" Synchromysticism:
The art of realizing meaningful coincidence in the seemingly mundane with mystical or esoteric significance."

- Jake Kotze

February 13, 2017

On the Road with a Grumpy Old Bastard from Stanthorpe

The home of the Grumpy Old Bastard
from Stanthorpe
My second road-trip last year where I drove all the way from Brisbane in Queensland to Hobart in Tasmania and back ended with me picking up a grumpy old bastard from Stanthorpe on my way through to Tenterfield and home again -
Road Trip #2
Tenterfield was the town where Peter Allen grew up and wrote a song about, so I was going to stop and take a look at his grandfather's saddlery on my last main tourist attraction stop before getting back home to Brisbane.
On the road to Stanphorpe/Tenterfield
and to a grumpy old bastard
But first I should backtrack to where I left off from my post about leaving Goondiwindi to head to Stanthorpe -
The Finishing Post: Goondiwindi Grey?
How can you fish in a creek that is not there?
When I saw the no fishing sign over Bracker Creek (the creek that wasn't there) I thought about David Lynch's book 'Catching the Big Fish' and how amusing and Zen like it would be to try my luck catching one here and probably getting a fine for my trouble, as well;-) 
Lifeboats, Flying Fish and the Sea of the Subconscious
I love how everyone has a story to tell of just what it is that defines them as a person and what influenced their life around them as they grew up, from the lives of David Lynch to Peter Allen to even ... me.
Which made me think of the song in the video below about the stories we tell ourselves that define who we are, true or not.
Trees are spectacular displays of
nature I never get sick of seeing
The road infested with dead kangaroos
 on the way to Stanthorpe
I didn't catch any "big fish" on this second road trip, even though I did stumble across the bones of one in the town of Eden -
The Killers and Whales of the New South Wales Coast
But I have never seen so many dead kangaroos in my life than on this trip, and the most I saw on one road was this 76 kilometre stretch of road to Stanthorpe (pictured above) that branches off highway 42 from Goondiwindi.
An 80 km/hour school zone?!
The most bizarre thing I saw along this road ... apart from about 100 dead roos ... was an 80km/hour school zone, it was amazing there wasn't dead school kids on the side of this road also, as I have never seen a school zone where you have to "slow" down from 100 to 80.
Most school zones, in fact all that I have ever seen you have to slow down to 40km/hour, not 80.
Even on the main highways drivers have to slow down to 60/50 when going through small towns, so this 80km/hour school zone was truly mind boggling to me.
Christmas tree in July, as Stanthorpe do a Christmas in July weekend
The main street of Stanthorpe on a July afternoon in 2016
Even Stanthorpe's shop windows are
decorated with
snowflakes in July
There are even real fires burning in
cafes on main street
The burgers are great in Stanthorpe,
but I did say
hold the bacon
The reason Stanthorpe holds a 'Christmas in July' weekend every year, apart from getting the tourist dollar, is because July falls in winter in Australia and the real Christmas falls in Decemberwhich is summertime in Australia, so the reasoning is to hold a second Christmas in July to see how the people in the northern hemisphere feel at Christmas.
Let's face it, who likes eating hot Christmas dinners in summer?
Trees and art in a park in
main street
There's no place like home,
or a
rainbow serpent
Oz, somewhere over/under
rainbow (serpent)?
And while Peter's granddad's saddlery is in Tenterfield, Peter grew up in Armidale
Occult Armidale?
I love the artwork around the
streets of
A hotel in Stanthorpe with
Guinness on tap ... mmm
I would have loved to have hung around town and have some of the Guinness stout on tap pictured above, but I had to get cracking to have a look around Tenterfield in the daylight hours.
But first I wanted to grab some of this Granite Belt wine I keep hearing so much about.
Mason Wines?!
Occult Stanthorpe?!
What's the handshake again? Doh!
There didn't seem to be anyone around the Mason Winery ... unless they were all in a secret meeting, so I took off in search of a less secret and more open winery;-)
So, I kept driving until I found a winery named Severn Brae, which sounded promising, and it was open, so I drove in.
I also see that on the Severn Brae Facebook page that there is a picture of the winery covered in snow, but there was no snow on the day I was there.
Bruce Humphery Smith in front of his winery, I believe
The thing that struck me as amusing was that I had set out on this second road-trip to spot a powerful owl in Port Macquarie, but I couldn't find any -
The Owls Aren't There Anymore It Seems
And as I'm driving up the driveway to the Severn Brae winery I see what looks like to me an owl sitting on the veranda of the winery, but as I got closer, I could see that although it was an owl, it wasn't real.
The Severn Brae owl on the veranda
I started to have a Mike Clelland moment for a minute until I realized the owl wasn't real. 
I was only going to buy a bottle of Shiraz if the tasting was OK, but Bruce asked me if I liked port and I told him, "no thanks".
He said just try this and I'll bet you that you will like it.
I thought I doubt that very much, because I've never tasted a port yet that I would want to drink again.
But he was right, this stuff was good, and I decided I would buy a bottle of port as well as a bottle of Shiraz.
I asked him what the port was called, and he said, "Grumpy Old Bastard".
I thought that's no way to treat a customer, and besides I've been on the road for three weeks straight, so I'm bound to be a little grumpy:-) 
He said, "no you grumpy old bastard, that's what it is called".
Well, he didn't actually say that, but he should have if he wanted port to explode from my mouth with laughter behind it.
I have to say that I will probably never be able to drive through Stanthorpe again without picking up a bottle, or two of Grumpy Old Bastard port.
My idea for a 2017 celebratory label for the President of the USA;-) 
And if you are wondering why this region is called 'The Granite Belt', it's because it is surrounded by hills of granite, which are spectacular to look at. 
Bald Rock in Bald Rock National Park
Before I left Stanthorpe I invited a few locals to a BBQ at my place if they were ever down in Brisbane;-) 
That joke probably went down like a lead balloon with my vegetarian mates out there.
When I got to Tenterfield I even found out that there was a Peter Allen Motor In on the main street of Tenterfield, too.
Peter Allen's granddad's saddlery in Tenterfield
I also found these parrots feeding in Tenterfield as I was leaving the town for Ballina.
I don't recall ever seeing this type of parrot around where I live back in Brisbane
I said good-bye to my new bird friends and headed off to Ballina to grab half a kilo of prawns for dinner before heading home for the first time in three weeks.
The one lane bridge between Tenterfield and Ballina.
I didn't think my second road-trip could ever be topped, but I think when I set off on my third trip of the year that I couldn't have written a better script as far as fulfilling a lifetime ambition was concerned - 
My Observations of Time and Space in Port Macquarie

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