Bangalow, Byron, Brissie and Beyond

I missed a week. My beautiful blog is ruined!
On Friday May 25 my Auckland-based mate Casey came over the Tasman for a long weekend in Brisbane and Surfers. we headed to West End and shared good pizza and a bottle of decent South Australian Pinot Noir at Halim's Cafe Checocho on Hardgrave road (Halim took us seriously when we asked for stacks of jalapeƱos, and the result was spot on) before walking back across the Brisbane river to Central Station in time for the last train to Surfers.
On Saturday Ellen, a good friend who was a house mate in Bologna in '95, flew in to Gold Coast. We drove down to meet her flight, and as Casey and his mate Bilal were still in Surfers, we all met up for a generic meal and beer at a plastic-tablecloth tourist-trap place on the main drag at Surfers, and I got the rest of the gossip from New Zealand - looks like I got out just in time, as Interactive Technologies, where I worked with Casey, has undergone a sort of reverse management buyout event, and the development team have been let go and (the lucky ones) re-hired at a lower rate. We drove the 100 km back to Nimbin and turned in, in the wee small hours.
We had searched the papers and the local listings in vain for colourful nearby markets and events to explore with Ellen, but somehow she had timed her visit to coincide with absolutely bugger all going on in Terrania shire.
Undeterred, we decided on a Sunday trip to the coast, stopping off at Bangalow market. The market was a surprise - bigger than I expected, and featuring a good range of local crafts and produce, and a good-fun band belting out some classic covers. We pressed on to Australia's easternmost point, the peninsula South of Byron Bay topped by the lighthouse, and walked out onto the peninsula and down to the beach.

The weather was picture-postcard-perfect (as usual round here in these drought-stricken times) and we spent a while sitting on the sand, watching a pod of happy dolphins play in the breakers and taking in the panoramic view of the Pacific and Byron Bay, before grabbing dinner in Byron. I got the impression that C and Ellen's dishes were, as they say in these parts, pretty average. I got lucky with a really rather wonderful mild tofu satay lemongrass curry - I will be attempting to clone that in my kitchen lab for the next few weeks!

On Monday we drove the other way (and a fair bit further than I remembered it) to Mount Warning national park, and trekked up the summit track. None of us made it to the top (we were a bit lax in the morning, and had left it too late to get all the way up and back down) but Ellen left me and C behind, and at least trekked high enough to get a good view of the coast and the Tweed valley - We will go back soon enough and make it all the way to the top!
I had to work on Tuesday afternoon, so we didn't have time for a lie in - just a quick coffee in the village, and the three hour drive up the motorway. C and Ellen checked out a goodly part of Brisbane over the next couple of days - and to my slight consternation, Casey and Ellen both seem to like the city better than I do. Perhaps I judge the place more harshly because I'm living here, or perhaps I'm just mean.
Back at home last weekend, and we inched forward our bathroom renovation project. I have always fought shy of any kind of cement pouring - but we this time we mixed, and we poured, and the results are looking pretty good - we should have no trouble getting a smooth surface prepared to tile the floor. Getting the splatters of cement out of my clothes and hair is another matter - I'm just glad C didn't take any photos of me using the electric mixer attachment to mix the cement!
Our injured adopted magpie, Cripple Boy, was noticeably thinner this week - and we were only in town (and thus not feeding him pine nuts and bacon rind) for three days. I have a horrible feeling he now relies on us for his nutrition, and will starve to death over the three weeks we're spending in Brisbane in June. More likely it'll do him some good and force him to actually be the bloody early bird and catch some worms.
Garden update: we have harvested the first bunch of bananas from our garden. They're still a bit green, but they should ripen on the shelf, and they look rather delicious...Of course, they'll ripen all at once, so we'll have a week of fried bananas, banana fritters, fruit salad, banana splits, and homage to first Zimbabwean president the reverend doctor Canaan Banana.


Anonymous said...

That really is bananas!

Jay said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jay said...

...or maybe the anonymous poster is mr Morrow? Anyhoo, we solved the problem - we bought a blender, and have had banana smoothies every breakfast for nearly a month... And BTW, please do send me any contenders for the most bizarrely named dictator - Houphouet Boigny topped my list till I discovered the reverend banana...