The Travels of Mouse: north to the sun #5

Hello again. Today, the report is about the day off I gave the Staff yesterday. I’ll let Mum do the talking…

Mum: We knew at the start of the holiday that there would be a few things where our lord and master would not be able to join us, sadly. Ahem. I have joined an organisation called Mad Paws, which brings together pet sitters and pet, er, owners. This enabled us to find a lovely lady called Vivien in Cairns, one of several people who offer doggy daycare. She has a large and exceptionally dog-friendly house, a big back yard and several doggos in residence, either her own or on long term visits. We booked a day for Mouse and brought along his medical records, his lead, quilt, snacks and some tightly crossed fingers. This is the first visit he’s made without us along, so we hoped he’d be OK. He was, of course. After demonstrating his running skills and seeing off another dog who wanted to boss him about, he settled right down, to the point where she was texting us photos showing him asleep, all through the day.

So, what did we do on our Staff Outing? We wanted to have coffee and cake, to buy cheese and chocolate, to have a good lunch, and to revisit the 900m/3,000ft high Atherton Tableland, one of our favourite areas when in Far North Queensland.

On our upward journey, we travelled south out of Cairns and turning inland at Walsh’s Pyramid, taking the Gillies Range road, 19km of 263 bends offering spectacular views of the valley below. It passes from sea level through dry to wet rainforest on the upward climb and it’s amazing how suddenly the type of vegetation changes. First stop was Lake Eacham, one of the Tablelands’ Crater Lakes. The area is volcanic, and there are several deep, deep lakes in the area. Local legends say they’re bottomless; of course, they aren’t, but being so high up and deep they’re always cold and refreshing for swimming, and blessedly free of crocodiles, unlike the sea-level waterways in the area.

Mungalli Creek biodynamic dairy has been a very enjoyable pitstop on previous journeys. They have a viewing area for the dairy at work, and serve coffee, cakes and light lunches. We had very fond recollections of memorable Devonshire Teas with clotted cream and a particularly squidgy chocolate torte. Sadly, we were disappointed, so much so that we won’t be going back, and I’m not bothering to provide a link. There was no torte, and despite the fact that they make a range of lactose free milk, yoghurt, etc, they didn’t offer lactose free cream so I could have the scones, jam and cream instead. It was perhaps just as well, as the Husband’s scones were dry and hard in the middle and the cream was a bit scanty and aerated to stretch it further. I had a soggy cheesecake of which the less said the better. The one I make myself is distinctly superior. Our coffees were terrible; his was bitter and far too strong, and mine was so weak it was like drinking hot milk. And there was no cheese for sale. We were offered Covid-19 as the reason, but couldn’t see why that would affect cheesemaking. Oh well….

Moving swiftly on, we headed for Gallo Dairyland, another cheese destination. We arrived to find it closed; at present it’s only open for half the week and of course I hadn’t checked, being used to seeing it open every day. I was beginning to feel rather despondent; I’d hoped to buy some of their hand made chocolates as well as cheese, to make up for the cake disappointment. The chocolates are reliably fabulous, and I’ll know to ring and check next time we’re up here.

And then it was time for lunch. Our favourite is the Gateway Hotel in Mareeba; I’ve posted about it before, and despite being much less busy than usual (all the tables are much further spaced, there was no crowd at the bar, etc), the staff are still warm, welcoming and attentive, and the food was, as always, magnificent pub grub.

The beef is locally produced and the steak in front of the Husband was tender and perfectly cooked. I wanted something a bit different, and had a salad of pearl couscous, roasted red capsicum and pumpkin, toasted macadamias and grilled halloumi, dressed with grilled garlicky prawns and a honey mustard dressing. I scoffed the lot, and it was a big plateful!

We took the scenic route home, descending the Kuranda Range, 11.5km of more wiggly road, coming into Cairns from the north this time. After laying in vital supplies (a hot roast chicken, chocolate, etc), we went to fetch His Majesty. He was pleased to see us, but slightly grumpy at having been left out of the fun. However, walkies, belly tickles and rather a lot of chicken scraps later he recovered his normally sunny disposition…

And that will be quite enough of that, thank you, Mum. A little respect if you don’t mind!

The Travels of Mouse: north to the sun #4

First things first: Happy Birthday to Me!

Mum says it’s my 4th birthday today. She has the papers to prove it, so she must be right. I must say, I don’t feel 4, although I’m not sure how it’s supposed to feel… The Staff are putting in extra effort to make the day special for me. I got treats at breakfast, which never happens, and Mum let me dawdle around a bit instead of the usual brisk walkies.

Then they took me to another two dog parks. The first was, well, nice, but not terribly interesting. It’s very large, not a lot of shade for the humans, and unfortunately I made Mum walk the entire length of the field to pick up after me. I didn’t do it on purpose, honestly… The other was lovely! There were two wolfhounds, a small white fluff of some description, a beautiful ginger and white collie, and an old and rather blind cattle dog. I raced the collie for her frisbee – she was great at retrieving, which doesn’t interest me at all, I just love to race!

Mum and Dad had lovely talks with the other dogs’ Staffs while we all ran around and socialised. I must say, the dog parks in Cairns are rather superior, very well supplied with poo bags, very clean and well fenced and there are lots of them. We’ve bookmarked them all on the satnav. When I say we, I mean Dad. I can’t be doing with all that poking about with my paws… Mum says she is also reviewing all the dog parks we visit on Google, to help other dog families choose somewhere nice for their doggo to run and play.

After the dog parks it was brunchtime. We went to a place in Freshwater which is a garden centre called Limberlost. It has a very nice café there, with tables outside in the gardens, and doggos are welcome and humans are allowed too.

Now normally I don’t have anything in the middle of the day, but today, there was a lovely big warm puppaccino to enjoy. Mum tried to take a photo of me with a white milk moustache, but I have to maintain a bit of dignity and managed to lick it off before she could take a photo. The Staff both had really delicious Eggs Benedict with a salad of baby leaves grown on the premises and lashings of hollandaise. I managed to cadge bits of very tasty ham off the bone from both of them – not a lot, just enough for a taste. Mum says she should have taken a photo, but she was hungry and halfway through by the time she thought of it.

Back home then, for a snooze, followed by a walk around the park and then more snoozing. Mum and Dad are passing the time in their usual strange way. Dad is pawing at his black plank (I think he means laptop – Mum), and Mum is messing about with bits of fabric.

I was shocked and offended to be told not to walk on the attractive multi-coloured rug she had laid out on the concrete. Surely this was for me to lie on? But no, it seems it is too precious for My Paws. I ask you… So I retired in a snit righteous indignation and went to lie on her bunk instead of my own bed. She says she’ll try to get two more rows added by the end of the trip, in case you speak Quilt. Whatever.

It’s Sunday evening, and new people are beginning to arrive at the caravan park. I wonder if there will be any nice doggos to say hello to… So far it has all been either the strong silent types or noisy white fluffballs with delusions of adequacy. Never mind, there’s always my own reliable Staff to provide cuddles and affection.

More soon,

Mouse

The Travels of Mouse, Part 5

We went to see my mate Diesel Dog!

Diesel Dog

Yesterday, Mum and Dad and Aunty Chippy and Uncle Jonathan and I all went over to Diesel’s. The humans talked and drank tea and coffee and ate cake, and Diesel and I explored his back yard, had good sniffs and then went for snoozes. The Dads went up the back yard to Uncle Wayne’s shed and talked about man stuff, and the Mums sat in the shade on the patio and talked about lady stuff, including Blogs, whatever they are (This is a blog, Mouse – Mum). I’m sure they should be talking about Dogs, not Blogs…. The Aunties are now ‘friending on FaceBook’ and ‘following on Instagram’ (more human noises, I dunno….).

Uncle Jonathan is taking the photo…

Then they had lunch. I didn’t have any, of course, but this is what I could smell: home made focaccia, butter, buffalo chorizo, three kinds of cheese, samosas, tamarind relish, mint relish, mushroom-stuffed red peppers, zucchini pickle with onion and mustard seed, rocket pesto, Japanese mayo with preserved lemon, honey, grapes, walnuts, pineapple cake and mascarpone.

I still prefer Diesel’s mat to my own comfy quilt…

They took photos, too. Aunty Dale showed the house and the back yard and the vegetable cage and her stained glass potting shed. Diesel got them to throw his toy so he could catch or retrieve it. I just lay about looking decorative. Aunty Dale had bought me a present! Dried duck liver treats!  Sadly, I wasn’t allowed to help myself, so most of them are still sitting in their bag on top of the wardrobe, out of my reach…. She gave Mum a kilo bucket of honey and a jar of tomato and chilli chutney, which Dad will steal for himself once he discovers it… Mum gave her the Woolly Thing and the teapot picture she made. I still think my present was best…

Aunty Dale has bought Diesel some really smart clothes! He has overalls, and a denim jacket, and a puffa jacket, and a Hawaiian shirt with pineapples on it… Mum told me not to get excited, it wasn’t going to happen, although she is still going to make me a hi-vis sweater for winter walks when it’s dark. It will be fluoro yellow fleece and have stripes of orange and reflective tape down the side, to make sure I can be seen. Sounds very nice, but I still have overall envy – they were dark blue denim and had a pocket on the bib on his back, and a hole for his tail… Aunty Dale says he loves them, and always gets very excited when it’s time to put them on.

Then we came home via the Lookout so Mum and Aunty could take photos. There were lots of black clouds on the way, and Mum had to cancel the dinner booking because the dog-friendly table is outside and we couldn’t all sit there in a downpour. But it was OK, because Aunty Chippy arranged takeaway, and we were warm and cosy and the Staff had curry and I had proper food. Mum said it was a record day – despite wearing a bright pink linen shirt all day, and eating lots of drippy things, she hadn’t spilled on herself once! I thought it was a good day too. Playtime with Diesel, a back yard to roam around in, lots of good things to sniff, and everyone said what a good dog I am.

Today, Mum and Aunty are going to sew and eat Mum’s banana cup-cakes. None for me, of course (I am apparently a Very Bad Boy where banana cup-cakes are concerned). I don’t know what they mean, I am only an innocent, much-maligned doggo who has never, ever stolen banana cup-cakes… And of course, I am a Lovely Boy and a Good Doggo (most of the time, we won’t mention cup-cakes, will we?). Mum says it’s for my own good, so I maintain my figure.

It’s raining again, so I shall stay with Dad while he reads, and supervise… with my eyes closed.