Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A tin shed for a Post Office :: Appila 5480

How many people can say they have a tin shed for a post office?
Very few, I suspect.
The town in which I live has a glorious old post office building. Made of stone and with a large polished wood counter, it is at least 100 years old. We have a Postmaster, retail and banking services, and home mail delivery at least three days a week! But with a population of around 1200 people, we are also one of the larger towns in the region.
There are many, much smaller towns dotted all about the place. Some are so small they don't even have a local supermarket, nor a police station, and definitely not a hospital. But there are two things we all share in common: The local pub and the post office.
The tiny town of Appila is made up of a scattering of houses (less than double digits), the pub and the Post Office, and is surrounded by farming land. The town itself dates back to the 1870s and was originally called Yarrowie, before the name was changed to Appila in the 1940s.
It is one of my favourite towns to travel through. Blink and you might miss it entirely. Every time we pass through, I ask to stop by the local post office, just for a look, a giggle, and a marvel. 
It is the least grand post office I have ever seen. But, as it so happens, it is also my favourite. Set next to the old Yarrowie Hotel, which towers over it almost protectively, the Appila post office is nothing more than a little tin shed that is completely open to the elements.
What I like most about the Appila Post Office is that post is all it is used for. No giftware, no bill pay or passport services, no retail. It's sole purpose is for the receipt and delivery of mail.
As Australia Post continues to reduce the number of small retail postal services across the country in favour of larger, city-bound mega-stores, it makes me wonder how much longer a post office like those found in Appila, which offers no retail benefit at all, will survive.
For me, the Appila Post Office is a reminder that for some people out there, it is the mail that matters. Nothing more.
Although, I do wonder where it is they get their postage stamps?

Thursday, December 26, 2013

'Twas a very merry Christmas indeed...

I hope your Christmas Day was as pleasant as ours, with plenty of perfect Christmas weather (dependent on where you are, I suppose), copious amounts of yummy food, and fun times and laughter with family and friends.
It was a warm one for us: 37 degrees Celsius was the maximum at home, but thankfully it was a few degrees cooler at my parents' house 40km away, where we spent most of the day.
The daily temperatures are now expected to rise significantly over the next week. Now until the end of January tends to be the hottest time of the year for us, where temperatures can easily soar to the mid-40s and beyond. As the hottest year on record draws to a close, I'm hoping the BoM's predictions of a hotter than usual summer will be well off the mark!
So, here's to the closing of one year and the dawn of another. I hope 2014 will be splendid for you all.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

A Postcrossing Adventure: Weeks 5 & 6

Week 5
// outgoing:
As it seems to be taking a phenomenally long time for most of the postcards I've sent over the past few weeks to get to their destinations, I decided to reduce my outgoing this week to TWO cards.
Postcrossing only allows its members to have a certain number of cards "in transit" at any one time. Only when those cards have been registered by the recipient can the sender then send more cards. When it is taking up to a month for a card to reach its destination (or be registered, whichever it happens to be), it begins to impact upon the number of postcards I can send each week.
So, this week I sent an Australian dinosaur to Germany (AU-324792), and Alice not to Wonderland, but to Singapore (AU-325105). Both were sent from Sydney.

Week 6
// outgoing:

This week I sent out another TWO cards: A card of Irish humour, together with some tea and coins has gone out The Netherlands (AU-327281), whilst a fun Mail-a-Saurus (which makes me giggle every time I read it) went out to the Ukraine (AU-327285).

I received no Postcrossing cards this fortnight.
Postcrossing postcards sent to date: 16
All time: 72
Postcrossing postcards received to date: 13
All time: 75

Saturday, December 21, 2013


We've covered many miles these past few weeks! It has been both exciting and exhausting, though. I am now looking forward to some quiet time at home over the Christmas/New Year break.
Last weekend we were in Sydney for a few days. I was last there in autumn 2012, but it was Shane's first time to the harbourside city, so we spent most of our time doing a lot of touristy things and getting in all the major sites.
Being sub-tropical, Sydney has many grey skies at this time of year, but it wasn't the slightest bit cold. Both Shane and I enjoyed the slightly balmy (but not so balmy it was uncomfortable) weather, and the morning and evening rainstorms. It is certainly something we don't get to experience all too often in the arid Flinders Ranges!
If you are ever in Sydney yourself, I strongly recommend you try the amazing, authentic Thai food (which is available in abundance), take the ferry to Manly, and participate in The Rocks Ghost Tour.
(War Memorial & Hyde Park)
(Sydney Harbour & The Rocks)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

A Postcrossing Adventure: Week 4

Week 4
// outgoing:
This week I sent another three cards: A carnivorous plant to the USA (AU-323698), the Battle of Beersheba to Canada (AU-323699), and trains to Taiwan (AU-323701). 

Postcrossing postcards sent to date: 12
All time: 68
There were no incoming Postcrossing cards this week.
Why do postcards travel so slow? Average travel time is around 21 days at the moment. So, I'm waiting (somewhat impatiently) for more of the cards I've sent over the past four weeks to arrive and be registered by the recipients, which will allow me to send more cards and therefore, get more in.
Postcrossing postcards received to date: 13
All time: 75

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Miner's Cottage

On the weekend, Shane and I went to Burra for an overnight stay in a sweet little Miner's cottage that dates back to the mid-1800s. Burra was once a copper mining town, and people came from all over the world to try and make their fortune from the mines. The Cornish were masters in working the copper, so all over the town are the most adorable cottages that are so authentically Cornish you'd be forgiven for thinking you've been transported to Cornwall itself.
The last time we were in Burra was in July 2010, when we spent a weekend investigating the town. It is a wonderfully sweet place to get in some well-earned r&r. The last time we were in the town, we stayed in the original doctor's surgery, but was totally smitten with all the surrounding cottages, and I'd been eager to return and stay in a traditional miner's cottage ever since.
The cottage we stayed in was made up of four simple rooms. Through the front door we stepped into the living room, with the master bedroom to our right. Straight ahead another doorway led into the second bedroom, which had the kitchen-diner adjacent. Along the eastern side of the house was a small weatherboard extension housing the laundry, bathroom and loo.
The cottage itself was made of stone, and had orb ceilings in all the rooms except the master bedroom, which had wooden slats. The floors were polished boards and slate, and from the front veranda was the most gorgeous view of the rolling rolls that make up the Burra landscape.
Surrounded by geraniums, with birds in the trees and creatures scampering about in the garden, it made for a wonderful retreat.
If you are ever in the region, then I wholeheartedly recommend a stay in Burra. There is so much to see and do, especially if you are fond of history.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

A Postcrossing Adventure: Week 3

This week I want to know: Are you a Postcrosser too?
And do you blog your own Postcrossing adventures? Because I'd love to follow them, and link back to your blog from mine if you do.
Week 3
// outgoing:
This week I sent another THREE cards via Postcrossing. Three seems to be a manageable amount each week at the moment, although I'm hopeful with some time off work over the Christmas holiday season I might find time to send out more.
This week I sent three First Day of Issue maxicards: An Australasian Antarctic Expedition 1911-14 FDC to the Netherlands (AU-321461); an Indigenous Leaders FDC of Shirley Smith to Russia (AU-321943); and a Surfing Australia FDC to the Ukraine (AU-322165).
Postcrossing postcards sent to date: 9
All time: 65
// incoming:

This past week I received another whopping FIVE postcrossing postcards in the post!
These included gnomes from Russia (RU-2145285), a vampire from Canada (CA-389293), heartfelt greetings from the Ukraine (UA-825473), amazing architecture from Belarus (BY-1083997), and traditional foods (?) from China (CN-1120099).
My favourite message this week came from Xintong in China, who wrote:
"My name in Xintong. I am 20 years old. I study accounting at Jinan University. I plan to travel to Australia after my graduation. I think it is really a amazing place. I tried to do a bookcrossing programme when I am in high school. It's a pity that it didn't work out. I keep running since this term. Hope I can have a better physical condition when I try skydiving this oncoming winter holiday. By the way, my favourite writer is Jostein Gaarder. I read his book Maya and The Solitaire Mystery so many times."
Postcrossing postcards received to date: 13
All time: 75