Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Just to get you in the mood here are reprints of columns that appears in regional papers on the NSW north coast in 2001:

WELCOME to the first north coast edition of this column, which will introduce some of the great people in our community of classified advertising.
It is a marvellous community of young, old, rich, poor, fat, thin, short, tall, ups, downs, highs and lows.
You'll get lots of that in weeks to come but today I'll get straight to the fine community-minded folk such as Kevin and May Ridgeway, of Woolgoolga.
Kevin will be a proud man on Saturday, April 28, at the opening of the Woolgoolga Community Youth Centre on the site of the old council courts at Queen and Market Streets.
The project is close to the heart of the Woolgoolga Lions Club vice-president.
But the heart of gold will be a little heavy on the big day because Kevin and May soon will head back south, six years after they retired and settled at Woolgoolga.
Kevin says the move to Tuggerah Lakes near Budgewoi on the central coast will put the couple near their family but it had to wait until the new centre was complete.
"When we first moved here I didn't know what to do so I joined Lions,'' he said. "I am now the first vice-president and in line for the chair but will have to transfer to Budgewoi club.
"The new centre has been joint project between Lions and Rotary and has been a true community project with a lot of support from businesses too.''
Kevin does not expect too many speeches to open the $30,000 centre. He is keen to let the festive spirit preside and to enjoy the curries that the Sikh community will supply.
By the way, Kevin wants to sell the tractor he uses to launch his boat from the beach. He put a lot of work into fixing up a "pretty derelict old thing" and is open to offers despite advertising it for $2000.
THE first hint of the winter chill always brings above-ground pools on to the market.
But Malcolm Irwin, of Nariah Crescent, Toormina, said he wasn't afraid of the cold; he simply had no further use for the 7m by 4m pool that came with pump, filter and other gear.
"I've had it for a few years and the deck has gone but I don't want to spend the money on a new deck,'' he said.
Malcolm said the pool was handy when his kids were younger - they are now aged 25 and 27 - and nowdays he would rather use the area for landscaping, perhaps a Japanese-style garden.
Many say, "Never get a pool, it's too much work.'' Malcolm's advice: The work depends on where you put it. Select the site well, away from trees.
To save buyers the obvious question: Malcolm says his pool does not need a new liner. His price of $650 seems a real bargain.

WELCOME to the first north coast edition of this column, which will introduce some of the great people in our community of classified advertising.
It is a marvellous community of young, old, rich, poor, fat, thin, short, tall, losers and winners.
That's the cue for Grafton's David Kelly, who has just hopped on the scales for perhaps the last time after riding more than 500 winners since 1984.
David went out on a high note a fortnight ago, winning three races at his last two meetings at Casino and Ballina. The next day he hung out his trainer's shingle at Cuban Lodge on the Grafton course.
David, 32, has a long heritage in the racing industry. He says it started with his grandfather, Skeeter Kelly, whose sons Robert and Rex also became jockeys.
David said his dad, Rex, retired from riding in the mid 70s and now is the starter at Grafton.
"I have always wanted to have a go at training,'' David said. "I have done my bit riding and have wanted a new challenge in life.''
He has already had lots of challenges since riding his first winner "in town'', Razor Sharp. When aged just 23, he went to Japan to pre-train and stayed for two years.
The task involved getting the horses up to "three-quarter pace'' and sending them to the city trainers for the month or so of fine-tuning before their race starts.
David already has six yearlings in work and has advertised two for sale. One is a grey filly by Ignatius from Blue Billie, who was by Proud Knight and won six races.
Proud Deb, a half-sister of the filly, had won in Sydney, David said. "I am breaking this one in at the moment,'' he said. "She's the quieter type and good to do anything with.''
The other offering is by Fawn Bye from Catherine Ann. David said Fawn Bye, standing at Minummurra Stud, Glen Innes, had produced lots of winners.
He reckons the filly will show out as a two year old. "She's flighty and will go really quick.'' David must be a good judge of horseflesh.
He says: "The best horse I ever put a leg over was the two-year-old filly, Centrina Lass. "She won two in Brisbane then broke down."
Horses that she beat in Brisbane went on to bigger things, one went to Melbourne and won a group two race.'' David's riding career includes a liberal sprinkling of Cup victories, including the Gosford Cup and the Randwick Country Cup on Deed Star in the mid-80s.
Watch for his name on the form guides when the two year olds fire up next season.

WELCOME to the first north coast edition of this column, which will introduce some of the great people in our community of classified advertising.
The gratuitous adjective refers to all our readers and advertisers and includes all the poets, good and bad, even though it has been said someone ought to pack them into a bus and drop them off in the bush to recite their rhyming couplets until even their eyes glaze.
The bus idea struggled through a critic's clenched jaws one night after I had the dutch courage to take the floor.
That critic probably thought Helen Taylor was aiming for me when she advertised a bush poetry bus trip west of the mountains, out Tenterfield way.
But Helen, who with husband Ross has a tourist farm near Kingscliffe, was not trying to insult mugs like me, just give us the chance to soak up some Aussie culture this weekend at the Oracles of the Bush show.
"I am a Tamworth fan; I like to go down there in January, and there are lots of poets as well as the country music,'' Helen said.
"A gang of these people (poets) are moving around the countryside during the centenary of Federation.
"They are up at Tenterfield where the original speech was made that brought the Federation together.
"I would like to go up to it, and we have a minibus at the farm.
''Like most intelligent patrons of the arts, Helen won't admit to having written any poetry or slapped paint on canvas. But her voice smiles when she talks about painting and poetry.
"Here at Beach Farm we have a beautiful valley that attracts artists in droves and we have lovely paintings,'' she said.
"I also love poetry and the bush poets are astounding; they may look rough and tough but they have the hearts of poets.''
Helen certainly can create some impressive imagery herself. Like her story to me about the tourists to her tropical fruit orchards.
"We do pick and taste tours for Japanese groups,'' she said. "They mainly live in high-rise apartments in Tokyo or the other big cities.
"They like to taste something right off the trees; it is something special for them.'' Whether the fruit is citrus or custardapples in winter or the avocados and bananas that are on offer all year, the look on the visitors' faces repays Helen more than the tourist dollar.
The Taylors' farm, just 10 minutes from the Gold Coast airport, can be a rewarding experience for locals too. Next year the couple will celebrate the venture's 30th anniversary.

WELCOME to the first north coast edition of this column, which will introduce some of the great people in our community of classified advertising.
It is a marvellous community of young, old, rich, poor, fat, thin, short, tall, losers and winners. And, as the more astute readers have long recognised, classified advertising taps social currents and subcurrents deep and shallow in the world "out there" far beyond our columns.
Lennox Head builder Peter Moloney rode such a current when he wanted to offload surplus tools and materials including hardwood, oregon and treated pine.
He reasoned that buyers of such items would probably own "a bit of land" so tacked his 4WD at the end of the list in an ad for building materials.
Peter took a big step toward upgrading when the Mitsubishi sold on edition day to the first caller. "Usually with something like that you get a lot of tyre kickers, but it sold by 10am,'' Peter said, adding that he got his price.
The timber awaited a buyer days later. Which seems to prove that the readers of classified ads are not "skimmers'' but glean relevant information past the bold print.
The sale also showed that Peter knows a fair bit about the region.Peter, born in Crown Street Hospital at Paddington, Sydney, lived at Dee Why on the northern beaches, and started to develop his understanding of the north coast community on surfing trips.
He moved to the region about 20 years ago and has lived at Lennox for 10.
He is still adamant he would never return to the rat race, and it's easy to get him lamenting the way Australia has changed. I like talking with bloke like Peter about the loss of the cedar from this country after the rapacious Poms dropped in.
By the 1820s they were sawing between Illawarra and the Tweed and before the 1901 Federation the resource had basically expired.
My source for the history is then Governor-General Sir Ninian Stephen's address to woodworkers in 1988.
He noted that the Tweed provided some of the best cedar ever cut and that luckily some of it made "our most prized pieces of colonial furniture''.
Please note, Peter's timber does not include cedar offcuts. He has just finished the house of local police sergeant Miles Adams and wife Rachelle, who is a constable.
Next job will be an extension to a friend's house at Tintenbar.

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