Sydney was dealt with a pretty dismal summer this year as far as the weather was concerned. Overcast and rainy days shrouded most of December and January when most of us were pining for some sun to head outdoors for all our favourite summer activities.
Our trip to the South coast three weekends ago had two wet days out of four although the sun greeted us when we headed down to Mollymook and Werri beach.
So we find ourselves praying for some good weather again this weekend when our friends Ralph and Rhonnie invited us to their new home at Umina beach in the Central coast, a leisurely one and a half hours drive north of Sydney.
The invitation is for dinner but we have been extended the hospitality to stay the night to avoid having to drive home after the dinner party. It is also a weekend for dog lovers Ralph, Rhonnie and Jeremy to let their dogs have a party of their own.
Our friend Jeremy kindly offers to drive so we pile into his car together with his two dogs. “Sausage” is a 16-year old chihuahua while “Spud” is a 12-year old Jack Russell.
We are greeted with some happy hour drinks and a cheese platter upon our arrival at 5pm.
Still a little happy from a nice yum cha lunch before we left Sydney, we are gearing ourselves up for a big dinner with the aromas of a leg of pork roasting in the BBQ oven.
“Don’t open it!!” as our host Ralph yells out just in case our curiosity gets the better of us as we gaze into the oven.
Ralph loves his beer and this beer can crusher is obviously a useful tool to compact the volume of beer cans in his recycle bin.
I take the opportunity to go for a walk with Rhonnie as she takes her two beautiful whippets for their evening walk.
Rhonnie tells me that one of her beloved dogs, Speedy, lost his left hind leg to cancer last year. The poor dog was pretty sick and depressed but has since manage to recover and it looks quite happy with Wally as they wander around the neighbourhood.
Rhonnie, Ralph and Jeremy are pretty serious dog lovers and they are fed dinner before our dinner party.
Ralph and Rhonnie meanwhile gets busy in the kitchen and before long, each of us are presented with one of the biggest bowls of pumpkin soup that I have had for starters.
We have all been eyeing the leg of pork as it was roasting in the BBQ oven and finally, dinner is served. Succulent pieces of tender pork with a delicious gravy from the roast.
Now who can resist the best part of a roast pork – crispy flavoursome pork crackling!
It is a beautiful dinner and we eventually called it a night so that we can wander around Umina beach the next day.
The Central coast brings out a beautiful day as we head down to the local Surf and Life Saving Club for breakfast. The huge outdoor deck is a great place for diners to have a drink, eat breakfast or lunch while gazing at the panoramic views of the beach and beyond.
We wander around the local shops, cafes and cinema after breakfast before taking a slow leisurely drive back to Sydney.
Thanks to our gracious hosts Ralph and Rhonnie for a great weekend at your home. And thanks to Jeremy for offering to drive. It will be our turn to take on the wheels for the next trip.
So dear readers, which is your favourite spot in the Central or North coast of New South Wales?