Gra Nomad Wanderings

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


So, what's happening in August?
  • # Had a beaut family time in Hunter Valley in early Aug
  • # I've been seeng a chiropractor (for my back), Andrea, see photo below
  • # I'm back cycling and Fay and I rode 20 km Wednesday on the tandem bike after a long lay-off
  • # Dave & Irene Reid are on their way to Canada (next photo)
  • # I've just taken on the role of chair of the Pumula Lodge Hostel sub committee and we'll have our first meeting (with me as chair) next Monday
  • # brother Bill was named SUPER SENIOR at his golf club in Nanaimo, British Columbia! Unreal! Good onya Bill.
  • # MAGPIES ARE ATTACKING CYCLISTS HERE IN DUBBO at a great rate... (see general article below)
Magpie attacks
For most of the year magpies are not aggressive, but for four to six weeks during nesting they will often defend their territory vigorously. People walking past may be seen as 'invaders' of the territory, prompting the magpies to fly low and fast over the person clacking their bills as they pass overhead.

The experience of a magpie attack can be quite alarming, but it is usually only a warning. Only occasionally will a bird actually strike the intruder on the head with its beak or claws. If this unusual behaviour persists, there are ways of reducing the risk of physical injury to humans.
If a magpie swoops at you:
Walk quickly and carefully away from the area, and avoid walking there when magpies are swooping.
Make a temporary sign to warn other people.
Magpies are less likely to swoop if you look at them. Try to keep an eye on the magpie, at the same time walking carefully away. [Tricky when you're cycling!] Alternatively, you can draw or sew a pair of eyes onto the back of a hat, and wear it when walking through the area. You can also try wearing your sunglasses on the back of your head. [Yeah, tried that!]
Wear a bicycle or skateboard helmet. Any sort of hat, even a hat made from an ice cream container or cardboard box, will help protect you.
Carry an open umbrella, [on a bike??]or a stick or small branch, above your head but do not swing it at the magpie, as this will only provoke it to attack.
If you are riding a bicycle when the magpie swoops, get off the bicycle and wheel it quickly through the area. Your bicycle helmet will protect your head, and you can attach a tall red safety flag to your bicycle or hold a stick or branch as a deterrent. [Like Evan Elliott does].
Magpies and the law
Magpies are protected throughout NSW, and it is against the law to kill the birds, collect their eggs, or harm their young. If you feel a magpie is a serious menace, it should be reported to the police or the nearest office of the NPWS. PS FAY HATES MAGPIES WHEN SHE'S CYCLING!!!!
Have you got any advice for Fay????

Monday, August 13, 2007



From Sunday Telegraph 5 August 2007

Can’t meet a man? Bid for one!
Kathy Buchanan laughed her way through a real live man auction.

When an email arrived advertising a man auction at Sydney’s Art House Hotel, I knew I had to go. I’m not exactly cashed up at the moment, but I figured if I couldn’t afford Mr Right then maybe I could put Mr Right Now on lay-by.
So, one Saturday afternoon a cute guy escorts me into the auction where I am given a pink carnation and a quick lesson on bidding etiquette by entrepreneur Monica Eonazzolo, the creator of Buy a Date Auctions. She warns me, “Don’t wave the flower unless you’re a serious bidder.”
There are about 30 or so men and women aged from their early twenties to late forties in the top-floor bar. Smartly dressed in heels and make-up, they are huddled in expectant groups of two or three.
Today there are six gorgeous eligible single guys aged from 25 to 47 being auctioned off.
So far no-one is looking interesting enough for me to put off buying those cushions I’ve had my eyes on. That is until Jeremy Keast, 28, appears. He works in a bar, but is a PE teacher who wants to become a comedian.
Kylie and I corner him on an auction break to discover more. He’s 190 cm tall, dark and handsome, and a self-confessed former heartbreaker.
After some deliberation, I raise my pink carnation, kicking off the bid for Jeremy with a proud “$12”.
I nervously try to ward off the competition with an evil eye. A young blonde sings out “$13”. I immediately offer “$14…$15,” outbidding myself.
Jeremy’s clearly the hot property eye candy here today so soon there are five of us in a bidding war. I stay in the game to $52.50. When the auctioneer asks, “Can I hear $60?” I yell out, “Do a cartwheel!” If I’m shelling out I want my money’s worth.
Jeremy obliges with a dodgy half-cartwheel. A brunette in black stiletto boots blows me out of the water with a $70 bid.
Kylie holds my bidding arm back and says sternly, “Kath, I know you want him but do you need him?” I slump my shoulders. She’s right. That’s way past my monthly budget for paying men to date me.
Finally I hear, “Sold to the lady in the black dress and boots.” But I’m a good sport, so when Bootsie wins her man for $80, I give her a congratulatory smile and look on jealously while Jeremy kisses her on the cheek and gallantly buys her a drink.
I figure it probably wouldn’t have worked out with him anyway. At least this way I’ve had a very funny afternoon out. And I’ll always have my new Freedom pillows to snuggle up to late at night…

I wonder how much the drummer above would have brought? Maybe not too many ladies (other than Dot, Dianne, Fay) who'd like to take him to dinner!!!

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007


Photos: Jeremy and I, Jon and Peta, Peta and then Deb enjoying chocolate, Deb/Bren/Logan and Fay and I.
Wine, cheese and beer tasting; that was the order of the day. In fact that was the order of the days!
’Twas great to have Peta, Jon, Jeremy, Deb, Brendan and Logan come and enjoy some family time together in the beautiful Hunter Valley over the weekend. The Hunter Valley Gardens are quite incredible. The wineries (and the brewery) we visited were quite lavish setups. We were quite happy with the Pokolbin Hill Chateau Resort, although we thought they might have been able to slip us some extra tea bags, soap and toilet paper after a few days. We had also expected we’d have internet facilities as promised. One wet day and a couple of cool days amongst a week is not too bad.
Visited the following wineries and other memorable establishments:
* Ken Duncan Gallery
* Hunter Valley Chocolate Company (yummy!!!)
* Hunter Valley Gardens
* Roche Wines
* Oakvale Winery
* Peterson House (for champagne) – go the Pink Blush!
* Hunter Valley Smelly Cheese Shop
* Brokenwood (Cricket Pitch wines)
* McGuigan Cellars
* Small Winemakers’ Centre
* Australian Regional Foodstore and Café

We simply had the best meat pies at the Blue Tongue Brewery on the Sunday. Peta voted them absolute tops and nobody disagreed. Jeremy led the beer tasting admirably. Bill would have been proud but envious.
Quite a few roos here and there. The dams were full but we learned that that had only happened thanks to recent rains.
Deb/Bren saw Harry Potter at the local movies while the grandparents watched the kid. We also had a family champagne drink on Saturday night to celebrate recent family milestones (there have been a few…. keep watching this spot, or inquire separately.)
Late news: Had a beaut time over near Singleton, visiting ex WWTC friends Graeme & SuzieO'B. All went well except for two things:
  1. hit a roo on the way back to the resort - fortunately no damage to solid Pajero (yes, I was driving... but I missed the second one!)
  2. found out on our return to the resort at 6 pm that in actual fact we were supposed to check out that morning! So, they bundled up all our gear (while we were away) and put us into a different pad for last night! Thanks Rick and the team. Sorry about that.

  3. now back at Dubbo...finally. Congratulations to Pokolbin Hill Chateau Resort for giving us a beaut family holiday.

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