No sooner had I arrived back in Hyden but I had to start packing up – we were on our travels again. The Kiwi’s job had finished and he had another to go to a 9 hour drive away at Coorow, (pronounced Ca-roo) which is 267kms north of Perth. It was great to be back on the road again and the scenery was ever changing as we meandered our way through the Wheatbelt. You might think that because this area is known as Asia’s bread basket that it’s just flat open prairie lands with nothing much on the horizon, well you’d be wrong. We passed through many small towns and as it was the weekend there weren’t many people about – the Kiwi started humming the theme tune from “The Good, The Bad and the Ugly…”
Several of the towns have made sculpture parks with everything made out of scrap metal – here’s a work of art from Hyden!
Every town also has a grain storage depot and all are enormous! Here’s one they’ve made admirable efforts to prettify.
We stopped overnight in York, a very attractive old colonial style town with streets lined with verandah’s and pubs – I could almost see Clint Eastwood walking up ahead! One estate agents sign amused us but we felt it was way out of our league as we’ve gone a bit bush now!
This is the Avon River in York where we parked up for the night (van on the left).
We’ve been a week now in Coorow. Well infact we’re not in Coorow, we’re 40kms south of this small town (population 161). I had done an enormous supermarket shop before we arrived fearing that facilities would be lacking in the grocery department but I was wrong. This little community has all you would need for life in the “bush”. There’s a hardware store, a garage, a little supermarket with a little bit of everything (including red wine, phew), a bowls club, a children’s playground with very new looking equipment, a really smart village hall with internet for the locals, a pub/hotel and tennis club. In fact every town we drove through on our way here we were in awe of the amazing community facilities they had.
But it’s still an 80km round trip for a pint of milk. Planning ahead has never been my strong point and I’m having to learn fast! But it has it’s upsides – I haven’t spent a single brass razoo in a week!
The Kiwi is happy driving his new boy’s toy – it’s a huge spraying machine and hideously complicated but he’s got the hang of it.
But for the first time in my adult life, I haven’t got a job! I’m now a housewife, or rather a Caravan Wife! I have to say I’m rather enjoying some time off. The ‘van has never been so clean which is no mean feat as the amount of red sand we all bring in is huge, it’s like living on the beach! My domesticity knows no bounds and I’ve even baked a cake this week! I don’t have an electric whisk so it was all done by hand – must have done wonders for my bingo wings! Infact it was rather a good lemon sponge and light as a feather – here’s the recipe:
3/4 cup olive oil (extra-virgin if desired), plus additional for greasing pan
1 large lemon
1 cup self raising flour
5 large eggs, separated, reserving 1 white for another use
3/4 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
Special equipment: a 9-inch (24-cm) springform pan; parchment paper
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 170c. Grease springform pan with some oil, then line bottom with a round of parchment paper. Oil parchment.
Finely grate enough lemon zest to measure 1 1/2 teaspoons and whisk together with flour. Halve lemon, then squeeze and reserve 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice.
Beat together yolks and 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until thick and pale, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium and add olive oil (3/4 cup) and reserved lemon juice, beating until just combined (mixture may appear separated). Using a wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture (do not beat) until just combined.
Beat egg whites (from 4 eggs) with 1/2 teaspoon salt in another large bowl with cleaned beaters at medium-high speed until foamy, then add 1/4 cup sugar a little at a time, beating, and continue to beat until egg whites just hold soft peaks, about 3 minutes.
Gently fold one third of whites into yolk mixture to lighten, then fold in remaining whites gently but thoroughly.
Transfer batter to springform pan and gently rap against work surface once or twice to release any air bubbles. Bake until puffed and golden about 35 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then turn it out and cool – keep husbands and children at bay or it will be gone!
I’ve also been walking the dogs a lot trying to do 10,000 steps a day – the poor girls don’t know what’s hit them! Here’s a photo from our current favourite walk:
One wonders what was going through their minds when they named Mamboobie Road which goes the back way to Coorow. Was it named by a Geordie with an Oedipus Complex?
So life is good and although not gainfully employed, the Kiwi rings me at least twice a day to run errands for him in the “Wedgie”, the farm ute – a Toyota Landcruiser which is huge fun, very rattly and dirty but will go anywhere as it’s got a V8 engine in it!