Easter is just a few days away and I’m reminded of a saying we have here in Sydney, ‘It always rains at Easter’ and this is despite Easter being on a different date every year.
One thing you should try to avoid at Easter is camping. We made that mistake once, never twice!
When we were first married Carl wanted to take me camping because his family holidays consisted of caravaning all over the New South Wales coast and he was convinced that as I had never been camping, was missing out on something wonderful. Carl had a mate who was a true boy scout who loved being outdoors, sleeping in tents and tying knots in lengths of rope. The scout and his wife, asked Carl if we would like to go camping with them at Easter at Grassy Head, a destination on the mid-north coast, seven hours north of Sydney.
We didn’t own any camping equipment so the scout told Carl he would organise everything we needed. I wasn’t keen and said, ‘Why don’t we just rent a nice holiday house’ but the scout thought that was a shocking suggestion.
We had to be at their house the night before departure because the scout wanted to make sure we were on the road before dawn and before any other vehicle was on the road. We spent the night sleeping on their lounge room floor with a couple of cushions behind our backs. I hardly slept a wink.
We went in the scout’s car and it was packed to the brim with a range of things I had never seen before and all of it looked dirty and smelt musty like it had been pulled from the recesses of a mechanic’s workshop. When we arrived at the campsite I was disappointed at the size of the parcel of land we were allocated and shocked at how the other campers were just an arm’s length away and how I had to listen in on their conversations even if I didn’t want to.
The scout put up his tent and air mattress and then started on ours. The tent he’d borrowed for us was a piece of musty orange plastic decorated with mould and slime. He put it up and then blew up the air mattress he had also borrowed announcing that it had a leak but not to worry because it was just a slow leak and the mattress shouldn’t flatten until the morning.
The scout’s wife asked if I would like to take a look at the beach (that couldn’t be seen from the camping ground) and I said I did but could we take umbrellas because it was now raining. Grassy Head might be a lovely beach on a good day but the day I was there it was dark, grey and gloomy with a very rough swell.
We walked back to the tents and it was now early evening and I suggested, as it was now pouring, that we eat at the Chinese restaurant I had seen that was fairly close to Grassy Head. The scout scoffed at the idea saying that when you’re camping you’re self-sufficient and don’t dine in restaurants so he and Carl cooked up some sort of meal on a little camp stove kept dry by umbrellas.
I went to bed fairly early as there wasn’t much else to do and woke to find the air mattress flattened and water swirling around the floor of our tent. It had poured all night and the tent had many leaks. I spent the day in the communal laundry washing everything from my doona, towels and sheets, to every item of clothing I had brought with me.
The rain continued for the next three days without ceasing. I must have asked about four times if we could go to the Chinese restaurant because I just wanted to be out of the rain but having not brought our own car we had somehow lost our independence and the scout was making all the decisions.
The mercy of the Lord is that the very next morning a State of Emergency was declared and we all had to evacuate. The whole region was in a flood-zone. I was elated. I was packed in no time. We piled into the car with Carl and the Scout in the front and his wife and I in the back. After we’d been on the road for a few minutes I said to his wife, ‘Is your bum getting wet?’ And she said, ‘I think so.’ We looked around us and the car had a leak. The water had come onto the rear seats and soaked through the cloth. We were sitting in water-soaked seats. And we had to sit on those seats for the next seven hours.
I couldn’t get home soon enough. We never again holidayed with the scout and his wife and Carl has never again asked me to go camping.
Whenever I’m soggy and damp, I think of Chinese food. It’s where I was hoping I could get a reprieve from the rain.
Degree of Difficulty: 2/5
Cost: Minimal. This recipe uses ingredients you would have stocked in your fridge and pantry.
- 4 free-range eggs
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 small white onion, finely diced
- 1 tbspn finely diced ginger
- 2 rindless bacon rashers, finely diced
- 2 tspns white sugar
- 2 tbspns shao hsing wine or dry sherry
- 4 cups steamed jasmine rice
- 2/3 cup finely sliced spring onions (scallions)
- 2 tbspns light soy sauce
- 1/4 tsp sesame oil
Break eggs into a bowl and beat lightly. Heat half the oil in a hot wok until suracece seems to shimmer slightly. Pour beaten eggs into wok and leave to cook on thte base of th wok for 10 seconds before folding egg mixture over onto itself with a spatula an dlightly scrambling for about 1 minute or until almost cooked through. carefully remove omelette from wok with a spatula and drain on kitchen paper. Set aside.
Heat remaining oil in hot wok and stir-fry onion, ginger and bacon for 1 minute. Add sugar and stir-fry for 30 seconds. oPour in wine or sherry and stir-fry for 1 minute.
Add rice to wok with spring oinions, soy sauce, sesame oil and reserved omelette and stir-fry for 2 minutes or until well combined and rice is heated through. Use a spatula to break up the omelette into smaller pieces while cooking. Transfer rice to a bowl and serve.
This recipe is from Kylie Kwong’s Simple Chinese Cooking
Want to keep in touch? Let’s be friends on Facie!