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:


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.


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). 


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.



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.


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.  


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.


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.


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.


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.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Grandma's Bed

When I was a little girl we would go and stay at Grandma's for a week in the school holidays.  One of the best things for me was being allowed to sleep with Grandma in her big bed, which got me thinking of the John Denver song......

It was nine feet high and six feet wide
And soft as a downy chick
It was made from the feathers of forty 'leven geese
Took a whole bolt of cloth for the tick.

(You can see John performing a rather different version of the song here.)

Now my Grandma's bed didn't quite have the dimensions of those in the song, but it was high and old fashioned, albeit with a lumpy kapok mattress.  However it did have a nice white Marcella quilt and green eiderdown.  The best thing though was that it had Grandma and she sometimes let me brush her long white hair.

Her Singer treadle sewing machine sat to one side and an old turned leg side table on the other side, under which there was a Big Old Tin Treasure Chest. There was also a big blue chair and blue chest of drawers.

This all took place over a rather short time frame, as she died when I was nine.  I was always rather sentimental and for quite some years loved going into her bedroom, sitting on the big bed and looking at the treasures from the trunk - old photo albums and a huge fat book called "Medicology", which was fascinating.

Many years passed and the room was to be repurposed.  The sewing machine came to me and currently has our TV sitting on it.  The chair and side table are with Mum.  What to do with the bed?  At the time we had own bed and our spare bedroom was set up with lovely old antique beds.  Sadly, I had no room for the bed I loved so much.  In the end my brother took it, used it for a while and then it went into storage, firstly in his garage and them in Mum's.  When Mum moved to the retirement village last year we ended up with the bed, once again in storage.

Finally, now that we have got rid of all the boxes of books we have a room in which to house Grandma's bed.

It is a simple bed, dating form 1927. The timber was rather dry, but other than that is in surprisingly good condition.  After lots of furniture polish and a new mattress it has come up a treat.  

The main design elements are the sweet decals on the head and foot, which is what I loved so much.  However, what I have really noticed is that it isn't really all that big - how perceptions change as we grow older. 

This room is still very much a work in progress.   No one can sleep here as yet, as there is no bedding under the quilt.  I still have to go shopping to make it nice and snug. It is the perfect size for my Nature's Journey quilt.  The Marcella quilt is probably the original one off the bed.

Yes, there is a sewing machine beside the bed, where there always was one, even if it isn't Grandma's. This White was one of our first auction purchases and lived in our bedroom for many years. Apparently, my other grandmother had a White.  We have also had the bedside cupboard on the other side of the bed for many years.  The quilt on the rack is an Anni Downs design I made from a kit not long after she opened her first shop here in town. 

We still have to hang some pictures and add a few bits and bobs to make it welcoming, but it sure looks better than a room full of boxes of books.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Home Improvement Central

It's funny how we seem to do things when they aren't planned.

For example, Mick's knee op was delayed a week, so we set up our office how we wanted it.

Now that we returned from our holidays early we made some more progress with our house.

There is a little sitting area beside our dining room which hasn't been set up properly as yet.  One wall has double doors into my sewing room with built in bookcases either side which we have ignored so far. On the other main wall we would like to add a gas heater, so we can just heat our main everyday living area rather than heat the whole house with the central heating and I still have a lot of my green depression glass that is in boxes.....oh.....and books.......We had a whole room full of boxes of books.  We had many bookcases at our old house and they were all full.  As the task of going through them all was to too hard at the time, they all came with us........and have been boxed up for three years.

Back in April we bought two display units at Ikea to put either side of our new heater, which will be built into a chimney breast......but that won't be happening until the lead up to next winter. We also bought a small sofa to add to the seating.

Here is the wall looking nice and bare, ready for the cupboards, but after our electrician friend moved some power points for us.

We seem to have quite a good routine worked out for assembling Ikea furniture.  I am the nurse reading the instructions and passing parts and fixings to Mick the surgeon.  It works well for us.

That looks a bit better.  Mick's Dad's desk fits nicely for the time being, until we install the heater.

The next job was to fill the cabinets.  There has been quite a bit of just "putting" at this stage, to get things out of boxes...... I think I failed to mention that we have another room full of boxes of "Stuff" as well.

We plan to replace one of the timber shelves in each of the display units with glass and install some ultra violet lights to highlight my uranium glass pieces.....but that is for another day.

We ventured into the "Book Room" and started opening boxes.  We have filled our two book cases quickly as well as the side of the desk.  It was quite a task going through all the books.  Some were easy to part in you wonder why we even have them.....but some were really hard to let go of.  Books I've had since my teens, books that were my Grandmother's, beautiful old 1930s girls' annual and so many others.  I'm sure some have gone that shouldn't have, as we went through most, but not every single one, but that is just how it is.  (Fortunately, I had a second look through one box and our bible that was given to us at our wedding by the family rector and my Grandmother's bible are still here.) Anyway, Lifeline have received about thirty good sized boxes of books for their book fair in October and we have a manageable number of books.  There is still a bit of sorting to do with those that are left, but, once again, that is for another day.

It's starting to look a bit better and quite cosy.  We don't do minimalist very well.  We did look into having custom glass doors made for the bookcases, but the price was a bit too steep to warrant it.  We'll just have to dust.

So, once the boxes of books were all gone we had a clean slate in one of the bedrooms.  The following weekend we made progress there.  I think I've prattled long enough for one day, so I'll share that soon.