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May 2011

Another Adventure

Yesterday the Craft & Potters Guild Gardening Club had organised a visit to the Longmore's place. I offered to take Sarah and Jean there because I wanted to catch up with Bruce and Sue who had built our shed and our wonderful back deck.

The trip to their place was quite a long way as they live in Gunamulda north of the Gulf Creek Road about 40 km (24 miles) from Barraba.

I was most impressed with their property because they had bought 875 hectares (2100 acres) of ironbark wooded bushland and turned it into a wonderful garden full of lawn, flowers, vegetables and fruit trees surrounded by the bush. They have built a wonderful house which is totally self sufficient because their water is all rain water in tanks and dams and their electricity is mostly solar supported by a diesel generator when necessary.

The other people who were there were also most impressed and the gardeners thought that Bruce and Sue were doing great stuff.

photo of the house photo of the front verandah

Posted: 29/5/11 10:29 AM

Another fascinating thing

I had picked up a copy of the Barraba RV Friendly Town flyer from the Visitor Info Centre and was horrified at the number of errors in it. The Flyer had both Tamworth Regional Council and Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia logos at the top. I looked at the fine print on the bottom of the flyer and noticed that the CMCA was asking for any corrections to be sent to them.

The RV Friendly Town ranking for a town is an agreement between the CMCA and the town council. The scheme was originally invented by a friend of mine in the CMCA and the object of the scheme was to get towns to agree to make RVers comfortable near the town for several days so that they would shop in the town to refill their pantry and fridge which generally can hold enough stuff for several days rather than move on to somewhere else to shop a few days later. The CMCA contribute to RV Friendly Towns by subsidising the installation of a dump point.

My assessment of the flyer was as follows.

Casual Parking (near retail centre)           Queen Street,
This should read (near CBD)  Alice Street east and west of Queen St
because Queen Street parking is usually full of cars and Alice St is signposted as parking for Caravans and Motorhomes and has plenty of space.

Short Term Parking  Apex Park (24hr), Fossickers Way, Manilla Side of Barraba
This should read Lions  Park  in the  Fossickers Way, 5 km south of the town centre and should say for a few days not (24hrs)

Long Term Parking  Split Rock Dam
This should read Glen Riddle Reserve 8 km east of Fossickers Way, turn off 9 km south of the town
because Split Rock Dam camp site is closer to Manilla than to Barraba.

Dump Point                 Council Works Depot, Cherry Street
This should read Outside Council Works Depot in Cherry Street east of Queen St
because it it in the street not in the Depot

Hospital              Community Health Clinic, Edward Street, Ph 02 6782 2500
This should read South side of Edward Street between Fitzroy St and Gotha St,  Ph 02 6782 2500
because the Community Health Clinic is a special department at the rear of the hospital and the emergency department is accessible from the front door in Edward St.

Doctors Surgery     Maude Street, Ph 02 6782 1621
This should read 8 Maude Street east of the Clock Tower,  Ph 02 6782 1621
to make it easy to find

Supermarket    34 Queen Street, Ph 02 6782 1199
This should read IGA, 134 Queen Street north of the Clock Tower,  Ph 02 6782 1199

I handed a copy of the flyer to the owner of the Supermarket because of the error in the address. He is the Secretary of the Barraba Chamber of Commerce and he sent a request for some corrections to the CMCA.
• Short Term Parking - Should be Lions Park not Apex park
• Long term Parking  - Should be Glen Riddle Reserve at northern end of Split Rock Dam - Turn left 10kms south of Barraba at Black Springs. 
• Supermarket should be 134 Queen St Barraba not
• 34 Queen St Barraba  

He got a reply from an old colleague of mine at the CMCA
Thanks for the corrections and we will amend the sheet accordingly. Is the turnoff to Split Rock Dam only 10ks south? I thought it was further than that. Ironically, I was in your store at Barraba last week. In fact I am a regular there these days as my partner lives up there and it will be where I retire to. GREAT town. I just love it. Cheers

I plan to suggest all my corrections to the Community Development Committee and have them sent to CMCA by a friend of mine who lives in Barraba and who is still a member of the CMCA. It was suggested that if I sent the corrections the CMCA would probably ignore them because I resigned from the Club because of the disagreements between the Club and my friend Ross Kassebaum and I who had produced a Self Containment Certification scheme for the CMCA which was very successful,which was highly regarded by the councils of many towns in Australia, and which was seen as a great contribution to the club. The board had demanded that we hand over the copyright to them and we agreed as long as they kept us as the technical controllers of the scheme. The club refused to allow us to maintain the scheme so we refused to hand over the copyright and we both resigned from club and established Eco Camping Australia to ensure that our good technical stuff which we devised for the CMCA would not be changed without adequate technical accuracy. The RV Friendly Town Flyer is proof that the CMCA does not have adequate technical skills.

Posted: 27/5/11 3:11 PM

More considerations about my volunteer jobs

In March I blogged about "my extended work requirements".

When I woke up early recently, I stayed in bed but started thinking about my volunteer commitments. Some of the jobs I have accepted are not providing the satisfaction which is the reward for a volunteer effort.

I have resigned from the Lions because my five other volunteer jobs in Barraba consume so much time and effort that I am unable to offer my time and effort to the Lions. I am unhappy with the Lions because I don't think they run the meetings properly, there is usually no discussion among members about any proposal, there is usually no mover, seconder, or vote to establish any resolution. This means that all the decisions are really made by the executive or they rely on single suggestions from members at meetings. I also suffer from a lack of thanks for and appreciation of any of my efforts and I am unhappy because my mentor, Ken Hiscock, also doesn't get thanked for his wonderful efforts. When I congratulate him at any meeting, no-one joins in. Today I talked to my other mentor, Ron Hiscock, who is a wonderful guy who has done great things and still does them. He understood my unhappiness because he had exactly the same view before he resigned even though he had been a member for over thirty years.

The Barraba River Landcare group has failed. We had three attempts at Annual General Meetings last year but there was no quorum at any of them so the organisation has effectively dissipated. I don't believe that I can do anything to overcome this so I will probably resign from this too.

The CSIRO Energymark group that I volunteered to convene in Barraba is about meetings of ten people to discuss the scientific information that the CSIRO have developed about climate change and energy usage. The CSIRO also require the group to communicate their opinions about the information back to them so that they can assess the public response to their efforts. I have only had three offers of membership from the eighteen people I invited to join. I will have to work hard at trying to recruit seven more people but if I cannot achieve this I will have to close the group down.

Towards Transition Barraba is not progressing as is needed and I will have to do more recruiting but I may not be able to get the necessary recruits so this might be closed down too.

I am studying the advice of a volunteer expert , Dr Judy Esmond from Western Australia, about recruitment and volunteer management so that I might be able to succeed in my recruitment efforts.

Posted: 24/5/11 5:17 PM

Another Adventure

This afternoon we found ourselves on the Trevalyn Road heading west so I decided to visit the Manilla River Where it crosses this road heading south to its head waters.

It was only 20 Km out of town but we passed some properties that we had heard of on the way.

We looked at the Manilla River and saw very little water but many, many cattle in and by the water.

We turned back towards Barraba at the Y junction where the road divides into two roads one into the Horton Valley and the other into the Mount Kaputar National Park.

On the way back we passed the property of a friend of Jean and Sarah at the Clay Pan. We saw the ladies surname "Stewart" on the letter box and saw the name of the property "Tarawa" on a roadside sign.

We got back to Barraba quite quickly and had enjoyed the view of this part of the Barraba area. I checked my maps when we got back home and I found several properties owned by friends. I also discovered the route of the Manilla River from its head waters to the town.

Posted: 20/5/11 6:05 PM

Back to work

I bought a new heated towel rail in Tamworth early this week to replace the one which has failed. I have been pretty unenthusiastic to do repair work over the last couple of months because I have been suffering from a common cold.

Today I found the ability to do some work and installed the new heated towel rail. It is working well so we will be better served by warm towels to shower during the winter.

Posted: 19/5/11 5:46 PM

An Important Red Cross Meeting

Today our Red Cross Branch hosted a Red Cross Zone meeting at the Barraba Bowling Club.

Our Zone Rep is a lady from Tamworth. She was accompanied by the Mid Western Region Manager.

Because I am such a recent member and Secretary of the Barraba Branch I don't know much about the Red Cross organisation. After the meeting closed, I talked to the Region Manager and learned that the Mid Western Region is one of a handful of regions in NSW. It is extraordinarily large area stretching from Lithgow almost due west of Sydney to the Queensland border and from Broken Hill near the South Australian border to the Great Dividing range, and area which is about 890 km from south to north and about 5i0 km from west to east. The region is divided into about seven Zones, our Zone has 18 branches and stretches from Wallabadah just south of Tamworth to Coolatai north of Inverell and from Boggabri to Inverell an area about 260 km from south to north and about 130 km from west to east which is not a huge as the Region but is still a very large area for a Zone Rep to have to cover.

The meeting was intended to inform the people from our branch and from the visitors from other branches in our Zone of the current Red Cross activities dealing with the recent weather disasters across Australia and to express thanks from our Patron, Quentin Bryce, the Governor General of Australia, and from the executive of the Australian Red Cross for our volunteer efforts.

Our Branch had provided morning tea with lots of goodies including some pikelets that I had cooked and which people said they enjoyed and a wonderful lunch which impressed all the members and all the visitors.

Posted: 17/5/11 8:39 PM

Another trip to Tamworth

Today we had to go to Tamworth to pick up Jean's new spectacles. We had a great morning doing shopping for things we can't buy in Barraba. I had to but a new wireless mouse because my original one failed to work this morning. We also bought a new heated towel rail to replace the one which has failed in the bathroom so that we won't have cold towels in the winter.

We went to a new coffee shop in Tamworth for our morning coffee. It is a Segafredo place which attracted me and the sign says Segafredo Zanetti so I told the lady that we were fans of Segafredo and used to go to Cafe Zanetti in Mitchelton in Brisbane where we got wonderful coffee. I said that the coffee here at Nouvelle Cafe was pretty good and she was pleased.

I am doing this update in the car in the car park outside Spotlight in Tamworth to test the new mouse which is pretty amazing.

Posted: 16/5/11 12:33 PM
Revised: 16/5/11 9:02 PM

Barraba Community Incorporated first meeting.

Yesterday morning, despite some really cold wind in sunny Barraba we had a very successful Artisans' & Farmers' Market. I greeted and talked about the fine features of Barraba to fourteen visitors to our town. All the people who visited the market including the locals had a good time. The vendors were all pretty happy even though the weather had reduced the number of customers compared with our earlier and warmer markets.

After the market we had the first general meeting of the Barraba Community Incorporated which runs the market. All the members were pretty happy with the business at the meeting.

Because it was the first meeting the committee was elected. The founder of the Market, Dave Drummond was elected President and CEO of the Barraba Artisans' & Farmers' Market. Sarah was elected Secretary and I was elected to the committee .

We also discussed the job I had invented for the market, Meet and Greet visitors to the town at the market and promote the fine features of Barraba. One of our members reported a comment made at an Armidale Market meeting which really thought our Meet & Greet was a fine thing about which they were very impressed. I was finally elected to the formal position of Info Meet and Greet Officer of the market which confirmed my eighth volunteer job in Barraba.

I am very keen to contribute to the Barraba Community Incorporated which is about promoting Barraba as a fine place and I hope our efforts will be really successful.

Posted: 15/5/11 3:40 PM

The Sheep are back

Yesterday, Mark brought his five sheep back to our back paddock.

I had mended the fence where Rambo had escaped into our next door neighbour's yard and cleaned up the water trough. I had also removed all the Sticky Beak weeds so that they would not stick their seeds (called sticky beaks because they have hooks which attach them to all sorts of cloth and presumable sheep's wool) to the sheep.

Today I discovered that the water trough had a leak which almost emptied it overnight. I found that the leak was probably the old plug so I bought a new one and am hoping that the leak will not be there now.

The sheep seem happy to be back because there is lots to eat. They have been sustained by Mark at his place (where the grass is almost all gone) by feeding them hay once a day so they were a bit hungry.

They do call for "ewe and lamb pellets" when I am out in the back garden so I do give them some.

Posted: 11/5/11 5:51 PM

An Extraordinary Experience

I was working over the garden bed outside the living room windows recently and came away with a big cobweb on my head. I wasn't happy but I did clean it off.

Yesterday Jean spotted a big spider above that garden bed through one of the windows. I went outside to check it out and found a great big orb spider web handing down from the awning over the windows.

Today Jean picked up the roll of advertising matter from the lawn and was horrified to see the spider on the roll. She shook it off and it ran away and hid. I checked the web and found that it had disappeared so it seems that the spider had suffered from something, maybe a bird.

I will keep my eye out to check if it returns to its original place. You probably realise that I mostly don't kill spiders because I think of them as our friends who get rid on lots of insects. I do get irritated with them when I get caught in their web.

Posted: 10/5/11 12:12 PM

Another Good Day

Jean arrived back from Sydney before six o'clock yesterday.

She had had a very good visit to Sydney because many of her family and some of her friends were at the funeral of Jeremy's Dad and at the wake afterwards.

We were entertained to dinner at Sarah and Ian's place last night and we really enjoyed the food and the company.

Even though Barraba is suffering from icy winter temperatures overnight and cool temperatures during the day, our house is quite warm because our gas fire is working well and we had the ceiling insulated by the government scheme which has been criticised by the awful parliamentary opposition party but which did provide lots of energy savings and which had only a few problems with the installation crews due, I believe, to the failure of the contractors to do proper occupational health and safety procedures. This is, of course, is an example of the failure of some politicians to concern themselves with the truth.

Posted: 8/5/11 7:54 AM

Another unusual day

Today I had to assist Jean to get ready to go to Sydney by Country Link and then take her to the bus stop after breakfast to catch the bus to Tamworth where she would catch the train to Sydney.

I had booked the car in to Barraba Motors just near the bus stop for its six month service and for its roadworthiness test. I walked home and settled in to the living room with the gas fire on to overcome the very low temperature.

I did my usual crossword puzzles and then set about writing the minutes of last Monday's CDC meeting. That task took me many hours until well after lunch and then I had to go and pick up the car.

When I got back I did a bit of Sudoku puzzle solving on the Macbook, the I got back to the usual kind of day by watching The Journal, The News Hour, Global Village and Letters and Numbers on SBS TV.

Then I cooked my dinner and watched some more TV before going to bed early so that I could get up early tomorrow and go to work in the Breakfast Club in the school at 7 o'clock.

Posted: 5/5/11 5:45 PM

Another trip to Tamworth

Jean had an appointment at the optometrist to get her spectacle scrip checked so we had to leave Barraba at 9 o'clock to drive to Tamworth.

The weather was quite sad, we only drove through one small sunshine patch. The temperature was not very cold so we are pretty comfortable. We will have to do some shopping before we drive back to Barraba.

I have a CDC meeting tonight at which I am the minute taker and I have some preparation to do before the meeting so we need to get back home early in the afternoon..

Posted: 2/5/11 10:35 AM
Revised: 3/5/11 5:31 PM


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