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:: Tuesday, 23 November 2004 ::

DAY TEN:
219932 on the clock and I am back in Sydney. Massive Mazda action for the drive from Tamworth back home. And just what was spied on this trip?

- The landscape outside of Tamworth south of town is suddenly a little more dry, not much mind, still with the greeeness but only a tinge now in comparison with further north.

- There are loads of little towns all the way along the new England Highway, so the speed changes out from 100 down to 60, 50 and 40 (I kid you not) in some parts. I felt sure I could have got out and pushed the car faster than the speed signs allowed. A gorgeous tiny stone church in Murrundi. Everything else in town seemed made of wood but the church was a delight. Some weatherboard country pubs that so deserve to be revisited. The acoustics of those joints would be fab, I will wager.

- Stopped for scones in Scone, natch, but the bakery was all out. Sadness for an instant. Sure, there was lingering desire to consume a scone superpronto – you how it goes when you are told you cannot have something – but if there just ain’t any left in the bakery whachagonna do about it? Cook ‘em up yersel’? I do not think so.

- Sconeshire (I kid you not) is horse country. Lovely roadside pleasure to be had for those of us who are equine lovers. Much toot tooting from me, to get the attention of the lovely ponies. Most looking up but only one trotting alongside the fence.

- Nearby to Scone, still within Sconeshire, is Aberdeen. Tiny tidy town but it has a cakeshop and....welll, yep, I found some scones there. Culinary satisfaction achieved. And boyo were they good.

- On to Muswellbrook - ‘Bursting with Energy’ – whoo, ya got that right. There is a big electricity substantiony-kinda place as you drive in on highway and a huge colliery and more power lines everywhere. So much for that Sibelius work I was listening to (not really enjoying but, all a bit too much like hard work, Ol’ Sibelius. I prefer my Finland represented by the lead foot of rally hero Aari Vatenen, the light fingers of architect/designer hero Ero Saarinen and the whoevertheyare fabulous workers at Marrimekko fabric designs. But that is just me).

- Through Singleton, the entrance to the Hunter Valley – wine country. Mmmmmmmmm, wine. Not for me but. Drivey drivey. Kept onto the New England Highway until getting close to Newcastle then swerving off to miss it and just head on home. I am sorry about that cos dockside Newcastle would have been fun. But needs must and home called.

- So I’m heading out on the SydneyNewcastle Highway looking for a love getaway...nooo, a petrol shop actually. And I decide to get all judgey in ‘And Justice for All’ – amemba? The crazy judge who would take his helicopter out just a little farther everyday, testing the limits of his fuel consumption? Til he ends up spluttering into the shallow beach waters, with Al Pacino in tow, when his rig runs outta gas and drops outta the sky? Amemba? Top movie. Welll, I keep on truckin’ on the Highway, and the Mazda is draining draining getting very close to ‘E’. And I decide to visit the double word town of the day - Mooney Mooney (having gone past Kurri Kurri earlier but it was not a standout like Mooney Mooney – keep reading) – cos I read somewhere that it has an excellent little windy bendy isolated drive for a few k’s off the highway. Well. It sure does. And that drive is spectacular – all isolated, and bendy and winding – but I mostly mean ‘spectacular’ in the sense that it is quite a spectacle to find an hysterical wog in a li’ red car, hooning up winding bits and coasting in neutral down winding bits, frightened to the bejusus that the car will just splutter to a stop in the middle of nowhere cos the ‘E’ has now been fully engaged - no gas – and maybe I have erred badly in my ‘And Justice for All’ homage. I terrified a poor cyclist who I happened upon round one bend. He was just wandering along pushing his pushbike, saw me hit the brakes hanging on the horn yelling ‘petrol’ at the top of my lungs. He sweetly told me ‘2k’s on your right’ and I breathed out for the first time in what felt like a half hour (but cannot have been more than 10 or so minutes). I took off, and reinvigorated my idea that ‘E’ does not really mean ‘empty’, there is usually plenty more petrol left in the tank after the ‘E’ gets engaged. I mean, I grew up in a FIAT1500 that could run the trip from the foot of the Macedon hills into Melbourne on the smell of an oily rag. Well, maybe a rag being waved by an oily wog, but you get the picture. And sure ‘nuff, I never need have worried ‘bout the Mazda. My mucho coasting in neutral down the windywindiness was pointless and stopped me enjoying the real fun of the road. Cos the Mazda was fine. It got filled with some obscure optimal unleaded and the money showed there was plenty more gas to go. And it got a quiet hug from me...cos it is so tiny it can be hugged and it is just so darned great it deserves one.

- One authentic Mooney Mooney roadhouse cheeseburger later and we were off, soon to reach the dreadful Pacific Highway back home. Same road as travelled to get outta town, so no need to revisit in this blog post. Except to say the lanes are too skinny and the road surface too patchy to be recommended as a fun driving experience. Mr Carr - rip up this road!

- Home through the tunnel and along the Eastern Distributor and a toot toot into the garage to announce safe arrival after this wierdo road trip that I took pretty much on a whim. But what a whim. Never having driven north of Gosford before this was one eye opening journey. The countryside looked great – granted from recent rains, so I have been fortunate to view it looking lush and not sunburnt – the architecture was inspiring – homes made out of Ironbark fergoodnesssakes – the food was downright odd – crab sandwich anyone? – and and the people uniformly friendly, from servos to bakeries to pubs. And my hosts were just troopers, showing me round. Big hugs to the Horton Lyons Charity Workers who formed the very basis for the trip.

- I am without doubt a better Australian for having made this journey – which means natch I am an improved wog. Thanks so much for all the emails.

- Lastly, I wanted to record what I was listening to throughout the drive. I did manage to get myself finally, after a good year’s looking, a copy of Bryn Ferry’s version of Dylan’s ‘Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall’. Did I find it in Murgon? I cannot recall – some country bin had it. Lots of Paul Simon and Glenn Tilbrook and Maria McKee. Lots of country radio. Gomez, Primal Scream, Creedence, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Radney Foster, Billy Joe Shaver, Junior Brown, Lyle Lovett. Lots of ABC Classical radio. Ben Folds Five, Regurgitator, ACDC, Jet, even a bit of the Black Velvet Bush Band. Wilco, Motherhips, Randy Newman, Warren Zevon. Music makes every bit of road, whether dreary or delightful, just that little bit better. And I thought I might try my hand at a bit of musical poetry (would not dare try the galloping meter of A.B Paterson) so here is an adaptation of ‘Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall’ to commemorate my trip:

Where have you been, ya red-headed wog?
Where have you been, and what’s on your blog?
I've driven to a lookout for the Glass House mountains,
I've walked and I've crawled on Mooloolaba boardwalk,
I've stepped in the middle of the Bunyah State forest,
I've driven past a dozen blue beaches,
I've been two thousand miles in a little red Mazda,

It's a hard, and it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard,
It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

Oh, what did you see, ya red-headed wog?
What did you see, and did you post on your blog?
I saw a Kingaroy house with rocks all around it,
I saw a long bendy road with no petrol station,
I saw a Tinny Pub with spicy jerky for sale,
I saw a room full of men watch me go to ‘ladies’,
I saw a Bower bird nest all covered with blue things,
I saw a thousand families all proud of their school kids,

And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard,
It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

What did you hear, ya red-headed wog?
And what did you hear, and what’s on your blog?
I heard the sound of a 38 Ford cruising Sunday,
I heard the roar of a crowd that gave Clarkey applause,
Heard one hundred country songs all of them perfect,
Heard a dozen cows whisper ‘get her’ as I drove by,
I heard one person whine ‘bout the US election,
Heard the sound of a poem on a late night verandah,

And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard,
It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

Who did you meet, ya red-headed wog?
Who did you meet, and what’s on your blog?
I met an enormous vintner at the famous Crane’s Winery
Met up with a city lawyer living fine up in Buderim,
Met up with a teevee buddy whose parents are golden,
I met the van-folks who sell those Kingaroy Peanuts,
I met one tiny girl who gave me a facial,
I met a man who had the last tank of Optimax,

It's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard,
It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

Oh, what'll you do now, ya red-headed wog?
What'll you do now, and will you post on your blog?
I'm a-goin' back to work, to the office and long hours',
I'll think of my next trip, down the Great Ocean Road,
I think, maybe to Douglas Harrow in North West Victoria,
But wherever chosen the Mazda will drive it,
Cos no matter four lane, two lane or gravel,
The MX-5 can handle the travel
Where the roads are bendy, straight, smooth or all potholed,
Where red is the color and one is the number,
And I'll thrash it and wash it and I’ll get it all serviced,
I’ll drive with the top down with music a-blarin’,
And I'll fire up the engine and head on the highway,
And I’ll stop for gelato in tiny town by-ways…

And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard,
It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

It's a hard rain's a gonna fall
It's a hard rain's a gonna fall


Thanks everyone for the kind words about the trip and the posts.


:: WB 11:04 p.m. [link+] ::
:: Monday, 22 November 2004 ::
DAY NINE:
219511 on the clock (major use of Mazda today. Driving from Buderim to Tamworth. What did we see?

- Yet another dinosaur (I neglected to mention the one yesterday used to advertise I think, if memory serves, a petrol station), this time advertising …a petrol station again. Yesterday it was a pale almost white brontosaurus, today it was one of the rhino-looking things with the frill neck. What IS that all about?

- Leaving Buderim was easy peasy, and the drive past Brisvegas on the Gateway Toll thingy was easy but for the sheer number of tolls - three in all - and the Monday morning traffic.

- Lunch in Tenterfield, the home of Oz, apparently, as well as the home of big gay Peter Allen, something to do with Barton? And Federation? And speeches? Whatever. What is in Tenterfield is a delightful town replete with foodie joints. I saw the ‘Famous Pies’ shop and had to stop. And get outta the car for a famous steak and bacon pie, which as close to being a piece of steak with bacon on top wrapped up in a pie pastry shell as ever could be – it was delish. Plus home made carrot cake and a halfwaydecent caffe latte, which was a pleasant surprise for this wog.

- To get to Tenterfield from Queensland you have to take the Cunningham Highway, which is fabulous, all windy and steep inclines to get you over the Great Dividing Ranges (Australian Naming Rules at work they....cos they divide...an’ all that). Gorgeous drive, very misty and rainy which is how I like my countryside. Mucho fun with a trucker – he was all bloot bloot with his big horn as I passed and I was all toot toot to say thanks – happened a couple times. Perfect.

- Drove by Stanthorpe or something like that. Didjaknow, if you take a right right there you end up in Texas! Not Texas USA, dummy. Texas NSW.

- Went through Armidale, University town with Cathedrals. Natch I visited the Catholic one...the niiice one. But no votive candles. Disappointed. Not very woggy at all. All Italian churches have the votive candles that you pay for and light to honour the you-know-whos of your life. So I had to settle for a li’l prayer for Blayer.

- God’s Own Country on to Uralla – which is not full of spazzes as Melbourne folk like me are wont to presume.

- Double word town of the day Boonaa Boonaa. Way cool.

- Excellent country radio – outta Warwick on the way to Tenterfield I got the Clash’s 'Rock the Casbah', Elvis Costello’s 'Oliver’s Army' and Blondie’s 'Heart of Glass'. Just like Satdy night at my house, fer goonnesssakes.

- Had a can stop at Warwick – most excellent, jumbo pub with a weird group of men in the back bar ladies’ lounge area. I was obviously in a nature-calls-and everything-stops kinda place cos as I entered and said ‘Good morning gents' to them all looking at me, and strode on purposefully one of them said ‘Don’t stop honey, it’s just through there’. A moment's relief later, wash of hands, flick of hair, and I was back out, to an embarrassing round of applause, presumably for my brevity. Thanks guys.

- Mock tudor mansions again today – what is it with this part of the world? In fact one tiny town I cannot recall had a rampant Scots dragon on a flag advertising the mock tudor ale house (yessss, ale house) in country NSW. Most odd.

- The New England Highway totally rocks. Excellent roadage except for small bits of bumpiness, and all poplars and Roman pencil pines. It is so lovely. And greenish – not so much as the coast but still a delight this late in November.

- Into Tamworth, home of notorious Tony Windsor and lovely country music. I happened past Windor’s office and let rip with a loud ‘Buggiardone’ – big fat liar in Italian. Made me feel good and got me outta trouble with the locals who I fear love their reprobate friendship-bridge-burning member. ‘Member’ being the word. What a knob.

More tomorrow a.m as an update to this post I think - before I depart – highlights from the local rag and my night at the Tamworth Hotel.


UPDATE:

Forgot to mention that, somewhere on the Day 9 drive, I went past Ebeneezer, followed by (I cannot be sure by sheesh it sure looked like) Goebbel’s Street. Followed by some joint called Sugarloaf. Whoa, that is some weird naming activity.

Got into Tamworth late in the p.m, lovely mottled afternoon sunlight had started up in Armidale, where I found delicious Shell Optimax. Me being me, I had completely forgotten about NSW’s Optimax drought (too busy singing along to Wille Nelson’s ‘On the Road Again’) and I just pulled into the first joint I found to fill up the Mazda. When I went to pay the bloke behind the counter told me ‘You are a lucky girl, that might be the last tank of the stuff in NSW’. Lucky lucky lucky me. I swear the car seemed to make a happy ‘ptop-ptop’ sound with his happy yuppie fuel.

Cruising in to Tamworth on the New England Highway it took me no time to find a lovely spot - the Tamworth Hotel. Got me a pretty rank glass of warmish sauvignon-blanc flavoured wine (sorry to be mean but it was not the good stuff, not even at the third glass) made a call to the little man and enjoyed country news on the teevee and in the paper. The Northern Daily Leader paper that is. Terrific stuff. Some highlights (no linkys but):

- Lots of coverage, natch, all about the Tony ‘Windsor bribery allegation saga’ (get the he says/he says from some place else – it is just not that interesting to me) but the beauty thing is columnist Gary ‘Our Man About Town’ Ruddick who has done some sterling work of the ‘Brutus is an Honourable Man’ variety in the NDL. We get a “Fair Dinkum...Tony Windsor is an honest man....Greg Maguire is also honest...John Anderson and Senator MacDonald are also men of impeccable integrity...”. But he goes on to question the likelihood someone would offer another person a bribe in front of witnesses. Fair question to my mind. The editorial of the NDL sees something sinister in both PM John Howard and Dep PM John Anderson not calling for inquiries into the allegations. G’uh. Why should they? You can see the divide between Ruddick and the editorial folks. I am with Ruddick based on nothing more that than one column.

- The horoscopes are absolutely intriguing. Gemini Cancer Leo Libra Scorpio Sagittarius Capricorn Aquarius and Pisces, all of us are going to be busy in the pre-Christmas period and we are going to have a really good time Dec 4-7 and on the 10th and the 12th too...All of us. I kid you not.

- The Junior Intercollegiate Meat Judging Competition has been won by a high school girlie in the category of light domestic meat. Which reminds me, this is Poll Hereford and Angus country, at least that was the meat I was judging on my drive.

- The Italian Jolly 1800 nut harvester is a standout successful bit of machinery that everyone should own.

- There is a clearing sale going on from a property which has been sold and where the vendors are retiring, getting outta town and therefore needing to offload some non-fixtures. Among the things available, 25 hens and a rooster. And a sheep dog....but no sheep.

- Just the one personals ad – the mobile phone of a man who met a girl in a pub recently and felt they hit it off, asking her to call.

Cable in the motel room - excellent. High rotation interview with Luca Montezemolo of FIAT. I am one happy Italian this morning. Time to hit the road. More later.


:: WB 1:12 a.m. [link+] ::
:: Sunday, 21 November 2004 ::
DAY EIGHT:
218839 on the clock still (no use of Mazda today – used host’s newer Mazda, a bit bigger, 6-speed instead of just 5, glass rear window instead of plastic and mucho cleaner). Driving tour of Buderim and environs. What did we see?

- and 11th century castle at double name Bri Bri...yesss, I will let that sink in for a minute. A castle. In south east Queensland. Ridiculous, natch. Orunno what it is there for, but it has a Ye Olde Shoppe in it and everything, not that we got outta the car. Puhlease. Zif.

- On to Montville with its mock Tudor mansions and olde pubs....what is that all about?....Whatever.

- On to Maleny for perfect look out at the Glass House Mountains, the mountains south of the Sunshine coast, which I did not cover for the drive from Kingaroy - I went north. Why are they called that? On account of how they are volcano stacks....yah, just the stack or core of the volcano, not the whole mountainside thing. And apparently they shine like crystals or glass, if you will, in the sunlight. No such vision for me today on account of overcast raininess. But I do not mind that, cos it means greeniness and green, in the context of driving by, is good.

- On to some place I forget, touristy town, for the purchase of the jumbo cow skin by my host. Every home needs one. I have two. Sensational condition, this one, obviously a huge and hugely happy big cow to create that shiny brown and white pelt. It has been named ‘Shirley’, according to proper cow skin naming rules [Bossy and LuLu having been taken by me – ed].

- On to Mooloolaba beach for a walk (yah, exercise, but only of the most cursory perambulatory type, natch) along the boardwalk and then along the beach. Nary a drop of filthy salted water touched the lily white feet, which is as God intends for li’l me. Then on to the fish co-operative place for the acquisition of the staple of oysters and tonight’s fish extravaganza - fresh caught Marlin all in steaky goodness form. Garlic butter smothered all over – perfect.

- Caught up with the blogs in the p.m. What is with this hounding and loathing of Condoleeza Rice? Stinking lefty racists. The heck with ‘em.

- O, almost forgot, concourse get-together of old Ford cars, in the middle of nowhere. Just there, by the side of the road, parked on grass with no folks around at all, but for a couple photographers. Kinda 'Childern of the Corn' only automative and so much the cooler for it. All Fords, including a 38 truck ute type thing. Just the one wierd old Mercury 8 to mess up the numbers. And there, blinding in its magnificence was a Ford truck, an F-1, perfect and old and bulbous and bright yellow. If I could buy one for my little man I so would…not that I am gonna.

Tomorrow beginning the way home, this time inland. No Mooball for me, no coast. Taking the Cunningham Highway south west to Warwick and then the New England Highway through Tenterfield and Armidale and on to Tamworth – country music capital of Oz. Sensational. Gotta do early start hence this post afore I go to the sleep. More from there. Loving the buzzes from readers. Thanks so much to all.

p.s saw the Etamooga Pub....That is all.

:: WB 6:09 a.m. [link+] ::
:: Saturday, 20 November 2004 ::
DAY SEVEN:
218839 on the clock. Leaving Kingaroy for Buderim in the hinterland of the Sunshine Coast between Maroochydore and Caloundra. You cannot simply turn right outta Kingaroy and drive east to got to the coast on account of the huge state forests blocking the way. So you got two choices: north round the top via Gympie or South round the bottom via the Glass House Mountains. Well, alls I can say is: Gympie, Gympie, Gympie, Lovely, Lovely, Lovely.

- Before burning outta Kingaroy, I got a special morning invitation to visit Tabinga Homestead, est. 1846 not far outta town. Fabulous colonial architecture, beautiful grounds, huge white cockatoos flapping about, and a special publication crafted earlier this year to celebrate Kingaroy’s centenary. Reproductions from Kingaroy’s original newspaper – 'The Bog'. …yes, you read that right. Not the Times, News, Mail, Herald, Bulletin, Newsletter, not nothing normal. 'The Bog'. Best not to think about it. Headed into town for supplies for my trip and got stopped by a Kingaroyite talking to my host's Pa, who had driven the Mazda the night before, tootling round the front of the townhall, enjoying the car. He'd been spotted, which I understand was the plan all along. And it musta got round town obviously quick smart.

- Off outta Kingaroy, first personally fueling up on prosciutto and then getting car filled with sweet sweet Shell Optimax. I was heartened by the remark of a bloke filling up at a neighbouring petrol bowser “That is one cheeky little car you got there” and he was so right. Went through Goomeri and Kilkaven and the double word town of the day was Kin Kin. The drive into Gympie was just sensational – all rolling hills, and so much green. I really have been fortunate with this drive cos I have arrived after some decent rains and all is lush and lovely. Saw some Brahmin Bulls on the way into Gympie, which was terrifying but terrific. They are simply enormous beasties.

- Then into Gympie, the Town that Saved Queensland. Meaning that when southern towns Bathurst and Bendigo struck gold Queenslanders were emptying outta the State to go gold chasing, as any sane person would do. But then gold got found in Gympie and everything was fixed. Took a tourist drive round the town and saw some spectacular colonial Queenslander architecture for which Gympie is quite famous. Had a regular lemonade (boo) in the Australia Hotel, a huge weatherboard blue delight, before heading for Eumundi before getting up to Noosa to turn south and get the afternoon sun on the driver’s side all the way down to Buderim.

- Nice roadage on to Noosa Heads too, but the real pleasure comes from following the beaches down, hugging the coast and seeing pure blue (such a sunny day). Spent the drive listening wrapt by the Oz NZ cricket debacle going on near-enough-by at the GABBA, Brisbane’s cricket ground. Michael Clarke getting over the ton, Gilly getting over the ton, and then incredibly Glen McGrath getting something like the second or so highest ever score for a hopeless batsman holding down number 11 in the team. A completely skippy day, except for the sadness of Daniel Vettori for NZ, bowling left arm spin and not getting a breack with any LBW decisions of Buckner….but I digress.

- Now, Buderim is a tidy township, pretty well serviced actually, but it is a fairly moneyed joint, and quite an old joint too. My host this time is on a property that is up high on a hill, surrounded with jungly rainforest type stuff, with manicured bits, and bromiliades out the wazoo, and crazy rock jutting landscapes. Heavenly, really. Not a neighbour to be seen. A top deck off the loungeroom that is made for eating and drinking into the night. Much chatting done last night, consumption of caviar, oysters, prawns and spanner crabs all washed down with the just right amount of cold white wine. Sure nuff, regular as clockwork in the summertime, I was told, a good old storm came in mid-evening. Perfect cover on the balcony, not cold either, just watching the rain through the floodlights lighting up the forest surrounds. Listened to a bit of early Roxy Music and Ferry. Niiice.

Now to sleep the sleep of the sleepy. Tomorrow, Buderim and environs. More to report then. Thanks for the e-‘s.

:: WB 11:10 p.m. [link+] ::
:: Friday, 19 November 2004 ::
DAY SIX:
218524 on the clock (plenty Mazda movement today, wowee) and mucho has been seen. Back outta the driveway, turn left at the top of the hill and we are off. To do what? To see what?

- To enjoy speeding in a little red convertible with the top down, all along windy roads, all tree lined and nice, with the country music blaring and one busty redhead driving but all dressed up like something outta Nanook of the North cos of a hatred of sunlight (what am I doing in Queensland again…?) and another busty redhead in the passenger seat wearing her strapless top down very low for the special décolletage tanning, giving rise to a full on head-turn-and-spin from the poor man coming outta the Crawford butchery who musta thought all his Christmasses had come at once cos she was for sure totally nude. He nearly fell, he was so off balance gawping at us as we sped by. Giggles for a minutes.

- Driving driving, listening to Randy Newman’s ‘Rider in the Rain’ and Lyle Lovett’s ‘They don’t like me’ and a whole mess o’ Louvins. On through Murgon, which is not so much seen on entry as smelled. Whooh, what a beef abattoir they got their at the entry to town from the Kingaroy side. About the only downside of a convertible is the inability to seal one’s self off from the stink of the outtadoors, but other than that I can report happily Murgon seems a tidy town.

- More nifty windy roads got us to the world’s worst cellar door. I cannot bring myself to name the joint cos it feels too mean – the folks were super friendly and all that. But the shorts were worn just a little too high, and the canine teeth of the person serving were just that - canine teeth. My companion was unable to stop a grimace and soft ‘oh’ escaping an otherwise very civil façade. But if I cannot, for reasons of etiquette, name the joint, I think it is fair at least to question what on God’s green earth would lead a man to decide to leave the skins on so that his muscat does not so much ‘taste’ as ‘feel’ like a gritty sweet wine-based beverage? I am struggling to give youse a visual but think of like a red-to-brown snowcone all shook up. It is just not right. I was pickin’ it outta my teeth for a hour after. I did buy the intolerable Chardonnay solely for penal purposes for when the little man has been bad. It is that much of a punishment even just to open the bottle……hey, everything was bottled, so I guess I should not complain.

- over the way was a finer winery and a delicious Verdelho was tasted and given the fifteen bucks of applause.

- Stopped at the Tinny Pub at Tingoora, a full on authentic country pub with just a long bar and original vinyl everything from stools to flooring. Some tack hung up about the walls, the obligatory horse racing picture of some horsie winning an outback race. I picked up a Tinny Pub trucker’s hat, all padded at the front and plastic netting everywhere else, very gimme. And I got some jerky. I was asked ‘You want plain or you want spicy?’ I said ‘Plain thanks’ and he said ‘Garn darlin’, spoice up yer loife’ but I had to turn him down cos the plain does not so much lookjerked as it looks positively traumatised, and the spiced just looked like something that has already been ingested and…you know the rest. Now, the bloke who owns the Tinny Pub also bought the local radio station and he does presenting on radio as well as hosting of the Quoit’s Comp at the Pub on Tuesdy noights. Fantastic.

- There was a sign on the green opposite the pub saying something like ‘Yasmin Allan, 2nd prize district speech competition. Well Done!’ which set me off approving of (a) Yasmin’s success and (b) its public celebration, but also (c) wondering outta loud why Queenslanders cannot simply use the expression ‘public speaking’ which is actually what Yasmin was doing. She was not just talking and pronouncing things right, was she? Yuk Yuk. I was a happy wog for a minute laughing about the whole ‘speech’ thing when I noticed my companion’s dark look. ‘I was a district speech champion. Made it all the way to the State finals in Caboolture. But when it came time to do the impromptu piece, I had nothin’. I just choked.’ …. Ah, I reckon I had that breathless teary laughter going for minutes. … ‘I had nothin’’…

- In need of food cos the Tinny has decided not to do lunch any more during the week, we got a recommendation to go to turn right and go to the little old church. What the hell kinda direction is that?

- So we are hurtling along and we see the loveliest little old church in a garden setting by the side of the road and it is called ‘Lil Ol’ Church'. Screech and some real country lemonade and a ceasar salad later (interesting…did not think Swiss cheese was in the original Cipriani recipe, but whatever [Not Cipriani, dummy. He did the Carpaccio - Caesar is some Meximan maite d' innit? Sheesh. A very bad error for a good Italian girlie like me and a foodie to boot - ed) the potato and cheese damper was fine (leftovers all wrapped up in alfoil in the shape of a swan – bless) as was the salad and the chitterchatting.

- Right outta the Church and on to Memorambi – where the roadsign at The Stop Shop said ‘Italian Gelato Here’. What is a wog gonna do? Drive on by? No way mate. I had me the best tiramisu single cone gelato, it was tremendous. Weird spot but. The sign also said ‘We stock Strange Lines’ or something like that, and sure nuff, not only did the joint have perfect gelato made by actual Italians nearby, but also a spice selection with everything from galangal to Cajun spice mix. All fresh ground and packaged up in tiny plastic bags, all by hand. The bloke running the joint could not resist the lure of the redheads, or so we thought til he opened his mouth and all that came out was ‘Oh, sweet, a Mazda, eh. That’d be a ‘97’ ‘Well, no actually it’s an ‘89’ ‘Ahh, I’ve got a VL and I’m about to drop a 7 litre engine into her. The insurance company reckons when I am all done with me labour of love, she’ll be worth quarter of a million’. Nice abbreviation – like everybody knows a VL. Puhlease. You are talking to me, a wog who apologises to the Wog God in Heaven for driving a Mazda. At least it’s red, so I can just barely sleep at night. VL. Pshaw.

- On to fabulous Crane’s winery, absolutely gorgeous and absolutely top stuff, where the owner John was well terpsed up, with a couple mates, and we tasted some excellent Frontignac, traded horror stories of the world’s worst cellar door, and enjoyed some complaints about how Sydney’s nice to visit but you wouldn’t wanna live there. Among the excellent purchases, my companion bought her pa two litres of port, stored with great pride not in a flagon or a barrel but in old 2-litre plastic milk containers. Claaassy. John is rightly proud of how rude it looks to transport your grog in that fashion having paid a neat sum for the stuff, cos it is top notch. Much laughter.

- Last stop, Booie’s Rum Distillery, apparently a co-operative started up by a number of wineries in the area including Crane's. Incredible. It is new and there are two main buildings. One the distillery, cos everything is made on site, and the other the huge restaurant, art gallery. The architecture is not so much inspired by Giorgio de Chirico as just like a full on lifesize replica of some of his work. Fabulously Italian to see, and made me very happy. A group of 6th form girlies from last night’s formal were there, some still with special hair. So young, all drinking iced coffees and eating chips. Me, I was on the liqueur tasting. All pretty regular: banana liqueur, cherry liqueur, orange liqueur, melon liqueur, coconut liqueur, coffee liqueur, ROASTED PEANUT liqueur??

- I could not even make it through a teeny tasting glass.

Back home now for BBQ meat + Queensland’s famous Ambrosia Salad, all canned mandarin segments, shredded coconut, marshmallows and….sour cream. I kid you not. Green leafy goodness in this “salad”? Don’t be a city smartarse.

Tomorrow Sunshine coast with a buddy who is going swimming at Mooloolaba in the p.m then buying fresh seafood for dinner with me. Allora, a domani.


:: WB 3:40 p.m. [link+] ::
:: Thursday, 18 November 2004 ::
DAY FIVE:
218395 on the clock (not much Mazda movement today) and Kingaroy remains as Kingaroy is. What is keeping me here? Only the Kingaroy High School 6th Form Formal at the Town Hall 6p.m sharp, a full on 60m red carpet, nearly the whole town turning out to watch frocks and youths in suits. Would you not hang for that? I was there with my Kingaroy hostess. We were glamourous and we got a couple ‘Who are those two?’ comments from the crowd. Very gratifying.

Highlights:
- girlie in motorised wheelchair, one of the Form 5ers on duty with the serving and the ushering, who was asked by a concerned friend if she could see everything okay, with the crowd blocking so much of the view. She replied ‘yeah, I can see fine. I’ve already seen bitchface in her outfit’ to which her buddy replies ‘Erica, language’. Puhlease. Zif she needed to be worried about me and my buddy getting offended at such natural and accurate nomenclature. Every Oz school has a bitchface – and I believe it was the girl in the blue gown who had an expression on her dial like the piggery van had just driven by (and one did drive by as I was on my way for a counter meal at the Carrollee, and I was a bitchface for a couple minutes thereafter. Phwor, yetcht.)

- girlie in floor length strapless pink gown wearing white American High Top trainers and ridiculous stripey knee socks, with her crazy Pa leading her along the red carpet, he with beard and top hat, very Slade mixed with Comancheros sorta look about him. She was an angel, with plaits and pink dye in her mousy blonde hair. Very alt country cool.

- boy with two girlies to escort, him in the full white Saturday Night Fever suit, boy in the lime green suit, a full on Kingaroy goth girl, a full on freaky gay boy who must have weighed about 40 pounds max, most of that his high superblonde hair, the honey in the teddy boy jacket, the two girlies wearing the same frock – oh the shame, the tension - and the crowd a happy mix of enthusiastic and proud parents, sugared up kiddies and petrol heads dropping off their charges in hotted up everythings, from GT Falcons to a sweet old Model A Ford.

Did some touring round today, with my hostess, including an episode that can only be known as Wog in the Wild...well, in a national park which is wild enuff for an urban sort like me. There was the feeding of sunflower seeds to the brightly coloured birds, which landed on hands, outstretched arms, shoulders and even in the red hair. Tremendous if a little scritchy. Wandered on to a path into the rainforest, saw strangler figs and Bunyah Nut trees and then, saw him – him being a sensational Bower Bird hard at work with his collection of blue things, and his crazy bower all built up and curvy. If that bird does not get laid in the next month then something is clearly wrong with the Bunyah Park Bower girlies, who frankly, being all khaki coloured and fat, should not be so picky and choosy about their mates, cos they ain't oil paintings.

Bought myself a truly awful Australiana teatowely/tablecloth thing, with pictures of koalas and boomerangs on, purely on the strength of the wierdest rendering of a penguin on cloth I have ever seen. Normally penguins look kinda cute but stupid. This one just looks … wrong.

Was taken to a farm run by a relative of my hostess, where an elaborate hoax was perpetuated to try to convince me that peanuts are a crop planted in the ground and that the actual things themselves grow in the ground. O p-shaw, I say. And I still say, since the farmer - a top bloke apparently fond of classical music which he plays loud in the cabin of his feaux-peanut harvesting tractor - was unable to pick a shrub up which actually contained nuts underground. Instead the “evidence” was nothing more than some empty husks strewn casually about some weird weeds planted all in a row. I maintain the things grow on trees and I am not taking a step back. For the supposed peanut capital of the world the folks round here know remarkably little about nuts – which grow on trees. Surely. I mean, a nut is closer to an acorn than a potato, yeah? Well...I rest my case. ....Harrumph.

BBQ had been bumped in honour of The Formal. So following countermeal at Corrallee, played some very ordinary pool on a proper billiards table at the Kingaroy RSL. Melinda Schneider playing that night, but me and my host played pool. Won both games despite the fact the other end of the table is more a geographic concept for me than an actual visible target but the whole effort was quite shameful, frankly.

I am told that there is a fruitshop place somewhere nearby, where the owner is a fruit vendor and Elvis impersonator who has natch named his joint ‘Grapelands’. Must try to find. Also there is a bank and café somewhere nearby too, which prolly needs to be seen to be believed. Plus am planning a trip to the Peanut Van for some of them honey smoked peanuts that are great. And am planning a visit to the world’s worst cellar door – here’s hoping that there have been no improvements since a visit by my hostess about a year ago.

So, more in a bit. Thanks for reading and for the e’s. It is great to hear from folks with good advice on travels in Queensland.

:: WB 4:44 p.m. [link+] ::
:: Wednesday, 17 November 2004 ::
DAY FOUR:
218389 on the clock and we are in Kingaroy. Turn right at the giant Peanut Silos (if you cannot see them do not be concerned – you can smell them – and it is strangely comforting) and right again at the top of the hill. What a view over the town. If you imbibe just enough home brewed rye whisky, scotch whisky and rum coffee liqueur, why it almost looks just a little like looking out over LA. But enough of that. What of the road?

- the drive from Brisbane is, to put it simply, fantabulous. It is easy to get outta town and even easier to follow The Deeagular Highway (actually D’Aguilar, but you know how skippies are with the fancy wog words), which is a good bit of road, mostly two lane blacktop, very neat, very tidy and threading in a windy fashion through some lovely rolling hills countryside. Saw a sign for Burpengarry. Nuff said really, eh.

- Stopped for the can in Woodforde, at one heck of a tumble down pub, prolly the only pub. Had a quiet lemonade, sadly not country proper lemonade (note to self: must find some of that cos it is always sooo good) while checking directions to Kingaroy. In the Ladies Lounge stood a couple pokie machines and three youths were occupied chitterchatting, two watching while one played. I heard the sound of a paltry 5 coins dropping, which made me sad, but the reaction was furious and festive. ‘Whey HEY, Ya crack’d it’ clapped the two watchers, who immediately hit their mate up for more beers.

- There was an authentic tractor incident where a big green monster of a thing saw me hurtling along toward it and, fearless and idiotic (at least so I thought), trundled ever so slowly out to turn right, into my path. Much break hitting and heartracing and mental cursing was performed by me for a sec but Tractorman knew what he was doing and instead of turning to take up my lane, he kinda just kept on goin’ straight into the bushy brush by the side of the road, leaving me plenty room to pass. His cabin was lost in a mess of low branches and leaves. God love him for attacking innocent nature instead of putting me in peril. Ahhh, calmness was restored in an instant and the ever hovering horn finger let out an appreciate toot toot to Tractorman.

- I was far from the sea. I was in Moore which is far from the sea. I ate a Crab Sandwich in Moore which was cold and delicious. All fresh crabby goodness caught between two slabs of thin white plastic bread, buttered, natch. When you see a crab sandwich advertised from the side of the road in the blistering heat in a place far away from the sea, well, you just gotta stop….and get outta the car. The joint is famous for its crab sandwiches – it is real; and fresh delivered daily or some such.

- O, I meant to blog this but it slipped my mind so I want to get it down now. When I got in the car in Sydney, the radio was playing the English football scores, that monotonous call, that always, in my youth anyways, seemed to end with Dum-de-dum 1 Everton Nil. It was the sound of drives to and from the farm when I was growing up. It means driving. A good omen and that I was very grateful for.

- Nanango has wood sculptures of people in its streets. Art, in other words, which is always startling. And I forget where I was but there was this huge rusted thing by the roadside that looked either like the cufflink from some sort of gargantuan 50 mile high person, or maybe the hull of a ship or something. Huuuge. I got no idea what it was.

- In Kingaroy, where the highschool formal is tonight or tomorrow night and me and my buddy are so going to perv on the country kiddies in their finery, there is a place that just ain’t right. But in a good way. Harry Labudda’s rock garden is a regular house covered in rocks, and not just pebbly niceness but big ol’ arm gouging rocks, painted different hues. The place looks insane in the membrane and includes rusted old wheels (and by old I mean old) and bottles and more rocks.

- Now, the towns to Kingaroy are all fairly regularly spaced and I got an update in why – cos of the Cobb and Co stages, which are all about 14 miles long, just long enough to wear out one set of horses before needing to take on a fresh set for the rest of the journey. Niiice. And talk of Cobb and Co last night on the verandah led to the revelation, for me at least, that Cobb was Freeman Cobb of California. Hmmmm. Did that explain Gus Mercurio, a Yank, being in that 70’s teevee show with the great music, ‘Rush’? Whatever. Splains plenty about why most of Oz has no problem with a US alliance, if the roots go back that far over something as critical as travel. Anyhoo, talk of Cobb and Co led to recitals of Banjo Paterson and talk about Buick Le Sabres. Nice meandering conversation.

- Today, actual walking in the out of doors, away from the car. Not sure how I feel about this, but I will give it a try. Maybe some winery visits for some of that Peanut Liquer....mbbb, blurt. Then genuine wood fired BBQ dinner and more rest. Perfecto. More from Kingaroy tomorrow.

:: WB 3:04 p.m. [link+] ::
:: Tuesday, 16 November 2004 ::
DAY THREE:
218298 on the clock and I am in Brisvegas. Literaly. I am the Hilton in Brisbane and there is a 5-star gaming room just opened called 'BrizVegas'. Niice. So what was seen on the trip from Byron to Brisbane?

- first turn at the first roundabout in Byron was a huuge pink cement mixing truck with the words 'Wog Boy' for some reason written along the top of the hood under the windscreen. Happy toots.

- roads out of Byron are good, whereas roads into Byron not so good (see yesterday's post). Think that could be a conspiracy of Rachel Ward and Delvene Delaney to keep the riff raff outta their cliquey beach spot? Hmmm.

- no fun car stuff on the quick trip to Brizzy - only a couple hours and no double names but the intriguing Mooball turnoff was spotted. Balls of moo...I may have to get out of the car for that place on the trip home. Only wierd car stuff was the sparkly clean Porsche Targa, laden with middle aged blonde man (hair a little long, like the folks who work in Gold-Rock-Radio-Cominatcha-102.7 or whatever, you know?)with wife by his side and either mother or mother-in-law in the back. Poor fellow, he was driving with his right arm resting on the driver's side door and his head resting on his right hand. If I had slowed down I might have seen the tears in his eyes.

- local radio was kinda ordinary, some lousy Merkkkan country music, some guy all excited about interviewing a tax officer (I kid you not, he sounded as high as a kite with excitement about the interview) and Triple JJJ's news as spectactularly stupid and uninformative as ever. Settled on a Czech classical composition by someone I will never know cos the announcer totally strangled the name by stumbling over it, not once but twice. Zatu-pach, erm, Crackuchet-, uummm, Januc....whatever. It was nice, but. Did some excellent road conducting in honour of my Pa.

- so into Brisvegas, working without maps the whole trip by the by. The principle is a simple one and works - keep driving til you get into the city. Once there you will see a highrise hotel into which you can check. I found the Hilton and it is terrif. Drove in all windswept and interesting, handed the keys to the concierge, an older gent who knew I'd have no trouble getting a room, he takes the car, sends my luggage up to reception on the 6th floor and compliments me on being female and having driven so very very far. Why thankyou, old fashioned man. So, to reception where I get checked in, get a smoking room, and get complimentary passes to BrizVegas, with complimentary French champagne too. The lifts to my 13th floor room (oooooooh) are straight out of 'High Anxiety', that Mel Brooks' movie amemba? All glass. I got in and decided to face my mild fear of heights by gripping the rail and standing right at the back of the lifts with the glass as lift off occurred. Whiteknucke experience for a sec and a voice behind me said 'Why are you doing that to yourself?' Orunno, maybe I was weeping or something but he could feel the fear. Tony from Pennsylvania - here on business - told me I was a very brave girl 'but if it hurts, don't do it, that's my motto'. Good advice.

- opposite the Hilton is the American bookshop which is really just regular but with that much lefty rubbish in it it is amazing. They have a section called 'Current Affairs' and it is four or so shelves jam packed with every criticism and hysterical screed that hates Bush, hates the Iraq liberation, hates everything about America. Just a joke. I understand that sort of rubbish in Gleebooks and Readings but please, in the American bookshop? I asked the owner why the shelves were so loaded when there is a raft of books out now that counter all the lefty anti-Bush anti-American group think and she said, all snippy, these are the titles we buy, if you would like to order something we can arrange that for you. Urgh. Why bother. Just a few doors down is McGills, best magazine joint ever and I have not seen one since Melbourne days, and that made everything better. Architecture and Design magazines and car magazines and hours of fun to be had...but

- ...day spent shopping and walking around Brizzy city. It is great to be so in town cos you get to hear bells on the hour, which is rare in Sydney. Early night spent having a French champagne with Tony in BrizVegas. Lord it is a ritzy joint. Prolly should have had a pina colada or some such but young Tony was very much a Kerry supporter, sadly enough, so celebration and partiness seemed inappropriate. we did, well, I did, manage to find common ground in our mutual loathing of the UN. Just the one beer, cos the hatred of 'redneck voters' was too strong and no amount of discussion about blogs and actual strongly held logical views could dissuade him. Pleasant but not worth the effort. Funner to place some losing bets.

- today, over the Blackbutt Ranges and turning right at the Peanut Silos in Kingaroy. Whoo hoo.

More tomorrow and thanks for reading.

:: WB 2:40 p.m. [link+] ::
:: Monday, 15 November 2004 ::
DAY TWO:
218010 on the clock and now we are in Byron Bay. Nice beaches and that. But jeez, bongos, men wearing skirts with their hair half up and half down, too tight speedos, that godawful sound of Combie vans that makes you think the world is coming to an end, and, get this, the back room of the pub on the main drag, totally given over to anti-Bush crockumentaries. I shit you not. Needless to say when I asked the staff whether they would be screening anything to present a contrary view I got a blank look.

Pathetic. It is group think here, but with beautiful beaches. Best thing about the place, but, and it really is good, is 'Fins' restaurant where seafood is done with mucho Portugeezer influences. Absolutely beautiful setting, wonderful staff, fabulous wine and a kitchen that is very innovative without being riduculous, if you know what I mean. Three thumbs up.

So, wh'appened, what was seen on the road for Day 2? Well:

- a certain Big Banana in Coffs and certain Big Prawn in Ballina. The prawn is fading badly in the solid sunlight and that gives it a kinda ghostly appearance with the big black glassy eyes of hate and loathing. Fantastic;

- could of double names, Bogila Bogila and Bom Bom very nice. Couple of them bridges that do the opening thing, very cool, a huuge mosque, in fact maybe two of them, in Woolgongatha or someplace (I work entirely from memory and that is not always reliable....ahem). I shouted out a Happy Eid ... but no one answered... Yuk Yuk. [Not Mosques, dummy. Sikh Temples. Thanks for the e-'s pointing out this error - W]Anyhoo

- for the premier highway of the country the Pacific outside of Port Macquarie sucks. It is a two lane part blacktop part holeyholeness for much of the way plus roadwords were being done in bits so there was actual stoppage. Thank Jeebus I was in the Mazda. If I was in my daddy's Alfa Romeo it would have boiled over so fast it might just have evaporated in yesterday's heat. You know, there are actual towns on the Pacific Highway so there is this ridulous 110 limit 50 limit 110 limit 50 rubbish adding hours to what should be a top drive. Grrr. Still, but, the towns are interesting....in a drive by kinda way....(I know that sounds mean but I am a pale easyburny kinda gal so getting out of the car is not an option I look upon lightly. It's gotta really intrigue me to get out of the car.)

- another Stude, this time a perfect truck driven by a supercoolngroovy young couple, but that was it for the interesting car stuff. The day was an evil Duel-type day on the roads with this huge truck bearing down on me scaring me to pieces. It was not actually me that the Truckman hated, it was the red ute in front of me. I saw the ute merge right back into the single lane forcing Truckman to hit the brkaes a bit and then it was on for young and old. The truck, get this, kept pulling out to try to over take...on windey bits, all aggressive and awful, with the tray just swingin', urgh. It was downright awful work. Made bearable by heavy duty Junior Brown on the stereo. You cannot be scared if you are listening to 'My Baby Don't Dance to Nothing but Earnest Tubb'.

- Still no Shell Optimax. What the..?

- cane fields were spotted, which was deeply cool, cos my Pa did the cane cutting thing when he first came to Oz. Standard wog life in the 50's. Plus I had a kinda Larson moment. Why there was a mound next the road orunno, and why there were about twelve cows on the mound orunno either. But they saw my li'l red MX5, they huddled with their heads all together, and then they all turned towards the car and followed it along for a bit. Off the mound. Like, what is that about, eh? I was thinking 'what, have I got a flat or something?' then I kinda thought, hmmmm, need some radio to keep me normal, all this sunlight and whitelines making me craazy, I think maybe my eyeballs might be getting tanned.

- missed a bit on my arm just inside my elbow. I do not want to achieve the great Oz driver's arm, you know the deep tan. Then I would have to get wog neck, you know where just the head and arms are tanned but the rest is lilly white. Not a good look. But I missed a bit. Grrrr.

- today Mullumbimby, Murwillumbah and Brisvegas. Whooo hooo.

More from the road tomorrow a.m. And thanks for all the emails. Who knew there was that much love for 38 Fords?

:: WB 1:47 p.m. [link+] ::
:: Saturday, 13 November 2004 ::
WOG ON THE ROAD

Kingaroy, here I come.

...

Bet youse were not expecting that. More blogging from the road shortly.

UPDATE: 217190 on the clock, and away we went - that is me and the car. 217554 and we are in Port Macquarie having seen already too much wierdness:

- a giant yellow brontasaurus on a mountainside (wha'? Ya fer sure. Advertising a reptile park. Not that I went. I have a tradition of never pulling off the road. That way I avoid disappointment. I drove all the way across the south of the US from San Diego to El Paso Texas with these huuge billboards advertising 'The Thing: It's Getting Closer' and 'Seee the Mystery of The Thing' and stuff that that. And for sure I was intrigued. Oh yes. I even pulled into the stinky Indian reservation-type roadside rubbish building that should have been condemned, and that held 'The Thing', and I even got within two feet of the entrance to the 'Mysterious Thing' with its beaded curtain....I kid you not. And I turned away. I am strong like that....plus I amemba that movie 'Gargoyles' and the whole scene was a bit too gargoyles for me, you know what I mean? Anyhoo.)

- a sad mini Ayers Rock (I am of the generation for whom it will always be Ayers Rock and I will always walk on it... if I ever get there. Not because I am disrespectful. But because it is a rock in the middle of nowhere. The view from on top must be spectacular....hmmmm, I wonder if ever a study has been done of diseases in people who who have walked on the Rock, you know like Aboriginal curse stuff, cos the Aboriginals consider the place sacred so they guilt youse up into not walking on the thing. Anyhoo.) Ayers Rock right on the roadside. And I think it had some airconditioning unit built into its...carcass, I guess, and it was all mesh covered with red coloured....goop, I guess.

- cruised past signs for places called Cuddletown or something like that and Ghinni Ghinni and Beulahdelah.

- went over one of them super thin small woody bridges, you know the type, the ones that leave you with your heart in your mouth when you happen to cross at the same as super huge trucks are going over.

- had a nice road flirt with a bloke in a bright yellow 38 Ford, all the way from Gosford to Port Macquarie, tailgating and overtaking and smiling and loud music and waves and all that. Fun. But I have always preferred the 33 myself, I do not care for the bulbous overhang of the 38. But hey, it was in beautiful condition. Plus I think I saw a really hot AC, with a hardtop on, which is unusual, I can't be sure, I mean, orunno, it looked kinda like this. It was all hot roddy burgundy colours, you know, but he was a bit ahead. I have never actually experienced the 'gone like a cool breeze' phenom but whoo, he hit the gas after traffic cleared for a sec and he was just, gone. Just, whoa. I got a bit speedy to try to stay with him even if at a distance, and when I got clear of the traffic there was the hold up, an absolutely perfect Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk driven by an ol' man and ol' woman. Fabulous. They got the roady toot of petrolhead friendship. I think that alarmed them a bit, but I am Italian. The horn is like, totally normal. It's like moving my hands when I talk.

More tales from the road in due course. But I'll end with this, Shell Motor Oil company must be going outta business, you know? Cos they got no Optimax anywhere in the State and only a rare few stations. Mobil is kicking Shell's arse.

:: WB 3:36 p.m. [link+] ::
:: Thursday, 11 November 2004 ::
Who do you think should represent Oz at Arafatlip's funeral?

No-one.

:: WB 1:12 p.m. [link+] ::
:: Tuesday, 9 November 2004 ::
The man is crooked to the last. He can't even die straight in bed.

:: WB 3:02 p.m. [link+] ::
Interesting US maps post Nov 2 election.

Found on Andrew Sullivan's site. I would link but he is giving me the shits with his everythings-going-wrong-in-Iraq schtick lately, so no linky love today.

Give the wogs a break, Andrew.

:: WB 2:57 p.m. [link+] ::

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