Thursday 28th December.

The move yesterday went smoothly with most everything being packed ready before we arrived. Two loads with the panel-van and one with a small truck Matt rented and it was all done. It is a pity, though, that we didn’t have a couple of more male helpers as I am a little stiff and sore today, not too bad but I am a little out of condition. Comes with old age I guess.

I have purchased a couple of new batteries today for the caravan and the rear of the car so we should now be adequately power equipped again. Once again though one has to listen to the words of salesmen as to what they consider would be the best batteries suited, so I ended up with two different types. The one for the caravan is supposedly virtually unbreakable, then the last one was too, as it is completely sealed and supposedly maintenance free. The one for the car is also sealed and of a little less quality. Then it gets a lot less use, and it was a lot cheaper, so what I have now will hopefully keep us going for quite a while, but we will see.

I have a small chore to do for Matthew, was going to be today, but I now don’t have enough time so it will just have to wait, probably tomorrow.


Tuesday 26th December.

An enjoyable Xmas day was had at Matt and Louisa’s, and we did the usual thing of stuffing ourselves with all the food and niceties that one would not indulge in.

We also visited Ida Markby on Sunday, wife of late Barry, and she was extremely welcome of our visit. She had a few chores for us to do, as she now lacks that kind of assistance, and we were satisfied with doing them as we received satisfaction knowing we had helped in some little way.

So much for that caravan battery I thought I had saved while at Windang. It did seem for a while that it had recovered, but last night I once again forgot to turn on the small charger while running the TV and the battery didn’t last very long at all. During the night Linda heard some funny noises from the front of the van, and I was awoken by a thumping, or popping, sound. This morning revealed we had no 12volts at all and tests revealed that the battery was completely dead. I reckon the noises we heard was the battery plates buckling and shorting out. The second battery from the car has now been fitted to the van and I will have to purchase a new one to finally replace it in the near future.

Something to also look forward to is helping Matt and Lou move tomorrow to their new house, I do hate this sort of chore, but I am the one with the panel-van.


Saturday 23rd December.

Melbourne weather never fails to amaze me, as one day it is stinking hot and the next day one is wearing long trousers and a jacket.

Another drama today with a continuation of blocked drains. The sewage backed up at our site again today and fortunately this time I think they have fixed it: Blowing air down the pipes released a lump of wood from the pipes and now all seems to be flowing properly, thank goodness.

Linda has once again made her famous Xmas puddings yesterday, so that took up all day, but not much else has been happening.


Wednesday 20th December 2006.

We checked out the other caravan parks and decided that we would be just as well off here. The others didn’t have the conveniences as here, such as en-suite and public transport. It may cost a little more here but we are now happy again to call this our local when in Melbourne.

Xmas is getting closer and things are happening: Louisa’s mother is over from Tassie for a visit, with Cameron coming over on Saturday. The pre-Xmas panic with all the cooking to be done has begun so the next few days could be a little hectic.

An unfortunate incident today with some maintenance on the car. The old girl has developed some rust spots on the roof and on a panel joint on the passengers door frame, so I decided to have a go at repairing it. I got my Dremel grinder and ground the rust off the door frame and after treating the remaining rust applied a coat of paint, all looks good. Then the roof spots: as soon as I hit the rust spots with the grinder, holes as big as the end of my small finger appeared due to the rust being completely through the metal panel. It seems to be too late for the old girl as the rust seems to have gotten to a non stoppable stage so I will go ahead with these repairs and if they, or any others, return I will have to give serious consideration to replacing the car with something else. This will be a pity because it is performing so well, touch wood.


Chapter 39.

In Melbourne.

Sunday 17th December 2006, (Melbourne).

Here we are in Melbourne again and will be here for a couple of months.

We have moved into Apollo Gardens at Craigieburn again and are on a long term site once more. We are thinking already that there may be a more suitable park for us to stay at as we are not 100% happy here. Linda’s biggest problem is the cost of the washing machines, now $4.00 a load and only cold water. We are also not extremely happy with the site we have: not that there is anything wrong with the site itself, but rather the location. We seem to be basically on our own with no other tourists to mix with, permanents seem to be a different breed. We are considering looking at a couple of other parks, one at Rockbank, on the Western Highway, that would be closer to Matt and Louisa new place when they move, and according to the RAC book it is cheaper than what we pay here for the long term site.

The other thing that upset us was the condition of the en-suite when we arrived. Apparently the site hasn’t been used for a long time and they obviously hadn’t cleaned it. Linda spent half a day cleaning it, then when I mentioned it at the office they have since decided to strip the inside of the en-suite and completely reline it, Linda is real happy about that decision.

We have spent the last few days spending a fair bit of time with the grandkids as they haven’t seen us for a while, and they are rather thrilled with having us here.


Wednesday 13th December 2006, (Melbourne).

We are now in Melbourne and will be here until the end of February or so. We are still up in the air about where we will go next year, but we have been throwing a couple of ideas around so we will see when we leave here.


Monday 11th December 2006, (Bairnsdale).

Our second last leg before reaching Melbourne today sees us at Bairnsdale, Victoria, about 270km from Melbourne. It was an eventful leg as well, with the bushfires rife in Victoria and some of them in the Bairnsdale area. See pics in Recent Photos page, (will only be there for a few months).

The main problem was getting up to date reports on the fires and where the bad ones were. Being in NSW last night the only news reports we were getting was about the worse ones and they are not in this district. The only other reports were about how the Sydney firemen sent to help were the hero’s of the day because they save a house. This was obviously regardless of the probability that the Victorians had already saved quite a few. I was getting a report that there was a slight chance that the Princes highway would be closed at some stage, but there was no information as to where and when. The little information I was getting indicated that the problem would more than likely be west of Bairnsdale so we decided to move today and then have access to more local news of the fire situation, and if necessary we would stay here until it was safe to go on.

It turns out that there are fires in this district but they are north west of here by about 100km or so and there doesn’t seem to be a problem with travel tomorrow. It now looks safe to make our last leg of travel tomorrow, but a check on reports in the morning will reveal actualities.

The other problem of the day was the large cloud of smoke mixing with actual rain clouds causing the resultant rain to be filled with dirt and muck from the fires, so now the car and caravan are in one dirty mess and in dire need of cleaning.




Saturday 9th December 2006, (Eden).

We are now at Eden, the southern most town of size on the coast of NSW, having arrived here yesterday. We had only intended being here for two days, but, 1/ Linda has decided that we would be breaking a new tradition by moving on Sunday, now to be a rest day, so we will probably stay an extra day. 2/ The bush fires in Victoria are close to Bairnsdale and if they worsen there is an indication that the Princes Highway could be closed. If this were to be the case we would not be able to get through. I have gotten some information from the RFA web site, including a hotline number, so I intend ringing them to get updates before we make a move. Hopefully this won’t delay our arrival in Melbourne by too much.

We have semi-decided that we may even return to this area after leaving Melbourne in February, or so, on our way back to the Sunshine Coast and have a leisurely trip this time to see some of the areas we have so far missed. The weather ought to be more suitable then as well.



Thursday 7th December 2006, (Ulladulla).

We had a walk around the headland yesterday, and quite a worthwhile walk it was. The distance was 4 or 5 kilometres, so not only was it worth the scenery, but exercise as well. We didn’t get to do as much walking as we wanted as the lookouts we visited were drive to and the one mountain we had looked at was too severe to attempt. I was hopeful of getting a good photo of Pigeon house mountain to show why but the one below is about the best I could do.

The walk was too severe especially the last leg that was steel ladders up a sheer cliff face.

The usual walk around town today taking photos, and now we are ready to dismantle the annexe ready for a move tomorrow.


Tuesday 5th December 2006, (Ulladulla).

Another trip today to the northern area from here, and it was a more enlightening trip than yesterday as it included a couple of lookouts and a waterfall. The waterfall had no water flowing over it to speak of, but it was worth the visit. The lookouts also gave us some spectacular scenery of the coast-line of this area.

I must be getting old or something, as the touring today, although most of it was on steep, windy, gravel roads, took it out of me a fair bit. I am feeling quite tired at the moment, as though I have been driving all day. We will have a couple of restful days now before moving on.