Woke up to outside temperature of 6.3°, clear skies and sunny.
It was a cold night, but I was warm as usual, Marg was warm in her sleeping bag out.
Today, we are booked in for the 10:30am Chamber of the Black Hand tour, we left camp at 10am and drove to the 'Black hand' and met the rest of the people on the tour, there were 12 of us in total. We had to go down 63 steps to the showroom, and then Bob took us for a tour of the mine. You may have noticed on the photos that we were wearing hard hats, thank god. Me, being slightly tall at 6'4", I am not designed to be a miner and I knocked my head numerous times and I couldn't stand upright in much of the mine, Marg, being a short arse, didn't hit her head once, BUT apart from that, the tour was great and what those early miners went through was absolutely hard work. Miners are usually smaller people,
so they don't need as large a tunnel as the taller miners, consequently, they don't need to remove as much dirt, so they get to the opals quicker, that's the plan.
After the mine tour we walked around the carvings that Ron Canlin is still creating, he is one extremely talented person. His King Tut carvings were
my favourite. His animals were great, basically, they were ALL magic.
After leaving there, we popped into the Lightning Ridge Bowling Club, to suss it out for dinner, the club has pokies, cold beer and cheap meals, so it met all my conditions. Next stop was John Murray gallery
. Now this was a bad mistake, we left with a copy of the Birdsville Races, because it had George in it, Caution Cyclists and Are We There Yet with the caravan, total cost if I tell you, Marg will kill me (shhh $67).
While parked there, we checked out about 5 Opal shops, thank God, Marg doesn't like opal. Over to Khan IGA for some shopping (these Khan dudes own 9 IGAs in the area we shopped at their Cobar, Bourke and Lightning Ridge stores). Back at camp, for lunch before we drove to an old couples' shells, gems and minerals collection at Kangaroo Hill. It cost us $5 each and we rang the bell, and an elderly lady (we never did get her name) opened the door and showed us her and her husband's collection, she can certainly talk. We loved it and when you finish her tour, you can fossick on her heap beside her 3 pet kangaroos. We didn't find anything of substance, so we gave it a miss and headed back to camp, to get changed for dinner. We arrived at the LRBC (Lightning Ridge Bowling Club) at 5pm, Marg had an hour on the pokies (and lost), while I lost $2 but I only stayed about 10 minutes, before I could take it no more, a dude 2 machines to my right, must have thought he was still digging for opals, he would hit the buttons with force, making a very loud moise. I had a gutful and went and watched "The price is right' and "deal or No deal" on the big screen, I don't know which was the better. Marg was to meet me about 6pm when the bistro opened, while sitting 'engrossed' with my TV shows, a bus load of oldies (yes, there are people older than Marg still alive) took over tables all around me, my table was surrounded, but I kept drinking my chilled refreshers and watching Tv, until saved by Marg. Dinner was Lamb Cutlets and vegies (Marg) and Chicken Parma with chips and salad (Me), both were very yumma.
After a hectic day, we had an early night (SimonP that means bed by 8:30pm but I am up at 6am writing this)
Tomorrow is another big day. Do the car door tours for starters(we ran out of time yesterday) and then some more fossicking back at our camp heap,before I start packing up..
Things that we have done, so far, in Lightning Ridge
- Black Opal Tours - See mines, camps and castles, hear stories and fables of the Ridge and fossick for opal.
- Fossicking Heap - in our caravan park.
- Amigo's castle - Amigo is one weird dude, he lives out the back of his castle in a caravan.
- Artesian Bore baths - these are 45° pool about 200 meters away from our park. Probably won't use them.
- Fred Bodel's camp - Fred built his 'house' in 1916 and died aged 90 in 1973, rumoured to be a multi-millionaire through opals.
- Flying Potsman's historic red rattler - this is the Black Opal tour's office and where we had afternoon tea.
- Astronomer's Monument - was built by Alex, a Polish dude who was jailed for killing his wife and released 5 years later after being found not guilty.
- Lunatic Hill - the highest hill in Lightning Ridge.
- Chambers of The Black Hand - The Egyptian chamber has humorous hieroglyphics and is a replica of an Egyptian tomb.
- Visit John Murray's gallery _ big mistake we bought some reproductions.
- Kangaroo Hill Complex - A fabulous display of rocks, minerals, shells, bottles and antiques.
- Bottle House - drove past - Guess what, it's made from bottles.