Sunday, 22 April 2018

The End

That sounds a bit ominous, doesn't it.  Never fear, it isn't.

"The End" is "Hill End's festival of arts, culture and heritage", according to their brochure.

On Thursday, I saw a little article in the local paper mentioning it, so when Mick got home from work I mentioned it to him.  He then announced that he was scheduled to work on Saturday morning, but no worries, he called the fellow he was working for and told him he was going to Hill End instead.  (No, he isn't a slack worker - anything but.) Fortunately the job was not time critical and can be done over the next couple of days.


So yesterday we hopped into the car again and headed to Hill End.   It was another perfect day to be out and about.

Hill End is a historic mining village, about 90kms from Bathurst, which has been managed by the National Parks for many years.  Over the last ten or so years it really has become a lovely and popular place to visit.  We have camped one weekend and visited their annual open day on a couple of occasions.  It is a very popular destination for artists, with Bathurst Art Gallery managing a couple of the old houses for their artist in residence programme.  The countryside is steep, rugged and wild, which coupled with the legacy of the gold mining history creates a really interesting artistic subject.

Let's go for a quick stroll.












As you can see, Hill End is a little quirky as well as historic.  We noticed lots of kangaroo dung around the place and then were somewhat amazed to see large roos just lounging around in the middle of town and even in some gardens.  They are not the least little bit scared.


There was a makers market, with workshops scheduled during the day.





Next there was a row of providores.



We may have bought morning tea from these two lovely ladies.


Mmm, mmm.  No, we didn't eat it all in one sitting.  Some came home with us to be eaten today.


The main stage area had rustic seating and plenty of room to bring your own chair or picnic rug.


There were plenty of food and drink stalls, all provided by regional supplies.


We arrive nice and early, so were able to set ourselves up quite comfortably. Yes, we forgot the chairs, even after reminding ourselves while eating breakfast.  We did remember the hats and sunscreen, which were both very much needed.


As the day progressed the area filled up nicely.  It was such a relaxed day, good music and fun people watching.


I was rather taken with this lovely crocheted rug.


We'd watch some music, then go and get something to eat and drink.  There were a variety of artists, with the biggest drawcard being "Smith and Jones" from Bathurst who are doing very well on the country charts.  It's been great watching their progress from just small beginnings.


We tasted some goats cheese.......it was such a hard way to spend the day, but someone had to do it.

Mind you, you could have enjoyed the whole day for the price of your petrol if you brought a picnic with  you.  There was no entry fee.


It did become a bit much for this fellow.


Eventually, we decided that we'd better have a bit more of a wander before we headed home.  Anyone familiar with Hill End will recognise this view looking down the street, it is on so many photos and paintings.


The hall looked nice and bright in the afternoon light.  There was a concert held here on both Friday and Saturday nights.







The Gramaphone Man was amusing.  He had old gramaphone records playing and he sang along and did some actions.  Too silly.  The two little girls got right into the swing of things with him.


Finally, as we were walking back to the car some of the roos were starting to become a bit more active.  A reminder to keep an eye out for them on the drive home.  No, we didn't see any.

We are so glad we went out for the day.  This was the third year the event has run.  Apparently, it is up in the air as to its future, as there was only initial funding for three years.  We do hope it continues, as when they asked the audience, the majority had travelled from out of the area, so a great boost to the area's tourism.  There may have been quite a few more from Bathurst come out if there had been more publicity, but there are so many competing events taking place a this time of year.  There were two major events in Bathurst and another in Lithgow, all on this weekend.

If it does run again, we would look at taking our van out there and camping for a few days so that we could attend the evening performances, and take more time to have a wander around.  Well done to the organisers.

Friday, 20 April 2018

What Do You Do When You Have a Free Afternoon?

Mick and I were both free this afternoon so we hopped in the car and went for a little drive.

You see, over the last few year there has been a cycle race"B 2 B".  Blayney to Bathurst.  The long course is 110kms and the short course is 70kms.  Things have now expanded to the point that this weekend will host the Bathurst Cycling Classic, as there is also a street race in the centre of town and a hill climb.

For the last couple of years Blayney Council has run a Hay  Bale Art Challenge in conjuction with the cycle race.  Therefore, we decided to go for a drive to check out the hay bales.

Now, to step back a little bit.  I use a little point and shoot camera which has a nice zoom capability.  The last two cameras have unfortunately ended up with dust inside the lens.  My current camera has ended up with a cat hair inside the lens.  How a cat hair works its way in there is beyond me, but it has happened.  


It's been there for a little while but hasn't affected the photos, but I noticed when we were at Baradine that if I took a photo into the sun it was definitely visible.  Not a good look for the album.

Today we took it back into the shop and it is still under product care, so is being sent back for assessment and hopefully replacement.  In the mean time I needed a camera, so we bought a new little one.  Hopefully, the insurance will cover the cost for most of it.  Today was a good day to start using it.

Back to our outing.


Our first stop was the coffee shop at the infomation centre at Blayney.  We also had a chance to have a sticky in a few shops, as it is very rare we get to Blayney in business hours.

Then it was time to wend our way home via the route of the cycle race and check out the hay bales.


We were impressed that there was a sign in the lead up to each installation and at each site there was room to get off the road to take a photo.



The road that the race follows is one we very rarely drive, so it was a nice, picturesque outing as well, even though it was quite close to home.


There are lots of old shearing sheds in the area.


The village of Barry really got into the spirit, greeting us with Mulga Bill with token hay bale.



The detailing was very good.  I wonder if he is also used for some of the folk festivals celebrating Banjo Patterson's writings.




There was a sign at the front of the above two, "It takes a village to build a village". 


While in Barry we noticed this interesting collection of old caravans at the back of a house - obviously being  used as sheds.


Back out in the paddocks we came across quite a few more creations.


This truck was clever.  When you looked at the front it had a pallet as a grille and the windscreen, complete with wipers was painted on.  There's many a farmer would be happy to have that load of hay at the moment.  Another thing we noticed on our little trip was the number of paddocks where cattle were being fed.


I think this one was my favourite.  


The attention to detail was amazing. It's fun to look at the features and work out what had been used.  Flower pots featured and I love the cow catcher made from star pickets.  It look s like there are solar flood lights to illuminate it at night.


Another favourite was the "Shear-o-matic".  The red light at the top of the bales was flashing, so it looked very technical.  People certainly have a good imagination and sense of humour.



This fellow was a feature at the intersection at the village of Hobbys Yards.  Very clever.

At this point the short course turned left and the long course turned right.  Which way to go?  We turned right.  Bad move!  No more hay bales.  The course travelled all the way to Trunkey Creek.  



We took a dirt road back across towards Newbridge, which we haven't travelled for many years, hoping to get back onto the hay bale route.  Unfortunately, we didn't see any more, but we loved what we did see.


By now the afternoon was marching on and we were enjoying that late afternoon golden light.  The season is terribly dry, but the landscape is still stunning.


As we came back into town Mick noticed this large pile of hay and declared it was the art supply store and that they should have got into the act.  Cheeky begger.  Oh, and the marks on the photo are bugs on the windscreen, not marks in the lens of my new camera, which seems quite good to use.


To finish off, we enjoyed a lovely sunset, albeit back in the middle of suburbia.