This weeks heading asks that you have a sober Christmas. From tomorrow, Monday 24th December and the next five days we will be on the road in TERIOS. The more sober drivers on the road with me the happier and safter I will be.
Monday 17th December
Summer arrived today.
In the morning we joined a free Heritage Tour by bus around Armidale.
The guide and the driver were both good. At first we drove slowly past some historical buildings and Jennifer, our guide, gave a potted version of Armidale history. Her commentary was often interspersed with irreverent asides. Our first stop was at St. Peters Anglican Cathedral. http://www.stpetersarmidale.org.au/history.asp
The church is built from what is known as “Armidale Blue” brick. Many other buildings and churches in Armidale and New England are built from this same brick. The clay used to make the bricks is no longer available so any renovations or extensions on any of the buildings will never match the original. We were greatly impressed with the architecture and craftsmanship within the church. The architect, John Horbury Hunt, was also the architect of many other buildings in the district and many were made from the same Armidale Blue brick. The foundation stone was laid in 1873 and even a quick glance reveals the church was not built in a hurry.
Next stop was the Armidale Railway Station Workshops and Rail Museum. http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/heritageapp/visit/ViewAttractionDetail.aspx?ID=5045736#
I could not help but compare the description and reality of the station and Station Masters house with the railway station at Albury. The designs are the same although Albury is on a much larger scale. The architect was the same for both stations. We were given a talk by a railway engineer on the history of rail in NSW, the bridges and the original ticketing system. It seems the stiff cardboard tickets I knew so well when I was a teenage commuter in Sydney were the same as used all over the world. The system was designed by a station master in a small rural station in the backblocks of England. Those stiff cardboard tickets have only been phased out in the last 20 years. We were each given a souvenir ticket with the date stamped on it. While the engineer was giving his talk we had tea and cake.
Next stop was Booloomimbah House within the grounds of University of New England. In fact in the early days of the Uni this building WAS the Uni. http://www.booloominbah.com.au/history.html
The house was built for gentleman grazier, Frederick White, his wife and the remaining 7 of 12 children.
Today the lower part of the building is used for functions and has a bar and dining room. The upper rooms are used by the Vice Chancellor and Secretariat of the Uni for administrative purpose. The house was designed and construction overseen, by our good friend architect, John Horbury Hunt mentioned earlier in this post. The bricks are the same “Armidale Blue” as used in prominent buildings around town and the district. Above the first landing of the giant staircase is a huge stained glass window depicting highlights in the life of General Charles George Gordon who was beheaded by the Muslims at Khartoum. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_George_Gordon
While on our visit we saw the dining room and bar in full swing with teachers, students academics and visitors enjoying the food, ambience and views over the Uni grounds to Armidale in the valley below. We enjoyed the visit so much we returned to have a late lunch.
I cannot help but make a comment on the tragic events in Newtown, Connecticut, USA. The mass killings have left us numb and our hearts go out to all the families not only of the slain children and adults but the Police, Ambulance officers and Teachers. Sermon begins…When will the USA ever grow up and understand their love affair with weapons is just not acceptable in modern civilised society. In the US alone there are something like 13,000 gun related deaths each year. By comparison there were only 30 gun related deaths in Oz last year. Even allowing for differences in population, the US figures are just outrageous. Dear US readers if you want to see more slaughter in your schools and theatres and shopping malls, do nothing. If you want to stop or at least reduce the slaughter, agitate for gun control, particularly military style automatic and semi-automatic weapons. There endeth my sermon.
Tuesday 18th December
I had an appointment with the ENT (Ear Nose Throat) Specialist today. After his examination of my left bloody nostril he said, “you have a problem”. Great! Just what I wanted to hear. He could not find the burst blood vessel and commented that it may need a general anaesthetic – read, a visit to hospital. He told me it is often difficult to locate a recalcitrant blood vessel in the upper reaches of the nostril. Today while prodding and inserting a local anaesthetic the blood vessel burst but he commented it was “around the corner and difficult to reach”. Nevertheless after stemming the bleeding he used a mild acid to cauterise the vessel. If bleeding starts again I am off to hospital.
He operates out of Taree Hospital, a four hour drive from Guyra.
Wednesday 19th December
Summer is still here in Guyra. I washed TERIOS under the shade of a tree in the morning. In the afternoon I started to polish TERIOS and will do the second half tomorrow. Also vacuumed the floors and cleaned the door frames. MMM! It is looking good.
The CO-PILOT spent the day, in fact she has spent several days, baking up a storm of Gingerbread biscuits, Cranberry Swirl cookies, and Peanut Butter and Chocolate biscuits. On the weekend she baked a huge rich Christmas cake and a dozen muffins from the same recipe, none of which I might add, am I allowed to taste until Christmas Day.
Thursday 20th December
At midnight, the witching hour, last night, a storm rolled in with the usual thunder and lightning. Lots of lightning! Woke this morning to overcast, steady rain and cool temps.
During the day I finished the second half of polishing TERIOS. I should mention the industrial duty polisher is heavy and requires two hands to control it. I needed to stand on a ladder to polish the roof and as I was a bit stretched, pulled a muscle in my left shoulder. By bedtime the pain was so bad I needed two codeine based pain killers in order to get into bed and to fall asleep. Note to self and to readers, take care if you ever use a powerful polisher and do not stretch! Ever!
Friday 21st December
It was a quiet day for me as I was still in pain and slept a good deal of the day after taking more powerful pain killers.
Tonight, according to the Mayan Calendar and a good number of doomsday believers, the world would come to an end. If I write about Saturday and you are reading this, the world did not come to and end.
Saturday 22nd December.
My back is feeling somewhat better today although it is still not 100%.
The world is still here and all those misguided believers are running around making revised comments about what they meant the end of the world meant. Hmmm! Strange isn’t it that they did not give their explanation of what “end of the world” meant until AFTER it was discovered the world had not come to an end.
The world is full of gullible people.
Late in the afternoon I heard a sound like many baby birds in a nest calling to be fed. In a tree beside the garage sat four Yellow Rumped Black Cockatoos. These birds are a bit rare and to see four in the yard demanded a photo. I rushed inside to grab the camera only to find the memory card was full. I wasted time deleting some photos and rushed outside only to find the YRBC had flown the coop. So to speak. On reflection I recall hearing them yesterday at the same time but then I thought the sound was from nestlings of Magpies or Currawongs. Perhaps the YRBC will return tomorrow night!
After dinner Greg and the Tribe came over for tea and coffee so for awhile we had a busy dining room with lots of conversation going on.
We have deliberately cut back on exploration this week as we are travelling to Sydney Christmas Eve and Wollongong on Christmas Day. It is a seven hour journey to Sydney and a further hour to Wollongong.
Sunday 23rd December
With back at about 90% capacity I cut grass around the house for about two hours until protests from my back convinced me it was time to stop.
About lunchtime the clouds rolled in. Some nasty black cloud rolled in from one direction while white cauliflower clouds came from another direction. A few spots of rain fell while thunder rumbled and lightning struck. Hmmm! It must be afternoon in Guyra. The almost daily storm show was in full swing. Toto does not like the sound of thunder, sliding windows or venetian blinds being opened or closed and will run around growling, barking and wimpering.
Tomorrow we start the drive to Sydney.
A Happy Christmas and a safe New Year to all. (despite the following… http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/no-merriness-here-mosque-puts-fatwa-on-christmas-20121222-2bsk2.html )