Read right through this recipe before cooking. If any of the ingredients are missing, go BACK to your maker and supplier and request it. Then you may begin cooking.

1. Take a good dollop of excellent genetic material from the right parents.

        family 6

        Check out the grandparents too - and the cousins - one can't be too careful with this mixture. (Connette and Nick on the left, with Lachlan and Zach, Melissa and Dick Gayle,(grandparents) Christine and Frank (sister and brother in law), Henry and Frank (cousins).   

2. Season well with a HUGE dose of unconditional love. The bigger the better -

       love mixture

        This ingredient is crucial. If you haven't got it ready - don't bother cooking. (clockwise,Nick with Zach, Connette with Zach,at the dogpark, and Lachlan with Mom and Dad after school concert)

3. Add piquancy to the mix by giving the boys room to sleep calmly and comfortably.

       zacnh mixture

Zachie's room is a lovely soft grey, with extra-white trims, and he sleeps in a Thomas the tank engine bed.

       lachlan mix

 Lights out at no later than 7.00pm - Oh well, alright, 7.30 or maybe even 8.00pm !! 

4. Stir well, then add pets to the mix.

            pets 2 

Learning to be kind with their pets is SO good for the consistency of the mixture, even though Mum and Dad will do most of the work. (suck it up, parents) A pair of cats and a dog should allow the mixture to bubble up nicely.

5. Add in the amazing flavours of sporting activities - works excellently with all mixtures.


             Soccer is the game of choice for lachlan.

               mini golf

        Zachie isn't quite up to that yet - but he does love killing a mini-golf ball.

6. Another absolutely vital ingredient is school - choose it wisely, but always choose a school just like DHUMP, where academic learning is balanced out with learning to play with friends, and growing vegetables in their own vegetable plot.

              school 22

              school 23

Top - Lachie learns as he plays in his classroom, and Miss Lane teaches the boys to get their hands grubby, and how to grow their own food. Bottom- Zach in his classroom, and helping bro in the vegie garden.

             school 24

Lachie sings his heart out at the school concert, and discovers he loves singing.(Is rather important that your school offers such programs)


 7. If you have available a tame Grandfather to teach the boys how to work with tools, and make things such as a play house, or a dog kennel - add him into the mixture. He will give a firm consistency to the batter.



Zach and Lachie help Malcolm at the building of their playhouse.

       good malkie


helping 22 

Helping malkie with the cladding on the doghouse,

and Zachie concentrating on measuring

      helping 1

8. If the dough does not look as if it will rise well enough, add a good measure of reading.

                 room reading

Works every time, provided Mom or Dad reads every night. Rises like a hurricane.

9. And finally, if you want your happy boys to have a bright glossy sheen all over, take them out each Friday night to celebrate and enjoy.


                 Zach and Lachlan at the restaurant with Dads mobile - great fun !!


There are no guarantees in this world. But Ireckon this combination of ingredients, if stirred very very well, and baked in a warm atmosphere of approval and love, should produce a happy glossy result.


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Did you know ?? That inland Australia anywhere has secrets just waiting to be discovered ?  Below I talk about a few, BUT there are squillions more to be discovered - just head off and find out for yourself. Yes, the coastal areas are great, but we find the people, the places and the stories of the inland are fantastic.


Where were we ?? Follow the dotted line, we fetched up at the small, one motel, town of Crookwell  somewhere between Bathurst and Goulburn. The town boasted one brasserie (all we needed), and of course, being in the middle of sheep farming areas, we had a wonderful meal of lamb. Yumbo. Lamb and vegies as only country people can cook it.

Also got the word on Crookwell - everyone was so proud of their sock factory. A SOCK factory ??? Here in the back of beyond??(well, almost the back)  It was MARVELLOUS!!  And we stocked up on enough socks for a lifetime.  Souvenirs of Crookwell?? Perfect. Your birthday soon ?? Also perfect. For cold winter floors - got a bunch of those. Silk ones for summer? Yep, them as well !! Noni, I still have yours.

                      factory 2

socks 2 

More socks than you have ever seen before, they make long socks, short socks, wool socks, cotton socks, angora socks, bright socks, pastel socks, tie dyed socks, silk socks, mixtures of all the above, and much much more. Elasticized at the top socks, non-elastized at the top, it's all here!! 

    socks 1



                     socks tye dyed 1

                    Very pretty, and lusciously soft tie-dyed ones.

  socks 4

The story goes, Max Lindner began the business way way back before the second world war. The business flourished, as you can see from the factory picture below, but with the war, he needed to get out. So, he came to Oz., brought all his machinery with him, and restarted the business. Being in tiny Crookwell, the business relies mainly on mail order and word of mouth - once you have worn a Lindner sock, your feet will never go back to ordinary ones !! 

   socks 3

What a find !! And best of all, we were a bit cheeky and asked to see the machines. Mark Lindner, son, now runs the business and still keeps the same machines afloat. He took us through the making of a sock, and it was fascinating. They only use natural fibres, and their products are made in the old traditional way, and this of course, results in a top quality sock. I am wearing one of the tie-dyed ones right now as I type this, and my toes LOVE my Lindner sockems.

                     machine 2

So interesting to see the machines, and reflect on their history. Mark is a whizz on keeping them going, and now, with the birth of his son, is proud to tell us there are 4 generations of Lindners supporting the business.  Doing quite well, I would suggest. We were there on a Monday morning, early, and they had customers from far and wide all morning - most of them return customers.

We do wish them well - lovely family, good product, and bringing life to inland NSW. Have a look at their website -

We moved on to the slightly bigger city of Goulburn in time for lunch - Malkie said - "The Paragon Cafe is a compulsory tradition" . We said OK. However, before he could get us there, we found this -

                   roses cafe 1

Poor Malkie, he had no chance. Was a cold wet grey day, and this warm, pink and pretty cafe with luscious food - well, how could you ever walk past it ?? We didn't.

                 roses food and more

                 Oh yes, this is where we eat.

                 roses roses roses

Was the prettiest cafe - masses of flowers everywhere. 

            roses mixture 

Dave waited patiently, while Bel photographed madly (so did I). Was toasty warm inside - who could possibly be in a hurry? BUT, but, but - (why is there always a but?), when you visit Gouldburn and head for the Roses cafe and order the apple crumble cake - tell them to PLEASE use some cinnamon on it!! Just saying - but apple crumble with no cinnamon - Honestly !! These people must be from NSW.

We eventually staggered out into the cold - we had an exhibition to discover at the local art gallery. Customers of the sock factory gave us the word - go see the Hairy Maclary exhibition on right now in Goulburn. So we did. Only approx an hour from Goulburn to Canberra, our final destination, so definitely not in a hurry.


1 hairy mac

Heard of him ?? Course you have. Dame Lynley Dodds (NZ author) has created an amazingly whimsical character as the star of her childrens books. Whimsical, witty, truly endearing, Hairy gets into all manner of escapades with his mates. And Scarface Claw -how emotive is that name ? makes a very scary baddy.



       images 6

     1 hairy 9 1 hairy 4  

             images 4         images more

Love the faces. Now a full series of books, the characters are all so lovable - except for scarface claw !!

Rest of gallery was worth visiting as well. 

                                       g art 2

Loved the Aboriginal Art for sale. Bel bought 2 pieces, I bought 1(it spoke to me), each different and interesting, produced by inmates of the local prison - sad, but maybe by investing in their art pieces, we may help them. Would be nice to think so. Mine is at the framers right now - I love it. Called it 'The River" and not sure which wall we will hang it on, but watch this space - I will probably tell you.

OK OK ENOUGH - Malkie said get INTO the car or I'll leave you here. Last stop - Canberra.  Stayed a night with Don and Debbie, left Bel & Dave there for a prolonged visit, and we headed home the next day.


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Anyone need a reminder ?? Malky, as part of his layout, is building Murray Bridge.

             1969 bridge 

Malcolm took this photo in 1969. He has actually reached the stage of setting the bridge in place, and laying train tracks across it. Note the cow in the foreground - the pastures belonging to farmer Brown extend under the ramparts of the bridge. Lush river flats, perfect for cows.

Everything - the river, the pastures, the boats on the river, the weeping willows on the banks of the murray, had to built before the bridge could be put in place.


Waters of the Murray were particularly tricky - don't ask how he did it, but it all had to be correct - the colour, the water flow direction, and then someone touched it before it was completely and utterly dry!! Not naming any names Ellen Jenkins.


       Weeping willows had to be carefully planted on the banks of the Murray.

              paddle srteamer

The paddle steamer, with his attendant wharf, had to be carefully finished in place.

              river bridge trees

                       Then finally, the bridge could be built.

         bridge with eater

                   All it needs now is a steam train thundering across it.

Next step - Farmer Browns cows. Did I ever tell you, I LOVE cows ??  LURV COWS.

                cows 5

And here they are !! It's 4pm and time for Farmer Brown to herd his cattle to the bails just over that hill. Good cows are Farmer browns cows - they come when Bluey, the cattle dog rounds them up.  Bluey, n scale size, is that tiny speck after the last cow. 

                cows 2

         Taking their time, bit straggly!! But they are heading back to the bails.

                bull 1

As for the bull - he was having a lovely peaceful afternoon, cropping away at the grass. And what happened - Malky dropped a girder on him, that's what. He got the MOST fearsome fright !! May not even be up to servicing his ladies anymore. Don't tell Farmer Brown.

               tracks down

AND today - Malky is having a well deserved rest - as you can see from the piccy above, even the train tracks are in place. That was such a fiddly job - I hid.

Gotta say, totally, totally,  proud of what Malky has achieved


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We're still on the road -Oh my, driving it only took a few days, but talking about it is taking a tad longer.


So far we have travelled to Glen Innes,for overnight, then Armidale for morning coffee. Next we come off the high plateaux, down the Moonbi Hills to the rich Liverpool Plains, and the region of the Upper Hunter. 

      lanscape changes better

Constants in the landscape are the eucalypts. We go up hills and we come down hills, we see cattle, we see kangaroos, we see grazing land, and we see rows of grape vines, but our beloved gum trees are the true constants. Always a bit bedraggled with falling bark, and the grey-green of their leaves, but for us they are tall stately wonderful pieces of nature. Sometimes packed into a forest, sometimes just a windbreak, the eucalypts forever stand tall and proud. 


Got to Mudgee on dark - Malky said we could climb out and stretch our legs. Would have been mutiny if he hadn't. SO ready to stop, had been a long day, and for an extra treat, Malky had taken us on some rather obscure back roads. Can you guess ? We just happened to come across two coal trains on the Ulan line. Some of these roads were rattlebone dirt roads - something else totally new for Bel. Was certainly a very nice way to get from A to B, BUT Malky found himself banned from any more dirt!!

Found an overnight cabin for 4, and again, discovered just how cold inland Oz can be. We even turned on the oven to help with heating - eventually warmed up, but it was slow.


Massive frost in the morning - and this was well after sun up. Not as cold as snow, but our houses are not built to cope with cold.

             bleak house

Had to check out Bleak House before we left Mudgee. A few years ago, we were lucky enough to stay there when it was a B & B, and we LOVED the old house. Now just a private home so we weren't able to see inside. Very fond memories of this grand old dame of a house, shame we couldn't show it off to Bel and Dave.

Driving driving driving - where will we have morning coffee - and luck was with us, we landed in Sofala at the right time to go into the little town, and look for a coffee shop. If you look on the map of NSW above, the end red blob is roughly where Sofala is - too small to have its name in lights on the map. Maybe 50 people, but that's it.

BUT, wait for it - Sofala is a little village that is famous for gold fever and film stars.

If it wasn't such a cold day, we could have carried pans and shovels down to the Turon River, and panned for our very own nugget. However, it was cold !!, so we didn't.

And film stars - 4 movies have been made in Sofala. In the 80's, Peter Weir made "The cars that ate Paris" Never heard of it? - neither have I - but Malky and his mates loved it.

In the 90's "Sirens" was filmed here. The Norman Lindsay story, that involved 3 gorgeous young stars - Elle mcPherson, Portia de Rossi and Kate Fischer. Told you it was famous !!

The story goes, that when the girls first came they had a big trailer set up down the road, with a stretch limo to take them 50 m to work.That was promptly shelved as soon as they got to know the locals, and they rode bikes all over the place instead. Good Aussie girls, obviously.

SO, why Sofala ?? Here are my 10 reasons for what Sofala offers us all -

1. Food and coffee.

         coffee time 2

By the time we got there, we NEEDED our morning coffee desparately, and the one stop store (gorgeous little house) even had a cappucino machine. Marvellous. Best of all, the street was sunny, the cottage/shop cold, so we dragged our chairs out into the street and warmed up. The locals did it, so we copied. Feels quite risque sitting in the middle of the main st of Sofala - trust me, it wasn't. No other cars.

Mark is the handsome guy with Beryl.

2. Architectural Heritage -

cottage 2 barn

Miners Cottages, wonderful old barns, lots of picturesque woodwork, rusty iron,  stunning red paintwork, even a well used meeting hall.


cottage 4   meeting hall

3. Flourishing renovation industry.


Retired orthopaedic surgeon has bought up a swag of old buildings in the main street (same one we used as a coffee spot) and is madly renovating them. He can obviously foresee a healthy future for Sofala !!

4. True Character.

      character character 2


     2 letter  

I ask you, what more could you want than these character pieces??. The train letterbox in particular. Bel collects pictures of letterboxes - so if you are out on the road, and you find an interesting one, please send it to Bel, via me. Please don't forget.  

5. Accomodation. 

                      inn 2


Maybe not world class, but 2 cosy small inns right on the main st, and backing onto the Turon. I could stay here, in either of these. I reckon they would value your custom, and look after you proudly.

6. Artwork. 


Don't need a description, do I ? Any town that has streetscapes is special.

7. Heritage vegetation as well as heritage Buildings.

                   tree 2

                If this grand old tree could talk, imagine what stories he would tell.

8. Relaxation centre.


                  The "Royal" is alive and thriving . Also on the main st.

9. Interactive Entertainment.

                  mark 3

Think "Mark" for your entertainment any day. He made our coffee (remember, cuppacino) then kept us enthralled out there on the street for ages. His stories of Sofala, and the goings on here, would keep you all enthralled as well, dear reader. We had to drag Bel away, or he may have fetched up in the snug of the local pub in Treherbert, Wales. 

One example I loved - when  the filming of "Sirens" was in full swing, the local dogs became a nuisance. In particular, one old lady had approx 50 dogs, and their constant barking was a disturbance to the film crew. SO, they hired Mark, at $30 an hour, to stand at her fence with a big bag of dog treats, and dole them out constantly while filming was in action. Both dogs and Mark loved it - easy money. 

10. and finally, Child minding.

              child minding

We could have left him there - remember the dirt road with 2 long coal trains ????, but we needed a driver.


Tore ourselves away from this charming wee village and hit the road again - not far to Bathurst for lunch. Mark told us, and of course we obeyed, to drive the circuit in Bathurst, so we could pretend we were rally drivers. And we did !!  We zoomed around the hill - wrong way we found out later, and at quite a conservative speed, but we DID IT !! Woo Hoo, felt quite brave. Till I thought about the speeds the rally drivers do the same circuit!! Not so brave at all.

          mtp better

          View from the top of Mt Panorama, Bathurst. We had picnic lunch at the top.

          mt panorama

    View the other direction - looking over Bathurst. Long rows of buildings are accomodation for rally fans.

         post office. Goulburn

And one more story - this time from Malky. Have a good look at these buildings. Bathurst Post Office, with offices each side. Does it remind you of any other country rather than Oz??  Back in the days when Australia could only be reached by sea, and England was "God", the plans for this building were sent out (very slowly by boat) Coincidentally, the plans for the Bombay Post Office were sent also, maybe on the same boat for part of the way ?? Did you guess it ? Yep, someone mixed up the plans. So somewhere in Bombay, a lovely colonial wooden post office still exists, and right here in Bathurst we have a building that speaks of the time of the Raj. Fascinating, isn't it !!

All adventures to be continued . . . . . . . . . 


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