Tonight we are in Rockhampton, well on our way to Townsville, where the SCQuilters’ retreat is happening this weekend. The weather isn’t so great, and everyone we’re seeing is complaining about the wintry temperatures. We drove mostly through the rain today. No shorts in sight.
It’s autumn – the end of the growing season here – and I’m noticing the fruits of the season as we drive. The first day north from Newcastle we saw banana plantations, with all the clusters of bananas covered by plastic bags. This keeps them safe from marauding bats and birds, and probably helps them ripen.
Yesterday we drove by a coffee plantation, and lots of sugar cane fields.
I know we’ll see more further north – frankly, I am a bit surprised by all the very warm weather crops growing so far south. (especially since it doesn’t feel that warm just now!) I’ve clearly forgotten, since the last time we drove through this area, what grew where. Or maybe we’re further north than I thought we were!
Today, we drove through orange groves and even saw a couple of cotton fields. I KNOW I didn’t see this before – we took a new road north, so that we could avoid a lot of construction on the main highway. I’m sure it’ll be a great highway when it’s done, just not now….
Those of you who have followed me for a while will know I’m particularly interested in huge tacky icons that we see on the side of the roads we drive. Think of the Fork in the Road in New York state from two years ago, or the huge lobster in South Australia that was made much bigger than they intended because they mixed up the measurements (makes me think of the movie “This is Spinal Tap”!). Sometimes it’s difficult to stop for a photograph when we see them (I’ve already missed taking a picture of the Big Banana, which I saw two days ago….) Yesterday we drove off the highway to get petrol, and we saw the closed up information centre with the Big Prawn on the roof. How could I resist??
We also sometimes see some very funny signs. Yesterday John spotted one that said “Horse Spelling and Agistment”. We were by it before we could take a picture, but I couldn’t help but wonder why horses would need to learn to spell???
Before we left New South Wales we stopped off in a little place called Tumbulgum (and it’s pronounced Tum BUL gum) to have coffee with our friend, Linda Nicastri. We met her when we sang at her shop, the Horsley Patch, on the outskirts of Sydney a few years ago. She and her family were just packing up to move north to Murwillumbah, so we had to see how she was doing. It’s going well. Her son has set up a high-end car repair shop in a large building, and Linda has her quilting studio/shop in a big room at one end. We can’t wait to see it when we come back south. She has asked me to come back and do a Mock Mola class for her!
The class will be on Monday July 16th. She’s trying to find me some black batting for the class, and some Matilda’s Own wool batting, my favourite, which I’ll take home, if there’s room in the suitcases.
In two days we’ll arrive in Townsville, and the SCQuilters festivities will begin! More on this later, but suffice to say, there will be “Axe Murderers”, polka dots, and tiaras!!!! Can’t wait!