Wednesday 30 April 2014

The Southern Odyssey Part 2: Scone to Canberra

Day 2 (Easter Sunday) started off with cold morning, a noise in the alternator and a battery light. This was solved with a deft squirt of God's own nectar (WD40) into the alternator and voila, no more issues all the way to Melbourne. Soon down the road we drove into Hunter Valley coal country; coal in the ground, coal on the trains and coal fed into the coal-fired power stations choofing away outside of Muswellbrook. 

Mmmm, sustainable

As per my post on Part 1 of this odyssey, the map below indicates the stops made along the way where we considered there to be a reasonable possibility of typewriters. Considering much of the distance between Scone and Canberra is covered by dual-carriageway motorway and because we were keen to catch up with Robert M in good time, there was not a great deal of stops along the way, however stop [1] below was rather memorable. 

Before that stop however, we paid homage to Australia's biggest city and traversed a rather well known landmark. Although it is a bit quicker to skirt around Sydney via the western motorways, we decided that we may as well see the sights and fulfill our aim of 4 capital cities in three days. So we drove into the city and right over the Sydney Harbour Bridge. I was driving at the time and thus I have to rely on an artist's impression of our crossing in order to capture the moment.

You can just make out Scott's red Nissan X-Trail in this photo

Some distance south of Sydney, near Goulburn, we made the one stop before Canberra where we considered there was a reasonable expectation of spotting typewriters. After passing hand-painted signs along the motorway such as "Garage Sale" and "1,000 items", we thought we'd better investigate.

1. Somewhere not far from Goulburn, NSW: Dave's Garage and Lawn Sale. A short distance off the motorway was Dave's house. This was a somewhat delapidated dwelling, where more stuff than could possibly have once fitted inside his house or in the ajoining carport was strewn haphazardly around the front lawn. To one side was a number of cars for "wrecking" as well as a motorcycle which was for also for sale. Dave stood proudly near the carport, sun glasses and a bandana around his grey hair, chain smoking cigarettes. I asked him whether he had any typewriters. "Mate I don't think I do. And even if I did, if they're not on the lawn, I wouldn't know where the **** they were". 

In short, no typewriters.

It did not appear that Dave was married

Some distance on and we were passing Lake George and the "Welcome to the Australian Capital Territory" sign. I lived in Canberra for six months in 2006, however hadn't returned properly since, so driving down into the "bush capital" once more brought back a lot of fond memories of the place. This time however, Canberra brought lots and lots of typewriters and an enjoyable afternoon and evening with Mr Typewriters himself, the wonderful, the one and only Robert M.

2. Canberra, ACT: The Australian Typewriter Museum. TYPEWRITER 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14........400.......500.....*Passes out*

The afternoon took an enjoyably impromptu political twist when we set up shop and briefly typed-in on the benches of the House of Representatives in Old Parliament House. Not having any of my own typewriters on me I got to borrow Rob's Vendex. One of the joys of any public typewritering is the children who come and see what's going on and soon find themselves typing away themselves. This afternoon was no different and after one young boy tried his hand at Scott's typewriter, his mother pushed him aside and proved herself to be as fast and proficient as someone straight out of a big-business typing pool.

After we soaked up the last of the gorgeous afternoon outside we retired to a local restaurant and thence back to the Australian Typewriter Museum to talk about..... This is not a hard guess.

Two of the best minds in the business talking shop

"In joyful strains, then let us sing, Advance Australia Vendex"

Sunday 20 April 2014

The Southern Odyssey Part 1: Home to Scone

Scott K and I are driving from Brisbane to Melbourne, integrating typewriters wherever we go. With some Googling on the fly, we (attempted to) visit everywhere along the 700km where there was a reasonable expectation of observing typewriters in the wild. This included numerous antiques/second hand/opportunity/collectables shops as well as one garage sale. Seven typewriters were spotted. Two were purchased. All were catalogued in a bird watching book which we amended to suit typewriters. Perhaps we didn't go quite that far. The stops made along the way and the typewriters observed are numbered for your reference on the map below, along with a couple of other photographs which aren't numbered.

(Not numbered) Sunrise and mist over the plains west of Ipswich. No typewriters.

(Not numbered) Autumn colours. Something you don't get when living in the sub-tropics. No typewriters.

1. Glen Aplin, QLD. Yestergear Antiques. Drove past before 8am. Not open yet. No typewriters.

2. Tenterfield, NSW. Margot Ellis Rees Antiques. Drove past 8:30am. Not open yet either. No typewriters.

(Not numbered) The town of Deepwater, NSW. It came 3rd Place in the Tidy Towns contest 16 years ago, but no mention of its performance since. This does not speak volumes of its tidiness, nor of its value as a tourist destination. It did have a gorgeous little post office though. No typewriters.

3. Glen Innes, NSW. Three potential second hand shops. (a) On the main street- closed. No typewriters. (b) Near the RSL club- owner slightly bats. Quaint place, but no typewriters. Some great ads from a 1963 edition of Brisbane's newspaper: The Courier Mail. The Model 78 Linotype machine (see below) looks particularly easy to use and if anyone is stuck for ideas for my next birthday.... (c) On the highway near the southern end of the town; lady spoke of a golfball Adler due in a couple of weeks, but as yet not available. Thus no typewriters.

4. Armidale, NSW. (a) Garage sale near the Hospital. Great old Victa lawn mower, but no typewriters. (b) Armidale Second Hand Bargain Centre. TYPEWRITER 1: Boring late model Adler. Like recreational anglers we kissed it and threw it back. This was a funny barn of a place, run by two hardy old people who said that they didn't get cold in the winter despite the lack of heating. To put this in context, this was a high ceilinged corrogated iron barn without insulation. Armidale is high on the tablelands and regularly gets night time lows several degrees below freezing in winter. We did not meddle with these old people.

A particularly uninspiring member of the Adler species

5. Uralla, NSW. Beautiful little town just down the road from Armidale, lots of history, preserved buildings, two collectables shops. (a) The one at the top of the hill- TYPEWRITER 2: Remington 17, proudly sitting out the front of the shop, tempting, but slightly over priced. (b) The one at the bottom of the hill- no typewriters.

(Not numbered) We stopped in Tamworth for lunch. Tamworth is home to the goldern guitar and Australia's biggest country and western music event. To celebrate I parked Scott's car spectacularly far from the kerb. The burger from the small cafe was to die for. No typewriters.

Enjoy the walk to the kerb, Scott.

6. Murrurundi, NSW. Mr Salt and Pepper. This guy had a small shopfront in this one street town with the most incredible (and meticulously arranged) collection of salt and pepper shakers. Shelves and shelves and rooms and rooms of meticulously arranged salt and pepper shakers. His collection also included matchboxes, stamps, postcards and some other things, but the sheer number of salt and pepper shakers was mindblowing. The photograph is one room out of many. No typewriters.

Everyone to their own, Mr Salt and Pepper.

7. Wingen, NSW. Burning Mountain Antiques. Jackpot. TYPEWRITER 3: Olivetti Linea 98 (yuck). TYPEWRITER 4: Brother golfball electric. TYPEWRITER 5: Remington SJ. TYPEWRITER 6: Remington Quiet-riter. TYPEWRITER 7: Imperial Good Companion 4.

 This is how a collectables store is supposed to look

 The shopkeeper didn't trust us with his ladder or his typewriters

Boring Lemair with Good Companion 4 in the background

Scott bought this Quiet-Riter as well as the Good Companion. Both were priced at c.2002 prices- approximately the amount of time they had been sitting on the shelf judging by the thickness of the layer of dust on the top of the cases.

The day ended at Scone, drinking dark ale and playing darts in an empty pub. All in all a successful day. 700km, 7 typewriters = average 1 typewriter per 100km. I have to say though that the real highlight was flipping through the pages of the Jan 1972 edition of The Australian Hereford Annual. The fashion, the passion, the animal husbandry..... Herefords: The breed for every need.

Wednesday 9 April 2014

Embracing the plastic

I gave in and bought an electric wedge.

Gross late model electric wedge or not, Olivetti still made them sleek.

The wedgie. Unrelated to typewriters, but part of many children of the 80's/90's childhoods.