Monday, 19 August 2019

This, That and Every Other Little Thing

While preparing the last few posts I have been looking at my photos and there are lots of little things that I haven't shared, so this will be a bit of a catch up mish mash.  Maybe, there is a lot to be said for Instagram, but I don't want to go down that rabbit hole.


Firstly, remember back in March I finished the quilt for Mum.  I left it with a friend to deliver to her on Mother's Day, as we were in Queensland at the time.  Here it is on her bed.  It doesn't show well in the photo, and I forgot to take one before I gave it to her, but the label on the corner is one of Mum's pretty hankies that she had crocheted around.  She was very happy with the gift and loves showing it off.


One sunny afternoon in June we went for a walk and came across a huge pile of leaves.  What's a girl to do?  I'm just a big kid at heart when it comes to autumn leaves.

Mick assured me that I had no idea how to kick leaves and had to show me how it is done.

One of the local arcades has a painted wall.  It had been badly defaced with graffiti and there has been a lot of debate as to who is responsible for its clean up.  One local fellow, off his own bat, took some paint down there and painted over the graffiti on the coloured grid and then added some angel wings.  Good on him.

Also in June, some friends had a clean up in their paddock, which was a good excuse for a bonfire.  It was a lovely way to spend the evening.


The nursing home where Mum lives has a special dinner each July and family are invited.  Last year the theme was "Gatsby", this year it was "Outback".

They had the entrance foyer really well decorated.  Apparently there was even a dunny in the outhouse.  We had to dress up for dinner.

The tables were beautifully set.

The meals had an Aussie theme and the local Panorama Chorus ladies came along and sang Aussie songs.  The evening is quite a highlight on their social calendar.

At the end of the month we went for a drive to Tarana for their Farmers Market.  It was a beautiful day and there were heaps of people in attendance.

Tarana is a very popular destination for a drive or motorcycle ride for people from Sydney, as well as around here.  The pub and its great counter meals being the main attraction.

However, over the road is a building which was originally the general store.  A few people have attempted to run a cafe in the last ten or so years, but sadly, they have never lasted for long.  Recently, it reopened and fingers crossed this time it will last.  We had a very enjoyable morning tea sitting in the window seat.

A belated birthday gift arrived for Mick from his mate on the Isle of Man.

The Laxey Blacksmith makes personalised products.  Apparently, he is closing down and this will be one of the last that he makes.

It now has pride of place above the fireplace.

Finally, how snug do these two look.  As soon as Mick lays on the lounge under the old "blankie" I made many years ago, (I must do a blog post about it one day), Joey runs from wherever he is and settles down into his nest.  Too funny.

That about wraps things up for now.   So much for it being a quiet time of year.

Sunday, 18 August 2019

Sophia Goes on an Outing

It was a beautiful day yesterday and Mick finished work at lunchtime.  Therefore, we took the opportunity to take "Sophia" on an outing.

Sophia is our Moto Guzzi motorcycle - a stylish Italian lady in a red dress. She is quite a home girl these days, not having been on an outing since September last year, which is a bit sad.

Mick wanted to give her a service and the oils have to be warmed up before being drained.  It was only a relatively short ride, but so nice to get on a bike again.

Our first destination was Chifley Dam, our local water storage.  It looks lovely, but is well under halfway full.  As you can see, the landscape is very dry. We will be having even stricter water restrictions as of mid October. 

On our way back we stopped at The Lagoon School of Arts.    We don't have all that many "portrait" style photos of Sophia, so it was nice to take some today.

The building dates from 1902 and is looking very sad.  It is such a pity that it has been let get to this state.

We had a look through the broken front window and inside doesn't look too bad.  If it is never going to be used as a public hall again, maybe it could be sold so someone could convert it into their home, before it gets too far gone.

Our next stop was over at the O'Connell Avenue Cafe for coffee and cake.  There always has to be coffee and cake when we are out and about.

One tree beside the outdoor seating area was just starting to burst into flower.  I'm guessing it is a flowering plum.  The bees were loving it.  Apparently, today is the first day the bees have been visiting.

Before heading home we stuck our head in the nice little gift shop next door to the cafe.  The tall white vase came home with us.  It should hold a single bloom nicely.  The white vase next to it came from the same shop last time we visited.

It was only a short ride, but we both thoroughly enjoyed it.  I think Sophia enjoyed getting out as well.  We must try to do it more often, especially as the weather is now warming up.

Comments Issue Partly Solved

I have found a partial fix for my comments problem.  Blogger must have changed some of its settings behind the scenes.

As I said, I stopped receiving emails advising when someone had made a comment.  I had a  bit more of a poke around this morning.  

By going into the settings, in the email section, there is a box asking you to enter an email address for comments notifications.  This was showing as blank???  I had to enter my email address and then accept the invitation.  Go figure!  Why had it reverted?......There was a computer update the other day.  I'm guessing it changed things. Anyway, I am now receiving email notifications of comments again.

I'm still having dramas entering comments on some blogs via phone or ipad, so will see if I can find a solution to that one.  Unfortunately, Shez's method still didn't seem to work for me.


Saturday, 17 August 2019

Nearly Spring

What a difference a week makes.

Last weekend we had snow, this weekend we are expecting 22 degrees C on Sunday, before another cold front and back to 10 degrees C on Monday.  We'll just enjoy the warmth while we can.

Yesterday, when I was out in the garden I was delighted to see that the very first of our bulbs have opened up.  

There were no bulbs here when we moved in and we are going to have heaps in flower this year.  They are popping up all over the place, and honestly, we can't remember what we planted where for half of them, so it will be a lovely surprise seeing them bloom.  Many of the early ones we planted have really grown into nice sized clumps.  We may have to do some dividing after they flower this year.

When we lived in town in our first house we had a shady garden along the side fence.  We tried to grow pretty flowers, but next door's violets kept coming through and we considered them to be nuisance weeds.  Finally, we gave up and just let them completely take over and fell in love with their winter blooms.

When we lived out of town it took a while for us to have anywhere shady to grow them, but we then eventually introduced several different varieties and colours.  

Now that we are back in town, we brought some with us.  It appears that we only have three colours, but those ones are doing well.  

The last photo is of our daffodils around the rose bush near the front door.  One will be in bloom in the next day or so.  These have also been carted around with us, the originals being gifted to us by dear friends many years ago, also while we were still living in our first house in town.  They didn't flower the first year we were here, and last year we missed most of them as we were overseas, so we are really looking forward to seeing them this time.  I couldn't help myself, I had to count the buds - there are over 40!  This should be quite some show.

I'm so looking forward to the garden waking up, although it will be a bit of a challenge this summer with strict water restrictions.

Comments Confusion

Is anyone else having strange things happen with comments or is it just me?

For a couple of months now I can only comment on some blogs, but not others, on my phone or ipad.  I can comment on them all from my desktop computer. As I like to sit by the heater with my ipad reading blogs, this is a pain.

It appears that if the blog takes you to a second screen to comment it works, but if the comment text box shows at the bottom of the blog post I can't. Why the difference?  They are all blogspot blogs.  I had a look in the comments section of the settings on mine and there is a question about the location of comments.  Mine has "popup window" as the setting and if you go to comment it takes you to the second screen.  (Well I think it does, it did when I tested it.) Is that affecting things?

The other issue only started on Wednesday.  None of the comments on my blog are going through to my email.  This happened once before and some clever person found a work around.  Is anyone else having this same problem,  and if so, has anyone heard of a work around this time?

Please help a technologically challenged blogger.

Friday, 16 August 2019

Carol of the Bells

During the Winter Festival I noticed a small article in the local newspaper advertising that it was possible to take a tour of the bell tower of the Anglican Cathedral.  That sounded interesting, so I quickly signed up Mick and I.  

We had expected that we would be met by one of the bell ringers, walked through the building and be told a bit about the tower, the bells and the history, but it was so much more.

Let's start with a bit of history.....

All Saints Cathedral was opened in 1848 and it was decided to have a ring of bells installed in the tower.  One of the locals travelled to England in 1851 to arrange for a set of six bells to be cast.  They cost 800 pounds and were installed in 1855.  The only hitch was that no one in the area knew how to ring them in the circular method. A gentleman was brought over from Adelaide for the purpose.  He stayed in the district and his descendant is now one of the bell ringers of today. It is believed these bells were the first ring of bells to peal in the full circle English style in Australia.  

Unfortunately, due to Bathurst's highly reactive clay soil, by the 1890s the bell tower was becoming unstable from the ringing.  They reduced it to three bells, and shortly after they stopped ringing them all together.

The old cathedral was demolished in 1970 and replaced with a very modern version, which opened in 1971.  I cannot remember the old cathedral, but I can clearly remember being at the opening of the new one, with the parade of all the clergy in their robes, and being quite excited to see our minister, Arch Deacon Ellis, among them.  There is even a brand new, never used, tea towel to commemorate the event in among Mum's collection.......but I digress.

When the new cathedral was built there was no bell tower and the bells were stored behind the Courthouse for the next 40 years.

Eventually, there was a move to build a new tower and to have the existing bells refurbished and have an additional three made.  After much fundraising and a design competition, things started to move along.  We now have a very striking bell tower.  The Courthouse, Carillon and Bell Tower form a nice line through the centre of town. The new bell tower was opened in 2009.

Here's a better photo of the tower itself, showing the different levels.

Now, back to the tour....

What we didn't expect was to have a group of bell ringers in attendance to give us a demonstration.  What an added treat that was, and it made everything so much clearer.

We were given a bit of history on bell ringing.  It appears that circular ringing of the bells was originally an English thing.

We wondered how they read the music.  Not quite the method we are used to.

We were only a small group of ten and after our little background briefing were divided into two groups.  Our half stayed in the bell ringing chamber to see how the bell ringers work.

This chamber is on the first floor, above the main entry to the tower.  I love how the shorties have little platforms to stand on.  Apparently it is quite hard to learn, and when you see them in action you can understand why.  They have to be so well coordinated with each other.  They only rang six of the eight bells on this occasion.

When not in use, the ropes are tethered to a central point and winched up to the ceiling.

Once we had receive the demonstration the groups swapped places and we ventured further up the tower.

Look where we had to go............I'm not very good on heights or open ladders.......

This is the next level.  Not a lot happening here. Therefore, up another level, collecting your green ear muffs on the way.

So that's what all the fuss is about.  A ring of eight bells. You may recall that there were originally six bells and they purchased a further three, but there are only eight here.  The largest one is on the roof and is rung separately for normal church services.

Can you notice how the inside of some of the bells have a shiny section.  That is where the old bells were tuned, when sent back to England, ready to hang in the new tower.

Here they are being rung.  Notice how they are all at different angles, whereas in the top photo they at rest.

The glass of the tower is special sound resistant glass.  A soprano opera singer will not shatter this glass.

We had one more ladder to climb up onto the roof.  Here was the final bell.  I made it up all those ladders.  Well, I wasn't going to see anything if I didn't, now was I.

We were intrigued to see a few of these anchor points around floor on the top of the tower.  It transpires that the various local emergency services sometimes use the bell tower to practice their abseiling skills.

It is the best view of Bathurst from up there.  Kings Parade, featuring the War Memorial Carillon, is over the road, with the ice skating rink set up in Russell Street for the Winter Festival.  Behind that is the Courthouse and behind that is Machattie Park. (The Carillon has just had an upgrade of its bells in the last twelve months as well, but that is a story for another day.)

And a view over the roof of the cathedral towards Kelso and the blue mountains.  We had such a lovely day to be up there.

Back on ground level there is a plaque to acknowledge the major benefactors of each of the bells. Unfortunately, you can't see them terribly well, as the church ladies were catering with "Bell Tower Munchies" during the Winter Festival.  Lovely scones with jam and cream and hot chocolate.  Ask me how I know.

It was a really fascinating tour and I'm so pleased I stumbled across it.  It was nice to learn more about something I see every day.

I'd have liked to finish with some bells, but unfortunately, I cannot get the video to load here.  If ever you are in Bathurst on a Wednesday evening, wander past the cathedral and listen to their practice.  They are great.

Thursday, 15 August 2019

Bathurst Winter Festival Part 2

The Bathurst Winter Festival, during the school holidays in July, has two evening events, a week apart, and of course we had to attend both.

The first one was rather social, so there was quite a bit that we didn't see. Therefore, we made the most of the second night to have a bit more of a look around.

Unlike the first night, when the weather was rather mild, the second Saturday night was absolutely freezing.  We were well rugged up in several layers, big coats, thick socks, beanies and gloves.

Like the previous week, our first stop was for mulled wine, but we weren't the only ones with that idea, as the shiraz version was already sold out.  No worries, we enjoyed the rose version.  Later in the evening we had a shiraz version from one of the other local vineyards.  It was also rather moorish.
Now we have to wait till next year to enjoy this special treat.

For the last couple of years the fernery in Machatti Park has been illuminated.  We didn't get a chance to go through it the previous week, so we were quite happy to wait in the queue this week. 

While we were waiting there was a table with some young people putting face painting dots on people.  When asked if we would like some dots, we thought "Why not?".  We've never had face painting before.

It wasn't until we entered the fernery that we discovered they were glow in the dark dots. How fun is that!

It turned out that the fernery was lit by ultra violet light, with the plants glowing in the dark.  They must have had a glow in the dark powder sprinkled on them.

These large mushrooms were a feature.

The statues even had some glow in the dark on them.

Once we were back outside we just had a general wander.

The Catholic Cathedral also featured illuminations.  There was one sequence which showed the planets, which looked great, but my photo didn't turn out.

Local Musicians kept us entertained.  Gabbi Bolt must have been so cold playing the keyboard.

Stilt walkers are always fun to see.

Being a fire twirler would be a bit warmer on a cold night.

Finally, we went for a walk around the streets to see the decorated shop windows.  This year there were some beauties.

This last one was the winner of the competition, although they all looked great.

It's all a bit sad when the festival is over.  The Bathurst Council should be congratulated on what it has achieved.  Each year there have been favourites return, new things to keep it fresh and variations to make it better.  For something that was to be a one off celebration for Bathurst's Bicentenary, it appears that it will become an ongoing annual event that everyone looks forward to.  Most people we know attended it in one form or another during the fortnight, even people who don't normally attend events.

Now we just have to wait until next July comes around to enjoy it all again.