Thursday, 31 August 2017

Leaving Bathurst

Wednesday August 30, 2017

First I have to rectify something.  I forgot the picture of the rhubarb crumble we had last night.  So, here goes:

This morning we had frost again, so in a way I am not very sorry to leave.  On the other hand, it’s hard to say goodbye to Viv, with whom I have spend a lovely two weeks.  We always get on like a house on fire, even when we worked together.  We have done a lot of reminiscing...
But, the time has come to say goodbye. I was awake early this morning so I had packed my things in no time.  After a shower, breakfast and last cuppa together we parted with a big hug and ensured each other that we will repeat this some time in the future.
As the local IGA had so much to offer (even celeriac for my pea-and-ham soup!) I dropped in to do my grocery shopping for the coming days and then I was really on my way.
It was 10 am by the time I left Bathurst and the first part of the trip was already a pleasure.  I stopped at Sofala and took the pictures that I didn’t have time for last time I was there on my way to Bathurst and on a later visit with Vivienne.


Fence made of bedheads

After I had enjoyed a quick cup of coffee I was on my way again, but stop soon again to take some pictures of the beautiful views in the hills. (S 33 1.293, E 149 42.481) Unfortunately the pictures don’t justice to the beautiful scenery, but at least I’ve enjoyed it and will have the memories.

It truly is a wonderful trip.  I so enjoy Mid Western New South Wales.  The endless hills under the cloudless sky and the sun bearing down on the golden wattles.  The creeks carving their way down the hill sides....  I could travel this road for ever!

All too soon it is lunch time (12pm) and this time I decide to travel a way off the main road to Windamere Dam.  (S32° 43.521', E149° 46.340') Viv and I stopped at the start of the road to have our afternoon tea last week, but I venture a kilometre and a half further.  The picnic area is deserted and I have my lunch at one of the picnic tables in company of a lone magpie, who scrounges around for some food (which I provide, and I know how bad that is!!! – I just couldn’t help myself!)
The road here is lined with wattles too and the view over the lake is pleasant on a sunny day like this. As you can see on Google Earth, the picnic area looks out onto the enormous dam wall, but on the way back I pass a lookout where I can take some pictures of the lake.

The various dam levels in the past

I mainly keep following the country roads where I can, because I love the changing scenery and vegetation, the cattle and sheep, and the view over the wide plains at this height.  There are supposed to be wombats here as well, but I didn’t get to see any, dead or alive.  Lots of dead kangaroos again and a small fox crossed the road in front of me.

At 2pm I cross from Mid Western into the Upper Hunter and half an hour later I reach the Hunter. The scenery changes gradually till I have left most of the wattles behind.  Now it’s mainly grassland, dotted with ironbark and the fields with yellow canola make up wonderfully for the loss of the golden wattle. They seem to stretch on forever.

I also pas a big, rocky hill dotted with caves.  I regret so much that I have forgotten to take my camera, because I can’t really take decent pictures with my mobile.  It doesn’t have an optical zoom, so distant pictures stay distant!

On my way today I have also passed the Ulan coal mines.  It’s noticeable that the trucks drive day and night, because there are a lot more dead kangaroos along the roadside.  The mines seem to stretch forever.  I am going to have a look at Google Earth when I have internet again.  Seems interesting to find out how far they go.

In the meantime I have done so and here is a picture:

Later in the afternoon I reach Scone, where I forget to get fuel, but luckily I have a few more kms worth in the tank.  From here on it’s the New England Highway for a while, but I can’t complain.  Today was a fantastic drive and what tomorrow brings is a bonus...

At 4pm I stop at Burning Mountain Reserve (170) (S31 51 21, E150 53 58) where I stay for the night.  As I have been able to buy endive in this colder climate, I will have a delicious meal of creamed endive (haven’t had that for a long time) and since I also have a nice piece of rib eye fillet in the freezer I will eat well tonight...

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Last day at Bathurst

Tuesday August 29, 2017

-3 Degrees this morning.  Even the batteries that I took out of the charger had enough warmth to warm my frozen hands!  Although, by the time we had had breakfast and morning coffee the sun had gained enough strength to make it a pleasant day.

We were going to visit Viv's friend Marcia.  On the way to Duramana we had to find a cache of course!  Oh, this was a good one and deserved a Favourite Point!

#1688 Glen's Not Here! (cache)

Viv pointing at the dunnie

This was an interesting cache behind a little old church.  It's a dunnie, or in normal English, an outdoor toilet.  In Dutch we would call it a plee. ;-)

The cache description was as follows and contained a short poem:

Glen's not here,Just ducked out the back!

If you were sitting in the pew,
and nature called you for a number two,
OH what would you do??

Some people do have a sense of humour!  The cache itself was easily found and also 'out the back' but 'out the back of the dunnie'.  Just as well, I was not going to put my hand in the hole!!!

And this was the little church:

Marcia's property wasn't far off and on a road with the interesting name of The Bridle Track.  The other day we passed the Hen and Chicken Lane.

The draw cards at Marcia's place were the old house and the old, old house. ;-)  Also her native garden with, of course, a lot of wattles in flower, but also a lot of trees and bushes budding, because it will be spring soon.

First we enjoyed the view around the house and then we went to see the old houses.

the old house

a mural to brighten up the place

Next we went to have a look at the two old houses.  A small one is the oldest, with a room, a bedroom and a room that was used as laundry and for storage.  Both houses are built with sticks and mud, called 'pine and pug' or 'pole and pug'

a glimpse at the original wall through glass:
pole and pug
The storage/laundry of the oldest house has a hessian ceiling and a window in the wall made out of a kerosene box, placed in the wall, of which the lid opened as a shutter for the 'window'.  In the corner is a newly built shower cubicle for the WWOOFers who come and help on the farm.  In one of the bedrooms the hessian ceiling has been removed so that the roof and wall can be seen from the inside.


shower and hessian ceiling above

the 'kerosene box' window

ceiling with hessian removed

When the 'newer' house was built the space between the two houses was the courtyard, covered in the past with corrogated iron, to protect the area from the weather as two of the children slept there out in the open!


stove in the oldest house

fireplace and Marcia showing how to kill insects in the olden days
(the red gadget in her hands)

Viv pointing at the ceiling

Marcia with a 'window in the door'

The same window opened

Old school desk in the bedroom
The newer house is built in the same manner, but was bigger.  It had a kitchen-cum-living area and two bedrooms. 

The story of the renovation of both houses


foldable cot

kitchen/living area

Marcia with a photograph of herself with her mum
View across the vegetable garden at the old house

Verandah of the old house - the sign reads:
This house is open to God, Sunshine and Friends

Long drop dunnie - still in use for the old house
View of the old house and part of Marcia's beautiful native garden

I have stopped taking pictures after visiting both houses, almost museum pieces.  I could have taken a lot more of Marcia's beautiful native garden and herb garden with so many beautiful plants, but it would probably have become too boring.

We visited the gardens after a lovely cup of tea with lots of home made banana cake and ginger biscuits.

And now the surprise: Would you believe that this lady, who keeps her 'museum' up to date, does her own house keeping, her own cooking and baking, her own gardening, and goes to town weekly to present her own radio program (!) is nearly 100 years old!!!?  If I make it to 80 and keep as fit and witty as she is I will be happy!

Well, what can I say after this visit.  The rest of the day is not worth talking about....

I updated my blog as you can see, skyped with a lady in the Netherlands with whom I am going to swap houses, helped Viv with a few corrections in her course work and enjoyed a hearty dinner as usual.  For dessert we had rhubarb crumble, made with rhubarb from Marcia's garden.

And tomorrow?  Tomorrow I will pack and head home.  All good things have to come to an end...