Sunday 27 March 2011

Visiting Newcastle

After travelling to Nundle last week, we headed off again this weekend to Newcastle.  The Ulysses Club AGM has been on all week, but we weren’t able to take the time off this year.  I can’t believe it is a year since our trip to Western Australia.

Anyway, our friends from Rockhampton were down for the Rally, so we popped over to catch up with them.

Once again, we travelled through the Bylong Valley.  We really seem to be making a habit of this, but it is so beautiful.

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After leaving a gorgeous, clear morning at home, it was scatty showers all the time in Newcastle.  We were lazy and took the car, rather than a bike, and just quietly, we were quite pleased.

We mainly looked around the foreshore area with its lovely parklands and historic buildings.

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After a scrummy lunch we went for a stroll and were lucky enough to be able to get under cover for the worst of the showers.

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Nobbys Beach was as good as deserted.  I just loved the art deco pavilions and baths in the area, but it was too wet to take any photos.

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This is the view from our hotel room window.  Once again, the beach was as good as deserted. On a previous visit, several years ago, we had a lovely time swimming at this beach.

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This is also from our hotel window this morning.  The sea wasn’t quite as rough today, although it was still showery. 

I counted 11 ships out there, presumably waiting to come into the harbour to be loaded with coal. While we were having dinner last night we watched one being piloted into the harbour by three tug boats.  They sure are impressive up close.

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Today we just had a leisurely trip home and will have an early night, as we are about bushed. 

Cheers, Janice

Monday 21 March 2011

Girls Day in the Country

I had the best time on the weekend at Nundle. This had been in the planning for nearly twelve months, so it was wonderful to have it actually come to fruition.

As this was my first adventure to GDITC, it was so nice to be taken under the wing of a few of the girls.  Everyone was so very friendly and welcoming.  I didn’t feel like a stranger at all.

This is our table ready to start for the day.

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We each received a cute mug and fabric envelope holding our kits.

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Then Kerry, who did a sterling job in organising everything so well, introduced us to our guest tutor Anni Down of Hatched and Patched.  I found it quite funny going all the way to Nundle for my first ever class with Anni, whose shop is two blocks away from where I work.

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We had a choice of three projects.  This cute wall hanging. I love the muted colours.

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A chatelaine using some of the smaller stitcheries.

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Or a purse using woollen fabrics.  The design was inspired by English quilts which had random appliqué on them.

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I chose to have a go at the purse, but it isn’t finished just yet.  I think I talked too much and wandered off too often.  Fancy that!  I ended up rushing at the end and am not happy with the way it was coming together, so I will do a little reverse stitching, sew it properly and then I’ll be much happier with the finished product.

There was a show and tell of projects that girls had made using Anni’s patterns.  This was beautifully made and even hand quilted.  I saw the stitching up close and it was just perfect.  I’m extremely in awe of Sandy’s workmanship.

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I have more to show, but that can wait until tomorrow. Just to finish off, here is our little home away from home.  It was tiny, but cosy and very friendly. It was even dubbed Cafe #7.  We definitely didn’t go hungry.

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Saturday 12 March 2011

Bye Bye Olga

Mick took Olga to Sydney on Thursday for her big trip.

She just fits on the trailer, once Mick made a frame to lift her up a bit.  She has to be spotlessly clean and with very little fuel in the tank.  Fortunately, despite the forecasts, the weather was dry, as it would have been a real nuisance if it was wet while loading.


There are 35 bikes being shipped from Sydney and Mick had to be there for the second container to be filled, so didn’t need a terribly early start.  The big blue container being lifted by the crane in this photo is full of bikes loaded earlier in the day. See how the bikes are tied down into a cradle before being loaded into the container.


When I met Chookyblue just after Christmas I learnt that her neighbours were also shipping their bike over to the UK for the Isle of Man races.  Mick spent quite a bit of time with them on Thursday and said they are just lovely.  I get to meet Julie at Nundle next week.  What a small world.

We were lucky enough that we were able to attach our luggage to the bike rather than have to have it packed on the floor of the container.  This was all have been different if the container was full. We have just sent our helmets and riding gear in the blue bag and the panniers on the bike are empty.


We were also very lucky that there was enough room in the container that we didn’t have to remove the sidecar from the bike, as was initially expected.  It was to be hung from the roof above the bike, so this was much easier.  She just nosed in nicely.


It was a big job getting everything loaded, as some bikes had been sent to Sydney by carriers, rather than being delivered in person by the owners.  Then all the luggage had to be packed around the bikes.


Lastly, after a final check, the door was closed and sealed.  The seal cannot be broken now until the container arrives in the UK.


It is such a relief to have that taken care of.  We can do no more to the bike now.  On Wednesday we received new leads for the intercom and an adaptor to improve the GPS volume.  Nothing like leaving things till the last minute.  We feel quietly confident that we have done all we can to make the bike reliable and just wish we were heading off now too.

That is probably enough about bikes for a little while.  I hope I’m not boring you too much. There will be some sewing related posts soon, as this time next week we will all be at Nundle.  I can’t wait.

Sunday 6 March 2011

Look What I Found

This may not look like much, but I found it rather exciting.

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You see, when we bought our block of dirt back in 1994, a work mate of Mick’s gave us a heap of little tree seedlings, all different varieties.  He apparently just enjoyed propagating them.  Initially, we had them in pots in our back yard in town, and then when we finally moved out here into our shed and had a water supply, we planted them in rows at the end of the shed.

Most were eventually planted around the yard, but a few stayed where they were initially planted.  This oak tree was one of them.  It never did a great deal, as most of its life it has been in drought, but this year it thrived.

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This is the first time that it has produced acorns.  It would be fun to plant one and try to grow the next generation.

Saturday 5 March 2011

Our Saturday

Can you believe it – we both were home all day today.  What a wonderful change.  It will be the last for a while, though.

Mick has been playing with Olga.  She is just about ready to head off on her holiday on Thursday.

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She comes up rather well with a bit of spit and polish. The final packing will happen tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I tackled the fun job of defrosting the freezer.  Oooh, it needed it!  It is such a good feeling to get that out of the way.  It would never do for the house sitter to have to put up with how it was.

As a result, I had to stay fairly close, so it was a good chance to have a morning of cooking.  I don’t know how long it is since I’ve done that.  Firstly I made the old favourite, Raspberry Coconut Slice.  It is always yummy.

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Then I made a big batch of Spaghetti Bolognaise.  It smelt so good while it bubbled away.  That is a few quick meals taken care of.

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I also made a big pot of Sweet Potato and Red Curry Soup for lunch and a couple of extra meals. (I forgot to take a photo.)  I don’t do hot curry, but this recipe is just so flavoursome.  Since I discovered the recipe in “Delicious” magazine last winter it has become a firm favourite.

It was also the perfect washing day, nice and sunny but quite breezy.  There was plenty to catch up on after last weekend away.

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The weather has turned decidedly autumnal over the last few days.  The temperature got down to only 6 degrees yesterday morning with a definite nip in the air and the days have only reached the low 20s.  It is nice to not be too hot or too cold to be doing things.  This is my favourite time of the year.

It is also the time when I start to think of knitting. While I was waiting at the check out at the supermarket through the week I noticed the latest edition of Better Homes and Gardens, or more importantly, the knitting book attached.  I don’t know if they’ve had these for the last few years, but they were always good in the 80s and 90s, so it just happened to jump into my trolley.

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The pattern I’m itching to start is the frilly scarf.  I think it may become a lunchtime project.  I’ve seen these around, but haven’t had a chance to find a pattern.  I do hope it is easy.  I think I may even have some suitable yarn hiding somewhere.

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I hope you had a great Saturday as well.