Sunday, 17 September 2017

On The Road Again

After a week of rather ordinary weather today was absolutely glorious.  So what to do?  We had hoped to attend "The Far Cairn Rally" at Tottenham this weekend, as we have done in previous years, but we have other things to attend to closer to home at the moment....maybe next year....

Mick had made the necessary repairs to "Snubby The Silver Sidecar" recently, so it was the perfect chance to give her a test run.

We had a small window of time available today, so we headed out to the O'Connell Cafe for lunch.

As soon as we hopped off the bike there was a lovely barbecue type aroma, so our choices off the menu were easy - Steak Sandwich and Beef Burger, which were both delicious.  It was just lovely sitting and relaxing in the sun, but we still had plenty to do back home, so before long had to head on our way.

The best thing of all was that Snubby performed beautifully.  Hopefully, we will be out here again next weekend for the sidecar rally, which is held at the pub, about 200 metres down the road.  We may even be able to sneak back to the cafe for coffee and cake.  Very civilised.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Grandma's Bed

When I was a little girl we would go and stay at Grandma's for a week in the school holidays.  One of the best things for me was being allowed to sleep with Grandma in her big bed, which got me thinking of the John Denver song......

It was nine feet high and six feet wide
And soft as a downy chick
It was made from the feathers of forty 'leven geese
Took a whole bolt of cloth for the tick.

(You can see John performing a rather different version of the song here.)

Now my Grandma's bed didn't quite have the dimensions of those in the song, but it was high and old fashioned, albeit with a lumpy kapok mattress.  However it did have a nice white Marcella quilt and green eiderdown.  The best thing though was that it had Grandma and she sometimes let me brush her long white hair.

Her Singer treadle sewing machine sat to one side and an old turned leg side table on the other side, under which there was a Big Old Tin Treasure Chest. There was also a big blue chair and blue chest of drawers.

This all took place over a rather short time frame, as she died when I was nine.  I was always rather sentimental and for quite some years loved going into her bedroom, sitting on the big bed and looking at the treasures from the trunk - old photo albums and a huge fat book called "Medicology", which was fascinating.

Many years passed and the room was to be repurposed.  The sewing machine came to me and currently has our TV sitting on it.  The chair and side table are with Mum.  What to do with the bed?  At the time we had own bed and our spare bedroom was set up with lovely old antique beds.  Sadly, I had no room for the bed I loved so much.  In the end my brother took it, used it for a while and then it went into storage, firstly in his garage and them in Mum's.  When Mum moved to the retirement village last year we ended up with the bed, once again in storage.

Finally, now that we have got rid of all the boxes of books we have a room in which to house Grandma's bed.

It is a simple bed, dating form 1927. The timber was rather dry, but other than that is in surprisingly good condition.  After lots of furniture polish and a new mattress it has come up a treat.  

The main design elements are the sweet decals on the head and foot, which is what I loved so much.  However, what I have really noticed is that it isn't really all that big - how perceptions change as we grow older. 

This room is still very much a work in progress.   No one can sleep here as yet, as there is no bedding under the quilt.  I still have to go shopping to make it nice and snug. It is the perfect size for my Nature's Journey quilt.  The Marcella quilt is probably the original one off the bed.

Yes, there is a sewing machine beside the bed, where there always was one, even if it isn't Grandma's. This White was one of our first auction purchases and lived in our bedroom for many years. Apparently, my other grandmother had a White.  We have also had the bedside cupboard on the other side of the bed for many years.  The quilt on the rack is an Anni Downs design I made from a kit not long after she opened her first shop here in town. 

We still have to hang some pictures and add a few bits and bobs to make it welcoming, but it sure looks better than a room full of boxes of books.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Home Improvement Central

It's funny how we seem to do things when they aren't planned.

For example, Mick's knee op was delayed a week, so we set up our office how we wanted it.

Now that we returned from our holidays early we made some more progress with our house.

There is a little sitting area beside our dining room which hasn't been set up properly as yet.  One wall has double doors into my sewing room with built in bookcases either side which we have ignored so far. On the other main wall we would like to add a gas heater, so we can just heat our main everyday living area rather than heat the whole house with the central heating and I still have a lot of my green depression glass that is in boxes.....oh.....and books.......We had a whole room full of boxes of books.  We had many bookcases at our old house and they were all full.  As the task of going through them all was to too hard at the time, they all came with us........and have been boxed up for three years.

Back in April we bought two display units at Ikea to put either side of our new heater, which will be built into a chimney breast......but that won't be happening until the lead up to next winter. We also bought a small sofa to add to the seating.

Here is the wall looking nice and bare, ready for the cupboards, but after our electrician friend moved some power points for us.

We seem to have quite a good routine worked out for assembling Ikea furniture.  I am the nurse reading the instructions and passing parts and fixings to Mick the surgeon.  It works well for us.

That looks a bit better.  Mick's Dad's desk fits nicely for the time being, until we install the heater.

The next job was to fill the cabinets.  There has been quite a bit of just "putting" at this stage, to get things out of boxes...... I think I failed to mention that we have another room full of boxes of "Stuff" as well.

We plan to replace one of the timber shelves in each of the display units with glass and install some ultra violet lights to highlight my uranium glass pieces.....but that is for another day.

We ventured into the "Book Room" and started opening boxes.  We have filled our two book cases quickly as well as the side of the desk.  It was quite a task going through all the books.  Some were easy to part in you wonder why we even have them.....but some were really hard to let go of.  Books I've had since my teens, books that were my Grandmother's, beautiful old 1930s girls' annual and so many others.  I'm sure some have gone that shouldn't have, as we went through most, but not every single one, but that is just how it is.  (Fortunately, I had a second look through one box and our bible that was given to us at our wedding by the family rector and my Grandmother's bible are still here.) Anyway, Lifeline have received about thirty good sized boxes of books for their book fair in October and we have a manageable number of books.  There is still a bit of sorting to do with those that are left, but, once again, that is for another day.

It's starting to look a bit better and quite cosy.  We don't do minimalist very well.  We did look into having custom glass doors made for the bookcases, but the price was a bit too steep to warrant it.  We'll just have to dust.

So, once the boxes of books were all gone we had a clean slate in one of the bedrooms.  The following weekend we made progress there.  I think I've prattled long enough for one day, so I'll share that soon.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Poor Snubby the Silver Sidecar

"Snubby" the sidecar arrived home from Queensland on Thursday.  Mick collected her from the transport company and put her in the shed until he had a chance to have a look at how much damage there was to the back wheel bearing.

Well, this afternoon he had a look.  Ooh!  What a mess!  We were so lucky that we had pulled up when we did.  Before we went away, we joked that if the wheels fell off on our trip, we would just take the caravan somewhere.......never for a moment thinking anything would happen...........but we so very nearly had the wheel fall off......literally.

We really were very lucky.  It could have been a somewhat disastrous situation if the wheel had collapsed while were travelling at highway speed.

Mick is now investigating where to get spares and Mr Youtube is providing some training on fixing it all up.  We have since learned that this is something that does happen from time to time.  It goes to show that no matter how much preparation and maintenance you do, things still do happen.  Mick had checked that area before we left and all was good then.

Hopefully she will be back to her usual self before too long and we can go for another ride somewhere.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Coming Home

We had a very colourful start to our day in Mildura, but no, we didn't get any rain, just more wind.

And so our very brief sojourn to Victoria ended.  Once again, no fanfare as you enter New South Wales, as you cross the Murray River from Mildura.

Our morning tea stop was at the town of Balranald, on the Murrumbidgee River.

There seems to be a push to encourage tourism.  The suspension bridge in the background is new since we were last through and there are quite a few little quirky frogs around the town.  Apparently there are another five to be installed shortly.

It was interesting reading the above sign about the environment and the original peoples.  When  you read further, they are trying to conserve the area and the endangered Southern Bell Frog, but there is a cost involved, which will affect the wealth of the town, which explains why the push for tourism.   

I loved this sculpture.

And this one.

There is a brand new Visitor Centre, where I was able to buy some local organic produce and not worry about quarantine areas.  We had some of the pumpkin roasted for dinner last night and it was delicious.  Do you like my new friend with his jaunty scarf.  The local council run caravan park also has great reviews, so they are doing something right in the town.

Across the road from the Visitor Centre there was a great shop with upcycled furniture.  Really lovely stuff.  We had a chuckle at their opening hours sign.

Between Balranald and Hay is very flat, but it kind of follows the river.  It is a huge irrigation area, but unfortunately, too difficult to photograph.  There were several large holding dams.  We were intrigued by this crane which was installing a tank.  You will notice that there is only the boom showing, which means the crane itself is below ground level.  Mick has quite a bit of dealings with cranes and he reckoned that it would have to be at least a 100 tonne, if not 200 tonne crane by the size and length of the boom.  That is quite some tank they have just placed.  They don't do things by halves out this way.  There was lots of cotton waste on the sides of the road, so that must be one of their main crops.

We did come across one mob on cattle on the road.

The Hay Plains just go on for ever.

Then, in the middle of no where there was a cute church.

We weren't sure where we would get to that day, as it is too far to travel home from Mildura in a day.  We thought West Wyalong, but, the half way point between Mildura and home is the tiny town of Goolgowi.  A quick look at Wikicamps revealed that there is a caravan park with great reviews.  We might as well stay there.  The reviews were right.  It is council owned, and all the amenities and services are very new and well kept.

Once we were set up we went for a little walk and saw this chappy.  He is a grey-crowned babbler.  We also saw more Mallee Ring Necks.  (Thank goodness for our bird book, as we have seen quite a few new varieties.)

There were a few old buildings.  The town was founded in 1925, so not all that old.  We had tea at the pub, but there is also an RSL Club that does meals from Wednesday to Sunday.  When we left the following morning we discovered there are also two motels.  All this for an area of only about 200 residents.  The highway traffic and distance from other towns (over 100kms each way) probably helps sustain all of these.

We even found a few flowers on the side of the road (no, not from someone's garden) to put in the little orange vase I'd found at an op shop. (We buy strange souvenirs.)  They looked cute on the table.

Our last day of travel was over familiar ground.  However, we were looking forward to seeing a new feature in the little town of Weethalle.  This was only officially opened last month.  The artist has done a fabulous job.  There are quite a few silos being turned into art installations.  Hopefully we will see some more on our travels.  When we were at Coonable in June they were just starting to paint theirs.  I'm sure we will see it at some stage.

We enjoyed seeing lots of wattle in bloom.  We have seen bits and pieces, but this was the first big area in bloom.  It really looks a picture in amongst the bush.

There was also some canola in bloom.  Way earlier than you see it in our area.

It was also nice to see some healthy looking crops.

And hills and valleys.  It is great fun exploring the big sky country of Australia's interior, but I always enjoy returning to our local area and landscape.

At home we were treated to a lovely sunset, with fine weather forecast for the next few days before another cold change.

Joey was pleased to see us.  As soon as Mick sat down, he was straight on his lap, purring away.  He has been our little (okay, not so little) shadow since our return.

The one thing that was hard to take was yesterday morning seeing the very white frost and this morning the very white frost and fog.  Aahh!  The joys of a Bathurst winter, but we have had lovely days.

Now we are getting things unpacked and settling back into home life.  It seems that our two holidays just weren't meant to be at the moment, but that is okay, there will be another time.  

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Crossing the Border

We continued on our mystery travels on Wednesday, heading east.

One thing we had noticed in Waikerie was the TV aerials.  I've no idea what the reception is like these days, as we didn't have the telly on at all while we were away,  but it obviously has been an issue, with all the tall aerials.  Quite a sight.

As we headed out of town we followed a sign to a lookout.  It is Hodders Bend and has a popular camping ground beside the river.  It was nice to see some of the stunning river cliffs.

You will have to forgive most of my following photos as they were taken out of the ute as we were driving along and have either reflections or windscreen grime. 

The next town we travelled through was Berri.  There were loads of vineyards in the district, huge expanses.  The trellissing must cost a fortune and take simply ages to install.  They are all so precise.  Some vineyards are all pruned, while some haven't been done as yet.  We saw where a few had been removed, but there were new plantings as well.

We also noticed a couple of huge wineries.  The scale was somewhat different to our old next door neighbour's enterprise, but he was still a prize winner.

Berri was a nice town beside the Murray River.  The information centre had a lovely cafe, so we partook of coffee and cake while enjoying this scene.  Rather hard to take.  We learnt that the bridge you can see was only opened in 1997.  Before that all traffic still had to use a ferry to cross the river.  That must have been so inefficient for such recent times.

Of course we had to take a photo of the Big Orange as we drove past.

The next large centre we drove through was Renmark.  Unfortunately, our trip was just travelling at this stage and not really playing the tourist.  We had to briefly call into a supermarket and were somewhat bemused at this motorhome.  It all looked a tad rough, but it seems to work.

Once again we crossed the Murray and the bridge this time was interesting.  It had been an opening bridge, which is no longer used.  They have added a lane for the traffic on either side.  The lanes were only just wide enough.  Rather nerve wracking.  You wonder why they didn't make them just a foot or so wider.  I'd hate to be taking a large semi trailer over it.

We had travelled through various fruit fly quarantine areas in our travels, meaning we had to pretty much buy our veges daily.  This was the final quarantine station we saw.  There are no restrictions as you leave South Australia.

And then we were in Victoria.  No big fancy signs or areas to take a photo, such as when you enter South Australia or Western Australia.

We were noticing crops on one side of the road, but it was still salt bush on the other side.

If you look closely at the above photo you will see lots of animals in the crop.  No, it is not sheep or cattle, it is emus (OK, so they are birds not animals).  There were so many that at first glance you thought it was a mob of cattle.  The farmer would not be pleased to have them grazing on his crop like that.

Eventually, we started to look for somewhere to have our lunch.  We came to a little place called Lake Cullulleraine.  After finding a poorly signposted turnoff we found a delightful picnic ground beside the lake.  There were heaps of Little Corellas making a racket.  As I was taking this photo a couple of council workers came by and said they couldn't believe I was doing that.  They told us that they are incredibly destructive and we could take them with us if we liked.  We noticed later quite a few eating a shade cloth over a playground, so we see what they meant.

There were also several swamp hens.

We noticed that the weather was looking decidedly dark to the south, but we were lucky and it stayed away.

Our destination that night was Mildura, where we stayed in a caravan park in town.  It was very convenient to the supermarket, but it was quite tight for maneuvering the van.  We have visited Mildura in the past, as a Ulysses Rally was held there, so we didn't mind too much at not having a look around this time.

Just a couple more days and we would be home.