Thursday, May 11, 2006

Cowra Trip

Last Tuesday {a week ago } Dad received word that My Aunty Joan had passed away - Aunty Joan was suffering from Ovarian cancer and when diagnosed the cancer was very advanced so no treatment was given except for pain relief. So Colin and I and Dad left for Cowra on Thursday morning at 4.30am - the trip was uneventful - we stopped every 2 or 3 hrs for a loo break or to have a cuppa and a walk around etc and we made it to the motel in Cowra at 4.30 pm - not bad huh?? Believe me when I say that after 12 hrs in the car we were all dog tired and achy.
On Friday moning we attended Aunty Joans graveside funeral which under the circumstances was beautifully done. My cousin Cecile (another only child) was broken hearted as is to be expected as she and her Mum had been very close over the years
Leaving the cementary we went up the road a wee bit and had a look at the Japanes and Australian soldiers who died as a result of the Japanese Internees breaking out of the Cowra prison camp.
From Memory there were about 254 Japanese killed that day or days later from wounds received during the breakout. It is a peaceful cemetary the graves give name and how old the person was and the date they died. the cemetary is well set out and had been created with the help of the Japanese government and the Australian government. From there we headed over to Ceciles home where the wake was held - it was a casual affair and mainly all of the Ferguson family there catching up. My Cousin Trisha ( is the third only child - I am the 2nd only child)I hadnt seen since she was a child at my wedding- Trisha is now 35 yrs older and has her own husband and 2 delightful children - Emily who told me she is 9 and a half - the half is oh so important at that age isnt it??- Then we grow older and drop it quickly ggg Anyway there was Emily - an absolutely gorgeous little girl and Luke who would be about 6 yrs old I am guessing here because Luke was a little shy and wouldnt chat with me much. The other cousins who attended were 2 of Aunty Dots kids(she had 5 kids --4 boys and 1 girl - girls are in short supply in the Ferguson family) Dad had been telling me that he thought Trisha was taller then me- I was getting a little miffed at THAT thought - BUT she is not considering Trisha was wearing a small heel on her shoes and I was still taller then her - I think I still have the dubious honor of being the tallest Ferguson daughter. Anyway back to Jeff and Alan - Jeff - I hadnt seen since the same day as Trisha and Alan who we have seen periodically over the years. Also there was my Uncle Arthur and his wife Aunty Mary. Aunty Dot and Aunty Mary are both looking very frail these days and unfortunately both are quite unwell, one of Ceciles 3 children - Jason was there with his family and that was about it, If any of the Carpenter families came - it was during the time we were at the Japanese cemetary- Although there were many people at Aunty Joans funeral service I was surprised that there were so few who came to the wake. I guess Aunty Dot was not feeling too well as she lost and buried her second husband Jim the week before Aunty Joan died, he also died of cancer.
On Saturday morning we took Dad for a walk around Cowra shopping Centre. Boy Cowra is so hilly and the streets follow the hilly way up and down we went - but we walked for about an hour - went to Ceciles for lunch with her and her husband Harry. Stayed a couple of hours and then headed off to have a look around the Japanese Gardens.
The gardens was first proposed by the Cowra Tourism in 1971 and the first stage was opened in November 1986, as I said earlier the garden was funded by the Japanese and Australian Governments and was designed by Ken Nakajima and he designed the garden to represent the entire landscape of Japan it is a 5 acre garden and is the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere, and was made in 3 stages there are beautiful trees and shrubs and lakes and in the lakes can be seen huge Koi fish (and small so they are mating very well in their lake) When we leaned over one of the viewing platforms the giant Koi were right under where we were leaning-- opening up their mouths- they must be fed there - there were so many and they had magnificent patterns on them.
When you enter the garden you first have to pass through the gift shop and then pay for the admittence - this goes toward the upkeep of the gardens - there are 3 full time gardeners and a apprentice, and they certainly keep the garden in beautiful condition, on the other side of this shop was a "Tea House" where you could have a cuppa and /or meal etc. Once through this shop we turned left and went into see the cultural building and on display were beautiful paintings By Japanese artists - in one room the paintings were all in black and white and various shades of grey - you would think them boring but once you stood back and took in the entire painting they were magnificent- one painting had very very pale pink flowers on it - this was a painting of cherry blossoms on trees - I was enthralled by them - in corners they had several dolls - two were magnificent Japanese women in Kimonas with fans in their hands. theres was also one of the samurai, and in the middle of the room were several glass cases - one held childrens toys including Temari balls(eat your heart out Maureen Bond they were as nice as yours though!!) In another were eating utensils and plates etc, another held some of the Samurai swords and knives,and still anbother showed examples of pottery. From there you walked down another small corrider - on boh sides there were small displays and as you were coming down the corrider you could see a large glass case with the most magnificent kimona and in others along side of this kimona were obi' and undergarments and hair combs etc and also the "thongs the women wore with the kimona (help Hideko - what are these thongs shoes called). The guys literally dragged me away - U know how crazies always carry a pair of scissors to cut up fabric they like - well ladies it would have been a sacrilidge to do this to these beautiful clothes- I stood and admired and cried they were so beautiful, anyway dragged away - into another room - again small version of a Samuri and his armour all to scale - fantastic and then I saw the dolls -the first pair are called Hino dolls and they are displayed on March 3 for the Hina Matsuri Festival - or as Hideko says Girls festival, the next window held more Ladies wearing their kimona and the next held 150 pair of little boy and girl dolls- they were all different and all were of a boy and girl each pair different to the next, these are called Ichimatsu some had bisque faces and hands but the majority were made of some sort of wood?? and all beautifully presented and in the final window were 2 different Hibuki Dolls ( the Kibuki is a form of theatre ) and on the walls were more dolls
I was so happy and then we left there -= but I really would have stayed there and not moved taking in more and more- but the guys- always the guys -- dragged me away again!!
We then went out t0 walk around the garden - in the garden there were 2 lakes and waterfalls etc- and there were several buildings- the first looked like a type of very elaborate Gazebo but it was a Bonzai house and then the next was a pergola with its climbing plants- wisteria - the trunks were huge very thick - we then saw another building which I think is used for teaching there were chairs etc and pottery implements and it was fairly empty, further on was a home - with it set up as if a family lived in it- included cupboard in the bedroom and tatami (sic) mats for sleeping on the floor - and it also had a bath - very small and very deep - But the oddity was that there was a toilet and also shower. There were doonas kept in the cupboard although I didnt see the hard board to put under the head - that I have seen in movies. At the very beginning of the walk and at the very end(same place) was a peace bell which could be rung.- there were 2 very large rock outcrops which could be climbed to have a look out from - we didnt climb them - we couldnt see us climbing up and then down with our walking sticks and bum knees and hips and all the rest of the ailments. then it was back through the gift shop and out - oh I didnt say that outside one of the rooms in the cultural centre was a pebble garden and its rocks- beautifully raked and patterns made with the rake- what is this Hideko - I think the white pebbles signify a body of water and the rocks represent land masses - is that right??
I felt more at peace walking around the garden then I have in many years - it was over all too soon and I would loved to have gone back into the cultural centre to gaze longingly again at the beautiful and magnificent displays inside it.
The next day was Sunday and we began the long trip home- this time though we stopped at a motel on the edge of the NSW and Victorian borders - over the bridge was Victoria, we stayed in NSW that night and then we came home on the Monday- we came home through the back way and passed through Harndorf- its one of our tourism centres here in South Aust - a little way out of Hahndorf we stopped at one of the shops (out front of their homes- this one was selling apples and apple products - and the most amazingly good tasting Rhubarb and Apple Crumble- oh man alive it was so good ggg we also got some lovely fresh apples and some apple Muffins - yummy!!!
So that was it - I really loved going through the Japanese Gardens and I would go again in an instant if I could.
On Friday afternoon Colin and I went for a walk down to post Toni E's hearts at the Cowra Post Office, and on the way back - I spotted a patchwork shop - I can smell them out, Poor Colin just groaned when I said - Ill be back in a moment ggggg. He didnt even drag me out either - he let me have a wonderful look around - I bought a fat quarter of flannel fabric and as I went further into the shop past all the scrummy fabrics I spotted some beads and other beading supplies and then I saw THEM - bags of 1 metre beading fringe - I paid $24.99 at Spotlight Munno Par last month and would you believe it - the dearest of these was ---- wait for it---- fellow South Aussies we are being ripped off---- the dearest beaded fringe (for handbags etc) was $6.99, the cheapest $4.99 - As I was grabbing this one and that one I asked with a small voice(cant ya just ssee it big Bear asking in a small voice anytime gggg) are these the right price - and oh Lordy the lady says yes - dreadful isnt it??- Dreadful isnt it??- She was apologising so profusely that I couldnt leave her like that and told her about my Spotlight beaded fringe and its price- I thought she was going to faint on the spot - so eventually I picked 3 different bags - I really couldnt survive without these three bags I can tell ya so there I was holding my little bag of goodies and telling Colin what a great buy I had just made and this lady is still apologising because she thought them so dear ggggggg I couldnt get out quick enough in case the lady changed her mind and charged me more ggggg Colin took the precious bag and carried it home for me- heck I wanna carry it Colin - and he so gently says thats okay darl I will carry it for you. - I got them home in one piece too - oh how purty they are!!!!!
Well thats it - what a trip too quick and packed too much in - my legs are screaming as is my knees and my hips and oh you all get the piccie dont you- I have yet to go through the piccies I took in Cowra but I hope to have some piccies to put up on my blog in the next couple of days but am ever so tired now and so am going to say goodnight from me and its goodnioght from him, catch ya on the flip side (showing my age again!!)
I referenced some information on the Japnese garden from their little brochure - called Cowra Japanese Garden Australia - oh noighty bear not giving my references or bibliography - all better now I dun it!!

3 comments:

shashi said...

Well are you going to show us those goodies you bought? Ah bear I still can't get over the fact that you do such lovely work and hide it away most of the time.

Ribbonwiz said...

Bead fringing has never been that cheap over here...
You did well to pick up such a great bargain...

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