If you never, never go – Part II…….

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.

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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.


Eat Darwin

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.

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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.

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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.

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Parap Markets

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.

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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.

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Thai deep fried banana……..I didn’t (couldn’t) stop at one serve

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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.

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Drink Darwin

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.

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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.

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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.

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Best in show again Darwin…….

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Tips: 

Best time to visit – ANY!  Either season has its draw-cards

Eat – Wharf One, Humpty Doo Hotel, Ski & Trailer Boat Club, Parap Markets

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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

 

 

If you never, never go……..

It is unseasonably warm in SA at the moment with the sort of heat that puts roses in your cheeks without physical exertion, dries the washing in a matter of moments and makes me realise I am not quite ready to give up spring just yet.

Although driven inside before 9 am, I have still been able to do small gardening jobs such as snipping the faded heads off the daisy plants I put to ground in early April.  I am sentimental about daisy’s and always have been.  I inevitably plant them wherever I live and now being back here, I can (and do) plant them till my heart is content.

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Being inside also gives me time to pickle some of the veg I grew, cook florid stalks of rhubarb, spend more time with our three lovely cats and catch this blog up.

Darwin – Part I

I love the ease and simplicity of Darwin and that it somehow smells of summer and spice all year round.  There are just two seasons in the top end.  Wet and dry!  The dry sees blue skies, heat and sunshine.  The wet is hair frizzing humidity, impossibly beautiful late afternoon thunderstorms and the fluorescent greening of the landscape.

Most mornings, I stood on the balcony of the unit with a strong iced coffee in hand and just watched the sun rise over the city and surrounding ocean.  Evenings, and the sky was ablaze with the setting sun.  It really was beautiful.

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Experience Darwin

There is an awful lot to like about Darwin.  More than just a city of backpackers, crocs, heat and some of the best tabloid journalism you will ever read, Darwin is no longer the wild untamed mango-madness frontier it once was.  With its rich Indigenous history and melting pot of nationalities, this place has become a relaxed and stylishly cosmopolitan go-to destination.  Did I mention there were crocs……..

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I now know why the water in the Adelaide river is so brown!!…….

Darwin is a city best explored on foot.  So perfect for walkers, you will do no better than to wander the streets and laneways in search of quirky book stores, street art, bars, cafes, culture and history plus there is the waterfront, parks and gardens.

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Beautifully presented and encapsulating the Top End perfectly, is the amazing Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory.  With its permanent displays – the Cyclone Tracy exhibit is deeply compelling, beautiful artwork, artifacts, ‘Sweetheart’ – the legendary icon of the north and exhibitions, I spent the best part of a day here and could not recommend a visit more highly.  It is located in Conacher St, Fannie Bay.

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You can just hang out in Darwin itself or, you can head out of the city to places which will slow you right down.

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The landscape is ever changing, immense and glorious in the top end and at times, so stunningly beautiful, it looks like vivid water colours.  There are giant termite mounds, tracks and trails through rain forests, wildlife, swathes of rich stony dirt and dazzling blue skies.

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One of the best spots to swim in crystal clear water so pellucid we could see the flawlessness of the smooth round stones which littered the bottom of the swimming holes, was in Litchfield National Park.

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Part of the Wagait traditional Indigenous lands, Litchfield, with its striking rock formations, swimming holes – most bordered by monsoon forests, lookouts, waterfalls and bushwalking tracks and trails is a must visit and the perfect place to beat the heat.

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In these stunning places, where water is as essential as life itself, I often heard nothing but the beat of my own heart and my breathing.

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Nature inducing awe doesn’t get much better than the top end.  Part II –  crocs, a little street art and eat/drink Darwin coming soon…..x