This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

2015 Travels August 12

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During the time we were at Lightning Ridge, John played bowls a couple of times. He won the first prize on one of these occasions: $20 worth of vouchers that could be redeemed at a selection of local businesses, including the Bowls Club itself, for drinks and food.

Seen on my morning walk

Having a meal out was a rare occurrence for us, both at home and when we travel. This was partly because there were only a few decent eateries close to home. But mainly it was my own damn fault because John says I cook better meals than he can get elsewhere.

We do have an excellent local café, at a nearby native plant nursery. It does lunches only, so I tended to meet friends there for lunch, on occasion.

This is a very dog friendly park

When we are having travelling days, John likes to buy lunches of the not-good-for-him variety: pies, pasties, sausage rolls. I don’t eat such things, but am happy to go for a good cheese and salad roll, or a subway with roasted vegetables.

During our time at Lightning Ridge, we bought pizza for tea one night. The smells coming from the wood-fired pizza van at Opal Fest had been reminiscent of our pizza oven at home, and oh-so-tempting. But the wait was too great on the day in question.

About a week later, John suggested pizza for tea. He was even prepared to drive and pick them up. So he ordered his usual hot and spicy choice and I requested a vegetarian one. I expected that the mushroom, zucchini, eggplant etc mentioned in the menu as topping for this, would have been chargrilled first. But, no, they had been put raw on top, before the pizza was cooked. While the result was much more al dente than I’d anticipated, it was strangely nice. John had bad indigestion all through the night.

Babblers’ nest

In a week when we were not doing much except relaxing at camp, John suggested we lunch at the Bowls Club, to use up his prize vouchers. The Club is the main venue in town for eating out, the other being the place that makes the pizzas. There is not a hell of a lot of choice.

Given its status as the main foodie place in town, and that it had been the venue for the big, important Opal Fest Dinner, I was anticipating a very nice lunch. The atmosphere in the dining room was similar to that of a pub bistro, at home. The menu matched!

The service was abysmal. We stood at the counter for about five minutes before one young woman interrupted her conversation with the other staff, about her social life and friends, in order to slouch over and take our orders.

I had salt and pepper squid. Adequate, but I suspected it had come pre-coated and frozen from a catering pack. John had beer battered flathead, which looked identical to what I had served him, a couple of weeks, previous, from a frozen packet bought at the IGA. He said it tasted similarly of sawdust. The chips were nice. Before you think that it is hard to mess up pre-prepared frozen chips, a cautionary tale. I once left daughter and son, then aged 18 and 16, to fend for themselves whilst I attended a conference. My father kept an overall eye on them from his flat in our backyard. Son complained about the first meal daughter attempted – sausages and chips. Turned out that no-one (meaning me) had ever told her you were supposed to heat the cooking oil before putting in the chips! Never assume…

Part of our morning perimeter walk

At least the eating out gesture had been made. The vouchers had been used. The sadly pedestrian meals had not cost us much.

We would repeat the pizza meal another time, although John might choose a less fiery option, but I couldn’t see us going back to the Club to dine – ever.

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