31 December 2010

Migrating Blogs


Our European/international adventure of 4 years is coming to an end in 4 days time.

We have therefore started to move our blogs to our Australian blog – At the Farm.  This blog will be about our Australian adventures and our farm.  We have had a great time over the last 4 years and are ready to make the change back to Australia and a bunch of different adventures.


A migrating Bird – not blog.  This is a Whooper Swan (i think) at Martin Mere wildfowl reserve in Lancashire.

19 December 2010

Cambridge Mini Visit

On Friday we drove from our lovely Cottage in the Peak District and stopped off in Cambridge for a few hours. 

We parked at the Madingly road park and ride and caught a bus into town.  Cambridge is so popular and has so many students that most people walk or ride bikes around town.  The Park and rides are very well set up, the bus is a good price and there are lots of parks.

Cambridge is a Beautiful city and is just filled with Colleges of Cambridge University.  The whole city is full of students and academics and amazing old architecture.  We walked around in the sub zero temperatures and took in the sites. 

Kings College is quite famous and has an amazing church and buildings generally.  We walked along ‘The Backs’ where you can go punting in summer when the water is not frozen. 

We should have spent a lot more time here but it is one of those places we will have to visit again in the future when we come back to the UK.

I would highly recommend Cambridge to anyone for a few nights stay, walking around, seeing the sites and shops and checking out some of the pubs and restaurants.


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The round Church – built in the 1100’s

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Corinne – looking gorgeous in front of some more old, pleasing architecture

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The light fading over Cambridge

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Just another old building

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Kings college chapel – a beautiful building

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The inner courtyard of kings college

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Sun setting on the Chapel

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Corpus Christi College

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Moon rise over Cambridge

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The end of the day, Cambridge.

18 December 2010

Snowing on the M1–A lot.

Yesterday we drove down from our lovely cottage in the Peak district to see our friends in Essex one last time.  We visited Cambridge on the way which will be  a different blog.  We spent the night in Rayleigh seeing our nurses and vets  from our time in Southend.  We had a great catch up and it was sad to say goodbye to everyone.  Hopefully we will see some of them next year on their Australian travels.

Today we started driving north again and stopped in at Sophie’s parents house to visit her.  Sophie has 2-3 bulging intervertebral discs in her lower back and is now a recumbent invalid.  Once again it was brilliant to see her and chat and talk about hopefully seeing her next year back in Australia.  She was looking pretty good for someone that has been in bed for 3 weeks and probably at least another 3 weeks.

While we were at Sophie's it started snowing a bit so we set off at 1pm for our 3hr 20min drive north.  As we drove out to meet up with the M1 – one of the major motorways in the UK, we noticed that the snow was getting heavier and the road was getting whiter. 

Soon we were driving at mind breakingly slow speeds and watching morons test their brakes by sliding down the road sideways.  We finally made it to the M1, a 4-6 lane highway, and i had predicted that there would be minimal snow on the road.  I am happy to admit that i was very very wrong.

Below are some pics and video of our 5 hour adventure.  The snow actually did end after a while when we suddenly broke out of the snow clouds but there was a lot of driving through thick snow with no lanes or anything.  luckily everyone drives so slowly and cautiously that we were able to forge ahead and win a race that may not have even been occurring.  As long as you keep a large space in front of you and anything else the problems are minimal as really it is the braking that causes all the problems.

Map picture

The M1 is the big blue road travelling north.  We made a quick stop at KFC so we would die with a full belly of chicken if it was going to happen.

Snowy snowy snow snow

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14 December 2010

The Food Blog

Since finishing work and moving to the Cottage we have had a lot more spare time.  Instead of spending 11 hours a day at work we can relax and put a bit more time into our food preparation.  We both enjoy eating and cooking and so we have been doing some experimenting and making the most of the British produce before we return to Australia.

Corinne Started us off with a Gingerbread house.  There is no cooking involved with this pack, its more like art work.  The house was built from the pieces and then decorated.  A lot of fun and very christmassy.  The whole building is edible and did in fact get nibbled on one night after too many bevvies.

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We were out in Buxton the other day and popped into Waitrose (expensive supermarket) for some tarragon.  I came across a couple of partridges on sale.  These are small game birds the size of a poussin or large quail.  It is game season at the moment so there is lots of this sort of stuff about.  The birds usually come from Estate shoots and are cleaned and prepared.  They are usually quite expensive at about £6 ($10) each but i got them for £2.50 each.  They can be a bit hard to cook as they are wild so you don’t want to spend too much and risk having a bad expensive meal.

I decided to spatchcock the partridges and cook them slowly under the grill, covering the breasts with bacon and basting often with butter.  They ended up being very nice, quite succulent and no strange gamey flavour.  We also had some tarragon and butter Exquisa potatoes with salad.

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Corinne was encouraged by our friend Emma to make a Beef Wellington.  This is a fillet beef (supposed to be fillet but hard to find here) covered with a mushroom type mixture, wrapped in tarragon pancakes and then covered with pastry.  It seems a lot of effort to go to to eat a nice cut of meat but it is good over here with all the cold weather. 

The meal was great though hard to eat because of the size.  There was a slight sideways collapse of the meat too but that did not make any difference.

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Once again we were out shopping in Buxton and we came across a man in a truck selling seafood and game.  This sounds unusual but is reasonably common in the UK.  He had a nice collection of fish and also some rabbits, venison and pheasant.  We purchased a brace of pheasants (2) from him and decided to make a pheasant and brandy cream delight. 

We quartered the pheasants and then browned them and cooked them slowly with some bacon, cream, brandy (flambĂ©ed of course), mushrooms, tarragon (a new friend), butter and seasoning. 

The resulting meal was a smash hit (bias) as we got Em and Dan over and they wiped there plates clean (back me up Em and Dan)).

Once again we were suprised at both the amount of meat on the birds and its soft succulent nature.

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A few weeks back we came across chicken livers in the supermarket so we decided we would try a pate recipe we had found.

The recipe called for thyme, brandy, port, French shallots (like little onions), garlic and off course a lot of butter.

We cooked and chopped and whizzed and by the next day had a very tasty brown mixture which went down a treat with some French bread a a few drinks.  Unfortunately we did not get a pick of the completed product.

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Corinne Has also baked a no of cakes including a banana cake and a orange and Almond cake – both delicious.

1 December 2010

Snowy Walks in the Hills

Yesterday we went for a great walk from our village up into the hills.  The snow is getting deeper and the whole place just looks perfect.  There are still sheep out in the fields which is a bit harsh as they have to dig through the snow to find some frozen grass.  They do have thick wool but their thin little legs look cold.  We went for another walk today while it was snowing so we didn’t take the camera but it was amazing too.  We have already seen a lot of our valley so we will have to start trekking further afar soon.

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Corinne and the car outside our cottage.  We got another 20cm last night


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The road in the village – its white now

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Sheepies in the snow

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Our walk up the hill, beautiful day and perfect white snow

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More snow sheepies

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Brown Snow sheepies

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Snow Corinne

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Holly always looks good in the snow

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Snow cows, luckily with some hay

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Snowy panorama

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The road home…