Nice to see you!

Three major events occurred for me last year (2010), all in the space of about 2 weeks. I turned 50. The following day I got married. Two weeks later, my oldest daughter became pregnant with her first child and my first grandchild.

Most middle-aged people will tell you that in their minds, they still feel 20 something. It's the same for me.

Wasn't it only yesterday that I was planning a night out with guys from the surf club? That gorgeous new perm. Flaired, cuffed denims and the red t-shirt with the off-the-shoulder frill. Corked platform wedgies. **sigh**

Suddenly I'm looking in the mirror and wondering how 30 years can flash by so damned quickly!

So here I am in cyberspace, sharing my genuine shock and horror with anyone who'll listen and maybe I'll even meet some other over 50s who find themselves in the same predicament!

Welcome to my dilemna!!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Lovely Inverell

We stayed at the Cousins Motor Inn at Inverell last night. Another fabulous motel with heavenly beds and a small but decent bathroom.

We dined at the Inverell RSM club and we rate that as the best club dining experience so far. They had great GF options and BGWLBH had the prosciutto wrapped chicken breast with white wine sauce and I had the crumbed lamb cutlets with salad. Great prices too.

I always thought that Blackwater was the bogan capital of Australia, but I think Inverell is giving Blackwater a run for it's money!

As we left Inverell this morning, we saw masses of wildflowers in the fields. Yellow paper daisies, white Queen Ann Lace and some kind of pretty purple flower (not Patterson's Curse). We wanted to stop the car and pick a bouquet of it all, but there was nowhere to stop! We imagined ourselves as kangaroos with long flowing hair bounding over the fences and filling our pouches with the pretty flowers.

I told you yesterday that we were weird!

We stopped at Swanbrook picnic area for a toilet break and there was a lovely little stream lined with willow trees and Superb Fairy Wrens flitting about. I stood under the tree with my camera and the birds were hopping on the tree branches all around me. They were too close for my long lens to even focus on them!

I've never been so close to these beautiful little birds .. I could have reached out and touched them! If I'd had my way, I'd have sat under that Willow tree for a couple of hours and just soaked up the beauty of it all. Those photos are on my camera, so I can't share them here yet.

Hudson picked some wildflowers while we were there, especially for BGWLBH ...

On the outskirts of Glenn Innes, as we arrived there, we noticed some market stalls in a park, with a coffee van, so we stopped. I bought some goat's milk clothes washing 'stuff' and we bought two coffees. The van operator was from Wagga! His coffee was nice, but his coffee cup lids didn't fit, and we dribbled coffee over ourselves and eventually threw the coffee away. Annoying!

We stopped at the information centre in Glenn Innes to find out about fossicking for gems, but then BGWLBH noticed that they sold small bags of raw gems for $5 so I bought her one of those and we didn't have to spend the money or the time sifting through dirt!! Haha!!

After we left Glenn Innes and headed toward Grafton, we found a turn off that told us 16kms to Mann River, so we took the turn and drove along a dirt road for about 5kms and then the road turned into bitumen, but was very narrow and winding and steep down a mountain. The weather changed from 'fine' to 'fine misty rain', which made the drive even more precarious!

At about the 12km mark we were stopped by a causeway with water flowing over it and we decided that we would go no further, so we turned around, took a few pics, and headed back to the highway. We only passed one car on the way down, but unfortunately passed 5 cars on the way back .. very scary on such a narrow road up a mountain!

The area was green and lush and beautiful rainforest and we thoroughly enjoyed the drive, even if it was a little scary.

We found a lookout called 'Raspberry Lookout' and it was stunning, but as we arrived, a huge black thunder storm loomed behind us and the thunder rolled across the sky with dark clouds closing in quickly. We took some really quick pics and jumped back in the car attempting to beat the storm.

Part of the drive to Grafton ...

Such pretty countryside.

The storm seemed to be on our tail all the way to Grafton, but we beat it and have ended up in Ballina tonight.

Ballina RSL food is not as good as Inverell's and though it's a nice club, it's loud and busy and rates low on our list of favoured clubs.

We are staying in the Best Western Ballina Island Motor Inn tonight. The beds seem comfortable but I'm not sure the price is worth it. I will report tomorrow!

I'm feeling very sleepy now, so I'm off to bed.

Nite all.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Dodgy Dubbo

So, on Wednesday night, we stayed in the Comfort Inn Blue Lagoon in Dubbo, which is supposed to be a 4 star motel.  Let's see if I can remember all the things that were wrong with it ...

  • My single bed bed head detached itself from the wall during the night and collapsed onto the floor.
  • A panel from the bedside table fell off.
  • There was mould in the shower.
  • There was a used hair band (with hair attached) under the sheet in the double bed.
  • The air conditioner was set to turn on when the room became hot and stuffy and turn off when it became freezing like a refrigerator. It was also VERY loud.
  • A family checked in next door at midnight and had kids who were LOUD until about 1am.
  • There were kennels attached to the motel and the one guest who had a dog let it bark all night .. I phoned to complain twice and it was about 1am when the dog stopped barking.
  • The double bed was old and saggy like a hammock (not in a good way).
  • The carpet was so worn that it was lifted and a trip hazard at the front door. It was also frayed and threadbare at the walls.
  • The cabinet that held the bar fridge and coffee making stuff had dodgy doors that would not close.
  • There was a constant drip outside the bathroom window that we could hear all night.
I think that's all. I wrote everything down and gave it to the receptionist when I paid the bill and she gave me 10% off the price. Later, while we were on the road, the receptionist phoned me to ask for my email address so that the owner could follow up.  This is the email that I received from the owner ...

Dear Roz Griffin

Thank you for your time given in advising our Receptionist Lee regarding your stay last night at The Comfort Inn Blue Lagoon.

Allow me to apologise on behalf of our motel for failing to meet your expectations regarding the following issues;

The bedhead, bedside table and crockery cupboard door need repairing and resecuring and our maintenance team have been advised.

The mould in shower has been removed and is now being monitored more closely.

The hairband found in your bed has been addressed with our laundry and housemaid team.

Your air conditioner had been set incorrectly. I am assuming by the last guest staying in your room therefore if we were notified immediately it could have been reset.

A family was checked in late last night into a room next door unfortunately they were noisy although I would have notified them to keep the noise down if I was aware.

After many attempts of trying to find which dog was barking after your first phone call. I spoke with the owner of the dog and asked him to quiet his animal.

30% of our beds on the property have been replaced by a Sleepmaker Serta Choice Elite II double sided Miracoil5 cushion top which is ranked as excellent under the Star Ratings quality guidelines. During the next 2 months we will have new beds throughout our property.

Again thank you for your time and valuable feedback. We sincerely appreciate it and hope you will give us another chance to accommodate you on your next visit to Dubbo.

Kind regards

Jodie Vella and Peter Webb
Comfort Inn Blue Lagoon
79-85 Cobra Street
Dubbo NSW 2830

I thanked them for the follow up and told them that I probably wouldn't stay there again, but I wished them good luck in providing a better service for their future customers.

We left there to visit the Warrumbungles. We've avoided the area for the last 3 road trips because of the severe bush fires that occurred in January 2013, but we figured that after 3 years, the regrowth would be complete and the area would look as good as it did the last time we visited.

Sadly, this was not the case. Although there is regrowth, it is barely halfway up the blackened dead stumps that were once lush trees and the damage can still be seen for hectare after hectare after hectare. It is so badly ravaged that BGWLBH and I could barely speak for an hour as we surveyed the area through our drive.

The information centre that we visited last time was obviously razed during the fire and there is just bare earth where it once stood. The signs were damaged and burnt and melted. We were left feeling sad and empty knowing that there is a little bit of history only in our memories now. 

We chose not to go on any of the walks, but we did discover the park where we ate lunch last time and it was left untouched by the fire. Except for the very loud cicadas, it was a beautiful spot to eat our lunch.

Our original plan was to stay at Coonabarabran for the night, but we had to get out of there and ended up in Tamworth for the night instead.

We had a beautiful room at Ashby House. Beautiful beds. Lovely bathroom. Quiet area. I highly recommend that one!

This morning we enjoyed a delicious breakfast at Trinity's Coffee Lounge, although the coffee wasn't much good, and then we found a shoe warehouse and the retail therapy was enjoyable.

We discussed the option of staying in Tamworth a second night, but opted to head towards Inverell or Glenn Innes instead.

We found a back way that we've never travelled before and drove through Manilla, Barraba, Bingara and on to Inverell. We stopped for lunch at Australia Day Park in Barraba, which was lovely.

After we left here, we were driving along a dirt road and unexpectedly came across this ...

No idea where the other half was!

Tonight we are in the Cousins Motor Inn at Inverell. The bed feels very comfortable and I am about to sign off and get some sleep.

Just so you know .. we are having a fabulous time. The back roads are the best roads and we have discovered some real little gems while avoiding traffic and driving at a nice slow pace in order to enjoy the views.

We never decide, until we are sitting over breakfast, what direction we are going to drive for the day and it's the nicest way to do a road trip! Very relaxing and every day is a good day :)

Nite all.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Just a quickie

Yesterday in Orange, we found some mates for Hudson-Barnaby ...

... and today at the Warrumbungles, we saw this interesting structure...

I have plenty to talk about from today's travels but it's late and I need some sleep, so I will try to catch you up tomorrow.

We are staying in Tamworth tonight .. one week out from their big country music festival, so it's fairly quiet in town at the moment. We had a nice 'all you can eat' buffet for dinner at one of the clubs for $23 each. Fresh seafood, roast meats and veg or chinese food plus desserts (even gluten free options!).

We are also in a lovely motel with intact furniture and nice beds, no dogs and a well regulated air conditioning system. I'll tell you more about that little incident tomorrow too! At least we got 10% off the cost of our room and I am awaiting an email from the owners of the motel in Dubbo.

Anyway, that's it for now.

Nite all.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Skirting the Weather

We stayed in Cowra last night and we booked into the Cowra Services Club Motel. I highly recommend it. Beautiful rooms, perfect beds (I slept soundly all night) and nice big bathrooms with an excellent shower head and great water pressure .. we judge all our rooms by the comfort of the bed and water pressure in the shower head lol.

We stopped in town this morning and had a nice bacon and egg breakfast. The eggs tasted like they came straight from the chooks butt .. delicious .. and the coffee was divine!

The Cowra POW camp was interesting .. not something that I thought would capture my interest, but I enjoyed the hour or so that we spent there. The peppercorn trees attracted the little blue fairy wrens, so I got a few pics on my camera and can't wait to download them when I get home.

We didn't enter the Japanese gardens because they were charging $15 entry, but we did have a coffee in the cafe there, which was lovely.

Canowindra was our next stop, but we got a bit dazed and confused and almost couldn't find our way out!

We stopped at Cargo for lunch. There was a lovely little park and we sat at a picnic table under a willow tree for about an hour enjoying the soft breeze and the quiet of the area. We renamed it Cargo, Bargo Fargo for no particular reason, except that we are weird.

We've travelled most roads in this part of NSW, but we found a route to Wellington, via Molong and Euchareena that we've not travelled before and it was lovely and quiet and scenic. Euchareena is a beautiful little gem in the middle of nowhere, established in 1834 with pretty little cottages and very lush and pretty.

Stuart Town, not far from there, was also gorgeous.

Burrendong Dam was a nice stop too. We went to the lake last time we travelled this way and they wanted to charge us to go there, so we didn't bother, but the dam was free and quite beautiful to view, although it is very low at the moment. There were emus roaming the grounds and I could hear lots of fairy wrens in the area too.

The bad weather was all around us and we passed through a couple of very light showers, but we cleverly avoided the heavy weather and we could see the black clouds, could hear the thunder and in the distance there were very heavy showers .. but the weather parted to allow us to pass through unscathed.

The land was very dry as we travelled north of Orange, but Orange itself was green and lush and beautiful .. it's our new favourite inland town. Just glorious.

Tonight we are staying in Dubbo in a very dodgy motel. My bedhead has already collapsed, there is dodgy electrical wiring hanging behind both bedside tables, no power points near the beds. The motel has kennels and there is a dog barking that I have complained twice about! The carpet is pulling off the floor, the cupboard doors are loose and there is a leak behind the bathroom wall.

The beds are very saggy and we are questioning my decision to stay here. Ah well, we can't be successful with every choice!!

I have 2% charge left on my laptop and no power point to plug it in, so I'd best sign off here before the laptop shuts down!!

Nite all.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

And We're Off!!

Richie Rich did my hair this morning and now it looks beautifully glossy and grey, mixed with my own natural colour. I will attempt to take a selfie tomorrow and post it .. the light in our room is not conducive to photography.

We left Griffith at about 10.30am and after we passed Binya, there was a sign pointing to our left with the name 'Euratha'. BGWLBH said "I've always wanted to go to Euratha. Shall we?"

43 kms is on the edge of our agreed limit when we are heading down beaten tracks, so I agreed that we should do it!

Almost immediately, we were on a dirt/gravel road. It was well maintained and quite wide. There was no other traffic, in fact, during the entire 43 kms we only saw two cars.

At one stage, we were joined by a mob of kangaroos and they hopped beside, or in front of us for a few kms. They bounded high over fallen tree trunks, barbed wire fences and low shrubs until eventually, they took a sharp left turn and bounded across the golden paddock beside the road.

The soil was a deep rich red, and because of recent good rains, the trees and shrubs were a vibrant healthy green colour and the paddocks were filled with whatever grows creamy and golden in colour. A truly Aussie scene for as far as the eye could see, with the deep blue coloured mountains on the horizon.

For a good section of the road (maybe 10kms), one lane was blocked off for roadworks, even though there was nobody actually working on the road. The closed lane was piled high with blue/grey cut rock.

We stopped along the road when I spotted a Wedge Tail Eagle soaring above us. I climbed out of the car and took a couple of quick shots so that I could zoom in and verify that it was a wedgie, but then I spotted a dam with a large flock of sheep standing along it's tallest bank. There was a mixture of black, white and mottled sheep and even though the dam water was low, the light was reflecting nicely off it, so I took a couple of shots from varying angles.

Then I heard a commotion in the tree beside me and it was full of Apostle Birds, so I attempted to get a clear shot of one of those .. I have never photographed one before, so I was keen to get just one good shot .. it didn't happen.

I gave up and walked back to the car. Just as BGWLBH was about to ask what happened to the wedgie, I remembered that I was supposed to be photographing the wedgie!! I burst out laughing when I realised that, once again, I was distracted from my initial goal and I looked up to search the sky for my beautiful wedgie, but it was nowhere to be seen.

On we drove until we reached the end of the road.

But .. but .. but???? Where the hell is Euratha????

There was no Euratha. The first sign said Euratha and we were driving along Euratha Road, but there was no Euratha. Pfffft.

Next stop Weethalle, where there is a cafe called 'Road Kill Grills'. We stopped to take a photo, but it was too early to stop for lunch, so no road kill for us today.

We stopped at West Wyalong and searched out a supermarket where we stocked up on salads and fruit, cheeses for BGWLBH, turkey breast and smoked salmon and then discovered a little picnic area on the outskirts of town, so we stopped to feast on our selected fare. We experienced gale force conditions and we shared some of our scraps with the crows and apostle birds before we packed up and continued on our travels.

When we came to Grenfell, we decided we needed coffee, so we stopped in the main street and before I got out of the car, I noticed a SHOE SHOP down the way, so I immediately made a beeline for it while BGWLBH picked up a couple of items from the supermarket that we had forgotten earlier.

I found a great pair of shoes - the only ones in the whole shop that I liked! The manager told us that the only two coffee shops in town had closed for January. WHAT THE????!!! She suggested the Caltex Service Station, so we back tracked, filled the tank with fuel and ordered two coffees.

Great service. Crap coffee. Blah.

We followed the signs to Henry Lawson's birthplace, which turned out to be a tree with a plaque beneath it...

Tonight we are in a lovely little motel in Cowra. The Cowra Servicemans Club bistro for dinner. I had grilled chicken and salad while BGWLBH had grilled Barramundi with chips and salad. We each had a wine to celebrate the end of our first day.

I have taken photos with my camera today, but can't share them until the end of the trip when I will be able to edit them properly on my iMac, so all the photos that I share here for the next week or so, will be from my phone. I'm still learning how to use it and to edit them in Instagram and then share them elsewhere, so bear with me!

It's been a great first day and considering how wide spread the rains are over the eastern states, we only drove through a couple of light showers today.  We have some exploring to do tomorrow. Waterfalls, bush tracks and hills ... hopefully a wedgie or two! Let's hope we are equally lucky tomorrow with the weather.

It's after 11pm so it's sleep time for me now.

Nite all

Monday, January 4, 2016

On Your Marks!

Tomorrow is the big day!



Road Trip!

Meet 'Hudson', our road trip travelling companion!

We didn't do much today. Tidied the house a bit so that the real estate could inspect it. Oh, a bit of retail therapy and bought some new bling!

I brought one pair of flat day time shoes with me and yesterday they broke! So annoying! Today, we went searching for some shoes to replace them, but found nothing appropriate. So, at the moment, all I have is a pair of rubber thongs (nice Havaianas, but I don't like wearing thongs out and about, unless I'm at home), so that will be my first priority as we travel through small towns .. in search of shoe shops!

Mum W had a doctor's appointment today, so I cooked dinner while they were gone. Fish mornay for Mum W and Lemon/Honey chicken for BGWLBH and I.

No photos were taken.

After last night, when we were ready for bed at 8.30pm .. there was a documentary on SBS about Walt Disney. So interesting! We sat up til about 11pm watching that, and neither of us went to sleep until well after midnight.

It's now almost 10pm and I think I'm ready to sleep. Best give Adoring Husband a good night phone call and then catch some zzzzzzs.

Nite all.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Soundly Sleeping

Slept like a dead person last night, for about 6 solid hours. This bed is very comfortable!

BGWLBH cooked some bacon and eggs for breakfast this morning, which was the perfect way to start the day and then while she worked hard outside weeding the garden, I went walkabout with my camera looking for the abundant birdlife that I could clearly hear around the property.

Alas, I could find nothing but doves and sparrows. I could hear Silver Eyes, Fairy Wrens, Finches and Parrots as well as other birds that I could not identify ... but my eyes failed me ... so I have nothing to share in the way of outdoor photos today. Sad but true.

Here are a few that I took 'inside' with my phone camera and edited in Instagram ...

After she built up a good sweat in the garden, we decided to visit the cemetery and take some flowers to brighten up Dad W's site. BGWLBH chose a selection of vibrant red flowers, while I (of course) selected some long stemmed bright yellow flowers from the wall of artificial and silk flowers in the store.

Being so close to Christmas, all of the grave sites were awash with colour. Flowers, christmas decorations, religious ornaments and other symbols of love.

I ran into an old friend from my days at TAFE. KG was 16 years old (I was 30) when we attended the same TAFE course in 1990. She had fabulously long fingernails and dreamt of a career that would take her away from Griffith. Even though she had a short stint on the Gold Coast a couple of years ago, she is now 42 years of age and being married with children from an early age, her dreams never came to fruition. She was, and still is, a lovely down to earth girl.

This afternoon, we drove out to Mum W's house and cooked up a storm. Lamb shanks with a thick, chunky vegetable gravy, potato bake and zucchini slice. It was all delicious, although the lamb wasn't as tender as I'd like. Mum W ate a sizeable portion, only leaving the z slice on the plate.

Now we are home very early, BGWLBH is trying to select a dvd to watch and is complaining loudly that she has seen them all a thousand times.

The house is quiet and I feel that I could easily fall asleep at this early hour of the night .. barely 8.30pm!!  Seems I'm not alone .. BGWLBH has bade me goodnight and is going to sleep! I think I will follow her lead .. we may both be awake at 3am looking for a dvd to watch!

Nite all.