Shell and Rob

If you take the only tarred road into Ivanhoe from the south, the first thing you’ll see on the right hand side is a typical country service station. I say ‘typical’ because it looks quite run down and yet you can buy petrol, food and other groceries and get your car towed or serviced or even stay overnight in one of the cabins ‘out the back’. The owners, Shell and Rob are the kind of people who will call a spade a spade – or maybe “a bloody shovel”. They tell it how it is – warts and all – and if that involves the occasional expletive then what the f***.

Apparently there was an occasion where a Sydney radio station randomly chose the service station to do an interview about Ivanhoe’s famous / infamous hot summers. When Shell answered, there were quite a few worried locals – as to just how much of the interview might have to be ‘bleeped’ out. That kind of outspokenness sometimes puts them at odds with other locals but they are very much “what you see is what you get”.

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A Day in the Life

8.00 Sneak out of bed early leaving Nigel to catch a few more Zs. Contrary to ‘normal’ policing hours he starts work at 9am and finishes at 5pm……. are the city cops jealous? Time to water some of the backyard (‘some’ because there are water restrictions after 9 am and very low water pressure = about 3 hours to do the whole yard); weigh self and make a mental note not to eat any more of Jackson’s chocolates – even though he did say to take whatever I wanted in his fridge (his way of getting me to clean out the fridge) while he’s away and I’m feeding Moses (cat).

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Mr Baird and Loma Marshall

Bill Baird, 92, delivers mail, milk, groceries to Hay, Ivanhoe 

Mr Bill BairdOne of Ivanhoe’s best-loved characters is Mr Baird, who delivers groceries to the General Store in Ivanhoe as well as door-to-door deliveries of meat orders. The fact that the locals refer to him as Mr Baird (never Bill) shows the respect that they have for this gentleman of the Bush. Mr Baird’s good friend, Loma Marshall lives up the road at Mossgiel where he would regularly stop for lunch on his way to Ivanhoe. Before the road was tarred, wet weather would see Loma running alongside Mr Baird’s truck so that he didn’t need to slow down (and get bogged) to get his lunch. I didn’t write these two articles but they tell their stories much better than I could. The articles were written by Sam Williams and published in the Daily Telegraph in January (2009) – photos by Nathan Edwards.

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Cameron Corner

We’ve just managed to chalk up 1700 km on dirt roads and almost made it back from Cameron Corner intact. I say almost because we lost our wire cage, which housed the spare tyre on the roof, when we were going over a dry creek bed. The boulders were quite big and when the back of the car flicked out the bolts shirred off and were nowhere to be found. Luckily the tyre and the cage fitted into the back of the car and we continued on our merry way. The only other mishap was unexpected rain, which meant that we slid the last 20 kms of our trip back home.


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Back from South Oz

Living in Ivanhoe allows us to travel interstate to Victoria with relative ease but recently we managed a quick trip (3 days) to South Australia. As well as the city, we visited the Barossa Valley and the Adelaide Hills with their tiny villages (Hahndorf was spectacular despite the rain) and a few beach suburbs including Victor Harbour on the Fleurieu Peninsula.

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Ivanhoe News Ivanhoe Blues

I may just have been a tad early in proclaiming my new non-complaining self so this email comes with a warning of verbal diarrhoea, hyperbole and the like. If you’re looking for someone to blame, then that would be Number 2 son, who encouraged me to write this all down so that someone else might be cheered by the knowledge that things go wrong for other people too.

As you know, the only mishap during our trip to Cameron Corner was a ‘Challenger vs rocky creek bed’ moment where our Rhino Rack became separated from the roof of the car.

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Progressive Score – Two to Kaye

Following on from our last email – and in the same gin, razor blades and Leonard Cohen mood – I forgot to mention event number 5, which happened recently on a solo trip to Paradise. With one car between us it seems that Nigel has seamlessly fallen into the role of designated driver on long distance trips, which means that I get to sit and stare out the window, admiring the view and keeping watch for stray emus. Continue reading “Progressive Score – Two to Kaye”

Off to Europe

On Wednesday after Nigel finishes work, we’ll be out of Ivanhoe and on our way to cooler pastures (aka anywhere else on the planet) in France and Germany where the average temperature is around 3 degrees at the moment. First stop is Cowra Caravan Park (, which at just over 6 hours ‘down the road’ and, even knocking off work early (thanks to a brilliant roster clerk), is still quite a tiring drive. We’ve stayed here overnight so many times that the park managers treat us like old friends – leaving our cabin porch light on and, in winter, the heater and electric blanket too.

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Back in Oz

Nigel and I are back home after our whirlwind trip to Europe and despite coming down with colds (wind chill factor one degree on a Bateau Mouche on the Seine),  we had a fantastic time catching up with Jeremy as well as fitting in lots of sight-seeing. A big Thank you to Steve for the day trip to the Czech Republic and to Jeremy for the drive to Dresden, dinner in Nuerenberg and excursion to Wuerzburg in a very nice hire car (Mercedes) on the way to Frankfurt.

We also did a couple of impromptu fast train trips – to  Belgium (320 kph) to sample the chocolates as well as Tours – “I’m sure there are castles around here somewhere” – and, lastly a stop over in Singapore on the way home.

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A Christmas to Remember

While Nigel was due back at work after Europe, Kaye got to catch up with family for Christmas before making the (6am!!) return train trip  to Ivanhoe.

I arrived on the Monday before Christmas to discover that if you go away for any length of time, people forget all about you and, consequently,  no one at either the pub or the club had thought to order in my favourite Champagne for the festive season.  Now if I had known this, I would seriously have been tempted to ditch the suitcases of clothes at the train station and replace them with a carton or two of Jacob’s Creek!

The problem is that I seem to be the only ‘Bubbly’ drinker in town – remembering that I drank the town dry of Champagne in the week we arrived in 2007!  Since then I have definitely made some progress and after quite a bit of hint-dropping , I am now able to sit at the bar, sipping my Champagne out of a flute rather than a red wine goblet. When the barman says “Where’s the Champagne glass?” he’s not being funny.

So Christmas Day was rather ‘dry’ in that respect, yet memorable all the same.

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