Wednesday 27 November 2019

Back On The Air!

Hello all! How's your week going? Mine is a little calmer than the last coulee of weeks, let me tell you! Sorry to have fallen off the blogging radar for a couple of weeks, but I have a really good excuse. I've actually started to write this post a couple of times, but find it hard to condense the events of the last few weeks ... So I'll just say, this may be a long post, so get comfy. 😜

Last post I mentioned the terrible bushfires being experienced in Australia's eastern states (though since then there have been more in South Australia, too.) Many of you may not realise, but we live on the edge of forestry areas & 'just down the road' from several national parks, so since moving here, we've been careful to keep an eye on the Rural Fire Emergency Services ap updates, especially in the extreme dry & heat that we've been experiencing. On November 12, the ap notified us of a fire a few kilometres from us ... In the forestry area. Less than 24 hours later we received the "Leave Immediately" instructions. Thankfully, we had time to pack most of our clothes, family heirlooms & many special treasures & could stay with my parents who live in the retirement village where I work. (I was still slightly late for work! 😝) That fire burned for 14 days, burnt thousands of hectares of forest, national parks & farmland, destroyed six homes & other outbuildings, killed huge numbers of wildlife & destroyed the habitat of so many more & it came to within just over a kilometre of our house. It was huge, it was scary, it's suspected to have been deliberately lit & it was battled into submission by hundreds of real life superheroes ... Many of whom were volunteers.

This is a photo of the fire our neighbour took from his back verandah when the fire was closest to us. He drove around our neighbourhood that night in a water truck wetting down yards, fences & trees in case the wind carried embers our way.

We were exceptionally fortunate. Our house suffered no damage, other than reeking of smoke for a couple of weeks & we could stay with my folks until the fire had been contained & it was safe to come home. HUGE thanks go to the firies who fought to keep everyone safe, often not knowing whether their own homes were safe, to the other emergency services personnel who played vital roles & to those who worked in the background to support the frontline defenders. 

While this experience was scary & nerve-wracking as the days ticked by & the fire burned on, changing direction at the whim of the erratic winds, some really positive things came out of it. 

Firstly ... Our fire response plan worked. When we moved into this fire risk area, we made a fire plan ... We talked about what to grab in a hurry & then leave. It's not worth risking our lives for 'things' ... Even precious pretty things. 😜 ... And we didn't want to hamper emergency services in their efforts by making them worry about us, too. Can I tell you ... You'd be amazed at how much you can shove in garbage bags, overnight bags, boxes & washing baskets when you need to! 😝 

Second positive thing ... Our little community all came together to make sure everyone was safe, informed & evacuated when the time came. In the normal scheme of things, we might not see some of our neighbours for months, or might only ever wave as we pass each other, but the fire brought out the best in our little neighbourhood.

Third positive thing ... We were reminded of what a huge encouraging, supportive tribe of family & friends we have in our lives. We literally were receiving emails, texts, Facebook messages & phone calls from all around Australia & even some overseas friends to check on us. One gorgeous local friend made a special trip to my parents' place to give me a hug & check if there was anything she could do to help. We are loved! 😊

And the Fourth positive outcome of the fire ... Our house has been completely spring cleaned at my Mother's insistence! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ Mind you, I'm still unpacking the things we took with us & I won't be doing any sewing any time soon because this is what my sewing room looks like ...

... As does the sitting room & the dining room. πŸ˜‚ Yes ... It has been pointed out that we have a LOT of stuff! (Thanks Mum! 😝) Actually ... I DO need to thank my Mum. Not only did she & Dad put up with house guests who didn't know how long they were staying (four adults, one bathroom ... It can be a juggling act! 😜) but Mum washed loads & loads of smoky clothes & linens & cleaned alongside me when she cracked the whip on our spring cleaning. Love ya Ma & Pa! 😘 
So ... We've had a bit of a roller coaster ride here but overall we're feeling pretty darn BLESSED! 😁 I would encourage all of you to make a fire response plan, even if you don't live on acreage or on the edge of a forest area. Our nearby town of Criws Nest was put on alert at one point & several small towns in other fire areas have been wiped out, so don't think it couldn't happen to you. Having talked through & planned what we would do in case of a bushfire, we knew exactly what to do when we got the "Leave Now" notification. It's worth thinking about.

Ok ... I think that's enough from me today. Thanks if you managed to stay with me to the end. 😜 And thanks to those lovely blogging buddies who are also Facebook buddies & have been checking in on us ... Your thoughts & prayers were appreciated. 😘. But now, my Beloved Geek Boy is home & it's time to think about dinner. Stay safe, everyone & til next time ...



Tuesday 12 November 2019

OPAM Winner!

Hello to everyone out there in blogland! I hope you're well ... & safe. Those of my blogging buddies who are overseas may not know it, but Queensland & New South Wales are experiencing horrific bushfires at the moment in many places. Bushland has been devastated, wildlife has been killed, injured & made homeless, houses, businesses & schools have been lost, people have been injured & killed. The largely volunteer fire fighting force is stretched to the limit. The scariest part is ... It's not even summer yet. We live in an area bordered on three sides by either national park areas or forestry, so we're keeping a close eye on our local fire news & praying for those already affected ... And praying for rain! For those of you in areas affected by the fires ... Please stay safe.

On to something a little lighter ...I'm finally getting around to doing the random prize draw for OPAM for October. Sorry to drag the chain a bit ... Getting back into the swing of being a grown up has been wearing me out. 😜 Now ... Since we were road tripping for the last half of the month, I'm pretty chuffed that I managed two finishes before we went ...

OK ... I know I shared this pic of the yoga mat carry pouch I made for my Aunt to thank her for hosting our stay in the Adelaide Hills, but I kinda have to show it again ... Cos I made myself one that was almost identical. 😜 It was a quick, fun project to make & handy to take my yoga mat on our holiday to stretch out the aches & stiff muscles caused by long hours in the car. Our final tally for October was ...


YAY! Well done everyone. & well done if you also made some progress on a long term project. And the winner of the random draw is ...

Congrats, Fiona! Drop me an email & I'll send you a copy of the PDF prize pattern.

But now ... It's time to start playing in the kitchen to make dinner ... Chicken kababs on warm pumpkin, sweet potato & baby spinach salad ... YUMMO! 😁 Take care everyone. Til next time ...



Friday 8 November 2019

Holiday Wrap Up!

Hello everyone! Happy Friday to you! Unless you're in the northern hemisphere, in which case ... Happy Thursday evening to you! 😜 I have to say, I love Fridays even more than most people as its my not-grown-up-job day & I can sleep in ...usually! 😜 But today is especially welcome as it marks the end of a VERY busy first week back after our holiday. My poor body clock is still sorting out time zones & my brain is overloaded, so I'm pretty happy to hang out at home today, wearing my daggy, comfy house clothes & catching up with the washing & unpacking after our holiday ... That THUD you just heard was my Mother fainting in shock that I'm doing house chores! Tee! Hee! Hee!

While I wait for the washing machine to finish its work, I thought I'd pop in & share some last holiday happy snaps with you from Broken Hill. You know, there's a saying in Broken Hill ... It's not the end of the earth ... But you can see it from there!" 😝 But ... There's a whole lot of places to see & things to do in Broken Hill to make the trip worthwhile, so I'd recommend it.

So of the things we didn't get to see in Broken Hill last visit was the rail museum ... It closed due to the heat! 😜 Which we 'tourists' found pretty funny, since we'd been commenting how nice it was to be warm. You know GB & I are confirmed summer chooks, right?! πŸ˜‚ This visit we got to see the museum open ... & spent way longer there than we'd expected because there was just so much to see & read. First things first, though ... If you visit a rail museum of COURSE ...

... You HAVE to have your picture taken in a train. 😜 Yes, that is GB in the driver's seat, so hold on! Tee! Hee! Hee! I, on the other hand, drooled over ...

... Vintage luggage!! 😍 There were lots of interesting displays & rail history anecdotes to read about, including the bombing of a picnic train during the war. As well as rail memorabilia, there were other displays of Broken Hill history ...

... Including hospital/medical history. I love old cottages & the corrugated iron cladding is a particular feature of Broken Hill cottages because timber & iron were the most readily available building materials when the town was settled.

Since I count so many nurses amongst my friends, I particularly enjoyed the displays of vintage uniforms ... This one was a war era uniform. Quite a few women from Broken Hill served as nurses in the wars.

And this was a Broken Hill District Hospital uniform after the war. After we finally dragged ourselves away from the museum, we revisited the art gallery/mint to adopt a couple more pieces of jewellery made from Broken Hill silver & then caught up with one of GB's childhood friends & his lovely wife & family ... Yummy dinner in excellent company ... A wonderful way to round out our visit.  Thanks Mark & Rob! 😘

The morning we left Broken Hill was grey & overcast ... & rainy! WOO! HOO! Although GB did comment that it would have been even nicer if it had held off until he'd finished packing Big Blue! πŸ˜‚ However, as we drove east, we soon realised we were being followed by something scary & eerie ...

Yep ... Between the rain we'd left behind & where we'd reached an hour later, the 80+km/hr winds had whipped up a decent dust storm ... & we were running ahead of it. We pulled over to take this pic & were stopped for only minutes before it was on us & visibility dropped dramatically ... So it was quickly back in the vehicle to outrun it again as we headed for a special destination near Coonamble in central NSW ... To spend the night with Miss Chookyblue & Mr Chooky! 😁 It's amazing to think Chooky & I 'met' around 11 years ago when I started blogging ... You meet lots of odd ... & lovely! πŸ˜‰ ... People through blogging. 😁 After a wonderful catch up (thanks for your hospitality Chooky! 😘) we swung through the nearest town of Coonamble & stopped for a pic of the mural on the water tower painted by one of my favourite Aussie artists, John Murray.

I love this design that combines John's outback images with Aboriginal artwork & that vivid pop of sunset colours ... John does a lot of collaborative work with other artists. The fun part of this was, as we parked on the side of the road to get this pic, we scared a flock of galahs, so they looked like the mural! πŸ˜‚

Well ... That's it. The end of the 2019. 5000km; 4 states; 3 time zones; 2 weeks; & 1 EXCELLENT ADVENTURE of Kris & GB. 😁 It may take a bit for us ... & the play money! 😝 ... To recover ...but there are already whispers of "next road trip" ! 😁 Stay tuned!

But right now, my washing machine is telling me (loudly & monotonously! πŸ™„) that I need to hang out the next load of clean clothes, so I'll sign off. OPAMers ... I'll do the blog hopping & draw over the weekend, so stay tuned. Til next time ...



Monday 4 November 2019

Reality Bites!

Hello to all you lovely people out there in blogland! Well ... All good things must come to an end ... So they say! ... And we're home from our five state border crossings, four states, three time zones, two weeks & one excellent adventure road trip. SIGH! Reality bit with sharp teeth this morning when my Beloved Geek Boy & I had to go back to impersonating responsible adults after two wonderful weeks of making our own schedule. Our body clocks are still haywire from changing time zones several times & I suspect there will be some sleeping on the weekend to catch up. 😜

However ... I thought over the next few days I'd pop in from time to time to share some pics from our last few days that I had trouble getting to load previously. Today I thought I'd share with you the rather special accomodation we had for our two nights in Broken Hill. For those of you who don't know, Broken Hill is a mining town ... Lead, copper, zinc & rather special silver ... Unlike most silver, Broken Hill silver is pure & contains no tin, which is what causes normal silver to tarnish. So, with its history resting on mining, it stands to reason that there would be some original miners' cottages built in the late 1800's ... Including "The Miners' Rest" cottage we called home for two days ...

It was hard to get a good pic because the light was muted by dust haze the first day & rainy overcast the second day ... Ah! Australia! A land of contrasts! 😜 I don't know if you can see, but the front of the cottage is its original stone. GB organised our stay here as a surprise for me because he knows I love old buildings. 😁 And inside, the owner had gone to great lengths to decorate in a cottage/vintage style. It was tricky to get pics due to the light & narrow cottage doorways, but here we go ...

The main bedroom, complete with lace net, velvet throw & cushions, antique dressing table & lacy cloths & doilies.

A different angle to show the dressing table.

The entryway with lovely vintage photos & knick-knacks.

The lounge room with original fireplace ...

One of the twin single beds in the second bedroom ...

... And the sweet dressing table in the second bedroom.

The eat-in kitchen. I love the original stove nook ... Though I did find it a wee bit impractical when cooking scrambled eggs, trying to see what I was doing. 😜

The kitchen was pretty well equipped, with everything stored in pretty vintage cupboards.

... Which held treasures & knick-knacks galore. There was also a two person spa ... Which I enjoyed a soak in, since we haven't had enough water to indulge in bath soaks for a while. 😁 If you're visiting Broken Hill I would definitely recommend The Miners' Rest Cottage. 

That's enough photo bombardment for today. Next time I'll share some pics of the Rail Museum we spent ages exploring. But right now, I think it's dinner time so I'll sign off. Oh! OPAMErs ... It's that time again when you need to update your sidebar lists & email me your October tally. Draw in a few days. 😁 Til next time ...



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