Our first port of call this morning was to Radio 2YOU to chat to David Logan about the cerebral benefits of solving crosswords, and his many Tamworth listeners were soon phoning in to answer some of our trivia questions and claim a prize.
Next stop was Tamworth’s Bicentennial Park, where we admired the bronze sculpture of an Australian trooper saying farewell to his Waler horse in the deserts of the Middle East at the end of WWI. The horses were either killed in action, sold to other armies or shot in the desert by a trooper’s mate, rather than leave their old companion behind to become a beast of burden.
A quick cup of coffee in Tamworth - and didn’t the barista make them look pretty? Then it was back in the saddle, for the three-hour drive to Singleton. We stopped at Wallabadah on the way, to see the famous memorial for the First Fleet descendants. It’s the only memorial in Australia that lists every person who sailed on the First Fleet, both crew members and convicts. Descendants meet up here for family reunions and quiet reflection. Some interesting quotes from the crew tell us much about their way of thinking in those days, such as this one from George Worgan, surgeon of the Sirius: ”We have had a few trials, and plenty of flogging, but I believe the Devil’s in them and can’t be flogged out”
The road from Tamworth to Singleton is lined with mauve-flowering jacaranda trees, heralding the HSC exams. Ever since Patrick was in Year 12, I’ve associated the beautiful jacarandas with the terror of the final school exams, in October and November. They are looking very vivid and lush this year, creating carpets of mauve blossoms beneath them.
By the time we arrived in Singleton, we decided we deserved a treat, so instead of staying at the caravan park, we booked into an apartment where we could park the van outside and sort ourselves out. Luxury!
Explaining cryptic crossword clues to the ladies (and some husbands who came along) of the Singleton CWA was our next task. It’s very satisfying when the session starts with: “Oh no, not those cryptics, I couldn’t possibly solve them!” but ends with: “Ah! So THAT’S how it works!”
After our night of luxury at The Stables, (which makes us sound like a couple of nags) it was off to the Singleton newsagency and then the two-hour drive to Forster, where we are staying in our holiday home by Wallace Lake, in Whoota. Wonderful to be here again. Anyone who is lucky enough to have a holiday home knows how relaxing it is to get there, and how we’re often too busy to get there at all.