Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sunday morning

Friday, February 26, 2010

Why Nelligen? Why not?


Some people ask me why I retired at Nelligen, to which I reply, "Why not?" (I sometimes ask myself why I retired, full-stop, but that's a different story altogether.)

It all started in Canberra while I was still running my small computer consultancy Canberra Computer Accounting Systems and dabbling in tax and accounting work on the side. After I had solved a tax problem for a German friend, Tony Finsterer, for which I refused payment, he insisted that I stay at his weekend cottage at Nelligen.

For several months, I didn't find the time to drive to the coast. When I eventually did I had almost forgotten Tony's offer. Luckily, I didn't blink as I drove across the Nelligen bridge on the way to Batemans Bay and so spotted this tiny village nestled alongside the Clyde River.

I ask for directions to Tony's cottage at the General Store and was shown to # 21 Sproxton Lane across the river. (Tony has since died and his cottage has changed hands twice and is again for sale.)

The cottage was locked and Tony in Canberra. I phoned him and was told to look for the keys under the watertank and to make myself at home. Which I did and which set me on my own quest to find a little place in Nelligen.

At the time, Nelligen was a place forgotten even by real estate agents and nothing was for sale except a few empty building blocks. One such block overlooked the Clyde River from its location in Nelligen Place. I could imagine sitting there on the verandah and taking in the views. Which is exactly what a chap was doing just two blocks away. I walked up and asked if I could join him.

Soon we were not only sharing the same views but also memories of people and places we both had known as "Sandy" Sandilands and his wife Betty had also lived and worked on Thursday Island and in Rabaul in New Guinea. I felt at home at once! A few weeks later I was the proud owner of a block of land in Nelligen Place!

I wanted to build a beautiful little Classic Country Cottage. However, a retired public servant who occupied a small log cabin next to me did what public servants do: be a pain in the coccyx ! He objected to my building plans - TWICE! - on some obscure grounds. This delayed me long enough to find a much better place across the river. And that's how I came to buy "Riverbend"!

"Riverbend" had been auctioned in August 1992. I went to the auction as a spectator knowing that the reserve price was outside my range. It must have been outside everybody else's as well because it didn't sell. More than a year later, in November 1993, the owners accepted my much-reduced offer. The rest, as they say, is history!

(Oh, and I did go back to thank the public servant for objecting to my plans so that I could buy this much better and bigger and waterfront property. Last time I looked his mouth was still open!)


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Full steam ahead!

Batemans Bay will welcome their second cruise ship on Tuesday 16 March when Holland America Line ‘Volendam’ anchors off Batemans Bay for a day-visit. ‘The World’s visit to Batemans Bay in late December was a great success and Eurobodalla Tourism received positive feedback from both crew and passengers on board. The few hundred residents on board who came ashore took pre-organised tours to Mogo Zoo, Tilba and Foxglove Spire Gardens, Pebbly Beach, whilst others shopped and dined in town, walked to nearby beaches, played golf, rode bikes, went kayaking and hired cars for their own touring.'

'Volendam's anchorage in March will be a vastly different scenario', says Catherine Reilly of Eurobodalla Tourism. 'Volendam is a much bigger ship and we expect between 1000 to 1200 passengers and crew to come ashore for the day. More than half will have already pre-booked day coach tours to Montague Island, Tilba, Mogo, and Canberra and we expect the rest to stay close to the Bay, shopping and eating or taking advantage of a hop on-hop off coach or local taxis and hire cars to get to nearby beaches and attractions. The average spend per cruiseship passenger is estimated at around $200 per day'. Eurobodalla Tourism will produce another Welcome to Batemans Bay brochure for passengers and local volunteers will meet and greet passengers at the wharf alongside Eurobodalla Tourism staff.

Volendam is part of the Holland America Line and will be on a circumnavigation of Australia tour. The ship’s vital statistics are a passenger capacity of 1432, crew capacity of 588, Gross Tonnage of 61,396 grt, length of 780 feet, beam of 105.8 feet and a maximum speed of 23 knots. Holland America Line describes Volendam as “having a beautiful garden theme reflected in an artful floral motif throughout the ship's spacious public rooms and elegant staterooms. In addition to fresh flowers throughout the ship, Holland America Line has drawn on its collection of incredible artwork to enhance the interior of the ship's public spaces. Everything from pre-Columbian fetishes and sculptures to Renaissance-era fountains imported from Italy are included in its hallway galleries. At the heart of the ship an elegant sculpture by Luciano Vistosi, inspired by the myriad of moods and colours of a kaleidoscope, greets visitors in a soaring three-storey atrium.“

The ship will most likely anchor about 2 kilometres off shore, west of the Tollgate Islands, and passengers will come ashore via tenders. Volendam is expected around 7 am with passengers coming ashore from 8 am and the last tender for passengers is likely to leave Batemans Bay by 5 pm. “It will be a busy 9 hours”, says Reilly. “Volendam is also scheduled to visit Batemans Bay on 4 November and 16 December and with Batemans Bay now on the international radar, we expect to hear about more cruiseship visits after the Annual International Cruise Industry Expo and Conference in Miami in March."

Three Men in a Boat (to say nothing of the dog)

from the audio book publishers CSA WORD

This is the hilariously chaotic story of a sojourn taken on the Thames from London to Oxford by the writer, Jerome K. Jerome, with his weary inept friends Goerge, Harris, and the dog Montmorency.

The novel - [click for full text here] - is a series of often very funny vignettes that recount the many scrapes the men get involved in. Rather than the situations, it is Jerome's prose that is the real attraction here. He finds humour in the most banal of objects from a tin of pineapple chunks that is impossible to open, to the description of his friend's day's work: 'Goeorge goes to sleep in a bank from ten till four each day except Saturdays, when they wake him up and put him outside at two.'

The book is a wonderful read. The movie, starring Tim Curry, Michael Palin, and Stephen Moore, is a real treat but hard to get. Here's the full albeit rather washed-out sequence from Youtube:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8

Well, Nick, there are two of us already, and we also have the dog! All we need now is the third man and we can be off down the Clyde River in "Amber Lady". Just don't forget the opener for the tin of pineapple!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Stiff competition

Nick the Greek is running an advertising campaign for his hardware store in Wagga. I suggested this marketing ploy. Being Greek, he thought "Buy 2 for the price of 3" was better but I was able to talk him out of it.

Competition between Nelligen shopkeepers seems to be hotting up as well: rumour has it that one shopkeeper took out an AVO against another one. I had to GOOGLE to find out what an AVO is !!!

Who said that nothing ever happens in the country? As one old-timer mumbled under his breath when I commented on how nice people in the country are:   "Give them time!"


Monday, February 1, 2010

Do not disturb!

Nelligen is one of those places that almost wishes not to be noticed. It invites passersby to take a Sunday afternoon nap with it.

It has a community hall that keeps one eye open just long enough to give tourists a chance to buy a few trinkets.

Trinkets such as a mug from the Sydney 2000 Olympics for just 10 cents. Selling something for 10 cents these days is like saying, "We want you to have this as a gift from us but we don't want you to feel bad about it, so give us a coin you forgot you had."

Nelligen feels like rest. Real rest!