The Abinett visit 2010/2011!

By , January 4, 2011 10:07 pm

Karen Working Away

Well, well, well. We can’t keep them away – the Abinetts decided to descend on Sydney for Christmas/New Year and who were we to complain! Always a pleasure to have Colin and Karen to stay. I mean – now they’re gone I miss the exclamations of ‘Jeeepers!’ at anything slightly out of the ordinary (such as a warm day) and the amount of coffee Karen gets though (it really is unnatural!).

The holiday was almost a carbon copy of the Midgley’s trip last year, almost to the day. We also did a few things that we did with Mum and Dad M last year.

Camp Fires Ahoy!

The clan

First on the list was a long weekend trip to the Barrington Tops National Park to stay at a fantastic, fairly secluded place called Mudaridge. It is a great place to stay, several km’s down a dirt track, kangaroos hopping through the garden in the evening, plenty of space to spread out etc…. A cold snap came across NSW when we were there which meant cool days and cold nights (although not quite as bad as the rain we had with Mum and Dad M last year!) – but it was an excuse to spark up the camp fire most nights. Very nice indeed! Especially for ‘cub scout Graham’ who cannot resist playing with fire. Especially with a glass of wine in hand!

Mixin' with the winemaker

Of course, heading up to the Barrington Tops meant that we were pretty much driving past the Hunter Valley – a famous wine region in NSW – so it would of been rude of us not to call in and try a few… Nic and I are members of a wine club up there called Mount View which makes really, really nice wine. We get a case 4 times a year but delayed our last one so we could go and taste the wine with Colin and Karen and pick what we wanted. Luckily the winery was busy when we got there with a group of drunk backpackers on a tour from Sydney (!), which meant that (as they knew we were members) we got a free, impromptu tour of the winery and a private tasting session from the winemaker himself! This is the guy who decides when the grapes are ready for picking, what should be mixed with what, how long it should be in barrels for etc., etc. He was the main man – and very nice too!

Buster & Marrion

Christmas brought a trip to the fish markets to get, well, fish obviously. But we thought we’d try something new for Christmas Eve and get a live crab and lobster. Until we saw the price, then settled on crab and a Marron (kind of a small lobster). It was an interesting experience buying them – having never bought live stuff before we didn’t really know how to look after them etc. but the guys at the markets gave us some tips (we only needed to keep them alive for 24 hours after all!).

It nearly fits...

So the moment came to get the crab into the pot for dinner on Christmas Eve, a quick 15 mins in the freezer to put it to sleep and then into the pot with you! Except the pot wasn’t quick big enough… Woops! Back into the freezer with dozing crab and a bigger pot was ordered to be filled with boiling water ASAP!

Luckily ‘buster’ fitted in this time (just about – give or take a leg or two), swiftly followed by ‘Marrion’. That’s the Marron by the way. The meal was very nice, but we decided that it probably wasn’t worth the time, effort and expense to do again any time soon!

Chillaxin'

Christmas day was a mixture of a fantastic spread of food for lunch courtesy of Nic (who else?!) – including lots of lovely Asian nibbles, lots of time in the pool in the afternoon with lots of time for ‘keepy-upy-volleyball-type-thing’ with the blow-up ball! We also had decided to cook a whole suckling pig on the BBQ this year! Wooo! We borrowed a big spit from a friends Dad (who has lots of cooking stuff like that!), ordered the pig a few days before and got in lots and lots of charcoal for the big event. Nic had done her research and had a good recipe for the pig – so we boned it (rib cage, spine), stuffed it with a beautiful meaty, spicy, fruity stuffing, sewed it up (literally-much to the horror of the lady in Lincraft who sold us the needle), shoved a big metal stick through the length of it and roasted it over hot coals whilst we paddled in the pool with cold drinks! Ha!

Lookin' good!

After nearly burning the deck due to the heat from the coals, we got it under control and it was looking good! Really good!!! Once it was done we couldn’t wait to dig in – the meat was absolutely beautiful. Unfortunately the crackling wasn’t actually crackling. We later deduced that this was because the poor little blighter didn’t have any fat on him! More like tasty chicken skin that crackling – but good all the same. We will DEFINITELY be doing this one again – so nice!

Following Christmas we had a few lazy days in the pool, followed by a couple of days at Wiseman’s Ferry, an hour north of Sydney where some of our friends parents have a lovely house on the river. Literally, on the river. It was lovely spending some time there and getting a little tour of the locale in one of the neighbour’s boats!

We had a couple of lovely days at the beach – one at Palm Beam – AKA Summer Bay from Home and Away – and the other at Manly where we had a lovely breakfast and stroll round to Shelly Beach.

It's over there!

Sydney goes off!

New years eve was great! We did the same as last year – setting up camp at Mort Bay Park in Balmain (near where we used to live). We got the ferry round the corner into Circular Quay for a spot of lunch and to soak up the atmosphere in the sun. It was a warm day so we took it easy. Heading back to Balmian at a decent time so we could claim our spot on the front row and chill out for the rest of the evening!

Beer, wine, books and take-out fish and chips was the order of the day. However we were sat next to a group of young back-packers who clearly had no idea where they were (I’m pretty sure they knew they were in Sydney and it was New Years Eve, but apart from that they didn’t know much!) which provided much chuckling to ourselves – especially Nic who couldn’t get into her book because she was ear-wigging too much!

The fireworks were spectacular as always, and the weather was lovely and warm – a perfect way to see in the new year! New Year’s day was a stinker – high 30’s centigrade and definitely a pool day with a few drinks and lovely food.

Good time all round – till next time Abinetts!!

Make sure you check out the gallery for some more pics!

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