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Hello all

I know … I know … I began our holiday with visits to artesian spas and now I am ending our travels with more artesian spas! Very fitting methinks.

Although I have to confess, after two spas in two different towns today, I am a little ‘spa’d out’ right now and I’ll tell you why. We began the day in Walgett (pop 1800) which has a small artesian spa for free at their Public Pool, therefore by 8.15 am we were all packed and on our way to the spa in town.

Soon after, we were delighting in the beautiful warm spa waters of Australia’s artesian basin. How wonderful! Three hours later we arrived in another town called Moree (pop 8,245) where we purposely stayed in a caravan park which has five different spa pools all of different temperatures. It’s an amazing place!

Of course, as soon as we had a chance, we were trying out all the different pools. I have to say dear friends, that they were full of ‘old people’ (not US of course) all hoping for some miraculous cure or other. Or perhaps they were like us and found their aching limbs responded well to sitting in the beautiful warm waters. There sure were a lot of aged people in those baths!

However, I digress! There has been more to our travels than spa pools folks … more … much more. Oh it is hard to believe that this time it is actually about to end. We arrive home on Thursday. Now everybody weep … as we will be weeping come Thursday morning.

Leaving Broken Hill we travelled through Wilcannia (pop 900) a town having massive problems with their aborigine community. We were told "do NOT get petrol here; do not stop here!" We did both! I even went into the local store and bought ham and a drink for lunch. I asked the woman why the place was so quiet and she replied "They're all in Broken Hill for a football final. Just wait until they all come back!!" I saw some vintage cars on their way to Perth when Geoff was getting petrol.

Leaving Broken Hill we travelled through Wilcannia (pop 900) a town having massive problems with their aborigine community. We were told “do NOT get petrol here; do not stop here!” We did both! I even went into the local store and bought ham and a drink for lunch. I asked the woman why the place was so quiet and she replied “They’re all in Broken Hill for a football final. Just wait until they all come back!!” It was our lucky day. I also saw some vintage cars on their way to Perth when Geoff was getting petrol.

Now, let’s get back to where we left off at Broken Hill. We were on such a high after we arrived there that the next day was a bit of a downer for us. Everything seemed harder. We were tired of looking at mines and museums and everything annoyed us. Why were we so tired?

Geoff had been doing a lot more driving per day hoping to get us home earlier, so when we arrived at 5pm at Cobar (another mining town: silver and gold, pop 2500) we went “ho hum … we’re too tired to really care.”

It was not long after this that I made an executive decision dear friends! We would not drive so far the next day. We would stop trying to get home quickly and begin – once again – to enjoy ourselves and get home whenever we got home. It worked!

Now isn’t this interesting? As soon as we made this decision – on the road between Cobar and Bourke – circumstances occurred to make it come into being. I still find it hard to believe actually. It happened like this:

I was trying to rendezvous with a friend in Bourke who was leaving the day we were arriving. We knew it would be tricky so when I arrived I phoned her on her mobile and she said “We have just been to the Bakery to get some goodies and left town. What a shame!”

A conversation about the Bakery ensued which led us to visit and have coffee and cake before we left for the next town. We asked the shop assistant about this town and she was adamant that we weren’t to stay there; it wasn’t safe; it was too small etc.

And then dear friends, a sales pitch for us to stay in the town of Bourke came flowing out of her mouth and it was so convincing that we were almost saying “So where do we sign up?” There was mention of Poet’s Dinners at the Bush Camp and rides on a paddle steamer and more besides.

Next minute, we are pulling in to Kidman’s Bush Camp and having the time of our lives … and yes, the paddle steamer up the Darling River was just wonderful the next day that we didn’t leave until midday. We had such a great time in Bourke all thanks to our friend Katrina and our desire to take it easy!

Therefore, we just keep driving as far as it is comfortable to drive in a day, arrive around 2-3pm and enjoy the rest of our time in that town.

On this note I will leave you tonight … heavy of heart about returning home … but knowing it has to happen. As my granddaughter Alice (13) said sadly to her mother the other day “Mum, I’ve forgotten what Grandma’s voice sounds like.”

And that means, dear ones,that I must go home. Talking on the phone doesn’t cut the mustard apparently.  I need to go home to chat to my grandchildren. Time for me to disconnect with my travels and reconnect with my family …

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