A great night out

On Friday we went out to dinner to celebrate wwoofer Lulu’s birthday.

We went to the Thai Bank restaurant in Goulburn.  We’d been there about 10 days earlier for Pat’s birthday, and had such a nice time that we were all keen to go back.

Of the five main dishes, I would rate four as exceptional and the fifth as merely very good.  Every dish had a distinct flavour, and the ingredients were top class.  This was one of the most delicious meals I have ever eaten.

Khammul, the owner and chef, is highly skilled and she always comes out for a chat.

Better still, the dinner cost $109 for six of us.  Plus they have a loyalty system, so we also got a third of a later romantic night out for Allison and me.

After the dinner, we went out to the Goulburn Club for a drink.  They had guitarist and singer Tony Wade there, and he’s always fantastic.  There was an open fire going, and the place was at its friendliest.  Allison and I had a dance, to my son Owen’s horror.

I think I’ve said this before, but sometimes we don’t understand how good we’ve got it.  Goulburn has a reputation for being a drab, dull place, but the reality is that it’s wonderful.  Nobody realises they are living in a Golden Age until after it’s over.

Speaking of which, a developer has put in a bid for the Goulburn Club, and the offer is being seriously considered.  I’m a bit puzzled as to why; takings are down, but the place is still profitable.  There’s increased competition from other renovated venues, but I’ll bet we lose one or two in coming years.  The club has a maintenance backlog, and a retired handyman is doing wonders catching it up week by week.  Volunteers are in short supply, as always, but we’re muddling through.

We have the best beers in Goulburn, and some great entertainment.  Don’t miss our Beatles weekend in June!

Maybe there’s some opportunities for collaboration, but I think we’re a 140-year old club in a position of strength.  It will take a lot to convince me that we should sell.

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Wood if we could

We’ve had the fire going a few times lately; some quite chilly nights.  Right now, we have a few days of reasonable weather, then from tomorrow it’s back to Groundhog Day and endless afternoon showers.

Furthermore, there’s a cyclone off the WA coast and a high chance of more serious rain on its way.  We’re going away for Easter for the medieval Rowany Festival, but our campsite was mostly underwater last year and we’re a bit concerned whether this year’s event will even go ahead.

Back at the farm, we’ve run out of wood.  The wwoofers (Michelle, Lulu, Pat) have been collecting barrowloads of fallen wood, but it goes quickly.

On the weekend, we hired a chainsaw for about $100 and Pat set about getting us a bulk supply of wood.  A big yellowbox tree fell over in the recent downpours, so that was a good place to start.  So we have a whole stack of green wood drying out — but it probably won’t be suitable for this winter.

The plan was to start with the easy (green) wood and work our way into the harder wood — but the chainsaw wouldn’t start on the second day.  The hire firm did give us $20 back, but I think next time I’ll go to their competitor.

Our neighbour Shane, who is a whizz with a chainsaw, has offered to cut down a big dead old yellowbox for us.  That should get us through a winter, if he gets the chance to do it.

Summer is done

Summer is now officially over.  The very last day was the wettest of this very wet season, measured at 150mm by our neighbour. About a quarter of an average year’s rainfall, in a day.

But mostly it’s been just a regular shower every afternoon.

Goulburn cracked 30 degrees just once in February, and only barely.  There were eight hot (30+ degrees) days in January, once making it to 34 degrees.  Needless to say, in a usual summer most days are hot.

I don’t do well in hot weather, so it’s OK with me.  Allison enjoys warmer weather, so she’s a bit cranky about it — but she had a week in Darwin recently so she’s had some hot days.

Our current wwoofers, Michelle and Lulu, enjoy riding our horses, and that’s not really possible when the paddocks are soaked.  Right now, some of the property is actually underwater.

They have just been joined by Pat, one of our first wwoofers, who is visiting Australia again.  I see lots of boardgames in our future! (and hopefully some of Pat’s wonderful aubergine fritters).  He’s also introduced us to the fantasy TV series, Game of Thrones, which is coming along well.

This wet summer is the result of a La Niña weather pattern.  I monitor this here and at this stage the index is moving rapidly back to neutral conditions.  Then we need to wait to spring to see what is in store for us next year.

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Update: Southern Australia has very bad flooding at present.  Goulburn was flooded, but not as badly as last year.  About 10% of our farm was underwater, again less than last year.  We had two weeks of nearly continuous rain, and now we’re back to sunny mornings and an afternoon storm – for at least another week.