Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Reconnecting in July, August and September

I seem to have slipped up on my monthly Reconnecting posts, so now is the time to get back on track.

As Kris from Tag Along Teddies would say, grab a cuppa, this is a bit of a long ramble.

It has been a bit of a roller coaster time over the last three months, what with one thing and another.

I didn't give a reason at the time for our unexpected return home from South Australia in early August.  Well, Mum, who is in her late eighties, got sick.  Nothing terribly serious, but certainly worrying at the time, which was only exacerbated by the fact that we were a few days away from home in another state. She is now much better.

To cut a long story short, after many convoluted phone calls we were able to have Mum admitted into emergency respite at a local nursing home.  She should have been in hospital, but there were no beds available due to the severe flu outbreak.

After she returned home to her unit two weeks later (she has been living in a retirement village for the last twelve months) she found that she missed the reassurance of having someone on call when she needed assistance at any time of day or night.  As a result we applied for a room in the residential aged care centre next door to where her unit is. 

To our surprise she was allocated a room just two weeks after she applied and has now been a resident for just on a month.  The facility had a whole new wing added two years ago and she is in that new section.  The building is beautiful, the staff lovely and caring and the food is great. To our delight she is settling in very well.   She knows quite a few of the other residents, including two of her best friends.  We have taken over a few of her special pieces of furniture and china to make her room more personal.  It is looking rather lovely and homely. 

There are heaps of activities on offer and she is getting involved in whatever is going.  She isn't one to want to miss out on things.  I was somewhat gob smacked when I saw her reading a novel.  Mum has never really been a reader, but she has already read a few books from their library.  Of course, her knitting and crochet have gone with her and tomorrow she will attend their knitting group for the first time.  She will be right at home.

So, after that explanation, onto our wrap up:

READ BOOKS


I did read one book while we were in the caravan.  "The Waddi Tree" by Kerri McGinnis which I bought at the Molong Markets.    It was an enjoyable read.  When we were going through all our books I discovered I have two more of her books.  They seem to be autobiographical.  I've kept them aside to read.  I hope they are good.

Other than that, I have started to read "The Orchard Thieves" by Elzabeth Jolly in my lunches, but haven't had much  time as yet.  It was another book from our many boxes.  I can't say that I'm really enjoying it, but I'll keep plugging away and see how it ends ups.  Fortunately, it is a fairly slim volume.

EXPLORE

Well, we nailed that!  Just to recap, we headed off on our motorcycle ride around Australia, only to have to return home due to the bike breaking down.  We had a great trip up the east coast and even travelled 80kms further inland from Charters Towers than we have been before!

We then hooked up the caravan behind the ute and headed to western New South Wales and South Australia, which was a real exploration.  Gosh, we enjoyed it.  We were just getting into the laid back way of travelling when we were so rudely interrupted (just joking). 

CREATE


Not much at all.  I made some zippy pouches and an ipad sleeve before our trip, but that is about all.  


I had high hopes of having a finish for One Project a Month for September, but it didn't happen. Back in August 2014 I pieced a Drunkard's Path Quilt at a retreat at Nundle (can't rush things now) .  I machined the binding on at Chooky's in June this year. There is just under 10 metres of binding to hand sew down.  I've got half way, so there may be a finish by the end of this month.  We'll see how we go.

ORGANISE

Yes!

The Ikea display cabinets were built and boxes unpacked.  More organising, as such, is still required.

We got rid of all those boxes of books.  I'm sure a few went that shouldn't have, but I can live with that.  I look at what I kept and some I wonder at, but that gives me scope to fine tune things in the future, keeping in mind that we want to contain our collection to the shelves in our little sitting area.  

We now have a spare room with a double bed.  I still have to go shopping for linen and sort out the wardrobe, but it is a massive improvement on where we were.  Other things just happened to interrupt us lately.

Mum!  Now that took some organising.  We had to organise her health and care, the nursing home, and now we have had to organise to empty her unit.  This was a little easier than it could be in that her house was sold at the end of last year and a major clear out occurred then.  However, it is harden in some ways, as what was left was more important.  It is difficult getting rid of so many things that you have grown up with.  We threw out heaps, things that have served her well over the 55 years since she married, but have now reached their use by date.  I can't fit my car in our garage at present as it is full of Mum's possessions.  We will have a garage sale soon to reduce a lot of it.  I do need to sit and go through things properly and assess what to keep, what to donate and what to chuck.  There are so many family items, so I also need to create an archive of some sort for family.  It is just a matter of determining what to keep and what to let go of.  Wish me luck.

So, now, despite having done some organising, it is a case of one step forward, two steps back.  We'll get there.

NURTURE

Not a lot here really.  With all that has been happening, we have just been taking life as it comes.

I did, however, do lots of cooking before we went on our caravan trip.  Biscuits and slice for morning teas, as well as soups and casseroles for dinners.  It worked really well, and is something we will have to try to do each trip.  It makes life easy, not having to find supermarkets or somewhere to eat all the time and of course saves quite a lot of money.  

NEW EXPERIENCES

Continuing on from previous months, I haven't been on my bike at all.  They went to South Australia with us, but the weather wasn't really conducive to cycling.

My three days a week at work has now kicked in properly.  The extra days off have been a blessing, allowing time to run around getting Mum settled.  I'm looking forward to when life achieves a new normal and there will be some time for home things on those days off.  Our time will come.

The major new experience this time was navigating the Aged Care system - My Aged Care, which is the main port of call for many things, DVA, Aged Care Facilities, setting things up to allow me to assist Mum with more day to day dealings, obtaining a disabilty parking permit, etc.  There is a whole new language to learn and so many acronyms to get my head around.  It certainly has been a steep learning curve, but one that many have been through and understand, I'm sure.

ENJOYING FRIENDS

Our trip up the east coast on the bike was made so enjoyable by being able to spend time with friends that we don't see often and to also meet Jenny in Townsville for the first time was a bonus.  Friends really are wonderful.

CARAVANNING

Our trip to South Australia was a nice little taster of caravanning in the slow lane and we can see that it is be something we can really take to, although we were pretty confident about that anyway.  Hopefully we will have a bit more time in the van before too long.

TAKE TIME

It was nice to wind down on our holiday.  It takes a few days for us to stop racing around, but by the time we were in South Australia we were definitely in holiday mode.

Also, it has been so good having the extra days and time to spend with Mum.  To be able to attend appointments and not be feeling that you need to rush off to do something else, or get back to work makes such a difference.  I think we will get to spend more quality time together from now on.

There you go!  If you have made it to the end, well done.  It has been an interesting three months.   Hopefully the next three will be a little less dramatic.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

A Day Out

We often go away somewhere on the October long weekend, but this year Mick was scheduled to work, so no plans were made.  As it turned out, they were finished their job nice and early and he didn't have to work after all.  This allowed us to join some friends for a motorcycle ride on the Monday.  On the bike three weekends in a row.  That is very unusual.

It was lovely just tagging along for this ride, rather than having organised it.  It also meant we travelled on a couple of roads we don't usually use, which is always good.


Our first stop was at Rylstone for morning tea.  As always, the main street was busy and there were other bikes.  These three were rather tasty.


We continued on our way via the village of Louee.  You know you are getting close when you pass under this old railway bridge.


I had fun sitting in the side car just snapping away with my camera.  The road was really rough and bumpy, so I took loads of photos, working on the assumption that some should turn out OK.


Our destination was Mudgee, with its iconic clock tower.  The town features as the backdrop in the TV series Doctor Doctor, which is showing at the moment.


Both Rylstone and Mudgee had many of their businesses festooned in pink for Pink up my Town for the McGrath Foundation.  This building looked particularly lovely.


We called in at this for our lunch.  We had a delicious meal sitting in the shady beer garden.


We returned to Bathurst via Hargreaves.  Once again I just took loads of happy snaps.  


There are lots of interesting old buildings along the way.


It is ideal motorcycling conditions with lots of twisties.


It is harsh country and extremely dry for this time of year.  It should be looking nice and green by now.


When you see a row of letterboxes like this you wonder where the houses are.  Obviously they are tucked away in nice quiet spots.


We came across quite a few of these steep road warnings on our travels.


Yes, it is harsh country.  However, it is this harsh environment that breeds some of Australia's best super fine merino.


We had a brief stopover in the historic village of Hill End.


I finally got a photo of our bikes, but wasn't able to organise to get everyone together.  So be it.


Not quite one tree hill.


This old house marks the turnoff down the Turondale Road to home.


As usual, we bring up the rear on a ride.  Notice the roo on the road.  There was heaps of roadkill.  A sign of the very dry conditions, as wildlife seek some green pick in the table drains.


It is nice to cross an old timber bridge, as there aren't many left.


And to finish off, the obligatory windmill photo.

It really was a great day out.  The weather was perfect for riding, the scenery was spectacular, we ate well and the company was enjoyable.  You can't get much better than that.

Monday, 9 October 2017

It Rained on the Parade

The weekend just gone saw Bathurst host its biggest event for the year - the Bathurst 1000 car race.  Despite living here all my life I've only attended the race twice, once in my mid teens and once in the mid eighties.  We keep saying we should go again, but never seem to.  We do, however, love the way the town comes alive in the lead up to the big day.


On Saturday afternoon Mick settled in to watch the Top Ten Shoot Out on the tele.  Of course, Joey, being a mad TV sports fanatic, sat with him.  They do look rather settled.

You never know what the weather will bring for the race.  You can even get four seasons in a day.  Some years you get sunburnt to a frazzle, while one year it snowed!  Being spring there is quite often a storm in the afternoon, just to make the end of the race interesting.  During the week this year they were forecasting 28 degrees C for Sunday with the chance of a shower.  It didn't quite work out that way.


This is the view of The Mount from our front yard during the race - shrouded in a misty drizzle.  It was like that most of the day and the temperature only reached the mid teens, not ideal for the racers or spectators.

As it was bleak weather, we had nothing that really needed doing and I had come down with a nasty head cold, we spent the entire day in front of the tele watching the race.  I don't think we've ever done that before. I was on the lounge with Joey on top of me for most of the day. (I think he thoroughly enjoyed being snuggled so much.) I slept through quite a bit, including the fighter jet flying over our house (I'm not quite sure how I didn't hear that), read blogs and did no stitching at all.  It was a lovely lazy day.

By the way, in all the rain yesterday we recorded a total of 4.8mm.  Yep, that's right.  There was nothing in it but nuisance drizzle, despite how wet it looked at the track.


This afternoon we had our first thunder storm for the year........and received a whole 3mm of rain!!  It has still forgotten how to rain here.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Sidecar Rally

Two weeks ago we attended the Sidecar Rally held out at O'Connell.  This is the rally that used to be held at a camp site beside the Macquarie River on the Bridle Track, but a few years ago moved to its current venue.  We last attended two years ago.  There are a few pictures here. We weren't able to go last year as we were on our way to Melbourne to collect our new caravan.

Funnily enough the site of the rally is about 100 metres down the road from where we had lunch the previous week.  As we had to travel a whole 20 kms to the rally we didn't go out until mid afternoon.  We put much preparation went into this event........not........we made the bed in the camper,strapped the camp chairs on, put a few cool drinks and some nibblies in the esky and packed a change of clothes.


Once we arrived we had to go and have a walk around checking out the other sidecars.  There is such a wide variety.  This one was on its maiden voyage from Victoria.  The owner had beautifully made the sidecar box.  His tent even matched.  Very nice.


Others have been modified to suit the owner's specific requirements and look like they have had lots of use and enjoyment.  The owner of this bike spends a lot of time travelling around.


This one looks like it would go anywhere.  The workmanship is so clever.


After a while Mick decided it was just nice to have a sit in the sun.

Whereas, the weather for the rally is often cool with a big fire being very welcome, this year it was the hottest September day on record with a howling wind and a total fire ban!

It is all rather civilised though, with the camp site being located at the rear of the local pub.  No cooking tea, rather we went and partook of a delicious counter meal and watched the footy semi-finals.  The whole pub got in the swing of things backing one team or the other.  Mick was happy that the Cowboys got up, while I was a little disappointed that the Roosters were out for the season.

In the morning we decided to go for a walk.


O'Connell is a very historic village.  The old Catholic Church and convent are now a private residence.  They are rather lovely.



There is a row of old trees either side of the road through the village.   They are desert ash.  About fifteen years ago the powers that be wanted to widen the road, as it is quite a busy spot with lots of trucks going through.  A group of determined locals advised that the trees were in fact a War Memorial Avenue planted in the early 1920s, one of only a couple in Australia.  After much lobbying and determination the trees were saved.  A tree surgeon saved some that weren't real healthy and new trees have been planted in the gaps.  The signage at either end has only been in place for a few years. A great win by people power.


The view across the paddock is to the Anglican Church (behind the trees) and the church hall, which is the venue of most village events. (This crop was about the only bit of green we saw.)


Our destination was, surprise, surprise, the cafe, where we had a delicious breakfast - yes, very civilised.


The weather was starting to look a bit ominous, but once again, the weather gods have forgotten how to rain down on us.

After breakfast we packed up, said our farewells and were home by 10 o'clock. so just a very short trip to a rally this time.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

On The Road Again

After a week of rather ordinary weather today was absolutely glorious.  So what to do?  We had hoped to attend "The Far Cairn Rally" at Tottenham this weekend, as we have done in previous years, but we have other things to attend to closer to home at the moment....maybe next year....


Mick had made the necessary repairs to "Snubby The Silver Sidecar" recently, so it was the perfect chance to give her a test run.

We had a small window of time available today, so we headed out to the O'Connell Cafe for lunch.


As soon as we hopped off the bike there was a lovely barbecue type aroma, so our choices off the menu were easy - Steak Sandwich and Beef Burger, which were both delicious.  It was just lovely sitting and relaxing in the sun, but we still had plenty to do back home, so before long had to head on our way.

The best thing of all was that Snubby performed beautifully.  Hopefully, we will be out here again next weekend for the sidecar rally, which is held at the pub, about 200 metres down the road.  We may even be able to sneak back to the cafe for coffee and cake.  Very civilised.