Barbeque nation

From A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

It would be useful – I wasn’t quite sure in what way, but I was sure none the less – to learn to fend for myself in the wilderness. When guys in camouflage pants and hunting hats sat around in the Four Aces Diner talking about fearsome things done out of doors I would no longer have to feel like such a cupcake. I wanted a little of that swagger that comes with being able to gaze at a far horizon through eyes of chipped granite and say with a slow, [wo]manly sniff, ‘Yeah, I’ve shit in the woods.’

It’s time I learned to fend for myself. It’s time I learned to barbeque in the woods.

In Australia, a barbeque, or ‘barbie’, usually comes with a gas bottle and a nice wooden stand. They even have wheels, and look a variation on the theme of this:

See? This one even comes from Australia – ‘Down under’.

And heaven forbid, they are so easy to use that in many a household, women commandeer the humble charcoal-maker that worldwide is the domain of men. (I’ll just point out, women are less inclined to create charcoal on a barbie).

Now, I’ve also previously mentioned the drought in Australia. As a result, it’s been illegal to light a fire in the bush, for, like, ever. The Aussie bush is predominantly eucalypt, thus there’s quite a bit of oil hiding in the leaves. One carelessly lit fire on a breezy day can potentially burn half of Sydney.

But I digress. So…

Imagine how excited I was when enidd suggested that we all go for a barbie in the woods (ohh err I’ve never been to the woods before, only the bush!), get the man to light some sticks, and we all sit around and eat shashlyk, or potentially, Stalin.

Now. Who is we all? Let’s just say, it was a real blarty (blog party).

The blarty consisted of enidd and the man, sarahemily and HDF, Olechko, Mr Olechko and bubba, and of course, Little Miss Moi and her beloved Mr Moi. Not to mention, the late afternoon cameo from Olga, the very brave dogwalker of Stalin and Fluffy.

Unfortunately, enidd got sick and decided not to come. Boo hoo. At the same time the man broke us the news, the rain started to bucket, and for an instant, it was really quite conceivable that our blarty was going farty.

However, with true pommy weather optimism, the man found a patch of blue sky and convinced us that this was the sign we were all waiting for – the weather would be fine. So we piled into the cars and took off to the island.

The island is Trukhaniv Island, and is a huge, empty, grassy and treesy island in the middle of the Dnipro River. It’s covered in dirt tracks and full of big fat ditches, which are especially fun to drive someone else’s car on. :o)

There’s not really much to say about the BBQ itself, except that we drank lots of fizz (Cricova – a newly found Methode Champanoise Moldovan bubbly) and got a bit pizzed. We also drank beer (the Olechkos gave us a Ukrainain and European beer tour without leaving our seats) and red wine. We ate lots of meat from sarahemily’s shashlyk, and endured a few rain showers (perhaps by then, I was too tipsy to care).

Australians, despite our tough talk, are really a bit ninny when it comes to being outdoors (OK, well, just me). Australians like to picnic on the beach – where they arrive first thing in the morning to nab a picnic table and camp out for the rest of the day. Said picnic table is usually within safe walking distance of a dunny block. So my biggest worry was where we were going to go to the toilet.

But. I have conquered all. Now I can say we shit in the woods. (OK we didn’t really, but it sounds better than saying, ‘I did a girly wee behind a tree trunk and even had to take a roll of loo paper and a can of air freshener’).

And now it’s time to call a halt to a long and rambling post.

Here are some photos to wake you up and help you envisage what a tough bird I’ve become. Enjoy!

Setting up camp in the woods – see the mole hills (I thought they were ant hills)

Boys being boys: admiring their collective handiwork (oh how Soviet!)

One of the highlights of the day was being able to enjoy the wildlife

More wildlife.. . Oh! no it’s not, it’s someone with her head bent in shame after going to the loo in the woods

HERE’S more wildlife. I was afraid they might bite

Not a pretty sight for vegetarians. Of which I am not one…

Beautiful bread from the French bakery owned by Russians

Gathering more sticks for the fire…

… while the girls sip on pink Moldovan fizz

And the boys misplace their beer bottles

When the fire looks like this, it’s 1) time to put it out and 2) time to go home

But not before we get a lesson in what do to with bio-degradable goods…


14 thoughts on “Barbeque nation

  1. aaah the memories of that pink fizz – you write so well! I hear this weekend is going to be v hot so I think I may join the babushkas in my pants.

  2. Take away that big old Ukrainian woman in the black bikini (hubba hubba!) and the whole thing looked a lot like an Aussie barbie (which is more than I can say for that ‘Downunder’ contraption, those metal bastards are slowly infiltrating our country!)

    I accept that Bill Bryson has been to Oz, but where the fuck did he find a bunch of guys sitting around in camouflage pants and hunting hats? And what kind of bait do you use for hunting hats? And how do you catch them??

  3. poo, enidd missed a treat. but she’s arranged some better weather for next weekend’s rematch.

    some of those photos would have won the candid photo fun monday outright!

  4. It’s the way you tell them that makes this such an amusing post. Love the ‘wildlife’ photos and I’m still chuckling. The food and drinks look inviting- so why weren’t we all there to enjoy it!!

  5. Loved the ‘wildlife’! LOL

    I always think it’s brilliant when I see a big ole’ fat lady working a bikini like she’s got a svelte figure anyway. lol

    Brilliant photos! Sounds like it was good fun. Esp the Moldi Fizz.

  6. A Walk in the Woods is my fave BB book. And there’s some gene that men have that I believe women (or at least me) are lacking that involves (1) loading the dishwasher to its fullest capacity (2) getting a fire for the bbq started and (3) cooking a steak.
    Looks like an awesome time!!!

  7. Looks and sounds like a great time was had by all.

    It would have been nice to have some names to go with the photos!

  8. Don’t make me laugh. A girly wee…behind a tree… Sounds like a bit of poetry gone bad.

    I’ve heard some horror stories of the drought and livestock…shudder… I’m glad for our perpetual rain at such times.

  9. Hmm maybe we should pack up and move to the Ukraine. Looks like fun times in the woods. Congrats on your first pee in the forest!

  10. Dear sarahemily. yeah! You and I can race the 4x4s.

    Dear willowtree. hahah hubba hubba, you crack me up! Actually, that excerpt was from a BB book set in the States, when he walked the Apalachain trail (I know i can’t spel it rihgt). Hahah I don’t hunt hats personally. I think bait would probably be dandruff.

    Dear enidd. Yes. You certainly did miss a treat, if you’re talking about the olgas and Vlad the semi-naked shorty shorts man.

    Dear chrisb. Well, Kyiv is just two short flights from Bristol Airport on KLM :o)

    Dear tiger lamb girl. Welcome! Now. Prepare yourself. We decided it wasn’t a bikini, but her undies! So there you go. Yes, I love the Moldi fizz, but in the morning it makes you feel like you were drinking mouldy fizz. :o(

    Dear karmyn. Yeah hehehe nothing like a bit of alcohol to turn one into a spy camera maniac.

    Dear sabrina. Was loads of fun! Funny now that you bring it up, Mr Moi used to fit all sorts into the dishwasher when we had one. It was his favourite chore. Pfft. Boys.

    Dear beccy. Hehehe mischief monkey. Let’s just say that pictured is basically everyone i mentioned in the post, except for moi. You could have a guess!

    Dear tracey. Yes it was so weird to go to a place that’s green, because even when it rains in Australia, in the states I live it, it was always greeny brown. That’s just the colour of oz. And yes. Totally girly wee. Would make a great poem!

    Dear the mann’s. Hahah well, we’re making hay while the sun shines because this place is DE-PRESSING in the winter!

    Dear pamela. It was almost as inviting as the food.

  11. Looks like a great barbie. Ah, for the days when we used to light a fire. Now we have one of those dreadful steel contraptions. However whichever method, I am still a better BBQer than my husband. I also think I can pack a dishwasher better. Not that we have one at the moment, other than husband himself.

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