THE LIEBSTER AWARD – THANK YOU STACES PLACE.

My nomination by Staces Place for  the  liebster-blog-award award came at just the right time.

I’d been fortunate to receive nomination for the big L. A.  previously but due to unforeseen Casa Creakingbones circumstances at the time, I’d had no choice but to decline the privilege.

Now it appears that all is travelling smoothly at Casa Creakingbones and I can take up the challenge and join in the fun.

As pointed out by Staces Place, there appear to be three main requirements for recipients and they are:

1     Answer questions posed by their nominator.

2     Nominate another group of bloggers you deem to be worthy of the award.

3     Pose a number of questions for the fresh bunch of nominees to answer.

Prima facie, everything seems to be straight forward, so here we go with the questions posed for nominees by Staces Place.

1. How long have you been blogging?  After a lengthy lay off, I started again earlier this year.

2. Why do you blog?  I find the mental stimulation enjoyable and the exposure to other bloggers has opened up a whole new world of understanding how people in other parts of the world have the same ideals, needs, wants and worries as do I.

3. Where would you prefer to live, in the mountains or at the coast?  I lived on the coast at Cronulla in New South Wales for almost 40 years and also lived and worked in many inland country towns. I never thought I could give up my love of surfing, sea kayaking, beach fishing and other water sports all of which successfully coexisted with my involvement in cycle racing (the pedalling kind) ,motorcycling and outback exploring in my Landrover.

Then the opportunity came to move, look stock and barrel onto the South West Slopes. Best move I ever made. No more surf, sea kayaking, beach fishing etc. I now couldn’t give a hoot about all that. Here, the hills are not only alive with the sound of music, but the sounds of birds, bees and all of natures fantastic and exciting things. And yes, it does snow here from time to time and yes, the temperature drops below freezing in the early morning hours. Fantastic, no humidity, no smog, no bumper to bumper traffic, hardly any crime, great shopping and less than a dozen sets of traffic lights. I could go on and on.

So, the short answer to the question, Mountains.

4.   Do you follow or participate in any sport?  Football of any code, absolutely not. Cycle racing, absolutely, though only as an observer. Tennis, yawn, yawn, same for lawn bowls, snooker and croquet. Now Golf, I totally support that game and actively encourage it. As a golfing widower, I have several days of peace and absolute tranquility per week. I feel that 18 holes is far from sufficient and perhaps 36 holes per day would be well supported by other widowers.

5.   Do you follow any specific diet or regime? No.

6.   Do you have pets?  Certainly do, two cats, Ginger and Tom. Then, peacefully coexisting in our large aviary are six princess parrots, four burke parrots, and two lorikeets.

7.  What pushes your buttons on and off?  A great ride on the Harley pushes all the on buttons. Indecisive people immediately press my off button .

MY NOMINEES FOR THIS AWARED ARE: 

https://sariscorner.wordpress.com

http://udayology.wordpress.com

http://nooryan.wordpress.com

http://creole.com

http;//charidarose.com

http://cxianliu.wordpress.com

https://christinapictures.wordpress.com

https://humaaq.wordpress.com

MY QUESTIONS FOR THESE NOMINEES ARE:

How long have you been blogging and why do you blog?

Are you an inquisitive person?

Do you collect ‘friends’ on Facebook?

What is your preference in music, e.g., country, hip hop, popular or classical etc?

What is your favourite movie and your favourite book?

What has been your favourite road trip?

I hope all my nominees can accept the award and have as much fun with its as have I.

Thanks again  Staces Place.

FIVE PHOTOS – FIVE STORIES- DAY FIVE- BROKEN HILL

THE SIGN SAYS IT ALL.
THE SIGN SAYS IT ALL.
YOURS TRULY
YOURS TRULY ON THE WAY TO MEET THE BOYS

Broken Hill is a significant mining town in the far west of New South Wales. As the sign so rightly points out, visitors to this magic town are welcome.

It’s not just the town of Broken Hill that attracts tourists. The surrounding communities do too, for example Silvereton, where the original Mad Max movie was filmed and Tibooburra, the most isolated and far western town in New South Wales, tucked away right in the corner of three states, New South Wales, South Australia and Queensland.

We don’t visit Tibooburra when we are on the bikes as the many many miles of dirt road out to the village is totally unsuitable to our road bikes. There are two great pubs there though, the Family and the Tibooburra Hotel. Well worth a visit, that’s for sure.

For many years now a group of us have made a biannual ride to Broken Hill. From my place, if I ride directly to The Hill it’s shade over 2200 kms or roughly around 1,300 miles return. Of course, once we all get going we rarely take the shortest route so sometimes we travel over twice those distances.

Not everyone in ‘Big Al’s Mob’ ride Harleys so there’s always a bit of competition in the performance stakes.  Most of the bike out perform my Harley in every respect except two, presence and comfort. As you get on a bit, presence is vital for the ego and comfort is vital for the bum and the back.

‘Big Al’s Mob’ is made up of mature age riders and those of us who have never raced bikes in competition are in the minority. It seems to me that the older we riders get, the faster we were!

Big Al’s rides to the Hill are organised to give the most fun and these days the rides are by invitation only. Fortunately for me, I’m stolen the OK list.

Our visit to The Hill included a number of must dos.

Firstly the Broken Hill Musicians Club. Great beer, great food, great entertainment and only a short walk from our favourite motel in town.

Secondly, The Day Dream Mine, on the way to Silverton.

Thirdly, Silverton itself and one of the Mad Max movie locations.

Forthly, the Sculptures just out of The Hill.

Fifthly, generally having fun at the end of each day’s ride.

As this is the last of the five by fives for me, I thought enough of the words and a few more images from our trips to The Hill.  The images aren’t in chronological or significance order. I just selected them at random to give you a taste of the fun we have.

THE MOB ON ONE OF THE EARLY RIDES TO 'THE HILL'
THE MOB ON ONE OF THE EARLY RIDES TO ‘THE HILL’
A MORE SELECT GROUP OF AL'S BOYS
A MORE SELECT GROUP OF AL’S BOYS

Big Al is in the photograph but values his anonymity

MORE OF THE BOYS PLUS ONE RING IN.
MORE OF THE BOYS PLUS ONE RING IN. GUESS WHICH ONE.
BROTHER BRIAN AND HIS HONDA VALKEDRIE NEAR THE DY DREAM MINE.
BROTHER BRIAN AND HIS HONDA VALKEDRIE NEAR THE DAY DREAM MINE.
THREE BROS AT THE SCULPTURES JUST ON SUN SET.
THREE BROS AT THE SCULPTURES JUST ON SUN SET.
BROTHER BRIAN, YOURS TRUELY AND MR HARLEY.
BROTHER BRIAN, YOURS TRUELY( nearest the road) AND MR HARLEY.
THREE AMIGOS WITH MY HARLEY AT A MAD MAX SITE NEAR SILVERTON..
THREE AMIGOS WITH MY HARLEY AT A MAD MAX SITE NEAR SILVERTON..
A SKETCH ARTIST AT WORK
A SKETCH ARTIST AT WORK

While we were having coffee at a small town en route to The Hill I noticed this bloke staring at us and using a note pad. As we went to leave, he surprised me by introducing himself and giving me the following sketch of our little band.

THE FOUR BROS SKETCH
THE FOUR BROS SKETCH

I framed it when I got home and it now hangs proudly here in my office. The other three amigos only got duplicate copies.

THREE BROS AND A YOUNG LADY.
THREE BROS AND A YOUNG LADY.

The young lady is named Laurie. She is an identity on Radio 2BH Broken Hill. We have got to know her over the years and now when she knows we are on our way, she plays’ The Boys Are Back in Town’ on her program and broadcasts a nice welcoming promo for our visit.

THREE OF US WITH THE HILL'S GENERAL TERRAIN AS A BACKGROUND.
THREE OF US WITH THE HILL’S GENERAL TERRAIN AS A BACKGROUND.
YOURS TRULY AND LOUIE POSING FOR THE CAMERA NEAR SILVERTON..
YOURS TRULY AND LOUIE POSEING FOR THE CAMERA NEAR SILVERTON..p
ANOTHER ANONYMOUS POSE WITH A FELLOW BRO.
ANOTHER ANONYMOUS POSE WITH A FELLOW BRO AT THE SCULPTURES.
DUST STORM AT THE HILL
DUST STORM AT THE HILL TAKEN FROM THE MINER’S MEMORIAL
THE MINERS MEMORIAL IN BROKEN HILL DURING A DUST STORM
THE MINERS MEMORIAL IN BROKEN HILL DURING A DUST STORM
ARE WE THERE YET? NEAR THE DAY DREAM MINE.
ARE WE THERE YET? NEAR THE DAY DREAM MINE.
AT THE SILVERTON PUB
AT THE SILVERTON PUB
FIVE BROS AND A RING IN NEAR BROKEN HILL.
FIVE BROS AND A RING IN NEAR BROKEN HILL.

One final image, just for a bit of self promotion and exhibiting my egotistical approach:

THAT'S ME, FRONT ROW ON THE RIGHT AS YOU LOOK AT IT.
THAT’S ME, FRONT ROW ON THE RIGHT AS YOU LOOK AT IT.

What a hoot this 5×5 has been. Now it’s all done and dusted I’m sorry to have to let go of the reigns and hand over.

I’ve asked Greg Long to take up the job and I hope he can spare the time. Greg is a fascinating bloke who possesses great computer skills and is an artist to boot. I’m looking forward to seeing more of his images and great writing. Fingers crossed.

Hoo roo and thanks for reading and looking for the last five days.

FIVE PHOTOS-FIVE STORIES- DAY FOUR- A VILLIAN IN THE FOG.

Mr Jock McTavish was the street’s busybody. He was addicted to his membership of the local ‘Neighbourhood Watch’ branch. Nothing escaped his notice and he made copious notes and took photographs of everything that caught his attention in the area around his house. He was a constant visitor to the local police station where he provided copies of his  notes and sometimes photographs of his observations.

The police at the station always accepted Jocks notes, photos and ‘verbal advice’ as local knowledge and intelligence are a vital component in the law enforcement arsenal. In fact, Jock’s info file at the station had, over the years, become so voluminous that it had its own drawer in the Crime Manager’s office. How often it was or should have been reviewed became a meal brake discussion point amongst the staff. Never the less, Jock’s input was seen as valuable general intelligence.

In the area where he lived, locals had become used to Jock peering through his curtains, walking around the streets with his camera at the ready and making little notes.

Despite the fact that some of the neighbours felt that Jocks inquisitiveness was an infringement on their privacy, he was generally well liked and thought of harmless and somewhat eccentric

However, it came to pass that his inquisitive nature almost cost him his life.

On the morning of the day that Jock almost came to meet his maker, a very heavy fog had rolled in, reducing visibility to a matter of metres.

Fortunately for Jock, his next door neighbours awoke to the sound of what they thought was a violent altercation taking place outside.

They rushed out in time to see a figure disappearing rapidly into the fog and then they saw an inert figure lying crunched up on the ground between the trees.

As they got closer, they were shocked to see it was Jock, lying bleeding on the ground and not moving.

Grabbing her mobile phone the next door neighbour dialled the emergency triple 0 and alerted the police and ambulance that help was needed.

As they were both first aiders, the neighbours gave the inert Jock the once over and rolled him into the recovery position to await the arrival of the emergency services.

It was then Jock regained consciousness and in response to a question about what had happened said,’ I woke up early for some reason, looked out the window as usual and I saw a shape moving in the fog. I grabbed the camera and snuck out of the house in my pyjamas to take a photo of what I saw. I don’t remember anything else’.

By then the police and paramedics had arrived and as the paramedics placed Jock into the ambulance he repeated to the police what he had just told his neighbours and added,’ I got some photos, take my camera and have a look, they might give you a clue about the bastard who bashed me. It was so quick, I can’t give you a description apart from the fact it was a bloke wearing a cap and dressed in black’.

The neighbours had picked up Jock’s camera and they handed it to the police.

This is what was found on the camera’s SD card.

VILLIAN IN THE FOG?.
VILLIAN IN THE FOG?.
GOODIE OR BADDIE?
GOODIE OR BADDIE STANDING AGAINST THE TREE TRUNK?
WHO IS THAT?
WHO IS THAT?
ALMOST OUT OF SIGHT.
ALMOST OUT OF SIGHT.
THE TREES WHERE JOCK WAS FOUND.
THE TREES WHERE JOCK WAS FOUND.

After a week in hospital, Jock was discharged with no permanent injuries.

The offender could not be identified from Jock’s photographs or his sketchy description and is still at large.

It’s said that it’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good. Since his assault, Jock has clearly demonstrated that his obsession with ‘Neighbourhood Watch’ has diminished. He no longer prowls around with his camera and notebook and he is no longer observed peeping out through his curtains.

His personal drawer in the Crime Manager’s Office no longer requires review and is used as a training tool for budding Detectives.

Jock’s misfortune has become a win win for everyone, including the offender whom, in the fullness of time may be revealed as a near neighbour.

FIVE PHOTOS – FIVE STORIES- DAY THREE.

Part of the joy of owning and riding an Harley Davidson motorcycle is the camaraderie and fun that comes with being a member of the Harley Owners Group, better known as HOG. Membership of HOG is a worldwide phenomena and initial membership comes when you buy your first Harley.

The HOG is not a gang, rather it is a family oriented group of motorcyclists who ride for the love of it, on their Harleys of course.

One of the first things a new HOG member does is buy a vest and sew their HOG membership badge on it. This isn’t wearing ‘colours’ in the same sense as do the 1%ers, you know, the outlaw motor cycle gang members.

Being a member of HOG has many benefits and I have two favourites, the ABC’s of Touring and the HOG Mileage Program.

After yesterday’s story, an ever observant reader, Julie, thereluctantbaptist.com, inquired if I was displaying a magazine on my Harley.

The answer is, yes, it’s part of joining in the ABC,s of Touring. To participate in the scheme, you stop at official sign, place a current copy HOG Tales( the Harley Davidson member magazine) in an conspicuous place on your bike, take a photo of the sign and the bike and voila, you have earned a point towards an ABC award. There is an annual points competition and if you accumulate enough points you get an award. Here is an example:

ABC_28May2015_0004 copy

In addition, Harley issues badges to ABC entrants together with Mileage Badges, annual Membership patches and other adornments we proudly wear. Local HOG chapters also issue their identifying patches and we dutifully sew them onto our vests. As they accumulate over time you feel like a walking christmas tree when you wear your vest. Have a look at mine and you’ll see why. Actually I’ve run out of space and mine isn’t up to date. A new vest is on order.

THE FRONT OF MY HOG VEST.
THE FRONT OF MY HOG VEST.
AND THE BACK
AND THE BACK

When I commission the new vest, I’m going to frame this one and hang it in the shed next to my Harley, don’t ask me why, it just seems the right thing to do.

By the way, doing the ABC’s doesn’t have to involve company, it works well as a solo activity.

Now a post about the ABC’s of Touring wouldn’t be complete without a few examples that have earned me points so I’ve picked a few from a collection spanning 25 years. Don’t go into shock, just a few:

CROSSING A STATE BORDER EARNS EXTRA POINTS
CROSSING A STATE BORDER EARNS EXTRA POINTS
LOOK AT THE LOVELY VIEW!
LOOK AT THE LOVELY VIEW!
ONLY TEN MILKES FROM HOME.
ONLY TEN MILES FROM HOME.
MY HARLEY HAS HORSES APLENTY.
MY HARLEY HAS HORSES APLENTY.
THAT WILL DO FOR NOW, CAN'T RISK OVERKILL.
THAT WILL DO FOR NOW, CAN’T RISK OVERKILL.

You may have noticed that there are no other Harleys in these images. That’s because mostly I prefer to do my long distance rides alone. Riding the bike clears the head of almost everything thats pesky. You only have to please yourself where you stop, where you dine and where you stay.

These days many riders choose not to camp in deserted places as they believe that to do so entails risks. Just riding the bike entails risks and I’d rather trust a hidden spot in the bush than an incident with an errant intoxicated or drugged up tin top driver. Give me the solitude and safety of the bush any time.

Well another day’s 5×5 set adrift.

See you all tomorrow. Might add in a few of my riding mates too.

FFfAW – DRAMA AT ST SWITHENS

wpid-photo-20150526091158391

Young Freddy loved everything about St Swithens. The games, the stories  Reverend Upjohn told  and the mysteries that lay behind the locked doors. When he turned nine he learned first hand from Upjohn of the vileness behind the locked doors.

His parents noticed a change in Freddy. No longer an outgoing, smiling, joking boy who loved  the church.

Normally polite, and responsive, he refused to answer any questions when asked if anything was wrong. For years, his bedroom, door closed, became his refuge. Sundays became a major drama complete with tantrums, wailing and cowering on the way to St Swithens.  During his teens, this strange behaviour was dismissed as hormonal changes.

On his  20th birthday, a Saturday, he went alone to St Swithens after telling his parents he was camping with friends.

Freddy never came home.

On Sunday morning when St Swithens was opened Reverend Upjohn was found naked and hacked to death behind the altar. Freddy was dead, hanged behind a closed door.

(164 words)

Photo credit ©PricelessJoy
This is my 164 word submission for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers. We are given a photo prompt and 100-150 words give or take 25, with which to write our story.
This challenge is open to all who would like to participate. If you are interested, click on this link: FFfAW

WRITING 101- DAY FOUR- SERIALLY LOST -PART THREE- THE END

Before bedding down last night I reviewed the very slight directional alterations that had taken place and decided, correctly, that any technical navigational malfunctions that could impact on travel time should always be factored in to my cross country driving. Therefore I programmed my body clock to ensure I would be on the move no later than 0500 hrs the next day, just to be on the safe side.

After a quick mug of steaming hot coffee accompanied by toast with marmalade jam( nothing like a bit of trivia early on in the piece) the Landcover was packed and ready to roll spot on 0500hrs. Oil and water checked of course, tyre pressures readjusted further down to 15psi ( pounds pressure per square inch) and I was off, just before sun rise.

I made the early start as I was determined to get to The old Ghan Railway line before sundown to prepare for the final part of my drive into Alice Springs in the Northern Territory.

A bit of the Ghan’s history though before Part Three of this odyssey really starts.

The Old  Ghan railway line as it’s known was begun in Port Augusta in South Australia in 1876. It was narrow gauge, 1067mm or 3 foot 6 inches in imperial measurement. It ran through South Australia’s arid outback and ended in Alice Springs in the Territory.

The line was always suffering sand storms that covered the line or occasional floods that washed away the line. A fledged waggon was always coupled immediately before the steam engine and carried spare rails, sleepers and fettler’s tools. When the need arose, both passengers and crew worked side by side to repair the line and the trip was always an adventure for travellers.

It had the name The Ghan in recognition of the cameleers and their camels, brought to Australia from Afghanistan to enable the carriage of goods from the south of the country to the settlers  living in isolation in the centre.

By 1980, a new rail line connecting Adelaide with Darwin was completed and the Ghan line was no longer required. Over successive years the track was pulled up, the rails and sleepers disposed of and a dedicated group of volunteers maintained  some of the old railway stations and theirs outbuildings.

It’s possible to travel along the old railway line by four wheel drive and relive what it must have been like to do the trip by steam train.

MFTS – SPIRIT CITY

MINERS HILL
MINERS HILL PHOTO CREDIT © Barbara Beacham
The only residents in the small town of Miners Hill are ‘spirits’.

Why is this so you ask? ‘Don’t ask me mate’. If I said that I’d just be perpetuating the myths that swirl around the place like mists in the dead of winter.

The answer is simple really. Just take your pick. (1) It’s just a matter of supply and demand. (2) basic economics or (3) gross mismanagement.

I’m going to tell you it’s a mixture of (1) and (2). You see, Miners Hill was once the richest source of tungsten in the world. In fact, the mob that ran the place thought they could monopolise world supply, set any prices they liked and sit pretty forever.

Mismanagement alright. China had Tungsten too plus cheap labour and no unions.

Result, a worldwide Tungsten glut, prices plunged, Miners Hill was forced into liquidation.

Everyone left town.

The end.(150 words)

Barbara Beacham is the kind hostess of this challenge, Mondays Finish the Story.  She provides us with a photo prompt and the first sentence and we have to finish the story in 150 words. This is my response to the challenge. If you would like to participate in the fun just click on this link, MFtS.