1400 Kilometres in the Rain – Dubbo to Armidale, April 21, 2015

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Departing Dubbo in the rain
Steady rain fell on Dubbo all through the night and we departed this morning in the same conditions with a temperature of 9 degrees.
Although the wet conditions made for difficult driving, it has been an absolute joy to see this parched country soak up the much needed rain.  Many farmers have paddocks ploughed and ready to plant – the stock we see in the paddocks are living on what remains of dried and dead fodder.  This rain will be a God-send to so many.
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Land lies fallow waiting for rain

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Sheep are grazing on sparse and dried grassland

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Weather reports this morning are telling us that Gilgandra and Coonabarabran were deluged by storm rains last night.  As we approach Gilgandra we see detour signs due to local flooding.  Aside from the difficult driving conditons due to the rain and low visibility, there is the added problem of approaching transport trucks which create intense “road spray”  blanking out our windscreen each time they pass.
We reached Coonabarabran around morning tea time so opted to visit a coffee shop rather than sit in the wet park to enjoy our vacuum flask coffee.  It was a fortunate decision as I scored some lovely recipes from the young woman running the coffee shop, and also had a great conversation with a group of women who were having a “meeting” in the shop.  I noticed a box next to one woman’s chair and, low and behold, sitting on the box was a magnificent set of brand new wool combs.  Of course, the chance of an exchange re wool combing, spinning and shetland knitting was just too good to pass up. I have been invited to their spinners group which meets on a Monday should I be passing through Coonabarabran on a Monday!
Next door to the coffee shop was the most wonderful, fabric, wool and haberdashery store owned and run by a 94 year old lady who found me a supurb 3mm wooden circular knitting needle to replace the nasty one I have been using to knit a matinee jacket for my expected baby grandson.  It was priced at $3.00 – I think it has been hanging on the wall of her shop since 1979.  The dear lady could not quite come to grips with why anyone would choose to use a new-fangled circular needle!
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My “drive” knitting project – matinee jacket

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The rain and cold temp in Gunnedah was so miserable that we opted to eat lunch in the car!  So, on with the drive to today’s destination, Armidale.  Today the maximum temperature has not exceeded 9 degrees.  It is a relief to reach Armidale and for the first time since we left home on Saturday we see a patch of blue sky in the distance, although it continues to rain in Armidale.  On hearing reports of the super storms on NSW coast we are just pleased that we are not travelling the coast road.  We are hoping to see some sun when we cross the border into Queensland.  It has not stopped raining since we landed in Melbourne on Sunday morning – we have driven 1400 kilometres in the rain – extraordinary!
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