24 hours in Tamworth

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Prior to departure I’m up with the  G.O.’s 5 am alarm; drink coffee & do a little blog surfing; decide I have plenty of time for a 40 minute walk; pack my bag to be on the safe side; go for a walk; upon returning realise I don’t have that much time; make a quick breakfast; shower; dress, change tops, put new top on wrong way and inside out; get call at 10.30 am from the G.O… who has a horror of running late to the airport because of one occasion… was it only my responsibility to set the alarm?… to make sure I’m about to leave, which I am – almost; get cab to airport; at airport rearrange packing formation of carry-on bag half a dozen times until it fits into the cradle that rates it as cabin luggage; go through security scan, forget to separate out tiny aerosol deodorant, wait for security personnel to extract it from carry-on bag & and scan it separately to make sure it is a tiny aerosol deodorant; walk to gate 58 at the other end of the airport; listen to attendants endlessly call late people to flights, which delays my flight; finally walk down stairs onto the tarmac and up stairs onto plane. I’d forgotten, regional travel is a little more basic and the planes are much smaller.

My flight, running late, lands in Tamworth just after 1.30 pm. As I call a cab and turn off flight mode multiple text messages beep, including one from my friend Nanna “Are you getting off plane I can see? I have just arrived near airport”. My lovely friend Nanna also running late, figured somehow it was my plane and was already driving around to collect me.

Getting in the car, I smelled then saw a lime green carry bag containing my tea order: Japanese Green Lime; Ginger & Lemongrass; Rose Petals; and Dragon Pearls (white tea) which I’d ordered from Nanna for special school reunion delivery. Nanna zooms us away from the airport as we talk nonstop punctuated with a few exclamatory swear words which we’re both trying to be more circumspect about employing… oh dear.

Arriving at my motel, Mrs S. emerges from the room next to mine. As I hang a couple of things & unpack, she and Nanna settle into the comfy chairs and we chat for half an hour. We’re supposed to be meeting up with the greater group but decide to head off for coffee first. Nanna takes us to Addimi where I enjoy one of the best long black (Americano) coffees I’ve had [shame on you Sydney baristas] served with a small tumbler of sparkling water.

Revived and still engaged in nonstop three way chat it is mid afternoon when we head up to The Tamworth Hotel to meet up with the rest of the group. We collect cold drinks from the bar; water & ice for me as the day still has a way to go, and head to the beer garden. It is great to walk into the congregation of familiar faces, most who I hadn’t seen for 10 years, some longer, but seems like yesterday.

A couple of hours later we break to go back to our various accommodations to prepare for sparkling pre-dinner drinks at 6 pm. Nanna drops Mrs S. & I off, and heads to her mum’s. After quick preparations our motel group assembles, deciding who’s driving and who’s walking. Mrs S & I elect to walk, with another 4. As we get to the main road and wait at the traffic lights, I was amused to see a young man also waiting, check us out, and wander further along – we may have looked a little too much like middle aged hens nighters for comfort…

As we arrive at the front garden of the old cottage that houses Le Pruneau, it is sprinkled with fairy lights, which lends a lovely atmosphere to the bubbly wine served by a personable young waiter who chatted as he poured, about his ambitions to become an airline steward for which he would be certainly be suited. He copes with 21 of us plus 2 husbands, and conversation at a decibel level such that as I walk out to call the G.O., I have to go 50 yards down the street until the noise of the group is muted enough to conduct a mobile phone conversation.

When the bubbly runs out and the night gets chilly we head inside where there is more wine, conversation, laughter, old photos, year books, memories and food. Seated, we catch up with our table mates until after entree we shift places, and post-dinner we flow around the tables.

We make a toast to absent friends. There is one round of hands-up-if-you questions: are married; have kids; are divorced; are a grandmother; and as an afterthought, are a lesbian. No takers on the last… hmmmm. Conversation is about where we live, kids, grandkids, lost parents, husbands, divorces, careers, holidays, the past, present and future. We’re of an era and age where it’s all possible.

11.30 pm arrives and as we’d talked, laughed, drank, eaten, paid and the staff had homes to go to, we leave with arrangements to meet for breakfast. We walk back in refreshingly chilly air to the motel where I put in a late call to the G.O. who’d been at a mate’s place and had left me a message he was still up. By 12.30 am I was asleep.

Daylight & noises wake me at 7 am. I enjoy a quiet, solitary cup of tea, and didn’t quite so appreciate the coolish shower… should have jumped in quicker. Doors open and we meet outside in morning sun. By 9 am, more photos have been taken as several are departing. Leaving my bag at the motel, Mrs S. drives us to The Old Bell Tower for breakfast. More chat, more photos: the waitresses can’t make themselves heard trying to deliver drinks and food orders to our tables. By 11.30 am all but a few classmates have departed.

My flight isn’t until 1.40 pm and I want to go for a walk and take photos. I entertain thoughts of a browse in the shops but there isCalrossy TCEGS no time. Nanna who with a bad head cold made a heroic effort, staying out the night before and getting up for breakfast, says she’d drive me. But by this time I need space, air and movement.

At 11.40 am I make my farewells, and race up the hill to our old school, snap photos and proceed to walk back down through the town centre, across the bridge back to the motel. Enroute I call a cab which meets me at the motel at 12.40 pm, and gets me to the airport in time to check in, repack my bag once again into acceptable cabin formation, and board at 1.20 pm for the flight which leaves on schedule at 1.40 pm.

Always a fun thing to do at airports is star spotting, and at Tamworth airport for the return flight I spot Claudia Chan Shaw from ABC TV’s The Collectors who was in Tamworth to talk about her book Collectomania. Also held in Tamworth over the weekend was The Australian Country Dance Festival, and on the return flight I recognise a couple of the faces of the special guests – Nadia Friel & Paula Greenwood, familiar from where I’m not sure.

By 3 pm, I’m home. Happy.

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22 thoughts on “24 hours in Tamworth

    Vicky said:
    May 8, 2013 at 7:20 am

    Wow, what a hectic weekend, how on earth did you manage to fit it all in?
    I felt like I was in a whirlwind reading it LOL.
    It sound like you had a brilliant time with great catch ups. 🙂

    Like

      EllaDee responded:
      May 8, 2013 at 11:22 am

      I struggled… I’m not good at sitting around chatting for long stretches, both my mind and my back complain but I kept telling myself it was a once in 10 year event… Now they want to organise something every year. I’m not sure I’m up to it.

      Like

    lorddavidprosserDavid said:
    May 8, 2013 at 8:44 am

    I’m trying to decide if you actually paused for breath. It sounds like you had a fantastic time, I’m glad to say. I’d go to a school reunion if I could remember what school I went to all those years ago.Probably need my wine on drip if I did though. xx Hugs xx Nice Blog.

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      EllaDee responded:
      May 8, 2013 at 11:26 am

      One thing about school reunions, they find you…
      By the time we got to dinner I was hanging out for wine but although I indulged I didn’t go OTT because at the last reunion I, who doesn’t get hangovers, got a mega-hangover, and I didn’t want to repeat that, or travel with it on a plane.
      It didn’t feel like I paused for breath but I had so much pent up energy from sitting, I almost sprinted up the hill after Sunday breakfast.

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    dadirri7 said:
    May 8, 2013 at 9:23 am

    sounds brilliant, you write so well elladee! i am familiar with travel on regional airlines … those lovely small planes and the bus that takes you out onto the tarmac so you can climb the stairs … and they fly low so you can see the country … but i guess you might have been snoozing on the way home!

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      EllaDee responded:
      May 8, 2013 at 11:30 am

      Oh, thank you 🙂 The smaller plane & flights were great, not as pressurised I think as the bigger planes. I saw the country out the window on the way up – very dry inland. No snooze on the way home but didn’t have a window seat, and I was in bed at 7.45pm… have had early nights all week.

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    metan said:
    May 8, 2013 at 11:02 am

    What a great weekend you had. 🙂 So pleased to hear that it was happiness all round. (And that you didn’t miss the plane, i’m with the G.O. its a personal paranoia of mine too.)

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      EllaDee responded:
      May 8, 2013 at 11:34 am

      It was 🙂 But I was glad to be home and done with it. All that mingling was exhausting. I have never missed a plane, but the G.O. and I came very near… the doors had just closed.

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    Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial said:
    May 8, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    It sounds like the reunion was great fun and not at all stressful (apart from GO’s don’t-miss-the-plane neuroses, which I must confess to sharing). So all that remains to ask is…did you buy some cowboy boots? You *were* in Tamworth, after all.. 🙂

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      EllaDee responded:
      May 8, 2013 at 12:31 pm

      The reunion was fun but busy… so no shopping although I did manage to window shop for boots outside a country apparel store but Nanna “why would you want to shop here when you have all those stores in the city” boot style queen, was on Sunday wearing caramel calf length embossed pointed toe wedge heel boots…. divine 🙂

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    ChgoJohn said:
    May 8, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    Whew! I’m tired just reading about your whirlwind of a weekend, EllaDee. It does sound like fun, though — once every 10 years fun. More than that and the fun level drops exponentially for me. I remember the day when going to the airport was a special event. You dressed for air travel and the airlines acted like you were welcome. Such a far cry from today.

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      EllaDee responded:
      May 8, 2013 at 4:44 pm

      I know… at the reunion they were discussing another in 2 years but by Monday I had an email asking for availability & interest for 2014. I can’t even think about it.
      Other than no bridge to the plane, the experience with the smaller plane and the attendants was pleasant. Boarding and disembarking is so much quicker.
      We didn’t seem to fly as high so the cabin wasn’t as pressurised – one of the things I hate about flying.

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    roughseasinthemed said:
    May 10, 2013 at 8:56 am

    I could hold up my hand for only one out of five (married). I guess they didn’t ask if anyone was vegetarian looking at those menus? 😀 I thought Le Pruneau’s entrees were OK, although why would you have a sandwich for a starter????? But no veg main course. The breakfast place wasn’t too bad with its options though.

    Tamworth seems quite a foody place. Interesting the menus were quite americanised. Can’t have been a cheap weekend. Bet you won’t be doing that every year when you end up in TA 😀

    Sounds like the check-in for the ‘plane took longer than the journey. I like little regional ‘planes. Got some good ones in NZ.

    Glad you enjoyed it. Assuming you did of course.

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      EllaDee responded:
      May 10, 2013 at 10:19 am

      For dinner we had a special alternate drop arrangement rather than ordering a la carte, I didn’t even get a look at their menu. There was a vegetarian… but she always was so it wasn’t of interest I guess. One of the entrees was pumpkin soup. I wasn’t sitting near the vegetarian when she got her main but I assume it was veg because otherwise she wouldn’t be eating. I haven’t got anything good to say about that restaurant’s food in it’s current existence or previous, which I’ve sampled also, so I’ll say nothing. But, we didn’t go for a food experience we went to catch up with each other.
      The breakfast place was lovely and the coffee was good.
      Tamworth has become quite foody and there are some great cafes for coffee. I mentioned in another comment there’s been a trend of people who have lived away to go back and bring such things to the city, which has makes it for us an enjoyable place to visit.
      I did enjoy it, although it was full on trying to catch up with 20 classmates and 2 of their husbands. I’m still recovering, and need a quiet weekend.

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    Pete Denton said:
    May 11, 2013 at 7:55 am

    Wow, surely a week not 24 hours. I would definitely need to have a lie down 🙂

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      EllaDee responded:
      May 11, 2013 at 8:22 am

      It’s now the next weekend, and it will be reciprocally quiet 🙂

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    Leanne Cole said:
    May 12, 2013 at 7:36 pm

    A lot in 24hours, sounds like you had a good weekend.

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      EllaDee responded:
      May 12, 2013 at 8:42 pm

      I did. It took me 7 x 24 hours to recover 🙂

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    Kourtney Heintz said:
    May 15, 2013 at 2:45 am

    What a whirlwind, I’m breathless from reading it! 🙂 Sounds like an amazing time with old friends and well worth the trip! 🙂

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      EllaDee responded:
      May 15, 2013 at 10:02 am

      In hindsight, we fit a lot in. I think for the next, they’re looking at 2 nights which will probably translate to me being twice as tired afterwards 😉

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    mybrightlife said:
    May 22, 2013 at 4:32 am

    Very brave. I bunked both of mine. Maybe by the time the next one comes around I will be ready. Yours sounded like a blast. Was fun to read about it!

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      EllaDee responded:
      May 22, 2013 at 6:07 am

      Thank you. I’m very selective. I’m not sure I could cope with broader get togethers but a small class reunion is just fine, and was a lot of fun. It’s nice to see familiar faces 🙂

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