The Junee Licorice and Chocolate Factory

Junee is located in the Riverina of New South Wales, about 350km southwest of Sydney. It is a nice looking town with some well-restored old buildings, surrounded by the sorts of landscapes that I grew up thinking were iconically Australian: low hills, brown grass paddocks dotted with sheep and trees, and fields of wheat and other crops.

Situated in a beautifully restored old building which used to be the town’s flour mill, The Junee Licorice and Chocolate Factory was the drawcard that brought us to town while we were visiting family in Griffith, about 2 hours’ drive further south.

We enjoyed a delicious lunch in the outdoor area under the shade of Virginia creeper supported by old wooden beams. The menu may not be extensive, but the food was absolutely delicious.

Visitors can stroll through the building and watch the different kinds of chocolates and sweet treats being made through large viewing windows.

The factory’s chocolate shop offers a multitude of organic sweet treats: plain chocolate, regular or raspberry licorices in plain or chocolate coated varieties, rocky road, freckles, chocolate coated pretzels, varieties of chocolate with different fruit or nuts in them, just to name a few. The hardest part is deciding what you want to take home, and how much work you’ll have to do to make up for it later on.

In addition to all the sweet things, there are all sorts of produce on offer: pickles, sauces, balsamic vinegar, jams and chutneys, honey and olive oil – all locally produced.

It honestly doesn’t get much more Aussie than this.

Out of responsibility to the folk who read my blog, we bought some chocolate to taste-test, and we are not sorry.

The chocolate is smooth, creamy and delicious. That freckle I just bit into for the sake of the photo is the perfect blend of crunchy and smooth. The rate at which my husband ate his chocolate covered raspberry licorice bullets was definitely indicative of superior quality and taste. The chocolate-coated pretzels I bought were as good as the ones I had in Amish country in Pennsylvania, and that’s really saying something! Consequently, they did not last long enough to have their photo taken. It was only a small packet, after all.

In retrospect, it’s probably a good thing that the Junee Chocolate and Licorice Factory is a ten hour drive from home.

The Junee Licorice and Chocolate Factory
#chocolate #organic #travel

Four Years Migraine Free: A Happy Anniversary Indeed!

Today is the fourth anniversary of my daith piercing. That also makes today the fourth anniversary of the last of the debilitating migraines and chronic severe headaches that had plagued me consistently throughout my teens and adult life. 

My Daith Piercing

I don’t think I could ever forget the surprise and shock when that migraine— which I had had for five days— was gone within an hour of the piercing being done. I had definitely not expected that to happen! 

I also still remember the profound sense of clarity and awareness the following day when I was in the classroom and completely headache-free — an entirely new experience for me.

The niggling fear and suspicion that it couldn’t last and that the next migraine was lurking around some corner, waiting to accost me and steal my new lease on life, was a feeling that took some time to overcome.

That hasn’t happened yet, and while I realise that day might yet come, I no longer actively think about it. 

I am so incredibly thankful for the difference in my life that one piercing made. I am also thankful to my professional body piercer for her expertise, and for having taken the time to learn how to use her art for therapy and healing.

Fitzroy River Outlet

We had heard about a camping ground near the Fitzroy River outlet at Tyrendarra, so while camping nearby in Narrawong, we went for a drive to check it out. 

What a beautiful surprise awaited us. 

The camping area is large and well organised. The camping itself is basic – there is no power, and there are drop toilets very discreetly hidden among trees but no showers. That doesn’t worry us – we’re set up with solar panels and have a solar heated camping shower that we can rig up. 

That scenery, though. Who wouldn’t want to spend time here?

The Cow Lick Bookshop

Yesterday I was granted an opportunity I’ve been waiting for: I visited the Cow Lick Bookshop in Colac, Victoria. which I had discovered and followed on Facebook about a month ago. 

Colac is in the Western District of Victoria, in the middle of God’s own dairy farming country.  It’s about half an hour’s drive from where I live, but in the opposite direction to where I work, so I don’t get there often.

When I lived on a dairy farm at Princetown and visited Colac regularly, there was no bookstore, so I am super happy that there is such a great one there now. 

Neal, the owner, is very friendly and knowledgeable. The shop is really well set up, and has a refreshingly quirky, welcoming vibe. The store has books on a wide range of subjects, with an excellent range of kids’ books, and Young Adult and general fiction. In addition to all the fabulous books, there are lots of interesting book and pop culture related items, board and card games, and some fabulous gift ideas. 

I could definitely have spent a lot more time and a lot more money there, and I absolutely want to go back. Supporting local businesses and Indie shops is something I value greatly,  so I’m just going to have to call in again and buy a few more books. I like to think of it as a sacrifice I’m willing to make for the greater good. 

If you’re ever in the area or passing through Colac on your way to somewhere else, this is a place you should definitely visit. Feel free to tell Neal I sent you. 

You can find the Cow Lick Bookshop at 90 Murray St, Colac, Victoria, 3250.

You can also check out the website and Facebook page.

Oh, I Do Love To Be Beside The Seaside: Queenscliff, Victoria

Queenscliff is a town on the southern end of the Bellarine Peninsula, near where Port Phillip Bay enters Bass Strait. 

Queenscliff has a lovely small-town feel to it, even though it’s only a half hour’s drive from Geelong. There is a very real sense of leaving the rat-race behind and stepping into a friendlier, more relaxing existence.

It is a town with lovely old buildings and churches, and a wide main street lined with boutique shops, cafes and restaurants, including two ice-cream parlours, two old-fashioned candy stores and — best of all — two book shops!

On the cliff above the beach is a lighthouse built from local basalt in 1881, and a historic fort that is still in use as the base of the Air Force Cadets.

There are some great spots to sit and watch the boats, including the ferry to Sorrento at the southern end of the Mornington Peninsula, just across the bay.

It really is a delightful spot, and I am already keen to visit again. 

Tool.

Tonight, in a family Trivial Pursuit game, my brother asked: ‘What tool did astronomer Roger Thompson say is “fundamentally altering our view of the universe’?”

My answer: “Donald Trump.”

My brother: “Correct. AND the Hubble Telescope.”

A piercing experience!

In the last few months since hearing about the daith piercing and its effect in reducing/controlling headaches and migraines, I have done a fair bit of reading and research.
I decided it was something I would do one day. I figured that if it had no effect on my headaches, I’d still have a cool piercing.
This afternoon, after 4.5 days of a particularly nasty thumper of a headache and not much sleep, I made an appointment for 4.30pm.

This headache had persisted for almost five days despite the not-for-the-faint-of-heart painkiller routine that I have for my back and other chronic pain.

The room and bed were super clean, the body piercer was knowledgeable and told me all I needed to know about this piercing.

She also showed me information about this point in the ear, used in both acupuncture and acupressure to control not only headaches and migraines but also tension and anxiety. I was impressed by how much she knew about the non-body-piercing aspect of the physiology of the ear.
The piercing itself took less than three seconds from start to finish, and all I felt was a quick sting.
By the time I got home 45 minutes later, the intensity of my headache had already reduced by about half. The light sensitivity that I had experienced for days had disappeared, and I no longer felt sick turning my head from side to side.
Usually, this kind of headache leaves me feeling exhausted and dopey, like I have been hit in the head with a rubber mallet, for a day or so after the pain itself subsides.
As I write this, only three hours after the piercing was done, I have only some twinges of pain and none of the usual lethargy.

Am I impressed? Heck, yes!
I wasn’t expecting anything so prompt or marvellous! And even if this turns out to be some hinky kind of psychosomatic/placebo effect, I’ll still take it.

And, as a bonus, I have a really cool piercing.

Kia Ora and going the Extra Mile.

Tonight I’m on a trans-Pacific flight from LA to Melbourne via Auckland. There are kids on this flight who have been on a trip to Disneyland courtesy of the Koru Care charity which is sponsored by Air New Zealand.  To continue the Disneyland experience, the flight attendants have all dressed up in fancy dress to serve the kids and make their flight more fun.   

 
Dinner and drinks were served by Minnie Mouse and Tinkerbell, while coffee was served by a CHiPS police officer.  

 
I have to say that he did take it very well when I asked when the rest of the Village People were coming out.

I’m so impressed by the continual efforts of the staff to do everything to make the flight memorable and fun. It’s a great war to promote the charity, too. 

They’ve also been wonderful to me after a very long and emotionally exhausting day. After a painful and tearful farewell followed by extended flight delays and an international connection time that was whittled down from 6.5 hours to 47 minutes, in which I managed baggage claim, terminal transfer with all my luggage, check in and baggage drop, security checks and getting to the right gate before they closed the flight. When I realised I had made my flight, I burst into tears of relief. The attendants were just lovely and so supportive, and did everything they could to reassure and comfort me. 

I love flying with Air New Zealand and I love the way they treat their clients. They’ve won me. 

Postcards from the Past #2

This gorgeous postcard from Niagara Falls, dated 1949, is another that I found in an antique store in PEI. 

    
 
Anyone who reads my blog knows how much I love Niagara Falls and how excited I was to go on the Hornblower cruise on the river below them. 

I am so happy to have this little piece of memorabilia. I have no idea who wrote it or kept it before now, but I will keep their little memory safe. 

 

Postcards from the past #1

Last weekend I found myself in an antique store in Summerside, PEI. 

I commented to my friends that it was a very good thing that I had to fly home, so that I could not buy all the lovely things there. I did pick up some old postcards, including a couple that depicted places that I had recently visited. 

The first card I chose was an old black and white picture from Port Dalhousie, Ontario. It clearly depicts the part of the beach where Sean and I sat and ate our picnic dinner a couple of weeks ago, and the carousel which we rode. 
   
I was so excited to find this lovely memento from the history of a place that I so enjoyed. 

There is no date on the card, and the postmark is incomplete, so at first I thought there was no way to know when it was written. 

 
Then I had a thought: the stamp! Surely that would give me a time frame, at the very least.

   

This is a George V Scroll stamp issued between October 1928 and April 1930. This places my Port Dalhousie beach card as most likely dating from somewhere between those dates. 

Of course, it’s possible that someone might have posted it with an older stamp, but given that these were the years of the Great Depression, it does not seem likely that one would spend money on a stamp that was not going to be used right away. The handwriting certainly does not suggest someone with an expensive education, given that penmanship was still highly valued back then. 

It may just be an old postcard to most other people, but for me this is part of the real history of a beautiful place, and it’s very exciting to have it among my souvenirs.