Monthly Archives: June 2014

New challenges

A lot has happened in the last few years. Bromptons, retirement, the Tardis & now Lawn Bowling. Lots of other things too but the last year of bowling has been a rather surprising activity.

My only practical experience had been a workplace Christmas function many years ago, when a large group hit the greens for a “barefoot bowls” session. That had been fun but the post-retirement intrigue of seeing bowlers at my local club lead to inquiring about “proper coaching”. Some weeks of coaching & I was joining up as a registered bowler; all very whirlwind I suppose but it’s been an ongoing learning experience.

The early surprise was the workout on leg muscles that I’d forgotten about. Once I started playing social games I realised it wasn’t just a walk in the park: more like a 4 hour walk, with bending & stretching & regular weight-lifting of 1.5kg lawn bowls. This physical involvement has an accompanying mental effort as well, with continuing concentration on the bowling action, the game aspects & changing conditions throughout the time. In addition, I’ve gained an appreciation of the social structures of the game (team selections & socialising, play etiquette & player support) & how the game is an ideal exercise for the “senior body”, as well as participants of all ages (& gender). All very surprising & unexpected?

I suppose I was expecting a challenge when I started, of the game requirement to deliver the bowl along a curving trajectory to a target point on the bowling rink. The challenge is even more immense than I expected, with variability in weather & rink conditions endeavouring to counter any personal effort for consistency? In truth, “it’s bloody hard” – but addictive?!

I’d often seen bowling green maintenance being undertaken but now I’ve got a much better appreciation of what goes on. Here’s our club Greenkeeper/magician, Fred, whizzing about on his mower.
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The last few months has even seen a ramped up involvement, with participation in the Zone Pennants championship play & in various club championship events. Throughout this time I’ve been getting a better feel for how I’ve been delivering the bowl (as compared to the early self-questioning such as “how did it end up there?”) & progressing successfully through various championship rounds. This busy time has seen some periods of 7 days play per week! As you can imagine other activities have suffered & my cycling has often been limited to riding Ralph to the bowling club to practice. Unfortunately our club Pennants side hasn’t won our section so that’s our season over for this year & unfortunately again, my Minor Pairs final was unsuccessful (although my partner & I have been rather pleased to even make the final against some very experienced players) & so now it’s time to escape for a bit in the Tardis?

Actually, this escape trick isn’t quite what it seems, for the Tardis is carrying a spare set of bowls along with Ralph & Peregrine. With almost every town possessing a bowling club then it’s likely there’ll be a little research along the way? Here is a very recent escapade at Lennox Head: note Ralph & Brompton C bag waiting patiently to carry about 7kg of bowling equipment back to the Tardis.
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New England trek

Well, after the delay in posting about Easter at Mudgee I had all good intentions of wrapping up the next post on the continuation of the trip to the New England area! Needless to say, I’m once again apologising for tardiness? I usually try to keep the posts in chronological order & so I was trapped: not wanting to post about later Sydney events but unable to find the time to sort out old material for the blog! Now what has happened is that we’re away again, heading for the far north coast of NSW & here I am sitting in the Tardis trying to remember what happened around Anzac weekend?! (Be warned! Frequent blog posts are going to be needed, in order to get up to date & hopefully blog about this trip while it’s still in progress!)

Having given all the above excuses, I’ve decided this post is coming together via my journal & associated pics. Sorry for any brevity of comment.

Departed Mudgee on Easter Monday & headed for Murrurundi. Lunch stop in Merriwa & liked this country scene (oxen with wool bales on wagon, sheep & dogs, galahs, etc) done in corrugated iron & assorted scrap metal.
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Couple of days based at Murrurundi CP for some local genealogy research & then heading further north with visit to Rail Journeys Museum at Werris Creek station. Lots of good info about early rail life (& death) & the efforts in building the early railways.
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Overnight stop at Tamworth & then driving on to Manila. Visited Manila Heritage Museum for genealogy research & then continuing to Bingara for 2 days stay at caravan park. Noticed these couple of classics in the park.
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Entertaining & eventful time in Bingara. Watched the Anzac Day March while out on a ride, punctured rear tyre on Ralph (forgot to take pics during country roadside repair – after surviving the Mudgee Cathead thorns, seemed to have a big thorn in the tyre but the tube hole was somewhere else?), lots of rides & walks around town on really, really wide roads!?, good historic collections of early settler artifacts & some “new history” at the Greek Theatre Museum (info on how Greek migrants settled & developed businesses in country towns).

Our rides around town included this riverfront track & coffee under the verandah of an old pub.
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Leaving Bingara, we followed the Gwydir River for some time & were surprised at the numbers of caravans & motorhomes free-camping along the riverfront. Such traffic that there were appropriate road warning signs?
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Later the road passed through Keera Station (a cattle country look-in for more genealogy research?) & it was a relief to see this sign (for the uninitiated, a B-double is a double- length semi-trailer)
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Eventually this back-road meander saw us at Inverell & we continued on to Glen Innes for the night. Travelled on the next day (& escaped some rain that seemed to hover over only Glen Innes?) to Armidale, which like Inverell had seemed uninspiring over a long weekend (too much traffic & too few places open?). Our lunch stop at Uralla was such a contrast: much smaller town but so lively & lots of choice? Our next overnight stop on this straight(ish) journey back to Sydney was Walcha. Here we encountered a really nicely setup & maintained caravan park. For example, the camp kitchen was spotless & so well-equipped that we almost felt guilty in using it?
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So much of the site showed evidence of an accomplished handyman/owner. Such as this ingenious dump point (for that “black waste” that we don’t have facilities to accumulate in the Tardis)
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Not only the caravan park but the whole town showed some remarkable efforts in landscaping & sculptures (& only one pic doesn’t do it justice). A lot of walking was needed to take it all in – but the Walcha Royal provided suitable refreshments within its almost museum-like motorcycle-themed rooms?
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Last leg of the trip was driving on to Gloucester, our final ride around the quiet country roads, overnight stay at the caravan park & then back into Sydney. Almost 2 weeks away & a whole host of places & sights – with lovely cuppa stops such as this along the way!
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