North to Emu Park ~ May 2014

Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength.
— Corrie ten Boom

Thursday 1st May 2014

At last we are doing the Cotton Tour in Goondiwindi, something I have wanted to do for while. We were collected from the caravan park by our guide, Faye, in a minibus and she gave PM and I plus four others a quick tour of the town, pointing out places of interest plus giving us some background information about Goondiwindi itself, which is situated on the north bank of the Macintyre River. The Macintyre is a playful river which used to enjoy flooding the town from time to time until a levy bank put paid to its tricks. The river is also the state boundary between New South Wales and Queensland putting Goondiwindi in Queensland ... just!

Faye drove us out of town - back into New South Wales - to the cotton farm where we saw vast paddocks of cotton plants that had been harvested ...

Harvested Cotton Field
Previously harvested cotton plants to the horizon, the ground levelled by lasers and
the furrows prepared by GPS guided tractors.
... and bales of the cotton ready to go to the gin.

Baled Cotton
Bales of cotton secured by yellow "glad wrap". The yellow plastic is recycled when the bales are opened.
She was very knowledgeable and told us much more information than we could take in. The land is levelled using laser technology with a small fall towards a large dam. The cotton is irrigated using gravity alone. Any water draining off at the lower side of the farm is collected and pumped into the dam; it can't be returned to the Macintyre as it will contain nutrients and traces of insecticide. From the dam it will be reused on the cotton.

Inside a large shed, Faye explained what happens to the cotton once it has been harvested. We also had a close up look at one of the huge harvesting machines.

Cotton Harvester
Faye showing us the harvester, two potted cotton plants placed to show where the plants enter the machine.
Leaving there we visited a water park to have a quick look and a toilet stop. We then went out to the gin where we were not allowed off the bus due to health and safety regulations but we could see quite a bit from our seats and got the gist of the whole process. From there we went to the shop in town that doubles as the administration offices for the whole business and sells the finished products. We were served morning tea of coffee and damper and all the time Faye was imparting more information. That woman has an incredible memory. I was a bit disappointed to learn that, once the cotton is processed at the gin, it is shipped overseas and made into material before returning to Australia to be made into garments. Only speciality garments are made in Goondiwindi, the rest are sent to places that make garments for RM Williams and similar businesses.

Goondiwindi Cotton Shop
The Cotton Shop in Goondiwindi.
Faye dropped us off back at the caravan park just after midday. Pete Mate then set about washing the ‘van and I went up to the laundry to wash some covers that had red wine on them. One should not wave her arms about whilst talking when a full glass of wine is in the vicinity. That night we were treated to torrential rain.

Friday 2nd May 2014

We awoke to find we were surrounded by water - I did say the rain was torrential. We had to pick a path through to the amenities block to avoid getting very wet feet. We left Goondiwindi around 10.00 a.m. and had a good run through to Possum Park, Pete Mate trying to weave between puddles in a vain attempt to keep the newly-washed caravan clean. We arrived in time for a late lunch and did the minimum set up as we are only here for two days. Later we were going to go and join Happy Hour but it was very cold so we wimped out and stayed inside with the heater on.

Saturday 3rd May 2014

Pete Mate has picked up a bug and is feeling very much under the weather. I seem okay, just weary from lack of sleep. PM managed to get some sleep during the day, took some medication, ate very little and by evening was beginning to feel better.

Sunday 4th May 2014

We were due to leave Possum Park today but decided to stay another night and leave on Monday. When Julie (Julie and her husband David own the park) heard Pete Mate was unwell she arranged for the en suite to be unlocked for our use at no extra cost. Then later she called to see how he was and to check if we needed anything. Service can not get better than that. When I think of all the caravan parks in which we have stayed, we have only received this level of care and service in Tamworth, Porepunkah, Goulburn and Emu Park. Maybe this is why we keep returning to these places.

I am very glad to say the man in question is much better and normal service is resumed.

Monday 5th May 2014

We had a good run through to Banana where we did an 'overnighter'. We set up camp, had a rest and then went over to the pub for dinner. The food was yummy and so was the wine! We then returned to the ‘van and watched Yes Prime Minister on DVD as we have never been able to receive TV reception here.

Tuesday 6th May 2014

We arrived at Emu Park to a warm welcome. We started to set up camp but only got the bare essentials up and running before happy hour. It is really good to be back.

Wednesday 7th May 2014

I went for an early morning walk into the village for the exercise and to check if there were any changes. There have been some since we were here in October. A new café is one of them - no doubt we will be trying it out before long. On my way back home I saw Robyn and Ray and again received a warm welcome. We did some more setting up and a whole heap of washing. The sun shone all day and it is so lovely to be warm again. We went to Happy Hour, just five of us in attendance. Soon there will be many more as the regulars start to arrive.

Thursday 8th May 2014

We did some more setting up and now I can sit outside and enjoy this beautiful weather we are having.

Friday 9th May 2014

We made our first trek into Yeppoon to stock up on food and wine.

Saturday 10th May 2014

I walked into the village and saw some familiar faces. In the afternoon Robyn collected me in her car and took me up to the RSL for a Mothers’ Day afternoon tea. It was lovely to 'catch up' with so many beautiful women that I have come to know over the years of coming here. We enjoyed some music and a fashion parade plus, of course, afternoon tea. The food at these events is always yummy and I wasn’t disappointed. In the evening, after happy hour, a few of us enjoyed a barbecue. It was a lovely evening with lots of good food, wine and of course, excellent company.

Sunday 11th May 2014

Mothers’ Day. We walked into the village where we enjoyed a lovely brunch at the new café. It was very busy and the whole village was buzzing with people. I enjoyed a lovely day with some beautiful emails from my family in the UK and a phone call from Perth.

We relaxed in the afternoon ... by that I mean we both had nanny naps. This life of enjoying oneself is very tiring. Later we wandered over to happy hour and were reacquainted with John and Ann whom we had got to know last year. One or two others wandered over so it turned out to be a very pleasant happy hour.

Monday 12th May 2014

Today is my friend Robyn’s birthday; we celebrated it by having lunch at the pub. Another friend, Nancy, was also there and we had a very pleasant time. The food was really good – the pub has new owners and I think it has changed for the better. After lunch Robyn and Nancy had a go on the ‘pokies’ while I watched; I have never played and wouldn’t know what to do. In the afternoon I did some knitting and some reading before heading over to happy hour.

Tuesday 13th May 2014

Another busy day here in Emu Park. I went to the hairdressers in the morning for a long overdue haircut then I paid my first visit to the library. Later I went for my appointment with the ankle specialist. He has now decided that he will fuse the ankle so on 11th June it will be all systems go for a 'new' ankle. Happy Hour, again, was a small group but nevertheless we enjoyed a pleasant time.

Wednesday 14th May 2014

We had an appointment at the doctor’s in the morning and then in the afternoon Pete Mate did some more maintenance on the caravan whilst I read.

Thursday 15th May 2014

It was my first day back at card making and playing Mah Jong. The card making was in the morning at the CWA hall and I made four cards with which I was very pleased. There are some lovely ladies who belong to the CWA and always make ‘visitors’ feel very welcome.

I played Mah Jong in the afternoon at the RSL. I arrived to find that everyone was already playing; no one had told me they now start half an hour earlier. I didn’t have to wait long before I was accommodated and soon got back into the game. I was again pleased with the results and really enjoyed it. In fact I enjoyed my whole day immensely and I am sure Pete Mate enjoyed the peace and quiet. PM worked on some jobs around the caravan whilst I was out. Then it was time for happy hour where it was lovely to welcome Roger back to Emu Park.

Friday 16th May 2014

I met friend Janet for coffee in the new café which was a lovely catch up. I then met a couple of lovely ladies (one was a friend of Janet’s). We chatted for a while and the result is that one of the ladies, Jenny, is lending me a couple of things to help with my recovery after my operation. Very kind people here in Emu Park. In the afternoon Pete Mate had an eye test and the results were much better than he imagined they would be. He has to have new glasses for reading and using the computer which isn’t a surprise as his current ones are very old. Before we knew it, it was happy hour.

Saturday 17th May 2014

A non event day really; we did a few chores, some reading, some knitting and played computers. I chatted on Skype for a while and then joined Pete Mate at Happy Hour.

Sunday 18th May 2014

I wandered over to the monthly markets between showers. It was small and not very well attended, probably because of the mixed weather. I did manage to get the fruit and vegetables I wanted.

After breakfast I did some more reading and knitting before walking up to the pub with Pete Mate for an afternoon of music and wine. I enjoyed myself as it was my kind of music though it was just a tad loud. Pete Mate and I were amused by a little tyke that looked very similar to our Great Grandson Ethan. He was dancing and playing around just like Ethan would. The men were enthralled by a young woman dancing wearing no underwear and black pattern tights. Yes you could see through them and she did have a nice bottom. When we were leaving Pete Mate managed to somehow get himself a hug from this woman. That man is unbelievable; he has hugged women all over Australia. Later, back at the caravan park, we attended another happy hour and met some more lovely people.

Monday 19th May 2014

It was a cold wet day, ideal for finishing off that knitting project and doing some reading. The rain did ease late afternoon so we enjoyed a very pleasant happy hour with some nice people.

Tuesday 20th May 2014

Today was pretty much the same as yesterday, weather wise, as were the activities.

Wednesday 21st May 2014

The sun has at last decided to grace us with its presence. The park was full of people trying to get all their washing done before it disappears again. In the afternoon we again visited Dr Beth to get the results of our blood tests and it was all good news. Later we had a short happy hour because a few of us went up to the pub for tea and to play trivia. Apart from Roger, Pete Mate and myself, the rest of the team were all new. We didn’t win but neither did we disgrace ourselves; we had a really good time.

Thursday 22nd May 2014

In the morning I went to the C.W.A. and made some more cards with the help of the lovely Thelma. Then, later in the afternoon, I went with Robyn up to the R.S.L. to play Mah Jong. It was a good day and I enjoyed myself a lot but it was very tiring.

Friday 23rd May 2014

We left Emu Park early to get into Rocky for a medical appointment by 10.00am. We saw the doctor who only kept us waiting ten minutes instead of his usual two hours. It was a good appointment with good results. Even better, I don’t have to go back until next year. We left there with a long list of shops to visit and items to buy. First though, we needed coffee. Just as we were ordering who should pass by but the lovely Courtney and her husband Damien. It was a quick hello as they were in a hurry but we will catch up with them again. We completed our shopping with one or two frustrations but overall it was a good day. We arrived back at the park late for happy hour but not too late. After the short happy hour a few of us went up to the Bowling Club for dinner. It was a great night with good company.

Saturday 24th May 2014

A few of us from the park (ladies) walked over to the C.W.A. Hall for "The Biggest Morning Tea". These teas are happening all over Australia to raise funds for cancer research. It was great fun, we had a lot of laughs and a few of us won some raffle prizes. Once home I tried to do some knitting but it was totally unsuccessful and I ended up undoing it. Ah well, there is always tomorrow. Happy hour was very pleasant and was a long one tonight.

Sunday 25th May 2014

The sun was shining and the urge to do some cleaning came upon me. Later we sat outside and read and knitted for a while and then it was time for happy hour followed by a barbecue. Quite a few people enjoyed some really yummy salads and good company. Jim and Sue returned from their holiday and it was really good to see them. We said goodbye to Sandra and Paul who were leaving next day plus it was Eckard’s birthday. It was a really good evening.

Monday 26th May 2014

Pete Mate and I walked into the village for a few things and also enjoyed a coffee at the café. It was a pleasant walk and we timed it before it got too hot. We then sat outside for a while before Pete Mate went off to visit his new friend.

I had two visitors. Monika gave me a box she had made by folding papers; it really is lovely. Ann is a healer and came over to help me with the pain I am suffering. Ann is a beautiful person who is so interesting to talk to and her healing has helped. Later we went to happy hour which was very pleasant; we met two new arrivals who are from Perth.

Tuesday 27th May 2014

I went over to Robyn’s for morning tea and a chat. Nancy was also there and I had a lovely time. Afterwards I wandered home and did some knitting. During the day I tried out my new crutches - did I mention that we bought them last Friday? - and I think I am getting the hang of it. They are in preparation for my ankle operation in a couple of weeks. Later we went to see the doctor for my first Vitamin B injection. The nurse asked if I wanted it in my bottom or arm. No way was I having it my bottom!

I collected more information from the staff in the pharmacy about the Guardian Angels project; they are such a lovely couple. When we were leaving they gave me a present - a package containing a mug, tea and biscuits. How sweet is that?

I did some more knitting and reading then cooked some more meals for the freezer before heading over to happy hour. What a lovely surprise we got! Suzanne and Leigh have arrived for the winter. It was great to see them again.

Wednesday 28th May 2014

I really don’t know where the day went; I did a few things in the ‘van. Roger came for a visit. Later Pete Mate and I went shopping plus we collected his new glasses. BJ and Peter have arrived and are looking well. Then it was time for happy hour which turned into a very long one.

Thursday 29th May 2014

I went to 'card making' again this morning and made three more. I was again pleased with the results. I also won the weekly raffle. In the afternoon I went with Robyn and Marion to the R.S.L. to play Mah Jong. It was what they call a 'fun afternoon' where you have to play the games given to you. Plus it was a fund raiser for cancer research. After we had finished playing we had a multi draw raffle and I won a prize of bodywash and lotion. Then came the biggest surprise ... I was the overall winner of the day. I was stunned to have the highest score and smiled all the way home. The prize I received was a beautiful evening stole. As you might imagine, I enjoyed my day very much indeed.

Once again we had a late happy hour and I didn’t feel like cooking so Pete Mate, without any hesitation, took off and came back with a yummy pizza.

Friday 30th May 2014

I had a very busy day. First a chap from Home Assist called in to see if they could be of any help after I've had my operation. Then I did a few much-needed chores before walking into the village for a few things. Later I attended an afternoon tea to say goodbye to Ann and John who leave tomorrow morning. I then did some more cooking for the freezer.

My friend Robyn and husband Ray are off on Monday for a trip away so I walked down for a happy hour with them which was lovely. Then it was off to the bowling club for tea where I won the meat tray in the raffle. I really do think I am going to win lotto this week.

Saturday 31st May 2014

Not a lot happened here today. I did some more cooking and reading plus a little knitting. I went walkabout for chat here and there. I talked on Skype on my IPad for the first time which was much clearer than the laptop. Happy Hour was again very pleasant and our lovely friends Cath and Phil have arrived.

And so ends May 2014 ...

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