Bob and Pooh Say:

Don’t be afraid to set your own rules and live life YOUR way. If they don’t like it, they don’t have to play.     Mhar, 2011

     

Pam's Journal For November 2011

     
  Tuesday 1st November 2011  
 

We didn’t do very much as were still a little lethargic after the long drive yesterday. We were invited by John, the 'sort of manager' here, to happy hour around the camp fire. The fire was large and hot and I sat as far away from it as I could. The late afternoon air was still quite warm so it did seem odd to have a fire. Happy Hour was pleasant and we met a few new people but it lacked the Emu Park zest.

 
     
  Wednesday 2nd November 2011  
 

We had a walk around the park in the afternoon. The flowers were beautiful.

 
     
   
  The short life of a flower; a tight succulent bud opens to become a
beautiful bloom, then all too soon, a withered brown husk . . .
 
     
   
  . . . but, oh, the glory of them in their prime.  
     
 

Our main objective was to see the underground bunkers. We did see some that have been converted into accommodation and Pete Mate was invited inside to have a look around one of them. We didn’t find the ones that were just bunkers; we thought we were on the right track but somehow ended up back at the caravan.

 
     
   
  On top of each bunker there were two ventilation pipes, an air conditioner and a television antenna.  
     
 

As it was really hot we decided enough was enough and retreated into the ‘van and the air conditioner. On the way back we met some nice young men that were working in the area exploring for coal gas. One told us he was a butcher for 13 years, two of which he spent in Tamworth. He then realised he could make a lot more money in the mining industry so moved here.

We told him we were going to Tamworth for the festival and he took a good ten minutes trying to remember the names of singers he thought we should see. It didn’t matter that we told him we had been to several festivals before. We walked away amused but none the wiser.

There wasn’t an official Happy Hour tonight so Pete Mate and I had our private one.

 
     
  Thursday 3rd November 2011  
 

We drove in to Miles for the day. The Historical Village was on the 'must do' list according to the locals so we did it. It was interesting and very well done, a lot of work had gone into making the village as authentic as possible. So it kind of spoilt it when, dotted about, were things from the 1990’s.

 
     
   
  . . . a lot of work had gone into making the village as authentic as possible.  
     
   
  The hospital was particularly impressive.  
     
 

The hospital was very impressive; the best we have seen. We left there in search of lunch and went to the café recommended by John from the caravan park. The sandwich was good but the iced coffee was to die for so we had two.

 
     
   
  One of two bullock skulls in the village. These poor animals must have died a terrible death.  
     
 

We walked down the main street to a building the chap in the village told us about. It was a modern building that housed the library, an art gallery and an area that told the history of the town. The building was quite impressive; we don’t have any photos as we had left the cameras in the car.

We now had to do boring stuff such as in filling the car with diesel and buying a few groceries. Once that was done we headed home for our very own little happy hour.

 
     
  Friday 4th November 2011  
 

I woke up feeling like a truck had run me down and then reversed over me again so I went back to bed.

 
     
  Saturday 5th November 2011  
 

We cleaned and packed everything away ready for our departure tomorrow. We have enjoyed our stay here and would definitely return some day. The only gripe I had was that they closed the main ablution block and only had two ensuite type bathrooms available for use. Quite often they were at least six caravans in the park and sometimes I was seen doing a little jig outside one of the bathrooms.

 
     
  Sunday 6th November 2011  
 

We left Possum Park with a little sadness. That was until we hit the track leading us out of the park on to the main road. A grader was definitely needed and we had to travel very slowly indeed. By the time we reached the main road we were glad to be on our way!

We made good time to Goondiwindi and pulled up in the caravan park Pete Mate had researched on the net. We sat there looking at broken down caravans and wondered if we had actually driven into Steptoe’s yard by mistake. This chap appeared from . . . well, actually I'm not sure as one minute he wasn’t there and the next he was. He gave us a bit of a spiel about the park and then said he was going to get the manager and would be back in five minutes. We said not to bother as we were moving on. He was helpful and friendly but very scary looking.

The next park we arrived at looked good but Pamela behind the counter must have been very busy elsewhere and we interrupted her. We were going to book in for four nights but we both looked at each other and said in unison, “One night, thank you”. We set up camp and that was us for the night.

 
     
  Monday 7th November 2011  
 

We left Goondiwindi around 9.00am; we were so disappointed with the caravan parks we probably won’t return here which is sad as we didn’t really give the town of Goondiwindi a fair go.

We crossed the border into NSW and immediately were taxed an hour for the pleasure. That Julia gets everywhere. By the time we arrived in Narrabri we decided we would stay the night as we had another two hundred and odd kilometres to go. We found the caravan park that Pete Mate had researched on the net. This time however it was fine and the park was nice and people friendly. We set up camp, had some lunch then went for a short walk to stretch our legs. Well actually we needed wine; Narrabri seems a nice enough town.

 
     
  Tuesday 8th November 2011.  
 

We left Narrabri around 9.00am and had a good run through to Gilgandra. We received a nice friendly welcome, just as we had when we first came here in 2008. We set up camp and I did some washing. It was then out with the computers and that was about it until the red nectar was poured.

Whilst ‘computering’ we both jumped when a very loud splatter landed on the roof of the ‘van. I asked what on earth it was. Pete Mate reckoned it was a bird pooping on our roof as it flew over. Sorry Pete Mate, but I think it was a flying elephant, the noise it made.

Later we were treated to a wonderful thunderstorm; it reminded us of the last time we were here. Luckily the washing was dry before the downpour started.

 
     
  Wednesday 9th November 2011  
 

We had a drive around Gilgandra which was a little confusing as part of the road was closed for repairs. We found the Services Club; I wanted to check if they sold poppies. They don't, in fact nowhere in Gilgandra could I buy a poppy. Luckily I do still have last year’s.

 
     
  Thursday 10th November 2011  
  Lay day.  
     
  Friday 11th November 2011 - Remembrance Day.  
 

Pete Mate reckoned the lack of poppies indicates that today was more for the British than the Australians. I disagree and to endorse this you only had to look at the people that turned up for the service. It is only a small country town but there were quite a few there.

The old blokes either dressed in suits or their old uniforms, all very smart. It was extremely hot and a lot of the elderly were given chairs to sit on, some of the old Diggers refused to sit. So it was ironic that the only casualty was a young school girl who was standing in front of us. I saw her going over but the chap next to her was as quick as lightning and had a chair under her before she hit the ground. The medics were then called over and she was looked after very well. Once the main service was over we all strolled over to the wall that was dedicated to all serving personnel. It was all very nice and moving but it was so nice to get back to the air conditioner inside the ‘van.

 
     
  Saturday 12th November 2011  
  Get ready day.  
     
  Sunday 13th November 2011  
 

We left Gilgandra just after 8.30am; we had a couple of stops along the way and arrived at Junee around 4:00pm. It was a good trip through without incident and we passed through some very pretty scenery. For me nothing can beat the rolling green hills and the different wildflowers we see along the wayside.

Our welcome at Junee was very warm and friendly and we were soon shown to our site. The park is lovely; we are camped by a lake and overlook a sports field. By the time we had set up camp it was time for the red nectar.

We sat outside and watched the various activities happening on the sports field and lake. The lake is apparently a very popular fishing hole. Young ladies running by gave PM something to look at.

 
     
  Monday 14th November 2011  
 

What a night! The wind howled and the awning flapped and groaned then a train went by waking us up with its loud horn. In the morning the wind was still as strong so Pete Mate rolled the awning in. The weather remained the same all day, not suitable for sitting outside. We drove into the little town of Junee and checked out the shops.

The park is now filling up with members of the Probus Club.

 
     
  Tuesday 15th November 2011  
 

We awoke to a glorious day, beautiful sunshine and not a breath of wind. I did all the chores that needed doing and then took my book, knitting and a cup of tea and sat outside to enjoy the day. There I stayed, only coming in for drinks and food. Pete Mate spent the day on the computer once again.

It was another quiet Happy Hour as the Probus Club keep themselves to themselves. In case you are wondering, PROBUS is derived from the two words, PROfessional and BUSiness. It is an association of retired people who have joined together to form a non-political, non-sectarian International Club which provides a regular opportunity for them to meet like-minded folk, make new friends and expand their interests.

 
     
 

Wednesday 16th November 2011

 
 

Today was overcast and dull, not really a day for sitting outside but we did for a little while until we got quite chilled. I was concerned about two young boys who arrived at the lake to fish at 9.00am and left at just after 6.00pm. They looked about ten years old. Without an adult in sight I felt it my duty to keep an eye on them. We went out for a short time for a drive up a goat track; we haven’t done that in a while. We were trying to see if the grain was being loaded on to a parked train. It wasn’t; the train was sitting idle and there wasn’t any activity at all. We then called in at the Post Office for the mail which hasn’t arrived. My suspicion is that it is there but she was so dozy she couldn’t be bothered to look properly.

 
     
  Thursday 17th November 2011.  
 

Monte Cristo was on our ‘to do list’ today. This is a very old house that is being lovingly restored. There are supposed to be ten ghosts living there but as we didn’t see any we cannot verify this. The Ryan family that own it have seen these ghosts and live with them. We first wandered about the place peering into this room and that, then moved on to the out-buildings. A lot of work has been done but they still have a lot to do.

When we had finished looking around Olive Ryan showed us photos of what it was like when they moved in. Since her husband, as a teenager, first saw the house, it was his dream to own it.

When he finally bought Monte Cristo she had two small girls and another on the way. The house had no electricity, no water and no glass in the windows. It had been left empty for years and vandals had been to work on it. The Ryans ‘camped’ there whilst they slowly made a part of it habitable. As she said, it wasn’t her idea of living.

The house was originally built by one Christopher Crawley, a grazier, who immediately saw £££ signs in front of his eyes when the railway proposed to build a track right through his land.

Having made a fortune from the railway, he built Monte Cristo in 1876. It remained in the Crawley family until 1963 when the Ryan’s bought it. Olive said they paid £1,000 for it and everyone thought they were mad. Recently they have been offered $3,000,000 for it but won't sell.

The ten ghosts are said to be:

1. A young stable lad who didn’t report in for work one day as he was sick. Mr Crawley set fire to his straw mattress and he burnt to death.

2. & 3. Two children that died.

4. A baby that was dropped down the stairs by its nanny.

5. A woman jumped off a balcony.

6. A poor unfortunate who was the son of the housekeeper; because he was mentally retarded he spent all his days chained up in the dairy.

7. A man from the village went mad and came up to the house and shot . . . I think, the butler.

I can’t remember the rest. The Ryan family have ghost hunting nights where you stay over and they give you the ghostly tour and feed you. I do believe it is not a night for the faint hearted but they are fully booked into next year.

Once we left there we called by the Post Office to see if they had found the mail. I have to take it all back and say, "Sorry, Post Office". It was Pharmacy online that stuffed up this time; they didn’t put my full name on the label. I guess not many people have parcels addressed to 'Pamela' so after much toing and froing the lady asked, "Is your name Pamela by any chance?"

I won’t mention that she had my full name from my driving licence all the time she was looking, plus I told her it was from Epharmacy which is clearly printed on the parcel. Never mind, we have the parcel and that is the main thing. Now it was home for happy hour.

 
     
  Friday 18th November 2011  
 

A day of doing things but achieving little.

 
     
  Saturday 19th November 2011  
  The day has finally arrived, the day of the Warbirds Air Show and the sole reason we are here. We decided to be extravagant and pay for gold pass tickets. This entitled us to:
• A guaranteed a seat in the grandstand.
• Priority parking.
• A hat.
• Three posters of planes.
• A programme
• Separate toilets to the general crowd.
• Separate food vendors to the general crowd.
Pete Mate reckoned it wasn’t worth the extra money. I disagreed for the following reasons.
• We had an excellent view of everything and Pete Mate didn’t have to carry two chairs for miles.
• We didn’t have to park and walk for miles.
• The hat may become someone’s Christmas present.
• The posters - see above.
• No toilet queues. Toilets stayed reasonably clean with plenty of soap and paper towels all day.
• No long refreshment queues; excellent service once they fathomed out the coffee machine.

At these events, once settled, Pete Mate watches every single second of the air display. It is my job to keep him supplied with food and drink. So for me, to have everything at hand without the queues and the crowds was great.

The air show itself was good, some parts boring, especially when they talked a lot as I really don’t want to know about wing span and so on, I just want to see it fly.

I loved the Roulettes, they were magnificent and I liked the tribute to 75 Squadron, which was also impressive. We didn’t have any parachutists but we did have a marching band. The army played some really nice music while aircrews checked planes and all that blue stuff. The band then walked out on to the apron (they called it 'the ramp') and marched up and down to the music with some comedy thrown in. I loved it and we wouldn’t have seen it if we had been in the general crowd.

It was a very hot day and we did get a little burnt but I kept putting on sun cream as I didn’t want a repeat of the blisters I got at Avalon. We both wore hats (not the free ones) but the top of my head got burnt through my hat. That will give you some indication of how hot it was.

It was a good day but also very tiring and we were very glad to see home. We have to be up early in the morning as we move camp to Temora, not far but we still have to pack everything away.

 
     
  Sunday 20th November 2011  
 

We decide to stay a couple more days as it was pouring with rain and Pete Mate felt under the weather. He felt a "man cold" was coming on. My belief was it was a touch too much sun. Anyway by early afternoon he felt a lot better. The rain continued until late afternoon drenching everything.

 
     
  Monday 21st November 2011  
 

The sun blessed us with its presence and we managed to dry everything out before packing it away.

 
     
  Tuesday 22nd November 2011  
 

We didn’t hurry as we only had an hour’s drive ahead of us. We arrived at Temora, found a site near the toilets and started to set up camp. We had done most of it when the heavens opened and gave us and everything else a heavenly rinse. It set in for the day and didn’t let up at all so we decided to leave everything else until the morning and got the computers out.

 
     
  Wednesday 23rd November 2011  
 

The weather was perfect, beautiful blue skies, sunshine and a gentle breeze. We finished setting up camp and did some washing before heading into town for some supplies.

On our way into town we called in at the Aviation Museum to congratulate them on what a wonderful day Saturday had been. The people of Temora are so lovely and friendly, every shop we went into we were greeted with friendly smiles. Once the shopping was completed, taken home and packed away we sat outside with a bottle of red. We watched the activity of the mail vans arriving to meet the mail plane and later we were joined by our (only) neighbour, Robert, for a late happy hour.

 
     
  Thursday 24th November 2011  
 

After such a perfect day yesterday it was hard to believe the weather changed so drastically overnight. Pete Mate was up in the early hours of the morning putting the awning away as the wind was strong enough to blow us away. Morning dawned and the wind was still with us plus some rain and it is so cold. One day we have the air conditioner on and the next day we have the heater on. The world has gone mad.

 
     
  Friday 25th November 2011  
 

It rained all night and it continued to pour all day. It was cold and not weather for being outside so I had a shower and then put my jim jams back on and stayed like that all day. I wrapped my lovely fluffy rug around me and snuggled down with a book, only surfacing to drink and eat.

 
     
  Saturday 26th November 2011  
 

The rain stopped overnight and believe it or not we saw sunshine. The sun was intermittent but the howling wind never let up. We sat outside for a short while watching the activity on the airfield. It is the NSW Gliding Championships. Ironic, really, isn’t it? I spent years trying to avoid going to the Gliding Club only to have one join me here.

As the wind was so strong not a lot happened on the airfield so we took ourselves off to town to do a couple of things. The pedestrian crossing in town has the words LOOK RIGHT printed in large letters just before you step into the road. That, in itself, is good but they included an arrow telling me which way is right. A blessing to a person who does not know her right from her left.

 
     
  Sunday 27th November 2011  
 

The sun was shining and the wind seems to have dropped a little. We were able to sit outside for a while and the gliders had their first flights of the competition. Pete Mate has volunteered to serve as ground crew for any of the pilots that outland. Apart from the glider activity we are alone in the park so our happy hours are just the two of us.

 
     
  Monday 28th November 2011  
 

Another fine day for the flying and, as the ground has dried out, we decided to visit the Rural Museum. The museum was good, very well laid out and some of the things were very interesting. One section I was particularly interested in was a collection of very old musical instruments. You don’t see these very often in country museums. There was a replica of a 1681 Stradivarius violin. You think to yourself it is only a replica but then you see it was made in 1880 and wish very hard that it wasn’t behind glass and you could touch it.

Donald Bradman’s childhood cottage was part of the museum. The Historical Society dismantled it in Yeo Yeo where Don lived as a child, they then painstakingly reconstructed it here in Temora. They have filled it with artefacts from that period and have a selection of cricketing memorabilia.

After the museum we decided to partake of a little lunch. We ordered sandwiches at the café adjoined to the museum. Pete Mate ordered a coffee whilst I ordered a green tea. The drinks arrived and when I tried to pour my tea I found I had a tea bag but no water. I mentioned this to the lovely James who is the chef/owner of the café. He said it was invisible tea. He gave us a good laugh and, by the way, I could sit and listen to his Irish accent all day.

Later we wandered home and sat outside for a while, we then saw a lot of activity as the gliders pilots landed and started putting them away. Talking to a couple of the pilots I discovered a storm was coming in later. They were not wrong.

 
     
  Tuesday 29th November 2011  
  We awoke to pouring rain and that is how it stayed for most of the day. At one point I did mange to sit outside and read. In the evening we were treated to the best light show we have ever seen nature turn on. The lightning was tremendous, lighting up the whole sky. The thunder was extremely loud. Pete Mate had a go at taking some photos. The rain continued throughout the night  
     
  Wednesday 30th November 2011  
 

We awoke to more pouring rain and more thunder and lightning. This passed over after a couple of hours but the rain remained. Everywhere was sodden and boggy and of course, no flying again. Some of the pilots decided to call it a day and went home, others remained hoping the weather would improve.

In a gap in the downpour we raced to the car to go into town to do some shopping. I managed to dart in and out of the shops without getting wet.

We decided to visit our friendly chef James for another pot of his invisible tea. This time he said he checked, not once but twice, that he had put the water in. With lunch out of the way we then went to the supermarket, we were just about home and the heavens opened once more. We waited in the car until the worse had passed then it was a rush to get all the shopping in before Pete Mate got too wet. Once inside the heater went on and that is where we remained for the rest of the night, all tucked up and cosy.