Albert and Annie Say:

Pay no mind to those who talk behind your back,
it simply means that you are two steps ahead.


      Pam's Journal For July 2009

  Wednesday 1st July 2009  
  Another early start as again we had an extremely busy day. Pete Mate was busy with his Oxley work.
  Thursday 2nd July 2009  
  Work as usual, busy but not frantic like the last few days. Pete Mate was on duty at Oxley. After work we went straight home without having to call in at the supermarket. What bliss!  
  Friday 3rd July 2009  
  Work as usual for both of us then it was home for Happy Hour. We wandered up to the pub for dinner later. When I left work I didn’t think we would be going out for dinner as my hip was behaving badly and I was in a lot of pain. Nurofen and a hot pack worked wonders and enabled me to walk to the pub. The meal was as lovely as ever and who can complain at $10 each?  
  Saturday 4th July 09  
  The sun was shining but it was still cold; it only reached a maximum of 16° C. We did a few chores and then I completed our tax returns - nothing like getting in first. Apart from that we did very little.  
  Sunday 5th July 09  
  As it was the first Sunday in the month we took ourselves off to the Banalasta Winery for lunch and some free entertainment. The only trouble was by the time we arrived, so had half of Tamworth. We thought we would have to eat standing up, but no, we spied a table and I made a beeline for it. We enjoyed a reasonable lunch with some reasonable wine but we couldn’t hear much of the entertainment as Matt Malone was singing (and freezing) outside and we were inside near a huge log fire. The food and wine at Banalasta are not cheap, especially if you compare it with The Oasis, our Friday night haunt. Granted the surroundings are nicer. We are undecided whether to go back in August but knowing us we probably will.  
  Monday 6th July 09 – Thursday 9th July 09  
  Working, working, working. On Wednesday Pete Mate was needed at Oxley and the Museum. In fact he’d double booked himself and had to do some reshuffling.  
  Friday 10th July 09  
  I awoke with a raging sore throat and a barking cough. Being the trooper I am I took myself off to work, (for 'trooper' read 'idiot'). Pete Mate worked at Oxley all day and felt as fit as a fiddle.

Having survived the day, where else would you spend the evening but at the pub, so off we toddled. Big mistake! As the wine seeped through my veins the virus decided to have its own little war within my body and pretty soon I was feeling so damned awful that we went home.
  Saturday 11th July 2009  
  I didn’t feel the best but dragged myself off to the hairdressers - what a martyr I am. I had a haircut and some purple streaks put through my hair.

I have just spent a good ten minutes looking for the poem ‘When I am Old and Wear Purple’. I was convinced I had already put it in my journal but cannot find it so here it is again.

Warning -
When I Am An Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple

By Jenny Joseph

When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple
with a red hat that doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
and satin candles, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I am tired
and gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
and run my stick along the public railings
and make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
and pick the flowers in other people's gardens
and learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
and eat three pounds of sausages at a go
or only bread and pickles for a week
and hoard pens and pencils and beer nuts and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
and pay our rent and not swear in the street
and set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

  Here is the male version, courtesy of brother-in-law Michael.  
When I’m an old man, I’ll wear claret,
A colour to go with my nose,
A toupee the colour of carrot,
And a cloth cap in palest of rose.

I’ll chase all the fillies in minis,
Not fast, but as fast as I can,
But only when I’ve drunk several tinnies,
I’m not really a dirty old man.

I’ll deliberately leave my flies open,
And hear the old dears all go “tut”
But really they’ll all just be hoping.
That my ---- is as big as my gut.

I’ll grow hair in all the wrong places,
Especially the ears and the nose,
And get people to tie my shoelaces,
Been a long time since I’ve seen my toes.

I’ll break wind whenever I want to,
As loudly and long as I wish,
In a bus, where there’s nowhere to run to,
With a pong of some rotten old fish.

Just forget this load of “old” dreaming,
That isn’t me one little bit.
There’s no point in wishing and scheming
I’ll just learn to wear purple, and spit!

  Sunday 12th July 2009  
  I spent the day in bed as the virus is now full blown. Pete Mate also has it now but much worse.  
  Monday 13th July 2009  
  Stayed in bed again as I felt like c#*p. Pete Mate also stayed there.  
  Tuesday 14th July 2009  
  Pete Mate stayed in bed and I went off to work, feeling a little better than yesterday. When I got home our friends Fay and Ken had arrived – it was fantastic to see them as they are a lovely couple of whom we are very fond. We walked up to the pub for Happy Hour and then had dinner there. Again Sue the chef did not disappoint – the meals were lovely.  
  Wednesday 15th July 2009  
  Work as usual for me, Pete Mate is still recovering. In the evening we had Happy Hour at Fay and Ken’s and then they gave us dinner as well. It was all very lovely and very much appreciated.  
  Thursday 16th July 2009  
  I went to work and Pete Mate took Fay and Ken out for a drive to Bendemeer and Banalasta. They seemed to have a good time and they did remember to come and collect me from work. We had a short happy hour tonight as Pete Mate and I were meeting up with some other visitors, Margaret Druitt–Smith and her daughter, Jill Dunn, with Jill's two children. Margaret is Peter’s brother’s wife’s mother. It was lovely to see them and they all enjoyed a nice meal though mine was a poor choice and pretty awful.  
  Friday 17th July 2009  
  Party time – no work today as it is Hats Off Festival which is a mini Country Music Festival. Fay, Ken, Pete Mate and I had a lovely day listening to music here and there and then after a nanny nap we took ourselves off to Diggers for The Dolly and Willie Show. No it wasn’t really Dolly and Willie but they were pretty damn good. We had a marvellous time but were glad to see our beds as we are still not a hundred percent.  
  Saturday 18th July 2009  
  We had a wander around town to see if there were any buskers but there were only a couple, not like in January when the side walk is crammed with them. We saw some pretty good performers at the shopping centre, Donella being one of them.

Later we made our way home, parked up the car and walked to the Oasis for more music. Some of it wasn’t bad and some of it was just plain awful. Anyway, we enjoyed ourselves listening to the music and watching the other people. It would seem fringed jackets and shiny satin shirts are the go for the Hats Off Festival. One lady was walking around with some kind of animal’s tail hanging from her hat. Maybe that is all that was left of her lunch after she caught and cooked it out on the prairie. Line dancing was also popular and a few people got up to strut their stuff. A straight face is obviously a prerequisite as not one of them smiled whilst dancing. We enjoyed another lovely dinner at the Oasis. Much later we headed home as Pete Mate and I were exhausted.
  Sunday 19th July 2009  
  We ignored Pete Mate’s protests that he could not possibly go to a breakfast show. PM is not a morning person. So off we went - without too many grumbles, I might add. We enjoyed a very nice cooked breakfast before finding our seats in the concert room. The show had comedy, music and poetry, a really good mix. It was excellent; we haven’t laughed so long and hard in a very long time. After the show we drove home, parked up the car and then walked up to the Oasis for the afternoon show. We decided to get there early to get good seats which we did. Apart from one occupied seat the place was empty but within an hour the place was packed. Those Gals were performing and they were excellent as usual. After they had finished we decided to stay and see the next act and have some dinner. Pete Mate went home for an hour’s nanny nap as he is still feeling the effects of the flu. The evening’s entertainment was varied and wasn’t too bad at all – mainly 'balladeer' type music. All in all it was an excellent day.  
  Monday 20th July 2009  
  Back to work for me and the washing chore for Pete Mate. In the evening we had Happy Hour with Fay and Ken and then Fay cooked dinner for us all. It was lovely and again very much appreciated.  
  Tuesday 21st July 2009  
  We said our sad goodbyes to Fay and Ken this morning; we will really miss them as they are excellent company. After work our Happy Hour was a little flat but we always feel like this when we have said goodbye to friends. Once we get used to ‘just the two of us' again we are once more in good spirits.  
  Wednesday 22nd July 2009  
  Work as usual. Nothing for Pete Mate today.  
  Thursday 23rd July 2009  
  Same as yesterday except we did some shopping on the way home.  
  Friday 24th July 2009  
  Work as usual for me. Pete Mate worked at Oxley on his dementia run. In the evening we walked up to the pub for dinner. It was quite busy as they had a lot of Jehovah's Witnesses having meals. I know this as they were wearing badges. There is a big convention here in Tamworth over the weekend. After our meal we wandered home and tucked ourselves away in the 'van as the temperature is going to be freezing overnight.  
  Saturday 25th July 2009  

We awoke to clear blue skies, sunshine and a temperature of one degree. I hopped out of bed, switched on the heater and hopped straight back into bed. (I was going to say I am an excellent bed hopper, but maybe people might get the wrong idea!)

Later, after breakfast, we ventured forth with maps, Alice, and some pioneering spirit. We drove through very pretty countryside that was lovely and green we even saw some yellow blossom on the trees. We arrived in Uralla in time for a coffee before having a look around. We drove around and then decided to visit the museum. It was housed in an old restored flour mill and had some really interesting items.

We learnt the story of Thunderbolt, a highway man who robbed people at gun point, shot at policemen and was a thoroughly bad sort. He met his demise in a river – shot by a policeman. His body was taken to the town and put on a table for people to view and confirm that it was Thunderbolt. The very same table is now in the museum.

At the time, everybody was glad to see Thunderbolt dead. Today this bad chap has become a hero and Uralla even has a fully sized statue of him on horseback in a prominent place in the town. Methinks in about fifty year's time Christopher Skase might be regarded as a hero! We wandered through the Thunderbolt display, a lot of which was housed in glass display cabinets. I got the shock of my life when I peered into one of the cabinets and there was a life size replica of Thunderbolt's corpse. I stepped back exclaiming loudly, “Strike a light!"  I jumped out of my skin. Not a pretty sight.

The museum was born from an idea dreamed up by a group of historians that were interested in preserving some of the area’s history. Thank goodness they did - so much of Australia's history is lost. This group scoured the area for artifacts of interest and on one such trip they found, stored in someone's shed, lots of Chinese relics from a Joss House. These relics were over a hundred years old and were originally housed at a small Joss House in a mining settlement called Rocky Valley. They were beautiful and so easily could have been lost forever. In the display was a Chinese frieze of the most intricate carvings – this was found in a local’s garage where it had been for fifty years. The owner had purchased it in a garage sale somewhere.

The museum also had an Aboriginal display with a life sized family around a small camp fire. It was very realistic and it gave me the creeps because I am sure I saw the woman move. The one display that made us chuckle out loud was of cricket bats. One had a hole in it and was titled Holy Bat. Another was painted in camouflage colours and named Combat. Then there was a photo of a lady of advancing years – named Old Bat. You get the idea? Someone has a good sense of humour.

We left there in search of lunch and discovered that while we were in the museum the town had closed and everyone had gone home. We did find a bakery open and purchased its wares. If you are ever in Uralla, visit the bakery. You won’t get a smile but the pies are excellent.

After sitting on a wall and eating our pies, we left town and headed for Walcha. The countryside we were now seeing was very dry indeed and we wondered how the poor sheep and cattle had enough to eat. We were looking for a flock of sheep wearing jackets as Pete Mate wanted to take a photo - he'd seen such a flock previously when on  a trip to Armidale for Oxley - but alas we didn’t spy one.

Walcha was a sleepy little town and was mainly closed. We drove up to the lookout and to our dismay had to park the car and walk a track to the top. Once there we couldn’t see much at all as we weren’t twenty feet tall and couldn’t see over the tree tops. On the way back down we noticed the views were better than at the top. We had a wander around town but didn’t really see much that appealed to us so we decided to make our way home. It was a long drive and again we passed through very dry countryside until we reached Bendemeer, then it all changed and was as green as green.

And so ended a pleasant day, not the most riveting, but far better than sitting in the caravan and missing the beautiful sunshine.

  Sunday 26th July 2009  
  A of day of doing chores, reading and general home ‘stuff’. Luckily we had our day out yesterday as the weather was not so good today.
  Monday 27th July 2009 to Thursday 30th July 2009  

The weekdays tend to be pretty much the same each week. The challenges are different and the stress levels can vary. Generally, by Thursday evening I am hanging out for Friday night at the pub. Pete Mate has been busy this week with his job at Oxley and a general meeting of the museum people.

  Friday 31st July 2009  
  Where did July go? One minute we were racing around doing everything for the end of June (and the financial year) then the next minute we at the end of July. Work was just as busy for me and Pete Mate was busy at Oxley. After work we had a couple of errands to do before we could put our feet up and officially declare it the weekend.

We walked up to the pub for tea and were joined by Mary (from work). It was a pleasant evening and a very fitting end to a very busy month.