Possibly the last post for 2023*

*Results may vary.

I’ve been lost in holiday wilderness and now that I’ve crawled back home in the dying days of 2023 the house is about to be descended on for the last big family shindig of December. (And then when the smoke clears, maybe then I’ll get some sleep?) In the meantime here may be my last post of the year, one final breath before the madness knocks on the door and invites itself in for a sleepover.

Not even the GPS knew where the hell we were

It was an uneventful family trip from Albury to Adelaide, it was a strange one on the way back however. Taking a detour through Mildura to see more family (there’s lot to see on my wife’s side), all was going well until we hit a section of road between Balraland and Tooleybuc where my phones GPS suddenly decided we needed to rally the Mazda 6. And when we decided my phone was being a complete idiot (again) and went a different way than the dirt track, well that’s when things suddenly took a turn for the mysterious.

Sadly this isn’t the first time one of my phones using Google Maps decided that a section of road that wouldn’t look out of place in the Paris to Dakar Rally would be a great idea for a fully loaded family vehicle to take a spin on as we moved from one state of Australia to another. A couple of years back in another silver car (must be the colour causing my phone to go loopy) we got directed to a section of dirt track for no logical reason whatsoever.

Turbo wagon with a busted turbo and this road. What could possibly go wrong?

So naturally this time around we gave the idea of the mighty Mazda Samurai going sideways a wide berth and took a paved road instead. Not the one the GPS wanted us to though, because it was hell bent on sending us down that rally stage, all 34kms of it and no matter how far we kept driving away from it, it continued to spew up directions to force us to take it.

Well that it until five minutes later when it decided that we’d suddenly driven into the ether and took the next half hour off on stress leave.

No landmarks, no fields, no lakes, nothing. Just one big long line leading to nowhere in particular. And yes, while there was precious little to look out at in this dead zone, it certainly wasn’t as bleak as the GPS portrayed it to be.

Oh and the duration time never changed either suggesting we obviously hit limbo and we weren’t about to crawl out of it anytime soon. It wasn’t until we entered the township of Tooleybuc that it remembered that it’s life’s mission was to actually direct us and that was it did again finally, sending us a longer way than usual home. But at least we got there in the end..

Now to be fair..

The onboard GPS is pretty rubbish but the phone carrier we’ve been with certainly haven’t been doing us any favours recently either. Yes Vodaphone, I’m certainly looking your way here, with your awful website (no I don’t want the website to send a link to my phone just to let me in, can I just sign in like the rest of the internet please?) not to mention having to restart my phone on occasion when visiting smaller towns just so we can play another annoying round of ‘Find the decaying signal.’

Come contract renewal time, I will be looking elsewhere. Which is a shame because it works so well in a big city…only we’re far from a big city anymore.

It’s a one flat screen per child scenario

I mentioned visiting more family earlier in Mildura, well that was my brother in law Aaron, his lovely wife Tara and their three children Zagor, Balthus and Zharradan. While getting stabbed in the arm with a corn chip by Balthus, I mentioned to Aaron that I liked the look of his TV. It was about the size of my Mazda and he shared the story that it’s the third screen that size he’s owned…in roughly the same amount of years.

Yes one fateful day Zagor picked up his favourite plastic toy and hurled it firm edge first right into the screen cracking it spectacularly. Not to be out done, Zharradan decided he too wanted to be part of the TV destroying action and proceed to impact and topple over the next new one weeks after arrival. This third one I was admiring while dodging sharp corn chips? Well that was parts from one and two cobbled together to Frankenstein a third. ‘The brand name is just the shell.’ He’d done such a good job putting things back together I wouldn’t have noticed unless he told me. Although I suspect by the time we go back, it’ll be a completely different screen on that stand, Balthus finally having his own go in the family game of wrecking ball.

It’s that Amazon gift card time of year..

When in doubt, send an Amazon gift card. Which worked out perfectly for my wife an I because we had no idea what we wanted for Christmas, so opted for the Amazon card route. Which meant after spending it all on the boxing day sales, most of the stuff was either here when we finally landed home after a week away or pretty much the next day (that’d be today then.)

Yes some new pants and boots for me as well as a sous vide machine for my glorious return to home brewing sometime in 2024 (oh and to cook with of course!). Meanwhile my wife decided to upgrade the kitchen with some new plates and kitchen knives, a big bag of coffee and a new grinder. My Prime membership doing all the delivery heavy lifting once again, what’s amazed us is how quickly everything has been processed, packaged and delivered to our door while we drink endless coffee and enjoy the work holiday until the inevitable time we have to return to work.
It’s seriously quick and they update you all the time which means you’re never going to forget your Inkbird Sous Vide wand is on it’s way.

And boy oh boy does this thing look heavy duty!

Inkbird sous vide
Inkbird sous vide – not sure if I’m brewing beer or busting ghosts with this thing.

I haven’t given it a go yet (with the in laws coming it’d take longer to explain how it works and the style of cooking it does than it would to cook some mouthwatering steak with it) but hilariously it also comes with wifi onboard which means I can cook from the comfort of the couch.*

*I more than likely won’t, but hey it’s certainly an option.

(Now if you’re keen on trying one of this oversized bath wands in the kitchen yourself, I picked this up for sale on Amazon AU for $75 on sale with free delivery via Amazon Prime. Sadly it’s gone back up to $125 at the time of writing but if you do like your chicken and steak succulent..

Also if you’re a big shopper on the US Amazon storefront, it’s also available there Affiliate link – clicking this link might make Amazon kick back a little bit of money to me, at no cost to you. Everybody wins!)

And finally there’s no better lesson that one from family

I’m wrapping up what may just be my last post for 2023 on this blog with a hearty thank you to my brother and his lovely partner. Yes not only did Guy, Danielle and my handsome nephews share a wonderful Christmas celebration with us (and thanks for the hospitality too!) but took some time out to teach the kids, my son Jackson in particular, the wonderful world of home made pasta.

For a kid with confidence issues and a fair bit going in his life medical wise, the time spent with his uncle leaning how to made a family favourite from scratch was just brilliant. Especially when I popped out to get a body of shiraz for dinner (and proceeded to get lost on the way back, a completely other story) and came back to find his sister Sophie getting right into the action too.

Coupled with a bolognaise fresh out of Guy’s new toy (a pressure cooker combo machine), 90 seconds in the boiling water was all it took to serve up home made pasta perfection. Obviously bowls of the stuff didn’t last long but the effect of the lesson? I feel this memory is going to hang with Jack for a very long time to come as he delves into the world of cooking.

And on that too, can I send some good vibes and a thank you to chef Nick DiGiovanni, author of the cookbook Knife Drop: Creative recipes anyone can cook. Jack went out and bought it with his pocket money and has been obsessed with it ever since and while we’ve only experienced the smashed burgers so far (tasty!), he’s turbo keen to cook just about everything else in it. Thanks Nick!

Uh oh, there’s a knock at the door. Better let the in laws in before someone throws a pasta machine through my TV screen…

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