First day in Australia

I’ve just woken up and remembered I’m here, in the heart of the Australian Alps. The strangest bird calls outside and – despite some very familiar weather – a very different view outside my window. 

I had the BEST night’s sleep ever – an extra two hours of darkness – and now have a cuppa and am preparing for a lazy day enjoying the local environment, catching up with cousin and taking it all in. I wandered out to put the kettle on, woke the dogs, and took these: 

Yesterday we surprised lots of kangaroos on the fields and drive leading down to this place. I’ve seen unfamiliar birds on trees outside. But the most bizarre sight was stepping into this shop from the long road leading to Jindabyne. Almost no other settlements nearby and suddenly this: 

I think it must be the largest Christmas store in Southern Hemisphere! The Christmas music! The tinkling music! The baubles! Of course I bought some.

Funniest story: at home in Te Atatu, Auckland, I went for last minute things down to the supermarket, grabbing a sealed bag of doggy treats for the two furry cuties earlier in the post. I thought sealed, right – customs would be fine with that. Got to Aussie and the arrival card said to tick if I was bringing petfood in to the country. I did. Lead into the customs area past a sign saying Border Patrol filming takes place here, and told to show doggy treats. Can’t find them. In front of line of waiting passengers and customs officials have to reveal underware and the contents of both bags before seizing on the little sealed pack. Customs officer holds it up and asks where I bought it. I tell him. Only then do I realise it says Kangaroo on the front of pack. He lets me take it because – with much amusement – he points out it was made here, and I was only returning kangaroo to its point of origin. But he told me to go left not right so as to avoid sniffer dogs. Yes, that’s the caliber of tourist Jindabyne now has ambling around its streets. 

Some hard copy books available for a short time

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Now’s the time to contact me and let me know if you want a hard copy. I have to know numbers before I get these printed. Leave a comment on this post to order one or go in to twitter (@sniskybobfry) or Facebook (OutrageousOutlander) and message me there. Best option: send me your contact details and postal address to jeffries.jenny@gmail.com

AT LAST! The e-book is up and live

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Link to Amazon here

The story is about 276 pages long, but half of those are graphics or photos. It is picture-heavy, because I wanted you to enjoy the glory of what it looked like as well as the funny experiences I had. I apologise now for the small font, which was chosen so that the book was able to be printed later, but hope you can increase it on your device (by stretching it open between fingers!) in order not to have to squint.

I would love to hear what you think of the complete story, and welcome your comments. ENJOY.

First draft of the ‘Following Claire’ story done!

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Not the most exciting picture, but there’s my messy desk space after finishing the first draft of the story – all 200 pages. Now it needs editing and making pretty with lots of pictures and illustrations. I hope you are hanging in there with me. And I hope it turns out to be a worthwhile read. I’m going to hopefully upload to Amazon, where you can download to Kindle or have it printed as a hard copy. Watch this space.

Some light tartan relief

 Last night some friends and I celebrated our Midwinter Christmas, in a Scottish theme because of my recent trip. Imagine our delight to hear the pipes so loud outside and see this vision arriving – the car speakers blaring out the music. Enjoy.  

   
   

A fuller version coming. . .

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I’m home now, and going through all my papers and tickets and photos. I want to write up my month in Scotland as a narrative, illustrated with cartoons and photos. To that end, I’ve started the first few pages, and attached them here. These are just to give an idea of the style, but I’d be happy for some feedback. Too much info? I’m going to add mileage and costs as I go too. Even if it ends up for my own record of the trip, it will be worth it I think. I want to print this out as a book at the end, so bear that in mind as you read.

Enjoy. (Click on the link below).

Following Claire

Day Twenty-Nine – Wigtown, Scotland all the way to Chester, Wales with tears

This map will NOT turn around – you’ll have to twist your head, sorry. Loooong drive down the M6 today, to Wales.     

Splendid start to the day though. I was actually up in time to see the dawn at 4:30, and the bird song!! Something else. As you see by photo below, had a lovely room in this old late 17th century house. And I couldn’t leave without a meeting with Black Jack himself! 

     

I took Deborah Firth’s advice, and went to visit the Matyrs’ Stake and the graves nearby. Two Margaret’s: one a 63 yr old (oldest in the village) and the other 18 yrs old, (youngest), were staked out in the incoming tide to force them to recant their idea that Christ was head of his church, rather than the King of Scotland at the time (Stuarts)!! They were part of a medieval group called Covenanters, so named because they took a covenant to uphold the faith as they knew it. The older woman staked closer to the tide in hopes her death would influence the younger. It didn’t – both died and their bodies buried in nearby graveyard. I was more moved by this simple and tragic couple of deaths and the many memorials to them than even Culloden, I think. Hence the number of pics. 

           

 After this poignant reflection, I took myself down to Wigtown again, to delve into the bookstores. Particularly one calling itself ‘Scotland’s biggest bookstore’ – and it was truly delectable. I bought two old books: one by a similar adventurer as myself, back in the 1940’s who wrote an account of his Highland travels. The other a serious tome with many illustrations outlining every road in Scotland and its topography. From a similar period.  

       

I had a bracing latte across the road and chatted to the only other Kiwi in town, a lassie called Jeannie from Gore. Then it was time to head East, past the Cairn Holy – a very ancient cairn (which I naturally tried to squeeze between). What a view of the whole area on this glorious sunny day. 

    

I attempted to go to Threave Castle, where a boatman will row you across to the island where the castle sits, but by the time I had driven through Douglas Castle (a town! Not the castle I thought) and found the real thing, it required yet another walk, and time was pressing. I am ashamed to confess I ate a salad in the carpark and then continued on through Dumfries and Galloway, finally hitting the M6 south. At this point after 30 minutes of driving I also realised I’d left Scotland, and felt a bit slumpy. It has been astonishingly good to be here. Every day full of a myriad of gentle pleasures – some huge.  I decided to boot it and go to Chester, in Wales, for this break in my journey South. I remember the Elizabethan building from my last trip there in 1989. Still the same! Surprise, surprise. 

       

I found a lively little Italian bistro in the old city, after securing a cheap and cheerful room in the outer perimetre at a Family Hotel called The Oaklands (£30). The Bistro served a delicious SALAD  

    

I walked back to the carpark via the old city wall. Lovely in evening sun with everyone outdoors enjoying summer night as well. 

     

Tomorrow the Scottish adventure officially over. I hope you’ve enjoyed the posts. I’m also hoping to put the whole adventure in a printed form with pics and prices. I’ll keep you informed in case anyone wants a copy of that. Tomorrow I join a wonderful group of friends/family in Bournemouth for a week, followed by five days in Amsterdam for the first time. Then I aim to be home in New Zealand by 25 June. Thanks for following me as I follow Claire. 😘