11 – 20 April

Tuesday 11th

Willandra National Park.

Peaceful morning in and around camp, before popping over to meet Ian & wife Margaret, to plan arvo drive. They are staying in one of the little cottages, up near the main homestead. What an amazing place this was in it’s day. – And still is: Fabulous and Huge area,  reverted to Nature ; the old buildings and Homestead  restored. The  condition of the homestead was so bad it had been condemned, prior to fixing. It’s wonderful. And to see the grasslands, understorey and nature recovering, since stock was removed from much of the area. They still have some cattle.

In the arvo, drove around the reserve, up to Halls Lake,- as in Ben Hall! Saw Emus, Roos, water birds. Had a small bogging incident, which we luckily got out of, with a very dirty car! The mud is Unbelievable, and even tho it rained a week ago, still boggy in parts, Very glad to be doing the drive with 3 of us in Ians’ car, in case we needed to push.

Another peaceful night in camp: Campfire, stars, dog, girl, reading, pondering.

Pretty simple really. Amazing I don’t get lonely. Perhaps that is a good aspect of a busy mind. Fortunately too, I have been able to get phone reception, and internet at Camp Site!

Thankyou 3 G Telstra, and the wonders of modern technology: solar panels, batterys, computer, etc!!

Wednesday 12th

Up early to prepare for an Art Day. Margaret arrived at 9, Suzy, Jo & Tash at 10. Spent much of the day drawing, working in gouche & pastel. Cups of tea, lunch, etc.

By 4 pm we headed over to the Homestead, as Suzy had some cleaning to do there.

We all gave a hand, and had a look around. It’s open to the public, but unfortunately guests can no longer stay there.

At 5 the girls headed off,

And suddenly things did seem very quiet. Dinner, campfire, bed.

Thursday 13th

Lovely walk in the morning, before packing up to head back in to Hillston!

Had organised Vet appt, as I’m suspicious that Indigo may be pregnant! Need to wait a few weeks to be sure. Caught up with Jo & Tash.

Parked my Van back at the Orange Orchard, Camping in the Shed! Had a few beers with Mark, Helmut and Carl.

Friday 14th

Hillston

Spent morning around at Jos, Tash, & Suzy. : washing, etc, And prepare for races.

Bit of a gathering at Helmut & Lisas, across the road from Mark – Orchard.

Sat 15th

Headed out to visit Dot Costello at Warrindary, with Jo & Tash.

Elegant and fascinating: 87 years of  age! Spent th morning having a lovely chat, and a look around the old farm. Very beautiful, especially along the River.

Back to town, for the Races. Big day in Hillston, lots of hats and glam. Unfortunately  cancelled after 4 races, as the track wasn’t holding up after the rain. Most people stayed on, with alternatives: Rolling Car tyres on track: 100 m, Kids running races etc. A fine day was had by all.

Also met Col, Marks mate. Funny, classic, crusty old bloke.

Home to my little camper van, in the shed!

Sunday 16th

Prepare for trip with Tash- Jo’s daughter, 12 y/old, very sweet. Unpack car, and Repack! Lots of oranges, pumpkins, etc.

Set off 4 pm, arriving Lake Cargellico about 6. Caught up with Melanie at the Royal Mail Hotel. Had Roast dinner at the Bowling Club; and stayed in an on -site cabin at the Caravan Park. Great fun having Tash along, singing Abba songs in the car, watching for wildlife and birds, great mates with Indigo.

Mon 17th

Lake Cargellico- revisit

Caught up with Lola, Greg & co. on the street near the Bakery. Dropped in some fruit, etc to their place, and headed for the Ural Range. Whilst doing our climb up one of the rocky little Peaks, Tash’s camera fell out of her bag, and everything went a little ‘pear-shaped’: Wild goats appeared, Indigo bolted, I followed her, tripped on a rock. Eventually her rope got caught on a log, brought her back to Tash, and climbed back down.!

Initially the plan was to return to Condoblin to climb a couple of hills I missed, but instead drove on to Mount Hope, and then return to Hillston.

Tues 18th

Hot and  muggy day. Spent with Jo and Tash, Attempting to get on top of PHOTOS!!

Went out to visit Mick Brettschneider at his place: Fina Lea – ‘finally, got a place on the River.’ Maps, Stories, etc. Mick has lived here all his life, and is keen to help find Exact Mitchell Camp sites – one may be on his land, or next door.

Wednesday 19th

8:30 Jo’s house, then up to High School to do talk for Tashs class. It went really well. Hopefully they will get involved next year on 175 year Expedition.

More photo sorting, and visiting. Cooked delicious dinner for Chrissy Chivers at her house. Always good to catch up with her!

Thurs 20th

Headed out of town with Jo, in search of the lost camera. Retraced our steps up peak, and amazingly enough -found it! Pretty happy about that.

Back to Hillston., via Lake Cargelligo. Fruit and Pumpkins for Lola, Aunty Merle and Monica.

Popped in to Red Dust and Paddy Melons Gallery. What a great group. The girls (all 60 +) were there for Sewing Day.

And then expedition with Mick, up Mt Bootheragadra. Arrived just as sun set. Spectacular views in all directions. Decided to return for Campout the following night.

Delicious picnic dinner, prepared on the back of Micks ute!