Daffodils In Rydal

09 September 2019 / Report by Andy Bottomley & Photos by Ann Hichs

Daffodils In Rydal

Day 1 

“All present and accounted for mam”. Our illustrious trip for-woman, Sharon, only had 3 questions “Who is tail end Charlie, who is writing the story & who is taking photos?” Silence was the stern reply! Eventually, Andy was elected story teller, Steve put his hand up for “Charlie” and Ann took on the position of camera lady. After the shortest briefing or all times, 15 hearty souls boarded their trusty Steeds at the slotted departure time. 

The next issue was getting all 8 of us out onto Groves Ave. That took forever. Then there was the constant Sydney traffic to deal with but by the time we reached Bilpin things were moving a might faster. Turning into Mt Tomah Gardens, the Gestapo would not let us into the main gate till exactly 0930, no exemptions, “DO NOT MESS WITH ME, I HAVE THE REMOTE CONTROL UNIT, YOU WILL OBEY MY COMMANDS”. 

Just a quick pit stop was all we could manage as it was about 8 degrees minus the wind chill factor. A lovely cruise down into Lithgow, onto the Great Western, sharp left onto a back road into Rydal to the Floral Arrangement. 

Rydal’s tulip displays were beautiful but they wouldn’t stay still in the wind for the camera. The crew boarded the town bus for a tour, with commentary from John M. Frances M used to live here. She finally made a break for it one day and found the bright lights of Camden. We all enjoyed a hearty brunch of chicken & corn soup or eggs and bacon sambos with a warming cuppa and a slice of ‘real’ carrot cake. A bit of retail therapy, then we converged on ‘the pub with no meals’. It was bloody freezing outside. 

“On the road again”, 110 km at 110 Kph out on the Castlereagh Highway, well almost. Heading to the Country Comfort Motel in Mudgee to check in. Afternoon wine tasting at the Bunnamagoo Winery, where are we supposed to put all our plonk in our tiny boots tomorrow? Hope there is somewhere out of this wild wind to have nibbles this arvo with our newly acquired Shiraz and Chardys? Yes the party’s at Vicki and Andy’s at unit 17. We all related our 'True Stories' but the award went to John C. Out for dinner at Roth’s Wine Bar. What a night that was! Sleepy time now. 

Day 2

No rush for a Sunday morn. In-house breakfast at 8, not to be late for a 9.00 for a 9.15 start. Time for leisurely talk in the car park while Bryan demonstrated has new toy, a Maguire’s chamois-cloth, spectacular drying ability. 

Get back on track Mr Editor. On our way to Bylong General Store for morning tea. Taking the “scenic route” of course, we encountered a coal mine. “From wines to mines” was one comment. Oops, we have encountered an MX5’s worst enemy, a dirt road, fortunately not for too long. Sharon, I’ve always said that a trip leader is allowed 1 mistake per run. Anyhow we arrived at the allotted time with a light dusting. The big sign at the entrance to the Store, ‘The Best Store In Town’. It was the only building in town other than a Church in the distance and the ‘His & Hers”. 

“On the road again”. A light lunch was taken in at Hunter Bell Café, on Muswellbrook’s Northside. Some of the crew purchased items from the vast array of curios. Then it off to Merriwa to photograph the ‘Painted Silos’ of a small mob of sheep. To conclude the days driving pleasure, a return cruise back east to our final nights accommodation at the Baybrook Motor Inn. 5 o'clock drinks, nibbles and more 'true stories'. ‘The Last Supper’ was taken at the Muswellbrook Workers Club with transportation via the club bus, very handy. Garry left the crew tonight. 

Day 3 

At the café in town at breakfast, I could have sworn Keith Monaghan was sitting at a table next to us. They say we all have a twin, how unusual. A visit to The Australian Stock Horse Society in Scone, who, in 1971 established a breeding register for all Stock & Equestrian Horses. A 15 minute video was shown demonstrating the many abilities of the breed. It was very enlightening, thank you. Sharon, “we’re in Scone, where are the scones”. Heading south, homeward bound, to Bolga at the northern end of the Putty Rd for morning tea. Maybe we’ll get some there. Sorry, no scones but delicious milkshakes.

Bryan, Ann, John and Frances peeled off down the Putty Rd while the remaining 4 cars containing John, Sharon, John, Janine, Andy, Vicki, Steve and Marie took the Broke Rd to the GNTP for yet ‘another meal’. I finally got my scones. We continued on the Broke Rd down through Central Mangrove then onto the Pacific Motorway and back to civilisation and three-ply loo paper.

5 NC’s, including 2 Mangos, 2 ND’s and 1 ubiquitous Abarth Spider. A truly memorable weekend was had by all.

Thanks Sharon and John. 

Andy, The Editor.