Friday, 20 April 2018

What Do You Do When You Have a Free Afternoon?

Mick and I were both free this afternoon so we hopped in the car and went for a little drive.

You see, over the last few year there has been a cycle race"B 2 B".  Blayney to Bathurst.  The long course is 110kms and the short course is 70kms.  Things have now expanded to the point that this weekend will host the Bathurst Cycling Classic, as there is also a street race in the centre of town and a hill climb.

For the last couple of years Blayney Council has run a Hay  Bale Art Challenge in conjuction with the cycle race.  Therefore, we decided to go for a drive to check out the hay bales.

Now, to step back a little bit.  I use a little point and shoot camera which has a nice zoom capability.  The last two cameras have unfortunately ended up with dust inside the lens.  My current camera has ended up with a cat hair inside the lens.  How a cat hair works its way in there is beyond me, but it has happened.  

It's been there for a little while but hasn't affected the photos, but I noticed when we were at Baradine that if I took a photo into the sun it was definitely visible.  Not a good look for the album.

Today we took it back into the shop and it is still under product care, so is being sent back for assessment and hopefully replacement.  In the mean time I needed a camera, so we bought a new little one.  Hopefully, the insurance will cover the cost for most of it.  Today was a good day to start using it.

Back to our outing.

Our first stop was the coffee shop at the infomation centre at Blayney.  We also had a chance to have a sticky in a few shops, as it is very rare we get to Blayney in business hours.

Then it was time to wend our way home via the route of the cycle race and check out the hay bales.

We were impressed that there was a sign in the lead up to each installation and at each site there was room to get off the road to take a photo.

The road that the race follows is one we very rarely drive, so it was a nice, picturesque outing as well, even though it was quite close to home.

There are lots of old shearing sheds in the area.

The village of Barry really got into the spirit, greeting us with Mulga Bill with token hay bale.

The detailing was very good.  I wonder if he is also used for some of the folk festivals celebrating Banjo Patterson's writings.

There was a sign at the front of the above two, "It takes a village to build a village". 

While in Barry we noticed this interesting collection of old caravans at the back of a house - obviously being  used as sheds.

Back out in the paddocks we came across quite a few more creations.

This truck was clever.  When you looked at the front it had a pallet as a grille and the windscreen, complete with wipers was painted on.  There's many a farmer would be happy to have that load of hay at the moment.  Another thing we noticed on our little trip was the number of paddocks where cattle were being fed.

I think this one was my favourite.  

The attention to detail was amazing. It's fun to look at the features and work out what had been used.  Flower pots featured and I love the cow catcher made from star pickets.  It look s like there are solar flood lights to illuminate it at night.

Another favourite was the "Shear-o-matic".  The red light at the top of the bales was flashing, so it looked very technical.  People certainly have a good imagination and sense of humour.

This fellow was a feature at the intersection at the village of Hobbys Yards.  Very clever.

At this point the short course turned left and the long course turned right.  Which way to go?  We turned right.  Bad move!  No more hay bales.  The course travelled all the way to Trunkey Creek.  

We took a dirt road back across towards Newbridge, which we haven't travelled for many years, hoping to get back onto the hay bale route.  Unfortunately, we didn't see any more, but we loved what we did see.

By now the afternoon was marching on and we were enjoying that late afternoon golden light.  The season is terribly dry, but the landscape is still stunning.

As we came back into town Mick noticed this large pile of hay and declared it was the art supply store and that they should have got into the act.  Cheeky begger.  Oh, and the marks on the photo are bugs on the windscreen, not marks in the lens of my new camera, which seems quite good to use.

To finish off, we enjoyed a lovely sunset, albeit back in the middle of suburbia.

150th Royal Bathurst Show

As anyone who knows us is aware, we love a good show, especially our local one.

This year, due to work commitments we only had a chance to pop down for a look see on Friday evening, but we packed in as much as we could in that time.

Firstly, the outside attractions. 

 We arrived just in time to see the D-Max utes going through their paces.

Unfortunately, the livestock section was closed for the evening, as were quite a few exhibits.  Not to worry, we still saw heaps.

There is a community stage where local talent keeps us entertained.  Unfortunately, there was a dust storm, followed by some rain which hunted patrons inside, so there weren't too many in the audience at this point.

Of course, side show alley has to be visited after dark for the best effect.  What was really strange this year, was that even at night we only needed short sleeves.  Normally it is cold at the show.

When we went into the pavilions Mick was accosted by a very friendly dog.  Mars Petcare (maker of Schmackos and Pedigree for dogs and Whiskettes for cats) is celebrating 40 years of production at Bathurst.on 

Now to check out the creative section of the show.

There were some cleverly decorated cakes to celebrate the 150th show.

The numbers of entries were certainly up on previous years, which was great to see.

The kid's art section took in a huge area.  It looked so colourful and bright.  Here's hoping some of the kids continue to exhibit in the future. It reminded me a bit of when I was in primary school and every girl in the town made a pin wheel in third class.  They were then all entered in the show by the schools. How the judges picked a winner is beyond me.

A part of the Western Regions display at the Royal Easter Show is always included in our show.  The designs on the letters of  "Youth" were really clever.

Little Sofala School got in the swing of things with their vegetable carving.

More art.  The quality of the art this year was really high.  Wonderful to see.

These came from the Nursing Home where Mum lives.

Stunning photographic section.

Now that is one cool wheeley walker.  It was created by one of the local nursing homes.

I loved the colourful mandala rug.

Beautiful knitting.

My Mum earned a second prize with her blue scarf.  She also received a second prize with her crochet, but I couldn't see it.  Apparently it was displayed in a different section.

The Needlework section was looking quite full, whereas for the last few years it has been rather bare.

You may see in the top left hand corner a blue and white quilt.  Well, I was actually able to enter a quilt in the show.  Two factors allowed this to happen.  Firstly, I finished a quilt (that always helps) and secondly, it met the requirements of one of the classes.  My previous quilts have been machine appliqued and pieced and there is only a section for hand applique and piecing.  This one went in "Hand or machined pieced, commercially quilted".

I was rather pleased and humbled when we arrived to see a red, white and blue ribbon on my quilt.  I had won champion of the section.  

I very nearly didn't get my entry in on time, as entries had to be delivered by lunch time on 6th April, but I wanted to take my quilt to Baradine for show and tell on 5th April, so decided that I'd rather take it to Baradine, and enter the show next year.  I received a phone call on the Sunday night we returned home saying I could deliver it on the Monday morning.  Phew. I'm so pleased they made that call.

We capped the evening off by watching the spectacular fireworks from our verandah - a surprise bonus of living where we do. It's funny how the finale of fireworks displays now seem to be white, rather than multicoloured.  They remind me of dandelions.

The show had some challenges this year with the weather, firstly a hot windy Friday, then a dust storm and rain that night.  Saturday was cooler, but blowing a gale. Sunday was cooler again, but not quite as windy.  Despite the weather, the locals turned out to make the event a great success.  Here's looking forward to many more shows in the future.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

In the Background at Baradine

I may be a bit odd, but I don't mind having Mick tag along to a retreat.  He was due to have a weekend of R & R as well, so we took our van. It was also our wedding anniversary, so that would have been no fun with him back at home.

Coincidentally, we have had Camp Cypress on our "To Go To" list for some time, as they advertise as being a motorcycle friendly venue.  Unfortunately, travelling there by bike hasn't happened as yet.

On Friday morning we had a nice leisurely breakfast.  He is enjoying using his very low tech camp kitchen/table.

Following Jenny and Robin's example we had our eggs in the toast.  It worked very well and tasted great.  Any  breakfast tastes good when eaten outdoors when you are camping.

There were some pretty grevillias in bloom in the grounds of the camp and the miner birds loved them.

The sunsets weren't too shabby either.

Mick was quite happy to sit in the background and read a book, go for a walk around the town and catch up on some zeds........Not a lot of that happened.

You see, Charlie, the camp caretaker told him about this really interesting place to visit - Sculptures in the Scrub.  So he went and had a look and then continued on to the Salt Cave. 

We'd heard of the Sculptures, but knew nothing of them and had never even heard of the Salt Cave.  He returned that afternoon announcing that next year we need to spend extra time here to go exploring.

When I was telling him that Chooky had planned a surprise outing, he smugly told me that Chooky told him where we were going, but he wouldn't let on.  I was wrapped that I was going to see the sculptures as well when we got there.

Mick noticed another of the sculptures from the Gorge floor, which we missed.

The Salt Cave

The Observation Tower at the Salt Cave. Yes, we definitely have to do some more exploring next year.

On Saturday he headed off and met up with Mr Chooky and Miss Jules' other half and they all went to a clearing sale out the other side of Coonamble.  

Mick found it really interesting, as it was on a rather larger and more expensive scale than we get at home.  Then again farming out west is on a rather larger and more expensive scale than we get at home.  

Before he left, Mick said he wanted to buy a big green tractor.  His five dollar budget didn't cut the mustard on the one that was there, so he bought five novels from the Rotary Club stall instead.

He even got to see the painted water tower in Coonamble.  They were just starting the painting when we visited the area last June.  Apparently, while we were at Baradine, the little town of Gulargambone was having a weekend of painting murals on their buildings and also painting their water tower.  I can't wait to see that too.

So there wasn't too much resting for Mick, but at least he wasn't at work.

We went for a short wobble tour around Baradine on our way home and were taken by the Catholic Church and Convent.

We also were able to see the Siding Springs Observatory in the distance on our way home.

A nice way to end our visit.

We both are looking forward to returning next year.  Maybe Mick will get to rest, read a book and go for a walk around the town....maybe.