West End Markets

For the last few weeks I have made a trip each Saturday morning to the West End Markets and oh how I loved them more than any of the other markets I have been to in Brisbane. A lot cheaper than the Jan Power markets and more general fruit and vege stalls as opposed to speciality olive and dip stalls, a whole lot more stalls than the Nundah markets. Just the perfect mix of everything.

I can get bananas from a banana grower at Crabbes Creek, near where Grandad grew up. I can get apples and pears from this lovely old Italian (?) man from Stanthorpe. Heritage tomatoes from this lovely lady. Fresh local squid from the polystyrene box fish shop. Turkish bread that is at least a meter long from the Highgate Hill bakery and everything else I need for the week.

The other week Mum came with me and I took these photos of her sitting on the soccer field eating some American cherries after our shared Hungarian spinach thing which we had for breakfast.


I probably won’t be going the next two weeks as I have weddings on both Saturdays but generally this is where you will find me on a Saturday morning.

Tweed Exploring

The other Friday, I took an early mark from road and headed south on the M1 to say hi to the Family and explore new roads, old roads and roads that don’t fit as either new or old.

Mum and Grandad had planned this trip to check out the new Pacific Highway and some of the new bypasses. Aunty Margaret joined in because she wanted to see some of the rellies and some of the areas that Grandad used to hang out as a young one. I went well because it meant a chance to drive on the Tugun bypass, hang out with Grandad and see the sights.

We drove down to Tweed Heads and had a lovely afternoon tea with Aunty Doris, enjoyed a stroll in the garden and the first of many catch-ups.
Aunty Doris

Then we popped in on Uncle Bob and Aunty Heather at Cudgen and admired a lovley scarf that one of their granddaughters who is an Army Nurse had brought back from the Middle East as well as general catch-up. Uncle Bob is very proud of the fact that he still drives the tractor for a couple of hours a day most days of the week. Once a farmer, always a farmer.

Then it was driving down to Brunswick Heads to stay the night. We had dinner at Dominic’s, the local Italian restaurant. We shared some zucchini flowers (something I had been wanting to try for ages) for an entrรƒยฉe which were delightful. I had Chilli Prawn Spaghetti for my main which was just the right combination of chilli and tomato. What really stood out for me was my dessert, the most delightful Panna Cotta, oh it was bliss. After enjoying a long dinner it was time to retire to our accommodation, The Brunswick Heads Chalet Motel.

Saturday morning arrived and it was time to pack the bags and drive up the road to New Brighton (where we actually would have liked to stay the night) for breakfast at the only cafe in town “Pippis” (if you are getting the idea that there is not much to this town you would be right). As we drove through Ocean Shores South into New Brighton, Grandad started pointing out places where he used to fish or picinic. One of the first things Grandad said when we walked into the cafe was to ask the man in charge if he knew of the ex-cop who used to run the cafe twenty odd years ago. The current owner didn’t know him though. After our breakfast, we did a little drive round the two or three streets of the township as Grandad pointed out places and Mum and Aunty Margaret remembered their time spent with Great Aunts/Uncles. Then we walked down to the Beach and oh what a glorious beach it was. To Grandad it is one of his favourite beaches and when he was younger him and his family spent many Sunday arvos their with a picnic lunch after church.

Shell hunting on Grandad's Beach

After we had our stay on the Beach, it was time to hit the road and keep on moving. On our way out of town Grandad pointed into the bush where a river was and said that when the tide and light was right, he and Armand would pick up Crabs as the tide retreated. As we passed near/over creeks, Grandad would pause and look into the water and comment that the water looked dead or not as full of life and flow that it had been in the 1920’s and 30’s when he spent every possible moment in this land.

Leaving New Brighton we headed to Billinudgel on the Billinudgel Rd, a winding dirt road which used to be the main road north. Granadad recalled driving this road with his Grandmother in a horse and sulky when a train roared past below, scaring the horse and taking them for a bit of a bolt. The first building you see coming down onto the Bilinudgel flats is the house that Aunty Lil used to live in. We took a drive up past it and Mum commented that the house was full of knooks and crannies. Margaret commented that it needed re-stumping.

After a drive round Bilinudgel, we went up to the the Pocket, another area which Grandad had spent time exploring in his youth, as the farm (Souldern – named after the village in Oxfordshire from where the Stephenson’s lived before emigrating to Australia) at Yelgun was on the other side of the mountain to the Pocket. He pointed out a creek that him and Uncle Albert once pulled a sugar bag of fish out of.
After a drive round the Pocket, we headed to Yelgun and up Browning Lane to the old farm. It had been a few years since we had last driven up the road to see the farm and in that time the road has deteriorated considerably. When we got up the house “Souldern”, we were greeted by a big barking mutt who didn’t want us to be there.

After taking some more photos we, headed up the highway a bit further to Crabbes Creek where Grandad went to primary school for a quick flying visit before heading up the road to Murwillumbah for lunch with Aunty Colleen.

Aunty Colleen is a legend.
Aunty Colleen

We had pumpkin soup for starters, then salad plates and last and very not least Aunty Colleen’s trifle. This is a trifle that well, they should probably ask to see your ID before you are served. Very good trifle.

We looked at photos. We talked about trips down to the Tweed and we talked about what everyone else is doing at the moment and Aunty Colleens impeding move down south to Gosford to be closer to her children. We collected quite a few photos to get copies of and one of the photos I picked up is of Grandmum, Grandad and Mum very pregnant with me from Uncle Armand’s funeral. It is now on my desk ๐Ÿ˜€

And we took a family photo.

Then we drove to the other side of Murwillumbah to see Aunty Ena and Uncle Wally and Ian. To look at more photos, talk more talk and eat some more! The first thing Aunty Ena said to me as I walked up the stairs that looking at my face I just look like, I had thought she was going to say Grandmum but instead she said no I had thought she was going to say Grandmum but instead she said Robin, one of Mum’s cousins. I know what I am going to look like at 40 and I know what I am going to look like at 80. Grandmum had three daughters and it is Mum who resembles her the most and since I am Mum’s only daughter well I would be the granddaughter who has the resemblance. That is the fun thing though.

Uncle Wally and Aunty Ena

We talked, we ate, we looked at photos and then it was time to head off, stopping at the house at the top of the main street where Grandad boarded through high school for a quick photo. Then it was the drive home and a trip to the Cod Father for tea. So a weekend of food not prepared by ourselves, driving the roads and lots of memories new and old.

And to close it off a photo of the Mandarin tree at Aunty Colleen’s.
Mandarin, eaten.

Cherry Tomatoes

I started writing this post a few weeks ago but I didn’t get a chance to take the last photo for the post till today. So now I present a tale of Cherry Tomatoes. At the moment, each time we visit the farm one of the things that I do or I do with Mum is pick the Cherry Tomatoes and now I give you a photo-documentary of the process.

Picking the little red balls. Some weekends we do this in near dark other weekends like yesterday we did it in the winter sun. When I took these photos we had not picked the tomatoes for three weeks we had a bounty on our hands.
Tomato, Tomato, Tomato more tomatoes in the sun

We pick the reddest, ripest tomatoes we can find, knowing that they will pack a whole lot more punch when they are dried.
Mum picking those little red balls of sweetness

After filling our buckets and trying to avoid the cobblers pegs and pea weed, it is time to clean them. The sink is filled with water and the tomatoes are poured in, washing off the dirt.
Mum picking those little red balls of sweetness

We stand there, on either side of the sink, methodically picking up a tomato, plucking off the stalk and putting the tomatoes on a rack to dry.
Drying in the sun after washing and cleaning

After they have tried it is on to the fun stuff. Cutting each and every tomato in half and placing it on the rack to go in the food dryer.
Chopping up the Tomatoes

Then they dry and dry and dry some more till we have little red discs, typically a bit smaller than a 5c piece. Then we feast on them in salads, pasta, dips, cous cous, sandwiches etc or take photos of them in a vase on the balcony….
Dried Cherry Tomatoes

Mt Mitchell

On Saturday Mum and I went on our first YHA Bushwalkers walk, a pleasant 10km stroll up Mt Mitchell in the Main Range. There were fifteen of us on the walk and was it was meeting some new people and walking in clear weather.
birds on a log

One of my highlights was “feasting” on wild raspberries with my lunch and ringing Grandad in his hospital bed from the top of the mountain.
Wild Raspberry snacks Wild Raspberry snacks Ringing Grandad

It is such an easy walk, I almost felt like running back down the track but didn’t instead I ran my hands over the grass trees, each time, delighting in the rush of the leaves over the palm of my hand.
grass trees

I had forgotten how much I love the view from the gap. Sitting on a rock looking out over the Fassifern Valley it just looks so nice.
Fassifern Valley Looking West

When the walk was over we had a little shop in the very nice Aratula Fruit Market before heading back to Brisbane and stopping in for a little while at the hospital to visit Grandad for a while.

a mish mosh life

My life is in a bit of a weird place at the moment. The internet is still not connected at our flat yet so to use my computer/the net I have to come home and when I do come home I don’t really like using the computer – sort of feels like I am in a Net Cafe with my 30mins of allocated time ticking away. To check my emails – which I can do via the web but I just don’t have the time at work to do so that often, Mum reads me the senders out over the phone. So funny, what an interesting way to check emails. Then I know what is waiting for me to find time to check at work or come home and read.

Last night Andrea and I (and later on a friend of Andrea’s) went down to one of “our (new) locals”, to grab a Pub meal and to enjoy a night of fReTfEST featuring amongst others Rob Longstaff (his website seems to be down at the moment) and Georgia Potter, a post with pictures is coming shortly.

Mum and I went to Chermie this morning and I managed to find not only a cardigan which I was looking for but a jacket and a new work shirt as well. I have been very lacking in the cooler weather gear department of items which have more office style than Polartecs. The jacket and the cardigan are both Australian Merino which is pretty nice. I also picked up a recipe book, to start copying recipes from Mum’s handwritten recipe book to my own.

The 2nd Mountain Goats session is finally up on Daytrotter and oh sigh what a fantastic collection of four recordings it is. San Bernardino is such a delicate recording compared to the version on Heretic Pride. I had forgotten how much I loved There Will Be No Divorce and 02-75, what a sweet song that is and well Raja Vocative is Raja Vocative.

Tonight I am going on a boat cruise of the lovely Brisbane River with a large collection of people from work. Thankfully the sky has cleared and the wind has eased a bit! Yesterday, not many of us was looking forward to today!

And because we always need photos here some photos from the last week or so.
QPAC The old flour mill and Albion station Looking West from Albion station rain at sunset sigh trees

would you believe it?

We certainly didn’t.

Mum with her phone
Mum is now with phone! Due to changes in how Grandad is been looked after, Mum now has a mobile to keep to date with all the happenings that come with the healthcare of an 88 year old.

The last 24hrs have proven most interesting in watching Mum learning how to use her new phone ๐Ÿ˜€

Matthew of course helped out in Mobile Phone Studies 1001 and of course hid his face from the camera.
Matthew hiding his face from the evil camera

However this one I caught him unaware ๐Ÿ™‚
matthew didn't see me take this photo :)