Albert and Annie Say:

People say true friends must always hold hands,
but true friends don't need to hold hands because
they know the other hand will always be there.

     

      Pam's Journal For January 2009

     
  Personnel Change: With much regret we said goodbye to Hamish who retired while we were in Perth.
We would like you to welcome Albert (above left) who will take his place. Albert's role is to take you back to the previous page when you click your mouse pointer on him. Annie (above right) continues to take you to the following page - if there is one - when you click your mouse on her.
We are sure Albert will be an invaluable member of the team - and, in due course, a valuable one.
 
     
  Thursday 1st January 2009  
 

A new day, a new year and a birthday for Pete Mate. We didn’t start any of those very well. We must have eaten a bad piece of cheese on New Year's Eve. By the afternoon we had perked up enough to go into town with Greg and Marilyn in the hope that Gloria Jean’s was open. Hurrah, it was and the coffee was excellent.

After coffee we went in search of the road to the hilltop lookout as M & G hadn’t been there. At first we couldn’t find it but found a free nature park that claims to contain different kinds of marsupials and native birds. We didn’t see any marsupials. (Marsupials are animals with pouches, kids, like kangaroos and koala bears. They are 'nocturnal' - they mostly come out at night.) We did spy two beautiful peacocks, however, and some parrots that had brilliant red breasts.

After we left the park we found the correct road to the lookout and saw two women walking up the steep climb in the same direction. Once at the lookout on top of the hill we could see for miles and the views were quite impressive. We were just about to leave when the two women walkers arrived at the top. We had a chat with them and they weren’t even out of breath. Apparently they do this walk three times a week.

Once we left there we made our way home for Happy Hour and a barbecue in honour of Peter’s birthday. It was a pleasant evening and the men cooked a very nice barbecue under taxing circumstances as the camp barbecue they used only had one temperature setting - smoking hot. We finished the evening with a donut birthday cake as Peter is partial to a donut or two.

 
  Friday 2nd January 2008  
  We walked into town in the morning and called in at a couple of job agencies. It all sounds positive but we have to go back on Monday to actually register. We did one or two other things in town before enjoying another Gloria Jeans coffee and then walking home.

In the afternoon M & G came over for afternoon tea and helped us to eat the rest of the donuts. Before we knew it, it was Happy Hour. We enjoyed another pleasant hour before heading indoors for dinner. I think we were all in need of an early night.
 
  Saturday 3rd January 2008  
 

We walked into town along the east bank of the Peel River and were pleased to see it flowing well. A few weeks before we arrived it had been right up to the top of its banks and there were still sandbags stacked near vulnerable premises. Two years ago it had been as dry as bone. We were told by one of the shopkeepers that the dams were full for the first time in about ten years.

Once in town we went to different venues to purchase some concert tickets and renew our membership at the local club. The membership actually covers two clubs, one in town and the other just outside. If you are a member you can just walk in instead of queuing to sign the visitors book. Believe me, this is a bonus once the festival is in full swing. Again we were frustrated by being unable to purchase all the tickets we required at one venue; instead we had to trudge around town.

Since arriving back in Tamworth we are amazed at the changes that have taken place in just twelve months. There are lots of new shops and malls, a new cinema and numerous eating places, but the biggest change is to the Gun Shop. It used to be a poky little place, now it is huge - not that we have been inside as I am not allowed a gun. I am told I do enough damage without one.

Once we had finished our errands we relaxed in G.J’s with our usual coffees. I was so comfortable and tired I could have fallen asleep right there. Luckily I didn’t as my snoring might have put the other patrons off their coffees. We walked home and both had a nap before getting ready to go to dinner with Marilyn and Greg. But first, of course, there was Happy Hour . . .

The number of Happy Hour participants is growing steadily as more people arrive in time for the festival. They are a good crowd and we have a laugh or two. Talking of laughing, when we went to dinner we never stopped, Greg is such a funny guy. In the same part of the restaurant as us, a 60th birthday party was taking place. They were a good crowd who were game for a laugh and enjoyed Greg’s antics as much as we did.

Once the meal was over we wandered home to retire reasonably early. During the night the wind picked up and howled with a vengeance making sleep difficult. Then in the early hours it dropped and the night air was as still as still can be. But then I was too hot. Ah well, never satisfied am I?

 
  Sunday 4th January 2009  
  We said our goodbyes to M & G, it was a bit sad as they were a lot of fun. Later I took the car into town as I wanted to do some shopping. Pete Mate walked in and met me at G.J.’s for coffee. It is now getting very warm indeed so we spent the rest of the day keeping cool. Much later we went to Happy Hour, they are a friendly crowd and we enjoyed a pleasant time.  
  Monday 5th January 2009  
  We walked into town as we had to return some forms to a couple of job agencies. The forms we have to complete are ridiculous but once they are done the data are entered onto an Australia-wide system so we don’t have to do them again. We had our usual coffee before walking home. Again we retreated from the heat into the air-conditioning of our 'van until it was time for Happy Hour.  
  Tuesday 6th January 2009  
  I went to the hairdresser then met Pete Mate in town at G.J’s. We did another tour of job agencies before heading home. Then it was time to get ready to go out to the Chinese for a meal with our new friends. Very nice it was too and very reasonable.  
  Wednesday 7th January 2009  
  We did our usual walk into town and visited Gloria’s. Once home Pete Mate had a nanna nap and then it was time for Happy Hour. One thing I learnt today was do not put something in the fry pan and then go to Happy Hour. It burns! Later, after dinner, we went to the free concert in the park. It was pretty average, they murdered a few songs but we stayed until the end. We met up with some people we met last year so we had a good chatting session and got told off for talking. Ho hum!!  
  Thursday 8th January 2009  
  During the night we were treated to a thunderstorm but by morning it had passed. First thing I noticed when I woke up was my ganglion has disappeared. Maybe the fairies took it in the night! It was a day of reading, knitting and watching the tennis. No walk today as I didn’t really feel like it. We had a short Happy Hour before we all went off to make dinner. Then we went over to listen to the free concert in the park. The chap was good, much better than the group the night before.
 
  Friday 9th January 2009  
  We walked into town as we had an appointment with a job agency. After that we walked around town, called in at a few places, enjoyed a couple of coffees and did some shopping. Once home with a few chores completed we went to Happy Hour. No free concert tonight so we watched the tennis. Well, I did until I fell asleep but Pete Mate stuck in there until the end.  
  Saturday 10th January 2009
 
  We were out and about in the morning doing our usual walk into town. In the afternoon we watched a movie in the air-conditioned caravan. This movie was called The Last Castle with Robert Redford. I had taped it weeks ago from the TV but as per usual I didn’t get the end. Poor old RR was shot trying to raise the flag and then nothing, very annoying. If anyone knows the movie, we would appreciate knowing the ending.

Later we went to Happy Hour and then after dinner walked over to the barbecue area for the free concert. The singer was good but not as good as last night.
 
 

Sunday 11th January 2009

 
 

I took the car into town to do the shopping, Pete Mate walked in and met me at Gloria Jean’s. Later we walked back into town to attend a concert by Those Gals. We really enjoyed their music last year but today it wasn’t their usual performance as one of the ‘Gals’ was missing and replaced by a man.

 
     
   
  We later saw Those Gals, back at full strength, performing in a shopping centre. They harmonise beautifully and are lovely to listen to. All three live in Tamworth.  
     
  I might add this bloke did not wear a dress nor did he sing like a Gal. Anyway we were with nice company (our neighbours from the park), so we had a good time. We walked home through deserted streets and made it to the caravan just before the heavens opened and we had a really heavy downpour.  
  Monday 12th January 2009  
  We had our usual walk into town and paid a visit to GJ’s. It was really hot and I found the walk back really hard going. Everyone around us in the caravan park, including us, has been invaded by ants so the general topic of conversation is how to eradicate them. Different concoctions have been used but so far the ants are winning. Later, after Happy Hour and dinner, we went to yet another free concert in the park. Tonight’s entertainment was a lady and her husband but she was the one who got the billing. They were quite good. Their final song they had written themselves and I really enjoyed it.  
  Tuesday 13th January 2009  
 

We were out and about in the morning, dropping off resumes and doing a little shopping. After lunch we went to one of the clubs to listen to some free entertainment. Where we sat we could listen to the music but also watch the tennis on the big screen. Leighton Hewitt won his match - eventually. He obviously took on board all the advice we were giving him.

We were home in time for Happy Hour. The crowd of revellers is getting bigger by the day but once the festival starts officially, Happy Hours will be few and far between as most people will be out and about in town. After dinner we went to the free concert in the park and then somehow Happy Hour started again at our caravan and went on until midnight. The free concert was really good and I think everyone enjoyed themselves.

 
  Wednesday 14th January 2009  
  We were out and about again today. In the evening we attended the Young Guns Concert. We enjoy this concert as we see and hear a lot of good talented youngsters. This concert was the first time we saw our favourite, Michelle Little, and she gets better and better. It was a pleasant walk home as the temperature had cooled considerably.
 
  Thursday 15th January 2009  
  We walked into town and went to Gloria’s for a coffee. There were a few people about and the odd busker but nothing like it will be tomorrow. Later we enjoyed another pleasant Happy Hour.  
  Friday 16th January 2009  
  We walked into town in the afternoon and had a look around. The town is quite busy now with lots of buskers, market stalls and of course the huge Telstra tent housing all those lovely Telstra girls Pete Mate so loves to cuddle.  
     
   
  We saw this happy skittle a few times throughout the festival with his two pretty fairies.  
     
  We tried to see Those Gals at the Tudor but it was impossible as it was so noisy and crowded. We escaped to the restaurant upstairs for some peace and quiet. We enjoyed a meal whilst watching the tennis.

Afterwards we made our way to the Fitzroy to see Michelle. She performed excellently but the owner insisted she played more ‘rock’ which isn’t why we travelled all the way from the West to see her. Anyway we enjoyed ourselves and got to know her Auntie Margie better. Auntie Margie is standing in as Michelle’s ‘roadie’ as Trent hasn’t been able to make it to the festival.
 
  Saturday 17th January 2009  
  We wandered into town as is our habit. Michelle was performing at the Coca Cola tent at one o'clock so we had a chance to listen to some other acts before she arrived. Some were good, some were not so good and some were plain shocking.

After Michelle did her stint we four (including Auntie Margie) departed to Diggers for some lunch and copious amounts of red wine. Whilst there Trent phoned; he will be able to make the festival after all. We will be pleased to see him (though not as pleased as Michelle). Later we wandered back through the town and on home for a rest before watching The Bill.
 
     
   
  This talented charcoal artist was sketching a nurse as we passed. Where did she find that outfit, I wonder? His sign said each sketch took four minutes and cost $25.  
     
  Sunday 18th January 2009  
  We didn’t do very much in the morning, later we walked into town to repeat the previous days activities. More free concerts to see and hear, buskers and the colourful street vendors all contribute to making the festival one great party. Again we saw Michelle in the evening, this time we said goodbye to Auntie Margie as she was heading home.  
  Monday 19th January 2009  
  At times our days seem to meld into one as we experience so much entertainment; after a while our minds go into overload. We had another great day enjoying all the music and people, we again saw Michelle and then had dinner with her before helping her back to her car with all her gear. We met some lovely people who were locals and played in a Scottish pipe band.  
  Tuesday 20th January 2009  
  We walked into town in the afternoon to enjoy the music of the day. So many different types of music can be heard just along the main street, never mind in the clubs and pubs.  
     
   
  And so many different instruments, too.  
     
  Later we went to see Michelle perform at the Fitzroy. We know the staff there now, so are welcomed in. They probably think: Here come a few more dollars! After the concert we walked home. The air was muggy and hot.  
  Wednesday 21st January 2009  
  We took the day off as we are all ‘festivaled’ out. In the evening we went to a concert at the Regent Theatre. It was Michelle Little sings Patsy Cline. After reading about this concert in November 2008 we had decided to again attend the Tamworth Country Festival. Were we disappointed? Not in a million years, it was absolutely fantastic. Michelle’s performance was professional, talented and so enjoyable she brought the house down. It was her maiden Patsy Cline concert and we feel privileged to have been part of it, because believe me it is only the beginning of great things to come for this young lady.

Walking back to the car afterwards we enjoyed the balmy evening with the sights and sounds of the festival going on around us. The ice cream was good too!
 
  Thursday 22nd January 2009  
 

It has been raining and we have more rain expected tomorrow. We went over to the Shopping World to see a young chap play the guitar. What we heard was excellent but as we arrived late we missed most of it. We had a wander here and there and then, late in the afternoon, I went to Happy Hour and Pete Mate went off with the men to a car auction. Secret men’s business.

The men arrived back in time for dinner, funny that! After dinner Pete Mate and I went to the Oasis to see and hear Ryan Sampson. We enjoyed Ryan’s performance at The Young Guns so much we bought his CD. Once inside the Oasis it was evident that seats were in short supply, I managed to snaffle one but Pete Mate was left propping the bar up. By this time we had discovered whoever was on stage was not Ryan Sampson, so Pete Mate made a polite enquiry at the bar as to when he was appearing. Not at this venue he was told. Oops! Guess who got it wrong? I must have been having a senior moment but we were really supposed to be at the Locomotive, so we finished our drinks and left.

At least at the Locomotive we managed to get seats without any problem. Ryan was performing with another ‘Young Gun’, Jarred Scott, both were entertaining the small crowd with music we didn’t like as it was loud and we were unable to make out the words they were ‘singing’. So we left and returned home to some peace and quiet.

 
  Friday 23rd January 2009  
  The heavy rain we had experienced overnight had subsided so we decided to walk into town as there was a particular concert I wanted to see. Alas it wasn’t to be. Water began dripping from the roof of the caravan so it was a case of manning the buckets. That's a slight exaggeration as it was only dripping through but the drip was constant and onto the upholstery.

Later, after it had stopped raining for a while and the drip had subsided, we took the car into town, first calling at the bowling club to see an act that had been recommended. We were unlucky as the venue was full. What’s more the ‘lady’ on the door could do with a few lessons in manners and customer service instead of being so rude. We found a seat on the veranda and could hear the show perfectly. By all accounts we were a lot cooler than the ones packed into the hall.

Later we found our way to the Fitzroy to see Michelle Little perform yet again. She was, as always, very good except it wasn’t the music we love to hear her sing so we left early. We collected a Chinese take away on the way home which was delicious.
 
  Saturday 24th January 2009  
  We attended a concert at the Longyard pub where Michelle was performing amongst other acts. It was full on for two hours and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Peter Pratt was the last act and he sang the good old fashioned country songs, he was excellent. None of this rock stuff. After the concert we went home for a while then later in the afternoon we went to the Leagues Club to listen to Travis List. We had been told he was very good and also sang the old country music. The place was packed, hot and sticky and the music was just a loud noise. So after a couple of hours we left for home; after all, The Bill is on tonight!  
  Sunday 25th January 2009  
  Some of our Happy Hour friends left today, it is always sad to say goodbye to the people whose company you have enjoyed.

We walked into town, saw some buskers and caught a couple of the free shows. We didn’t stay long as it was so hot and Pete Mate wanted to get home so he could get on the roof of the caravan and fix the leak before the next lot of rain comes. He spent quite a bit of time up there in the heat but feels confident he has fixed it.
 
     
   
  Another busker. What was this strange pipe affair?  
     
  Monday 26th January 2009  
 

We attended a concert to celebrate Australia Day and the closing of the Festival in the morning. The first two acts were rubbish but the Bushwhackers were great. After all the speeches were done and the festival flag lowered, we were treated to the music of Ross Wilson and the Urban Legends. I use the word ‘treated’ mockingly as what happened after the first couple of numbers was a mass exodus as patrons retreated to somewhere else where they weren’t going to get their ear drums blasted. We, of course, were in the lead!

We left there and went to Bunnings where we spent an hour looking at ladders. Yep ladies, men can look at ladders for an hour. By this time I was hot and hungry - they don't have air-conditioning in Bunnings in Tamworth. We then went home to rest, eat and to get cool.

It was soon Happy Hour. It was decided that we would sit in the road as the park is now quiet and that was where the shade was. Everything was fine, we were a reasonably large crowd, then this lady wanted to drive by. Was she snitty or what? Management had locked the toilets in her part of the camp ground, that was her first grumble, then us lounging in the middle of the road was the final straw. Never mind, we soon got over it. It was a very pleasant time but tomorrow we will be very few indeed as a lot more are leaving.

 
  Tuesday 27th January 2009  
  Sad time once again, we had to say our goodbyes to more of our Happy Hour gang.

Later we were out and about in town. G.J’s has quietened down now and the girls look a lot more relaxed. We reckon the girls that work there are something special because at the height of the festival, when it was really busy, they still had a smile and a cheery welcome for everyone. Or was it just Pete Mate!!!!!

We then paid another visit to Bunning’s. Again we had to size up all the ladders, what this one would do versus that one and so on. An hour later we left with a ladder, thank the Lord.

Later we went to Happy Hour which will probably be our last for a while as the rest of our playmates are leaving tomorrow.
 
  Wednesday 28th January 2009  
  Somebody’s germs flew into our caravan during the night and I awoke in the morning with a streaming cold. Actually, when I awoke I just felt like c#@p. It was only later that it became a streaming cold. Not a good day to attend an interview, which was our main task of the day. Luckily it wasn’t until mid afternoon so I had time to really develop the red nose effect. Anyway, the interviews went well. (Oh, did I mention Pete Mate was also in the hot seat?) These jobs are 'night fill' at Coles Supermarket; hopefully we will be successful and start earning some wine money soon. The cellar is bare!  
  Thursday 29th January 2009  
  Awoke feeling really rotten. I say awoke but really I was awake most of the night coughing my poor little heart out. I stayed in or on the bed all day whilst Pete Mate kept me supplied with drinks. Whilst lying there thinking about life in general I replayed yesterday’s interview in my head. The questions that they asked are quite inappropriate for our situation; we're not looking for careers, just an income for a while.  
  Friday 30th January 2009  
 

What a day! I awoke after another awful night of coughing and decided after breakfast to go back to bed. Then the phone rang, I was invited to attend an interview for a bookkeepers job. So I dragged myself into the shower and emerged feeling something like human. I always said a shower made you feel better. The interview was a great success - my biggest dread was having a coughing fit half way through. Anyway that didn’t happen and the people seemed very nice; I got the job. So, on Monday I rejoin the workforce, calculator in hand.

Whilst I was having the interview Pete Mate was taking a call which informed him we had both been accepted for shelf stacking jobs at Coles. I was tempted as the last thing I want is stress in my life but the bookkeeping position pays very well so I guess there was no contest really. Anyway Pete Mate accepted his position and he also starts work next week but we are unsure of the day yet. From there we went to Harvey Normans to purchase a MYOB test drive pack so I could reintroduce myself to the world of accounting. Then it was home to celebrate.

 
  Saturday 31st January 2009  
  I had to go and buy some appropriate office clothes today as shorts and tee shirts are not really the go in an office. I found a very nice assistant and explained what I needed and why. She came up with the goods.

We did our grocery shopping and then returned home - I was ready for a lie down. It also seems that Pete Mate is coming down with it. I guess it is unavoidable, living in such close quarters.

Well January has ended on a high and low note; we are not happy to be sick but we are very happy to know we have the means to boost our bank balance a little.