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carmel’s Travel Diary

Sunday, 09 Oct 2005

Location: Wakefield, Australia

MapWednesday 5-10-05

Our last day at Mudgee. Kylie, opposite, had told us about the Meadery and Peter van Gest winery, so we decided to check them out. We couldnít find any details about the Meadery, so went to check with the park people, only to find it is no longer here. However we did check out the white port at the Peter van Gest winery. It was expensive but very nice. We have got an order form, so we will still keep it in mind.

We also checked out the Australian Rural Education Centre, a private centre which holds field days and short courses for small rural property owners. It was quite interesting.

Apart from some more shopping, weíve taken it easy this afternoon, as we have to be off early tomorrow.

Thursday 6-10-05.

We were on the road by 8.10 am today, we are getting really good at packing and unpacking. We had intended spending the night at Forbes, but we were there by midday, so decided to go on to Hillston. You really know you are in the country when you come across signs saying 'please wait here if horses are on the bridge' - on the bridge over the Macquarie River at Wellington; also herds of cattle on the side of the road (the long paddock) and an enormous flock of sheep wandering up the centre of the road (all by themselves). Who said sheep are stupid? When we came close, they all went across to the same side of the road. In addition, the wildflowers (well, really weeds) along the side of the road were a picture.

Friday 7-10-05

And we are now in Hillston, population 1000. It is a really strange place. We went to the RSL for dinner and I thought we were in 'Deliverance'. Yet the place has terrific amenities - a big community hall Bribie would give its eye-teeth for; excellent playing grounds; a 25metre swimming pool and a really hot-shot library. (I was able to use the internet there.) There is also a large lake - which is empty, the management board can't afford to buy the water to fill it, yet it is right beside the Lachlan River which has plenty of water. Everything is open, but nothing is being used. A lot of money has been spent here (mainly federal grants), but I'd say the council doesn't have enough money for upkeep.

We are supposed to be going to Wakefield tomorrow, but it turns out to be an unmade road and we have had a bit of rain, so the folk here have said to ring the Watkins before we set off to make sure we can get through.

We had another go at Boules today - I'm getting a little bit better.

Saturday 8/10/05

We had the most frightful night last night Ė rain and wind that was almost gale force (in my opinion). So when we packed up this morning, the folk at the caravan park were doubtful that we would be able to get to Wakefield. However when we rang Monique she said they hadnít had much rain and the road turned out to be quite good (for an unmade road). However Wakefield is very primitive Ė and I canít stand mud, and its everywhere. We were definitely not cut out for outback farming life. Iím lucky as I will be teaching the kids, but I donít know how Barrie will go. Oh, well, only 7 weeks to go!

The kids seem fine, although I have already had a go-in with Michael, the 5 year old. But I think we have signed a truce. Monique and James are beaut. Iíve already looked at the workbooks they get and they seem to be easy to understand. Weíll see tomorrow. (I hate to think how much the setup must cost Distance Education, the children even get supplied with a digital camera each and a laptop Ė and it costs the parents nothing.)