Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Road Trip- Part I

We don't go on holidays. This is because we have everything we need to be comfortable at home...and because we are cheap...and because my husband, Sparky, doesn't like sleeping in strange beds and waking up in unknown surroundings. Instead we do the day trip.

Sparky boasts that, we can do more in one day than most people can do in a week. I thought I would test that theory. I reckon I can write about our day trip to Russell Crowe's museum and stretch it over five days, as it is jam packed with fun, arguments, tales of paranoia, bickering, undercover policemen, arguments, op shop finds, subterfuge and familial togetherness.

image from here

We left early yesterday morning for the Nymboida Coaching Inn where the Russell Crowe museum is located. Sparky likes Gladiator and is a mad Rabbitohs supporter, so the idea made sense. He sweetened the deal by adding op-shopping in every small town to the itinerary. I don't care where we go, just as long as we hit that wide open road baby and there is an op-shop on the horizon!

We headed south, bound for the mighty Nymboida! This trip held the promise of actual stops on the way, instead of the usual acceleration past anything that looks remotely interesting. Within minutes, we started bickering about withdrawing money from an ATM. An uneasy silence ensued until first stop, New Italy.

New Italy had its beginnings in 1880, when families of farmers from the region of Veneto in Northern Italy, were beguiled by the Marquis de Rays to purchase homes and fertile land in a phantom paradise of the Pacific named La Nouvelle France (an imaginary kingdom in the Bismarck Archipelago)." Don't you love the word beguiled? This is a fascinating story. All of these poor Italians were dumped in the scrub country  and left to their own devices. They survived and barely held onto their culture. The Northern Rivers isn't exactly a hotbead of Italian restaurants and vineyards. However, the first generation settlers made wine, grew mulberries for silk, constructed large mud brick dwellings and established agriculture of sorts.

Within minutes of arrival in the Regional Pavilion, (complete with some fantastic naive artworks, I might add), we started bickering about the region that daughter Clance (now in year 12), studied in year five! She persisted in her paranoia that the school had had it in for her, and had given her the worst region to study. She was surprised to learn that we knew all about bloody Trentino, because as she had made such a song and dance of her injustices,  we had basically done the assignment for her! People turned and looked at us as our arguments echoed throughout the cavernous shed. We stared back. We didn't care. We were on a one day holiday road trip!

image from here

We hit the road again. Within minutes I found that Sparky was tail-gating the car in front of us. This sparked the discussion/argument of what constitutes 3 seconds, the time recommended to be between cars. I advocated the word "and." As in, one aaand two aaand three. Sparky was of the opinion that "thousand" was the correct word,  whilst Clance advocated the word "elephant." I also threw in the word "mississippi" as I am sure someone like Trixie Belden used it.

Twenty minutes later, after some help from the ipod stop watch, it was concluded that "elephant" is the word du jour if you  are counting in seconds. However, I am not sure if it helped with the tailgating issue.

Next turn off Chatswood, home of the Causleys. A little loop road that follows the Clarence River and was once part of the Pacific Highway. Only did a drive by, but very picturesque, nice old buildings, good roof lines and a little general store. Apparently there is a very nice restaurant there, but no op-shop. There is always the hope of some dusty and deserted op-shop that is just waiting for that magical person to discover it. The Brigadoon of op-shops. It will be filled with riches beyond your wildest imagination! Ah, one can  but dream. Next stop, Ulmarra. xxNick

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