Published: March 1st 2010January 28th 2010
Gawler and the City of Adelaide
The great thing about travelling with no plans, is that you can just make it up as you go along. That's how I came to be here, in Gawler, house sitting for my cousin while they went up to Darwin for a holiday. We had christmas together which was lovely. Christmas day was spent with all of the family (it's a huge family so it was a big day), with lunch at one house and dinner at another. As you do on Christmas, you tend to over-indulge in all things yummy and by the end of the day we were all full, exhausted and happy. My cousin and family left on the 27th December, driving up to Darwin. So with that I was on my own, looking after 3 dogs, a cat, 4 sheep, 12 chooks, 2 guinea pigs, fish, a cockatiel and a partridge in a pear tree! A challenge and a huge responsibility but one I was happy to accept.
My time at Gawler Ranch, as I have come to call it, was peaceful and simple. My days were spent with the animals, going for walks, van rides with the dogs,
I become abit of a baking queen while here. These apple and custard muffins look good but tasted not so good and ended up in the chook bucket.
collecting the endless supply of eggs that the bloody chooks kept on laying, and generally just making sure eveyone was happy and more importantly alive! That was my greatest fear when I decided to house sit, that I might end up killing one of the animals and I would hate to see the looks on the kids faces when I told them 'such and such' had a good life! Mind you I was ready to kill a few chooks and sheep by the end of my stay. The chooks, despite the hot weather, were laying like troopers and I was starting to get buried under eggs and eggs. This is how I started to bake, and bake and bake. Only problem was I had no one to bake for so when I heard that I was going to have guests, well, let the baking begin. My first attempt was choc fudge cupcakes which turned out beautifully. My second attempt of apple and custard cupcakes turned out not so good. And with that my baking days were put on hold. I did manage to off load 3 dozen eggs to Darryl and Sarah, and another couple of dozen to my friend
Kat who visited for a few days.
It was wonderful to catch up with Darryl and Sarah, two travelling friends who have been cruising around the country for the last 294 days (and probably a few more by now). They are a lovely couple from the UK and a pair of absolute legends who will try everything, do anything and are having a ball in the process. We had a happy reunion at Hahndorf with a picnic in the park, followed the next day by a drive up to Norton Summit and the Sinclair Gully vineyard where we learnt about disgorging! Disgorging (something I have never heard about) is the process of removing unwanted solids from bottles of sparkling wine. We got to 'disgorge' our very own bottle and it was really interesting to see how they cork a bottle of sparkling wine. We had a fun day wine tasting at Sinclair Gully and were even invited to enjoy the canapes at a 40th birthday party that was being held at the vineyard on the day of our visit. Don't mind if we do, thanks, oh and happy 40th birthday to you! Later we enjoyed egg sandwiches that Sarah
Dear sweet Crusty and Dezzie
Crusty loved car rides and even when we weren't going anywhere, loved to just sit in the van and dream.
had whipped up with all of the eggs that I had given them. How funny! Darryl and Sarah have a wonderful blog running that I have recommended so you can just click on the link to view their blog. A little hello to you guys, hope you are travelling well and enjoying Tassie.
South Australia is known as the driest State is Australia and I have seen why. It never bloody well rains here. And it is hot, really hot. I struggled with the weather during my stay, that was probably the hardest part. We had a heatwave hit the city with 5 days in a row of 40 + degree days and one day it reached 45 degrees. Honestly I thought the animals were going to drop dead, I know I was almost ready too. I moved the guinea pigs into the cellar (which remains at a constant 22 degrees), the dogs, cat and bird all in the house under the air con, but the chooks and the sheep had to fight it outside. The chooks were standing around with their wings out, mouths open, looking at me for help. What can I do? I had massive baths
of water for them with a huge chunk of ice in it to keep it cool. Poor chooks, I have grown rather fond of chooks now. My reason for hating chooks came from a childhood growing up with them and everytime I would go into the chook pen they would peck my feet. I hated them. But by the end of my stay here at Gawler, they were my friends and I used to pick them up and give them a pat. But gee I wish they would stop laying so many damn eggs!
It was nice to have my friend Kat come and visit for a few days as well. She arrived right at the beginning of the heat wave so it was nice to have some company as we hibernated in the house under the air con. It's a different kind of heat down here, dry and intense, North QLD has the humidity and wet heat that I was used to. The 5 day heatwave was spent inside watching Sex and the City episodes, eating cupcakes, drinking wine and catching up on old times. It was nice.
At the start of my house sit stay I
had a plan to do so many things, clean out my van, sort out paperwork, plan the next leg of my trip etc. I didn't really get much of it done, I just enjoyed being in a home, with the animals, cooking in a proper kitchen, reading, watching movies on a massive flat screen tv and just relaxing. I made a few trips out to the Barossa Valley and regular trips into the town of Gawler. I looked after my cousin's friend's animals while they were away for a week on Kangaroo Island which I enjoyed doing, except for the fact that they had a snake! I was re-assured that the only thing I needed to do was make sure it had some water and that's all, no feeding of mice necessary, thank god. Gawler town was nice to wander around in. The main street has a charm about it and there are some great shops and parks. I enjoyed some days just going in for a coffee at the Java Hut Cafe which serves up a mega-mug of mocha for only $3! The Tour Down Under was on in Adelaide while I was there and Gawler hosted one of
the legs of the race. The town was all decked out in banners and streamers for the big day and Kevin Rudd even popped in to fire the starting gun to set the riders off up into the Adelaide Hills with Lance Armstrong leading the charge. It was quite an event.
The family got back a couple of days before Australia Day having had an awesome time up north in the rain (lucky them). I managed to keep all of their plants alive, although the corn was looking alittle worse for wear. With all the animals still alive I was finally able to relax knowing that I didn't kill anything. On Australia Day we all went into the city of Adelaide to feed the beautiful black swans on Torren Lake and to go for a paddle boat ride, a must do when visiting Adelaide. We brought some bread with us to feed to the swans before enjoying the waters of the Torren. The city was busy with Australia Day celebrations, the big one day cricket match was on in the city and they were setting up for a big concert on the shores of the Torren for that night.
A string of old classic cars were doing a parade through the city which we just happened to stumble across. The canons roared with the 21 gun salute at midday, making us all jump. We went for a drive around the city, saw Rundall Mall, the churches and Chinatown. I didn't make it into the city while I was staying in Gawler so this was my one and only visit to the city of Adelaide. We spent the afternoon at South Glenelg beach, swimming, snorkeling and fishing. The classic Australia Day really, it was wonderful. The best Australia Day I have ever had.
And just like that my time in Gawler was up. Time to get back out there on the road and continue my journey west. I had an absolute ball in Gawler, I love the animals, I love the farm and I love the area. It was wonderful to spend so much time with my family, I miss them all ready and look forward to visiting again soon. I did manage to give my van a good clean out and wash, so it felt like a whole new start.
There are more photos below