Crazy minds, Zentangles and Swirly People.

Gypsy Bloom 2

Every time we have gone away I’ve taken my pens and Prismacolour pencils with me and a drawing pad with the best of intentions of having time to just sit and unwind and do some Zentangle type drawings.  Has this ever happened?  No!  In fact I was quite distraught on our first trip away in the caravan when we stopped and found that the cupboard I’d stored my art supplies in had come open as we drove and not only did all my pencils fall out ALL OVER the floor – and a few broke 😦  but my laptop fell out too. (Thank goodness it was ok!)

Anyway, I have a lot of trouble sleeping. A busy mind.  I find that instead of spending hours tossing and turning it’s better for me to try and focus ( and calm) my thoughts and this happens for me through Zentangling.

What IS Zentangling?  Well, it’s just a more fancy name for doodling really.  Patterns.

I love patterns! The more intricate the better….swirly patterns especially.  It’s funny because some people are very geometric and square, and others are swirly circle people.

I’m a swirly circle kind of person. My sister is square, so is my husband. I wonder what this would mean to a psychoanalyst?  What do you think you are?  Look at your home decor – your quilt cover for example. I bet you’ll find your answer there.  Unless everything in your house is just blank and un -patterned.  I think I’d be a bit afraid of you if it is, because…well, that’s just weird.  It’s like standing in a completely white room…I think I’d lose my mind and HAVE to make marks on the walls. Swirly ones.

So…I’ve been wondering if there could be any actual USE for these Zentangles I’ve been creating, and then various people on Facebook kept saying to me – Get them printed onto fabrics!  In fact they have kindly come forth with a whole RANGE of ideas. Cushion covers, throws, scarves, mouse pads, phone covers, wallpaper, wall decals, one lady even suggested shower curtains. Well, whatever.

I don’t know. I’m sure someone could find a creative use for them, so I’ve added them to my Etsy store.  If the calming of my crazy mind can be of some use to someone else with a creative mind, well that’s a wonderful thing!

So here’s a few designs that I’ve created!  I do hand draw these in a notepad with fine liner markers – sometimes coloured, sometimes not, and then take them to my favourite playground – photoshop, and digitally play with them some more until I find the right look that I want.


Tell me what you think?  Can you come up with any creative uses for these besides the ones I have mentioned?  I’d love to know your thoughts.

Posted in Art, artists, Arty farty, Australia, caravanning, Creativity, Family, Fashion, insomnia, Internet, mixed media, Social media, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

For all you creative people!

As you might know, I love travel,photography and everything that falls in the fantasy realm.
As a result I have become totally addicted to creating photomanipulation art from all of my images that I have collected over the years.

My daughter and I have a facebook page called Twisted Gypsy Creative Photography where we regularly post our finished creations.

I have now decided to create an Etsy Store where I am selling digital backgrounds for other creative people to utilize – since I really can’t STOP making them! 🙂

People can use these to develop their own skills in composite work, or even as fantasy backgrounds for their own business. I’ve created the scene so all you need is a willing model, photoshop, and your own creativity!

Please feel free to share this post around to all your creative photographer friends, writer friends who may need book covers (My daughter Shai is a graphic designer and is proficient with Book Cover Designs.)
Even your musician friends who might need CD covers designed…

Some of these would even be perfect as stand alone art prints – and don’t forget…Christmas is fast approaching, so perhaps even as gifts for your fantasy loving friends and relatives!

Here is a small sample of some of the images available in my store!



Posted in Art, artists, Arty farty, Australia, Creativity, photographers, photography, Photomanipulation, Photoshoot, photoshop, scenery, Travel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Sleep Walker.

It’s nearly time.
The sun slipping below the horizon, the last of the golden hour quietly retreating from her performance as the curtain of night softly falls.
Collectively they stand, milling around a desolate landscape, in silence.
Only the quiet shuffle of feet, the occasional clearing of throats, a small cough, here and there.
Everybody waits…

And then it begins. One by one, each person slowly dropping to the ground.
Some sit for a while, while others immediately recline.
A stubborn few remain standing, but you can see their stance begin to waver.
By the light of a yellow moon rising higher and higher in the sky, I can see the silhouettes begin to thin.
Soon there will be a carpet of bodies, supine, littering the ground with only their soft rhythmic breath to break the nights hush.

But for me, there will be no peace.
No bliss of rest, no escape into that other world where tangled thoughts at last fall limp, slowly unwinding themselves from the knots that torment and tease.
I remain standing. Always. The last one standing.

The eternal walk, my task.
It’s tedious.
I resent their small little whimpered sounds as dreams take them to other beautiful,surreal worlds.
I’m jealous of their twitches and sighs.
Irritated, even angered by the snoring.
I kick one of the snorers, hard.
He grunts and turns over and is quiet…for now.

I’m walking amongst them like a lone wolf among sheep, choosing the weakest-the vulnerable, the anxious. Those who need my intrusion least.

Soft lumps on the dirt, fingers and hands that I tread upon, but make no apology.
I bend and peer down closely into the face of a woman.
Her soft mouth falls open, jaw slack,and a tiny stream of drool is beginning to form.
I shove dirt in her mouth and she immediately gags. A coughing fit ensues and she turns over onto her side falling silent again.

An old man is making sputtering sounds between snores.
It’s disgusting. He disgusts me.
I pinch his nostrils closed and put my hand over his mouth.
Within seconds his body begins to twitch,little tiny twitches.
I wait…and wait…
He is jerking hard now.
Then I let go and he inhales sharply and deeply, as though surfacing from the depths of a suffocating ocean.

Around and around I walk, for hours amongst the fallen.
It’s tedious and time is distorted.
It drags as though I am walking through mud.
Over and over I bend or crouch to tickle their noses with my hair.
Whispering loudly into ears – their names and they jolt awake disoriented, for a mere moment.
I will upon them ice and fire, and make their skins crawl with imaginary unscratchable itches.
I sit upon their chests and peer into their stupid resting faces, willing them to open their eyes! Some do, in terror.
I kick and shove and pay no mind to standing on limbs that eventually seize up with a thousand tiny pricks, making even the deepest of the sleepers groan out loud.
I poke with sticks,put rocks beneath their ears and stones under their backs.
They toss and turn and I laugh out loud and go find more rocks.

I walk, endlessly among their dreams, disturbing them, shaking them, interrupting this intermission that they so deeply crave and need.
That *I* crave.

Their oblivion is not mine.
My envy is deep.

Posted in Fiction, Uncategorized, very dark stories, very short stories, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Out of Order.

Out of order 2 small.jpg

I created this image using several photo’s I took while on our recent trip. I wanted to challenge myself to do something a little bit creative with some of the sights we saw – to encompass a sense of the quirkiness, the colours and the spirit of what it’s like out there.

The emu in the image is one that followed me around when we visited the historic Pioneer Village in Griffith. He was not at all camera shy, and because of that I kept my distance a little as I have a suspicion that curious beak meets camera lense might not end in a particularly happy snap. I had tried several times to photograph the wild emu but they were all too skittish and ran off into the bush every time I stepped out of the car.

The old telephone booth was hidden away beside a building next door to the Chocolate/licorice factory in Junee and I just HAD to sneak around there and get a photo of it. A shame it was discarded there…perfect fodder for a photographer with lots of ideas in her head!

The sign I also photographed but it had a whole lot of writing on it so I painstakingly erased all the letters and saved the ones I wanted to put back ON the sign. I wanted to state the obvious and have a sign erected doing so but it’s also a bit of a pun – Having a telephone box stuck out in the middle of nowhere IS a little bit “out of the order of things”. Also reinforces the fact that if you’re out there in these remote places…there IS no contact with the rest of the world, so – be prepared.

Posted in Art, Australia, Creativity, memories, photography, Photomanipulation, photoshop, scenery, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

In Her Chair…

Room 3 sm.jpg

In her chair, listening to the priest quietly murmuring last rites as her final earthly breaths cut through the silence of the night.
The only other sound, the clock on the wall marking time in the remaining minutes and seconds of my mothers life.
Each tick like a tiny paper cut to my heart, I counted my regrets.
Not having told her enough that I loved her.
Not being present as often as I should. 
Each disappointment flickering in her eyes when I’d failed her.

In her chair- the soft sweet scent of hair brushing tear stained cheeks as she bent to patch battered knees.
The unhurried stitching of countless torn trousers…
The way the golden lamp light fell across her face, as she sat reading late into a balmy summer evening.
The swell of her belly as each child came and left.
As she sang lullabies to those that remained.
Christmas mornings as she sat and watched each of us unwrap our gift…

In her chair, waiting for my turn for lessons at the piano. Impatiently enduring the mistakes of my sisters, wanting mine to be over so I could return to my adventures outside.

In her chair, wrapped in wool blankets, feeling poorly on a bitter winters day watching as she sat finishing letters, while the pot on the stove filled the house with the steaming aroma of rich oxtail soup.

In her chair, the switch of my fathers belt bent over his knee, penance for starting a fire in the chicken coop.

In her chair, staring out the window waiting for HIM to come home, who never would – the pain in her face staining the lace curtains with grief.

I sit once again and let the whispers of the past peel themselves from dark corners and dance with dust motes as the grey winter light softly illuminates the stories that were written, here in this room – in her chair.

Photo taken in Griffith Pioneer Park Museum. – My little fictional piece of musing.

Posted in Australia, Creativity, Home, Musings, photography, very short stories, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

From Menindee to Wentworth,Renmark and Mildura.

The next leg of our journey was supposed to take us to Mildura where we planned to drive out to Mungo National Park to see the Walls of China. Unfortunately due to bad weather predicted, and ultimately as it happened, the roads into the National Park ended up being closed. I was so disappointed as it was to be, I’m sure, another highlight of the trip.
We decided to travel down through Poontarie on the dirt road leading to Wentworth. The lady in the supermarket at Menindee told us the road condition was “fabulous” and she was right! Compared to the roads in the National Park in Menindee this was like driving on clouds. I did have a bit of a chuckle though at the road leading OUT of Menindee before we hit the dirt. Talk about having had some repairs done.

Road work.jpg

The scenery along this route was fairly ordinary. Poontarie itself, well, blink and you’ll miss it. I did stop and take a photo just as we left the “town” though (signposting the town) because it looked pretty surreal from that position.  Imagine the time it took to erect that car on a pole – in the middle of nowhere for such a tiny town?

car on pole 2.jpg

Somewhere along that route too there were a couple of bra and shoes/boot tree’s too. I posted this photo on facebook and some of my American friends were a bit perturbed by it. Maybe they don’t have the same sense of quirkiness over there? Maybe this sort of thing is considered littering over there? I stopped to have a look and was surprised to see a pair of roller blades hanging on the boot tree. First time I’ve seen that.


Didn’t take all that long and we were in Wentworth. I was sad to slowly see the red dirt disappearing as we entered more farmland like country. The rain had begun by now so morale hit a bit of a low by this point. The weather…feeling a bit tired, feeling frustrated that plans were changed due to circumstances out of our control… I was kind of feeling that it would be a bit down hill from here to home. (But I was wrong!)
We stayed at a caravan park out of town in Wentworth which was for some reason hit by a plague of hairy caterpillars. A bit of a drive to and from town but quiet and right on the river.  I didn’t really enjoy this spot because although from the pic it looks ok, it was one of those caravan parks where there is no privacy hedge – or barrier of any sort between sites.  I really dislike that situation…where you are looking straight into the windows of your neighbours van.  Luckily the park was not all that busy.

Wentworth camp.jpg

We had to travel out to Renmark the next day as my husband needed to get something done to the HF radio and the only guy that could do the job lives out that way. Although it was totally gloomy and rainy Renmark looked like a lovely place and I’d be interested in going out there again and having a good look around.
We stopped in at a really lovely cafe in Renmark recommended by “Dutchie”- an old guy who has a second hand/antiques store next door. He was a bit of a likeable character. His claim to fame that he was of Dutch parents but born in a prisoner of war camp in Vietnam. His shop was so dimly lit you could barely see to get around – all cost cutting due to the horrendous power prices in South Australia.
The food in the (Cinnamon Grove) cafe was DELICIOUS and the quaint ambience, the other guests who we ended up inviting to our table and chatting with made for a lovely experience.
I gave their Facebook page a Like as it really was good food, service and just a nice little place to browse through as it has a gift shop as well.…

Renmark Cinnamon Grove.jpgRenmark cafe.jpg

The drive back to Wentworth was long and tedious in the rain but I stopped a few times when it cleared a bit to photograph the stormy skies and one nice little jetty in the water.

storm clouds small.jpg

Storm over landscape 2 SMALL final.jpg

Misty small.jpg

One noteable part of this journey was being stopped at the checkpoint to have our car searched….for fruit as we crossed into South Australia. We saw the signs about fruit fly but oh my, were they SERIOUS about it, even checking in our glovebox, boot and back seat and we saw them going in and searching peoples caravans! I was frantically checking to make sure that some errant mandarin from the days before hadn’t accidentally fallen into the mess in the back seat! I have no idea of what the fine would be but just being caught with a piece of fruit I’m sure would turn these very serious people into very scary people!

Renmark fruit fly.jpg

We didn’t really spend any time in Mildura as we were keen to try and drive somewhere out of the rain. A shame really because I’m sure there is a lot to see here. Next time!
I did snap this picture as we were driving across a bridge. I thought it looked like a Clampets houseboat. Apparently it’s owned by the Chook man, who goes up and down the river in it, with his chickens on board….and a whole lot of other “stuff” by the looks of it. He invites tourists, for a donation of course, to have a look at his floating abode, so I’m told. It’s a wonder it DOES float!

Clampets houseboat 2 small.jpg

Posted in Australia, life experiences, Nature, photography, scenery, Travel, travel blog, Weather | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Menindee Lake. Wow!

Menindee is a small township about 110km South East of Broken hill and it’s been a place I’ve wanted to visit for years because it is perfect for photography. Sometimes with bad weather the roads are closed getting in there but we were lucky and the weather held out long enough for us to spend a couple of nights at this incredible place.
It truly is a soul rejuvenating place…that’s the only way to describe it! It simply oozes peace and tranquillity, with plenty of camp spots along the lakes edge, some with facilities, and some where you have to be self sufficient.
You simply cannot go wrong getting a nice photo at sunset OR sunrise here.
It’s a birds paradise with pelicans, seagulls and all kinds of other water birds as well as many kangaroo’s and emu’s in the national park.
Only one thing upset me about our stay here and that was when I spotted another traveller, in a caravan – and I cannot be 100% certain, but I’m about 99% sure he was emptying his toilet cassette into the bushes. They left shortly after but it had me absolutely fuming! Such an incredible spot of immense beauty – host to so much wild life and here is a person with such disrespect and disregard doing that! Shame on him!
It really was like being on a tropical island with the waves lapping at the shore, the seagulls and pelicans…the glittering waters. We both took our chairs down the the waters edge and just sat and chilled for two days. Nice!
My hubby having a snooze in the sun.
Menindee Richard chilling.jpg
My little pelican watching spot.
Menindee my chair.jpg
I had a surreal moment when the wind dropped and the water went glassy still reflecting the clouds like a mirror….and then a pelican swam up and began fishing for his lunch, while I sat eating my lunch of leftover spaghetti bolognaise and a greedy magpie sat watching MY lunch. It was just so beautiful and tranquil that you almost had to pinch yourself.
Pelican reflection 2 small.jpg
This was definitely, out of all the places we visited, my absolute favourite spot, and I think my husband felt the same way. I have no doubt that in the future we will be back here again.
We weren’t so pleased with our trip into the National Park to have a look at the old Woolshed. The roads getting in were terrible! Thank goodness we didn’t have the van on the back when we did this road. I wasn’t overly excited by the Woolshed myself, but plenty of people seem to like this sort of thing. As I said to my husband….now if it had half a dozen tanned bare chested young men shearing some sheep I might have…..wanted to use my camera more.
Menindee inside shearers shed.jpg
Menindee Shearers shed.jpg
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Broken Hill and Silverton.

It was a long LONG drive from Lightning Ridge to Broken Hill- I think in total about a nine and a half hour trip ?  so we split the journey in half and stayed overnight halfway across. It mustn’t have been a memorable camp site because I can’t even remember where it was!

Really not much at all to see along this route except tonnes of road kill and feral goats.  The goats seem to have infinitely more road sense than the kangaroo’s as we hardly saw any of those hit by trucks or cars.

We invented a new game across these two days.  Road kill – for lunch and Goats – for lunch.  Played in the morning each person on their side of the car has to count either road kill or goats (live) on THEIR side of the road and whoever counts the most gets out of making lunch that day.  Macabre I know.   I won both times.

Roadkill small.jpg

I started to go a bit stir crazy out there with all the nothingness and began to ponder over just how bizarre Kangaroos really are.  I mean, why bounce? Why did mother nature create a creature that bounces to transport itself?  Why?  And why do they bounce so FAST?  What predators are they avoiding? I can understand eagles carting off the very small roo’s but they are usually safely snuggled in mums pouch, so what else are they bouncing from? All that bouncing certainly doesn’t seem to help them get across roads safely.   I think I irritated Richard a little with my questioning of bouncing animals.

Before long we began to see the glorious red dirt and I felt excited to be back in “outbacky” like country again.  There’s just something about the red dirt…. and it makes the sky seem even bluer!

We decided to stay out at Silverton at the camp ground there – Penrose Park as we have stayed there several times before.

Nothing much has changed out there. The facilities are not the best, rather run down now. The showers could really do with a revamp, or just a decent clean as there are mould stains all over the roof.  The water pressure is sensational though, almost blasts you down the plughole.

There is no potable water available there – just drinking water from the camp kitchen, nor a dump point if you are in a van or motorhome.

They charge $20 or $25 for a powered site and you can have camp fires- they sell firewood there too.  A far better option for us than staying in an overcrowded cramped caravan park in town.


I love Broken Hill, always have. It’s easy to see why it attracts so many artistic people out there.  The red dirt and the blue skies are just so vivid and amazing.  There is so much to see from Art galleries to mine tours, to the sculptures on the hill (we missed these this time) to the Train Museum. Definitely a place you could spend a week at and not get bored and certainly a great place for photography!

We had all kinds of weather thrown at us during our four night stay there.  Blue sunny skies to overcast and gloomy with rain, to a dust storm that kept us inside the whole day, to amazing fog one morning which made for some interesting photos.

Here are some scenes from around Broken Hill and Silverton.

Posted in Australia, camping, caravanning, life experiences, Nature, photography, scenery, Travel, travel blog | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Trip to Lightning Ridge, NSW.

We just arrived home yesterday after a three week trip which entailed visiting places such as Lightning Ridge, Broken Hill, Mildura, Griffith, Junee and Sofala.   This is the route we took from Kilaben Bay in Lake Macquarie, NSW.  I’ll be putting our trip reports up in parts.


Our first stop of interest was at Old Baan Baa school which was a great little camp spot – you literally sleep on the school oval and there are very clean showers and toilets available to use as well.

All the buildings are open for you to have a look through which is interesting.

The woman who runs the place – Karen, is a real character who can TALK!  If you stay there expect to be entertained by her tales which can last anywhere up to an hour as she certainly has the gift of the gab – but her stories are great!

She was telling us about a guy who had stayed there previously for a few days.  The only part of him not tattoo’d were his eyes she said.  A little bit on the odd side.   When he left he’d forgotten a small Persian type rug that he’d hung over a fence.  He messaged Karen to ask if she had found his “magic flying carpet”.   Karen replied that she had and that she had safely stored it away in case he revisited.

To which he replied “ These are the GPS co ordinates  for my flying carpet – please put them in and the carpet will fly back to me.”

They finally agreed that it would be better and safer for the carpet if it was put away for safe keeping until his next stay.

There is a pub good for a meal across the railway tracks – oh, yes, the only downfall as a camp spot are the trains that come through.  It didn’t really bother us too much though and we didn’t even hear them through the night.

At only $5 per person per night this is definitely great value, and Karen is worth every cent.

On our first evening there I wanted to do a little drive around the area and take some photo’s.  The afternoon light was looking nice but I couldn’t see much of any interest to photograph until I spotted some horses in a field.

To gain some height I was balanced on the step on the side of the car with my camera when a ute pulled up and the two men in it had a conversation with my husband, which he recounted to me afterwards.  Apparently they pulled up and said in an almost conspiratorial way ” You want a horse?”   My husband laughed and said no…we didn’t want a horse.  “You want a goat?”  they offered instead.   Only in the country hey.  Safe to say we drove away without purchasing any farm animals.

Horse and foal 2

The drive from there to Lightning Ridge has got to be one of the longest most boring unscenic roads I’ve ever been on.  Dead dull boring so absolutely nothing of great interest was photographed that day.  We did start to see emu’s though out in the scrub.

At one point – the most exciting point for me photographically, I spotted a whole mob of Emu which I stalked over rabbit hole infested ground to try and get a decent shot of.

Emu sm


This was our first experience in Lightning Ridge but I must say, our expectations were sadly underwhelmed.

LR sign

LR view driving in.

It’s ok if you want to buy some opal, because there are dozens of those kinds of shops, and sellers setting up stalls in the main street, and even in the grounds of the caravan park we stayed in.

For us the vibe of “let’s see how much we can scam out of the tourists” was present and we had to laugh at the “Car Door Tours” – There are four of them.  Red, yellow, blue and green car door tours marked by a corresponding car door with that colour door marking the very short trail , which basically are just existing dirt roads through the shanty town of residents which make up Lightning Ridge.   The roads themselves were not very long – we could have done all four in one day.  There were a few points of interest along the way on these roads, most of which you had to pay to go into, or were surrounded by visitors cars making them hard to even photograph.  I must say though…we did not purchase some sort of leaflet I think it was?  which described each point of interest.  Perhaps if we had it would have made what we saw make a bit more (interesting) sense.

I suppose it’s a bit quirky in a Steptoe and Son kind of way.  It’s like all the Clampets have landed in the same spot and spread their junk around, dug lots of holes and dubbed it a town.  This was our impression anyway.

Here are a selection of images from around the town.

I found this building the most interesting visually.  It was built for a movie set.

LR chrch for movie set 2


I must say though, the locals didn’t seem to go out of their way to make you feel welcome.  I was wary of getting out of the car when I saw the sign warning about mad dogs, and even less inclined when I saw what looked like a noose.  I suppose they just have a special sense of humour out there?

LR sign dogs.jpg

LR noose.jpg

We went to visit the hot Artesian pool – and I envisioned this semi natural location , you know, with reeds and steam and looking all a bit like a bit of a spot of paradise in comparison to the rest of the town, but it turned out to be a fenced proper “pool” – tiny, and overrun by mainly aged people soaking their aches and pains away.  It didn’t appeal to us whatsoever.  Shot through the bars in the fence I felt like I was a peeping tom spying on pensioners.

LR pools


The Opal Caravan park – mostly dirt – I didn’t see any grass) we stayed at was huge, very clean, amenities were great and the spaces we very large which was great as you didn’t feel you were on top of your neighbours.  Two women also do a comedy hour there every evening and from the sound of the laughter it must be good – unfortunately both nights we came home halfway through and all the seats in the shed where it was held were full.

So all in all, it was a long detour- and such a boring drive out of our way to visit Lightning Ridge.  I’m glad we did it, because now we know, but it would have felt less unsatisfying to us had it been a place we needed to pass through on our way somewhere.

Posted in Australia, caravanning, Life, life experiences, photography, scenery, Travel, travel blog | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

First Adventure in our New Mode of Travel

In recent years my husband and I have done a fair amount of travel overseas, but now we are embarking on a new life of adventure… Exploring and photographing Australia whilst travelling in a caravan! Not full time mind you, but these will be the practise years for when we eventually do go gypsying around full time.

I remember only too well the the days – well, years, of roughing it camping with four small children.  It’s hard work. Damn hard work! We started with a simple tent and yoga mats close to 20 years ago, and have been steadily upgrading our comfort levels ever since.

One particular day we were sat, exhausted, after a long days drive at a camp site, eating two minute noodles for dinner when an enormous RV rolled in.  You know, one of those ones where they come equipped with everything, even its own spa and servants?

We sat there green with envy, and even more green especially after – somehow, our kids were invited in for a quick tour.

“They have a real leather lounge suite and all!” our kids told us.

We put our noses up at the fancy shmancy tenderfoot people and muttered.

“I wonder what THEY’RE having for dinner!”

Well, now the shoe is kind of on the other – tender foot.

Now we have this.

Lounge 1Leaving for the trip sm

So, for the first time towing the beast we headed out for a trial run to see how it all works.

Ok, so the car did NOT like towing this thing up hills and as much as we tried to avoid hills, well…they are everywhere.
There is one particular hill outside of Gloucester, NSW that is a real killer.
The car has never made smells like it made on that stretch of incline. I honestly thought the motor was going to blow up!
If a car can have a hernia I think ours has got one now.
“I think I can, I think I can” is not what the car seemed to be saying.
I think it was hurling all manner of vile automotive cuss words at us!

It was misery and gloom as we headed to our first camp spot for the night.
Gloryvale the site is called, (Just before Bretti Reserve) set by a small flowing stream. Only a pit toilet there. Nice peaceful spot though.

Stream2 smallCaravan by stream sm

We had an uneventful night, slept well, ate well with pre prepared stew – some habits never die hard, like pre preparing the first nights meal as we always did when camping.
I did note on our first night though that it was bloody annoying that the whole van would move with the slightest movement from either of us. I told my husband not to sniff so violently as somehow it was causing the entire van to rock!
Later he did tell me that he’d only put two of the stabilizer legs down. Unfortunately though even with four down we seem to make the van rock, a lot, and with no shenanigans going on.

More gloom and misery the next day as we drove to Walcha, NSW, where we were to stay for two nights in a Caravan park.


Now, neither of us particularly like Caravan parks but the one at Walcha is very neat and clean…real glass doors on the showers! Everything is tidy and well kept. The owner was very welcoming and even helped guide us into the site because my husband told him I was inept at directing…and he’s not lying. I  do suck.
I don’t know what happened because the first night there were a fair few vans in the park. I even had the shock of witnessing a Grey Nomad – male, walking from the amenities block in his wife’s hot pink, short fluffy dressing gown first thing in the morning. With long socks and sandals. (Oh the sights you see.)
By the second night though we were the only ones there. Pity, because I would have liked to have snuck a shot of hot pink fluffy Grandad after his morning ablutions.

Park to ourselves

Camp kitchen at WalchaCamp kitchen inside

Camp caravan park at Walcha amenities

There is a great Antique shop in Walcha called Antique Junque. More like a museum than a shop. So much for the eyes to feast on…and so much to accidentally break as you snake your way gingerly through overcrowded aisles. Worth a poke around in, but if you have children , tie their hands behind their backs.

Antique Junque

There is also a historical mansion there called – Langford Homestead. You apparently can arrange to do a tour of it. We didn’t have time, but I did manage to stop early in the morning to photograph its fancy gates and the winding road leading to the estate.

Beautiful gates 2 sm

How magic are these gates!  Mysterious!

Drivewaytomansion2 sm 2

Mansion 2 sm

From there we drove up to Uralla for a bit of a look around and we came across a little tourist drive which led to this amazing old Church/Chapel set in the middle of nowhere.  (Gostwyck Chapel – built in 1921) It was quite picturesque so we actually made three trips back there in one day just so I could try and capture it in better light.

Church front

Church road 2 sm

Tree currve2 sm

Tree tunnel2 sm

From Walcha we moved on and headed towards Tamworth.  We wanted to stop and get some supplies but found it too stressful trying to find somewhere to park with the caravan behind us so we ended up just driving through to Nundle which was our next destination for a two night stop.  Somehow we’re going to have to get the hang of this “how to park with a caravan in towns” because I was surviving on a bag of peanuts in the car for lunch because we couldn’t stop to get bread for sandwiches.

We found a nice quiet empty free camp site in Nundle. Perfect!   This place is called Teamsters rest reserve.  There are a few picnic tables,  rustic type barbecues and a pit toilet.

Second free camp site

Second free campsite driving in

Our first afternoon at this site we took it easy. I actually dozed off in my chair that I’d dragged out into the little bit of sun and when I woke there were a couple of cows standing at the fence observing me.  I was glad there was a fence because I have a sneaking suspicion that they would have come right up to my chair.  Cows are such curious creatures, but I do have my qualms about them, ever since being chased in the outback by a herd of cows.   Frightening ordeal that was – even though nobody believes me.

Anyway, so I went over to the fence to make friends with them, as I always do.  Now, I joked just the other week about singing Kum Bay Ya to a herd of cows…. and that my singing drew them in to me.  I think my friends think I really DID sing them in…but I was kidding.  Standing there at the fence though, sensing their nervousness at this immobile lump of a human that suddenly was upright and approaching them, I decided…well, what the heck…I’m going to sing to them!  So I did.  I started singing Amazing Grace, and I kid you not, but IMMEDIATELY five cows came straight over to me, huffing and snuffing and they were absolutely transfixed!  Cows love singing!  They are musical creatures! Whaddya know!

It made me want to cry, and I could not eat steak for the rest of the trip.

In the morning the cows were back at the fence.  Maybe they wanted more serenading?

Cows view fom caravan

So we explored a bit more around Nundle. Nice rustic little place!  There is a great shop there that sells all kinds of kitchen ware. All that enamel ware stuff that my husband always oohs and ahhs over and tells me every time he see’s it that this is what his mother used to cook baked custard in etc etc…but then he never buys it.  Anyway, I bought two nice tea towels because they matched the colours in the van.

Nice shop in Nundle

We had tea and scones in the Museum/B&B/cafe/gold mine tour place ( they have covered all bases there.)

Nundle Gold mine museum

Nundle inside museum

Nundle tea nd scones

The scones were good!

There are a few other little shops and businesses in Nundle worth having a look at.  The Wool Mill, the Glass Gallery ( we bought some lovely glass coasters there), a second hand shop in the old Church, and a new little business selling goats milk products.  Lovely lady owns and runs that and her dog is hysterical.  It lays down head first at your feet and puts it’s butt in the air. I have no idea why, but it was very comical.


Is that a dog in sheep’s clothing?

Nundlegoats milk cream shop

And of course no town, no matter how small is complete without a pub.

Pub in Nundle

On our way out of Nundle as we headed back towards Gloucester we stopped at a little body of water so I could take some photo’s of this old windmill in the water.   Not too often you see that and there was just a little bit of mist too which made traipsing around in the mud a little bit more enticing.  In much more beautiful light this little spot would be lovely for photography but my light was all blue, so I have converted these to black and white.

Early morning mist lake second one 2 small

early morning windmill water black and white sm

Early mist tree reflction b N W SMALL

Bowling Alley Point Camping area is just around the corner from where this windmill in the water is and it looked like another good spot for both camping and photography. For the patient types I bet there are plenty of birds in this area too.  We stopped so I could take a few pics of the many tree’s submerged in the water.

Trees line reflection 2048

Trees duck 2 small

Nice tree reflections 2048

After having been to places like Ireland and the UK, Germany and Austria where the history is much more extensive and they have amazing old castles and Abbeys and breathtaking scenery almost always with mist and fog and all those things that fill my fantasy wired brain with such excitement…I must admit that photographing Australia for me personally brings many challenges.   I’m just- in my head- so fantasy driven that much of our landscape I find less enchanting to capture.   It’s always afterwards though, when I look back through photo’s I’ve taken that I realise we do have our own certain type of “magic” here in Australia.  It’s more rustic somehow, rugged….but it’s there,  and sometimes you just drive around a corner and bam….suddenly the light just does lovely things.

Dramatic landscape sm

Morning rainbow 2 sm

Tree sunset 2 sm

And how much more quintessentially Aussie could you get than a few sheep in the fog?

Sheepin the mist 2

Our last night was spent in Gloucester Caravan park as we were having issues with the fridge and our water was running low.   Not nearly as nice as the caravan park in Walcha and way too many people – to watch our reversing and hooking up antics.  My husband bought walkie talkies to try and make this horribly stressful process more bearable, but it helps if he turns his onto the right channel!  I felt like an idiot talking to – nobody, while he made such a racket trying to reverse in and then started muttering at me…for what?  I did what I was told, while he thought I was saying nothing!

Gloucester caravan site

The amenities here are dated and apparently the mens showers are for midgets…. My husband explained how he had to do a lot of shower yoga, in order to get all his parts wet under the way too low shower head.  You shouldn’t have to do the Limbo in order to get clean…but it would have been amusing to watch. He now says he has put his neck out with all his contortionist shower antics.

The bright neon yellow toilet seats in the ladies were a bit hard on the eyes in the morning too, but hey…a toilet is a toilet and it’s nice when they flush it all away instead of inside a plastic box sloshing away under your van.  There was no crazy retching or heaving btw, from my husband when he emptied the toilet cassette, ( damn) but as punishment – or something? I was asked to make his bed.  Hey, fair deal, but really considering I have changed many many bedpans in my time, I don’t think emptying the thing would really bother me all that much.

We had a couple of cupboards that came open inside the van on our travels.  I nearly died when I discovered my laptop had fallen out of one, but in hindsight it was silly for me to have put it in there. (By some miracle it survived)  We had issues with the fridge, but all in all things went well for our first trip towing the beast.

Coming DOWN that hill that we went up on the way there was terrifying!  I was locked frozen in fear, holding my breath the whole way down.  Hopefully our next trip out to Broken Hill, despite the name, will be devoid of hills!

PS – if you want to follow our travel stories on FB we have created a page just for this.  I will still continue to write my travel blogs here as I can’t stand how facebook looks when trying to write blog like posts.  They really should create a proper blog like setup there where you can break up long paragraphs of writing with relevant photo’s.

Anyhow, bits and pieces of shorter info will be added on our FB page.






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