Monday 5th November
Woke to a thick fog through which I could not see WWWGO in the yard. Later I gave an hour of time to cutting the grass and tidying the yard a little.
In the afternoon I drove to the village of Black Mountain. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Mountain,_New_South_Wales
On the 8Klm drive I was reminded (I did not need a reminder, I am already acutely aware) that this is the season when snakes are on the move. I saw two big fat Red Bellied Black Snakes. I guess they were on the move and did not look left and right as they were dead, most likely run over by a car. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red-bellied_Black_Snake
Although not counted among the world’s Ten Deadliest Snakes, they are highly venomous so do not mess with them. By the way, of the ten deadliest snakes, five come from Australia and the top two are from Australia. http://listverse.com/2011/03/30/top-10-most-venomous-snakes/
Black Mountain village has a population hovering near 400, at least according to the 2006 census. The railway line still runs through the town but no longer operates north of Armidale.
Somebody has put in a great deal of work on maintaining and restoring the old station buildings as well as the Station Masters House which is still occupied.
It was a busy Monday afternoon as I saw at least 5 vehicles pass through town and saw at least 3 people in their yards. I am sure there were more people watching me as I walked through town with my camera. Being a village there are no shops, the closest being Guyra unless you count the roadhouse on the highway 3Klms away.
The public school was built in 1882 and so far is still going strong.
Tuesday 6th November
Wednesday 7th November
Surprise Surprise Surprise (thanks to Gomer Pyle for that phrase http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gomer_Pyle )
Friends Glennis and Eric arrived today and spent some time with me. We had dinner at the local bowling club and they stayed overnight in their new caravan. It was wonderful to have their company and continue the tradition of catching up with each other in various places as we both travel. Their visit was totally unexpected hence the surprise surprise surprise.
Thursday 8th November
G & E left early this morning, rugged up against the cold which rolled in overnight. I drove to Armidale, spent a relaxing hour at the NERAM – New England Regional Art Museum. Then I wandered the main shopping precinct, bought groceries, had lunch and was back at Guyra before 3pm. An hour later I took Toto for a walk but after 500 metres the thick black clouds and rumbling thunder warned of an electrical storm was close by. As it turns out the lightning never happened and the rain which did fall was only light.
Friday 9th November.
Lots of heavy rain today. A dry fish pond in the front yard had 100mm of water in it by lunchtime. Nothing else to report except to say I am again sleeping under a doona to stay warm. I was warned that Guyra would be cold.
Saturday 10th November
Geez. I tell ya it has been a quiet week. The weather has not helped. I wanted to visit interesting historical and natural sites but with mostly overcast conditions all week it has not been the best for photography. The rain and cold cannot last forever although today I was back to wearing long johns, fleecy lined track pants, long sleeved tshirt and warm flannelette shirt.
Oh, I forgot to mention I am wearing fleecy lined ski gloves…inside the house
The rain was driven horizontal by the south westerly wind.
I did a Google search today to find the coldest places in Australia. Of the top 50 coldest locations only three are in NSW the rest are in the Victorian Alps and Tasmania. I am heartened somewhat to find that Guyra does not count in that top 50. Heartened somewhat but it does not help when the inside of the house feels like the freezer door has been left open. The best place to be is snuggled under the doona.
Sunday 11th November
Woke to find I was completely snuggled under the doona with only a small opening for air.
I was warned.
Very cold very windy although it has stopped raining. I am reminded of the words to a famous song written by Allan Sherman…
Hello Mudda, hello Fadda,
Here I am at Camp Granada.
Camp is very entertaining,
And they say we’ll have some fun if it stops raining.
I went hiking with Joe Spivy;
He developed poison ivy.
You remember Leonard Skinner;
He got ptomain poisoning last night after dinner.
All the counselors hate the waiters,
And the lake has alligators,
And the head coach wants no sissies,
So he reads to us from something called “Ulysses”.
Now I don’t want this should it scare ya,
But my bunk mate has malaria.
You remember Jeffrey Hardy,
They’re about to organize a searching party.
Take me home, oh Mudda, Fadda,
Take me home, I hate Granada!
Don’t leave me out in the forest where
I might get eaten by a bear.
Take me home, I promise I will not make noise,
Or mess the house with other boys.
Oh, please don’t make me stay,
I’ve been here one whole day.
Dearest Fadda, darling Mudda,
How’s my precious little brother?
Let me come home if you miss me,
I would even let Aunt Bertha hug and kiss me.
Wait a minute, it stopped hailing,
Guys are swimming, gals are sailing.
Playing baseball, gee that’s betta,
Mudda, Fadda, kindly disregard this letter!
The sun came out and although the wind was still cold I decided to drive to nearby Lake Malpas the water supply for Armidale and Guyra and also a place for canoeing, sailing, fishing and I thought it would be good to visit.
I drove 8 klms along the highway to the turnoff then another 6 klms along a gravel road only to find a locked gate.
It seems all the aquatic activities are for club members only, access to the general public is prohibited.
Sigh! Gee it would have been nice if the sign at the highway warned there are locked gates and it is not open to the public.
Weather willing, next week I should have more to report.