Thursday, 11 July 2013

Wet Weather & Runny Noses - Yamba 2013

Lunch at the Yamba Shores Tavern
What to do when the rain arrives and that cold which started as nuisance is stopping you from your favourite activities?

There are plenty of options but they mostly involve feeling morose and staying by the window with a book and tea served on a conveyor belt and exchanging wistful glances with the rain.

Instead, I dosed up on paracetamol and sudafed and we started our day, mid morning, with two big mugs of mocha at our favourite Yamba cafe, Bean Scene in Yamba Rd. If their home made cup cakes aren't enough, there is an array of slices and the more substantial meals and the hot beverages are first rate. There are some great local pictures around the walls and wildlife videos showing on the screen. Of course, if its fresh air you prefer, sit outside in the sunshine and enjoy the passing pedestrian traffic or perhaps feed a titbit to Sam, the overweight Staffie who wanders up from the hardware shop on the and corner and leaves once he has touched up everyone. You can also enjoy a conversation with a couple of local blokes. You don't have to join in. They'll talk loud enough that you won't miss anything, unless their little peekinese Ted starts barking!

From the main street of Yamba, we drove back up the road that takes you out of town but turned left onto the Angourie Rd for the short drive out to a community established by surfers, for surfers, so they could ride the famous left hander off Angourie Point. Nat Young, the four times world champion, is the big kahuna out here and owns all the most exclusive real estate. He's still able to make headlines, wearing the cranky pants out at the point a few years ago after a spat over right of way on the waves became a thumping on the beach from a disgruntled father of the youngster The Champ clashed with. Nat looked a lot different afterwards and surf rage dropped into the common lexicon.

Even under weeping clouds, Angourie Point is a beautiful place. In past years I have captured exciting pictures here of riders doing their thing in spectacular fashion but there were few out and the spirit of adventure is hard to maintain under a layer of snot. Instead we just looked at it. It was enough.

On the way back towards Yamba, we detoured out to the national park but the rain was heavier and
Lake Wooleweah
getting soaked wasn't likely to improve my condition. Instead, we drove the three streets of Woolaweah, which hug the slope above the large, shallow lake behind the coast to the south west of Yamba. Every second home seems to be the property of tradesmen and apart from a small park on the edge of lake, a playground at the top of the hill and the RFS shed, there is nothing here but homes. Visitors aren't shunned, it's just that there a few places to stop, let alone park, so a welcome would be difficult to delivery even if it was offered. The lake is ideal for shallow water activities but can be nasty in a wind. We enjoyed a few minutes listing to magpies and watching the pelicans honk pleasantries to each other.

We took the road back into Yamba and then out to Yamba Shores Tavern, on the banks of the Clarence. It was here that Sue's sister celebrated her marriage several years ago. We enjoyed a big beef burger (Pete) and an excellent curry (Sue) out on the decking beside the river, while the history of Australian rock played over the house sound system.

Cheryl and Lance
A phone call from Sue's brother Lance filled in our afternoon nicely, such that at the conclusion of our meal, we headed west to his property near Ashby. Ashby is a very small village perched on the vulnerable western shore of the northern arm of the Clarence. To get there, it was back to the McFarlan Bridge which takes the Pacific Highway over one of the broadest reaches of the river and then turning off to the west soon after, two bridges in quick succession take you to the Ashby side. A short run south to and then through the village and around a big bend in the river and you reach Lance and Cheryl's property.

They are so close to the river that it has come in to join them three times this year. They currently live in a unit they have built in the back of a big shed at the back of the property. In front of that is the steel construction of the B&B they are building ... literally. It will be an elevated building in two halves, joined by a common area in the middle and surrounded by beautiful, wide decking. Its position will attract those who like peace and quite and it will also be pet friendly. Lance showed us through the rooms, which need more imagination than they have substance at the moment but there is no doubting the hard work that the pair of them are applying to make their dream fly. More will be needed but neither are quitters.

On the way back to Yamba, we stopped at the Ashby Dry Dock, where forty years ago Sue's father John
Nice memories for Sue
Gibbens was the man in charge. We couldn't go in through the padlocked gate, so Sue explained her memories of visiting the dock on weekends when her dad would drain the dock and they would pick up buckets of left over fish to feed the family. She also remembers having the job of ringing for the automated time so her dad could set the clocks at the dock.

Crossing back toward the McFarlan Bridge, we detoured into Hardwood and caught some nice snaps of the Harwood Cane Refinery.

It was so late in the afternoon, we arrived at the Pacific Hotel too late to see the fleet go out but found out they were staying in base. There was nothing to see but beautiful coastline.

We spent the first part of the evening with family over dinner and the start of the first Ashes Test but retired to our own dug out where Sue slept and I set about my responsibilities.

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