Granite, Chocolate and Cubans

Easter, that glorious four day weekend. It’s no longer Summer and the air is getting slightly colder. Hot Cross Buns, Easter Eggs and all other goodies. I was speaking to Mum on Wednesday night and she mentioned that she was going with NPAQ to a place near Tenterfield for the weekend. A few minutes later, I too had plans for the long weekend. Less than 24hrs later I joined all other holidaying cars on the highway and was heading south west. Unlike the rest of the camp, I had tickets for Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club on Sunday night and of course had to work on Monday so it was sort of more like a regular three day long weekend for me. However, it was in granite country and that is a weekend in a good place.

Growing up, we spent a lot of camping time in Girraween and the granite country surrounding it. Granite is by no means a kind rock; it rips your skin to shreds, you get granite impressions in your skin from where you have sat/leant against the rock, when it is worn by water over the years it becomes insanely slippery. It’s a rock of many personas. Some people have pants with knee patches, or cardigans with elbow patches, as children my younger brother and I had shorts with bottom patches made out of canvas. Shorts perfect for playing on granite.

Anyway back to this weekend just passed. As I was leaving a day early, we went down in two cars. Mum and another lady, Fiona in one and myself in the other. We stopped at a servo in Warwick for dinner. I had a tropical burger, it was such a large burger that I had to eat the patty separately!

mmmm burger

You see that skewer through the burger? Yep, that is holding the thing together!

Quite a little while later, we pulled off the Mt Lindesay Highway a little south of the “Historical Village of Boonoo Boonoo” to our camp site for the weekend. The tent was quickly put up and bodies tucked themselves into sleeping bags after a long day.

Friday was to be a gentle day. A drive to Basket Swamp, walking round the top of the falls, then walking down to the bottom of the falls and going “Cripes, these are some falls and that is a lot of water over those falls”. The last section of the road in is 4wd only. I was the only female driver and the youngest driver by … well to put it one way, the other drivers are in all the range to be older enough to be my father or grandfather. That was an interesting experience…. Messages over the radio advising of approaching cars, passing cars, holes, cattle and everything else.

At the top of the falls, someone discovered these cool water pipes. These are pipes/tunnels/holes that spurt water out of the rock.

Basket Swamp Falls

Looking down the Basket Swamp gully from the top of the falls.
Basket Swamp Falls

and this is Basket Swamp Falls.
Basket Swamp Falls, 258/365

Then it was time for lunch, some pulled out the chairs and enjoyed their spread at the turning circle at the end of the 4wd track, others such as myself went back out to the top of the falls to enjoy lunch there.

On the drive out we stopped to look at an old mining site and took a walk up to the Timbarra Trig Point. The ladder up to the actual trig point has been taken down due to well founded safety concerns so no 360° view to share but still there were plenty of sights to see.

Timbarra Trig Point
Timbarra Trig Point
Timbarra Trig Point
Timbarra Trig Point

And that was Friday. Back at camp of course there was happy hour and then half a dinner since we had all eaten too much at happy hour. I made pikelets with caramel Top’N’Fill for dessert and snacks for Saturday.

Saturday, the day I was looking most forward too. South Bald Rock and most importantly the chance to go through the cave in the daylight. When Iceland came to visit December 2008, Mum and us three “kids” went to South Bald Rock but the inclement weather stopped our cave attempt. We left camp nice and early to give us plenty of time to go through the cave system.

On the way in I “found” an Easter Egg on a cairn ….. I left it though for the party that was following us ….

Easter on the Cairn

We had a very quick walk in, came across the rangers so had a chat to them. Then it was up the granite.

20100403_26772

Walking on the slab

The Shark Fin and the Dougongs

The Dugongs

After a break for morning tea, we headed to the entrance of the cave. A few people upon seeing the entrance decided not to continue on so a party of 9 headed in.

We wiggled, moved and twisted our bodies in a hundred different ways to squeeze through holes.

We came across this glow worm cave which was pretty cool. There were about five or six worms active and lots of threads. This is a photo that Mum took, you can see the threads hanging off the “ceiling”. Click the photo to view larger.

Glow worms

Another space in the cave
Inside the Cave on South Bald Rock

Inside a large space in the cave

Inside the Cave on South Bald Rock

A photo that Mum took just after I popped out of the opening which put us in the space in the above photos.
Helen in cave

Mum has more photos here – South Bald Rock

Some photos of people coming through that squeeze.
Alex in the cave Len in the cave John in the cave

With only a few more squeezes to go, Mum broke out a bag of Easter Eggs here to share round.

The last squeeze was quite a challenge, it involved getting one knee up behind your backside and the other in front of your chest and then turning your body 90 odd degrees and reaching for a hand hole and then just hauling yourself up and out…. Fun times.

Then it was time to bag the summit, take some video which I will upload later. Back down to the flatish part of the slab where we had morning tea to now have lunch, more exploring of granite and discussion with other walkers of other caves. Then it was time to head through the bush and down off the rock and to walk out.

We had a fairly quick walk out which was really good. I was quite tempted to trail run the last 3km but decided to be a good girl and stay with the group. Some of us took a little detour up and over a slab which was beside the trail at one point. It was a glorious slab.

Coming up the detour slab
The gang in a holding pattern

Coming over the top. Granite mmmm.
Taking the scenic route
mmm more granite
granite

Pretty things

pretty flowers

pretty leaves

Granite, Gums and Clouds, 259/365.
Granite, Gums and Clouds, 259/365

When we got back on the real track we passed the border sign.
Sunshine on the border

Then well a little while later we were back at the cars. Then it was back to camp to wash, relax, eat and most importantly make Chocolate Mousse for dessert.
Chocolate Mousse

A pack of UHT cream, a pack of instant chocolate mousse mix and a little bit extra milk made up on powder and then start whisking with a fork. A little while later you get the picture above, let it sit in the coolest spot you can find whilst you have tea. Then enjoy that sweet glorious chocolate.

That was Saturday…. Tomorrow would see me heading back to Brisbane.
Sunday morning, I packed up, had breakfast and collected Easter Eggs as various people went round camp handing out eggs.

Camp Scenes Camp Scenes Camp Scenes Camp Scenes

Went round the camp site saying my farewells and then at just about exactly 0830 I drove out. I decided to take the scenic route home via the Mt Lindesay road and quite enjoyed it, especially because I found this beauty.

Woodenbong Public Hall, 260/365. Oh that design.
Woodenbong Public Hall, 260/365

I arrived home a little while after 1pm, had a bite to eat, unpacked and then conked out for a few hours sleep before the magic that would be Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club. The Concert Hall was fullish but by no means sold out. I had bought my tickets the day they were released; I was smack bang in the middle six rows back. It was pretty much what I had expected but by no means would I say it was amazing. Featuring two of the members from the 1997 album, the rest of the Orquesta is a collection of it seems rotating musicians who are to a degree cashing in on that famous name. Whilst I enjoyed just about every moment of the concert, it did seem quite often that the musicians were just going through the paces and quite possibly would have liked to have been elsewhere. Typically a live performance is 100 times better than listening to the album as very rarely does that “special buzz” make it through to the recording. I had expected a lot more of a buzz in the live music.

The gig had good parts and parts that could have been better. Part of the problem I think is the venue for the concert. Whilst the Concert Hall is a nice venue, it was not a wise venue choice for a bunch of musicians making music that is designed for dancing. The Hi-Fi, The Tivoli or The Zoo would all have been much, much, much better venue choices as people could have danced and as a result of that I think the musicians would have been able to put more buzz and excitement into the sound. Also there was absolutely no merchandise…. ????? I thought for sure there would have at least been the flogging of some t-shirts and the original Buena Vista Social Club album and movie. It seems I was not the only person who felt like this either.

Monday was work in the morning, visiting a number of grocery stores picking up half price Easter chocolate for a project and making a big batch pumpkin and red lentil dahl in the afternoon.

Red Lentil and Pumpkin Dahl, 261/365
Red Lentil and Pumpkin Dahl, 261/365

ahh long weekends.

Happy Super Hornet Day :)

I dubbed Friday March 26, Super Hornet Day in honour of the arrival of the first five F/A-18F Super Hornets to Australia. To celebrate I made biscuits of course. πŸ˜€ As per usual I used Sugar Cookies Recipe #2 from Simply Recipes, I used orange essence instead of the almond extract but I don’t think I used enough for it to be noticeable.

250/365
Super Hornet Biscuits, 250/365

I had a big Thursday night making these biscuits; I didn’t end up going to bed till sometime after 1am and was up a few hours later to make the packaging. I was quite lucky that two of the girls at work helped with the wrapping and stapling the tags on. I ended up with 52 planes as two were sent to the scrap yard due to faulty wings…. I don’t advocate icing biscuits past midnight, technique is never as good as it is at say you know 4 in the afternoon! I was tired and that resulted in not always keeping a nice even pressure on the icing bag which resulted in some clumpy icing. That is my criticism and one I am sure that most non-baking people would not notice anyway.

Super Hornet Biscuits

I walked round work with a box of biscuits Friday morning, handing them out and wishing people Happy Super Hornet Day, some people thought that the RAAF had supplied them for us, others wanted to know which bakery they were from, some people said “oh Helen, you are a bit of a nerd aren’t you” to which I of course replied “Why yes I am”, other people were just happy to get a pretty biscuit.

251/365
Super Hornet Biscuits, 251/365

Though the real purpose of the day was not to come for another few hours. I swear the time between about 12:00 and 12:45ish when I went down to the river went ever so slowly. There were five of us from work outside Customs House. If you look at this hi-res image on the Defence website, you can spot the five of us on the board walk in front of the steps to Customs House, pretty cool! I had my 16-35mm lens on my camera as I thought that they would fly at a “nice low” height over the river. I should have had my 70-200mm on, they were high in the sky. It also meant that the flyover was quite quiet as well… πŸ™ πŸ™

The Super Hornets Arrive

It was very cool to see the Super Hornets with the F1-11s and the BAE Hawk escort but oh I do wish they had flown lower and louder πŸ˜€ I think my biscuits were more impressive than the flyover.

Smiles for art on shelves

I quite adore picture ledges. Such a great way to display a collection and very easy to re-arrange as whims demand it.

Shelves! 247/365

In my room at my parents, I have two above my bed. They are the much adored Strippa shelves from Ikea. Ikea replaced these with the Ribba ledges which come in various lengths and colours. I picked up two over Christmas which I then stripped back and painted white…. yeah they come in white but my Ikea didn’t have any… I had fun painting them πŸ˜€

We finally got round to putting them up on Sunday. Oh so happy!

Monday night before SES I arranged my art work. Drawings from Melbourne, my favourite Margaret Olley print of Brisbane picked up on a trip to Sydney, an oh so tacky but I adore it fish serving platter picked up for $1 at an op shop, a random photo of myself and a photo of some of my family from when my mother was pregnant with me. I still have a few prints to get frames for and then it will be the game of deciding what goes where.

For the three larger pieces I added a few little strips of double-sided tape to the top of the frames where they lean against the wall for added protection to stop any toppling of art on my whilst I sleep! With out the tape this was quite a possibility as my walls are by no means “flat” – not surprising given the age of the house.

It is soooo nice to at last not have a great big empty wall. On that side of my room it is 3m from the floor to the ceiling – so a lot of empty wall!

πŸ˜€

Driving the Clem7

I along with oh perhaps half of Brisbane drove through the Clem7 tonight.
It's open!!! 241/365

Few things to note about the opening. The radio stations were reporting that all four entrances were open…. No only the northbound entrances opened at 22:00, the southbound entrance is not opening till roughly 00:00. They also closed the ICB south/west bound as it shares the same entrance to the Clem7 southbound, there was no signage that I saw and nothing on the radio about that been closed. This resulted in a build up of cars on Lutwyche Rd mainly wanting to head south on the Clem7. As the build up continued a cop walked amongst the cars and advised us to head to one of the southern entrances … Off to the Shafstone Ave entrance I went πŸ˜€

And I went for a drive!!! My lights and radio were on. I was sort of hoping they would do a broadcast over the radios but no… It was quite dusty and sort of foggy in the tunnel, will be interesting to see if that diminishes in the next few days.

Oh Clem7, I don’t think that I will get much use out of you currently living at Auchenflower to head to the eastern or southern suburbs/Gold Coast as I don’t think the times will be that much different to using the Riverside Expressway. I will however in the next month or so when it is free do some experiments to see the times…

Oh Clem7, I’m so happy you are open. Yay for infrastructure!

Multifunction, oh yeah

Day 238/365 also known as Saturday, March 13 2010.
Had brunch and went shopping with some friends who used be at work.
Did some washing and some cleaning.
Decided to let the grocery shopping wait till today…
Watched a movie it was ok

Most importantly I bought a new printer/scanner. Quite happy indeed. πŸ˜€ It’s a Canon Pixma MP990 picked it up for $348 from Officeworks.

I spent a fair bit of the afternoon scanning paperwork. My expandable file of important paperwork is now about half the size it used to be, still a way to go but happy with progress.

Working on a meal plan for this week at the moment and then I will have to do some grocery shopping.

Going to have dinner with the family tonight and picking up my stash of photo paper.

For a silver box, it sure is pretty!
MP990, 238/365

Easter in the Myer Centre, 237/365
Easter in the Myer Centre, 237/365
A very lovely hanging Ferrero Rocher Easter egg in the Myer Centre that is about 3 stories high. At Christmas they hang a very nice Ferrero Rocher Christmas tree in this space.

We like photos.

I will once again say I had no intention of 11 days passing between posts. Oh well. Photos, we all like photos.

Curtains!! 226/365
Curtains!! 230/365
Yep, at last I’ve finished my curtains and they are up. I went to Ikea between Christmas and New Years. Amongst the things I picked up was this fabric, I had planned to purchase a more “demure” fabric but there was no way I could say no the slightly kitsch, slightly folksy fabric that is Annamoa Fabric … I picked up lining at Spotlight a week or two later… Then the wait happened whilst I tried to find curtain eyelets, eventually I found curtain eyelet tape at Lincraft. I made one curtain at my house on a Saturday. Yeah, let me tell you it was quite an adventure using the kitchen floor as a cutting table. The next day I headed over to Mums and borrowed the kitchen table (such bliss for cutting fabric) and some of her advice. I didn’t quite get the other two curtains finished that day but did the rest of the sewing the following Sunday when I was next over.

They make my room feel so cheery! And oh for lining as well now my room isn’t so bright in the morning and slightly warmer at night.
Yay for new curtains!

Patterned Legs, 227/365
Patterned Legs, 231/365
There a few fashion rules I have for myself, one of these is no tights/stockings in Spring and Summer. Really because unless they are 8 denier or less it is just too damm hot to wear stockings in Brisbane during those months. I picked this pair up from Coles over the New Year for a very nice sum of $3.something!

Romatherapy Tomatoes???? 228/365
Romatherapy Tomatoes???? 232/365
Yeah this is what Woolies calls baby Roma tomatoes…

Peach Upside Down Cake, 229/365
Peach Upside Down Cake, 233/365
At what point did it seem like a good idea to make an upside down cake in a spring form pan….. Common sense did question it but no I was going to be good and follow the recipe. Let’s just say I had a ball cleaning a black sugary mess in the oven…. Upside down cake + spring form pan = mess!

Other than it was quite a success. The recipe is off Taste and here is the link Peach Upside Down Cake. I had almonds on hand but really didn’t feel like breaking out the blender to make almond meal so used hazelnut meal I had on hand instead and I think it made the cake even nicer. Had a slightly nutty flavour. One thing to note though is that I made this cake Thursday night to take to work on Friday. For morning tea, the cake was fantastic, just the right amount of moistness. When it came to divying up the last few slices for afternoon tea the cake was a bit dry.

Looking Up, 230/365
Looking Up, 234/365
I saw The Blind Side on Friday night – man oh man what a movie. I was happy to see Sandra Bullock win the Oscar, man oh man that dress was gorgeous and the hair!
I was kicking back on my bed when I got home with a million thoughts going through my mind and I was struck to a degree by the way the posters look from below.

A single flower, 231/365
A single flower, 235/365
A single flower, a single plant. This dahlia is the only thing in the front garden at Mums currently.

Sore Toe, 232/365
Sore Toe, 236/365
A change from photos of metal adorned teeth… For the last week or so the tip of the toe next to my big toe has been quite sore. I thought my toenail was digging in but trimming the nail didn’t help it all. I just tried to ignore it, thinking that yeah it will get better. It’s no longer sore but when I decided to change my toenail polish on Sunday I discovered why it had been so sore! Check out that bruise! Four days after taking this photo, I can tell you it is a bit darker as well.

Welcome Lights, 233/365
Advent Lights, 237/365
On the same trip to Ikea as the one when I got the curtain fabric I also picked up these Welcome Lights/Christmas Candolier from Ikea for something like $3 after Christmas. I love them! I’m keeping these out all year! A much more modern version than the set my parents brought out from Iceland with them.

Melbourne snow dome, 234/365
Melbourne Snowdome, 238/365
I picked up this snowdome for next to nothing at Borders one day. I was going through photos the other day and finally found the perfect photo. In saying that, I’m still trying to decide what photo to put on the other side!

This hat, 235/365
This hat, 239/365
I’ve posted photos of this hat before but I love it too much not to share more. I’ve moved it from hanging on the curtain rod to a hook on my door. Now it greets me when ever I walk into my room! I do wish my head was a few cm smaller so it did fit me.

Yeah, that is a whipper snipper, 236/365
Yeah, that is a whipper snipper, 240/365
Our lawn had a hair cut today or really it got a buzz cut. I’ld call it a number 4. Before it could be mown they “trimmed” the lawn with a whipper snipper!

It’s hard to believe that I am 236 days into my 365 day quest! When I tried in 2008 I lasted 75 days. I’m just about two thirds of the way through now, really happy with that. πŸ˜€

And that is a wrap!