Tamworth 2013

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Hey guys! I’ve just returned from my third trip down to Tamworth and after doing the drive again this year, let’s just say I’m glad I only go once a year! The roads are actually quite beautiful – especially the long road between Lismore and Tenterfield. On both trips I almost felt alone on the road – it was great. I snuck a cheeky lunch in a cafe in Tenterfield too – it’s nice to break up the 7 hour drive, even if it is just for a little lunch and shake.

Tamworth 2014-01Yep. The start of the trip was wet… but it did turn around pretty quickly.

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Tamworth 3 The drive really does kill you…

I recently finished year 3 (which is the first full clinical year at Griffith, and a hectic one at that!) so I ended up in Tamworth a little later in the year than last time. Fortunately, that meant that I got to enjoy a few Christmas parties and end-of-year drug-rep dinners. I still wasn’t late enough to get to experience the Country Music Festival though. Surprisingly, it probably wasn’t as hot as last year too. Success!

I stayed in the same caravan-park cabin accommodation this year which was great. The little setup has a full kitchen, bathroom and air-conditioning – essentials for a vegetarian in Tamworth with a tendency to sweat a lot in summer!

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Here’s the view from my front-door.

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And the view up and down the river as it bends past.

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The caravan park sits on a little point as the river bends around it.

I was excited to see everyone from the practice again this year and I was welcomed back into the family with open arms. After a day or so, it was like I had never left! Unfortunately, my mentor was recovering from surgery while I was in town this year, however, the other doctors happily took me under their collective wing and I became a bit closer to some of the lovely staff at the practice. Oh, and they upgraded their coffee machine while I was away too – apparently my mentor was heard saying things like “Imagine what Kris will be able to make on this machine!” It’s nice to know I was missed!

Doctors
Here’s a wall of old partners at the practice – I love these old portraits!

After reflecting on the placement this year, I will probably try to visit more specialists in the community next year. While I think there is a lot I can learn from GPs, it would be good to get a better idea on what some of the lifestyles of the specialists are like in town, what they can and cannot be referred to for, and what they like or don’t like about the rural setting (and their clinical practice). I did spend a day with the neurologist in town this year and it was interesting to see the range of neuro-patients that they saw. I had an interesting discussion about sub-specialists in the city versus general-specialists in the rural setting and it has shed new light on country practice. I haven’t committed to life is a GP so it would be nice know get an idea of how hard you need to work as a specialist in a rural setting too.

I took my camera down with me again this year but I didn’t use it as much as I previously have (probably because I Instagram’d everything!). Wherever it was safe to do so, I stopped on the way down/home to snap some photos of the beautiful roads and the scenery that you otherwise whoosh past. I also took a coffee up to the lookout over town again to get a better view of the countryside to see if much had changed while I was away. I also got to play with making some stitched pano-type images using a long lens to get a wide field of view – it was fun! This picture of my car is actually about 10 images taken with a 105mm lens.

Car

Tamworth Lookout

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You can actually see the caravan park just to the left of the lovely S-bend in that road above. When I zoom in on the full version, you can almost read the license plates on the cars in front of Hungry Jacks!

Randomly, Angelina Jolie was in town while I was down this year – she started filming her new movie while I was there actually. Quite a few people in Tamworth were enlisted as extras in scenes, and one of the shooting locations was just behind my caravan-park accommodation! I went down to check it all out and while there were no lights, cameras or action, it was great to find such a beautiful street only a 3 minute walk from where I was sleeping. My dSLR turned a few heads while I was there though – one gentleman stopped to ask me when we start shooting – he just thought I was part of the whole movie situation! I look forward to seeing the movie to see how Tamworth is portrayed!

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Quite a pretty street – picture perfect!

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I could not stop taking pictures of this tree – the light, the sunset, and the colours were amazing.

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Some interesting Australian relics in some gorgeous afternoon light.

Set
Me in front of part of a set for the movie – This was being towed away from the location and I was lucky with the timing to get it in the picture!

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Farm life.

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Just doing a cheeky wee while maintaining intense eye contact.

I played quite a lot of golf while I was in Tamworth. There are two courses down there and I played them both. The Tamworth course is nice and green, has quite wide fairways (not that I could hit any of them) and is well shaded. The Longyard course (designed by Norman) is quite challenging with some difficult bunkers and hazards, has fast greens but is like playing on the Sun. If you play the Longyard, play early.

Funny story: I crunched a ball off the 16th at the Longyard. It flew straight out in front of me… that is until it sliced wildly down into some dirt. I decided I had time and no one playing up my rear, so I went looking for my ball. I found it eventually – it was hidden behind this enormous dirt mound and was quite obviously out of the course. I also found half a dozen other balls that were embedded in this dirt mound. I’d lost quite a few balls by this time so I decided to grab a few for the more challenging looking holes that were coming up. I slowly walked up this dirt mound picking up balls – some of them took some work to get out of the dry dirt. I ended up climbing quite high on the dirt mound and as I bent down to pick up about my 7th or 8th ball, I felt the dirt crack. Unfortunately, what I thought was a nice solid dirt mound was actually a huge mud pile that was only superficially dry! NEK MINNIT – I sunk through the mud to about knee height and had to struggle my way back down to solid land. It was like I was in quicksand actually – the more I struggled, the deeper I got! Eventually I made it to safety but I had to play the last few holes with wet, green mud covering my shoes, socks and most of my legs. Lesson learned. Here’s some random Insties from golf at the Tamworth

Golf

Course

Golf Tree

Thanks for having me again this year Tamworth/JFPP/ACRRM

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