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.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Hair, an eight-minute pasta wonder and the wonder of wine

My blog Mick on the Road (there’s a link just down the page a bit on the right) was compiled during 10 months on the road. The trip ended about two years ago and I’ve added nothing to it since … but still, it seems, it has regular readers every day.
I reread the whole thing a week or so ago and relived the trip, and the bloody good time it was.
Same thing applies to this blog. It’s still getting plenty of page hits daily despite me pulling the pin on it a couple of weeks ago. It’s heading towards 10,000 hits.
So I reckoned, bugger it, let’s get back on the horse.
I was gonna detail my Landcruiser ute today and put it on the interweb thing to try and sell it (anyone wanna buy a good Landcruiser? …an ’05 version that has done just 110,000 kilometres).
Anyway, rain won the order of the day … no car cleaning … and rather than immerse myself in housework (OK, I’ll do it later), I thought, bugger it, let’s blog.
I mean, there’s been some good times and great rock’n’roll since I last put pen to paper ... and the odd breakthrough.
Talking of same, the world of haircuts is, for me, a real breakthrough. After having two haircuts in 3½ years … yeah, there’s still the urge to retain my ’60s hippie roots (hair that is, not any of the women I met way back then) … I’ve been to the hairdresser twice in six weeks.
I’ve been going to the same bloke since 1975 and although he was never gonna get rich with me as a customer, we’re still good mates. He is, however, hard to nail down … he doesn’t work on Friday afternoons, which is the only time I’m free from work.
He will hang around for me though, if I bring wine.
Yep, blackmailed by the hairdresser.
I arrived at his joint last weekend and he bolted out the front door as I parked the car. “Did you bring wine?” was the offering, not a how are you or whatever.
“Yeah, there’s wine.”
“OK, roll me a smoke (he never has any) and I’ll get some glasses. Then we’ll cut the hair.”
The wine was a 2009 Les Nuages Touraine Sauvignon Blanc from Loire and it got the hairdresser’s nod of approval. As it should.
On the nose, it’s got nothing of the huge sav blanc aroma of the Kiwi kind (some of them are like using smelling salts). This is pretty laid back, a little bit spicy and with a bit of fruit. It’s actually really fresh in the mouth.
“This is better than the wine you brought a few weeks ago,” he said as he poured his second glass (just the one for me, I’m driving).
Yeah, right.
As he poured his third, he said: “I don’t think we’ll do the colour thing (yeah, I hide the greys … OK, I found a dark on the other day. Sure, it’s a vanity thing). I reckon it’s OK.”
Yeah, like that’s gonna happen.
“Listen, you will do the colour thing. You just want to piss off and drink with your friends, that’s why you don’t want to do it.”
“You know me well,” he said. “Well do the colour thing. Now roll me a smoke while I mix up some stuff.”
OK, it’s cut and coloured. All he needs to do is some thin plaits to tidy up the rat’s tail he’s left at the back (yeah I asked for it).
“I don’t do plaits.”
“OK.” I was heading to the market later to buy some food … there’s a hairdresser there. Someone there will do it. And they did.
“See you in six weeks. And don’t forget to bring wine.”
Done. That’ll be the day before my friend Andrew’s wedding, so, for once, I’ve got the timing right on something.


Reckon I’ve been off the hops (apart from the occasional one) for about 10 months now. It’s all about the weight thing. Seems every time I have a beer, it sticks to me, so in those 10 months I’ve managed to drop nine kilograms. So it’s bye bye beer.
Mind, I was in Swords wine shop recently to see if the new chardonnay had arrived. It hadn’t. I had my usual chat with Dave, who runs the place, and was just about to leave when I spied some La Trappe Dubbel Trappistenbier.
“What’s the deal with that, mate? Is it a good drop?”
Sensational was Dave’s verdict.
“Righto,” I said, “I’ll have one.” Given that it is 20 bucks for one longneck, one was enough … but it was stinkin’ hot and it was to be a treat. And the glass (reckon it pings like crystal) was included in the price.
And what a treat.
It’s a deep red-brown Trappist beer and smells of caramel malt, and is a tad (how much officially is a tad? sweet. The head is thicker than an English soccer hooligan. It’s 7 per cent alcohol, which means that one longneck really is enough. The recommended pouring temperature is 10-14º. Dunno what mine was when I cracked it, other than bloody brilliant.
Reckon if summer somehow manages to re-manifest itself in Melbourne, I’ll have another.
By the by, longnecks are known as king browns in the bush, something I learnt while I was on the road.
So there.


I was watching Anthony Bourdain the other night. He was in Rome and doing his food thing. That’s why I watch, I guess.
Anyway, he was served a pasta dish (yeah, OK, it was Rome) that is going to be a regular on my menu for several reasons … it’s quick, simple, tasty and there’s bugger all washing up to do.
I boiled (in well-salted water) enough spaghetti for one and while that was doing its thing, I melted a stick of butter (not margarine please, this is about flavour) and lobbed a handful of ground black pepper into it. Then I grated about a cup (or thereabouts) of 36-month aged Parmigiano Reggiano. I tossed the spag into the butter, coated it and then stirred through the cheese. Dinner was done and dusted. And let me tell you, it doesn’t get a lot easier or tastier for that matter.


I managed for, I reckon, the fifth or sixth time to have a degustation dinner at Eis, my favourite Japanese restaurant.
It’s still great value … eight courses and five wines (it’s now $120 a head.
A starter of a fresh oyster shot with mint vodka, sliced chilli and wasabi tobiko, some ocean trout carpaccio with basil pesto and a glass of Louis Boillot Champagne from Bourgogne.
While starters don’t get a lot better, the beef tartare that followed was close.
The quality didn’t wane … but I reckon that’s it for the degustation. The menu has changed just once (from memory) and, while it’s not tired or anything, next time I’m there I’ll be ordering from the menu.
As for fruit of the vine, there have been many and varied being popped at my joint of late.
To wit, Domaine Begude2010 Chardonnay. It’s a bloody cracker, which is my way of saying “Utterly beguiling. Full of flowers, citrus, orchard fruits, and almond, this offers some lushness of texture while remaining bright and refreshing, and displays a shimmering sense of minerality that would be worthy of a Chablis costing three times the price”, which is how Robert Parker’s Bargain Wines Guide 2011 said of the Terroir 11300 chardonnay. It’s available at Vintage Cellars.
Oh, and there was a Spaniard in the works, too. Bajondillo Mentrida Toledo tempranillo/merlot . It’s the sort of wine you could drink with anything … or nothing. I loved it.
As I did the Jim Barry 2006 First Eleven Cabernet Sauvignon. Being the cricket tragic that I am, I’ll try any drink that links to the great game. This cabernet would get a game in my first eleven.
Maybe 12th man (and not because it’s out of form) in my team would be Wild Rock Cupid’s Arrow 2009 pinot noir. I’ve been having a real crack at pinot and I’d probably have a go at this again. It’s fruity and herby, although the 14.5 alcohol (for me) was a bit on the sharp side.
During the absence of blogging, there have been a few other wines that have passed my lips. I used to keep a list of what I drank but gave it up with the blogging.
OK, it’s back to making lists ... and blogging.
Now it's off to the market to get some ingredients to make a green mango salad.

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