aluminium body, the vehicle had been well-maintained. Under its bonnet was a reconditioned Holden motor.
Feeling like light-hearted teenagers once again, we painted the Land Rover fire engine red.
Going a step further, we sliced off its top, which made our converted Land Rover look like a high-rise sports car.
We christened our freshly-painted and altered acquisition - “Fire Truck”. (There is an anagram there somewhere....if you give it a little thought)!
The sturdy old Land Rover, having been given a new lease on life, gave us many, many hours of pleasure.
Not once did it let us down on our trips through the bush or along the beach of Noosa’s North Shore.
In fact, on many occasions, “Fire Truck” went to the rescue and towed much fancier, newer four-wheel drives aka SUVs out of bogged conditions.
Minus a top, our high-rise sports/fishing vehicle was naturally air-conditioned.
I can’t recall ever getting caught in the rain; no doubt we did one time or another. If we had, it wouldn’t have mattered.
We never wore our “Sunday Best” when heading off to the beach for a day or more of fishing and camping. Our best beach gear consisted of shorts, t-shirts, sarongs and bathing suits. Nothing more fancy was required.
And, it didn't matter if sand, salt, fish and bait enhanced the charm of "Fire Truck". When we got back home to Sunshine Beach, we'd hose it out and then put the garden sprinkler underneath it and let the sprinkler finish of the cleaning job.
The freedom felt when we climbed aboard “Fire Truck” was immediate. More often than not smiles and waves greeted us as we drove through Noosa Junction towards Noosaville en route to Tewantin and the ferry. Once the river was crossed we bounced along the rough track that led to the beach.
With the wind in our hair, the sun warming our bodies and the ocean’s incomparable aroma filling our nostrils as we drove along the beach, there wasn’t much wrong with the world. If there was (there always is), we felt exempt from external controls and restraints over which we really had no control – even if the sense of total freedom was only temporary.
Everywhere you look, and everywhere you go these days the place is inundated by SUVs - big, shiny and new SUVs. I wonder how many, if any, are used for off-road exploration - their original purpose. Or are the sparkling “beasts” for the most part only for show?
One day a few weeks ago as I was driving back home from IGA (which is only a distance of 3 or so kilometres away), to my dismay, and agitated annoyance, a huge, glistening SUV aggressively tail-gated me most of the way; urging and pressuring.
Breathing down my neck, his unnecessary intimidation continued unabated. My eyes instead of concentrating on the road ahead were mostly concentrated on my rear vision mirror, for the reason of which I am sure you are aware.
I wasn’t travelling at a snail’s pace, which is very annoying if you're travelling behind someone who does, when there appears to be no apparent reason for them to be travelling at a slow rate. I freely admit, it annoys me. Usually, those who do creep along are tourists, with their heads swinging back and forth, mouths open, like those side show alley clowns. And, strangely, not one of them know how to use their indicators...either that, or, perhaps, their vehicles don't have indicators.
I do digress....
The speed limit along the particular stretch between where I live and North Tamborine where the supermarket is, is 60kms per hour. I definitely wasn’t travelling below the speed limit. The only times I do travel below the speed limit are when the situations make it necessary to do so.
If, perchance, the other day, I’d cause to stop suddenly, the idiot and his vehicle would’ve crashed into and over me and “Lady”, my little Toyota Echo.
Eventually, although I shouldn’t have had to do so, I found an area that allowed me to safely pull off the road; indicating what my intention was.
The impatient, ignorant clown roared past at a rapid rate.
If he’d followed me into the area, I bet it would’ve been the first time he’d taken his SUV off-road.
I felt like giving him a large slice of my mind, not just a piece!
Feeling no shame, I admit, as he sped past, I did give him a recognisable “finger”.... thrust with powerful purpose out my driver’s side window. The meaning of my gesture would have been impossible not to recognise or understand....if the idiot could see beyond his blinkers, that is.
Savoury Kumara Slice: Preheat oven 200C. Line a 17cm x 27cm slice tin with paper: leave an overhang on all sides. Cook 400g kumara until just tender; drain; set aside. At the same time, cook 4 bacon rashers in a frying pan to brown; cool. Whisk 6 large eggs and 1/2c milk; add kumara, bacon, 1c grated cheddar and 1/4c chopped parsley; season. Pour into prepared tin. Arrange tomato slices over top. Bake 35mins or until set; serve warm or cold.
Salmon Slice: Preheat oven 170C. Lightly grease 2L capacity baking dish. Place 2c cooked white long-grain rice, 1x415g can red salmon, 1x375ml can evaporated milk, 2 lightly whisked eggs, 2tbs olive oil, 2tbs chopped dill, 1-2tsp curry powder and 1/2c grated cheddar in large bowl; season; mix well. Pour into prepared dish; spread to edges. Sprinkle with grated cheddar; bake 40mins or until set. Cut into pieces. Add corn kernels and grated zucchini to mix, if desired.
Apricot-Coconut Slice: Grease and line 18x29cm rectangular slice tray with paper. Finely crush 200g plain biscuits, such as Marie biscuits; add 250g chopped apricots to crushed biscuits. Melt 125g butter and 80g brown sugar. Add crushed biscuits, chopped apricots, 50g desiccated coconut and 200g condensed milk; mix well. Spoon into prepared tray; press down firmly. Sprinkle with coconut; chill several hours. Cut into slices.
Date-Lemon Slice: Preheat oven 180C. Grease and line slice tray. Melt 125g butter and1tbs golden syrup. Combine 1c plain flour, 1tsp baking powder, 1c coconut, 1c chopped dates and 1/2c caster sugar. Pour over melted butter-syrup; mix well; press firmly into slice tin. Bake, 20-25mins. Spread lemon icing over warm slice; sit 20mins before cutting into slices