All posts by jenniferalisonlockhart

Winter

The first day of winter is fast approaching. I am not looking forward to it at all.

Give me the warm sunshine and cool evenings of spring and autumn any time, but winter, you need to stay away.

I know it is not going to happen so I am planning on removing myself from Victoria for the next eight weeks.

By luck, a friend in Noosa was looking for a property sitter, that is where I am going. Thanks Linda and Barry. I am looking forward to sunny days and cool nights. Perfect.

The van is loaded , ready to go. Beforehand though, I need to get the garden into some kind of order. All one and a half acres of it. I have leased the other six acres to the neighbours so that is one less chore for me to do.

My dear Daughter in Law is bringing my newest Grandaughter down from Qld to see me.

I am off to Melbourne tomorrow to pick them up from the Airport. I will also get to catch up with Simon and Peter, the terrible twins. (Not really). They are my babies and two finer young men would not be found anywhere.

I am looking forward to seeing  my little Princess. Babies grow so quickly, she will be walking soon

 

 

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The Rally

The Rally
I am a member of a Historical Collectors Club and we have just had our yearly rally.

This club is for anything old. Cars, tractors, steam engines, collectable crockery, knick knacks, even old people such as myself, the list goes on.
A few weeks before the Rally our members gather around and decide what to have for food, where to place certain items and generally tidy up the yard and hall where we hold the Rally.

There is much activity and this year the blokes put up a new barbeque shed in record time.
There are only 30 members of our club and probably about half of that number help out. The others are kind of silent members.

Most clubs have a few members who do not partake in any of the hard work. They turn up for the free meal though.
Several of the women decide what to offer the exhibitors for the Saturday Night meal. These exhibitors receive a free meal in exchange for bringing some of their items for the general public to look at. There is also breakfast on offer, for a nominal fee, on the Sunday morning. Camping onsite is free.
The day arrives and it is beautiful .Sun shining, no wind ,just perfect. Exhibitors are setting up everywhere. There are many wonderful things to look at. A great big steam tractor, numerous steam engines, all shapes and sizes.

I myself have a 1914 Waterloo Boy petrol powered hit and miss engine. It is a big engine and was used to power the first Dairy in Ballarat. I also have a collection of Austral, Ronaldson Tippet and Southern Cross motors, as well as a 1948 grey Fergie tractor and several vintage cars.
Getting all of these to the rally requires some help which is always forthcoming from other members.
There are Wolesley shearing plants and all manner of cutters used for shearing sheep back I the day. Little steam engines put put around the grounds and some of the bigger ones hiss and cough along all day. Old steam powered milking machines, lots of noisy Bulldog tractors and many different vintage farm machinery.
Inside the hall is an exhibit of old perfume bottles, salt and pepper shakers and various vintage clothing. A lady sits knitting and sells scarves and lots of different knitted items.
Someone brings a small paddle boat and takes people for cruises along the Murray River , which is right next to the site.

There are several locals with stalls selling second hand goods. They pay $5 for their site.
We run a small food stall and all day long sell many hamburgers, sausages, pies, dim sims and cakes. A couple from Wedderburn bring their pancake making gear along so there is plenty of good food.

The food stall is busy as busy, many locals and a fair few out of towners make frequent trips to sate their hunger.
Saturday night arrives and time for dinner.

The ladies, myself included, have been busy cooking for weeks. We cater for around 100 exhibitors and this year had pumpkin soup, three different types of stew, veges , and of course dessert of apricot shortcake and bread and butter pudding.
After we have feasted until bursting at the seams, an Undertaker from Castlemaine fires up his band.

Yes , a singing Undertaker. He sings well. I often wonder if he practices his singing whilst laying out bodies. It is a mind boggling thought.
The oldies join in the singing, the younger ones look about wondering at the singing and why some of us tap our feet and smile with delight at music that actually has lyrics that can be understood.

All too soon it is midnight and time to turn in.
Tomorrow will be just as hectic and instead of a nice meal there will be a long drive home for many. It is all good though and everyone , plus some, turn up again the following year.

Cotton……

What Pisses me Off.

Cotton (all over the side of our beautiful roads.)

Have you ever driven along roads strewn with white tufty cotton?

I am sure most of you who travel outside of the city would have seen it.

It looks disgusting.

It looks like someone has blown their nose on a thousand tissues and dumped them.

It looks like small pieces of used toilet paper flying everywhere.

Obviously no one cares or the roadsides would not be like this.

It makes me mad. It makes me extremely sad. It well and truly pisses me off.

I travel quite  a lot, in most states of Australia. There are so many beautiful places to go and see. Most of the roadsides are reasonably clear of litter. It is a pleasure to drive along them.

However, it soon becomes clear in which areas cotton is grown. I have nothing against cotton per se. Cotton is a beautiful fibre. It is cool, crisp and clean.

But, when this fluffy white stuff appears along the sides of the roads, I do not like it. It spoils the landscape. It must be a danger to animals grazing along the sides of the road. I mean to say, what would happen if an animal ate the cotton fluff.

Surely it could choke?

Maybe even get a stomach full of cotton debris and die a slow painful death from a seized up bowel or stomach.

I am sure if I ate the fluffy stuff, things would not be too pleasant in my digestive tract.

The average person would be fined thousands of dollars for littering like this.

Oh yes, you or I would be in deep trouble if we stood there throwing this litter out along the roadsides.

But, some people get away with it. Time and time again, year after year.

They never get fined, they do not seem to care about the mess they make.

These people are the Cotton Growers and Carriers.

There are signs all over the outback, asking trucks to dump their dust before entering a town. Asking the carriers to spray the animals in the tick bay before proceeding.

Why are there not signs telling these people to cover their loads, to pick up their mess?

Surely it would not be too difficult to cover the load so the pesky white fluff would not blow all over the road.

Surely there has to be a way to stop all this fluff blowing all over the countryside.

Lots of goods are transported in covered containers or tarped down so nothing can escape.

Why can’t the cotton bales be covered?

Why aren’t they covered.

Do you blokes who grow and transport this stuff have no pride?

Just cover your load!

Where are the litter police when Cotton season is happening?

There must, literally, be tonnes of fluff all over the place.

I am sure some enterprising soul would make an absolute fortune if that person was dedicated enough to collect all this waste. Heck, I reckon one could make enough undies for a thousand people out of it.

Enough sheets for a family of 300. There is no end to the uses of this litter.

Cotton is expensive, the average Aussie cannot afford to buy pure cotton garments. Yet, here it is, absolute waste, all over the side of the road. It goes on for hundreds of kilometres, sometime really thick and other times not so much, but all the while it is there.

Maybe we should start a petition to stop all this litter.

Now that sounds like  a good idea.

 

Honesty

What Pisses Me Off

MEN…. Or rather , the fact that most of them cannot be honest.

Before all you blokes get hot under the collar, I did say MOST, not ALL.

I have had many an online conversation, with men. One of the first things a man will tell me  is that he is unattached. That is before he even knows my marital status.

Why is it so important for a man to be seen as unattached?

Why cannot a man admit straight up ,that he has a partner, wife, mistress or whatever?

Why Why Why?

Is it because he is afraid a woman will not talk to him if he is attached?

Is it because his ego likes it better if he is unattached?

Why is it so?

Can a one of you blokes out there enlighten me please?

I like chatting with people of either sex. I do not care if they are in a relationship or not.

I like chatting about everyday types of things. Mundane things, interesting things ,current affairs, all manner of things.

I get along well with either sex in real life. Why does it have to be so different online?

I mean to say, when I chat with an unknown  a bloke at a pub or club, he does not immediately tell me his marital status. Why this rush to proclaim unattachment online?

The reason all this dishonesty annoys me is because I have had some really interesting  chats with men online. Over the years of chatting, I have come to enjoy some of the online conversations and at some stage have wanted to perhaps meet the other person. To hang out, maybe see a show or a cricket match, whatever he fancies. No strings attached.

At first the other person (man) will be really keen to meet. Plans will be put into place, only to be cancelled at the last moment.

Excuses like,

My elderly Mother had a fall, I cannot leave her.

Or, my poor dog has to have an operation, it was hit by a car.

Even stranger is,

I have been retired for 20 years but just had a call to go to Siberia  to do a job no one else can do. I would love to take you but only have one ticket.

 

Another good one is the Ex, (oh there is an Ex?) is coming to sort out a few things that were not sorted 10 years ago .

One bloke I was chatting with told me he was envious of my freedom to do whatever I wished to do.

I pointed out that he too could do this as he was unattached. He told me years ago this was the case.

The truth came out.

Well, it is not that simple he said. I have a partner!

Oh, you have a partner? Yes, but we do not get along so thought I did not need to mention this fact 5 years ago.

I lost all respect for this bloke right then and there. I was not looking for a soul mate, I was not after his money ( if indeed he had any), I was just looking to meet who I thought was a nice person, to add another friend to my list of friends  from around the country.Someone I could call in on for a cuppa or a chat whilst travelling in his area.

I have to admit that I was really pissed off . It was not the fact that he had a partner, it was because he lied. He lied for all those years.  Liars , I cannot tolerate. There is no need for it.

Be honest people!

Surely your lives are not so bad that you have to make up  crap just so a person will like you.

 

 

 

 

The Shower tent

The Shower Tent.

I  was rummaging through some old photos recently ,and came across one of a pop up shower tent.

The photo brought back many memories, mostly bad ones, so I thought, why not share the story with others.

Back in the early 2000s a mate and I used to go caravanning  quite a lot. The old van had no shower or toilet, unlike some of the vans of today.

One of us, maybe it was both of us, decided to purchase a pop up shower tent. Off to the outdoor shop we went. A friendly young salesman came along and proceeded to show us how easy these shower tents were to assemble  and disassemble.

It looked so simple. We would have one. Also required was a bucket to put the hot water in, a shower hose and nozzle, and a 12 volt pump. Oh, and a Porta Potti.

Done!

We left the shop a few hundred dollars worse for wear but at last we would be able to free camp.

First trip was to Mutta Burra. This is a godforsaken place in the middle of Queensland. There are a gazillion flies, tonnes of red choking dust, cow poo everywhere, and not much else.

But, we had the shower tent ,so it would be easy to keep clean.

First night there, we unpacked the tent, undid the catch , and wow! Up she popped. It was like magic.

Every night for the next two weeks, we showered and marvelled at what a wonderful thing this tent was. We even parked the Porta Potti in it so we did not have to take a shovel and  “go” behind a tree. This was living.

The time to leave came around quickly. Time to fold the tent up. The salesman did it in one swift movement so we were not anticipating any trouble

Two hours later, we were  red faced and swearing, the shower tent was still in the upright position.

We stuffed it into the van, laid it on the bed and took off for the next stop.

At Longreach we met up with some friends from back home. They laughed when we told them the trouble we had had  trying to fold the tent up. So easy they said.

Well, here, have a go, we replied

Three hours later, many red faces, much swearing and a fully erect shower tent.

I do not know why it won’t fold down said our mate. It looked the same as  the one they had, but damn straight it would not go down.

For the next week we all tried our best to get that darn tent down.

No luck though.

We went into every outdoor shop in Queensland, and not one person could fold that tent down.

There must be something wrong with it they would all say, scratching their heads, looking thoroughly defeated. I mean to say, how hard can it be to fold one of those damn things?

Pretty darn hard, believe me.

Everytime we moved on, the tent rode on the bed. We eventually gave up and that is how it travelled for over three years.

One day we called on some friends near Brisbane. The woman was one who would never let anything beat her. Just the person to help with the tent.

Four of us worked on that tent for over 5 hours. Finally, it was folded into a neat little circle. Quick, put it in the bag. Do not, under any circumstances undo that thing.

The tent stayed in the bag for a couple more  years and we showered in servos or caravan parks.

The time came to upgrade to a newer van, one with an ensuite.

We would no longer need the dreaded tent.

We traded the old van in. Does it have a shower the trader asked?

OH yes, it has a shower tent. The tent is really easy to erect.

We did the deal, never having the heart to tell him how hard it was to put that tent down again.

 

 

 

 

Opals, emu eggs and nutters

I had always wanted to visit Lightning Ridge. I had been to Coober Pedy and found it fascinating, so a trip to the Ridge seemed to be a must.

After leaving Moonie, we headed west, across to St George. Here in St G. is a marvellous collection of carved emu eggs. An old Greek fellow does them; he has a story to tell about his years in Greece during WWII and how he came to St George and happened upon this carving of the eggs. The gallery is called the Unique Egg, and unique it is: beautiful carved eggs with portraits, landmark moments like the Commonwealth Games, Merino Sheep, Diggers and so on. It is well worth a visit.

We had lunch and proceeded south-easterly, through the small town of Dhiranbandi and onto Hebel, right on the border of QLD and NSW. Hebel has a small cafe and a pub. Cuppa time there, and in the cafe, home made pies of every description, yum. Back on the road and towards the Ridge we went. The roads were rough, but very little traffic was going our way. They were all heading north, smart people! The further south we went the colder it was.

We finally arrived at Lightning Ridge and the van park was right across the road from the bore baths: natural thermal water straight out of the ground, water which was 41 degrees in temp. I did not go in as it was far too hot for me – the people climbing out resembled lobsters. One woman almost fainted from the heat of the water. We settled in for the evening and next morning began to explore the area.

Masses of rocks white in colour, big rocks, small rocks, powdery rocks – all left over after the opal is extracted. There were many colourful characters to chat with, though they did give us strange looks, as if to say, don’t mess with my dig. Signs warning of savage dogs on the loose, and land mines ready to explode, were dotted about the digs. Also, car doors are the chosen way to advertise everything. Green car doors, red ones, blue and yellow ones, all telling a story.

A castle, yes, a castle. Built by a European man, it’s unfinished but quite a work of art. There’s also a monument to the astrologers and an art gallery of John Murray’s wonderful emu and animal paintings. The sandstone sculptures were done when the owner of the dig found no opals. He is making more from his sand sculpture tours than he ever would from digging opals.

Finally, there’s a large open-cut mine, aptly called Lunatic Hill. In my opinion, one would have to be a lunatic to go down the little holes in the ground. I always reckon if I had been meant to go down a hole in the ground I would have had grey fur and a white fluffy tail.

All in all, Lightning Ridge is indeed a place of wonder

where the heck is tooraweenah

Well, Tooraweenah is a sleepy little town at the southern gateway of the Warrumbungle National Park.

My travelling mate John and I had been reading good reports on the caravan park at Tooraweenah, so this trip to Queensland seemed the appropriate time to check it out.

First night away from home we pulled up at West Wyalong showgrounds. Nice powered sites and clean tidy amenities. And plenty of room for puppy to run. This was also a first time stopping place for us.

We travel with our dog so at times it is a little difficult finding a dog friendly park.

Next day, up early as it was very cold that night. After breakfast, bacon and eggs, of course, we set sail northwards.

The Newel Highway can be a busy Highway but on this particular day it was really pleasant. Plenty of time to look around at the wonderful scenery. Near Peake Hill there is open cut mining happening again. Apparently a large seam of gold has been detected so the landscape is quite different now. All heaps of overburden and many large machines working away.

Up through Dubbo and Gilgandra we went, big hills abounded, but the trusty ute pulled that big van like no bodies business.
Halfway between Gilgandra and Coonabarabran was the turn off to Tooraweenah. Down the hill lay a sleepy little town. Historic Tooraweenah dates back to 1880. One can take a self guided tour around the town, taking in the original old buildings and imagining life as it were 130 years ago.

A short drive away is the beautiful Warrumbungles. The scenery is amazing. A little further on is Sliding Springs, home of Australia’s largest observatory. All well worth a look .

We located the park and were met by the owner as we entered the gate.

Geoff was very friendly and even asked where we would like to park the van. He told us his wife Sara, would be over later to do the paperwork, just settle in and relax he said.

After a short while , Sara came over to see us. She had a tray of freshly baked scones, with jam and cream. Oh ,how yummy they were.
What a wonderful way to greet guests. We chatted for a while, Sara invited us to damper by the campfire a little later in the evening.
This park certainly was something else. It is amazing how good it feels to be greeted by friendly helpful people. Not all parks are like this.

The park also had a fenced dog run for those people with pets. It meant our dog could run around off the lease and be safe from any traffic. Another thoughtful gesture.

As pets are not allowed in National Parks, the owners of the park will care for pets while their masters go trekking through the hills.
We really did not want to leave this place, but had to be in Brisbane a few days later.

One sure thing though, we will be staying a few nights on our way back to Victoria.

Have you stumbled across a beautiful and special place while travelling? Where was it? Why did you love it so much? Tell us in the comments below…