Upper Lansdowne, don’t forget the Upper

“Carry on along that road until it turns to dirt, then turn right and carry on down the track for another six kilometres until you see the red milk churn” The directions gave us a bit of an idea that where we were heading was a little more remote that what we’re used to.

The directions were great, we didn’t get lost and arrived early (amazing)!

We were playing a gig at Upper Lansdowne Memorial Hall and staying with Al and Helen, our wonderful hosts. We arrived on the Tuesday afternoon for the gig on Wednesday evening. Al and Helen were very patient as we battered them with questions constantly. “What sort of bird is that? Is that really a Turmeric plant? What made that noise? Is that sheep I can hear? (It was frogs in the pond.) Where do the wallabies sleep?” and on and on.

They lived in a shed for a year while their house was being built and both helped in the construction and design. The end result is amazing.

They have no mains water or waste. The water is harvested rain water, filtered on site (it tastes absolutely fine) and the waste is filtered on site also (we didn’t taste that) then used for irrigation. They have chickens for eggs and grow their own fruit and veg in the garden, by way of an ingenious crop rotation system that keeps the fresh fruit and veg coming for long periods throughout the year. They have to bag the mangos to try and stop the bush turkeys from pulling them off the tree and pinching them. We watched a bush turkey trying to wrestle the bag off one the following morning.

Al also has a killer hifi system which sounds fantastic and bought about a severe attack of hifi envy on Dave’s part.

There are hifi speakers and there are Al’s hifi speakers. Yeah baby……

That evening we saw Wallabies hopping around, including one mother with a baby who kept popping out of her pouch to feed. There were also many different birds which included a wedge-tailed eagle soaring around Mount Olive. 

The gig at Lansdowne Memorial Hall was a real treat (thanks a million to Al, Helen, Robyn, Roger and all of the others who helped stage the event). Hugh Cowley, a local singer songwriter, started the evening off and he later joined us on stage to play fiddle on a couple of songs which sounded great, especially as he’d never heard the songs before.

We had originally intended spending another night with Al and Helen on Wednesday after the gig at Upper Lansdowne Hall. We had a harmony workshop followed by a song-writing workshop to run at Illawarra festival starting at 10am Thursday morning. When the festival asked if we could do it Dave googled Lansdowne to Bulli (where the festival is held) and it said it was twenty minutes away, so we said we’d do it. It was a while afterwards when putting the trip sheet together that we checked the timings again and found out that it’s a six hour drive from Upper Lansdowne. Oh bugger, but a deal is a deal. We played the gig at Lansdowne Memorial Hall, had something to eat and then drove to Bulli arriving at about 3.30am on Thursday. We slept in the car for a while, bought the largest black coffee we could get and did the workshops. It’s a glamorous life.

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