Posted by: glenswatman | April 11, 2007

200212 Australia-NSW

Sunday 1 December 2002  No clouds today and boy is it hot.  Join Gerry & Anne for an afternoon visit to Narrabri.  The RSL club are putting on a show "Memories of Patsy Cline" for $12 (£4.40).  The first part of the show is 2 men and a women doing comedy/singing sketches.  The second half is when the women does a tribute to Patsy Cline.  It’s at this point that we realise the only song of hers we know is "Crazy". 
Monday 2 December  I join Gerry & Anne for a morning walk around the perimeter fence of the property.  This makes quite a long walk as Running Bare covers over 1 square mile.  Afternoon game of boules.  Bill & Margaret from Sydney arrive in the afternoon.
Tuesday 3 December  Hot but windy day even the pool is pretty warm at 28C. 
Wednesday 4 December   Hot cloudy day.  Watch ANZACs video in the afternoon which is great as we have just finished reading the book.  Narrabri hits the news as the "rain train" is due in town tonight.  Residents of Sydney have been moved by the plight of people in the drought areas.  They have collected food etc to make up hampers.  The goods have been loaded onto a special train which will deliver them to the main towns in the dry region for local distribution.  Also tonight there is a total eclipse of the sun by the moon.  We walk through the trees to the edge of the property where we see the moon starting to move across the sun.  Unfortunately as the sun sets it drops behinds the trees out of sight.  Midnight dip to cool down.  Bill & Margaret leave and Ned & Judy arrive.
Thursday 5 December  My 46th birthday.  Pack up and head into town.  We start to get phone reception on the outskirts of Narrabri and a few minutes later I get a phone call from Claire.  Spend the morning doing Internet and wandering round town.  The Commercial are doing a roast beef lunch for $4 (£1.50) which is good value anyway but even better with our 2 for the price of 1 shopper dockets.  Park by the river until it’s time to go to the cinema.  The Crossing Theatre has only just opened here and are showing Harry Potter – The Chamber of Secrets at $10 (£4).  After queues to get in last week we’re surprised to find there are only about 20 to watch it.  I thoroughly enjoy it and Steve thinks it’s pretty good.
Friday 6 December  After checking our return E-mails and buying perishables we head back to Running Bare.  Evening BBQ. 
Saturday 7 December  Hot day, clear blue skies.  David & Jenny from Lightening Ridge, Neville, Jenny & kids from Newcastle arrive.
Sunday 8 December  Somehow the plug on the big deep freeze has been pulled out and the contents defrosted.  There’s loads of meat which needs using up so I organise a Sunday dinner.  People chip in with veggies and spuds and we all muck in.  By 1.00pm 20 of us sit down to corned beef (in Australia this is a joint), gravy, roast potatoes, mash, onion, pumpkin, cabbage and carrots. 
Monday 9 December  Another hot but windy day with clouds rolling in mid afternoon.  38C in the shade. 
Tuesday 10 December  Ned & Judy leave.  Heavy rain, thunder and lightening almost all day which delights the local farmers.  It’s much cooler so we light a wood fire in the barn and gather round it in the evening.  Feels just like December in England!
Wednesday 11 December  Dave & Jenny leave.  Rainy start but gradually stopping and by evening the suns out and Laurie lights an outside fire and cooks chips over it.
Thursday 12 December  Back to blue skies, sun and sitting round the pool until late afternoon when we head into town.  Evening smorgasbord buffet at No Lee Chinese $12.95.
Friday 13 December  Business morning but back at Running Bare by mid day.  Alan and Janine return with their 3 grandchildren who are now on holiday until February.  Evening in the club house playing samba.  Ken & Lenore also return complaining of the cold (18C)  temperatures in Victoria!
Saturday 14 December  Up early as it’s hot by 7.30am and 40C is predicted for the high.  Jodie normally cleans the showers and toilets, looks after cleaning the swimming pool and club house whilst looking after her 4 year old Bailey and trying to decorate her cabin. It’s all getting a bit much so I apply for the cleaning job and get taken on to do the toilets and showers on alternate days for $50 (£18) week.  Spend quite a long time trying to bring them up to scratch and feel that every other day is still not enough. Evening cook out $4 (£1.45) with Laurie and Neville cooking bacon, eggs, burgers, pineapple and onions outside.
Sunday 15 December  Granddaughter Natasha’s 3rd birthday.  Hot breezy day with storm clouds gathering in the afternoon.  Decide that although only paid to do alternate days I shall clean the toilets, sinks and sweep the floors on the other days.  At least I am now getting regular exercise!  Ron & Irene arrive with Irene’s Mum en route to Tindo.  Another rain storm in the evening.
Monday 16 December  Ron & Irene and Gerry & Anne leave.  Fred & Marion (ex Germans) arrive.  Hot day with the pool reaching 28C.
Tuesday 17 December  Usual hot day.  Jenny, Neville, Ashley & Felicity leave for Newcastle. Brief lightening storm in the evening.
Wednesday 18 December  Hot day.  Our "game" of tennis is cut short when Steve feels a twinge in his leg – reckon he couldn’t stand the competition! 
Thursday 19 December  Hot with some cloud. Croatian Uri with Danish girlfriend Meret arrive from Brisbane en route to Sydney so have a good chat with them about Europe.  Brief storm in the evening.
Friday 20 December  Jack & Jenny from Moree arrive.  They are getting married here at Running Bare on January 25th and adopting an Indian theme including the Apache prayer instead of traditional vows.  Usual Friday Samba in the clubhouse. Brief evening storm which is just perfect as we get the sunny days to sit out in and the necessary rain at night.
Saturday 21 December Lazy day (as usual). Uri & Meret head off for Sydney.  Gloria and Neville from Dubbo arrive for the weekend.
Sunday 22 December  I hitch a ride into town with Marie to get a few things for Christmas (mainly booze). Not much by way of decoration in the shops or streets and it really doesn’t feel like Christmas at all.  Liz & Don from Emu Creek arrive en route to Tindo as does Lloyd.  Very hot evening and around midnight whilst I am sat out cooling off I hear what sounds like a jogger in flip flops.  I’m surprised to see a kangaroo runs past right beside me.  Late storm
Monday 23 December  Gloria & Neville, Fred & Marion leave. Walk over to Paul & Lesley’s  to use the Internet.  He tells us they now have 60 baby pigs here.  They sell them when they weigh 10kg at around 5 to 6 weeks old and get $30 (£11)- $35 (£12.50) each.  The "Babe" pig he showed us the other week is still smaller than the new-borns and he explains that it is a mini pig which will never grow big.  Heavy rain storm at night.
Tuesday 24 December  Wake to a hot morning and plenty of sunshine.  Don & Liz and Lloyd leave for Tindo.  Kiwi’s Pat & Michelle arrive.  Problems with the water system have been occurring since we arrived and by tonight the showers in the main block won’t work  Excellent news as I won’t have much cleaning to do!.  Evening in the clubhouse with Laurie organising "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" game.  Showers fixed temporarily but only with cold water.
Wednesday 25 December  Woken by the 4 year olds Bailey & Chloe at 6.30am. By 9.00am we are cooling off in the swimming pool and althoug it doesn’t feel like Christmas it’s very nice all the same.  Notice that the children here have fewer presents and of lower value than in England.  Gather in the club house for lunch.  $12 (£4.40) covers our meals for today and tomorrow.  Lunch is chicken, pork, ham, roast potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, onion and garlic, boiled carrots, peas and beans with gravy and garlic bread.  Afternoon snooze which coincides with a brief storm.  Back to the clubhouse for a cold buffet with desserts.  Phil & Tracy roar in from Sydney on their 3 wheel trike.  Heavy storm in the evening when we have to turn the TV up loud to hear "Hook".  Steve joins a darts tournament.
Thursday 26 December  The storm dies down in the early hours and we wake to sunshine.  Chat to Steven & Diana who with their children are off to the convention at Tindo and try to talk us into joining them.  We don’t fancy rushing over but may have gone if we’d known more about it sooner.  Shower repair lasts for about 7 showers then it’s back to square one.  There is another block with 2 toilets and 2 showers but people are arriving thick and fast now and it’s nowhere near enough for us all.  It seems that in Australia people generally spend Christmas with family and friends and then head away as is this the main summer holiday. Cold buffet of left overs for lunch then I get talked into making curries for tea.  I use the pork and veggies to produce a medium tomato based one and a mild creamy version both of which soon get all eaten up.  Cards and darts to follow.
Friday 27 December  Sunny day with a pleasant cooling breeze. Jack & Jenny return having brought outfits for Steve & I to wear to the New Years Eve "Rocky Horror Show" themed party.  Evening Samba and darts
Saturday 28 December  Into town.  After both buying sandals in the sales we head to the cinema to see Lord of the Rings "Two Towers" which is excellent.
Sunday 29 December  Do a few jobs on Billy.  Re proof the canvas and seal a leak around the window.
Monday 30 December  "Who wants to be a millionaire" quiz in evening.
Tuesday 31 December  Spend most of the day making use of the free washing machine to do all the bedding in anticipation of our departure tomorrow.  The club are holding a New Years Eve party with a "Rocky Horror Show" theme.  We’ve been lent appropriate gear and I must say Steve looks just lovely in make up and wearing a basque with stockings and suspenders.  These are popular with many people as are Janet and Brad’s in white undies.  Maids and hunchbacks complete the cast of about 30 of us.  A finger buffet is served and shooters brought around.  Next the fancy dress is judged for children, women then men.  I’m amazed to come in joint third in the womens as I reckon Steve looks better than me.  There’s a mix of karaoke and line dancing but it’s all a bit disorganised and come midnight they release balloons for the kids to pop but don’t do Auld Lang Syne or the conga.  Steve’s the first Brit in the swimming pool and I’m the first woman but after that it all falls a bit flat and we retire at about 1.00pm to leave the younger ones listening to their noisy music.

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