On Tuesday morning I had a very important appointment - to get my hair cut. I went to the same hairdressers I had used when we were in Warwick previously so it wasn’t quite so stressful this time! I was ready for a long wait again as last time I sat there for 30 minutes before anything happened but this time they got going straight away so I was out more or less at the time I had given Graham and he was there waiting for me (impressed as always!). We had an early lunch and then drove to find where the rodeo was taking place. For the first few days numerous rounds of the ‘camp drafting’ competitions were taking place and entry for spectators was free. We wandered in, sat in the nearest stand and had an excellent view of the main arena. It took us a few minutes to understand what was going on. When we did we realized that it took a great deal of skill, quick reflexes and understanding with their horses for the riders to successfully isolate their allotted cow from the herd and then to shepherd the cow into the arena and correctly around the
course. While we were watching not very many riders completed the course successfully and some even failed to segregate their allotted cow which confirmed just how difficult a test it was.
There was a break after a while so that all the cows used could be brought back across the arena to be used in the competition again. Outside the main ring lots more riders were warming up their horses while waiting for their turn. It was a fascinating afternoon and a great introduction to rodeos.
We had made arrangements for PIE to be serviced on Wednesday so we left it at the Warwick Ford/Nissan garage at 1pm and then went swimming in the local indoor pool. It was about 1.15 when we got there and there was just one adult in the big pool and a couple of small children in the shallower pool. We were able to go up and down at our leisure which was great and I was able to do complete lengths of back stroke without fear of crashing into other swimmers. We also lounged around in the “lazy river” for a while and after about an hour we came out feeling refreshed
We decided to walk to the Showground to catch up with a bit more of the rodeo. It was quite a long way and we were weighed down with our wet towels but we made light work of it and were able to get in free again. We sat in one of the main stands where we could relax and watch more of the camp drafting competitions. We wandered back to the garage for 4pm to be told that PIE was being washed and would soon be ready to go. She eventually appeared and we settled the bill, which was very reasonable, and discussed a couple of things that they recommended we keep an eye on. We already realised that we would need to have the brake pads looked at before too long.
When we got back to David’s it was all systems go to get ready for our dinner guest, a friend of David’s called Mele. It was on Mele’s drive that we had tried and failed to park Sweetie a few days earlier so it was lovely to actually meet her. Unfortunately, David had made arrangements with Mele at fairly short notice and Graham
had promised to go to the local folk club again that same evening. As his presence had been “advertised” he felt he had to go. He had time to eat the chicken lasagne that David had made but had to leave the tiramisu that Mele had brought for pudding. It was a lovely meal and we had a delightful evening getting to know Mele who originally came from Tonga and had been part of the group of volunteers that went to The School of St Jude in Tanzania in September.
Graham came back full of enthusiasm - there had been a good crowd at O’Mahoney’s Hotel - and he could now enjoy a generous helping of tiramisu!! As, again, I didn’t go to his “gig” there were no photos taken for posterity!
One of the things the garage had pointed out during the service was a very slight coolant leak by the radiator cap. They thought it could be a weakened clip or the beginnings of a perished hose but it would need to get a whole lot worse before it became an issue, but it needed watching. As Graham could clearly see some leakage on Thursday morning,
for peace of mind we drove to the local radiator workshop to seek advice. The chap there had a look, checked the hose and the clip and did a pressure test. He recommended we try a new radiator cap first - could it really be as simple as this? We put the cap on and there was an instant improvement - no leak at all. Great guys these Aussie mechanics!
With our confidence restored we went off along the Cunningham Highway - a major road construction built through the ‘Cunningham Gap’ in the Great Dividing Range to link The Southern Downs with Brisbane. The terrain is mountainous and the road in both directions is a series of “Slow Lanes” and “Escape Roads” to cater for the many huge lorries which need to travel inland from Brisbane and back. At the peak of The Great Dividing Range we stopped at the car park to look for a recommended walk to The Fassifern Valley Lookout. The area is part of the Main Range National Park and is a rain forest area full of huge old trees and wonderful plants. The view from the lookout was amazing especially as it was a
lovely clear day. We completed one of the circular walks and were pleased that we had finally achieved this after several previous failed attempts to find the correct location.
We travelled on to Moogerah Dam via the lakeside road and had a picnic lunch. While we were sat in a shaded area the heavens opened and for 20 minutes or so there was quite a downpour. We could see that it was far worse in the distance and later heard that somewhere not too far away had hailstones, so we got away with it quite lightly! We hung on there until the storm passed and then decided to drive on towards Boonah and Killarney, a circular route which would eventually take us back towards Warwick. We stopped in Boonah, which was a nice old fashioned country town, had a look around and enjoyed a cuppa. We saw a fascinating statue with the theme of ‘country people in Australia live with one eye on the sky’. It was commissioned in 2003 to commemorate the Year of the Outback. We thought it was only the British who were obsessed by the weather! Then we looked for the road to Killarney -
it took us a while to find the road we wanted as initially the signposts directed us back the way we had come for a few kms. We put Sat Nav on and that helped to find the smaller road we needed which meandered up through the hills. It was a very picturesque but long route back to Warwick - we had travelled about 180 kms that day.
On Friday morning we had a wander round town and visited the local Rivers shop where, apparently, many items are much cheaper in Warwick than in the main Melbourne store. We succeeded in buying a pair of trainers for Graham (his birthday present) but only on the understanding that he would throw away his old “smelly” ones!!
The whole town looked fantastic this week - hundreds of roses had come out just at the right time and looked beautiful all through the main streets and the shop window displays were of cowboy hats, saddles and country scenes. We popped into one of the local churches where Mele had helped construct a wonderful floral display - the church looked a picture.
After lunch we found our way to Pringle Cottage
- one of the oldest sandstone buildings in Warwick. It was in quite a large plot, included several old buildings which encompassed a museum as well and had a huge array of interesting old memorabilia, displays of old shop items, a school room, the original printing machines from the local paper, old farm implements and much more. The chap who greeted us was a mine of information and obviously loved his involvement in the project. Out the front were blocks of sandstone ready to be placed in a new rose garden that was in the planning stage and due to be finished early next year. When I had finished poking round the various buildings I found Graham relaxing on a seat busy chatting to our volunteer friend. The museum complex only opens on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays which was why we had not been before but we were so pleased we had made the effort. When we got back David was busy digging over a patch of garden at the front of the house - he planned to get a few plants to put there the following morning.
We had an early supper of grilled barramundi and then went
down into town to experience The Mardi Gras! Fairground rides had appeared out of nowhere and hundreds of people were milling around. At the other end of the road it was only slightly less manic - a ‘horseless’ race was about to take place around the bandstand with the participants (all local celebrities) being made up of a koala, a dalmatian dog, a local politician and a few other people. It was very entertaining and somehow the politician won!! Our attention was soon diverted to one of the local bagpipe bands who were playing nearby. They had a nice mix of ages and were very good. We hung around for a while, soaking up the atmosphere, before returning to David’s where we found him busy making a ‘Summer Pudding’. He did a great job and got it safely into the fridge where it would stay overnight for use the following evening.
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