At last - A TNQ holiday

Robin and I are now back from a wonderful week in the delightful city of Cairns in tropical north Queensland.

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View from our balcony - 2017

Our home for the week was the Hilton Hotel, situated on Trinity Inlet with a delightful view of the waterways and tropical forests beyond.

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Hilton Hotel Cairns - 2017 - 2017

The weather to be honest didn't exactly live up to Queensland's tourist promises, but fair to say it was MUCH better than Melbourne! The first couple of days we spent walking and becoming familiar with the many changes in Cairns since our last visit maybe 15 years ago.

As for highlights, the first was the food. Obviously seafood for me was a priority and I wasn't disappointed nor did I miss out! Prawns were a staple for me and they were uniformly fresh, expertly prepared and delicious!

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BBQ prawns at The Boatshed - 2017

The second highlight was the local coffee scene. Cairns has superb tap water, combined with trendy / hipster cafes made for excellent brews at many, many establishments around town. We didn't have to give up our coffee fix while travelling Excellent!

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Great place for cool coffee - 2017

The next highlight was a visit to the restored historic township of Herberton. Not normally my cup of tea, but Robin was keen and I was impressed. It is a huge property, 15 hectares or more from memory, with everything original AND catalogued. Many sites of this type have the words 'recreation' mock-up etc but I saw that on only one item in one of a thousand exhibits, each consisting of hundreds of items. The property is a credit to the owners, collectors and restorers involved. Not everything s 'new' in fact, that is the point it is all original and for many metal items (think cars, tractors, mining machinery etc) rust is now the winner but metal treatments have slowed down the decay.

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Antique car display - 2017

Bye for now, BomberBoy

The AMG has landed!

The car upgrade bug has finally bitten, and bitten hard!

I reluctantly took the decision that while my track days are definitely not over, my level of focus and preparation is probably not up to the desired level to warrant trailers, wheel changes, early arrivals, pre-practice, late departures and all that goes on when you need to be serious about your motorsport. I would just like to arrive and drive, so my towing days are over and sadly, it means goodbye to the Cayenne as we don't need two SUVs in the family any more.

But an everyday four door sedan would meet the criteria for daily driving and country and interstate touring with occasional passengers.

After some lengthy consideration we decided that some sort of sport Mercedes Benz would be appropriate. The current model E-class was deemed to be 'an old man's car' even in AMG form, and the new model is still six months or more away and way, way out of our price range. Sitting a couple of cars away in the dealers lot at Mercedes Benz Melbourne was a 2016 Mercedes Benz AMG C63 S Edition 1. Phew, what a name, but what a car!

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It is my first ever 'sports' V8 vehicle and the sound it makes is just spine tingling. Very cruise-y around town in 'Comfort' mode but it bites and barks when slipped into 'Sport+' mode on the open road. The vehicle has almost every safety feature known to man (with a mind-boggling array of acronyms) and an extremely comprehensive (meaning complicated) suite of HVAC, satellite navigation and surround sound and video entertainment systems. I am still learning…

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It is very early days, but the driving experience is sensational. Unlimited power, pleasant (for a performance car) ride, limitless entertainment options and active and passive safety features all add up to a fabulous machine to own and enjoy. We are really looking forward to our trip to Maroochydore in late June in to. Should be wonderful!

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Bye for now, BomberBoy

New Konro Charcoal BBQ

One of my New Years resolutions was to improve my BBQ skills and, in the modern vernacular, take them to the next level. And what better way to improve than to buy new stuff! If it goes well I am a hero, if it fails then it is just part of the process of learning new technologies. Can't lose!

Robin and I have very fond memories of our many, many yakitori dinners in Tokyo (anyone remember 'Dodo'?), and some discount Tuesday evening 'sticks' at 'East' in Manhattan and decided it was time that we took that culinary experience home to Mt Eliza.

I stumbled across a great business 'Chefs Armoury' in Richmond, VIC, who sell many things Japanese cooking-related, including the Konro range of BBQ's.

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Our 'small' Konro Charcoal BBQ - 2017

We went small, just enough grill space for 2 or 3 serves at a time, but as the charcoal lasts several hours, any sensible numbers of servings or pieces can be prepared at a sitting.

The Konro is now starting to season and my management of the charcoal is improving with each meal.

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Tosa Binchotan - White Charcoal - 2017

Chicken skewers with spring onion and cherry tomatoes, lamb cutlets and mushrooms have been on the menu so far and the flavour from the fresh ingredients sizzling over charcoal is certainly addictive. Full disclosure: My yakitori sauce or 'tare' is not up to scratch yet, and I can't seem to get the consistent 'stickiness' and flavour profile of restaurant quality sauce. I won't give up!

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Yakitori skewers - 2017

Bye for now, BomberBoy