287. Sunday 9th December 2012. A week of storms…

Monday 3rd December

Last Thursday our mail caught up with us. One of the letters was a driver licence renewal notice for Donnis. Her licence expired on 2nd December (yesterday!!!) Renewal now requires a personal attendance at a Queensland Transport office as the new licence is credit card size, includes a micro-chip, a photo, a password and a couple of personal questions. Grrr! We are currently in another state and had no plans to visit Queensland until around March or April 2013. The nearest Queensland town is Stanthorpe, a two and a half hour drive from Guyra.

So it was that we drove to Stanthorpe in the morning so we can renew the license. Along the way we passed through historical and busy towns such as Glen Innes, Tenterfield and Deepwater. We saw interesting sights along the way and I suggested that as we had brought Donnis camera we would stop on the way home and take photos. Once we had the licence sorted out we decided to walk around Stanthorpe and take photos before heading home.

Grrr, Snap, Fizz, Spit, Hiss, Crackle, Buzz, Moan, Groan, Whinge and Blast!

The camera memory card was still sitting in the laptop back at Guyra waiting for me to download all Donnis photos from her trip to Canada and Mexico!!!

We stopped for lunch at Tenterfield and bemoaned our missed photo opportunities.

Next stop was at Glen Innes for some supplies for dinner. We could see a big black storm building up in the south. After shopping we could see the storm clouds were bigger and blacker and closer and just as we approached a straight stretch of road on the town outskirts we could see a wall of rain ahead. I just had time to stop the car to change from sunglasses to regular driving glasses and turn on the car headlights when the storm hit. Visibility was down to about 20 metres and some cars had pulled to the side of the road. The wipers were on the fastest speed and were just able to keep the screen clean enough to see. My driving speed was down to below 80Kph and outside it was as dark as night. Lightning flashed and we could hear thunder over the sound of the engine and wet road noises. A strong buffetting wind rocked TERIOS making driving a real challenge. About 10 minutes later we passed through the storm into brilliant sunshine on the other side. What an experience! I felt drained from concentrating so hard on driving in such conditions. On the news we heard the same storm had dropped tennis ball sized hail on Tamworth and caused lots of damage including smashed windows and roofs.

It was an occasion requiring a camera…with a memory card inserted!

Tuesday 4th December

Another day of waking early then a drive to Armidale. I had an appointment with an Ear Nose & Throat specialist. After lots of questions he examined my nose and stuck a swab with anaesthetic up my nostril and told me to wait outside. Then after 15 minutes he acid bathed the area where veins are near the surface. That was the easy part he said. The hard part is not to touch or blow my nose for two weeks. Instead I should sniff and spit. Yes disgusting it may be that that is my only chance of a successful outcome. After the procedure we went for a walk around the Armidale Mall.

This cross was erected on 12th October 1945 to commemorate the first Christian Church service held in the New England District at the courthouse exactly 100 years previously.

This cross was erected on 12th October 1945 to commemorate the first Christian Church service held in the New England District at the courthouse exactly 100 years previously.

Richardson Plaza, Armidale built in 1842 and still trading..

Richardson Plaza, Armidale built in 1842 and still trading..

 

Yesterday on the way home we saw a sign saying seasonal workers required as we drove into Glen Innes. The company makes photo products on all sorts of trinkets and gadgets and clothes. They work around the clock seven days a week. I completed an application form and thought that would be the last I hear. They called me today offering to start on night shift tonight. I said yes. Ten minutes later they called me back and said I had informed them I could not lift heavy objects. The position offered involved heavy lifting so the offer was withdrawn. I guess that will be the last I hear from them.

Wednesday 5th December

A quiet day down on the farm. The wind was blowing from the south and temperatures had dropped to 9 degrees overnight. It had snowed in the NSW Alps overnight and the wind was coming from that direction. It was nice and warm out of the wind. I started the lawnmower and cut some more grass. At least it was cool enough in that cold wind. Tonight we are back to needing more blankets on the bed and if the weather stays cold we will have to get the feather doona out of WWWGO.

Thursday 6th December

A quiet day except for a bit of shopping in Armidale.

Friday 7th December.

Another quiet day.

Saturday 8th December.

We drove through Armidale and on to Uralla on the road to Tamworth. But first we visited an orphanage

Armidale's fine Catholic Orphanage which operated from 1919 to 1976 and 1,750 children passed through its doors and dormitry's.

Armidale’s fine Catholic Orphanage which operated from 1919 to 1976 and 1,750 children passed through its doors and dormitry’s.

and the New England Girls School Equestrian Centre

New England Girls School Equestrian Centre. These very expensive under cover arena's are for the sole use of the students at the school.

New England Girls School Equestrian Centre. These very expensive under cover arena’s are for the sole use of the students at the school.

before arriving inUralla is an old town first settled around 1841 and was the scene of a gold rush in 1852. See   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uralla,_New_South_Wales

Many of the buildings are quite old and the local tourism office has a heritage walk to around 50 homes and business around the town centre.

Statue of Captain Thunderbolt on the side of a creek.

Statue of Captain Thunderbolt on the side of a creek.

Arcade in Uralla tfrom the main street to a rear stree with nothing in between.

Arcade in Uralla tfrom the main street to a rear stree with nothing in between.

The Thunderbolt Tavern at Uralla.

The Thunderbolt Tavern at Uralla.

 

The Top Pub. I guess the name came about as it is the only pub near the top of the hill.

The Top Pub. I guess the name came about as it is the only pub near the top of the hill.

One of the heritage buildings was destroyed by fire along with all the museum pieces it contained. Originally it was built to house the Loyal United Brothers Lodge of Oddfellows, District 52, which was built somewhere in the 1860’s.

Loyal United Brothers Lodge of Oddfellows, District 52, which was built somewhere in the 1860’s.

Loyal United Brothers Lodge of Oddfellows, District 52, which was built somewhere in the 1860’s.

We also visited the local old cemetery

Note the inscription on this 1896 broken headstone in the old Uralla Cemetry.

Note the inscription on this 1896 broken headstone in the old Uralla Cemetry.

and searched for the grave of Captain Thunderbolt. Another couple were also scouring the cemetery for the grave and met up with us asking if we had seen the grave. No, but I mentioned the last bushranger grave I visited was at Forbes and there was a white picket fence around the grave. Maybe we should look for a white picket fence? I did and found the grave just inside the main entrance.

Captain Thunderbolts grave at Uralla.

Captain Thunderbolts grave at Uralla.

Duh!

Gold was discovered at nearby Rocky River in 1852 so we took a drive out there only to find a scattered settlement of old and new houses but no river.

On the way home we side-tracked to visit Captain Thunderbolts Cave.

4WD track to Captain Thunderbolts Cave.

4WD track to Captain Thunderbolts Cave.

Donnis outside one of Captain Thunderbolts many caves and hideouts in the New England area.

Donnis outside one of Captain Thunderbolts many caves and hideouts in the New England area.

 

In the distance we could see another of those big storms building. The radio announced a severe weather alert, you know, thunder, lightning, tennis ball sized hail and flash flood rain for the district. As it turned out we had plenty of time to arrive home and have dinner before the storm broke around us. It was gone within an hour although in the night we could see the lightning flashes receding to the north.

Sunday 9th December

Bad storms were predicted for today so any plans we had were given a backseat until Monday or Tuesday. We drove to Guyra to buy milk and rum. Yes RUM! We have a litre of Egg Nog and last year at Christmas we had egg nog and rum and it was delicious. When we got to the main street we were surprised to find it blocked off for the annual Christmas parade. Hmmm! Interesting! We stayed to look at the market stalls and the chocolate wheels

Now this was a smart idea. Firewood in this district is required for almost 6 months of the year. For $1 you could win this trailer load of firewood.

Now this was a smart idea. Firewood in this district is required for almost 6 months of the year. For $1 you could win this trailer load of firewood.

and finally the parade came by. It included a Scottish Pipe and Drum Band from Armidale

Armidale Pipe and Drum Band.

Armidale Pipe and Drum Band.

and the local junior motorcycle club.

Junior Motorcycle Club. It was good to see them wearing their safety gear.

Junior Motorcycle Club. It was good to see them wearing their safety gear.

Gorilla on small motorcycle in the Christmas parade.

Gorilla on small motorcycle in the Christmas parade.

In the afternoon another of those pesky storms arrived. The sky was black and interspersed with jagged lightning. The rain and thunder took turns overhead. The lightning trailed off to the north and took the rain with it. Later after nightfall the wind picked up again and brought another storm with it.

The temperature dropped, requiring the doona and winter jammies again tonight.

So ends another week here in the afternoon storm capital of New South Wales.

 

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