How many people get to live their dreams? I am..........!

This is my story from the time when Capt'n John and I first decided to sail around the big block, to circumnavigate this great land of ours, AUSTRALIA.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

January 2013 – Nancy Takes a Holiday

As the sun sets gently in the west- Cobar NSW
January 2013 – Darwin to Cobar and Back

(My apologies for changing my comments setting – dues to the hoards of  anonymous spam messages being left, I have been forced to make it comments from registered user only)

Balmy evenings
afternoon storm clouds
2013 starts with more hot humid weather with threatening afternoon storm clouds which bring a few storms but still no sign of a real wet season.
MrJ has been busy doing odd jobs around the boat or out helping Rob with the work on Babe’s keel while I get to stay home and find things to do out of the heat, like spring clean and play with photos.
We did have the use of Fern’s car for a while but all good things have to come to an end more sooner than later and so the car went back  leaving MrJ and I to catching the bus everywhere, one more. I don’t mind catching the bus, it gives you a great ride around town and cost next to nothing – I pay $1 and MrJ is free with his Gold Card. We may find it harder to get to some faraway place, this we have yet to find out.
January is my big holiday month when I get to go south to see the grandkids.
I had been busy getting my travel sorted, my street clothes sorted and washed, after being stuffed in a locker for so long. The plane ticket from Darwin to Sydney we purchased online last year in July, to be able to get the best deal. My train travel from Sydney to Dubbo and a bus from Dubbo to Cobar I also bought online. This internet shopping is great...!

Farewell Darwin
My biggest problem was going to be overnight accommodation in Sydney going down and on the return. I looked up a few of the hotel and backpacker accommodations and all the cheap places were already booked out and I was not prepared to pay over $100 upwards just for a night’s sleep. So I decided to give my sister Marj a call on the off chance that she would not be busy those two nights. Bingo – I was in luck as she was happy to give me a bed. My sister Marj inherited our parent’s old house where we all lived when I was a child. Marj has always been there, she just never moved out and the house is still the same as back then only now a bit more rundown. So sad!
The day came for me to go and as luck would have it, MrJ was able to borrow Alison’s car to get me to the Darwin Airport, on another very hot and sticky day. It was so hot and humid that as soon as I stepped outside my glasses would fog up making hard to see anything. I certainly did not miss the humidity!
Up and away in no time I was the air for the four hour flight to Sydney. Darwin is 1 ½ hours behind Sydney. Although I left Darwin at lunchtime I would not be getting into Sydney till 7.30 at night. Once off the plane in Sydney, I was able to collect my baggage without any holdup, jump in the first available taxi in a huge line up of waiting taxis and make a b-line straight for Marj’s. It was a very hot evening in Sydney, one of the hottest days Sydney has had for many years. At least there was not the Darwin humidity

Hello Sydney

Marj’s old house is not insulated and Marj does not have any air conditioning, just a couple of small fans. I really don’t understand how Marj can live like that. (Not being critical - just my own thoughts – each to their own).
The taxi pulled up outside the old house; I pulled my bag up the small steps and was greeted at the front screen door by my sister huffing and puffing with near heat extortion as she came down the dark hallway to let me in. The poor lady was so hot that the beads of perspiration were sliding down her face. It was good to see my sister; I just wish that she would do better for herself.
Very early the next morning I showered in a bathroom that only half of the taps work and the wall leaks above the bath, dressed, woke Marj to say thank you and see you on the return trip and then caught another Taxi to Central Train Station where I was to board the early morning XPT for Dubbo after which I changed from the train to a Country Link bus for Cobar. Being school holiday, the train was packed with holidaymakers. There were a number of people travelling on to Parkes for the Annual Elvis Festival; what a colourful lot they were and we all had a cheerful trip with little sing-songs happening throughout the carriage.
I got off the train in Dubbo at lunchtime; the heat hit me and was glad when I was on the bus in the air conditioning again. The bus driver was a bit sus, a bit of a slime-bag, touching my hand, arm or shoulder whenever he came close to speak with me. He even came right away from the bus at Cobar, when after I had grabbed my bag and moved away to the side road to wait for Carla and Corey to pick me up, to remind me about what to do on the return trip. What a wanker...!

Bella Edward & Livy
The Cobar grandkids, Bella, Livy and Edward, were so excited to see me. Big hugs and kisses all round. I tossed my bag in the back tray and climbed in for a ride through the red dirt heat. By now it was late afternoon so we all settled inside, out of the Cobar extreme heat.
Bella had once again given me her bedroom for my stay while she was bunking on the floor in Livy’s room. Oh what excitement!
Beautiful Bella, the placid one whose face lights up with an infectious smile and dazzles you with her so grownup conversations. Lively Livy is always on the go, so keen to be helping and doing or instructing you on how to do stuff. Edward, the baby boy, asserting his ways in a house full of girls, likes to be left alone but at the same time does not want to miss out on anything.
The two girls were very busy with giving Nan the grand tour of their wonderful things as Edward stayed a little in the background watching. The next day Edward was just as eager as the girls to have Nan look at all his stuff – I knew he would come around sooner than later.
Carla (my youngest daughter) and Corey have a nice tidy little house in a quiet street towards the western edge of Cobar. They still have Ruby the pussycat, the two dogs Chevy and Rebel and a pen full of chooks, one of which crows like a rooster. How funny!
At the house I spent my two days playing games, doing puzzles and drawing as well as helping Carla put out or bring in the huge loads of washing. I had forgotten about that side of having a small family.

Bella in the old train carriage
Thursday we all went for a tour through the local Cobar Museum, which gave me a better idea of how this mining town came about. Later that afternoon we spent a couple of hours at the local swimming pool. Once I had cooled off in the water I hopped out, grabbed my camera and took some great shots of the grandkids and their antics jumping off the small diving board and sliding down the waterslide. That evening at sunset, we took a drive up to the look out over the big open cut gold mine.
Edward talk on the old phone
Livy poses with the old pram
pool antics
walking at the Newy
Friday morning Carla, Corey and I took a short walk, with the kids riding alongside on their bikes, around the Newy, the town lake. And of course there was a stop to play in and nb the water's edge. How could we not?
That afternoon we all climbed into the 4X4 and went for a bush-bashing drive through the dead dry red dirt countryside; seeing wild kangaroos and emus.
Friday afternoon is also Happy Hour at home. Carla, Corey and I sat under the front carport have a couple of cold beers while the kids played in the portable pool or rode their bikes in the driveway. It was just a great time to relax and unwind with lots of chit chat!

Carla says that once Edward starts school next year that she will be promoted from a stay at home mum to a stay at home wife. Hahaha – so funny! Corey is still having the back problem issues and is now on a permanent disability pension. Not so good for such a young man! But I will say will all the hic-ups, medical issues and troubles that Carla and Corey have been through in their young lives it is great to see the love, understanding and caring still in their eyes. I take my hat off to them for working through everything together!

My visit to my Cobar family was over in no time at all when I found myself on the bus this time leaving Cobar behind. I waved vigorously out the window to just as vigorous waves and kiss back.
The four hour bus trip back to Dubbo passed quick enough, with me nearly finishing one of the books that I had packed. And there was no creepy bus driver this time!

Jack, Bridie, Kai & Piper

Manda (my second daughter) picked me up from the train station where the bus terminal is too. The heat was still the same in Dubbo, a hot dry heat that dried your throat. Piper came to pick me up too while Kai and Bride stayed home to finish their Saturday chores which they were just finishing as I walked in the door. Everything was dropped for a great big round of hugs and kisses. How much they have grown up over the past twelve months!
Bridie and I bunked in the double bed in Kai’s room while Kai bunked in Bridie’s bed in Bridie and Piper’s room bed. Kai is a big sixth grader this year and Bridie is growing into a very bright beautiful young lady. I didn’t slip past my shape eyes that Bridie still takes the old bit of sarong material that I had given her to bed with her as a cuddle blankie. How cute- -makes me feel all warm and fuzzy!
Manda was on holidays from the Police Force; she is still enjoying her job and looking forward to working for a long time yet.  Clint is back at work after the Christmas New Year break.
That afternoon Cassandra (daughter number one) came around with little Jack (the youngest grandkid). Jack had turned one at the end of last November and I had not seen him since this time last year. Jack is certainly the one year old, cute as a button and a blonde blue eyed handsome little dude. And I’m not bias! Jack had not long woken up from his afternoon snooze, he was not too sure of me so I let him play around on the lounge room floor with his cousins. As I watch them play I could see that Jack never let his mum get too far out of his sights.
Sunday family exercise

old rail bridge across the Macquarie River
Early Sunday morning we went for walk along the walkway/bike track beside the old railway bridge. Clint and Kia rode the bikes out while Manda, Bridie Piper and I went by car to the beginning of the walkway.  Once at the walkway Manda and Bridie took off at jogging pace leaving Piper and Nan to wander along at leisurely walk with Piper chatting all the way.
This is a newly constructed walkway with a footbridge crossing the Macquarie River beside the old railway bridge. This new walkway now this completes the old walkway to the Western Plains Zoo making a circuit back to town. On the way home Manda and Clint swopped places with Manda riding the bike home with Kai.
I thought we were here to catch yabbies..........................!!!

How many yabbies..................?
After an early light lunch, we drove out to Clint’s mate’s block of land, out on the Old Mendooran Rd where we were hoping to catch yabbies out of one of the old mud dams. I mean old mud dams too as there was not much water left in the dam. The bush area around the dams was all dried and cracking, there has not been rain out this way for quite some time. Like the same at Cobar, everything is brown or red, dead or dried up and dying – no beautiful wild flowers this year. I hope they get some rain soon or the country will be in a bad drought again.

We did manage to catch a few yabbies, Bridie and Piper looked like they were doing most of the work but in reality I think Manda caught the most. The boys spent most of the afternoon splashing about in the muddy water and in the end the yabby catching was given away for the water fun. An old foam boogie board became the entertainment of making a mud home for the yabbies and then giving this game up for more splashing about and jumping off the board.

Even Bridie was getting in on the act, leaving Piper to patrol the yabby lines. Meanwhile Nan, after doing my share of yabby catching out in the hot dry sun, was sitting comfortably in the shade of an old gum tree watching the kid’s antics of splashing about in the old mud dam.

It was time for home and a good hose off. The yabbies that had been held in a bucket of muddy water had been released as most of their mates had escaped from the mud corral on the boogie board leaving no enough yabbies for a feed. The kids got hosed off and the afternoon turned into another one of those backyard Happy Hours with Clint and the kids in the blow-up pool or the kids jumped on the trampoline, Manda and I relaxing in the shade, a couple of cold beers and lots of time for more chit-chat.
Monday was a lazy day around the house. Bridie and I were kept busy trying to make bead bracelets for ourselves and Piper while Kai played his games. I helped Manda put the washing on the line and that was about it for my morning.

That afternoon we went up to see Cassandra and Jack at home. Jack loves to play with his cousins and the two girls love to mother him.
While in Dubbo I could not miss out on spending a night with my youngest grandson. Tuesday I went over to Cassandra and Martin’s for the afternoon and stayed the night.  Little Jack with his bubbly temperament was having such fun in his own house, flashing his bright eyes and giggling out load as he explored the world or investigated mum’s kitchen cupboards.

Jack had an open and shut thing happening; just at that age and small height to be into all the cupboards. Breakfast time was help mum with the dishwasher. How funny! Cassandra and Martin are doing well; Cassandra with her personal training business starting to expand and Martin has taken to driving trucks instead of driving a restaurant kitchen (more evening hours at home).

Tuesday morning, before going up to Cassandra’s, I borrowed Clint’s and went and spent the morning with my dear friend Eilleen. Eilleen greeted me at the door with a big hug which I held for a long time. Eilleen tells me that she thinks of me as one of her daughter; that makes me feel very emotional. We sit out in the back sunroom for hours chatting about our lives and life in general. So good to see Eilleen again and she is looking very well. Good!

Wednesday Manda the kids and I went to the movies to see the new Hobbit in 3D; great movie on the same lines as Lord of the Rings. The 3D glasses did not fit so well over my glasses but that didn’t stop me from enjoying the movie and ate load of pop corn. It was Miss Piper’s first big movie show; how well behaved she was, sitting through the whole movie without a boo. I think this movie was a great stimulation for her very active creative mind. Back at home I spend some one-on-one time with Bridie finishing our bracelets and colour-in one-on-one time with Piper. Kai is happy to watch TV.
That afternoon I took some fun family shot around the backyard.

Thursday Manda the kids and I spent most of the day at the local Dubbo swimming pool – thank goodness there is a lot of great shady areas. I did a bit of splashing around in the little pool with the kids and left the big pool to Manda and the two older kids while I kept an eye on Piper still in the little pool.
Sometimes Manda would take Piper with her in the big pool and then cousin Jess arrived and all the kids went screaming down the big waterslide.
Once again I took loads of photos of the grandkids at play.

Manda and Clint had asked me to do some formal portrait shot of their family. I was on the last day of my visit, Thursday that we did manage to get them done. Late in the afternoon we drove out to Clint’s Aunty Deb’s house on the Macquarie River – Clint’s mum, Narelle lives out there too. The only place in the west to have any greenery was by the river and we could not have picked a better spot for photos with great subtle afternoon light and the beautiful Macquarie River as a backdrop. It had been a long and energetic day for the kids, all doing their best to look good for the camera in the numerous setting we choose to stand or sit for the photos, but kids being kids they did get a little restless especial young Piper. I thought it would be good just to let them do a few shots being silly and poking our tongues. Hahaha – it worked and we were back to looking great for the camera again.

The morning I had to leave Manda was called into work, some court hearing, and Cassandra was to pick up Bridie and Piper after her morning class had finished, meanwhile Kai had stayed out at Debbie’s and Clint had already gone to work. Cassandra had come home from work and now Jack was asleep. Cousin Jess was called in to stay in the house with Jack while Cassandra came down and picked me up. It was a quick drop off at the station, hugs and kiss and then they were gone and I was left to sit and wait for my train....................................................................... :o(
I was sitting in my sad thoughts when there was a tap on the shoulder. What a surprise to see old friends Tom and Hilary standing there. They were at the station to farewell a friend and could not walk past without say G’day. Just in time to cheer me up!
I board the train back to Sydney carrying with me many great memories that I will hold dear and carry with me for a long, long time; memories to recall at quiet times or when I’m feeling down, memories that will lift my heart and spirits and will make happy, memories of family and good times.

You don’t really want to know all about my long trip back to Darwin and my second stay at my sister’s, so I’m not going to write about it. All you need to know for a good ending is that I made it back safely to my darling MrJ, my beautiful clean home on ALANA ROSE and I had one of the best holidays with my gorgeous family.

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