66 shades of grey

66 shades of grey
66 shades of grey ... this pic of me was shot by Kim, of Kim Thomsen's Photography at Daly Waters in the Northern Territory. Kim just wandered over and asked whether it was OK to get some character shots.


The cross is in front of the church in Karumba and it seems TV antennas have a greater reach for the sky.


I went fishing out of Nhulunbuy on the Gulf of Carpentaria. We anchored in a bay about 10 hours from Nhulunbuy and went ashore. This poor fella had been snared in the locals' overnight net and then had a run-in with the resident 14-foot saltwater croc - named Nike by the local indigenous fellas - and came off second best.

the rock

the rock

oodnadatta track

oodnadatta track
What a tough place to live ... this is out on the Oodnadatta Track


My photo
G’day, I’m Michael and I have two fantastic grown-up kids. I’m a jeans and singlet/T-shirt, cowboy boot, tattoos sort of fella, who knows a bit about this and sometimes a lot about that. I'll have a crack at most things, although having a relationship? ... well that ship has sailed. I'm past my use-by date anyway, so I'm gonna make it all about me and surviving life as I know it ... or make it.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


What a great way to start the day.
I was walking to the tram the other morning (God, I don’t really like being up at that hour … I reckon we should only recognise one eight o’clock a day and it’s not the first one) and a twenties couple was walking towards me.
The girl said: “Good morning, mister, I see you around here a lot.”
“Morning,” I chirped.
I am around the neighbourhood a lot and am pretty well known by lots of locals and the shopkeepers, although I reckon I’m avoided by a lot because of the way I look i.e. hairy, unshaven, blue singlet and tatty jeans, tatts, cowboy boots … I mean, what’s not to like? OK, plenty, but that’s me.
“Are you famous?” she asked.
I didn’t have to think too long about that. “Nah,” I said, “Have a good one.”
It lifted my already high spirits.
My mood was lifted to greater heights later in the week after talking to my son, Liam, in Vanuatu.
His girlfriend, Dan, was in Australia having cancer tests and she came back with, thank Christ, some positive news.
I’d spoken to the boy several times during the week and have never heard him so down.
I actually went within an enth of flying over there on Thursday to offer some support. Fortunately I didn’t because he was planning to be in Sydney that day to be with Dan.
Suffice to say, Dan is back in Port Vila … and the news is good, and they have a great opportunity now to build on their love. I hope they get married sooner rather than later.
As he said to me, “Maybe you’ve got to have a great kick in the guts to put you back on track.”
Amen to that.
I am so looking forward soon to meeting Dan and spending time with them.
I also got to spend some time with Joel, my youngest son. He works dealing poker and stuff at the casino and really works shit hours … 10pm to 6am and the like, so when he’s not working he’s trying to sleep.
To prepare for Joel, I hit the market last Sunday and made a beeline to South Melbourne Meats (stall 32), where the meat is brilliant.
I bought a fantastic boned, butterflied lamb leg that was marinating in oil, herbs and spices. We had some spuds, greens from the garden, vine-ripened tomatoes and cucumber and we smeared the lamb with some thick yoghurt with garlic and a few chunks of cucumber.
I gave it 15 minutes on either side on the barbie … reckon next time I’ll cut that back to 13 minutes. Not that there was anything wrong with it … just could have been a tad pinker.
It’s great to see your kids come on in leaps and bounds and that certainly sums up Joel. I always treasure what little time we get to spend together. He’s a good level-headed influence on me.
And these days, he even eats his greens.


Speaking of the garden, I’m really pleased with most things happening there … I’m getting a few feeds here and there … but it’s also wonderful to see flowers on the potted gardenia.
It holds a special place for me as it was a gift from quite a while ago. I don’t have a great record with gardies … I knew a girl once called Gardenia, aka Gardie … but this one looks as if it will go the difference. What a perfume.


Former Australian fast-bowling legend Rodney Hogg was a bit close to the bone on Twitter on the weekend.

@RMHogg To all our New Zealand friends, there are only twenty eight shop lifting days to Xmas


I revisited The Montague Hotel during the week for what I hoped would be one of its trademark steaks, and I wasn’t disappointed. It was a cracker.
My friend and I had eye fillet with hand-cut potatoes and wasabi coleslaw (which is brilliant). Mine was ordered rare and so it was … perfect. The pub also does great bread and has real butter on the side.
We washed it down with a bottle of Pizzini Sangiovese, a great match with the beef. It was soft, full-flavoured and very moreish. We rounded off the night with a bottle of Oomoo sparkling shiraz, just what we needed. Yeah, right.


It doesn’t seem like 10 years since I renewed my licence, but apparently it is.
The renewal notice arrived during the week and it was good to see that I’m entitled to a discount because I haven’t lost any points for the past three years.
Just for the record, I have never lost any points, full stop.
My dodgy driving record extends to a speeding ticket when I was 18 … and that was in another century.
Reckon I’ve done enough to warrant a free licence.


It has been a big week on the grog front, sort of.
I decided to stock up the grog fridge with a (current) favourite, the chenin blanc from Sword’s at the South Melbourne Market, so I grabbed a case. And given that the weather has been warm, the temptation has been getting the better of me. Reckon another case will happen sooner rather than later.
I also treated myself to a 2009 Chateau Brondelle Grand Vin from Bordeaux. Treat being the operative word, given that it was (I think) 35 bucks a bottle.
One French review I read explained it: Fine nose with a lot of expressions and nice hints of fresh and mature fruits. A charming mouth slightly fat with a nice complexity. A greedy finish… full of fruits.
I couldn’t argue with any of that … it’s on the money, especially “the greedy finish”. It was a treat with no regrets and went especially well with some toasted sourdough with shallots through it, some Meredith goat’s fetta, smoked ocean trout and some greens from the garden including a handful of finely chopped dill.
I reckon I also found my next favourite of the summer … OK, two favourites, especially for hot days.
I had a tasting of Seven Oaks Farmhouse Bramley’s Seedling Cider on Saturday morning. Yeah, the sun was over the yard arm somewhere in the world.
What a sensational morning drink it would be if I did drink in the mornings (I don’t unless it’s the really small hours).
The cider is made by Lisa Cresswell from Merricks North … she’s a good woman and passionate about her cider … and it’s a dream of many years that has finally come true.
She uses the traditional “wrack and cloth” method to extract the juice. The apples are pulped through a macerating machine and wrapped in a cloth, similar to hessian, and pressed to extract the juice, before fermentation.
The end product is a cracker.
At just 2.9% alcohol, (it’s 11 bucks for a 500ml bottle, but worth it and then some) it’s easy drinking. A half litre bottle is equivalent to just 1.1 standard drinks.
It is seriously summer apples in a bottle.
I also had a crack at a new beer … Black Heart Brewery’s American Brown Ale.
In terms of taste, this is one big unit and it is seriously good. It’s a dark brown colour, has hops and malt to burn, and has hints of chocolate on the palate. Like the label says, “it can pass for dessert in a glass”.
It’s 5.6% alcohol and it’s available at Sword’s.

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