This morning I finished cleaning the van and hopefully found the last of the tiny pink prawn feelers that hide in grooves and corners just waiting to stink to high heaven. Yep we’re home and ready to go again, when the time and weather is right.
With Christmas festivities fulfilled early this year we decided to embark on a Caravan Christmas. Having pleasant but hazy memories of what was to be forever deemed ‘Christmas at Sea’ back in ‘1980 something’ when we tied our trailable yacht to the Paynesville boat ramp jetty and set about cooking and feasting (in a space about six feet square) until rescued by surprised and sober relatives who wanted to go sailing! Sailing for heaven’s sake! It’s Christmas, we’ve got hot plum pudding and plenty more port. Anyway, you get my drift.
Back to the present, the idea was to find a country town not too far away with plenty to explore and hopefully a pub that does a nice Christmas lunch. We soon gave up on the lunch idea and decided that it was easier to cook our own. The town that we settled on was Castlemaine in Central Victoria. The location proved to be perfect as our van overlooked the Botanic Gardens. Castlemaine is a large town that we often stop in for a coffee but have never stayed in. It has loads of gold rush history, grand buildings and is becoming popular again with the arrival of tree changers.
We gave ourselves a week to explore. A free camp night at Vaughan Springs and five nights at Castlemaine Gardens Big 4. Plenty of time to enjoy the warm weather and the local produce. To wander about old gold towns, historic homes, the gardens and to enjoy a beer at the pub across the road. Plenty of time too to put the feet up and read a book or three. In other words, avoiding the stress of Christmas in the city.
Most surprisingly Christmas day was a little cooler but still nice enough to eat outside under the awning. The park was busy with folks dashing back and forth to visit their local families and a few with the same idea as us. We had brought a freezer full of prawns away with us, because Christmas isn’t Christmas without prawns. A quick look online and I found my favourite Seafood Sauce recipe and all of the ingredients were on board. Doesn’t everyone carry Tabasco sauce in their caravan? We bought a nice pork roast from the Maldon butcher and our oven was easily roomy enough for the meat and plenty of vegies. And of course there was the Turkey and Cranberry terrine we found at Maldon’s French deli, Le Sel and the Sparkling Shiraz, all plummy and bubbly and which laid us out flat before we’d even had a chance to tackle the ice cream pudding.
Would we do it again? Yes please! ‘Caravan Christmas’ was quite possibly the most stress free and relaxing Christmas since ‘Christmas at Sea’.