A personal diary about life in a country town, Bungendore NSW Australia

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Another Country Diary

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31 December '05
New Year's Eve and we decide not to go into Canberra for fireworks (they were not sure if they'd light up because of the fire danger).
So we decided to stay local and started by going to the new Hunnyz restaurant, where the Beetle Nut was. They were having a 60s night, dress up. I looked for my Indian hippie shirt but couldn't find it.

I did take along this picture of me in the 60s with long hair just to prove I was there.

That's me with Margaret, then a teacher at Moe High School, we lived in a shared house (with three other teachers) in Hillend in Gippsland, Victoria. I was working 3 days a week at Clemenger Advertising in Melbourne, travelling hours each day or staying overnight with friends if I was too tired or had late film shoots or edits. It was the happiest balance of work and home that I remember. Until now.

I haven't included much about past loves in this diary because it's current and Jan and I have been happily together for about 15 years now and there's always a sensitivity to mentioning past relationships.

(There's that Yevtushenko poem again. "My first love, forgive me that I call you 'first' ")

Anyhow, we walked with our BYO bag to Hunnyz and all the family were there. Peter Cox and Jenny are giving daughters Teagan and Shazi a chance to run their own restaurant (and were hovering watchful from the sidelines). Although Peter did say he actually got to be hands on - and do dishes.

We passed on the spiced lentils but the The Hits of the 60s CD was good. The Doors. Mamas and Pappas...

We talked for a bit outside in the cool when the last customers had gone, then strolled back to check out the 'action' at both pubs and bowling club. Everyone looked a bit hot and tired.

So we said goodnight to the Fitzgeralds, Margasons and neighbour Fleur outside the Harp and we decided to head home and see the new year in on the TV with a cold champagne.

We got absorbed by the Cirque Soliel special on ABC TV and watched it until it finished about one o'clock.

Gosh we're an exciting couple. Oh well, I do like this town.
Happy New Year Bungendore.

28 December '05
It's so quiet in Bungendore! Where is everybody? We decided it was too hot to cook, so went to the Mandarin at the bottom pub. We walked on a warm night which one of the advantages of living in town. You can have a couple of glasses of wine and not worry.

There were only a few  customers, and the bar was quiet as well. The window lights stay the same all year round and have an irritating programmed cycle. Tonight they seem ok and 'Christmassy'.

With no noise, few customers and the everpresent musak from their favourite Chinese Richard Clayderman sound alike, piano CD doing Simon and Garfunkle classics - it was all a bit unreal.

Walking back, the Lollies shop window looked festive. It seems to be able to do enough business on weekends and holidays to survive, the other shops in the centre where the Bungendore Medical Centre is have come and gone or changed.

The town's Christmas decorations were very understated this year. Dean, our neighbour on the corner, didn't take his party lights down from two years ago, but hasn't turned them on this year.

I bought some long strings of small lights with the idea of wrapping them around one of the huge cypress trees out front of our place and after ten minutes with the ladder realised that it needed a cherry picker crane. Too high, too scratchy.

Back home and I reckon an iced coffee would be just right.

26 December '05
The nice thing about having the family come to Canberra, was that we didn't spend days driving, and the dogs and cat didn't go to kennels. But that meant they wanted their regular walk instead of us having a boxing day lazy afternoon. Let me take you on a typical walk on a quiet Boxing Day ( I think we were heading to get a DVD from the Video Store.)

Max knows you really are going for a walk when you take down the leads from the hook.



I spend my time following, sometimes running to catch up if I stop and take pictures. Jan is used to it, and in seeing herself photographed from behind.



There are some dogs who always come to the fence and bark. This is one of those. Apparently it barks all night as well. We try and keeps ours quiet but when the possums fight, I have to go out and yell and lock them inside.

St. Philips Church's rectory? whatever, minister's house has been a bit neglected at times, but it's been repainted and I've never seen the lavender as nice as it is now.

Outside the Royal was this huge cut slab of wood heading for some table I presume. I'd picked up a card a few days before when I took our mower in for service in Fyshwick advertising their services.

As we go past the Pet and Produce supplies the dog inside goes ballistic, snarling and bashing against the glass. Fudge gets similarly nasty, then when dragged off, gets quite cocky "That showed him" and he struts and puffs.

Dogs make way for kids on bikes (when you hear them coming).

Fudge used to think horses where big dogs and was fascinated, not aggressive at all just fascinated, he'd get stepped on if he was allowed near one. He's got used to the one in the lane now. I pull up handfuls of grass when there's none in the yard like now. And fall further behind so I catch Jan up at the home gate.

25 December '05
Christmas this year was in Canberra. Mostly we go to Melbourne where Jan's Mum and Dad live, but sometimes we get everyone to come here. Jan's sister Bev and husband Graham live in Canberra so they hosted this year. We had everyone come to Bungendore two years ago.

Nanny brought the traditional table decorations with her.

Jan's brother Ian and his wife Jill came from New Zealand. That's him carving a Paul Darmody (our Bungendore Butcher) ham.

The ham was a big hit. Soft, moist and 'very nice' was the opinion. It was a medium sized, full shoulder ham and will last for weeks.



Family together and the usual feast (I wrote about what we eat for Christmas in this diary entry)




But even the people you love look silly in those Christmas Cracker paper hats.


24 December '05
We bought our cherries from the corner like last year, they come from the Hoad orchard in Young.
This is the few that were left and the aftermath of Christmas present wrapping. It's hot, and with the window blinds closed you get shafts of sunlight around their edges that makes everything look purposefully lit.
20 December '05
It looks pretty but the St Johns Wort (Hypericum perforatumis) doing very nicely in the paddocks around here due to the rain, and it's poisonous to stock. Of course any weed is just a useful plant growing in the wrong place and Mrs Grieves Herbal tells us how useful it is. She also relates that it's latin name "Hyperieum is derived from the Greek and means 'over an apparition,' a reference to the belief that the herb was so obnoxious to evil spirits that a whiff of it would cause them to fly". Handy stuff to have around with all those supernatural shows on TV, (and it may be good for depression but there's a lot of discussion about that.) Just click on the image for a larger version.
22 December '05
Digital Mechanics Christmas lunch at Frattini in Leichardt, I was invited once again, thank you Doug and Anna.
One less limoncello would have been about right.
6 December '05

Sorry for the big download, but a small image didn't do it justice. It had just rained, late afternoon light and I stepped out the front door where this climbing rose goes up the iron work verandah. It had been a dreary day and suddenly there was this.

3 December '05

We drove to Melbourne for a weekend for a round of family birthdays, including this one for Aurore's mum, Annette.




30 November '05
On the Bungendore Queanbeyan road, just before or after Sparrows Hill depending if you're coming or going, is a plantation of pines on the north of the road. For about a week, this gum tree blossomed with a snow of white flowers and it was impossible to drive past without noticing. Feeling christmassy and not having set up and decorated a tree at home yet, this was my Christmas tree.

I stopped and climbed the fence and photographed it up close. It was alive with insects and bees.

A week later, the blossom went dull brown, then it was gone and the tree retreated from centre stage to being just another native against a back drop of boring pinus radiatta.

Fred Harden    
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Bungendore Country Diary by Fred Harden