Friday (Boxing Day) 26th December, Kilmore.
Christmas is over for another twelve months and all had a wonderful time at Narrelle and Matts. Matthew, Louisa and kids were there along with Lou’s mum Alice, and brother Cameron. Adrian is with us now, after spending a few days with Narrelle, but has gone to the cricket today. He has been looking forward to the opportunity to go to a Boxing Day test for ages and has now got his chance. I put him on a train at Kilmore this morning and he did manage to get himself to the MCG without any problems. Linda and I are looking forward to a quiet day at home on our own today before we go to Matt and Lou’s tomorrow, then a trip to Geelong on Sunday to take Adrian down to spend a few days with my sister, and Niece.
Sunday 21st December 2008, Kilmore.
We have now settled into the park at Kilmore and it does seem quite satisfactory for our use for the time we intend to stay here. The grounds are clean and well kept, the amenities are large and kept clean and the other tenants seem friendly enough so we should fit in here quite well. TV reception is still my bane as I have not been able to improve on what we originally received, but what I am getting is satisfactory even though some of the channels are analogue only and I am getting all channels available so I will have to be content. We have had a chance now to visit the grand-kids and catch up with them all, and son Adrian is also over from Tassie for a couple of weeks. He is sharing his visit with as many as he can so we will only have him for a few days, I don’t mean to sound nasty but the caravan is really only built for two so we will set up a tent outside for him to sleep in. I will again say that because we are now not in touring mode and settled down for a spell these reports will more than likely be a lot less frequent.
Monday 15th December 2008, Kilmore.
On Sunday we finally made our way back to the Melbourne area, and managed to find some pauses in the rain to do our packing up and setting up when we arrived. We are actually camped at a small town about 50 K north of Melbourne called Kilmore. (see map) We chose this town, and park, because it is about half the price of the parks in the city, even the one we usually stay at as they do not have long term sites any more having converted them to tourist sites and increased their prices. Staying here was also dictated by the financial crisis that is affecting us with the downturn in super, so we should be able to cut costs somewhat by staying here, well especially after the Christmas rush is over and we won’t have to make so many trips to the city. We intend staying here until possibly March before we head for the Sunshine Coast for winter. We, or I, might be able to assist Son-in-law Matt and Narrelle in preparing for building their new house, as they have just bought a block of land that is coincidentally not far from where we are staying. Even though we haven’t yet looked into it there does seem to be a bit to do and see around this area so finding things to do might not be a problem at all. One thing that is testing me already though is TV reception. After compiling all the information that I have on the site, I have to now put it to practice more so than ever before. Reception in Kilmore is very iffy being situated in a bit of a gully and right on the fringe area of a couple of transmitters making it difficult to get good reception from anywhere. I am at present getting reasonable analogue reception from Bendigo and not very good digital reception, but I do have a couple of ideas to check out over the next few days to see if I can improve on it. If all else fails and analogue proves to be unsatisfactory there is always the satellite.
Friday 12th December 2008, Stawell.
Not much to report at this stage as we are just basically filling in time while we are rained in. Not that we could do much anyway as after the other day with the strenuous walk I have some blisters on my feet. Funny actually as I fully expected that my legs would be stiff and sore but there was no sign of that at all, only the blisters, must be because I only wore one pair of socks with my boots instead of the usual two pair. The offending boot does have a wear fault that caused the blister so if in future two pairs of socks doesn’t work it looks as if a new pair of boots will be the only option. We are at present giving a lot of thought as to where we are going to stay while in the Melbourne area, what with the stock market crash, and like wise our super, we are trying to find somewhere cheaper than where we usually stay. Our usual park has gotten rid of the long term sites we usually use, or at least converted them to tourist sites, so consequently their prices are a lot dearer than usual and are just out of our affordable range. At this point it is looking like somewhere like Kilmore about 30K further north, where their prices are much more inviting, to the point that with the extra travel and fuel costs we will be a lot better off. We are to still to have a look at the park at Kilmore before we make a final decision, but we may have to accept what they offer anyway.
Tuesday 9th December 2008, Stawell.
An interesting day was had yesterday with me having a minor health scare. We decided, due to the fine weather, to go up to the Grampians to do one of the bush walks we had chosen to do called the Pinnacles near Halls Gap. The walk was about 4.5K return and rather steep, rocky and rather strenuous, but well worth the effort in doing it. We were almost back at the bottom of the walk when I developed this pain in my left arm: Here I was thinking, I am over 50, over weight, diabetic, just had a strenuous walk and have a pain in my left arm. Thinking of all the adds on Telly and radio we decided that we had better not waste a lot of time getting to a hospital and Stawell was the closest. Being rather sure within myself that there was no real problem we did sit and have lunch first, we must eat, and then drove back to Stawell. To cut a long story short about nine hours later, after several tests, saw me being discharged from the hospital with a clean bill of health, but it does pay to safe than sorry. I am now thinking, jokingly, of going back to the hospital with a complaint, I went in complaining of a pain in my arm and left with diagnosis of having nothing wrong with my heart, but nothing on what caused the pain in my arm. It does seem to have cleared up this morning, but I am still none the wiser as to what caused it, probably just an issue with my pinched shoulder tendons that haven’t bothered me for some time now.
Thursday 4th December 2008, Stawell.
We went for a drive to Ararat today, just for a look, and at shops, and almost fell in love with the place, to the extent that we almost made the decision to pack up on Sunday and move there for a week. After thinking about it we considered that even though it is a very nice city with plenty of very old buildings, a great percentage of our living time is actually spent in the caravan park and the one we chose in Ararat does not compare with the one we are at now, given the lake views and wildlife we presently have. The other thing was that if we were to pack up for a move on Sunday we would be likely to say let’s just go all the way to Melbourne, and we really don’t want to be there until the following week. So we will stay here for a second week as originally planned, but we will be going in to Ararat on Thursday next week for Linda’s fortnightly shopping and I’ll take a few photos of the place while filling in the several hour waiting.
Tuesday 2nd December 2008, Stawell.
As we are in the area of the Grampians mountain range we have decided that we will spend some time in the area doing what walks we can and have a general look around. Today Linda wanted to go to Horsham for some shopping so we decided to go via the Grampians to have a closer look at what is on offer and get a better idea of what we want to do in the area. We have been there before back in early 2003 when we stayed at Horsham, but we only stayed for a few days, so we only had a day trip to the Grampians and didn’t get to see much. Today revealed that there is plenty of walking to be done, although a lot of it is longer than we are prepared for, so we are very hopeful, weather permitting, to get in a fair bit in while here. We are a little fazed with the information given to us by the info centre, with them only giving basic information on the Grampians and nothing about anything else. When we got to Halls Gap we though we might get more info there, and they did have some maps with a lot more info, but guess what they weren’t free, at $3.50 each for several sectional maps we thought we would battle on with what we have. We were also surprised that the local info centre didn’t even give any info on local attractions, and we are now finding out about them by our own resources. One thing that sticks in my memory after today’s travels was a comment Linda made about seeing ferns for the first time in ages. They were everywhere in the hills, and we now recall that we did not see any in our trips to WA or even through SA, one would have naturally thought they would have been all over.