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The TV here was typical of what accommodation now uses, but since none of the places we stayed at offered subscription TV they mustn't get used much. This one in particular would have been hardly used since the aerial socket was so loose that it would fall out if you did as much as whisper. I fixed that in a few seconds with a slight squeeze of pliers on the socket, but all TVs we used had to either be retuned totally or change the settings back to standard from the freakish things that people do trying in vain to get a picture, one of them even had a set top box set to NTSC, which results in a coarse B&W picture, only the under 40s would be impressed by B&W these days, having suffered through it in my youth it's not something I wish to revisit.
The concept of offering an internet connection in Aussie accommodation is still almost unknown and we didn't find any on our trip except for punitive charges like $10 a minute, this is a thing that makes us look bad on the world stage, even Philippines in the lowest price hotels offer free internet.
Our comfy bed for the night, we had a period of near panic in the morning when Jimmy couldn't find his wallet, eventually Olivia found it under the bed, where we believe it had fallen when she had done the tidy thing of hanging up Jimmy's pants.

The end of a short day's travel.

Checking on-line hinted the High Country Motel in Cooma may be right for us, it actually was the best place we stopped at all trip, here I enjoy a good beer and view from our room.
 To help the magic we'd found an Aldi on the edge of town, visible here from our unit, they even sold good beer at a cheap (for us) price. Olivia loved Aldi and we both wish we had one here, but QLD would have to change their protective liquor laws for us to be able to avoid being stung whenever we buy beer.

Two views.

Here's Jimmy doing what he enjoys.
What Jimmy did.

Our Capital.

The Yanks would call the thing under that flagpole the Capitol, the weakness of that system is that many of them don't realise that capital is still a valid word for them to use.
Canberra is a good looking place even through a windscreen.

Poking an ear.

Giving Simpson's donkey a tickle. I haven't rated Simpson very highly in the past but since his myth has been exposed I rate him a bit higher. He had enough sense to only help the lightly wounded, back then any wound had a good chance of causing death so saving the fairly fit makes sense, they may recover and get put back into the front to be killed. Leave the hard work of carrying the badly wounded for others.

Another fail.

I wish I was facing the lion, it would have made this photo usable despite not being sharp.

More from Badcoe rest area.

This was to be our best day of the trip, we didn't travel very far and the weather gods were very kind to us.
Sometimes fun ideas just become fails, here I try to frame myself for Olive's photo.

Eyesore over Lake George.

Since I took this I've found I'm not the only one who regrets the plague of windmills.
A magnificent waste of money, right up there with the pink batt rollout, school halls, and the NBN, even the millions of birds killed would be happy to see them gone, the small amount of power they bring isn't worth the angst, nuclear power would make far more sense.
The NBN has only been a colossal white elephant because of the wasteful way it has been done, it's actually something that's a great idea, but the conservatives are quite right, lets build it to the node first and then move on from there later.

Another day from our southern trip.

First of May and a pre-dawn start from the Ibis hotel at Campbell town meant a very short drive to Appin to seek Michael (O')Rourke's grave. It was still dark and I used the feeble torch I had to try and read the headstones, I had all but given up hope here as I'd gotten to the end of the oldest row of graves but his and his wife Jane's grave is in the background at the centre of this shot.
This is the grave on the left but looking at my photo I've noticed Catherine O'Rourke's grave on the right of the photo, she must be related but I don't have knowledge at this point.


Very suspect smoking area.

It seems our council has decided to mark two areas of the TYTO precinct as designated smoking areas, currently they're only marked by butt bins and knowledge is restricted to word of mouth but to me there's something very suspect about the very convenient positions for smokers but very inconvenient for those who don't wish to partake nor to the children who visit and have to pass by the fumes to access popular parts. In this photo the steps to the viewing tower are seen to the right of the butt bin.
From a different angle, the butt bin is on the middle post. Quite a nice spot for the legions of smokers pouring out of the cafe.
A deliberately overexposed shot of the other smoking area, it's in the area to the right with the butt bin in the left of picture. This is the main entry to the precinct and if used people must negotiate their way past smokers to enter, the library is the building in view.
 Rule 8 is pretty straightforward, officially without a signed designated area (of which there aren't any) smoking isn't allowed yet my nose says differently. My problem is since the council controls the precinct and sets the rules I'll be wasting my time mentioning it to them, especially as my observations are there can't be more than a small handful of non-smokers employed by council.
On a plus side smokers do a fantastic job of keeping our economy afloat, the taxes are very punitive and help to keep them in a poverty cycle that means them delaying retirement in order to keep their needed cash flow, for many of them of course death will arrive before that happy day, so they do a good job of subsidising me, just a pity that there's a sphere of bad air about them.

These wipers are great.

I was waffling about wipers in a prior post, these are the ones that arrived after I really wanted them, pity as they're fantastic, they silently sweep the rain away.
I noted Repco listed similar in a recent catalogue as premium wipers, I didn't know that as I ordered them because they were fairly cheap from good old
What is unknown is how long they will perform but so far excellent.



Blue sky now and our stop for the day, there's a bit to like here but I still felt depressing vibes, I'm glad I don't live here.
Our stop for the night, it was priced reasonably and though small was quite OK. Anything extra you want will cost money but I'm fine with that, better than paying for something you don't use or need. The main downer for me was a fog of smoke from resident drug addicts getting their nicotine fix outside every time I had to go to the car, I think we were the only non-smokers there.

Nearing Sydney.

Here I've braved getting out of the left lane in order to pass some trucks. Olivia was struck by the work that had gone into building this road. Sydney is surrounded by very rugged country, if they'd known what Australia looked like before beginning the colony at Sydney then it would never have been chosen, a place like Melbourne would be far more suited.
Soon after this shot Olivia managed to finger her lens in a way that would make an old time petroleum jelly soft focus portrait photographer proud, sadly it also meant a heap of useless shots for us until I spied the problem.


We needed to buy some warm gear so it was shopping centre time. Usually I never park near an entry but the place was crowded and I saw this spot right next to the door.
When we left I was reminded why I don't park in spots like this as we had to shut the door and get out of the way for a young single lass who needed to park in the parents with pram spot beside us. Somehow it didn't surprise me she was also a smoker.

Why a GPS is handy in a camera.

Thanks to Olivia's camera having GPS I was able to nut out that I was driving down the Liverpool range near Murrundi here, thankfully Irfanview doesn't by default strip out the EXIF, unlike some high priced photo software. The weather was lousy for photos but quite OK for driving. The road is vastly upgraded from the windy old track up the range that I used years ago.
I ordered new windscreen wipers in from China well before the trip, naturally they didn't arrive until just after leaving.

Another day of our trip.

Some rain on this leg, here we stopped just outside Quirindi for a comfort break. The massive police station they built at Carinda where my parents and a handful of other people live was meant for here I believe, though no government would ever admit to wasting taxpayer money on a simple error of a similar sounding town. Hmm reminds me of Maryborough in QLD, which was supposed to get a much upgraded airport to help the Yanks help us in WW2, Maryborough in Victoria scored well out of that.


Brother Mick, gone 30 years today.

Here he blows out candles on his 20th birthday, he'd only get two more before his candle was blown out.
Good photos were the preserve of the rich back in those days, mere jobbers settled for blur. I'm glad film has almost disappeared.



We coughed up $66 to stay in this cabin at the Highway Tourist Park, it was pretty comfortable but the lack of a lavatory was a slight drawback and we didn't fancy paying an extra $20+ for that luxury.
It did have the fanciest locks known to mankind protecting their use from intruders using the impressive (but wasted on me) facilities, but to make life a bit easier most users operate the doors in a fashion that prevents their self-closing.
Dinner for that night, I was (un)lucky enough to shop at Woolies during a power blackout, result was a healthy discount.
Narrabri was a most attractive town and appears to have a healthy future. We had planned to stop at Moree but the park with the bore baths was full except for a unit that was beyond our meagre budget.


The pub is about the only sign of life left in this town. Sadly what I noticed on this trip was the death of small towns in Australia, it seems that below a certain threshold say pop. 400 towns are fairly universally in terminal decline, meanwhile the people packed into our state capitals moan about overcrowding. A pity is there's no easy answers.


A pleasant park in a nice little town but we knew we were south a fair bit by now as the flies were becoming a nuisance.

St George.

A very nicely painted lavatory at St George.
And Olivia posing with the Balonne river behind her, it's part of the longest river system in Australia.
I had to fiddle with this piccie a bit to adjust Olivia out of darkness.


Another day from our road trip.
Here's Olivia doing her Beatles Help album semaphore imitation.
A much plainer view of the shire hall, for those who travel the road a bit the lavatories are at the rear of the hall and have showers that even have hot water.

Boys own adventure stuff.

I spotted this 100 metres up the road from us the other day, the poor chap must have pulled off the road and didn't have a 4WD that was hardcore enough to drive out of the ditch. As an aside the MAMS bins in the background being off Fairford road are serviced by the noisiest truck in MAMS' fleet but since Ingham appears to have an exemption to any noise rules we may have to wait years yet before we get a few months peace from a replacement truck that may have a silencer fitted, until its first service deems it unnecessary.
Plenty of 4WDs lurk around Australia looking for a chance to impress.
So viola it was soon freed from the muck.


This memorial to Billy Sing has to be one of the best.

Careful Olivia.

Shooting ducks at Clermont.

I'm way too soft now to bother shooting anything but with a camera.
These be the ducks, well birds at least.
Olivia having fun too.

The two of us at Cooma.

From our recent trip, with the wonderful view from the window of the High Country Motel in the background.


Jack Brabham, another legend lost.

So why am I posting a photo of Jim Clark? Well as a young lad of nearly 10 y/o my Dad took my brother and I along to Pukekohe in NZ to see the NZGP, part of the then Tasman series. Brabham was a true legend for my Dad but I have to confess I was enraptured by Jim Clark's great drive for 2nd place behind yet another great in Jackie Stewart in this damaged car, something that has ingrained a life long admiration for him.
Brabham did only last 5 laps before a mishap so maybe I can be excused for cheering Jim Clark instead of him, but at least I can boast of having seen him race.

I wonder if Jack Brabham was related to his namesake the Cricket great Don Bradman? their names are alike enough for me.


Meanwhile the life struggle at home continues.

The mower deck has been juddering of late and needing a higher setting, so upon lifting it up so I can inspect I notice a good dose of impacted crud.
Solution was to unbolt the bent plate, clean out crud, bolt back and hammer plate back to a fairly flush fit. With luck it should be OK for a while.

Quoits at Wulgulmerang.

This stack of tractor tyres had me baffled for a while until it was explained the locals use them to play quoits using that post. They must breed them tough there, luckily for me my arms don't work well enough any more to bother trying.

Parkes, the dish.

Since we were passing by I decided to take a detour and check it out.
An usual globe with Parkes right on top was in the lovely garden area in front of the centre, here Olivia has her thumb right near what is supposed to be her native Philippines.
One of the workers kindly offered to take a snap of us while we were outside.
What a lovely sign, actually inviting us to take photos, quite a change.
I think this console was shown in the film "The Dish"
The lunar lander on the right was the old LNB that was upgraded some time back, but not before they did the moon landing stuff.
Olivia loves a selfie, she even caught Jimmy in this one.
This teddy bear is a traveller. The teacher taking its picture must have a happy class somewhere.