The heat wave continued in South Australia making for bleached, pale and hazy skies. A thunderstorm on Friday evening, which blew my ‘tree house’ down, then short bouts of showery rains have finally cooled our state down.
Little in the way of digging, planting or weeding has happened due to the heat although very recently, as in the past day or so, I invested in some beautiful Hybrid Tea Roses. I have devoted a bed just for them right in front of the house where I will see them every day.
An entry in a writing competition received second place. It was a placing I certainly did not expect as I was chuffed enough to have been shortlisted in the top ten. I am so happy and very humbled by my ‘win’ and I decided to spend the prize money on something which will bring continued joy and a gentle reminder to keep writing.
The beautiful ‘Just Joey’ ……..
The garden and yard have been challenging, and at times, a deeply frustrating quest but I’m getting there……..slowly! Some days, I have actually been out there from sun up to sun down yet the weeds persist. Completely resilient to heat, boiling water, hand pulling and my cursing them, they soldier on with such determination and vigor.
I wrote earlier in a blog post that I am trying to hand pull all of the weeds as I am a committed organic gardener which means no herbicides or pesticides. Plus I am trying to ‘break the cycle of weeds’ by removing them completely. Therein lies the problem as apparently ‘a year of weeds left to seed, makes for twenty years of weeding’! The wonderful and very knowledgeable Sophie Thomson said that so by my calculations, it had been five years since any weeding was done, therefore, I have 100 years of weeds ahead!
I have a vision for the restoration and a plan. Low hand-made gabian walls and paths, a mix of native and indigenous plants alongside roses, daisy’s, salvias, cat mints and lavenders. Athough a perfectionist in most (okay all!) areas of my life, my garden is to be a beautiful chaotic mass of colour, rooms and foliage. No clipped lawns, no harsh lines and edges and certainly not contrived. Just soft, irregular, rambling and lovely.
Like your food on a stick? Me too and where better to find it than at one of the popular Darwin markets.
There are two main markets in Darwin, both equally famous for their street food. The Mindil Beach Sunset Markets (run only during the dry season) and my favorite, the fabulous Parap Markets. Both these markets epitomise everything Top End – a love of community and a relaxed multicultural vibe.
Mindil Beach Sunset Markets
Every Thursday and Sunday evening in the dry season, which falls between April and October, and home to around 200 stalls are the popular Mindil Beach Sunset Markets. Held on the foreshore of Mindil Beach, these markets are a perfect way to end a glorious day in the top end as you watch the sun go down over the Timor Sea.
Apart from the sunset, these markets are renowned for their smoky grilled street food and there is plenty on offer. Thai, Indian, Malaysian, Brazilian and Portuguese to name just a few with most serves costing from as little as $6 onwards. On my first night at the markets I believe I may have eaten my weight in stuffed chicken wings which were amazing.
There are a number of very good arts and crafts stalls selling photography, bespoke jewellery, leather goods, fresh water pearls, tie dye items and Indigenous wares. The Indigenous works are stunning with paintings, beautiful screen printed fabrics (which have been made into items such as bags and scarves) and hand-woven pandanus baskets. Some of these stalls are 100% Aboriginal owed which means the artists and their remote communities benefit.
Tucked away in Parap Village, this market, with its laconic community style is where you will get one of the best laksa’s on the planet!
Mary’s Laksa has been dished up to locals and tourists for just over 20 years and the recipe hasn’t changed. Home-made with the freshest ingredients, this laksa is absolutely worth the wait in line……..and there is always a line.
I loved these markets. The community vibe and the air heavy with the aroma of roasting coffee, sweetly scented tropical fruit and flowers and Asian food. There are also many arts and craft stalls where you can pick up a one off hand-made piece of the Top End to take home. Held every Saturday rain, hail or shine markets don’t get much better than these.
Thai deep fried banana……..I didn’t (couldn’t) stop at one serve
There are so many great places to eat in and around Darwin. With its multicultural mix of restaurants, cafes, food truck, markets and bars – the freshest of seasonal and local produce along with seafood pulled straight from the ocean – Darwin has it covered.
The thing with Darwin is that it is always hot and the beer is always cold. Again, there are a number of great places to grab a cold one from high-end to the oh-so-laid-back-casual to all those places in-between.
I recommend you find a spot on a deck or balcony under those big slow turning fans as this will offer the best place to indulge in the perfect combination of a Green Ant G&T and a little people watching.
The ‘Ski and Trailer Boat Club’ is a great little spot to catch up for a cold beer and watch the sun go down. This little club is unpretentious and welcoming, offers great food and is packed to the brim with friendly locals.
Best in show again Darwin…….
Best time to visit – ANY! Either season has its draw-cards
Eat – Wharf One, Humpty Doo Hotel, Ski & Trailer Boat Club, Parap Markets
if only for this – Mary’s Wonton Laksa…….
Drink – For great coffee The Museum & Art Gallery NT, Ski & Trailer Boat Club, The Darwin Hotel (a cozy Art Deco watering hole in the city) and anywhere along the waterfront.
Crocs and street art up next…….x
Footnote: Just Joey Rose – Barossa Nursery in Nuriootpa