Paradise has a name ... Riverbend


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Saturday, January 18, 2014

This big pig went to Moruya Market


We drove the twenty-five clicks to Moruya for some shopping at the Saturday morning market along the Moruya river. Big turnout as usual!

We bought baklava and pita bread from an Eqyptian vendor with whom I practised my almost-forgotten smattering of Arabic, two kilos of honey from an authentic bee-keeper, and, from a stall-keeper who sold nothing but baseball caps, I bought a cap inscribed with the words "Grumpy Old Man". I am sick and tired of being mistaken for Robert Redford!

Walking back to the car, we passed The Reading Room, except this time we didn't pass it but stepped inside. And what a find it turned out to be! It's a bookshop-cum-café which has regular Book Club meetings as well as readings and, twice a month, a Musicians Meet.

It was like a café littéraire of yesteryears and I could have sat there all day! And almost did! (that's me in the checkered shirt) Two cappuccinos later I was still engrossed in The Essential Dave Allen, so Padma suggested I put up the $2 and buy the book so we could take a leisurely drive along the Moruya River *).

It's 3 o'clock on a very hot Saturday afternoon and we're back at "Riverbend". Padma has gone to the village hall to help Betty with her Trash'n'Treasure sale and I'm deep into The Essential Dave Allen.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Opportunity shop knocks!


Even during my restless years, I belonged to several book clubs, including Reader's Digest and TIME-LIFE, whose publications cost the usual $29.95 (plus postage & handling) which then was a week's housekeeping money (or the cost of a lavish dinner-for-two to which I never treated myself).

When it was time to relocate, I would put the books into boxes (which cost money) and the boxes into storage (which cost more money).

Then, twenty years later, when all my travelling was done, I got the boxes out of storage, only to discover that many of those books I had so carefully boxed and stored, could be bought at an op-shop for 10 cents, or perhaps 20 cents, but never more than a dollar. (And ditto for all those vinyls, those fragile black things handled with kid gloves lest they got scratched. They are on sale now, unscratched, for just ten cents!)

If I had my time over again, I would buy nothing new as I can hardly image a world without op shops. Generally staffed by kindly older ladies, they're little rays of sunshine amidst the primarily drab and boring shopping experiences of the twenty-first century. Apart from large, wildly expensive department stores like David Jones and Myers, where else can you go that sells such a wide variety of goods? If you're lucky the ladies might even offer you a cuppa and a biscuit.

Throughout history people have always worn second hand clothes and treasured pre-loved things. In most families (and in my family in particular!), younger siblings (and I was the youngest!) have long been the recipients of their older sisters' and brothers' hand-me-down clothes, while donating unwanted garments and household paraphernalia to the needy has been practiced by those who are more privileged. While once upon a time such benevolence was generally practiced informally, over the last several decades shops dedicated to selling pre-loved wares have sprung up in cities and towns, large and small, all around Australia.

I can't remember when I discovered my first op shop. I remember once seeing a funny shop with funny-looking people going in and out but it was quite some time later, when op shops had gone mainstream and into main street, that I entered a store which had that peculiar odour created by used clothing and household items within.

In days gone by, if I needed a new belt to accommodate that expanding waistline, I would have gone into a men's wear store and happily paid $20. These days, I go into an op shop and choose from a range of real leather belts with real brass buckles, and never pay more than a dollar. As for books, I have found books I never knew existed and never paid more than a dollar for them.

Once such treasures are discovered, it boosts one’s endorphin levels, thus creating euphoria which can last for hours or days, depending on the perceived value of the find (and relative purchase price). A word of warning though: repeated discoveries of this nature will lead to the addiction of op shopping!

Luckily, I am not alone when I go for my op shop fix. Just look at or
or or or ... - come on, do your own GOOGLEing!

There are even organised op shopping tours - see - and a nation-wide register of op shops.

And here is a trailer of a seven-minute short film that captures the essence of the op shop culture that Australians have come to love:

It's an endearing portrait of three spirited elderly ladies who come across an unusual donated object in an op shop, and each goes through a journey of self discovery as they try to decipher the purpose of the object. The film brings strings of surprises and abundance of humour, a familiar scenario which op shop volunteer workers and shopper alike encounter with their daily discoveries of quirky donated goods.

When the going gets tough, the tough go op shopping!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

A delightful little book


I had already read Mitch Albom's Tuesdays with Morrie and The Five People You Meet in Heaven, and so I simply couldn't resist his latest offering, The Time Keeper. And I wasn't disappointed.

It's all about the use and the meaning of the word "time". We use so many phrases with it. Pass time. Waste time. Kill time. Lose time. In good time. About time. Take your time. Save time. A long time. Right on time. Out of time. Mind the time. Be on time. Spare time. Keep time. Stall for time. There are as many expressions with "time" as there are minutes in a day.

But once, there was no word for it at all. Because no one was counting. But then time became an industry. Man divided the world into zones so that transportation could be accurately scheduled. Trains pulled away at precise moments; airplanes pushed their engines to ensure on-time arrivals. People awoke to clanging alarms. Businesses adhered to "hours of operation". Every factory had a whistle. Every classroom had a clock. "What time is it?" became one of the world's most common questions, found on page one of every foreign-language instruction book. What time is it? Qué hora es? Skol'ko syejchas vryemyeni?

Read the book. You have plenty of time for it when you stay at "Riverbend" Cottage.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Big Six-O


A very Happy Birthday to you, Phil! We tried to send you one of Padma's home-made tiramisu but DHL refused to accept it.

Instead, we offer you this gift voucher of a week's HIGH SEASON stay at the LOW SEASON rate. That's a saving of $315, or the equivalent of about a dozen tiramisus! ☺

Have a wonderful day!

The "Riverbend" Team
Peter & Padma and Malty & Rover


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Some guests only fish on days that end in “Y”

Last year

This Year


Even so, it paid off for Kath who caught two bream. There was a big fight that night inside the cottage as two bream got battered.

We hope you had a safe trip back to the 'Big Smoke', Kath and Phil, and all our best wishes on the big Six-O on Wednesday, Phil!