Pam's Journal for January 2007

Monday 1st January 2007.
A Happy New Year to all and a very Happy 65th Birthday greeting to Pete Mate. Today we had a drive out to have a look at the Cania Dam and found the water level very low. It's situated in very pretty countryside. There were plenty of people either in boats, water skiing, fishing, or just having a picnic. On the way back Pete Mate drove off up this dirt track for miles and miles, ending up in the middle of nowhere - so we came home again. We were back in time for the bird feeding and then went home for dinner.

Tuesday 2nd January 2007.
We packed a picnic lunch and got ready for a long drive to Ubobo. We only wanted to go there because Macca of Australia All Over fame did one of his broadcasts from there in 2002 during which he remarked that so few people lived there that they could do the show from the telephone kiosk. Since that broadcast he mentions Ubobo often so we just had to go there. We drove for miles and miles and then eventually arrived to find a few houses, a school, two churches, a general store and, of course, the famous phone box. They didn't even have a pub! The locals were very friendly; we purchased some postcards as we had forgotten our cameras and then drove all the way back to Monto to do some shopping. Are we completely mad or what?

Wednesday 3rd January 2007.

We decided last night that this morning we would do a couple of the walks in the National Park. Unfortunately, we discovered a water leak in the caravan, so Pete Mate had to remove panels and find where it was coming from. Eventually he discovered it was the water pump, we are going to need a new part. A call to Jayco resulted in a temporary job being done as Jayco are on holiday until the 22nd January. We were not impressed. Anyway Pete Mate fixed it so we at least have water. Ironically, last night we were talking to Nic in Perth as we also have a water leak in the solar water heater at home. I think I will give boats a miss for a while; I don't want to have another 'leak'. Pete Mate then washed Billy. Later in the afternoon we watched the tennis.

Thursday 4th January 2007.

Get ready day today as tomorrow we off to Toowoomba. We worked hard getting everything done including cleaning the inside of Billy. Once everything was packed away and ready for an early start we had our happy hour. When it started to go dark we walked over to the bird feeding area to see the Bettongs. Our wait was rewarded with a dear little thing scurrying about looking for left-over bird seed. By now it was cold - yes, folks, cold in Australia in the middle of summer. I can't believe either. So we went home for dinner and a good night's sleep.

Friday 5th January 2007

We set off about 7.30am and had a pretty good run as far as Dalby. Then the fun started. As Pete Mate has told the story on the web page I won't go into detail here. By the time we had set up camp we had had enough of caravanning and wanted red wine! It tasted good, so did the next and the next . . .

Saturday 6th January 2007
Jan and Ross arrived from Brisbane for the day. We had an excellent day in their company; there was a lot of talking and a lot of laughter. Jan looked absolutely wonderful having lost 20kgs, we are so proud of her. We enjoyed a lovely lunch at the Spotted Cow, highly recommended by the caravan park lady and we weren't disappointed. All too soon it was time to say goodbye. We then started packing up ready for the move tomorrow.

Sunday 7th January 2007.
We left Toowoomba around 8.30am. We were thinking we would drive to Glen Innes and then make a decision whether to go all the way to Tamworth or have an overnighter at GI. We decided to continue and arrived here at 4.45pm. To our body clocks it was still 3.45pm as we had crossed the state border. We set up camp, had dinner and were to go over to the camp kitchen for a free concert but we were just too tired so had an early night instead.

Monday 8th January 2007.
We both felt weary today after all the travelling. We went to the shops to stock up on food. We had a walk around town to familiarise ourselves where everything is. Apart from that we did little.

Tuesday 9th January 2007.
I woke up feeling a lot better with more energy so I did the ironing, washing and cleaning. I had to re-iron all the clothes in the wardrobe as the roads we travelled on were so bumpy that all the clothes had fallen off the rail. I was given a tip by someone in a caravan park to turn all the coat hangers the other way round. I tried it and it worked but I keep forgetting to do it. We had lunch and then walked into town, went to Gloria Jean's for a coffee and bought the essential of life (red wine) and walked home again. When we arrived home, Fay and Ken, the friends we had met at Emu Park had arrived so we enjoyed a good old Emu Park Happy Hour.

Wednesday 10th January 2007.

Another glorious day here in 'Paradise' - the park we are in is called Paradise Tourist Park. As the sun was shining I did some more washing. The plan was to walk into the town in the morning but our water pump changed that plan. Pete Mate had to take it apart to photograph the offending part, and then send it via email to a chap in Queensland so we can buy a new part. All good fun when you own a Jayco. After lunch we sallied forth to take our daily exercise. By now it was hot but not too hot for us as we are tough West Aussies. We collected the mail, did some shopping and returned home for a refreshing drink. After dinner we went to the barbecue area to listen to a concert. It wasn't bad but we have heard better in Tamworth. We sat with Fay and Ken plus another couple, Peter and Pat. It was a very pleasant evening.

Thursday 11th January 2007.
We thought we would do a longer walk today so we set off for Oxley's Lookout. We hadn't been going long when I decided to inspect the pavement at close quarters. Which is worse, the grazed hands and knees, or feeling an absolute fool sitting beside the road, too shaken to get up? Anyway Pete Mate helped me to stand and we continued to walk, but this time in the direction of Gloria Jean's! Well, I needed something for shock. The lookout walk is on the agenda for another day. We walked back to the caravan park, on the way stopping to look at some used cars but the salesman was so impolite we left. Later we went up to the Toyota place to have a look at their range. A different attitude altogether there, really nice people. Pity they are so expensive. We will have to wait for that big lotto win. Happy Hour was partaken inside Fay and Ken's Winnebago as it was so hot outside. Happy Hour was extended by many hours and at 9.30pm we went home having consumed great quantities of wine and cheese, etc. The wine was for medicinal purposes as by now my leg was swollen and bruising quite badly.
Editor's note: This would account for her inability to walk.

Friday 12th January 2007.
My leg was quite painful so I took some painkillers and decided not to walk today. We drove into town and did a bit of shopping. In the afternoon our friends Dawn and Phil arrived. Just as they pulled in the heavens opened and we had a heavy downpour. Once the rain had eased we walked over to their site and had a happy reunion. Later we had Happy Hour and were joined by Fay and Ken. The free concert was cancelled so after dinner we had another Happy Hour at Dawn and Phil's caravan. It was really lovely to see them again. We were also very touched that they came here on their way to the Gold Coast, just to see us.

Saturday 13th January 2007.
We said our goodbyes to Phil 'n Dawn. We then walked into Tamworth, had our usual Gloria Jean's and a wander around. We saw Frank, the Wedgetailed Eagle man from Daly Waters - we had only been talking about Daly Waters last night. Anyway Frank is here for the festival, busking in Peel Street. By the time we had walked home it was really hot so it was on with the air conditioner and ice coffee time. Later in the day Fay and Ken called over so we decided to have a Happy Hour but Fay wasn't well and had to go home. We rang Bob and Julie in the evening as we hadn't heard from Bob for a while.

Sunday 14th January 2007.
We had a lazy day; we didn't even go for a walk. In the evening we went to the free concert here in the caravan park. It was a Bush Poets and Balladeers concert. It was okay but some of them forgot their words and they had technical problems.

Monday 15th January 2007.
We had a few errands to do including grocery shopping. Once that was out of the way we watched the Australian Open tennis on TV before getting ready to go to a concert in town. We were going to walk but it rained and there was thunder and lightning so we took Billy. It was a really good concert and all for free.

Tuesday 16th January 2007.
We had to take Billy for a service first thing this morning. Once we left him in the safe hands of the mechanic we walked around town and then back to the caravan park. We watched the tennis again and then late in the afternoon walked back into town to collect Billy. When Peter paid the bill they gave us four free tickets for a concert tomorrow night. We had a short happy hour with Fay and Ken and then after dinner we went over to the barbecue area for another free concert which was excellent.

Wednesday 17th January 2007.
Lay day. My leg is giving me a few problems. I need more wine! Watched the tennis and didn't do much else.

Thursday 18th January 2007.
Took Billy into town to do some shopping. We went to the last free concert in the caravan park. It wasn't as good as the previous one. An Aboriginal Country Band from Broome performed and they were very good.

Friday 19th January 2007.
Not feeling the best day today, I must have drunk some bad wine last night. We had an early morning call from friends Greg and Bev from Sydney. They are in Gunnedah for the weekend, which is an hour's drive from Tamworth. So off we went to see them. We returned in plenty of time to walk into town with Fay and Ken to watch the opening concert. It was good but our memories tell us last year's was better.

Saturday 20th January 2007
We met up with Greg, Bev and their friends in Tamworth. We wandered around looking and listening and then had lunch at the Services Club. Very good value it was too. We left them there and made our way to a concert we wanted to see, but arrived too late. We then went to Diggers and watched Kirsty Lee Akers. Later we walked back to the caravan for dinner and a rest.

Sunday 21st January 2007.
We walked into town to see and hear the free entertainment. Apart from that we didn't do much.

Monday 22nd January 2007.
We had to be up early this morning to walk into town with Fay and Ken to attend a breakfast show at 8.00am. We went early so we could eat breakfast there. The show was great, so funny, we laughed for two hours. After the show we had a walk around town. There is so much talent busking, many of them very young. We had Happy Hour with Fay and Ken, a very long Happy Hour.

Tuesday 23rd January 2007.
We did some grocery and wine shopping, arrived home and dropped two bottles of wine out of the back of the car. Not happy! What started out as a bargain didn't end up as one. We had Happy Hour with Ken and Fay.

Wednesday 24th January 2007.
We were out early again this morning for another breakfast show, this time over the other side of town. We collected Fay and Ken at 7.15; it was too far to walk today. This morning's show was Bluegrass which I love, but after two hours we had had enough. We walked outside to the Jayco display; Peter gave him a list of all the problems we've had with our 'van. It fell on deaf ears so we left him to sell Jayco caravans to poor unsuspecting souls. We bought a tee-shirt from the tee-shirt shop and travelled into town. We wandered, listening to music, and then met up with Fay and Ken to listen to another free concert. Some of the talent was excellent; others really need to keep their singing to the shower. After that we had had enough for the day and went home.

Thursday 25th January 2007.

We had a lay day today as we were both very tired. In the evening we walked into town for the free Australia Day Eve concert. Lee Kernaghan was the star of the show. As L.K. is very popular the whole park was packed. The concert was really good with performances by Tania Kernaghan, The McClymonts, Melinda Schneider and many more. The man himself played for about an hour before the firework display finished the evening's entertainment.

Friday 26th January 2007.
We walked down to the Coca Cola tent in the morning. Throughout the festival there has been non stop entertainment at the Coca Cola tent. Some were absolutely appalling and others were great. We were there to see Michelle Little whom we really like. She was supposed to be on at 12:00 but someone somewhere stuffed up and she was on after 1:00. Fay and Ken met us at the tent and we all watched the other performers before Michelle came on. She was excellent. As it was Australia Day she sang the song 'We Are Australian', she moved the crowd so much she had a standing ovation. I don't think there was a dry eye in the place. The compere, Mel, took a few moments to compose himself and then he came on stage and sang a couple of Australian songs. After that Ken and Fay left and we stayed a little longer and, lo and behold, our favourite lady, Kirsty Lee Akers, appeared. Pete Mate spotted her and was outside and had his photo taken with her before she even got into the tent. Even though Kirsty is good, no one could top Michelle's performance today. After we left the Coca Cola tent we called in at Diggers for a drink but couldn't get near the bar so continued down town. It was the same story everywhere so we ended up in Gloria Jean's for an iced coffee. We wandered home for Happy Hour with Ken and Fay. Again the 'hour' became hours before we wandered - or staggered - home, who knows. I can't remember.

Saturday 27th January 2007.
It was the big Cavalcade through Tamworth this morning so we walked up Peel Street where we bumped into friends Pat and Peter, so stood with them. After a few minutes Fay and Ken joined us. It was really great. All the stars of country went past in their Toyota cars, including the new Starmaker winner, Kirsty Lee Akers. There were marching bands, floats people dressed in animal suits, big horses, little horses, Clydesdale horses and much more. After the parade Fay, Ken, Pete Mate and I walked into town. The other two went home. After coffees at Gloria Jean's we made our way down to the Coca Cola tent for an hour, the entertainment was excellent. We then went to the town hall for a concert we had purchased tickets for. This concert also included an award presentation for the winner of different categories, but they were all young performers. What talent these young people have, they were amazing, it must have been so hard for the judges to choose the winners. We also enjoyed performances by Carter and Carter, Felicity Urquhart and Brendon Walmsley. I really like Felicity and Brendon but I'm not fussed about the Carters. After the concert we walked home for a short breather and then walked back into town for the Grand Final of the Buskers competition. It was really a very good concert such excellent talent and the compere, Greg Champion, was also very good. Once the concert was over we walked home to bed. We'd had a very tiring but enjoyable day.

Sunday 28th January 2007.
We started the day with the closing concert, which was excellent. After that we drove over to Diggers to see Kirsty Lee Akers last concert of the festival. The act before Kirsty was just finishing, their last song was dedicated to Pauline Hanson, and believe it or not, there she was dancing around for everyone to see. Good for her! After listening to Kirsty for a while we went home for Happy Hour and then it was a quick change to go out for dinner. The restaurant we went to offered a 'shank challenge'. We were a party of six, Peter and I decided not to take up the challenge but the other two men decided to do it. First they had to eat an entree, so they chose chicken wings, not much meat there. Wrong, they were served a huge serving of drumsticks. Next came the shank, we were all expecting a lamb shank but this was a beef shank and was huge. Peter reckoned you could feed a family of four and have enough left over for sandwiches the next day. The two men tucked in. One of them, Ken, is very fit and works out at the gym and had starved himself all day. The other man, Peter, is very overweight - as in HUGE. He had been drinking wine and eating during the day. We watched these two with interest, eating until the death. Ken managed without too much discomfort but Peter went red in the face and then purple. Pete Mate was concerned that he was going to have a heart attack there and then. Anyway they both finished their meals so qualified for a free dessert. They ate that and then were given a free cap and will have their names engraved on the board on the wall in the restaurant. All that for a cap and their name on a board, crazy! Pete Mate and I shared a dessert that we didn't actually order. The young girl chatted to Pete Mate about having a dessert, but he thought he had declined, so when it arrived he stated he hadn't ordered a dessert. She said she knew he really wanted one as she saw it in his eyes. I translated that as "I'll teach you to look at my boobs when I'm talking to you". We did have a good night out, we had a lot of fun and the rest of us had normal meals which were very nice. Anyway, that was the last day of the festival, so for us it was a good way to end it.

Monday 29th January 2007. I saw Shank-eating Peter this morning and he told me he hadn't been well. However, once he had spoken to Ken who suffered no ill effects, he changed his story and said he also was fine. I went off to the hairdressers and then in the afternoon we went shopping. Happy Hour soon came around and as Ken, Fay, Pat and Peter were leaving in the morning, we all enjoyed a barbecue as well. It was a very pleasant evening but Shank-eating Peter still didn't look well.

Tuesday 30th January 2007.
We said our goodbyes to friends that we may meet again along the way - we have so many friends in transit. After they had gone I washed everything in sight and other things that weren't in sight. Then I ironed but that was interrupted by our neighbours, John and Maureen. John wanted Peter's help with the satellite dish and Maureen wanted my help with the computer. Once that was all done I finished the ironing and then had a bit of a rest. I am not feeling the best today. I think the body is saying enough food and alcohol. So I had a AFD (Alcohol Free Day). Maureen wanted to bring over a bottle of wine to say thank you for all the help but I declined for today. Yes folks that how bad I felt!

Wednesday 31st January 2007.
We walked into Tamworth to do some shopping and visit Gloria Jean's. In the afternoon I tried to catch up with my knitting which was sadly neglected whilst the festival was on. In the evening we did have Happy Hour with John and Maureen and it was a very enjoyable evening. We discovered that John is the very same John from Daly Waters in the Northern Territory. This chap was in charge of parking everyone. He'd packed us so close we could almost touch our neighbours through the window. However, it hadn't been for John's unique parking technique we wouldn't have met friends Jan and Ross, Dawn and Phil and Liz and Nev.

End of January 2007.

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