|A view to the west...a part of my drive along to the supermarket|
|Cardwell, North Queensland|
I try to do my best to not over-step the limits. No doubt, there are instances, in the eyes or
ears of some, I cross the line. In my defence, sometimes the lines move without
prior warning, which is very
unsporting. In case the need arises I always carry a piece of chalk with me to enable me to redraw the line. Even though I take a Size 11 shoe my footprint on the earth up here on the mountain (also elsewhere) is limited to the smallest extent. My car’s tyre print, also, is barely noticeable because I never travel far afield. A suitcase is not necessary; nor is a flask, nor a cut lunch.
Once a week...there are times more than a week passes by...I travel the vast distance from home to the mountain’s local supermarket, IGA, and to the newsagency which is next door, and return. The trip to and fro adds up to a grand total of 8kms. Grey, I am; grey nomad I am not.
Once a month I do a run to the ATM at the Post Office to withdraw cash for my monthly rental payment. Actually, I don’t run...I drive my car.
I’ve ventured as far as Eagle Heights only once in the past 12 months, which was, and still is, a 13km return trip from my humble abode. My crumpled road map had to be straightened out and dusted off. I fitted a GPS to assist me in case I got lost getting there and back again. To ensure further that I’d not become lost, I left a breadcrumb trail, too. I suppose the birds have snaffled it up by now.
As you can see, I’m not a well-travelled, long-distance traveller. From not being a gadabout, or social butterfly or dragonfly, the soles of my shoes and the tread on my car tyres don’t wear out. My little car would shake nervously if I asked it to venture further. I would, too, probably. Like me, my car knows its limits, preferring to remain at home gathering moss. As for driving out and about at night, I’ve not driven at night for many years. I have no desire to do so any time soon, either. Take heed, wild life...your life is safe!
I may not travel far from my home base nowadays, and nights never, but things were different years ago.
A couple of examples...one day in the late 80s I drove from Hobart to Launceston and return. Of course, it’s not very far between the two cities...about 400kms return. On that particular day I was akin to a wandering troubadour, without the instrument playing. I probably sang a tune or two along the way, though...out of tune.
Around 4.30 pm on the same day at Hobart airport I boarded a flight to Melbourne, pausing in Sydney before finishing up in Brisbane. The car I hired in Hobart couldn’t make it across Bass Strait, hence my hitching a ride on an Ansett jet. I finally ended up in Townsville the following day, and from there I drove to Cardwell, eager to jump aboard the “Reef Cat” and be ferried across the waters of Missionary Bay to Cape Richards, on the northern tip of Hinchinbrook Island, in north Queensland.
The night of 25th April, 1998, I drove from Mackay to Gympie, departing Mackay at 7pm. A distance of 785kms, or thereabouts, I arrived at my destination the following morning at 4am...or thereabouts, after a couple of pit stops along the way.
When living in North Queensland, which I did for 13 years, I preferred to drive long distances at night, mostly doing so when the need arose to relocate from area to area. One Sunday I drove from Clifton Beach, a northern beach suburb of Cairns, south to Seaforth, a distance of 725kms. On that day I ended up across the ocean on Newry Island. (Don’t be silly! I didn’t drive my car across...I left my car at the Victor Creek boat ramp, and was transported by boat to the island!)
Working in restaurants, which I did for quite a number of years, naturally also meant I drove late at night from my workplace to my residence. How life changes when one is older, and an idler...
For my own safety, when driving home late at night back
in those years, and when travelling long distances from one area to another, I always
carried my kitchen knives...my work tools...on the passenger seat of my car, along
with a can of hairspray. I also always kept
a tomahawk under the front seat of my car. If anyone wanted to play silly buggers, a surprise burst of hairspray into their eyes would put them off their target....
These days I know my limits...chosen limits...so does my little car. It goes nowhere without me. Digging in its tyres, my little bus refuses to budge. We’re joined at the hips. Being the hermits we are, the 8kms a week, and the 10kms once a month, suit the both of us just fine, thank you very much.
I know the route like the back of my hand, and could drive it blindfolded. Don’t panic! I’ve no intention to do so. As bidden, I wear a mask when visiting the shops, but the mask doesn’t covers my eyes. That’d be a bit silly!
The money I save on fuel I spend on Cherry Ripes. That’s not silly...not even a bit. Cherry Ripes have no limits!
Cherry Ripe Slice: Blitz 250g Arnott’s Nice biscuits for about 5 secs. Break up 5x52g Cherry Ripes; add to biscuit mix; blitz 5 sec, until crumbs. Add 85g desiccated coconut, 2tbs cocoa and 300g condensed milk; mix 10 seconds, until combined. Shape into teaspoon-size balls; roll in coconut; chill.
Cherry Ripe Bars: Preheat oven 180C. Grease and line an 18cmx28cm slice pan, leaving 3cm overhang for easy removal of slice. Process to crumbs 250g Choc Ripple biscuits; add 100g melted unsalted butter; combine well. Spoon into base of prepared pan; firmly and evenly press into pan. Chill. Add 1-1/2c desiccated coconut, 395g condensed milk and 300g glace cherries to clean bowl; process until well combined and consistent in colour; add 4 drops of red food colouring, 1 drop at a time, processing in between until desired colour is reached. Roughly chop 100g glace cherries; stir through coconut mixture. Spread evenly over base: bake 20-25mins, or until edges begin to brown. Stir together 200g roughly chopped dark chocolate and 1tsp canola oil; melt. Spread melted chocolate over warm slice; create ripple effect over top; chill 1-2hrs. Remove from pan; cut into 24 even squares.
Easy-Peasy Cherry Ripe Ice Cream: Mix together 1tbs cocoa, 1tbs soft coconut oil and 1tbs maple syrup. Place 1 chopped, frozen banana, 1c frozen pitted cherries and 2tbs coconut cream in processor; blend until mixture resembles ice cream. Spoon into a bowl; top with the chocolate mixture. Enjoy!