Sightseeing – expected and unexpected

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Yesterday, Tim, Jenny B and I did some more sightseeing, despite the weather still being miserable, wet, and very foggy.  First, we went to Guyra and visited Black Sheep Wool  ‘n’ Wares which passes as my “local” yarn shop since it opened last year and  the Armidale wool shop closed in late 2003.  Jenny B bought a pattern, and I ordered some slubby “purple mist” hand dyed wool that I liked the look of, but not the colours they presently had in stock.  Then we drove back to Armidale and visited the New England Regional Art Museum, for a good look around and some lovely lunch.  We did a little shopping and took a scenic drive around parts of Armidale as the sun finally showed itself, ending at the University of New England, with the intention of having afternoon tea at Booloominbah.   Unfortunately, I’d forgotten the place closes at 2.30pm.  So Jenny B and I posed for photos (left) instead.

Tim and Jenny B left this morning for a winery in Pokolbin, and late in the morning I went into town to pick up a newspaper and my mail.  The Jenny Jeep wasn’t sounding particularly happy when I started it, and I wasn’t surprised.  Since I returned home after Christmas the car has only been doing short journeys around town, and with Tim and Jenny B here, I’d shifted it between my carport, a neighbour’s carport and visitor parking a few times, but no further.  I had intended to drive to Tamworth last week, but due to my head cold I had to defer those plans until next week, once the Country Music Festival ends.  I decided I’d better go for a drive after collecting the mail, to charge up the battery.

I got to town all right, but the Jenny Jeep did not wish to go anywhere at all after that.  All I got was clicking noises when I tried to start the car.  I called NRMA road service, and spent some time attempting to communicate my location to the young man in the call centre.  We had already established what “suburb” I was in (so I thought) but he seemed to have a lot of trouble with the street name, even after I spelt it for him, eventually asking “could I perhaps be in Old Toongabbie?” (which is a suburb of Sydney).   No.  Armidale, Northern Tablelands of NSW, postcode 2350, opposite the Post Office!  Geez.  Then he wanted to know the street number.  I told him I was in front of Westpac, and I’m sure the road service guy would know where that was.

After a 20 minute wait, road service arrived and I explained I probably had a flat battery (after all, the battery dates from August 1998 – that’s three calls to the RACV in one day I’m not likely to forget).  I told him about the call centre and their difficulty with my location and he said all he needed was “outside Westpac” – he knew exactly where I was, but the best he’d had was when the call centre told him that a woman was broken down at McDonalds, but was refusing to tell them which McDonalds – he’d had to explain that there is only one!  He jump started the car and checked the battery – it was running on four cells instead of six.  Perhaps not fully dead yet, but it owes me nothing after more than six years.  I have been expecting it to die both Winters since I moved here, so I’ll probably replace it this weekend while my parents are here and my Father can help.

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So I went for a drive.  I decided to do a loop from Armidale to Uralla, and back via Gostwyk and Dangarsleigh (about 85 km).  I’ve been to Gostwyck before, so I knew it was a pretty drive.  The main (only?) attraction there is the Chapel.  Unfortunately, I don’t know when it was built, but the sign gives a little bit of history – it was dedicated in memory of Major Clive Collingwood Dangar, who died in WWI and was grandson of one of the Dangar brothers who purchased Gostwyck in 1834.  The chapel is covered by a deciduous climber, that I think is probably Boston Ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata from the grape family, Vitaceae) or something similar (I didn’t actually go and examine it closely).  It apparently looks quite spectacular in Autumn.  I also passed a horse riding place I hadn’t known about, a couple of farmstay/bed & breakfast places and Peterson’s Winery on the circuit.  Nice.

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