A road trip at Christmas

view of the road in the side mirror of the vanWe’re having a different Christmas this year.

Christmas is a big deal for me. Every year on Christmas Eve we all get together – my kids, Doc’s kids, their partners, and our grandchild – for a big family dinner. My kids usually stay the night and we get up early (or at least I do) to open presents and have a special Christmas breakfast.

But this year Doc and I are going to Adelaide instead.

My parents live in Adelaide, as does my sister and her family. It’s been a long time since I spent Christmas with them all, and with my parents now in their 80s I figured now is the time to do it again.

So here we are, Doc and I off on another road trip. Of course, even at Christmas, or perhaps especially at Christmas, our road trips don’t always go according to plan.

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How to make a real, traditional Christmas pudding

Christmas pudding has always been one of my favourite parts of Christmas.

Christmas puddingMy grandmother used to make Christmas pudding and Christmas cake every year, and if I was lucky enough to be at her place when she made it I not only got to watch, but could help in the ritual. I can’t remember who she used to make puddings for, but it seemed like it was the whole street. She’d get out the big ceramic pot to mix it all up in. Once the mixture was done, she’d prepare the pudding cloths – big square pieces of calico that would get dipped in hot water, then rubbed with flour. Pudding mix would go into the middle and sixpences and threepences would be hidden inside. Then she’d pull the corners of the cloths up around the mixture and Pop would come in to help her tie the string tightly around the top, to make sure no water would get into the mixture and spoil it.

Once that was all done, the cloth presents would go into the boiling copper and cook for hours.

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Introducing my new Suzuki Vitara 4×4

My new Suzuki Vitara 4x4

I said I was going to do it, and now I have.

Here it is – my new (second hand) Suzuki Vitara 4×4.

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The burning bush. A story of a bloke, a jerry can of petrol and dead blackberry bushes

Another roar of flameI finally got away for a weekend. No work, no nothing.

After a winter of working just about every weekend, with only enough time out to go 4WDing one day, we had a whole weekend to ourselves. Doc took Friday off, and we went out to stay on a property in rural NSW.

Just us, and lots of space.

Doc isn’t the type to just sit around and soak up the silence, so of course he had to do something to try to help out on the property. He decided the best thing he could do would be to clean up some rubbish in the paddock next to the house. And the best way he thought he could do that was to burn the blackberry bushes that had been poisoned.

I’ll say that again – Doc decided to set fire to the blackberry bushes in the paddock next to the house.

A bloke, a jerry can of petrol, and dead blackberry bushes. What could go wrong?

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I’m thinking of buying a small 4WD

My-car-featured-imageI’m buying a new car (well, a new second hand one).

After 5 years with my beloved Saab convertible I think it’s time for a change. I think. I really do love that car!

But it’s not very practical when I have a lot of gear to cart around, and when I’m driving through fields and along dirt roads. It’s even less practical when I can’t drive through a field so have to park the car and carry all the gear across!

So I’m looking at a 4WD.

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How to burn a stump from the inside

Burning logApril 2015 (2)On our last visit to the farm Doc decided to try out a trick he heard about burning a log from the inside.

If there’s one thing we’re not short of on the farm, it’s old logs. So we got one that we had lying around for the campfire, stood it upright, cut grooves into it long-ways from the top, and lit a fire on the top.

Doc said he’d heard that this is a good way to have a campfire when you don’t have much wood, and it gives you something solid to stand pans on to cook over the fire.

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