Thursday 31 May 2018

Picnic Quilt Finished - OMG Achieved for May

Finally, my picnic quilt, which I started at the beginning of April at the Scrub Stitchin' retreat, is done and dusted.  To have a quilt completely finished in just two months is nearly, but not quite, a record for me. The  only change to the original design was to add the grey floral border, which finishes it off  nicely and makes it fit the bed a bit better.

It has a lovely soft, summery feel to it.  Quite the opposite to the weather here at the moment, which is getting rather wintry, but that is to be expected, as tomorrow is the official start to winter.  I can see this being used on our bed in the summer, or in the caravan for a holiday feel.

Julie did a lovely job on the quilting.  The swirls suit the design perfectly.

I very happy to have a finish for Peg and Kris on OPAM and have met my May OMG.  I'm linking up here.

Now I have to decide what my goal will be for June.

Monday 28 May 2018

Destination Gulargambone

After the excitement of the Abba Festival it was time to hit the road again.  However, we didn't retrace our steps back home , we kept on going.  Our destination for the day was the small town of Gulargambone, population 500.

Our route took us through Trangie and Warren. 

The landscape continued to change, now featuring miles and miles of cotton crops in the wide open plains.  

Bales used to be rectangular, but now yellow round bales seem to be the way to go. We saw many in paddocks and met several trucks loaded with bales.  I heard on the radio that this year's crop was about the best on record, due to the dry weather.  They seem to be about the only primary producers that are enjoying the dry.  However, all the crops had been irrigated during the growing season.  There is much debate about the practices of cotton growing, but I won't get into that.

As we approached the town of Warren we passed the cotton gin.  The area was surrounded by more bales, neatly stored.  

We have only been through Warren once before and I had no real recollection of it.  It was bigger than I remembered.  It was also lunch time, so time for a break.

The town is located on the banks of the Macquarie River.  The river starts just south of Bathurst and finishes about 100kms north of Warren in the Macquarie Marshes, which eventually drain into the Darling River.  It is somewhere I'd love to visit when it isn't so dry, as it is an amazing bird wetland.

A kookaburra kept us company while we ate in the park.

The main street had lovely old buildings and this Peter Brown mural on one building.

There were a couple of lovely old weatherboard churches.

Then it was back on the road towards our destination.  We knew we were getting close when we came across some corrugated iron galahs.

And we're there.

Now, for a little background.  

In a previous life I worked at the local credit union. In the mid 1990s the banks and other public services were leaving small communities in droves.  The town of Kandos (100kms from home) had their main bank close its doors on the Friday and we opened in their premises on the Monday.  I travelled there and back each day for a couple of months to get the branch up and running.

The federal government tried to fill the gap a little bit in some of these communities by opening Rural Transaction Centres (RTCs), providing access to Centrelink, Medicare, the internet (this was the 1990s) and financial services.  Our credit union provided the financial services at Eugowra, near Forbes (140kms from home), Trundle (220kms from home) and Gulargambone (320kms from home).  I provided occasional relief at Eugowra and Trundle (which were very long days), but never at Gulargambone.  As you can imagine, I have a soft spot for these little towns.

Back in 2004, a group of us were on a motorcycling holiday and we decided to camp at the caravan park at Gulargambone, so I could visit the RTC, and catch up with the girls I often spoke to on the phone.  This was before the current resurgence in the popularity of caravanning.  We were the only ones in the caravan park.  When we went into the amenities block and opened the toilet or shower doors you could hear all the spiders webs breaking.  No one had been in there for a very long time.  We had a good night and it has provided much amusing reminiscing ever since.  

The town also had a new initiative at the time - "2828" - a visitor information centre, coffee shop, gallery and function area.  The galahs were installed at all the town entrances at about that time as well.

So how are things going now?

We saw that the galahs are still there.

2828 is still going strong and has just had some new people take over.  Here's hoping they continue this fine tradition.

Yes, the RTC is still trading in the post office and our local credit union is still represented, although it has had a name change.  The main street unfortunately doesn't have a lot happening.

There are some dumpy houses ,but they are definitely outnumbered by nice houses. 

Now what about the caravan park?  Well, it receives rave reviews in magazines and on forums as being one of the best in the state.  That is some turn around.  You are greeted by nice gardens.  I forgot to take a photo of our camp site, but they are nice big drive through sites, which make an easy getaway in the morning.

The amenities were spruced up and not a spiders web in site.  We couldn't help notice that even the dump point was prettied up.  

On of the biggest improvements is a huge camp kitchen/entertainment area that has been built.

There are colourful handmade rugs for the cooler nights.  When the camp kitchen was first built visitors would crochet or knit a square, which were then all joined together to make these communal rugs.

Each Wednesday and Sunday during the cooler six months of the year there is camp over roast provided for $15 per head.  We turned up on a Sunday, which was ideal.  It was a great way for everyone to get together.

Our hosts, Dave (on the left) and Bernadette (on the right) make everyone feel welcome and included.  The meal was lovely.

They are also great fundraisers for the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) running a mini raffle each camp oven night.  The prizes are all donated by visitors to the park.  They were small crafted items, bottles of wine and other bits and bobs.  They raise many thousands of dollars each year.  When we left I donated my winnings from Trundle to this great project.

It is a popular destination for grey nomad, many of which stay for several weeks at a time and get involved in helping around the park by getting fire wood, gardening and helping with the camp oven roasts or making things for the raffles.  It has a real sense of family for those on the road.  We can see why it is so popular.

Gulargambone is now also having a second resurgance, as while we were sewing over at Baradine (not that far away), there was an influx of artists to Gulargambone.  I'll show you what they got up to next, as this post is too long already.

Sunday 27 May 2018

May RSC Challenge Completed

The colour for May's RSC challenge was pink and rose.  It was easy to come up with fabrics this time.

As usual I have completed the Squared Away Sampler blocks from The Academic Quilter.  This block is called Baton Rouge Square.

I'm linking up with So Scrappy.

As always, this has been fun.  Now to find out what June's colour is.

Abba Dabba Doo

Finally, the day arrived.  The main day of the Trundle Abba Festival.

We dressed in our finery and ventured forth.

This year the format was different.  Previously, the happenings throughout the day were in the main street and only the evening concert, which has an entry fee, was in Berryman Park, which is fenced off.

This year, everything was in Berryman Park - markets, food and support bands etc. and there was an entry fee to the venue, which also included the concert.  There were mixed views in relation to the change.  Some felt it was all too expensive, while others felt that it is the only way that the event can be maintained financially, as it costs about $200,000 to put on.  We just went with the flow.

However, we did go up the main street in the morning.  When we got there, there were loads of people and plenty to see, as coincidentally the Parkes Antique Motor Club was hosting their Pre 1930s vintage car rally and they travelled to Trundle.  There were about 120 beautifully presented vintage cars.  What a sight!  This wasn't part of the festival, but it certainly was a hit with the many visitors to town.

Of course, everyone knows I'm a little fond of old cars.  I had fun checking out the bonnet emblems.

While we were there the Abba train arrived, carrying enthusiastic, colourfully dressed fans.  We were surprised at the number of carriages.  This means of transport was very popular.

Trundle is famous for its wide street (the widest in NSW) and its pub (the longest pub verandah in NSW).

The verandah was the perfect vantage point to see just how many cars were in the street - and that isn't all of them.

Oh yeah, there are our crew as well.  The idea was to emulate the Dancing Queen album cover, but we looked more like the Blues Brothers, but those little white hats were the best for finding each other in a crowd.

Once we arrived at Berryman Park we started to really see some fun outfits. 

Let the entertainment begin.


There was a talent quest.

The band "Amite" from Parkes got everyone up and dancing.  They performed here last year and I reckon they have really improved since then, (and they also had a much better stage and sound system than in the main street).  These girls have seriously powerful voices and a put on a great show.

It was all so colourful.

And the crowd kept growing. (Notice the lady knitting in the front row)

Official things took place just before the main concert.  Our dignitaries dressed in their full Abba garb are Michael McCormack (Deputy Prime Minister of Australia) on the left and Ken Keith (Mayor of Parkes Shire Council) on the right.  It's so good to see them getting into the spirit of things.

As usual, the main concert is performed by "Bjorn Again", arguably the best Abba tribute band in the world. 

Everyone was having a marvelous time.

It was a bit sad that it all had to come to an end.

There was more happening at the pub after the concert, but we were happy to return to our fire.

Another fun day had come to an end.

Oh, and I nearly forgot - during the afternoon I received a phone message to go to a certain stall to collect my raffle prize from the quilt show.  How exciting.

Isn't it a lovely cushion and beautifully made.

But not only that, there was more - I also won the lucky door prize!! A hamper of all sorts of pamper items.  I couldn't believe my luck.

Saturday 26 May 2018

Friday at Trundle

Firstly, I thought I'd better show you our camp site.  We were at the Racecourse and last year we worked out that if there were two vans travelling together to get sites behind each other, as the sites were really wide.  We were able to fit our two vans on the sites so that our awnings faced each other while still being drive through. Perfect.

After brekkie we wandered up the street and visited the op shop, as you do.  This op shop has heaps of haberdashery which was donated from a shop that closed down.  They seem to have more each time we visit.  This time I stocked up on zippers at 80c each. They won't go astray for zippy purses.

Then we hopped in the ute and headed north - quite a bit north to the geographical centre of NSW, north of Tottenham.  It was quite a drive just to see a cairn in the middle of nowhere.  I couldn't help notice the contrast to the first time we visited, back in 2010, which was in a wet spring.  There were heaps of wild flowers opposite the cairn that time.  This time, there were just a few dried out twiggy bits.  Mind you, once some decent rain is received the bush will miraculously  bounce back.

The payoff for the long drive was a yummy counter lunch at the iconic Rabbit Trap Hotel at the village of Albert.

Once back at Trundle I was looking forward to visiting the CWA Quilt Show.  I hadn't seen it advertised anywhere, so I was pleased to see that it was on again.  Come for a stroll.

Don't you love these signs and the fact that you were invited to touch some quilts.

Of course we enjoyed afternoon tea, bought some sticky date muffins with caramel sauce (they were delicious) and bought a couple of raffle tickets, as you do. 

Once again a great display for a small group.

In the evening we rugged up and went to the first of the organised events.

The music guru Glenn A Baker was the MC for the weekend.

 Rhonda Burchmore and Lara Mulcahy performed their Abbasolutely Fabulous Show.

It really was fabulous.  It wasn't an impersonation show, but they wove Abba into their story.  These besties met at the auditions for the first Mamma Mia production in Australia. The joked of their similarities as well as their differences.  So much fun.

They had us laughing and dancing all the time.  We're so pleased we went along.

The show finished relatively early, so we went back to the vans and tested out Mick's latest fire bucket creation.  As we forgot to bring a toasting fork, one was quickly whipped up from some tie wire - a bit wobbly, but it did the job.  

The end of another full, but fun day.