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, February 17, 2013

Let's get this show on the road

It has taken a while for me not to judge myself through other people’s eyes.


Cars and camping gear have been front and centre of late … and that costs a quid. It’s worth it though because it means that I’ll soon be a one-car bloke. And have a near as goddam, I’ll have self-sufficient camping set-up.
I managed to squeeze in a service for my Subaru, which included a new battery, a new windscreen (there was a chip and a scratch that would have meant no roadworthy certificate) and next week it’s a set of tyres, then it’s ready to go (OK, I’m gonna get it detailed as well) … not for me to drive, that is, but to someone who’s going to get a bloody good car. It may be seven years old, but with just 49k on the clock, it’s a bargain. Anyone interested?
My Landcruiser ute has also had a bit of work … i.e. getting a UHF radio fitted and some powerful driving lights … it’s ready to rock and roll.
Then there was the camper trailer. Two new deep-cycle batteries were installed, a new 12-volt lead was fitted on the three-way fridge (I’m buying it from my ex-wife’s husband), I had a new 12-volt extension cord made up so I can power up things like the fridges (I have two) on the back of the ute.
Reckon I’m set up now for trouble-free camping (I’m going away for the next two weekends) … enough power to last a week or so (I’ll supplement it with some solar panels), enough water (the trailer can carry 160 litres and, of course, two fridges because I’m planning to have a thirst. If anyone’s interested, there’s a link to my “life of the road” blog somewhere on this page (http://mickontheroad.blogspot.com.au/).
Next weekend, my mate Ed and I are heading to a friend’s bush block to give all of our camping gear a shakedown … the plan is to assemble every piece of camping equipment, clean it, service it, whatever, and be ready to hit the road at a moment’s notice. And anything that is superfluous to me needs will find its way into the back of Ed’s ute.
The moment’s notice will happen the weekend after next when a bunch of like-minded people from the office are getting away to Sheepyard Flats on the Howqua River. It’ll be good to get out of town, set up a decent site and spend a few of days wetting a line, wetting a thirst and whetting the appetite for more time on the road. Can’t wait.


Here’s a good tip.
A while ago when my friend Gaynor and I used to walk five kilometres each morning before work … yeah, we were fit … at the end of the walk we used to stop for a coffee and a smoke (I said we were fit, not healthy). The bloke used to serve the coffee with a shot glass filled with soda water. It was a tough look for anyone passing who had not visited the café … a bloke and a girl having a coffee and a shot before eight in the morning.
The deal is, though, that after the coffee, you have the shot of soda water and it eliminates coffee breath and is a real palate cleanser. Reckon I may give it a try the next wine I’m tasting wine. OK, it’s a thought.


Dhav Naidu is The Weekly Review beauty writer and a damned fine bloke he is. He’s forgotten more about beauty products that any of us will ever know.
At the end of last year, he listed his best products of the year and one, Lancôme Visionnaire, was something I’d tried after Dhav recommended it earlier in the year.
He wrote:
Lancôme Visionnaire (30ml/50ml, $115/$165)
“Once in a blue moon, something is launched in the beauty world that makes you sit up and take notice.
“Lancôme Visionnaire (LR2412 4 per cent) is one such product. Released last September after 12 years of research and tested on 800 women, this serum is just short of a miracle. Lancôme counters cannot hold enough stock.
“The serum is suitable for all skin tones and works like a dream, so much so that one in two women planning non-surgical procedures are said to have postponed them after trying it.
“So what makes this product different from other “miracle” creams? It is the patented molecule LR2412. It has been independently tested and verified by dermatology professor Chris Griffiths and Dr Rachel Watson from Manchester University, who concluded that this molecule is as effective as, or more so, than retinoic acid but without the side effects. LR2412 is able to propel itself into the many layers of the skin, targeting various concerns. This allows Visionnaire to be billed as an “advanced skin corrector”. It’s engineered to reduce wrinkles, minimise pores, correct pigmentation irregularities and restore radiance regardless of skin tone, sex or ethnicity. Men are also flocking to it in droves. The product is light and absorbs into skin very well leaving skin nourished.”
When I first became aware of it, I headed to Myer, half full of red ink after a farewell lunch for a workmate, and bought some. It was a positive shopping exercise because the woman who sold it to me also asked for my phone number … not that she ever phoned, but it was nice to be asked. They never phone.
I mentioned to Dhav, after he filed his end-of-year yarn, that I had tried it, loved it, and thanked him for steering me in the right direction. He was pleased. So was I when he sent a replacement bottle to me at the office. It was timely because I had just run out. Thank you, Dhav.
I’m also trying Wrinkle Venom (with syn-ake). I use it every night and I reckon it works. I found something on the interweb, first published in Health and Fitness, to support my opinion.
“If you want to find a cure to wrinkles, you should consider snake venom cream. This great cream can make wrinkles disappear and make that face nice and smooth. http://www.wrinklecreamdirect.com/synake This article, What You Need To Read About Snake Venom Cream is available for free reprint.
I reckon I’ve got this far with any wrinkles to speak of (no crow’s feet either), so I must be doing something right. You (blokes especially) owe it to yourself to have a crack.


Talking of having a crack, there’s been more than the odd drink to pass the lips of late.
Because it’s summer, the drinks of choice (OK, for starters when I get home from work) have been vodka and tonic with fresh lime, gin and tonic with fresh lime, Pimm’s (see the recipe for the perfect one somewhere on this blog) and Campari and soda with lemon. (OK, there have been cans of bourbon and cola involved too). Nightcaps, by the way, have come in the form of Riccard Pastis in a long, skinny shot glass with two small pieces of ice. I kicked myself for not getting two litres when I came through duty-free in Port Vila recently. It was a snip at 18 bucks a litre.
Oh, there has also been some Dandelion Vineyards 30-year-old Pedro Ximenez sherry. Straight out of the fridge, it’s a great way to ease into dinner.
I’ve also been having a regular crack at Swords Full Fare arneis, savagnin and riesling blend, which, as always, is fresh, fruity (think citrus, apricot, florally and bloody good.
There’s also been lots of rose (it’s French and I can’t remember the name of it … that’s a tell-tale admission), some Cotes Du Rhone grenache-syrah blend (M. Chapoutier Belleruche) and some aged durif (Date Brothers near Swan Hill) to keep the flow regular.
Among others there has been Witchmount Barbera 2006, which weighs in at a handsome 14.9%, 2010 Rosabrook Chardonnay (14%), 2009 Shark Tooth shiraz, 2011 Stump Gully chardonnay and a bit of a find.
Hardy’s Nottage Hill point noir, best described as a good second bottle. Dan Murphy’s sells it for about $7.50 a bottle and says about it:
“The Nottage Hill range stands for value and quality, and the Pinot Noir delivers in spades. Medium bodied, with cherry, raspberry and a touch of mint, it makes a great drink without breaking the bank.
I’m not gonna say that it delivers in spades, but at that price, it’s a damned fine second bottle.
Oh, and there’s a dozen Crown Lagers in my fridge (OK, there’s 11 … yeah, I tried one and that was enough). I was out the front talking to my next-door neighbour when Phylis from across the road asked me to give her a hand … to wit, picking up a small table from a few blocks away. No probs, that’s what neighbours do. I carried it into her backyard and then went on a tour of all her plants. She grabbed cuttings a heaps of them and then insisted on giving me the Crownies.
“Michael, you’re a good neighbour. Take these with you.” I protested but she’s a strong-willed woman (are there any other kind?). Now all I need is a beer-drinking visitor; God knows, I’m not gonna have ‘em.
What I am going to have, however, later this afternoon with a piece of eye fillet cooked on the barbie, is a bottle of Lightfoot & Sons Myrtle Point 2012 rose. I tasted it yesterday morning (it was just a taste, true, while I was at the market) and it’s a bloody fine drink. The fact that the girl from the winery, who was hosting the tasting, was drop-dead gorgeous and (in the old money) about six feet tall … I was always gonna buy a bottle or two.


My olive jam is still getting good reviews … there hasn’t been a taster yet who hasn’t liked it. It’s almost time to whip up a new batch, this time with a touch of chilli.
I had a good look at the chilli bush this morning while I was watering (yeah, I was watering the garden at 6.45 on a Sunday morning) and I reckon there’s a bout a kilo of little firecrackers that are about a week or so away from harvest.
Then it will be time for my mate, Ben, the wine writer (@senorthomas on Twitter) and I to have a crack at making our own version of Tabasco. Roll on harvest time.


My son, Joel, has organised me a sound system for my bedroom, hooked up to some decent (for a bedroom anyway) speakers and with a remote for the iPod.
There are about 25,000 songs on it, so there’s a bit of choice. Now, if I could just find someone who has my taste in music.

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