Category Archives: 2009 THE NEW YEAR

SUMMER COMES AND SO DOES MY 10,000th HIT.

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How good is the  Internet ? A few years and a few tears back, I could no more have accessed a public forum for journals, images, music, videos, genealogy than I could have knitted new clothes for my coming grandchild. My father, Bruce Sanders, wanted his 2/3 Pioneer Battalion Story published but we simply didn’t have the resources. Now – here it is! How good is that ? This Particular Blog  of mine is about to hit 10,00 and I thank you all.

The mutual sharing is another dimension that works for me. I am not always able to travel and sometimes I don’t get out much at all. I also have a tendency to be overcome by what I like to call Acedia – in various forms – and NOW – I am no longer locked in at home alone. This is truly the Global Village for me.

Now – as we come into an Australian Summertime. and the closing of 2009 – I shall take a look at 2009- as it has been.

It was the year in which Izzy and I both turned 60 – 1949 children. I think I had best rephrase that. We were born in 1949.  2009 was the year in which we moved from the Tweed to the Clarence, in which my daughter newly turned 30 became pregnant with her first child. My granddaughters  turned 5 and 10. A most interesting time it has been.

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Last Christmas, we, as a family,  were to meet in  Kalang on Boxing Day for Kati B’s 30th birthday and Christmas Day, Izzy and I were to spend alone at Bilambil Cottage where we were living.

We were out and about in the morning and received an impromptu invite to Lorraine’s for lunch with a dozen or so guests. Plenty of good foods and good company. A sober affair so it was and I enjoyed it up behind Scenic Drive in Tweed Heads  West.

Spent the rest of the day at home with our swimming pool and tennis court. 

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The next home for us was already starting to be listed on realestate.com.au.  I didn’t realise then that it would become a place of rather deep emotional and mental impact. 2009 is the last year of my 50s and time seems to have wrapped itself around me and curled into the core of me. Memories of 20 years of Addiction and 20 years of Recovery were waiting for in this 100 year old house as well as the history of my family and my childhood.  I intended entering my 60s  consciously and cautiously, knowing this – IT WILL BE DIFFERENT. And it has been a gentle, explorative time with a good deal of ‘ thinking’ going on.

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MT WARNING OVER BILAMBIL.

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THE TWEED RIVER NEAR TUMBULGUM 

Briefly this is my locational history.

1949-1950 – CANTERBURY ROAD HURSLTONE PARK SYDNEY. SANDERS FAMILY HOME.
1950-1970 -  27 PAXTON AVENUE, BELMORE. SYDNEY. HOUSE BUILT BY DAD.  
1970 – TUMBARUMBA . TEACHING AT ROSEWOOD.  
1971 – QUEANBEYAN SOUTH. TEACHING.
1972 – PAXTON AVE.  TEACHING IN LAKEMBA.
1973 – DRUMMOYNE, BALMAIN , CHISWICK, PORT DOUGLAS – CAMPING ON 4 MILE BEACH – YAHT UTIEKAH III- URUNGA.
1974-1977 – URUNGA IN VARIOUS LOCATIONS, INC WHITE ROSE TRADING COMPANY.
1977 – SYDNEY – GLEBE AND TAYLOR SQUARE.
1978 – 1987 – BELLINGEN AND  URUNGA – MARRIAGE AND CHILDREN.
1987 –1994 – SYDNEY. DRUG REHAB. BONDI. SOUTH COOGEE AND BACK TO TEACHING.
1994 – 2001 – URUNGA AND BELLINGEN.
2001-2009 – TWEED RIVER INC TUMBULGUN, BILAMBIL WITH SHORT TIMES IN TUGUN AND BRISBANE.
2009 – ULMARRA.

 

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In January of 2009, the Armidale Mob came to Bilambil Cottage for a Summer Holiday. That was a ‘ classic’ summer holiday. I must have had some sweet stars shining on me this year because, despite the transitional turmoil and my own inclination to distress, I have had a goodly share of Sweet Moments, Classically Good Experiences and of events turning out just as I had planned and hoped for.

The Summer holiday was one of them as was the 30th birthday of Kati B.

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We took the Poppy to the beach at Pottsville. They have been living in Armidale for years now and she hasn’t been beaching since she was a baby. We also continued our cafe experience which is rather extensive . The EATZ CAFE at Pottsville featured real Beach Food. None of which I can now recall but they had tropical names and strange drinks – a 60s flashback which I enjoyed after one too many trendoid, generic eateries such as the infamous Blue Frog in Toowong, Brisbane.

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I lived in Bilambil Cottage for 4 years and in deciding to leave, we took our time in choosing where we wanted to go and when and why and how etc. The Cottage was tiny but exquisite with a view over the Bilambil Valley and out to the Coral Sea, During the Mob’s Holiday, we sat outside of an evening and watched the bats fly over and the long nose come out to feed from the long grasses.  The Poppy learned to swim and discovered the wonder of being a Mermaid.

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We also visited the beach at Kingscliff. The Mob had lived at Kingscliff before going up the mountain. I thought that when we moved south we might miss the exotic birds and plants of the Tweed. Tweed is on the NSW/ QUEENSLAND border.

Are these baobab trees ? I like the word and haven’t checked to see whether these are baobabs or not.

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One thing I knew I wouldn’t miss was the BILAMBIL SPORTS CLUB.

I enjoyed it for a goodly length of time but things went amiss and the decor was never a good look. The Club is set in the Valley. A lovely setting with a creek beside it and playing fields, paddocks with horses and the hills rising on either side.

The Bilambil Village is tiny and part of a loop drive enjoyed by Many. However, the Club doesn’t open till  3pm, serves food only a couple of nights a week, doesnt cater for vegetarians AT ALL and is decorated as you can see on the left. The music scene which thrived there has shrivelled to nothing. Lots of potential going unused.

SOUTH GOLDEN BEACH 001 Leaving blue skies and palm trees took some serious decision making.

60 YEARS

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This weekend, we managed to perform solemn ceremonies as I had been doing for a few weeks leading up to it. I think I like the framework of Ceremony,

Last weekend, I celebrated my 60th birthday. I use the word CELEBRATE very consciously. I am not a natural to CELEBRATION. Not sure as to the precise meaning of the word.  Lets check the  yellow bound dictionary.

to make famous

to honour with solemn ceremonies

to perform with proper rites and ceremonies

from the Latin they say, meaning much visited  or renowned.

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I did do a lot of proper rites and ceremonies. I got the nana  tattoo on my ankle, went to the doctor which I rarely do, had a massage, which I rarely do, sent formal invites and indulged in other rites and ceremonies.

I also received a new camera from Izzy and the Armidale MOB with a Crumpler Bag from  Kati B and her IMM. ‘considerable embarrassment’  the Crumpler is called.  The shot on the left is a Mad O’Brian Panorama taken with my new camera.

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Unlike me and Izzy, the rest of the family are both sane and cautious with their public profiles. I am writing that because its not lack of love or pride which leads to my not showing you many images of them. Its respect for their privacy.

THEY were, however, here and I was one lucky woman to have my most loved people all with me. As for Photos, I shall provide a background to the Weekend and you can imagine the good-looking people who shared it with me.

Charlie, the 3 legged dog from Armidale seems to be a little camera shy as well.

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It was the weekend of the Big Bushfires out at Broom’s Head and along Sandon down towards Wooli. Ulmarra has the Clarence Bushfire  Centre and the Village was packed with Emergency Workers. Each morning , the helicopters landed next door at the Oval and came and went throughout the days. Smoke hung along the Eastern Skyline and the Quiet Accommodation I had booked for my brother and sister turned into a fully occupied residence for the Fireys etc.  Added excitement to the Weekend.

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Life remains hectic for me on the Clarence.  I yearn at time for more Eremitic days and on others I simply gather in the breadth and depth of these experiences.

FOR SUNDAY IN TUCABIA FOLLOW THIS LINK.

http://whiterosetrading.ning.com/photo/albums/squatters-rest-markets-tucabia 

The expectation this morning was that Phil the Sax Player would be coming for  rehearsals in the music room. Didn’t  best please me because I had visions of SQUATTER’S REST Markets at TUCABIA on my mind and the 3 garage sales I know are on there today. A Sunday at that. One of them is at Eileen’s Place opp the Tucabia Store. I don’t know who Eileen is but I still want to go to the garage Sale. The Clarence is the Home of the Garage sale.

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After some calm negotiation, Phill was relocated to a slightly later time slot and we headed East to Tucabia and SQUATTERS REST. I had not been there before. Izzy has done two music nights there and as part of my habitual information gathering, I knew a good deal about it. Weather is perfect. Springtime on the North Coast. Tucabia is app 10 kms from Ulmarra along a winding back road through paddocks and alongside wetlands. The Rest Markets – well, precisely what I was hoping for. Under gum trees. I scored a $100 pair of Dianna Ferrari shoes, new for $7. I bought home made soaps – made from goats milk and perfumed with essential oils. For $20, add a chopping table with knives for the kitchen and I am well pleased.

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Then throw in a little gem of a museum and the day is fulfilling all the promise of a country Sunday. Squatters has a wee village of Collecteds. I am struggling to find the words for it. It was if I could almost smell and touch the eagle’s wings of Uncle Jim in Laurieton in some barely recalled childhood time.

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SPRINGTIME ON THE CLARENCE

 

As part of my Clarence lifestyle, I am involved in a  group which meets in the CWA rooms in Grafton.  Everything is as it should be in the CWA Rooms. Picture of the Queen. Piano. Books. Recipes. Paintings of Flowers. I find a good deal of comfort in the CWA Rooms.

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We took a drive West the other day. Out to Jackadgery along the Gwydir Highway and then back into town and out along the Armidale Road to Nymboida. General scouting trip it was.  Jackadgery is just across the Mann River Bridge and about 50 kms from Grafton.

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Its difficult to picture the rivers in flood. I am glad I was here for the May floods. The signs I once presumed were useless and placed in obviously dry lands, I now know to be valid, needed and realistic as is this bridge over the Mann. The debris from a few months back is still there , down the banks.

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I found the self-composting toilets an interesting experience as well. I hadn’t realised how daring an expedition they were until this sign about gases.

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The Gwydir was closed last year. Interesting concept. I saw a sign when I was driving along the Pacific Highway. GWYDIR HIGHWAY CLOSED. That’s the main road they’re talking about. Up to Glen Innes.  Where’s the spirit that build the Old Glen Innes Road through the ROCK. Be that as it may, the short drive was pleasurable. Jackadgery still has a store and caravan park. I was thinking about the communities which were once out there and wondering about the ones which exist now – unseen to the casual traveller.

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We came back into town, speculating and theorising on villages and village stores. Almost into Grafton South itself, we came across this vegie patch. RING THE BELL ! said the sign. For broccoli and silver beet and other delicacies.

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We then took the Armidale Road out through Coutts Crossing to Nymboida. I was inclined to visit the Coaching Inn – with some trepidation. Reason being – I haven’t heard anyone locally mention it casually in conversation. Hadn’t heard anyone saying – ‘that was a good night at the Coaching Inn’. No “ That’s an interesting museum they have there at the Coaching Inn.”.  The internet advertising and the Tourist Pamphlets tell me its good , but I lean towards  the ‘overheard in casual conversation’ recommendations.

As we approached Nymboida, Izzy had his nose on track for COFFEE. I am not a coffee freak but he is and the Jackadgery Instant hadn’t satisfied the craving at all. The signs as we approached Nymboida  were leading him on like Hansel and Gretel through the woods.  In fact, he refused to continue to the Coaching Inn until he had stopped at the End of The Signs for Coffee. We took one wrong turning past the brightly coloured hall but fairly easily located the ST JOHNS COFFEE STOP.

HIs assessment was accurate. The St Johns Convenience Store has been operating 5 weeks. Stocking the basic groceries as well as an outdoor courtyard with good eating. There was a lineup of people for meals and goods. Atmosphere was excellent. Another diner recognised the long lost Zarsoff and the Cocky spend the whole meal chatting to Iz and sharing his food. We spent time talking with a young couple from St John’s River, further south, and Greg the Waitperson perfected our meals.

 

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We then proceeded to COACHING INN. Asked about the Museum of Interesting things and were informed that it had been opened that morning for a coachload of tourists but was now SHUT and wouldn’t open again till Wednesday or later – maybe. Hmm ! Instinct serving me correctly again.  One’ overheard conversation’ we had caught a snippet of in Grafton had said that the COACHING INN “ had been a happening place – ONCE. “. It was not happening for me the other day despite the view and my obsessive curiosity about the history of places. Noone was opening the door to a pair of locals. Noone greeted or chatted and the sign in the main bar which said “ HIPPIES USE SIDE DOOR” with the obvious lack of said side door was a trifle unnerving for two people with a long haired background.

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I shall go return to St John’s Convenience Store but will need some convincing to revisit the COACHING INN – I rather fear that it has become a ‘VENUE’.

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BIRTHDAYS, BABIES AND CIRCUSES

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This weekend, Charlie came down from Armidale for a visit.

For me, its working well, being near the Family.  Izzy is battling a little with the music which is still mainly situated further north. This weekend was circus and celebrations. That’s a fine thing, that is.

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I had concentrated on our black and white cows all week , wondering what on earth the four black and white cows at the CIRCUS ROYALE were going to do as TRICKS.  My cows didn’t appear with anything specially impressive but the cows at the circus surely did. They stood on hind legs with forelegs on small podia while a miniature white horse danced and ducked under and between their legs. Marvellous!

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The day before the Mob came, a mist settled on the area and stayed there till almost lunchtime. The BookMan said that on his way down from Maclean, as he turned onto the Pacific Highway, he couldn’t see whether or not there was traffic coming at him. Must be the river flats, methinks, that let it sit so low for so long.

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We located the CIRCUS in the park in SOUTH GRAFTON.  We had phone booked for four adults and two children and picked the tickets up from the Circus Office. Circuses haven’t featured greatly in my life so each step was a ‘learning experience’.

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They say its a million dollar big top tent and are advertising for clowns. There were no photos allowed at all inside the Big Top and there were enough heavies to make it look a wise idea to be obedient to that one.

The two things I liked best were the Cows and the men in black running back and forth with ropes pulling up the rigging. Hadn’t seen anything like it since being on the UTIEKAH III in 1973.

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We were also inspired to create a SLEEPOUT. One of the things which had attracted us to Grafton months ago was the advertising in the real estate sites of homes with SLEEPOUTS. Under this inspiration and despite the plentiful supply of spare rooms, we took ourselves to RIVERSIDE Centre in South Grafton, acquired a single bed, brought it home and bolted it together  ready for the Sleepout for Granddaughter No 1.

One problem – the bed was longer than the sleepout area was wide.

THAT DID NOT STOP US.

   

AUGUST REFLECTIONS

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I am sitting here today in the Attic with smoke from the timber mill and the cattle up close to the back fence. The transitional effect of the moved from Tweed to Clarence is beginning to ease like the May floods receding after the inundation. Last week, I was out at Minnie Water where the debris is still piled and a little mouldering as it is on many of the North Coast beaches.

For me, a quietness is returning and I continue with reflective  imaging.

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I have lived close by beaches for much of my life. North Coast beaches at that. Its a 40km drive out to Wooli from here. That seems to me a long drive, along a narrow road which is rather hectic.

I lived much of my adult life in Urunga which is also known at the town WHERE THE RIVERS MEET THE SEA and I am accustomed to the beach being closer than this.

The MOB lived for a few years at Kingscliff. Also right on the beach. That’s the Armidale mob in the foto, touching sand in mid winter near the Queensland border at Kingscliff.

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I put this shot in because it sums up some of the things which troubled me up North. This is the ‘planned resort’ up the back of Carool. It didn’t come to anything, so far as I know. Scattered through the Tweed and the Gold Coast are abandoned ‘resorts’ and derelict ‘dreams’.

I heard a Professor speaking on the radio one evening and he spoke of the Great Dreaming , the Greed of the last however many years. And he referred to some of the things we would find when we ‘woke up’.

What I know, is that I greatly prefer being amongst buildings which STAND. Made of stone or bricks or wood rather than the fabric of temporary dreams.

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The lady on the left is my Great Grandmother, Julia Ready nee Jackson.
http://lynnesheritage.wordpress.com/
I have some info to write up about Julia. It was given to me by PHIL READY who put years of work with his good lady wife into gathering  family information together and putting it together in READY OR NOT. This year I asked Phil whether I could write it up and put it on the Net and he sent me an email saying – PERMISSION GRANTED,.

   

FOLLOWING UP ON PAST IMAGES

These are simply images and thoughts arising from the imagery.

This is the price of petrol in  Ulmarra on the last day of July 2009. coast 002

Each day I take my lunch at the Wide River Cafe. Not on Mondays due to its being closed on Mondays. I take the Cold Remedy , read the newspapers, chat with the Andrew and the girls and generally enjoy a daily routine which I don’t recall having before. Its not hectic in Ulmarra at lunchtimes although the BUSHFIRE BRIGADE REGIONAL HEADQUARTERS are there and were doing an “exercise’ yesterday to make sure that we were all firesafe.

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Last weekend, two girls rode past on their horses and each girl carried a red rose. KATE VISIT 1 073

While I am in the Village, I spend some time in ULMARRA BOOKS and BRIC A BRAC, chat for a while with our GentleMan BookMan and, in general, just indulge in the sheer pleasure of a book shop of this size and nature. This one is a treasure trove. I always enjoy being in the hands of an Expert, no matter what field it is in. In this shop I am guaranteed EXPERTISE in its most agreeable form.

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I have lived for four years in a tiny cottage. Exquisite with wonderful views of the Bilambil Valley – but tiny. Now I live in a HOUSE. A house which my family come to visit.  Last weekend, my daughter, Kati B and I spent the evening at the card table from Dolores, playing YAHTZEE. A ruthless game night it was.

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FURTHER JULY REFLECTIONS

 

Since becoming resigned to an adult life lived on the North Coast of NSW, I have been endeavouring to develop a new perspective on that situation. To embrace the whole of the North Coast and New England and all the past experiences I have had here. ASSIMILATING it all, so I am. I am little inclined to travel much and prefer a Village Life and much home time.

I, am, however, making some fine adjustments to those default settings in my personality in case the Old Person’s Home they one day wish to put me in is in a new environment or perhaps I shall wish to escape and would be better with a series of well-known exit routes.

Yesterday, I crossed this small bridge at MINNIE WATER.  I am rather fond of small footbridges. Over small creeks is my preference rather than out over the rainforest and mountains in the manner of the Dorrigo Rainforest Lookout.

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MINNIE WATER FOOTBRIDGE. Subtle and seductive perhaps – the Clarence Coast. As an old Urunga Woman, its likely to take a few more visits for me to determine whether or not I really like this these 3 towns.

I have never been one to go to Music Venues until meeting Izzy in 2007. Now Music features frequently in my life.  I would not call it a natural habitat for me but do enjoy the curiosity factor. I began by going to the BILAMBIL BLUES CLUB each Thursday when I lived alone at Linden Lea in Bilambil Cottage. Had dinner and listened to the music and met with friends. As Izzy and I became close, I became his ‘roadie’ and began venturing into the Unknown World of North Coast Music. It wasn’t well known to him either. His previous Musical life was Sydney and  points South – primarily. With the 69ers, Original Battersea Heroes, Johnny and the Ringworms and Zarsoff Bros.  Since 2007, we have been familiarising ourselves with the North Coast’s Musical Scene and , in  the  meantime, the Bilambil Blues Club has become LIVE MUSIC on a Friday Night. 

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Izzy with Johnny Carr at Bilambil. I still attend these events more like David Attenborough observing the wildlife than as a participant. Strange creatures in a strange environment.

One of the bands Izzy plays with is the HILLBILLY BLUES BANDITS.
Its one of the venues I enjoy more than most. For a pub, that is – me not being a pub person. The food is good and the security and organisation is schmick. The lads play onstage and everything is in place. Then again, I like BRUNSWICK HEADS. Its a good town.

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BRUNSWICK HOTEL BEER GARDEN

I lived on the Tweed from 2001 to 2009. It was at the end of that period that I located the family history in that area. The last time I saw my mother alive was in 2001 when she saw me off on the North Coast XPT to Murwillumbah and she said at the time that the Tweed was where ‘ the family came from”. I didn’t quite know what she meant. I knew her family only as Laurieton and Redfern people. At a 2008 visit to the Tweed Historical Society on Scenic Drive ( en route to Bilambil) I found a photograph of Bell’s Wharf but paid little attention and I had visited the Tumbulgum Cemetery on my return from her funeral in August 2001 but knew of no familial connection to it. At the time I didn’t know that her grandparents and associated relatives, esp BELLS and MCLEODS, had lived for years in Tumbulgum and Surrounds and great uncles and aunts were buried in the Cemetery on the Hill by the River.

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The hall out in the Valley behind Murwillumbah where we have been told John Bell and Granny Bell went to live with their family following John’s accident on the sugar.

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That, of course, preceded the re-location to the Clarence. My father did have an Uncle Clarrie whose name was CLARENCE MACLEAY SANDERS. Therein lies a true Northern Rivers heritage. I wish now that I had been daring enough to name a child or two after the Rivers. Bellinger or Kalang would have been fine choices. At the time I had a husband of a less fanciful turn of mind than me. The Tweed, Macleay and Camden Haven background probably explains my ease with the recent Clarence floods. Add 40 years on the Bellinger and all I need is the gills and fins.

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Ulmarra in 2009.

AT THIS POINT LET ME ACKNOWLEDGE THE ENORMOUS DELIGHT OF ADSL AND EVEN GRATITUDE TO BIG POND AND TELSTRA. THAT’S SOMETHING I THOUGHT I WOULD NEVER SAY BUT HERE I AM ONLINE – FAST – PAINLESS . A CHARMING YOUNG MAN NAMED MATTHEW DEALT WITH EVERYTHING AND WE WERE SETUP IN 3-4 DAYS WITH PHONE AND INTERNET AND IT FLIES !

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In my years in Urunga, I rarely went West. I had a phobic fear of the Dorrigo Mountain. I had it for as long as I can recall, perhaps going back to childhood drives in the old ute with attached relatives and one lane of dirt clinging to the edges of the mountainside. After the flooding of the 21st Century, I think the fear was very likely NOT illogical.  Be that as it may, I am no longer phobically fearful about it and have been able to take the Western road to visit the Mad O’Briens in Armidale. There is a hunting for the details of beauty in a quiet land which takes a discerning eye – something I have often lacked. Now that I know more about the family history, I suspect that some inherited prejudices and old fears and loves have coloured my views of certain places and peoples. The New England was one of those places which WE disdained along with the aforementioned GRAFTON, KEMPSEY, TAREE and random others. On exploring in a more open-minded manner I have found some fine people, places and things.

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THUNDERBOLT’S ROCK NEAR URALLA. JUST TO THE SOUTH OF ARMIDALE.

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Also in Armidale is one of my favourite Santas.

Meanwhile, back in Bellingen, and back to floods and near floods, life on the North Coast often means living in towns split in two by water. Bellingen is one of these. I have been trapped out in Buffer Creek via Gleniffer and in Dowle Street, North Bellingen. I have quite a good feel for oncoming floods as well. That’s one of the advantages of a slightly paranoid nature.

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LAVENDER’S BRIDGE IN BELLINGEN WITH THE RIVER RISING. Maybe 1995 or thereabouts.

One thing which was different for me in the 2009 flood here in Ulmarra was the slow inland sea effect compared with the raging Bellingen torrent that I am more familiar with. One thing I like about the Clarence is the large number of old buildings seemingly missed by the boom era of tourism and simply standing there. Feet wet at times but standing. Not neatened and tidied by the Incomers of the past century. Not demolished as they have been up north on Tweed. We were watching the Brick coming over the hills from Bilambil. Here, on Clarence, they STAND.

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WATER COMING IN FROM THE BACK PADDOCKS IN ULMARRA.

REFLECTIONS AT THE END OF JULY

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It has become routine to take lunch at WIDE RIVER. I have even taken to eating the same lunch most days which is not something I have often done. I have toasted cheese, onion and avocado sandwich on white bread with a banana smoothie unless I feel the edges of a cold. In that case, I order a COLD REMEDY which is one of the most deadly juices I have ever drunk. It seems to successfully drive the potential swine flu germs back into hiding.

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Since we have been in Ulmarra, Izzy has begun to allow his hair to turn white as he said he would at the age of 60. Kati B has come to visit and do the 2nd hand shops of the Clarence.

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I also re-discovered FEZZ. We first had FEZZ when the Poppy was a baby and had a blocked nose and now I find that its available for adults as well. Some assistance with breathing is something I could do with.

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The last Thursday of each month, we take ourselves along to the MUSIC CAFE at the EMPORIUM, SOUTH GRAFTON.
That is a pleasure in itself . Annie Dodd has had the EMPORIUM for almost a decade and it reminds me of the mystery of Sydney in the early 70s and of such adventures as the ANTIQUE SUPERMARKET on South Dowling Street. Its an evolving organism is the Emporium. This month, July, Peter Greeman, in the kitchen is doing PASTAS. The eclectic array of musos is expected and Iz looks forwards to emceeing.

We have already encountered the MULLANS’ at the June night and Karl and Sharon took the drive north to do ILNAM ESTATE WINERY with Izzy on July 26.  The crowd was well pleased and joined in the mayhem of Izzy and Co and the beauty of Shaz’ Irish melodies.  Karl and Izzy put in some powerful reheasring and Izzy was fully pleased with the day.

I was able to enjoy two magical little girls who came along from BUSBY FLAT to support their parents.

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There is a new dam someplace down here near COUTTS CROSSING. It is said to be  able to provide water to COFFS and GRAFTON for many years to come. I  haven’t found it as yet but will look for it soon.

Just out of Armidale is the DUMARESQ DAM where we picknicked with the Mad O’Briens. There is some unusual info about Armidale, electricity  and hydro-electricity.

ELECTRICITY IN ARMIDALE

Oxley Wild Rivers National Park

http://www.familytreecircles.com/journal_9924.html

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Transition to a new home and community has uncertain elements – obviously. On  the weekend, we went north for the ILNAM gig. I haven’t been back since moving and have no desire to do so at this time. I don’t relocate easily. NOT EASILY TRANSPORTABLE, am I. I am easily confused by the overlapping worlds. I had promised Iz I would go with him this time for several reasons. One being that ILNAM and the Quinns have been very good to us and the other was to meet the MULLANS FAMILY. Karl has been rehearsing here in Coldstream Street but I hadn’t truly met Shaz or the Girls. It was , in fact, a pleasurable experience but after a night spent in a dodgy Tweed Heads South Motel for $75, I was in a deeply reflective mood. As deep as the light on a Fender Bass.

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I think it was occasions like Izzy’s 60th birthday at Ilnam’s with nice people, nice food, nice views which convinced me that it was time for me to leave the area because I just wasn’t content – even in the good places with the good people doing the good things.  So – now I am here on the Clarence and for this time in my life – happy.

ONLINE AT LAST

Glory Be ! Up here in the Attic, I am at last ONLINE.

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Much like the Bridge of the Starship, Enterprise, so I am told. What I know is that I now have workable internet. Vodafone can do what it pleases as long as I don’t have to deal with IT again. I don’t even want to talk to my electronic friend , Lara, anymore. I give credit to the upgrades department, which despite failing to upgrade me and still charging for one account when they had said they would not, was staffed by courteous, literate, savvy young people. Au Revoir VF. May our paths not cross again.

Now, I am ONLINE but still in the process of adapting to the 21st century. That means it might take a while before I feel secure in the new situation. For today, CELEBRATIONS and off to Bellingen to fetch Kati B.

GENTLEMEN OF THE NORTH

I have begun work on my father’s war diaries and letters.

BRUCE SANDERS.

2/3 PIONEER BATTALION 2 AIF: A SOLDIER’S LETTERS HOME

Last week, 7 July 2009, Noel MacDougall passed away at the age of 92. This week, I was contacted by his daughter-in-law, Robyn and thought I would pass on this little note on one of the characters of the North Coast New England.

My father-in law Noel Eldershaw MacDougall passed away on 7th July at the age of 92.  He fought bravely with the 2/3 Pioneer Battalion after enlisting in Armidale with the Light Horse with Mr Peter Tindal, Mr Brian Hughes, Mr Mac McKenzie and Mr. Fitzgerald all of Grafton and was later transferred to Cowra.  These men remained closest friends all their lives.
Mr MacDougall lived at "Marengo Ebor", the property held by his family for over a century. He was a wonderful stockman and a gentleman – true legend in the area.  No one knew the Chalundi bush like he did. He loved his land, his cattle and his horses (both work horses and racehorses) but unfortunately had to live in the Dorrigo Community Health Centre for the last years of his life. He was well looked after there but he always yearned for his bush and his dogs. 
A funeral will be held at the Anglican Cathedral in Grafton at 10am Tuesday July 21st.

A VERY WEALTHY WOMAN

 

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In my own way, I am a very Wealthy Woman. I now have the Fridge. That’s the two lads delivering it a week late and refusing to carry it up the 8 steps unless we paid another $15 which Izzy refused to pay. Fortunately, we seconded our next door neighbour and Izzy and the neighbour brought it up the stairs. So, we now have a fine fridge.

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These are the signs at the intersection of COLDSTREAM STREET and the PACIFIC HIGHWAY, ULMARRA. Andrew from WIDE RIVER says – SEE ULMARRA – IT WON’T TAKE LONG.

Well, theoretically it shouldn’t take long but in practice, we have been known to take hours in the Village.

THINGS WHICH MAKE ME WEALTHY  
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Include the many mandarines on the trees beside the house.

may 2008 006 A lot of laughter and gentleness and no violence at all. Lots of music as well.
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I have read poetry at an Austlit Breakfast at the WORDSMITHS CAFE in the ST LUCIA CAMPUS of the UNIVERSITY OF QUEENSLAND in BRISBANE.

 
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I lived for many years in the small town of Urunga and over the last year have eaten there with my daughter at the BOARDWALK CAFE. We have wonderful breakfasts at the BOARDWALK and are served by young men whom I once taught.

KATHMADNANA My Grandchildren learned to swim in my own very excellent swimming pool, way up on the Queensland border.

THE WASHING MACHINE IS A WHIRLPOOL

washer 009 Yesterday we followed up Andrew’s suggestion of  Bob, the washing machine repairman, who has a shed on Lilypool Road. That’s where we purchased ReBertha the Fridge so we took a drive out there. No sign of Bob but Izzy tracked a shed, checked the note on the door saying Bob was out and we left a note of our own.

7 a.m. this morning a phone call comes. Its Bob. He has 2 machines for sale. But they’re expensive says he. $130 for the big one and $120 for the small one. Its a small one we want so we take the small one. and Bob delivers it to the door by 9am and sets it up for us. I LOVE CLARENCE !

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BOB’S DOG- “FRANK”.

THE WASHING MACHINE IS A WHIRLPOOL

Yesterday we followed up Andrew’s suggestion of  Bob, the washing machine repairman, who has a shed on Lilypool Road. That’s where we purchased ReBertha the Fridge so we took a drive out there. No sign of Bob but Izzy tracked a shed, checked the note on the door saying Bob was out and we left a note of our own.

7 a.m. this morning a phone call comes. Its Bob. He has 2 machines for sale. But they’re expensive says he. $130 for the big one and $120 for the small one. Its a small one we want so we take the small one. and Bob delivers it to the door by 9am and sets it up for us. I LOVE CLARENCE !

LAST WEEKEND IN JUNE 09

REFLECTIONS ON THE LAST MONTH. THE FIRST MONTH HERE ON THE CLARENCE.  IN FACT – LETS MAKE IT REFLECTINS IN GENERAL.

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I drove this driveway for four years. Its the drive from Bilambil Cottage up to the Main House of Linden Lea. When the rains turned it slippery and sloppy, the DOS had this load of rocks put in so that our vehicles would not slip and slide. He is a true Gentleman is Mr Douglas Bulpitt.

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AT the back of Ulmarra, we have a SHED. Its a fine shed and VERY old. We have now discovered that the house was built in 1908 by W.B. HAFFENDEN. Out past the shed is the wetland area which fills with birds and where I watched the brolgas dance.

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The attic appears in early photographs of the house. I didn’t expect that. I thought it were a recent addition but that doesn’t appear to be the case. Its from the attic that I look above the sheds to the wetlands and this first month in residence, they have been wet in the extreme.

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In SOUTH GRAFTON is the EMPORIUM. It was once the CITY STORES. I am finding some tales from South Grafton in earlier times.

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I eat at the EMPORIUM and go to the MUSIC CAFE. This weekend, The Emporium hosted harp and vocal workshops. They do a fine curry as well as being open long hours 6 days a week.

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I thought, after my early investigative visits to Grafton, that our usual Cafe Way of Life might be extremely limited on the Clarence but that was a needless worry. I have far more variety and far more pleasant venues here than I did on the Tweed and certainly on the Gold Coast. I am simply not your GC Woman.

Give me the EMPORIUM any day !

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Or our WIDE RIVER CAFE just down the road in COLDSTREAM STREET. Lizzy and Mum make the pies. Andrew turns out a wicked COLD REMEDY juice and Sundays there will be music in the courtyard (as soon as the water dries up and the pavers can be laid). Next door Robin and the girls have their artwork and miscellaneous etceteras including beautiful ceramics.

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One effect of so much wet is that I have become very familiar with the view from the back windows. Coldstream Street features some fine old fences. The Recreation ground is just beyond the one in the picture. Its been too inundated here to find out what happens at the Recreation ground in SMALL PARK. The park is not SMALL. Small was one of the first settlers on the Clarence and his name is on the Park.

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The fence on the left is part of the COLDSTREAM STREET fencing network. I feel that I ought to know the name of this type of fencing. My father who was a carpenter of integrity would most certainly have explained it to me in years gone by. All I know is that I like the old wood and the shadows cast. This fence leads to home for me.

ANOTHER DAY IN ULMARRA

ANNIE PUTS HER NAME ON THE BOARD FOR A DUO WITH LYNNIE.

113 Last night was the 3rd MUSIC CAFE at the SOUTH GRAFTON EMPORIUM in SKINNER STREET. Peter was serving curries this time and the vegie one which I had was fiery indeed. I enjoyed last nights MUSIC CAFE even more than the first one. Its cold now and we were all rugged up.

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Lights were on when we got there about 5.30pm. Tables booked for 60 or so and the blackboard ready for the musicians. I had always thought South Grafton a dangerous and violent place Thats the publicity it used to receive when I lived in Urunga. Now I find it to be a delightful gem of a place. It reminds me of inner Sydney suburbs as they came into their glory. Newtown and Balmain and Redfern et al.

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It is reminiscent also of the early 1970s for me and of the Good Food Shop in Bellingen and our own WHITE ROSE TRADING COMPANY. The pleasure of the bedouin tent and exotic decor is still with me.

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Izzy was acting as MC. and Wendy made the signs to help the Musos identify him.

ANOTHER DAY IN ULMARRA

ANNIE PUTS HER NAME ON THE BOARD FOR A DUO WITH LYNNIE.

113 Last night was the 3rd MUSIC CAFE at the SOUTH GRAFTON EMPORIUM in SKINNER STREET. Peter was serving curries this time and the vegie one which I had was fiery indeed. I enjoyed last nights MUSIC CAFE even more than the first one.

DISASTER RECOVERY

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Saw the mail delivery this morning and when we looked – I was taken aback. The DOCS Disaster Recovery team had indeed deposited $768 in our account to replace BERTHA, the fridge that drowned and odds and ends which we lost in the floods.

Just a few Sundays back, 2 young women arrived at our front door, looking for the previous tenant. They were DOCS DISASTER RECOVERY people and very pleasant they were. When we told them our Bertha story, they went right out to their car and returned with the appropriate forms which they filled in – including photographs of Bertha and the Underneath of the House. We chatted and showed them the dead snake hanging on the front fence and off they went. Now, today, enough money to buy a fridge. Bravo DOCS !!!!

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I have found this year to be interesting in terms of the low level trauma.  Victoria saw the horror of fire and large numbers of deaths. Here in the floods is something different. Apparently minor but seeping. INUNDATION they call it. Odd tales pop into conversations. One gentleman is found dead in his car on South Arm Road. The death passes softly and almost unannounced.

Entire towns and Villages are ordered to evacuate. Self-evacuate to other flood prone towns through rain and wild weather. SES tells people they are unable to help.

One house in Urunga is battered by waters rushing through and is then condemned and a family becomes homeless.

People are isolated for 1-2 weeks on their properties behind Bellingen. No phones or power and no assistance incoming. Trees down and wild storms and not knowing whether they were the only area affected or whether the whole town or state was also demolished. A family sitting at dinner and hearing and feeling a shudder as the yard slipped into their gardens and surrounded their house in mud and debris.

In the meantime, we all proceed in minimalisation. We recover from a disaster we didn’t know we had. And then a kind voice, money for a fridge – all become emotionally touching.

EMPMUSICCAFE 090    Tonight we will go to the MUSIC CAFE at the SOUTH GRAFTON EMPORIUM and eat fine curry.

ULMARRA ON A FRIDAY

The first Frosty morning. I shall look back and consider matters. The order will bear little chronology or obvious purpose.

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This week I went South to Bellingen. I do believe we encountered the first winter snap. Kati B was minding a house. Bellingen was one of the North Coast towns invaded by the hippies on the hippy trail in the 1970s. I was amongst them – in my own way. Over the years, more incomers have arrived and all manner of habitations and ways of life have evolved. This one at Brierfield is an example of a family home built on experiences and time. It still requires a fire to heat the water but it also has a wood fire of grand proportions . The family are of Belgian descent and finishing touches feature quirks and exotic influences. One wee bird comes to the verandah rail to feed.

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Back in Ulmarra, I have located the swing park down on the riversedge. It features a flying fox and all the basic necessities. The gardens in the park are signed with pithy sayings and edible sections. I don’t know who takes care of the park. Someone mysterious methinks because its not a generic computerised one size fits all place. The wee signs appear to be handmade and the flowers remind me of Nana Bell’s house in Rosebery in the 1950s and 1960s.

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RAINBOW BAY QUEENSLAND.

I have lived, since 2001, on the Tweed.  That included RAINBOW BAY and COOLANGATTA as well as TUMBULGUM and BILAMBIL. It was there that I discovered a good deal about the BELL FAMILY, my maternal grandfather’s Scottish people.

It was there that my granddaughter was born in 2004. TWEED HEADS HOSPITAL.

I am now glad to be South again watching NSW TV. Even with frost on the grass, I am at this stage glad to be here.

FROST ON THE LAWN

Floods and now frost. One month we have been here. I have been in the North for 8 years and not had frost on the lawn at all.

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I am not very “good” with the cold so frost has been a shock. From Bellingen years, I have a small recollection of frost being the thing which sweetens the mandarines on the tree and I have a lot of mandarines on the tree. There are 2 other citrus trees as well so we will see how much sweetening is happening.

A LONG WEEKEND

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WIDE RIVER CAFE ULMARRA http://www.gcountry.com.au/about.htm
FLOOD FREE AT LAST.

The MOB from ARMIDALE were down for the weekend. We lunched both days at WIDE RIVER CAFE just down the road in COLDSTREAM STREET. Long meandering lunches they were too – with food and talk and music.

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All the food is prepared locally and home made. From APPLE PIES to Kangaroo. Juices ,  Coffees and GOULASH from an old Russian Recipe. Sunday we encountered the music arvo in the courtyard and Izzy had his bass out with Andrew Hegedus Prop. WIDE RIVER has been a real bright spot in our Ulmarra life.

AFTER THE FLOOD

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I AM looking for the big birds this morning but they are not there. The waters are still there a little but that’s splendid. Wetlands it is. Traffic is back on Coldstream Street. I rather liked the boats and the young newspaper boy delivering on his pushbike through axle deep water.

Time for some reflection.

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Its less than a month ago that the Quinns from ILNAM ESTATE WINERY were in the garage of LINDEN LEA helping us to load the ALPHA TRUCK for the move. Lachlan and Mark proved to be as good at packing as they are at being friends and that’s rather good.

The rain is back this morning. I seem to be suffering from post flood traumatic stressed syndrome.  Overreacting to the slightest drop of water. The empty cattle trucks are heading east this morning. I don’t know whether they are planning to bring the cattle back down onto this grazing land or not – as yet. Flocks of birds are flying over. Hundreds of water birds. 

 
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Soon as we had moved in here, I was off to Armidale. This is part of our intention to embrace this area. The autumn trees were in full colour up there and the nights were cold.

Armidale also has a drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre which seems to work very effectively. I think that by the time people find themselves in that situation, they begin to take it very seriously indeed.  Cold and Detoxing are not easy companions.

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Fortunately, I was there for celebration – not for detoxification.

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Celebration did mean KidsWorld. That was an experience. It did keep the Kids busy for 2 1/2 hours.

   
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Driving back down the Mountain was somewhat more intimidating even than Kids World. At the time we didn’t know that we were driving into the prelude to the next flood. The roads were mist and rain obscured. It was cold and bleak. Within the week, the Dorrigo Mountain Road was again closed due to flooding and landslides. A few years back I drove through the Tallimoble Fires not knowing that just behind me the Highway was being closed and this was similar.

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We wrapped that trip up with lunch at URUNGA before I caught the train back to Grafton. URUNGA is our HOMETOWN. We eat at the cafe in the arcade and IT IS GOOD.

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ULMARRA

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BROLGAS IN THE BACKYARD Commercial Hotel beer garden Ulmarra

The floods have receded.2 black cows are munching on grass over the way where only last week the inland sea covered the paddocks.  The BIg Birds are about as well. I do not think I have ever seen a  brolga before but the grey birds on the water back and front of the house certainly seem to be brolgas. 8 of them. Almost as tall  as Kate and me. There is a pair of jabiru as well.

The clearing of the water has meant we could walk to the Village and take coffee at the COMEMRCIAL HOTEL. Open 7 days a week for breakfast and lunch with dinner on Fridays and Saturdays. We joined the recovering flood people at the huge wooden table on the bank of the Clarence. The Chef was out of vegie patties following 3 days closed due to floodwaters but whipped us up a vegetable pasta as easy as and it was delicious. Main Course app $16. Coffee $4.

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To date, my favourite shop has been the RATHGAR OP SHOP. It has opened in the opening hours advertised – floods or no floods and has an excellent array of goods.

I don’t think much of stores not being open without good reason or in erratic hours. Tony Bahles taught me that way back in the 7os when we had the WHITE ROSE TRADING COMPANY in URUNGA. He crossed flooded waters to get food in for customers and we opened – regardless. In the same way that Izzy does with Music now – he plays whether there is one person there or 1000. You just never know which of those possible 1000 is the one you were meant to play for, sell to or listen to.

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Sandbags at the Commercial.

The town had been sandbagged and attempts had been made to evacuate. Ulmarrians sanely appear to have resisted those attempts. The sandbags are available near the Bushfire Brigade – I’m still fond of the Bushfire Brigade due to the helpful lass who was there and their allowing me to leave the Charade there for the duration. Many thanks to you !

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The traffic on the Bendy Bridge has gone nuts with the Highway being closed all week and traffic diverted along SUMMERLAND WAY. One catamaran sat at ULMARRA WHARF.

 

 

 

THE WATERS HAVE BEGUN TO RECEDE

FLOODS RECEDE 026 Now that looks hopeful doesn’t it? The water has cleared the 8th step back and front. The white marker on the front fence is cleared and many water birds are finding dry-ish spots to rest awhile. Over the road, the working man took a moment to choose between boat and truck. Boat still won – but I do believe the waters are receding.

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I am not sure it is WATER remaining under my house. It looks sinister.  Scrubby tells us his lady is stuck in Yamba and Jenny reports the same of her daughter. Today helicopters have been passing over low all day with big bales of what I presume to be hay or somesuch.

Late afternoon and the road is reappearing at the front. 

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A softness of light is on the  countryside and a quietness with very little traffic about.  Izzy rang Andrew down at the shops and he says the Charade is fine parked out front. Perhaps tomorrow I shall be able to leave the house – albeit with a reluctance to re-enter “ the world out there”.

DAY 6

FLOODS MORE 025The water is still up and had risen during the night. A young man passing in a boat has informed me that the Coldstream is flowing. That appears to be a very good thing. I am weary of looking down our tumbledown steps into black and slow rising waters.

I am however, still delighted to be sitting at the attic window watching boats on the street and a vast lake before me.

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Its been a funny way to arrive in a community and to become familiar with it. It eliminated many of the tentative introductory “getting to know yous”.  An old fella bagging sandbags the night we got the cars out told me that the waters would be a couple of days coming up behind here and he has been right.

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Today Izzy has walked out along Coldstream to Ulmarra, taken the Charade and checked the Starwagon at Swan Creek and gone via Centenary Drive into Grafton for supplies. We have been very lucky. Power and Phones stayed on. Water didn’t reach hoiuse itself and the cars are OK. He has exchanged numbers with the  lady in the house at Swan Creek. Decent people about.

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Its only a week and a half back that we were loading the Alpha Truck and farewelling 4 years of Bilambil life – Alpha was a bargain at $150 for 2 full days. If you are in Coolangatta, I recommend them to you. Cars and trucks. Mega Helpful and great vehicle.

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Then I headed up to Armidale with Kati B. It is cold in Armidale but we were gathered en famille and celebrating so we had a splendid time.

I guess I am having a splendid time even now, looking out the dressing room windows on WATER. WATER. WATER.

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Today, Izzy went to town. A few hours later I looked out the window and there he was – returning ! He had bags of shopping and had been picked up by another neighbour. Good Place, Ulmarra.

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We have boxes still to unpack but being rained in for a week has driven us to home work which would have otherwise have been put aside while we adventured.

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Armidale included breakfasts at MacDonalds and Hungry  Jacks. Kati B is 30 years old but has  maintained her appreciation of playgrounds. Hungry Jacks was an agreeable surprise in a family pledged to never allow HJ’s food past their lips. Due to larger kids in Maccas for the Poppy’s birthday brekkie, we had abandoned the playground and dared to try HUNGRY JACKS. Noone told us how good it was. Great Service and mega fun.

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While I was in Armidale, Izzy had been trying out Ulmarrian Life and LIKING it. Sunday he had been to live music at Wide River Cafe further down Coldstream.

We took a walk on the Tuesday morning, planning our week and weekend. Sighted this fine sign down near the river. Took coffee and cake at Wide River Cafe and generally relaxed – not knowing what was ahead.

ULMARRA FLOODS 009  The MOB from Armidale are bringing a lawnmower. Looks like we won’t be needing it for a little while. 
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We were gone under way before the rest of the street and town. I guess I thought this was about as bad as it would get.

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FLOODS DAY 5 ?

Woke to a sunny day. and blue skies. AND a LAKE of our very own. I did want a house right on the river and I have it – for this week anyways.

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Its been a most interesting week. They call it a weather event. A long event says I. The road is today a waterway. The hairy dog enjoyed it and so do the Kids. i continue listening to ABC Radio and the bizarre reporting of this Event.  ABC Mid North Coast Radio isn’t specially bizarre but Officialdom remains ODD in the extreme.

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I am putting Photos up for the MOB in Armidale who were coming down this weekend. They didn’t come ! Deterred by Water and landslides –so it seems. Kati B and IMM had offered to do a rescue mission but they are also flooded in. Bertha, our fridge, is now defunct. She is floating under the house where we had left her till we had muscle enough to bring her up the steps – so now we do not have a functioning fridge. She is tied to one of the Stilts under the House.

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Its dark now. That seems to be when I sit still and give up for the night. The water is rising again. Each day has its own flavour and this one had kayaks, boats and walkers as well as some 4WDs passing by on Coldstream Street.

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I haven’t seen one official person or vehicle all day despite the seeming efficiency imaged on the radio. We are OK here but I am not sure what help we would have had had we not been. No matter. Its dark now. The water rises seepingly and we have power and warmth and an attic. We have watched the community at play today and I like that.

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We have internet too. I also like that, with Facebook People contacting us and family in touch and able to send images to them. Iz has a Coca Cola Can over his mobile net modem. IMM said that Bello people were trying it so Iz does it too. We knew we would have slow net here due to it being GPRS.

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I think the Village gathered at the Local Pub but I am short and the water is deep so I wasn’t able to wade out today. The lads were out on quad bikes. I am impressed by the bikes. They just ploughed through the waters undeterred.

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This is the Blue Bear which was washed down the Road from Under the House and rescued by Doug who lives next door. Bravo Blue Bear! A narrow escape.

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Sunset over the floods. Looking west towards the Highway and Village.

Family with baby in Mother’s arms.
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2 shots of hair in progress. Flood Shocked Whitening of the Hair.