Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Far Cairn Rally at Tottenham

Back at the beginning of September Mick and I took the Friday off work and headed off for a ride on “Olga”.  We took the old girl out to Tottenham, about 350kms up the road.  Quite a trek for her, but we had all day.

We love getting out and about at this time of year, as the canola looks a picture.

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I have to have the obligatory windmill photo.  This one was looking a bit sad.

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We stopped to stretch the legs at Trundle. Trundle has the widest main street in New South Wales – it is like three streets side by side.  The shop fronts were looking rather nice and tidy.  We found an op shop which had heaps of buttons, zips and sewing machine threads.  Apparently a haberdashery shop in Manly closed and she gave her stock to the Far West Children’s Home to distribute amongst their op shops.  They had been well picked over, but I was still able to bring a few bits and pieces home.  The joys of a side car.

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Back on the road, we were seeing some lovely wheat crops.

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As we went further north the sky seemed to get bigger.

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Next stop was Tullamore to grab some lunch.  The streetscape was not as flash as Trundle, but it was nice to have the time to have a little wobble tour around the few streets to have a look see.

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I love seeing all the different styles of silos as we travel along.


Finally, we made it to the Tottenham Showground to set up camp for the weekend.  We were some of the first to arrive, a but of a change from usual.  You can see our previous trips to the Far Cairn Rally here and here.

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We were treated to a stunning sunset to finish off the day.

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Everyone enjoyed sitting around the bonfire as the evening cooled down. As usual, tall stories abounded.

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On the Saturday, we went for a walk into Tottenham to have  a look around and a coffee.  The coffee took quite a while, due to the town being full of motorcyclists.  Tottenham is a well presented place.  The houses are nice and tidy and there are some lovely gardens, which were much advanced for the time of year compared to ours at home.


As the local pub does not do lunches on a Saturday, we, and a lot of other rally goers, headed down the road about 30kms to The Rabbit Trap Hotel at Albert.  The street was lined with bikes when we arrived.  We enjoyed a rather relaxed long lunch.  This really is the life.

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On Sunday we packed all the camping gear back onto Olga, took the obligatory photo in front of the centre of New South Wales sign, before making the trip back home.

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It was a very pleasant way to spend the weekend.  Olga went well, but Mick decided after riding about 800kms that she needed to be treated to some new shock absorbers, which have now been fitted, ready to take us on more adventures.

By the way, Mick won the “Oldest Bike and Rider Combination” trophy at the rally, which he was a bit chuffed about, with a total of 116 years.  I won’t tell you which was what age.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Nature’s Journey Stitch a Long for September

I made it!  The first time I have been able to keep up with a stitch-a-long all the way through. I'm loving seeing all the other versions.  So many girls have been able to meet the deadline, which is great.

September was the month in which our quilt tops were to come together.  Lots of 2 inch squares to cut – like 400 of the little beggars, as well as another row of pink.

At the beginning of the month I was very good, cutting some each day and then piecing them into two patches and nine patches.  My little fabric baskets came into their own.

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Then I seemed to stagnate. I think I was worried that they wouldn’t fit.  After reading the pattern and realising that I had to trim the quilt after the previous border was attached, everything came together nicely. 

It was fun working out the placement.  Joey was a great help.  He’s not usually allowed anywhere near a quilt that is being worked on, but it was a little hard to do anything about it when the quilt was on the floor.

Joey on quilt

Here we are with the first border attached.

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Next to trim down all the appliqué blocks.  Measure twice, cut once.  All good.  Here they are attached.  I was pleased that no two of the same blue background ended up next to each other.

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Finally, last night I attached the last two borders. So, in what seems to be my usual style, the month’s progress was completed with one day to spare.

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I’m really happy with how it has turned out.  It is much brighter than it thought it would be, as quite a few of the fabrics are fairly dark.

I’m also happy that then entire top is made from scraps and from my stash.  No fabric was bought.  Mind you, it doesn’t seem to have made much of a difference in my fabric piles.

Now I have to give my friendly quilter a call to arrange to have it quilted.  The end is nigh.

Thanks so much to Chooky and Susan.  As I’ve said before, there is no way I would tackle a quilt with this much work without the threat of the whip and the camaraderie of all the other girls working away with me.

And finally, I must mention Anni.  Aren’t her designs just awesome.  We are so lucky to have her in our midst.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Bathurst Blog Meet

Last weekend saw quite about twenty bloggers descend on the little village of Perthville, just out of Bathurst, for a weekend of chatting, laughter, eating, drinking and even a bit of stitching. (Mick wonders what the collective noun for a group of bloggers is.  Is it a Blogalot?)

The hoards descended on Friday morning and left on Sunday.  Seeing as I live locally, I just joined the girls for Friday night and most of the day on Saturday.

I didn’t take all that many photos, but here are a few of the girls flat out, working away.

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Peg and Dale, in the flesh this time, after being unable to join us last year.  Both of them finished quilt tops.  Very  productive.

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Cheryl deserves a medal for travelling down from Brisbane, despite battling a nasty cold. She is doing beautiful needle turn on her quilt.

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Dory was there, being  bright and cheerful as always. Her show and tell was terrific.

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Lea shared some of the gorgeous quilts that she has made recently and was very industrious in working on the little project we were all given…..although it may have helped if she read the instructions first.  I thought that was just a man thing?

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Kate was her usual mad cap self.  She always amazes me how she can be everywhere, chatting away and still, at the end of the day, have been really productive.  Her birdy pincushion came up a treat.  Yes, she did finish it.

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And quite a few of the girls took the opportunity to sit and stitch out in the sun.  We were blessed with the best weather we have had for months.

Me, I did some more on my knitted cowl - it is nearly finished. I made a couple of Christmas decorations and made slight progress on my table mat from Nundle this year.  It was nice just doing a bit of this and a bit of that – nothing that needed too much concentration.

Anni from The Home Patch visited and provided a special project kit for everyone.  It is the most beautiful little sewing set.  I can’t wait to start it, but just have to finish couple of other things first.

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Having Anni there was also a good opportunity for a show and tell of the partially made Nature’s Journey quilts.  It was nice to see them in the flesh, so to speak.  I love the variation of colours used.  Sorry, forgot to take a photo.

As usual, there was a “Make It, Bake It, Fake It” swap.  I took along a coat hanger and camphor sachet, which went to Googy Girl.

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I was lucky to receive from Kylie a Scrap Bag from The Home Patch and some yummy Peanut Brittle – my favourite.  What a terrific gift.

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Last year there were some gifts for all sorts of silly reasons, which were wrapped in alfoil, as nothing else was available at the time.  It seems to have started a tradition, as we all had to take along little gifts roughly wrapped in foil. Mick reckons he could have even managed to wrap these.

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Mine  contained some silly little creations.

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This is what I received.  All very sweet.

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It was lovely catching up with everyone again.  I think everyone really enjoyed themselves.  Well, they all seem to be talking about returning next year, so it must have been good.

Thanks so much to Chooky for making it all a reality.  We do appreciate all the work that goes on behind the scenes.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Our Turn for a Train Ride

After our fun afternoon chasing the steam train on the Saturday it was our turn to go for a ride on the Sunday afternoon.

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All week the weather forecast had been for a rather wet day on Sunday.  For once they got it right……Blast!  However, we were really pleased that we had been out and about taking photos on the nice, warm, sunny day and that we would be snug inside the train on the wet day.

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Here’s the lad, waiting patiently for our train to arrive.

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This time I remembered to take a photo of the “Bathurst” plaque on the train. I forgot to mentioned that the steam train is part of the stable of “Heritage Express”, which is a part of Transport Heritage NSW. The trip out west, which went as far as Dubbo was the “Great  Western Steam Tour”.

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I was delighted to see that our diesel loco that would be helping push the train up the steep climb was a lovely older engine 4490.

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The carriage we were in was a lovely old girl.

Us being silly

A bit of silliness while we waited to start on our way.

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We finally started to get under way, travelling through the goods yards. 

As I said in my last post, our first home, when we were married in the mid 80s, was in a little workers cottage only a couple of blocks from the railway station.  The older ladies over the road talked of the time when they always had to wipe down their clothes lines to get rid of the soot from the trains before they hung out their washing.  The ceiling space of our cottage had a fine black coating of soot, even after the steam trains had long since stopped running.  At night we would hear trains shunting in the goods yard. We became used to it as background noise.  Every now and then you would hear a big bang, followed lots of little ones and we would comment that they must have a learner driver on, and have a bit of a chuckle.  By the time we moved from there, eleven years later, you rarely heard any shunting, as the railway usage gradually died off.

In all my years living here I have never travelled on a train heading west from Bathurst. Until my teens there was a passenger train to Sydney that made it possible to have a day in Sydney.  There was also the slow, overnight mail train.  In the early 80s everything changed, with the introduction of the XPT trains.  These left Bathurst in the evening, returning early in the morning.  There hasn’t been a passenger service to and from  Sydney that could allow you to have a day in Sydney until a couple of years ago, when one was started after much lobbying by an active community group.  The train is being well supported……I digress again…. of as Mick would say, I waffle on.

As I was saying, I haven’t travelled west on a train.  Mum always said the train is a really slow way to go to Orange, which is only 40 minutes by car.  The train travels via Blayney, which is quite out of the way.  In the 50s mum was based in Bathurst as a dressmaking teacher and she travelled by train once a week to teach a class in Blayney, so she would have had quite a few slow trips up this line.

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Once we got out of town we could see what a dreary day it was.  Just perfect for being in a steam train.  We were fortunate in that we were on the side of the train that did not have much rain blowing in and we could still have the window open.

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The weather didn’t stop others from following the train along.

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The start of the long climb to Wimbledon.

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I was fascinated by the cuttings.

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All the different textures were stunning.

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This is the spot where we stopped yesterday to take photos.  There were only two cars yesterday, and the weather was much kinder for us.

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Beautiful wattle to remind us that even though it was a bleak day, spring is on its way.

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What a colourful sight on the bridge with all the umbrellas.  At this stage we had started to head back down the hill, pulled by the diesel loco.

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Looking back behind us.  So many of these photos were taken on the phone as it handled the wet conditions better.  Just stick your hand out the window and good luck.

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Isn’t that gorgeous, all bleak and misty.

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Wending our way down the hill.

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Past Georges Plains Station, which is looking a little sad.

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The sign is in better nick than the buildings.

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More people taking photos.

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Finally, this is a rather strange photo to take.  When we were kids, Mum was telling us about steam trains, and that you never wore white clothes while travelling on a steam train as you would get too dirty from all the smuts.  I took this photo of our table not all that long after we left Bathurst and if you look closely, there are heaps of little black smuts on it.  I can only imagine what your clothes would be like after a long journey.  Yes, I remembered her advice and didn’t wear white.

We had a wonderful time on our train ride, and in the end decided that the bleak weather really added atmosphere to the experience.

We do hope that Bathurst has more visits from steam trains in the future, as it was really well received, with all the 2,500 seats available over the two days being sold out.  Congratulations to all involved, (mostly volunteers), who made the weekend possible.