Twelve months ago, DD and I were supposed to drive to Newcastle for a red wine appreciation night, hosted by our friends Darren and Kirsten. It was just before COVID-19 lockdown and they pulled the plug a few days because she was feeling really sick, but couldn’t get tested.
Back then it was really difficult to get a COVID test and she decided it was better to be safe than sorry. A week later the world changed forever and getting tested for COVID got a whole lot easier. I’ve had at least three since then.
We finally got around to rescheduling the red wine dinner for the week after Christmas. And then the Northern Beaches went into COVID lockdown and we had to cancel again. Blardy hell!
It felt like that dinner was NEVER going to happen, but we took a deep breath, crossed our fingers and set the date for March 20.
In the days leading up to the dinner my eardrum burst and 1-in-100-year floods were forecast, but NOTHING was going to stop us getting to Newcastle.
So we ignored the government recommendations to restrict non-essential travel and braved the storms to drive north.
We actually had a dual reason for making the trip – my friend Kim has moved back to Newie after many years in Singapore and I was desperate to see her too.
Let’s not talk about how much alcohol was involved as a result.
Actually, let’s talk the alcohol. I mean, what else am I going to blog about?
We met Kim and her husband Jason at a gin distillery in an industrial suburb of Newcastle called Carrington. Carrington will be forever etched in my mind as the place one of my fellow cadets at the Newcastle Herald bought a house for $12,000 one Sunday. She’d been instructed by the news editor to ring around and get all the real estate auction results and the place had passed in for just under 12 grand. So she put in an offer and got it. I know it was back in the the 1980s, but that was still only the price of a small car. I was DAZZLED. Perhaps that’s when my love of real estate was born?
Anyways, Carrington is very trendy now and her $12,000 house would be worth at least $700,000.
Earp Distilling (above) in Darling Street is also very trendy. I thoroughly recommend a visit.
I had the Must-Tang Sally, with Portside Gin, Raspberry Liqueur, Cointreau, fresh finger lime, kaffir lime leaf and elderflower tonic. Yes, it tasted just as good as it sounds.
We also had a cheese plate and a fabulous catch up. Kim’s husband Jason lived in Scotland from the age of three, so he and DD had lots to talk about, as DD also spent a few years living there. Sadly I look about 500 in all the pics from Saturday because I am still very poorly from my ear infection. Sooooo nauseous, sooooooo tired, so OVER IT.
After our delightful gin experience we hooned off to Darren and Kirsten’s for a VERY fancy Brokenwood Wines degustation dinner. There was a special menu and everyone got a wine cooler bag with their names engraved on them. Noice.
The food was delicious. Here are just a couple of photos of it:
As for the wine, I reckon my favourite was the Brokenwood 2003 Graveyard Shiraz. Do not ask me how much it is per bottle as I lost track, but it was A LOT. Thank you to our very generous hosts for sharing it with us.
It also brought back such amazing memories of being at Brokenwood for a very special dinner to celebrate Darren’s 50th birthday (above), which fortuitously took place as Fleetwood Mac played live at the vineyard next door, with their music wafting over between courses. That was a very WOW night.
Saturday was such a fun night that I couldn’t believe it when I looked at my phone and it was 11.30pm!
I am so thrilled that DD enjoys spending afternoons and evenings with my friends and that they enjoy spending them with him. It meant I felt very lucky on Saturday despite feeling like absolute shite due to deafness and the strength of the antibiotics I’m taking.
But I’m not sitting in an evacuation centre as my house goes under water. My heart goes out to everyone who is.
We battled back through the rain via my parents’ house and DD’s mum’s place on Sunday and were very glad to be safely back home. Hope you are going ok with the rain.
Song of the day: Eurythmics “Here comes the rain”