Saturday, 28 May 2022

This, That and the Other

May has been a rather busy month, with a few bits and pieces that I want to catch up on here.

The start of April saw the first of our fogs, which is something that Bathurst has a lot of during the cooler months, especially as we are having such a wet season.  However, our wet has been nothing like other areas of the eastern states.  We have not had any torrential, flooding downpours, thank goodness.
Before we left for our holiday in mid April I remembered to take a photo of our street trees, as I expected them to be bare on our return, three weeks later.

Yep, a rather more wintry outlook, with just a little wispy mist in the valley over the road from our house.
We were lucky not to have any frosts until our first frost, in early May, being -3.6C was a little bit of a shock.  Mind you, this was a late start to the frosts for this part of the world. Just as well Mick had put all our frost tender plants in the green house before we went away......oh yeah, one of his favourite succulents was missed and looked rather sad.  It was immediately relocated and we think that it is still a bit alive....we hope.  We had a second frost that cold, but fortunately, it has been a bit warmer in the mornings, but the days are definitely cooling down.

As a result, all the frost tender plants have been removed or chopped back for the winter.  It looks rather bare, but better than it did.
And a random photo.  One wet morning, before daylight, I took some rubbish out to the bin and I thought the hydrangea looked so nice in the light.

The Bathurst 12 Hour car race was held a couple of weeks ago.  It is not something we are very interested in, but still a great event for the town.  Unlike the Bathurst 1000, there are more European cars.  Each year they bring the cars and drivers down to the centre of town for everyone to have a look at and meet the drivers if they wish.  The weather for the day was forecast to be very wet, however, it was dry for just that little window of time that they were on display.
You had to be a bit of a contortionist to fit into this Audi.
The driver even had to disconnect the steering wheel to get in.  It was quite a process.
The passenger was quite squished, with her knees really bent.  At least the driver was able to stretch out his legs.  I wouldn't want to needing to get out of there in a hurry.
Mercedes ended up taking out the race first, second and third.
This was a local car.

Not long after the cars left it started to rain again, so they were really lucky with their timing.

Rylstone, about an hour from home, holds its Swap Meet in the middle of May each year, and it is one we like to go along to.  We were looking forward to it this year, but the weather report looked rather dodgy, with wet weather for most of the week leading up to the event.  We decided that, rather than take the caravan over on the Saturday, we would assess the weather on Sunday and leave really early in the morning if it looked OK.

Therefore, I intended to spend the day in the sewing room, joining in with Chooky's Zoom session.

Thursday and Friday weren't as wet as predicted and Saturday was actually shaping up to be a sunny and warm day, so late in the morning, on the spur of the moment we decide to throw a few things in some tubs for a stall, and go over on Saturday after all.  Rather than take the van, we would sleep in the canopy of the ute.  Mick has set this all up, but we hadn't tested it out as yet.

When we arrived over there we were surprised at how few stalls were set up.  Obviously, many had been kept away by the weather forecast.  

Before we set up, we went for a quick walk up the street before the shops closed.  I was on a mission.
There is a rather nice wool shop over there and I wanted to buy some 40cm circular knitting needles, something I couldn't buy at Spotlight.  Happy dance.
Next it was time for afternoon tea.  We called in at the bakery.

When I worked over at Kandos for a couple of months in the mid 1990s, this bakery was famous for being wood fired.  It has only been sold in the last couple of years and these beautiful old ovens now sit idle.  The photo is a bit dodgy, as I couldn't see the oven straight on.

Back when I used to go over, the general practice was that if you had a large gathering that required a large piece of meat to be roasted, you would take it to the bakery and they baked it for you in their oven.  How cool is that. 

By the way, the afternoon's weather was beautiful.  It was tshirt weather until about five o'clock.  So nice.

As we only took the ute over, we went up to the local pub for dinner, which was delicious, and for Mick to watch the footy.  There was quite a group of us watching, with most barracking for the one team, which fortunately won.  It was a fun night.
The show grounds looked so good under the lights when we returned.  It looked like we would be in for a thick fog on the Sunday morning. Usually, the field is nearly full of stalls.  So disappointing for the organisers.
Apparently, there had been a big fog on the Saturday morning.
So here is home sweet home for the night.
Quite cozy.  It was actually surprisingly comfortable.
Here it is all packed away again.  The mattresses are tucked away under that shelf at the back.  Mick has had a lot of fun working everything out.  There is even a USB outlet to charge the phones overnight.  When we aren't using it for camping he can still use it for storage.  The other side of the canopy has the Engel fridge, two burner stove and cooking stuff, as well as a battery and inverter.  There are solar panels on the roof.  The idea is that we can use this to camp for a few days if we get somewhere we don't want  to take the caravan.

Anyway, back to the Swap Meet............

We woke up rather early on the Sunday and wandered over to the loos. We were a bit surprised that there was no fog.........there were also no stars.........

By the time we were back at the ute there was a very fine mist......

We still had our stall, but there was misty rain quite a bit and actual rain for a little while.  Despite that, we did sell quite a bit of stuff and were happy with how we went.  At about ten o'clock another shower was coming across, so we decided to pack up and head home.  Of course, it was a very short shower and cleared up after that, but we were still happy with our decision. 

After we packed up, we once again went up the street and had some morning tea and a look in a couple of shops that were closed by the time we arrived on Saturday.  A nice way to finish off the weekend before heading home.

We quite enjoy going to Swap Meets and having a stall.  It is a good little hobby.  They are rather social, with a lot of the stall holders knowing each other and you tend to see the same people at the various Swaps.  If we sell enough to pay for the weekend away, that is all we ask.  Going forward, we may venture a little further, taking the van and a few more days.  We will see.
So why was I after some circular knitting needles?

I want to knit a beanie.  Not just any beanie, but to replicate a beanie I knitted for myself about 30 years ago.  It was made from wool spun by my Dad.  When we were on holidays back in 2017 I wore it a lot and I lost it.  I must have knocked it out of the ute somewhere.  I was sad........

I've been meaning to knit another one.   You can't rush these things.
I still have quite a bit of wool spun by Dad, so pulled some out. 

I can't locate the pattern I used before, which is annoying, as I know there are two copies here.  Mine, and Mum's.  What makes it more annoying, is that I saw a copy of the book in a op shop recently and didn't buy it because I have two copies here.........

My last beanie was knitted using two needles, but this time I wanted to try it with a circular needle.  The only other time I have used a circular needle was to knit a fair isle yoke on a jumper back in my late teens, so this would be a learning curve.........

Let's watch some youtube clips to see how this is done.  Yep, I can do that.

Next, to find a suitable pattern.  I looked at quite a few and then came across one that wasn't really a pattern, as such, but worked out measurements to fit you and your tension and needles etc.  That is what I am using.  I hope it works.........

First, I had to do a tension swatch, seeing as I'm not using commercial wool.  It took a couple  of goes to find a nice feel.  Then, to see if there were any suitable needles in Mum's collection.  Yes, but they were longer.  Time to watch some further tutorials to learn how to do the magic loop.  Yep, I think I can do that.

Yep, I think I can do that.....I think I can, I think I can.......Nope, this is not working out nice at all.  I think it would be easier on some shorter needles...... That's where Rylstone came in.

Now, let's start again.  That feels much better.  The solid sections of the needles are shorter, which makes everything easier. Cast on, count the stitches, knit the first row of the band.  Knit the second row of the band, hang on, something isn't right...... Check this, check that, count the stitches....Blast.  Ten stitches too short.   Undo again.  This poor piece of wool will be wearing out with the frogging it has endured.

OK... cast on, count, count again, count again, just to be sure.  Knit first row, knit second row, phew, it finally looks like it may work.
One I had a few rows knitted it is nice and easy.  I love that I can put the work down at any time, rather than have to work to the end of a row.  I just have a little loop of embroidery thread as a stitch marker and that is working fine.

Of course, Joey has to be in on the act.  He's a great help.

When I finish the band I will be working a couple of rows of a checkerboard pattern, as per my previous beanie.  I do hope it all works out.  I'll also hunt out a photo of me wearing the original beanie many years ago.  Watch this space. 
Speaking of Joey, here he is soaking up the morning sun.  One of his favourite spots in the cooler months.

By now I'm sure you have had about enough of my blather, and I should go and get some tea on, so I will finish off.

Friday, 27 May 2022

Bathurst Show

We had to make sure we were home from our holiday in time to attend the Royal Bathurst Show at the beginning of May. It is an event we always like to pop along to.  You tend to run into people you haven't seen for a while and there is always lots to see. 

It was rather lucky that we were going on the Sunday, as after a wet few days, we were lucky to have a nice blue day, albeit a little squelchy under foot.

Another reason was that I had entered a few items in the needlework section.
I was thrilled to receive a first and third for the "Machine Pieced, Commercially Quilted" section.
The champion quilt was all hand quilted.  I had seen this quilt previously and the stitches are tiny and so even.  After my little attempt on my cushion I really appreciate the time and skill involved.  Well deserved.
I also received a first and second in the "Any Other Item of Patchwork" section, and Champion of that section, which was exciting.

Having said that, it is really disappointing how low the number of entries were.  In the whole Junior Needlework section, consisting of 29 different categories, there were only three items entered, which is really sad.  Things weren't that much better in the adults section.  If it wasn't for the few quilts, there would have been a lot of blank spaces.  Also, in the quilts section, the categories are rather limited, it is only either hand or machine pieced.  There were a couple of beautiful quilts, one with applique and one with stitcheries, but as the piecing was only simple, they didn't rate a mention.  On the whole, there just doesn't seem to be the interest in entering.  There is no real monetary incentive, just the glory and a certificate.  Maybe that isn't enough incentive for many to enter.  I don't know what the answer is.  I'll just keep trying to enter to give the judges something to judge and the visitors something to look at.

One prize winning item I loved was this impressive cross stitch.  
Wow! This doesn't even show all of it. Just beautiful.

Now to have a look at what else is on show.  
There was a section in the Floral Arts to create an arrangement honouring the CWA (Country Women's Association), which is celebrating its centenary,  I think this one sums it up nicely.
You have to watch a bit of the wood chop.  We were amazed at a little bloke, with a huge handicap, beating all the bigger blokes. It goes to show that technique is as important as sheer muscle.

We caught the ute display, just before they were packing up. 
 You get the feral utes.
The whacky.
And the pristine.

No visit to the show is complete until we visit sideshow ally.
We normally visit in the evening, when everything is lit up, but it was just as colourful during the daytime with the bright blue sky in the background.
You'd never catch me on this ride in a million years.  I'd be puking everywhere.
We did enjoy going on the new ferris wheel last year, so did't feel the need this time.

Of course, no show would be complete without the fireworks.  We actually watched them from our front verandah on the Saturday night.
Just this one photo turned out well enough to post.

And that is the show for another year.  There is already a bit of a drama over next year's event, as our show is traditionally a week after the completion of the Royal Easter Show, with many of their side show people travelling to Bathurst.  Sydney has pushed its show back a week next year, to fit in with school holidays, which means we will have to push our show back a week, to fit in with the Showman's Guild people.  However, there are already two other large events happening in Bathurst on that weekend.  I'm sure they will sort something out.  As they say "The Show Must Go On".

Thursday, 26 May 2022

Friday Fun Day - Old Technical College and Art Gallery

Each year Bathurst has their "Autumn Colours" event, which showcases all sorts of things about the area during autumn, mainly being heritage related.

One item we were keen to take part in was a tour of the old Technical College (TAFE) building.
The facade is rather impressive.
(Sorry, not the best photo from this angle, what with all the traffic.)

The TAFE moved to a new campus in the mid 1990s and the building has been sitting empty ever since.  A few years ago the State Government gifted it to the Bathurst Regional Council.  It has been a bit contentious ever since, as what do you do with it?  How do you pay for whatever happens with it?  Last year the Council requested submissions of Expressions of Interest.  They were to close in mid February, but were extended until early May this year.  It sounds like there have been some applications, but there will be no public announcements until Council examines them.

The main reason we wanted to have a look through the building is that my Mum taught dressmaking there in the 1950s, Mick learned his trade there and I learned to type there.

This is the room Mum taught in.
And where I learned to type in the early 1980s.  It was a course designed for Year 11 school students. (I was a much better typist when I finished that course than I am now.  Too many years mainly using the number part of the keyboard.)

The ladies from the Council who conducted the tour were so knowledgeable.  The history of the building, how it fits into the growth and development of Bathurst as a whole, the techniques used in its building, the architectural style and the criteria in relation to the conservation significance of the various parts of the building and grounds was fascinating.  So much more than just opening the doors and taking us for a walk around.
When they pulled the carpet up in one of the rooms the discovered a trap door, which covered a well.  The well would predate the building.  They believe there were several wells located over the site before the Tech was built. This building was opened in 1896. During their investigations, they discovered that the footings were well made, with steel rods.  This has meant the building has withstood the test of time with no cracking.  Bathurst is built on reactive clay, which means that just about all the old brick buildings usually have quite a few cracks (which most are, as there were very few trees on the plains here, but good brick making clay).
Downstairs there was a museum.  I can vaguely remember visiting once when  I was little, but have no recollection of what was there, other than the Cobb and Co stagecoach, which is now at the visitor's centre.  Apparently, there were lots of mineral specimens, working models of machines and the likes.  These were used as teaching aids for the students.  Mick can remember being fascinated by the model engines etc. When the museum closed, the majority of the collection was transferred to the Powerhouse Museum.  Someone asked if there is any chance of getting them back now that Bathurst will shortly have a special centre for storing artworks and museum items.  Sadly, no, as their space will already be filled.

If you have a look back at the photo of the front of the building you will notice the variation in the roof height.  The high section of the building is still only two stories high.
This gives you an indication of the ceiling height of the ground floor.  I was standing on a mezzanine that would have had an eight foot high ceiling.  The rooms were all surprisingly light and they had funny little vents coming into the rooms, as the architects were conscious of the benefits of fresh air in class rooms.  (That sounds familiar, doesn't it, as that has been an argument for classrooms, since the COVID pandemic commenced.)
The stairway is beautiful.  The whole building has beautiful cedar joinery, albeit with lots of more modern infill walls from the 50s and 60s.  Those additions are not considered to be part of the conservation items.
At the top of the stairs you enter the Lecture Room, which is the top floor of the tall part of the building.
Wow!  What an impressive space.
I think you would need a bit more than the two fire places to heat this space in the winter time.

Now returning back downstairs and outside.....

There is a little lane running down the side of the building called "Ribbon Gang Lane", so named as it was the site of the public hanging of a band of bushrangers back in 1830. You can read more about it here. Council is trying to revitalise the centre of town and the latest installment is some artwork beside the old Tech.  
Firstly, there are some animated illuminations in some of the downstairs windows of the old Tech building.
The second is this artwork suspended above the lane.  The theme of the arches is taken from the domed roof of the courthouse, the domed roof or the Boer War memorial and the curves of the roof of the Council chambers, which can all be seen down this other side lane. (Trust me).
The other curve used for inspiration in the artwork is the arched entry to the carriageway of the old Tech building that runs off Ribbon Gang Lane.
Back inside, this is the carpentry classroom.  Those arches, which now go onto more rooms, originally opened onto the carriageway below and materials would have been winched up and through the openings.

It wasn't easy to take a photo, but there was also a caretaker's residence included in the building.  There are several further additions to the rear of the building, which are not of as much conservation significance or are unsafe to enter, including the kitchens, where I attending Microwave Cooking classes back in the mid 1980s.

The precinct also includes a vacant block, just around the corner and the headmaster's cottage, which is in a poor state of repair.  Some time in the past, the floor of the second storey was removed, making the building structurally unsound.  Council received a grant to shore it up, but that is all they have been able to do.

We do hope that such a major historic Bathurst building will find a reuse that benefits the community as well as preserving the past.  It certainly has great potential, but will need some one with very deep pockets to pay for it.

By now it was lunch time, so we found a cafe for a bite to eat, followed by a visit to the Regional Art Gallery.

There were a few exhibitions on display.  The main one was "Drought" by Sidney Nolan.  Back in 1952 the Courier Mail newspaper commissioned the artist to photograph the effects of the terrible drought experienced in outback Queensland.  
Some of the photos and paintings are a bit confronting, but then, so is a severe drought.
There was also this little series of line drawings of wild flowers that he had completed.  I think they would make rather nice stitcheries.

The next exhibition was "Past Night" by Robert Hirschmann, an artist from Portland, halfway between Bathurst and Lithgow.  His paintings were all on the theme of the moon.
I liked the effect of them all grouped on the wall.

The third exhibition was "Cycle" by Nicola Mason, another artist from our local area.  Her paintings were completed over the last couple of years and are mainly showing domestic items.  I just loved it.
A full bookcase is a beautiful thing in my opinion.  Someone else obviously thought so too, as the painting has been sold.
Now for the fun bit....
Mounted on the wall of the gallery were these floating shelves with the actual items that Nicola had painted.  How cool is that.

By then, it was about time to go home, as we had been playing the tourist in our own town for several hours, but what a great way to spend the day.  We do like our Friday Fun Days.