I slept late this morning. Late being a relative term, as I’ve been getting up at 6:30am, all week, and I got up at 8:30am today. I felt like I could and should sleep longer, but several things were acting against me. Usually there are little girls talking and playing downstairs, I now sleep in a room with a window (no more caves for me) that lets in the morning sun, and my bladder was definitely shouting at me. Oh, and the shops downtown close at noon, so I knew I needed to get up, if I wanted to see anything today.
I left the house shortly after 9, and I definitely felt like my driving is coming along… things are smoother, I’m a little (a very little) less worried about hitting one of the posts that supports the carport roof. I still occasionally turn the windshield wipers on, when I mean to use the turn signal, but what matters this, when I come home safely every day? I start praying, the second I get into my car, praying that I’ll pay attention, and not do anything stupid. I really don’t want to get lackadaisical about it, because if I can get distracted while driving by myself, I can get seriously distracted if there are any children in the car.
Many of the roads around town seem to have a median between the lanes, and I really appreciate all the “Keep Left” signs that usually sit on the medians. A bit like the “Wrong Way” signs back in the U.S., but I like to think these signs remind me to stay left, instead of freaking me out that I’ve gone the wrong way, after the fact. So, a lot of streets have parking in the middle of the street, so you can make a U-turn, or park, no matter which direction you’re going. I like this aspect, because the idea of trying to parallel park, while driving on the left side of the road… this idea does not thrill my soul.
So, I drove down Clermont St, which seems to be the main drag in Emerald, as far as I can tell, and parked just down the road from the train station. I asked someone in a sports shop, and they said that it was a historical location, and tourists go to see it. So, assured that it was ok to go in there, I headed across the road, looking both ways, to make sure I didn’t get run over. I’d rather not be run over for looking the wrong way on a street.
A train was parked at the station, but who knows what kind of cargo it contained? Not coal, because someone pointed one of those out to me the other week. They mine TONS of coal around here, and the trains go on forever, loaded to the brim. I took some pictures around the picturesque station, and then headed back across the street, to take some pictures of the Irish Pub that I went to last week.
I also found a neat little coffee and book shop that I’d like to spend some more time in. Their book covers are totally different from ours, so I recognize very few of the books on display. The U.S. gets different covers on their books than other countries, so I already knew that it’d look different, but I wasn’t seeing anything that was familiar, unless I looked for the authors. There were a lot of other fun things in there, besides books, and there I saw some fun souvenirs in a neighboring shop. Oh, and I picked up a beautiful book which contained Dorothea MacKellar’s “My Country”, with fabulous photos accompanying each line of the famous Australian poem.
In fact, I could have stayed in that shop for a long time, just to look at the photo books, full of pictures of ranches and other locations in Australia. If I’m not careful, I’ll come home with a bunch of them, to commemorate my stay here. But knowing that my funds are limited, at present, and that I want to save some of my earnings, I kept a lid on my spending, this time.
From Clermont St, I wandered down another block to Egerton St. By the way, if anyone looks on a map, Clermont St IS the A4 or the Capricorn Hwy, running right through Emerald. Looking at Google Maps, right now, myself. Too bad I didn’t look at it earlier, I could have visited the Botanic Gardens, further down the A4. Or Toyworld, further down Egerton St. Oh, well. Also, I can now tell where the racecourse is, which I know is in Emerald, but I hadn’t known where it was. When we were at the movies last week, I asked why some girls were so dressed up (was I dressed down?) and Mrs. B told me that they had been to the races.
On Egerton, I saw the bank and post office again, but neither of them are open on Saturdays. Walking back in the other direction, I came up to the Emerald Shire Council (I only know the name of it, because it’s listed on Google Maps). I thought some of the decor outside was interesting, and then realized that one of the… pieces of artwork had a timeline about Emerald and Australia on it. Going from bottom to top. Kind of neat, I thought.
I went down the road to stop off for a little while at Morton Park, where the girls (and everyone else) play soccer. I would love to get up a Frisbee game (or toss) with people there. But my main purpose was to get a closer look at the gigantic painting at the front of the park. It’s supposed to be the biggest painting in the world, I think, and it’s of Van Gogh’s sunflower painting. I felt very tiny, beside it. From there, I discovered a path with boulders beside it, and mosaics on the path. So, a bit of the history of Australia is told in mosaics, which I took pictures of. It was pretty neat.
Wandering back to the car, I drove east and turned off on Hospital Rd, to go down and see some of the other shops that I was told about. I already knew where Woolworth’s was, so I started paying closer attention to the other shops along the road. Brumby’s Bakery had been recommended to me, with a boutique next door. I went in, and found myself looking at all sorts of wonderful looking desserts and different kinds of small meat and veggie pies. Even if it was 10:30am, I decided to have an early lunch, and ordered a cheese, bacon, and beef pie. It fit into the palm of my hand, was smoking hot, and absolutely delicious.
Leaving the bakery, since I was eating my pie without “cutlery” (which thankfully, I didn’t need), I didn’t go into the neighboring boutique, since most people don’t want food in their stores. Besides, I’d probably spill something or get greasy fingers on clothing.
I took several U-turns, trying to get back to Woolie’s, and figure out where Kaesbie’s garden shop was, which signs were describing as having plants and a coffee & crepe shop. But all the parking lots were packed at Woolie’s, so I ended up back on the main road, and looped around to try again. Finally, I was successful, and didn’t do too bad of a parking job, though I wish the parking spaces had lines, instead of those upraised white dots (the reflecto ones) to mark where they are.
The gardening “shop” was really a series of brick pathways leading under an arbor or two, which led to their coffee shop, a beer brewing supply store, a hair salon, a gift shop (which I never found), and The Stiletto Shop. This store sold all sorts of dressy shoes, but their headliners were obviously some serious stilettos. The salesladies were easy to locate, because of their snazzy outfits which went with their insanely high stilettos shoes.
After Kaesbie’s, I wandered around the mall area surrounding Woolie’s. There were numerous shops open that are closed after my work hours, during the week. Maybe I’ll have to go back and look at some clothes, sometime. But I look forward to when Emerald’s Target will reopen, as it apparently closed (and got moved into a barn/shed, outside town) after the flooding.
I came home to the smell of quiche cooking, and got to have some hot out of the oven for my lunch. Oh, and I finished off the rest of the butterscotch pudding, which tasted great cold. I had the house to myself, so I could do all sorts of exciting things, but got sidetracked when the dishes in the sink slid and broke a wine glass. Then I had to empty and refill the dishwasher, in order to pick all the glass out of the sink. Don’t want anybody getting cut when they least expect it (or when they most expect it, either).
My afternoon was somewhat lazy, uploading pictures, and finishing reading The Rogue Crew, by Brian Jacques. I loved it, as I love all of his books, though I’d still rather have the actual book in my hand, rather than read it on my Kindle. I think, next, I’ll finish reading Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World!, by Andrew Breitbart. I started it while I was in the L.A. airport, almost two weeks ago, and I really want to finish it.
So, tomorrow’s Sunday morning, and off I go to chapel. I look forward to this, as I don’t want to be a hermit while I’m over here, and I want to spend time with the Lord’s people. And making friends and having a bit of a social life are definitely on the agenda. Mr. B told me how each of their previous au pairs made a different circle of friends, so I hope I’ll do so as well. But for being here almost two weeks, I think I’m doing pretty well!