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Published: March 4th 2014
It’s hard to believe but we have once again shacked up in a wine region – this time Jeff has found himself working for the winery Pike’s – and is smack bang in the middle of vintage as you read this. This has meant an unpredictable mix of day & night shifts, but now that all the grapes are ready they all pulling out all stops to get the fruit off asap. So unlike Margaret River, where the harvest could stop & start right through till about Easter, he reckons the season here will be well & truly over in the nick of time, & who knows he may even get the Easter weekend off, yay!
Also wishing everyone a very happy 2014, & hope you had a wonderful Christmas. We had a quiet chrissy day just the two of us, & the rangas enjoying the wrapping paper pile of course, and we drove out to Port Pirie for NYE, enjoying a meal at one of the local watering holes & fireworks on the oval at midnight. It was a really hot night, still about 36 at midnight, so a mini-pub crawl on the way to the oval to keep
hydrated! For some reason we woke up dehydrated......how does that work??!! Ha ha. Some worse than others, not mentioning any names JR. A quick stop at Maccas for the biggest soft drink on the planet & some fried goodness seemed to help immensely - what a start to the new year!
While we are expecting a nice crew of visitors for Easter (stay tuned for our post-Easter blog!) we have already had a few enjoyable visits, having caught up with Tab’s cousin Jacqui & her son Millar from Mildura, mates Mick & Madge from Newcastle with Lenny & a new baby-bump too (due mid-June – congrats guys!!), Phil & Di from Perth (we saw them last in Alice helping clean up Molly’s house) and Tab’s bro Adam coming over from Melbourne this weekend. Sadly his wife Carmena couldn’t come due to needing some family time in Scotland as her mum isn’t well, we are thinking of you & will miss you indeed.
2014 also threw in a major curveball a couple of weeks ago when Tab ended up being rushed to hospital in Adelaide with suspected appendicitis. This proved to be true so she had them out &
unfortunately had to stay a week post-op to have IV antibiotics as her risk factor for infection was huge – the surgeon said her appendix were “as bad as you want to see them”. Yuck. Having just got home a week later, she was then rushed back to Adelaide after a few days by the ambos once again after developing pain in her right rib-cage, docs concerned about possible blood clots in her lungs this time. So after a scary time having heaps of blood tests, scans and even becoming the bionic woman after having a nuclear CT scan (had to breathe in radioactive particles, then be injected with radioactive solution to light up the lungs) she was given the all clear after two more nights in the clink. Thanks to all who sent their well wishes, flowers, etc we are just glad the worst is over & Tab is looking forward to getting back to normal as the weeks go on. Hopefully back to work next week but she will have to take it easy as her work is as a cleaner at the local pool/gym/squash/stadium so very physical indeed. Will keep you posted!
Naturally, we have spent
the past few months getting around to check out the local cellar doors, of which there are about 45, finding some hits & some misses, but having a great time all the same. There are still lots we haven’t been to, so having visitors is a great opportunity to get out & see those we have missed so far. We were also lucky enough to line up a little 2-bedroom rental house right in Clare (decked out in op-shop wares!), so have loved living so centrally, with only a 10 min walk into the main street. Clare is a great little town, very friendly, very country & a nice place to shack up over what has proved to be a stinking hot summer. We thought we had left the heat behind in Alice Springs, but it followed us instead!
Before it got too hot we did a couple of days out on “Daz” enjoying the sunshine & local bushland, and we have been checking out some local bushwalks too, a really beautiful one being “the cascades” up on the western hills above Clare. In winter it is “cascading” but was still nice when it was dry, so will try
to go back once we have some rain. We have also enjoyed plenty of trips to the coast, generally heading to Wallaroo to have a spot of fishing off the jetty, & always a swim in North beach (except when we went with Mick & Madge - there were thousands of jellyfish! Though the guys still went in…) where you can drive your car onto the beach. There is also the Riesling Trail which is 45km track made from the old Ghan line. You can walk or bike ride sections of it, which is really nice as it winds through treed corridors, rocky cuttings & with a few cellar doors thrown in on the way to stay hydrated, is a nice way to get some exercise.
The house we have rented has an awesome edible garden, with grapes, apples, grapefruit, figs, lemons, pears, pomegranates, & we added heaps of tomato plants, herbs, lettuce, spinach etc so being able to go outside & pick stuff for dinner is awesome. Somehow it all survived the 45 degree days. On one of the stinking hot days we set the sprinkler up in the canopy of the fig tree & sat under the
mist on our camp chairs – and the “Fig Tree Bar” was born!! It was awesome, and about 10 degrees cooler under there. Could have sworn we were in tropical QLD.
Clare itself is in a perfect spot, only an hour & a half from either the beach or the Murray River, 2 hours from outskirts of Adelaide & the same up to the Flinders Ranges. Surrounded by wineries, old historic pubs & towns, we have been lucky to stop here awhile. But there is no denying the fact we wish we were back on the road, & at this stage the plan is to head off the last week in April/early May. We’ve decided to take the Oodnadatta track back up to Alice Springs (weather dependant!) where Jeff has a 5 week gig lined up back at his old work Desert Edge Motocycles, which will also mean we can go to the Finke Desert Race again this year, so really looking forward to that. In a way it feels like we are going back to one of our “homes”, although this time just for a short time & a good time! That’s the beauty of this life we
have chosen, making so many parts of Australia our “home” but also being able to enjoy the changeable journey to get to the next stop. Now, if only we could win lotto & not need to stop so often……..
P.S. a very special birthday greeting to Tab’s dad Scott who is celebrating (or denying!!) his 60th birthday today. Happy birthday old man
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