Miz Lizzie Adventures: before we go

We’re off!

Just a short trip, but it’ll tell us whether Mouse enjoys the road trip/caravan experience. We’re hoping, of course, that he’ll love it as much as we do, and make lots of new doggy friends along the way.

One thing Miz Lizzie wasn’t equipped with was a large dog bed. Mouse is not a small person, and when he sleeps, it’s usually with all four legs sprawled out. We weren’t about to make him sleep outside so sleeping accommodation had to be arranged. Between us, the Husband and I have come up with a Cunning Plan. The banquette seat opposite the Husband’s bunk is used once a day, tops, and often not at all. We’ve removed the fixed table, which was large, cumbersome and heavy, and have replaced it with a folding table which goes down flat most of the time.

So we’ve run a board across from under the cushions of the banquette to a ledge the Husband installed along the side of his bunk platform. It has stops to prevent it sliding about. On top, we have the option of using the seat cushions as a doggy mattress, or better still, a section of the old bunk mattresses we’ve replaced, with the backrest cushions at either end.

We lured Mouse into Miz Lizzie (less difficult than the first time), made sure we were both occupying the bunks to remove that option, and then encouraged him to jump onto this new doggy bed, now made comfy and familiar with his floor quilt and fleece blankie.  Once up, he did his usual spin in place, lay down and proceeded to snooze. Job done. Of course, being right beside him, it now falls to the Husband to provide the constant petting that will be demanded. If he neglects his strokies duty, he’ll get poked by a cold, wet, pointy nose. My bunk, on the other hand, is too far away for Nose Attack. Mwahahaha!

The trip ought to be a well-worn routine by now, but I can’t help feeling it’s going to be a totally new experience, thanks to our shiny black friend in the back seat.

Wish us luck!


BougieNights #6: One more to go

I haven’t made quite the progress I hoped for.

Other things demanded attention, including my foray into Mousewear and various domestic issues. But I’ve managed to reach the point where I have only the final long seam to go.

On our morning walk today, Mouse and I passed this bougainvillea on a wire fence, and the colour reminded me why this quilt is called Bougainville Nights. It doesn’t communicate properly just how brilliantly orange and pink the flowers are, but you get some idea. All it needs is a brilliant north Queensland sunset and a deepening dark blue sky to bring my original colour inspiration to mind.

Speaking of Mouse, he’ll be joining us for his first caravan trip this coming weekend. We’re catching up with some friends from OzSTOC, our motorbike touring club, down in Miriam Vale, 500km south of here. We’ve found a dog-friendly caravan park on the banks of the Boyne River in Benaraby where we’ll spend two nights, and we’ll be packing Mouse’s club colours bandanna as well as our own club shirts 🙂 For the purpose of this trip, he’s our official OzDog.  I don’t think we’ll be able to train him to hold one end of the flag, but you never know.

It’ll be interesting to see how he takes to this style of travel and accommodation. One thing’s for certain: we’ll have to watch our step in the caravan at night given his lordship’s ‘legs everywhere’ space-hogging style of sleeping.

I think there’s probably one more BougieNights post to go: the completed, bound quilt, and a view of the ‘alternate quilt’ on the back. Meanwhile, I have to go and make up the caravan bunks, turn on the fridge and check the supplies.

I’ll let you know how it goes…

Miz Lizzie Adventures: Lovely Lavish Loot!

As promised, then, here are the acquisitions of the past two days.

Firstly, the chocolate. I think we’ve been quite modest, really, when you consider that two of those packages are for the kind neighbours who are keeping an eye on the house and taking in our mail.

From top left to bottom right, we have milk chocolate coated coffee beans, latte flavoured milk chocolate, dark chocolate gingers, more milk chocolate coated coffee beans, dark chocolate cranberry & pistacho bar, milk chocolate salted caramel bar, and milk chocolate cranberry & pistachio bar.

Here is a current portrait of Miz Lizzie.

And here is her Mini-Me, a totally gorgeous clock with extremely funky hands and a swinging pendulum. It now hangs on the locker door above the sink, and ticks very quietly, not loud enough to be annoying while we’re trying to sleep. We saw it in the Coffee Works gift shop, where (despite the fairly substantial price ticket) buying it was a no-brainer. It’s made by a US company called Allen Designs, and they make a fair range of clock designs, something to suit everyone, I’d say.

To the point, in fact, that the Husband has ordered me a second one.

Well, no prizes for guessing where it’ll hang when it arrives. (They’re not paying me anything for this link, I’m telling you about them because you’ve got to share a good thing. Go ahead and browse. I’ll be here when you get back in an hour or two…)

And finally, I got my toes titivated. The previous pedi was getting a bit weatherbeaten, and I like to do the Husband credit when we’re prancing eagerly into a shop to Buy Stuff. I don’t normally indulge, and my toenails are habitually bare, but in holiday season you have to make a bit of an effort, don’t you?

I’ve told the Husband that in return for the clock loveliness, a holiday present for him is called for.

He initially pretended he wanted for nothing, but his eyes lit up like anything when, working on information previously received as they say in the detective stories, I suggested a rattle-gun (aka a cordless torque wrench) might be acceptable.

So there’ll be a trip to the DIY store soon. That’s a promise.

Miz Lizzie Adventures: restraint, and a lack of it.

I can resist anything except temptation…

Well, that’s what Oscar Wilde said, anyway. I can resist some temptations, especially when I know the Husband is tapping his foot outside the fabric shop. So this time, I only bought one piece of fabric (she said with an air of spurious virtue). The shop is a treasure trove of not just fabrics, but flosses, fixings, findings, fleece, and everything the avid crocheter or knitter could wish for. Oh, and paints, dyes, stains, crayons, pencils, papers, canvases. So you see, buying only one piece of fabric from the sale bin really was quite restrained.

I made up for it once outside, though.

A luscious caramel chocolate slice from the Vietnamese bakery. Not a pastry base, but made of compressed fresh coconut shreds. I don’t pretend it made this delectable treat more virtuous, but it did make it slightly less heavy and filling. Slightly…

We didn’t do much yesterday; some laundry, some grocery shopping, a little reading (Husband) and sewing (me). This is, after all, a holiday. Today, we’re going up to the Tableland to visit Coffee Works and pay homage to the chocolatiers by carting away as much chocolate as we can without people pointing and whispering. We’ll probably also buy some cheeses at Gallo’s Dairyland. The weather’s looking a bit overcast, so I don’t know if I’ll get many landscapey-type photos. Depending on time and weather, I may visit some of my favourite waterfalls, too.

After all, I have to pretend the day’s trip isn’t totally about food….

Miz Lizzie Adventures: Cardwell, Cairns and Curry

Oh, I do love a bit of alliteration.

“No, really?” I hear you say… None of that sarcasm, now. Anyway, Sunday morning dawned grey, overcast and drizzly. We had a 10 minute reprieve to shake off the side awning and get it dry enough to roll up. We do have the process of packing up the caravan down to a fine art by now, so it’s really only about half an hour from start to finish so long as we’re organised but we were distinctly damp by the time the job was done.

Waving goodbye to the thick grey cloud hovering inches above the Hinchinbrook Channel, we set off up the coast towards Cairns, our final destination for the next six days. It rained on and off, but most on, for the rest of the day. It was fine though; everywhere is brilliantly green. The cane looked tall and lush, with thick feathery purply-pink plumes (back home, it’s a different variety and the plumes are white), and it’s over 3.5m/12ft tall in places. Definitely ready to cut. You can still see dead tree trunks on hillsides facing the sea where cyclones have stripped every leaf, but the rainforest has amazing regenerative power and in a couple of years, they’ll be invisible.

Once we’d passed the ghostly outline of Walsh’s Pyramid, with its top hidden in the clouds, I knew were were nearly there. It’s more of a landmark on a sunny day, but is unmistakeable in any weather.

We got to Cairns early and were able to set up in a brief dry spell. The caravan park is in a great spot. I’ll show you an earlier view of what it looks like when it’s not raining, since the present view isn’t quite as interesting. Still plenty of low cloud over the mountains to give you an idea, though!

There are lots of grey nomads here, taking advantage of the warmer weather compared with down south, but it’s not really full, so there are no battles for the washing machines or camp kitchen facilities. I was able to spread out when I made dinner. Mostly, I cook in the caravan, but it was chicken curry, and I didn’t want the smell to linger for the rest of the holiday! I’m not quite picky enough to grind my own spices on a caravan trip, but a good quality curry paste, coconut cream, chicken and vegetables will do the job.

Today we have some chores to do: grocery shopping, a bit of laundry (if the rain stops), etc, but tomorrow, let the gastronomy commence! The only decision is whether to stay at sea level, or head up onto the Tablelands.

That’s about as hard as the decision-making’s going to get for the next few days…


Miz Lizzie Adventures: nice as pie

We’re off!

After a remarkably stress-free launch at 9.30am, we cruised peacefully up the Bruce Highway to our first planned stop: lunch at Bowen.

The reason for the choice of destination isn’t hard to find: firstly, it was on our way, and secondly, Jochheim’s Pies. The place is legendary, and judging by the queue out the door when we arrived bang on midday, its reputation is well deserved. They make and bake all their pies on the spot, and there are 18 flavours to choose from every day.

In addition to this array of hot and tasty glory, there’s another display case full of cream cakes, pastries, buns and biscuits, again, all made on the premises fresh every day. The clientele were dressed in everything from business suits to high vis workwear to shorts and flipflops and were every age from 9 to 90.

This was my lunch. You’re lucky to see even this much; it lasted about a minute, and the Husband’s was gone before I could get a photo. He also had a ‘peach cake’, a small round vanilla cake rolled in a peach flavoured jelly and coated with desiccated coconut, split and filled with cream. I can’t do cream, so I contented myself with a fruit bun, and very nice it was too.

Then back onto the highway, and on to Townsville. We’re staying tonight in our regular caravan park, and shortly I will be disappearing off to the camp kitchen to make chicken noodle stir fry for supper.

But I really rather wish I had another of those pies….