Page 159

Off to Tamworth

But first, two more pictures of Sofala:

old double storey house
Above and below:

Somewhere there's a dividing line on one side of which are objects which are old, of historical value, worthy of restoration, perhaps once inhabited by a person of renown. On the other side are objects which are just decrepit. I felt that much of Sofala fell on the wrong side of the line. Pam disagrees.

old single storey house
Which Way to Tamworth?

Sometimes I place too much faith in Alice, our GPS navigation aid. On leaving Bathurst I programmed in "Tamworth" and left the rest to her, totally forgetting a time in the past when, on leaving Tamworth, I had programmed "Bathurst" into Alice's predecessor (Old Alice). Both Alices selected the red route (see map below), thus reducing the distance by 150 kilometres but introducing a 25 km stretch of unsealed road (marked in yellow) between Merriwa and Willow Tree. There are two water crossings on that stretch. Fortunately both were dry on the day in question.


Bathurst to Tamworth, the alternatives. The green route is 555 km of sealed road and traffic. The red route is 405 km long with a twenty five kilometre section unsealed and two water crossings, fortunately dry.

Which route to take was settled by Alice who is programmed to avoid unpaved roads. However, if nobody tells her that there's an unpaved section, what can she do? It always comes back to the same thing; a GPS is only as good as the map in its memory.

Back in Tamworth.

We returned to the good old Austin Caravan Park run by the Edwards family. Everyone is friendly here; it feels like coming home. Our previous site had been reserved for us and we soon settled in. Actually, a bit of site juggling must have gone on because, when Pam had phoned some time ago, the park was already booked out for the Country Music Festival. She was told that 'a space would be found for us'. Not just any space, however, our favourite site overlooking the Peel River had a large RESERVED sign posted.

First we received preferential treatment in Emu Park and now in Tamworth. We're getting spoilt!

Did You Know . . .

. . . that manufacturers of DVD players and discs have the world divided into six regions? If your player comes from one region and your disc from another, the disc probably won't work. Your screen will display a message telling you that the disc cannot be played and advising you to check the region. To find the region on the disc cover you may need a magnifying glass.

At Christmas 2010 I bought Pam a box set of As Time Goes By on eBay. The set came from Britain which is in Region 2, however Australia is in Region 4.

The box set consisted of the television series discs plus a Reunion Specials disc. The television series discs were coded for both Britain and Australia so they worked perfectly. However, the Reunion Specials disc was coded for Britain only and wouldn't work.

Jumping forward a year, Pam wanted the box set of The Vicar of Dibley for Christmas. The local shops stated that there was no such box set. The 'non-existent' set, however, was available in abundance on the internet! (High street stores, don't whine if you can't serve your customers.) While scouring through the offerings and prices, the region number was mentioned frequently. Since the set was available from several countries I thought it might be wise to look into it further and this is what I learned:

DVD players all read discs in the same way except that each country programmes its product to reject any disc not containing its own regional code. Sneaky! Apparently this system is to prevent people in affluent countries, where prices are high, from obtaining their DVD products overseas. Any DVD sold in Australia should be programmed for Region 4 but what about Internet purchases? Is it possible to reprogramme a DVD player? More research yielded the fact that many players can be reprogrammed. Not only that but there's a special setting called 'Region 9' which causes a player to ignore the region code on a disc and play it regardless.

To reprogramme our Samsung player to Region 9 took just a few seconds using the 'remote'. The difficulty was in finding out how to do it. It's all on the Internet but it took ages of going in circles. Very often sites which purported to provide the required information were just advertising DVD players or were chat forums full of repetition and spelling errors. Worse still, some sites wanted paying for the information which may, or may not, have been forthcoming.

Eventually I struck gold, reprogrammed the DVD player to Region 9 and tried the hitherto unplayable Reunion Specials disc. It worked like a dream. As the reprogramming sequence may vary I won't display it here. However, if you have a Samsung V6800 and want to try it . . . contact me on the email address on the Index page.

There Is Life After Seventy . . .

. . . however, if you want to stay happy, avoid the King James Bible's Psalm 90:10:

The days of our years are threescore years and ten;
and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years,
yet is their strength labour and sorrow;
for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.

Not to mention Shakespeare's Macbeth:

Threescore and ten I can remember well:
Within the volume of which time I have seen
Hours dreadful and things strange; but this sore night
Hath trifled former knowings.

Or to use the colloquial, Shit happens. Doesn't have quite the same eloquence as the Bard's version, does it?

Here is the old fart with his minder, Pam, at his 70th birthday lunch at the Tamworth Golf Club, January 1st 2012.

birthday photo

Pam and the old goat on his 70th. Photo: Roslyn Cooper

Let the Festivities Begin

Before we knew it the Festival was upon us. It never starts with a bang, it winds up over the previous week as buskers arrive and local artistes organise 'gigs' in the town's hostelries. See? I'm even learning the jargon. Then comes the opening ceremony and it's all on for ten days with the streets closed to traffic in the town centre and music everywhere.

The young things are as nubile and plentiful as ever though I wonder about their fashions, if such they can be called. They wear these very skimpy denim shorts that look as though the first time they wore them they got themselves dragged down a gravel road for five kilometres behind a car until the shorts are in shreds and only fit for the garbage. Then they proudly wear them in public. Some of them look as if they were once full length jeans which have had the legs torn off. Possibly that's the case, but the pocket linings protrude from the legs of the shorts and hang down for anything up to six inches. It looks most peculiar.

While chatting in a busy shopping mall my peripheral vision noticed a movement under a low table. Something was rolling until it came up against a stationary object under the table. As I turned to look, I saw a large woman peering around, obviously in search of something she'd dropped. She was looking in the wrong place so I walked across to retrieve it for her. As I mentioned, the place was crowded so the sight of a geriatric male on all fours reaching under the table would have been attracting attention. Suddenly this geriatric gentleman froze, paused a moment, then stood up and walked back to his wife. He'd obviously had a change of heart and decided not to hand the woman back her tampon.

What's With This Change of Format?

Have a look on the next page where all is explained.

Footnote: This re-working of Page 159 was completed on 4 April 2013. It conforms to HTML5 and CSS level 3.


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