Boarding the Ghan

(Just in case you are thinking this looks familiar … somehow I lost parts of my original post so I am publishing this again!)

The Ghan is regarded as one of the world’s famous rail journeys, travelling from Darwin to Adelaide through the heart of Australia.  We were lucky enough to take this journey a few weeks ago and can highly recommend it as a way to experience the dramatic and ever changing landscape that is Australia.

If you are wondering about the name of the train, we were told that when the first camels were imported with their handlers from Afganistan, about 150 years ago, to explore the interior of the country, these pioneers soon became known as Afghans;  which was then shortened to “Ghans”.  The emblem of an Afghan on a camel can be prominately seen as you board the train.

Although we didn’t know it when we booked, we were on “The Expedition”, the first special trip of the season, which gave us a 76 hour trip instead of 54, meaning more time at Alice Springs and a stop at Coober Pedy, so that was a lucky break!

The train had 250 passengers and 38 carriages including two locos.  Our cabin would have to be described as “cosy”, consisting of upper and lower bunk beds, the lower one converting to a three-seater lounge during the day, and a private en-suite.  The secret is not to pack more than necessary, as there is nowhere to put anything away.  We took two small bags – I don’t know how other people managed who were going on board with suitcases on wheels!

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However, we spent most of our time in the lounge and bar carriage or the restaurant where we were treated to excellent 3-course meals, all drinks covered ias well.

There were lots of tourists on board, so the meals had a distinct Australiana theme – kangaroo steaks, crocodile sausages and beef cheeks  … very nice!

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Also included in the price were the off train excursions so we thought it was great value for money.  The staff provided excellent service and we even got chocolates when they pulled down the bunk bed every night.

One thing I wasn’t prepared for was the bumpy ride at night.  We woke up a few times getting jostled around when the train slowed down to pull into a siding.  The Ghan has to give way to every freight train, and one night we were stopped for 3 hours.  So I just had to eat chocolates and read my e book until I got back to sleep!

 

 

 

Open Garden

I always feel excited when I see Open Gardens advertised, because they usually start during our lovely autumnal weather which we are experiencing now in Queensland.  Such a relief after the 40 degrees C experienced several times this past summer.

So I set off this morning to the first one, Viola’s Patch.  Only an hour (88km) each way!  But I enjoyed the drive and it was certainly worth the visit.  I purchased a few plants which I admired in the garden, so now I feel inspired!

Open Garden Viola's Patch (9)Open Garden Viola's Patch (8)Open Garden Viola's Patch (7)Open Garden Viola's Patch (6)Open Garden Viola's Patch (5)Open Garden Viola's Patch (4)Open Garden Viola's Patch (3)Open Garden Viola's Patch (2)Open Garden Viola's Patch (1)

 

 

Liebster Award

Liebster Award

Recently I was surprised and excited to find that I had been nominated by Halfstitch for a Liebster Award.  Check out her blog, if you love cross stitch I’m sure you will find it as inspiring as I do.  Thank you very much, Michelle, it is such an honour to be nominated by one of my blogger peers and have my humble blog chosen as one of interest.  Amazing.

I haven’t posted anything for a little while, as I really didn’t have anything interesting to write about – but now I do!!!

Rules for Receiving this Award

• Create a post to accept the award! Thank the person who nominated you and link back to his/her blog (it would help if you included a little information about it).
• Display the award on your blog. You can save the image and upload it to your blog post and/or add it as a widget on your blog.
• List 10 random facts about yourself.
• Nominate 5-10 blogs you admire that have less than 200 followers.
• Post your answers to the questions asked by the person who nominated you.
• List these rules in your post.
• Ask your nominees 10 questions after tagging them in the post.

10 Facts about Me

  1. I love crafts and have tried most of them in the past.  Now I try to limit myself to cross stitching, sewing, quilting, scrap booking, card making and occasional knitting projects.
  2. I enjoy gardening but sometimes find it difficult in our hot Australian summers.
  3. I try to get to the gym regularly (2-3 times a week) and yoga weekly.
  4. I love my cats – and other people’s dogs.
  5. I am passionate about animal welfare.
  6. I always make lists and like that it makes me more productive.
  7. I once put on a job application form that my interests were riding my motorcycle and target pistol shooting and was told they were “unladylike”.  (I didn’t get the job.)
  8. I am addicted to my ebook and currently have more than 100 titles unread.
  9. Favourite genres – biographies, horror and psychological thrillers.
  10. Try as I might, I can’t solve the Rubik’s Cube.

 

My Nominations

 

Halfstitch’s Q& A

  1. Do you prefer sweet or savoury foods?  Sweet!  Normally when I go to a restaurant, I check out the dessert menu first – and leave room accordingly, especially if creme brulee is on the menu!
  2. What can’t you leave your house without?  Well, I could say lip balm, which would be true (and boring!).  Also true and far more important – my credit card.  I never carry much cash and twice I have filled up my car with fuel and then realized I had no money!  On one occasion the attendant wouldn’t let me leave, and I was there for quite a while until I could contact my “other half”.  I was too embarrassed to “ring a friend”!
  3. What did you enjoy most about today?  I got up early (for once) and we got the lawns mowed, the edges trimmed and some gardening done, and it all looks so neat!
  4. Are you an early riser or a night owl?  I used to be a night owl and an early riser but not now, as the cats love to come in (with a little bit of encouragement from me) to snuggle up in bed early in the morning.  So now I get up late – I can’t disturb them, right?
  5. What’s your favourite hobby?  Hmmm, difficult to choose just one …. probably sewing.
  6. What are the three foods you can’t do without?  Krispy Kreme donuts, dark chocolate and (to be honest) KFC’s Zinger Burger.  (No one said “healthy” foods, did they?)
  7. What are you looking forward to?  Our train trip next week on the “Ghan” which goes from Darwin in the Northern Territory to Adelaide in South Australia.
  8. What websites do you frequent?  Pinterest, Craftsy and EBay.
  9. Name one of your Goals.  Plan a vacation to the USA, to spend some more time in New York and LA (and wherever else we can fit in).
  10. What’s your favourite type of cruisine?  Too difficult to narrow down to one – I’ll have to say Mexican and Thai.

10 Questions for My Nominees

  1. Describe yourself in three words.
  2. What is your favourite hobby?
  3. What is your best tip for other bloggers or new starters?
  4. Do you blog regularly and what do you do if you can’t think up a new post?
  5. Did you make New Year’s Resolution?  If so, how is that going?  If not, why?
  6. What is the most exciting thing you have done this year?
  7. What is your favourite food?
  8. Which book are you currently reading?
  9. Do you have a pet?
  10. Where in the world would you most like to visit, and why?

 

 

 

Australia Day

A little bit of Aussie humour for Australia Day …….(author unknown)

The sun was hot already – it was only 8 o’clock
The cocky took off in his Ute, to go and check his stock.
He drove around the paddocks checking wethers, ewes and lambs,
The float valves in the water troughs, the windmills on the dams.

He stopped and turned a windmill on to fill a water tank
And saw a ewe down in the dam, a few yards from the bank.
“Typical bloody sheep,” he thought, “they’ve got no common sense,”
“They won’t go through a gateway but they’ll jump a bloody fence.”

The ewe was stuck down in the mud, he knew without a doubt
She’d stay there ‘til she carked it if he didn’t get her out.
But when he reached the water’s edge, the startled ewe broke free.
And in her haste to get away, began a swimming spree.

 He reckoned once her fleece got wet, the weight would drag her down.
If he didn’t rescue her, the stupid sod would drown.
Her style was unimpressive, her survival chances slim
He saw no other option, he would have to take a swim.

He peeled his shirt and singlet off, his trousers, boots and socks
And as he couldn’t stand wet clothes, he also shed his jocks.
He jumped into the water and away that cocky swam
He caught up with her somewhere near the middle of the dam.

The ewe was quite evasive, she kept giving him the slip
He tried to grab her sodden fleece but couldn’t get a grip.
At last he got her to the bank and stopped to catch his breath
She showed him little gratitude for saving her from death.

She took off like a Bondi tram around the other side
He swore next time he caught that ewe he’d hang her bloody hide.
Then round and round the dam they ran, although he felt quite puffed
He still thought he could run her down, she must be nearly stuffed.

The local stock rep came along, to pay a call that day.
He knew this bloke was on his own, his wife had gone away.
He didn’t really think he’d get fresh scones for morning tea
But neither was he ready for what he was soon to see.

He rubbed his eyes in disbelief at what came into view
For running down the catchment came this frantic-looking ewe.
And on her heels in hot pursuit and wearing not a stitch
The farmer yelling wildly, “Come back here, you lousy bitch.”

The stock rep didn’t hang around, he took off in his car
The cocky’s reputation has been damaged near and far
So bear in mind the Work Safe rule when next you check your flocks
Spot the hazard, assess the risk and always wear your jocks!

Freedom

Good news!   Six weeks after my fall,  I have thrown away the leg brace and most importantly, can drive the car again.  Looking forward to getting back to normal.  Celebrated by having my first swim of the season, and looking forward to getting to the gym tomorrow even if it is only for a gentle walk on the treadmill for now.

In the meantime, I put my enforced rest to use by finishing off a long overdue cross stitch, which involved far more work than I had imagined.  Just washed it in a little dishwashing detergent and it came out looking nice and clean.  It will look much better after it has been pulled into shape and framed.

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