I don’t know, but I still want to share one with you guys! So: Why did the banana go to the doctor? Because he wasn`t peeling very well! Ahahaha, good one isn`t it? 🙂 Anyway, back in business. At the moment I am in Armidale like I told you. I travelled to here in excitement and in horror, not knowing if I did the right thing. Well, as I got off the train, I noticed a rather elderly man standing there so I went and asked if he was John. And he was; 75 years old, ex professor of agriculture, and one of the leaders of Landcare organization in Armidale. So he drove me to his house and showed my room. The house is quite old, and you can tell easily that cleaning isn`t the primary things here…Mouse traps everywhere, rubbish, old baskets for god-knows-for-what, and so on…Everything must be re-used or recycled, and the nature must be respected as it is with the smallest footprints as possible (this includes that spiders, even Huntsmen, Yyyh!, will not be killed, and that spider nets are let where they are). So hygienically this place freaks me out, but it is only week that I have to stand this (Go Minna!). Luckily there are advantages in this too. Mr. John is more than happy to tell me everything he knows about everything (mostly in agriculture, sustainable development and solar power systems with a little local gossips added), so there isn`t really silent moments in this place. He also provides me food and own room, and very generously shows me the places I couldn`t go without own car. How kind is that?
Wednesday we went to city sightseeing in the morning, and in the afternoon his friend Jo came to plant some snow peas in the garden with us. We planted and did some pasture improvement for 3 hours, after which we finished the garden work (it is hard work to be on your knees for many ours, I can tell it hurts right now, au au au). It started to be a bit rainy so I and John went to one of the English National parks around here, and I must say, the Dangars Falls and surroundings were absolutely beautiful. In the evening I went to pick up some fire woods, and trust me, this was very difficult since I was so afraid of Huntsmen after seeing one while planting. Anyway, Thursday was a bit rainy too, so John did some tomato growing inside the house, and I was desperately (once again) looking for the rental rooms in Sydney. We decided to take the car and drive to see some more waterfalls, this time the Apsley Falls in Oxley Wild Rivers National Park. And it was amazing! It took almost 2 hours to drive there but it was worth it. On the way there we passed through small cities like Uralla and Walcha, and we stopped on the way back to have a nice picnic tea. Friday morning I took care of the chickens and fed the sheep, after which we went for a 3km walk with one of the dogs (Lucy). In the end she decided to run away and we stayed there searching for her about 2 extra hours. What a dog! When we returned home, we did some gardening work and I had to mow the lawn and it was so hard work. The grass was as high as me, so it was a bloody jungle out there. I did only 2 sides of the house and might have to continue still, aaargh! Anyway, tough day it was. On Saturday we went to plant 200 trees in a small city (approx. 1hour from Armidale) to Jodie’s and her family`s property. It was very beautiful place and a Chinese girl called “Vicky” came with us (she is an exchange student studying in Armidale), so it was very nice to meet new people and especially chat with the locals. We worked all day and it was quite hard work, but luckily in the end the sun started to shine after heavy showers. We also witnessed a birth of a lamb, but unfortunately we had to carry the dead lamb up the hill for its “funerals” :(. So I was tired after all the work, but it was nice experience. And btw for those, who think that I`m a princess type of girl; well, I really got my hands and all dirty while digging and planting the trees, and at first it felt disgusting to put your hands in wet muddy land with spiders, worms, ants, and eggs from all of the mentioned ones. But you know me; I did it as asked 😀 One more job done! On Sunday I worked hard (well pretty much 4 hours); I vacuumed, swept and tidied the place after which I mowed the rest of the jungle (lawn). On the afternoon we did a small tour by car and visited the rest of the Armidale we hadn`t been yet (including the art museum). On last day, Monday, we did a day trip to New England National Park to see rainforest + more waterfalls, such as Ebor Falls and Wollomombi Falls (Wollumbi means “meeting of waters” in Aboriginal dialect). I also walked 2km long Tea Tree Falls Walk by myself, which was nice but there were moments when I was a bit scared for possible snakes and spiders.. But I survived! The views I saw during this trip were absolutely stunning and amazing! One could see untouched forests and mountains from the altitude of approx 500m (I don`t remember exactly, might be higher), and it was so..ah, so beautiful! I think my water fall trips are going to be on a little pause for a while. We also had a nice barbie (including local sausages of course, and as a dessert some tea and choc bikkies, yam!). Anyway, day full of amazing views and again, thanks to my lovely guide John, some tips and knowledge that you cannot find from guidebooks! Just lovely!
Now within 2 hours I am going to pack my bags again, have a dinner with John, and tomorrow morning Tuesday 11th take the train and head to Sydney. This week here in Armidale was full of nice things that I think many tourists and backpackers wouldn`t have seen or done, if they`d been by themselves. As a conclusion, I think this was definitely a risk worth of taking, and I really got into the life of locals (which is the thing I always prefer to do). Absolutely fantastic! Many thanks to John and his friends,