How much space is enough between neighbours when camping?

One of the reasons I love to free camp is that, we generally have a bit more room between neighbours than one does in a commercial RV or caravan park. Every now and again you come across selfish or plain inconsiderate people that do not think of anyone but themselves. What might seem perfectly acceptable and reasonable to you may have the person next to you going off the deep end in righteous fury.


Experience #1

We had one such experience recently. A very selfish motorhome/bus neighbour parked right along side our friend's rig. I like to believe he was just plain thoughtless rather than deliberately provocative, but he parked with one of his bins, the one with the generator in it, lined up less than 2m from our friend's caravan door. When questioned he states that he parked here, “because he wanted to have the water on tap to do his washing." He then proceeded to have his gennie running for hours at a time. (BTW There were quite a few other taps in this park that were 'vacant' at the time but none of the taps are meant for exclusive use by any one!)

It was easy enough to 'fix' since our friends just partly packed up and moved away from them rather than put up with such rude neighbours. Actually this is how we met as they moved to an area a bit closer to us and we joined together for happy hour - our gain!


Experience #2

I recall another time when we were camped in a National Park on the banks of a lovely lake in Queensland. We were set up there for about 36 hours when a young family moved rather close. We thought it a little odd, but we just quietly put up with it. They spread out with a tent for themselves and the kids had a couple of smaller tents amongst themselves. They had a canoe which often was 'parked' right in front of us. The next day, they had friends or family join them and another lot of tents were set up plus a large marque. Some of the teenager's tents were so close to our slideout that you could hardly walk around our bus. One had to step over their guy ropes etc. Apparently it was the beginning of the local school holidays and they were going to stay there for a week.

The coup de grĂ¢ce for us was when their extra friends brought a jet ski and parked the trailer right across the front of us between our motorhome and the water's edge so that they didn't restrict the beach access for their family and friends from their own tent sites. We asked them to move the trailer but then they set up a tent almost in front of the motorhome. It was obvious that they were not going to be considerate of us. At this stage we just shut up and put up as we were moving on the next day any way.

Normally we don't leave until something like 10 or 11am as Rob likes to sleep in and relax over breakfast then get moving maybe around 10am or so. This time, we got up nice and early and then told them they had to move the tent in front of us, which wasn't used for sleeping, as it would likely get damaged as we drive out of our location. They were very unhappy to do as requested. There was a 1 metre high wall behind us so there was no way we could reverse. As we left I asked why they parked so close to us when there were plenty of room else where for their large group with water frontage too. Their answer was “This is our spot. We come here every year and we always camp right here!!!” I guess you can get bogans anywhere (I think the closest American slang would be rednecks).


Good neighbour space etiquette

Everyone has their own idea of personal space and this applies to camping too. So what is a good etiquette to adopt? ‘Too close’ will vary according to each camper, so it is best to err on the side of caution and set up as far away from your neighbour as room allows esp when there are no designated site markers. If space is tight and you’re in a position where you may need to camp closer than you think they’d like, a smile,  a chat with the neighbours before parking and an acknowledgment of the difficulty goes a long way. Similarly, if you think someone is pitched too close to you, a quick move or a polite chat should sort things out before you’re smouldering as much as your campfire.
Also be aware that if you’re camping with children and or pets, that not everyone loves them as you do, do your best to make sure they don’t disrupt or annoy other campers.

So play nice, and lets ensure that it is happy camping for everyone.

Grandma's Curried Sausages

There are many ways to jazz up left over sausages. So much so that I cook extra sausages nearly every time.

Traditional Curried Sausages
I seem to be really getting into a fair bit of cooking lately and ones good enough to write about.

I love to make this delicious old fashioned curried sausages. It is a recipe that was handed down from my mother who was a professional cook at one stage of her life. It is my absolutely favourite way to turn sausages into a fabulous meal and I like to pair this with mash potatoes and vegetables. To me sausages and mashed potatoes are a marriage made in heaven though it can be served with rice too!

English Style Curried Sausages

Serves 4 generously. (freeze one half for a easy meal another time)

6 or so sausages precooked (BBQ ideal)
2 large onions, chopped
3 carrot diced
2 teaspoons curry powder
½ apple peeled and grated
2 to 3 cups water
1 teaspoon beef stock powder
Salt and pepper to taste
2 teaspoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons cornflour mixed with extra water to a smooth paste

Curried sausages in the Dream Pot

Method:

  1. Place vegetables, apple, water, spices, stock powder , tomato pasted and salt and pepper in a large saucepan, and simmer for 30 minutes (add more water as necessary)
  2. Add chopped sausages and simmer for an hour or better still pop it into your Dream Pot or thermal cooker and leave it for 4 hours.
  3. Stir in flour mixture and stir until the mixture thickens. (If cooking in Dream Pot then add flour just before placing in Dream Pot) 
  4. Serve with mashed potatoes combined and boiled vegetables of your choice.

You could replace regular white potatoes with sweet potatoes or at least add some to your white potatoes to make it  healthier as well as being yummy.

Hint: 

I placed my sausages in the top, smaller pot and filled the bottom pot with boiling water. This kept the food "hot"  for longer.  You could use the water for rice and I do when cooking an Asian style curry but for this curry recipe I actually prefer mash potatoes and I haven't had success with potatoes cooked in a thermal pot. I used the hot water for washing up after dinner but a buddy had a better idea: She suggested that I used the bottom pot to make some soup at the same time. It was one of the "Oh Duh - why didn't I think of that" moment. So from now on that is what I will do. Thanks Roma.

Rocky Cape National Park

We took in a drive around the coastal areas to the east of Stanley which includes the Rocky Cape National Park and Sisters Beach. I am so glad we did this little side trip. It is such a pretty area.

Rocky Cape Coastline

The road to Sister's Beach is a very steep and windy descent down to the tiny sleepy beach side village. We had a leisurely look around and then we headed east about 10km down another steep incline to Boat Harbour Beach which is a spectacular beach.



Rocky Cape National Parks is relatively small but it has extraordinary rock formations. The park is apparently ideal for easy grade bush walks. Being a National Park I am sure it is home to some unique Tasmanian flora and fauna but this wasn't the time for us to discover this, nor did we explore any of the Aboriginal rock shelters and caves in the area. We took the easy way out since Rob is noticing more breathing restrictions caused by the damaged lungs after the blood clots last year and it was rather cold so we just looked from within warmth of the car with just the odd excursion out to see this or that up close.

Installing a new stainless steel water tank

Rob has made a whole new water tank this time out of stainless steel as the plastic tank just couldn't cope with the pressure and thus leaked and has now been removed.

Stainless Steel Water tank installed under the bed

I was too wrapped in wedding plans for our daughter to take much notice and didn't take any photos of the whole unit sadly and Rob rarely ever thinks of photos along the way.

Rob & I with our beautiful daughter

However he has installed it and now you can see a part of as it fits neatly under the steps leading up to the bed. The white 'board' you see is the inside of the bed riser and the orange is part of the original flooring and cover over the motor. We use this space under the bed as most RVer do, for bulk storage.

Stainless Steel Water tank peeks out from under steps

Even though our motorhome is finished and we've even done a 5 month trip in it (To Tasmania), we are back to working on improvements in the motor home. We also had suspension type airbags installed recently too to help make it a smoother ride.

The bed frame when it was under construction

Just a recap of the  bed under construction. It was complicated by the fact that the bed is on a slide out above the motor engine. Here you can see the metal frame in an upright position. You can read about the construction of the bed here if you missed it earlier.

So now it is my job to clean up after Rob and get things packed and ready for our next trip. He is a clever guy, but cleaning up is not his strong point! Rob still has a few odds and ends he wants to do before our next trip too! 

What improvements have you made after a trip or two to your rig?

Free camping at Liffey Reserve

We were hoping to find some friends whom we knew was camping at Liffey but sadly we didn't find them so in the end we decided to stay at Liffey Reserve anyway.

Liffey Campground

Liffey Forest Reserve is located in Tasmania’s North West, just south of Deloraine just about 70km from Launceston. This reserve is a part of World Heritage Area. The camp site is on the banks of the Liffey River, a quiet meandering creek at this point.

I had hoped to see the Liffey waterfalls nearby and to go on one of the bush walks would have been great, but to be honest I was totally out of it still after my operations let alone the bad kidney infection I current was suffering from though the antibiotics had kicked in.

Rob found us a lovely sunny spot adjacent to the river. All in all we were just here to have peace and quiet. One of the things I did want to do in the quiet spot was catch up with some washing and the easy access to the creek was wonderful. Before anyone gets their arms up in the air, we do use biodegradable detergent and we use it very sparingly. Most of our stuff just needs to have our body odor washed out since we rarely actually get dirty.

Reading in the sun for some time out to recover

Surprisingly (or maybe not) I did not even want to socialize at all, just hibernate and recover some energy and Liffey Reserve filled this need fantastically. I did chat briefly in the morning with a group of hippies that were just packing up.

Liffey Falls

On our first full day there we went for the short  drive to the Liffey Falls after a late sleep in. It is a very narrow windy dirt road which is really not suitable for caravans or big rigs. It still involved a 45 minute slow walk including the return. The bottom falls are beautiful 5 tiers with lots of luscious ferns and moss on the surface of the rocks and surrounds. There are 3 other falls along the way but Rob walked to these on his own since I was still weak and really had no energy. I quite enjoyed sitting in the sun at the first falls whilst he wandered off.

Part of the walk to Liffey Falls
After this we drove up to the Great Lakes which is at a high elevation. The road is windy with a few sharp hair pin bends. The ground was white with heavy frost. All up it was a 160km round trip by the time we  got back to the Liffey Reserve for another quiet night at the camp.


After a decent cuppa and such Rob went across to chat with another motorhome couple that had arrived but I cozied up on the bed with a book which I hardly read before sleep overcame me after so much travelling.

Stanley and The Nut

When you drive along the highway past the turnoff to Stanley, you can't help but notice "The Nut" which is an ancient flat-topped volcanic rock that at a huge 143 metre (469 feet) height it dominates the skyline at a great distance. So we knew we just had to stop there on our way back from the far west coast of Tasmania.


Stanley is just 120km from Devonport

Stanley is the second largest town in this region with just 600 people is mainly a fishing port that juts into Bass Strait which separates Tasmania from the mainland Australia. It is only 22 km from Smithton situated on a long peninsula.


We wanted to have a good look at the town and The Nut up close. The Nut dominates the town of Stanley.

Rob and I took the chairlift that takes us to the top which cost us $15 each, though you can walk it if you are more energetic than us. You can even walk up from the town, right to the top of "The Nut".



It is an easy 2km walk to make the circuit up the top, but definitely make sure you are dressed warm as it is understandably windy up there.

One view looking down from the circuit walk atop The Nut
 
Stanley is such a pretty town with lots of historic and beautifully preserved buildings. There is a definite holiday destination feel here with lots of B&B's around and holiday rental apartments to choose from. It is a lovely spot to take a few days quiet break for what ever reason.


The Presbyterian Church

Stove Top Blackberry Slump

Rob and I  thoroughly enjoyed the fresh fruits during our Tasmanian trip especially the wild blackberries found alongside many highways and by ways.

A bowl of Blackberry Slump

Many bowls of fresh berries are consumed just as they are but it is nice to cook it up as something special. Here is a simple dessert you can cook on the stove top - my Blackberry Slump.

By the way, these dumplings are more like a cake mixture. Think of the whole dessert as more of a blackberry self saucing pudding. Some even call it a Grunt. It is so yummy no matter what name you give it.

Blackberry Slump

Dumplings:

1 cup SR flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup milk  

Berries:

4 cups fresh blackberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon lime cordial
1/3 cup water
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest

Serve:

With cream or vanilla ice cream for topping

Instructions:

In a medium sized bowl,* whisk together the flour, salt, and sugar. Cut the butter into small cubes and add to the flour. Cut the butter into the flour until the flour resembles breadcrumbs. Set aside until needed then add the milk all at once and stir until the flour is just moistened form into 6.** balls.

In a large saucepan, add the berries, sugar, cinnamon, lime juice cordial and water. Bring to boil and stir a few times to coat the berries. Once the berry mixture is boiling, drop the 6 dumplings onto the boiling fruit around the edges of the pot. You should have enough dough for 6 dumplings. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 25 minutes, without peeking at the dumplings. Place dumplings in serving bowls and top with berries. Serve with cream or ice cream. Serve hot or chilled.

Hints:

* I used my middle size saucepan rather than carry extra bowls in the motorhome
** Handle the dough as little as possible will help ensure that the dumplings are as light as possible