Oct 25, 2014

The Coke Ovens at Newnes

This is a shale rock. It was mined in Newnes.

According to Wikipedia, "Shale is a fine-grained, clastic sedimentary rock composed of mud that is a mix of flakes of clay minerals and tiny fragments (silt-sized particles) of other minerals, especially quartz and calcite."

Apparently you can get oil out of stone! One of the interesting walks you can do from a Newnes camping ground is the Newnes Industriall Ruins site. It was the site of one of the largest shale oil production schemes in Australia and operated between 1906 and 1932.

These are coke ovens. The only 'coke' I knew was the one which I drink, but this is not that Coke. These coke ovens were used to fuel the boiler plants.

Once you get past the uphill bit, the walk is pretty easy and interesting. It has an 'Indiana Jones' feeling to it as you see crumbling brick and nature re-conquering what was once its domain. You can picture in your mind's eye the hive of activity that once filled the place and contrast that with the utter stillness of today.

The other walk we did was the Glow Worm Tunnel. That was very interesting, though you had to work for that one.

Camping at Newnes

I've been behind on my blog posts but my latest mantra is 'better late than never!'

This is from last year's camping date in December. We went to Newnes, in the Blue Mountains.

There are pros and cons of camping here compared to Riverwood Down. The flies here are annoying. We were close to some bushfire, and had a ranger come over to update us on the fire and announce a total fire ban.

The view is quite incredible though. You wake up in the morning, climb out of your tent and gasp at the mountains next to you, soaring high above. You know the view you get when you visit the Three Sisters in the Blue Mountains? Well, this is from inside that view. There is an exclusive getaway for the rich and famous five minutes up the road, the rates of which I am told is $5000 a night. We stayed five minutes down the road for 1% of the price.

There is a pretty river although it's not deep enough to swim in.

and if you are into your wildlife, there are pretty cute ones...

...pretty active wildlife...

and pretty scary wildlife... Number One was running around and fell down on a big, big ant and he was bitten. Ouch. Poor thing, he always does seem to run into bad luck.

The nearby walks are super interesting though. We did the Industrial Ruins and the Glow Worm Tunnel, posts to follow.


Oct 13, 2014

Introducing Number 4

We left our two dogs behind when we moved here. We could not afford to bring them over and they were 14 years old and would not have done well with the move anyway. Number 1 teared up when he hugged his favourite of the two and said goodbye. He cried again when the dogs finally went to the kennel in the sky.

I guess there is always a part of me that feels guilty for taking my kids out of Malaysia, for removing them from family, for placing them in a cultural context that is part alien to them. I can't give them more family here, and I can't change the colour of their skin, but I could get another dog, so I made promises. Once we bought our own place, I said, we would get a dog.

There are other reasons we had. Research shows that growing up around pets build immunity. Both Number One and Two grew up with dogs (as did hubby and I) and I wanted Number Three to reap the benefits too.

Number Three adopted Number Four early, so much so, she began thinking she was a dog. She put stuff in her mouth and shaked her head vigorously from side to side. She got on all fours and romped around the house. She got all her toys out when he first came and spilled them on the floor in front of him. She poured him a cup of tea and put the tea cup to his snout. He thought she was his littermate and pounced and jumped on her.

They are really funny together, I guess because they are both babies. Sometimes go they out in the garden and sit together, pulling out my leaves or decapitating some flower head. Sometimes they exchange hugs and licks. Other times though, they get on each other's nerves. I have to break up arguments. They steal each other's toys. Number Three sometimes entices the dog to jump on her, then she gives a plaintive wail and a 'help me, look at what he is doing" look.

Number Two is a bit ambivalent at present. He treats Number 4 as he does Number 3 - he gives them an exuberant hug and kiss once in a while, but because they can't kick a soccer ball around, they aren't of much use to him.

It's Number One who has a close connection to animals. I read an article that said pets are good for mental and social development and confidence building. I would think it's true. Number One's confidence has grown a bit. He has taken the lead in training the dog, and the trainers have praised him and how well Number 4 is getting along.

Number 1 normally gags at the sight of blood and poo, but is now feeding the dog and cleaning after the dog. He has overcome his aversions and can now even pick up poo with his hand in a plastic bag and he doesn't whinge. I am amazed at what love can do! I think he amazed himself because what he thought was 'impossible' for him to do, isn't so impossible when you face the facts and 'just do it.'