Melbourne

Monday 28th November.

It’s been a week, what’s been happening: We moved sites last Monday and it is just as windy here, and the road noise isn’t much quieter.

It is now looking like we will keep the TV, computer options that we now have, as it would be a costly exercise to upgrade and there would be no guarantee that we could sell the old gear to offset costs. I have in the meantime bought a digital, USB connected, TV tuner and had a chance to test it’s operation on the laptop in the annexe. The wide screen is an advantage, but one disadvantage is that the picture motion does not seem as smooth as a TV screen. I found a video accelerator, and after watching it for a while, it now seems ok. After buying this unit, and possibly getting an analogue one soon, we now have a second TV option that would meet any of our requirements.

Linda bought herself a new bread maker because the old one developed a water leak in the cooking pan. We managed to find an identical unit as our existing one that was an ex demo unit, so we payed less for it that it would have cost to buy replacement parts for the old one. It cooked alright so Linda placed the old one in the laundry with an appropriate note attached. This turned out to be possibly the wrong decision as when Linda did her second cook, this time on the solid bench instead of on the carpet, and found that one of the legs is broken and the unit vibrates itself almost off the bench. It now seems that it would have been a better idea to keep the old outer unit and the new cooking pan, but now the only option is for me to take the unit back to where we bought it and see if they have another one to replace it.

We went out to dinner with Nelle and Matt on Saturday to celebrate our combined wedding anniversary and my birthday, on the 25th. We went to the same place as they had their wedding reception, well same named place but now across the other side of the road, and enjoyed another Turkish style meal. I did not manage to embarrass myself this time, or at least refused to permit it to occur, but did somewhat enjoy others do it to themselves. It seems to be the norm at one of these type functions to have a belly dancer, or similar, to perform during the evening and do her best to embarrass people. Something similar did happen at their wedding and I was the one committed to embarrassment.

Linda has now made her way to Tassie and I am now on my own for a week. We managed to get to the airport 50 minutes early, but the airport was that busy we spent all that time in a queue to check in. Then after the closed sign appeared for her flight our requests for getting out of the queue to make the flight were listened to and the last I saw of Linda was her running to the departure gate.

Well that is about it for the last week, we will see what develops next week.

Melbourne

Sunday 20th November.

We have had a weekend of visiting and are now ready for a little settling down after we move sites tomorrow. We went to Frankston yesterday to visit Rick and family and had a good catch up chat. Today was a visit to Barry and Ida’s. It was good to see them again and we decided that it would be an idea to see them regularly while here, and it may help me fill in some time, if I have any to spare, visiting them while Linda is back in Tassie.

Monday 21st November.

A big move today: Narrelle rang up this morning asking mother if she wanted to go on ‘Puffing Billy’ with them tomorrow, the answer was yes before realising we were supposed to move to the permanent site tomorrow. After discussing it with reception we decided to make the move today, so the big move was from one side of the park to the other. It’s times like this that I find out how fit I am, as after having a full pack-up, move and a full set-up all in one day I was rather buggered when finished. We are now moved so it won’t have to be done tomorrow.

Melbourne

Wednesday 16th November.

Surprise, surprise, I went to discuss with the park manager about our situation and they came up with a permanent site, about $50.00 a week cheaper.

It seems the main problem with the tourist sites is that their computer booking system, being Top Tourist, is going on line nation wide and sites can be booked from anywhere. This leads to the problem of not being able to secure a site booking if the full term is not paid for in advance. The other problem is that tourist sites, which may be now a TT standard, can only be booked for 28 days and then one must vacate the site. After vacating for a few days one is then welcome to return for a further 28 days, bit of a mix-up eh.

After explaining to them that we could be wanting to stay until Feb/Mar 06 they promptly advised us that there was a permanent site available that would be ours forever, or when we cancel, whichever comes first, and we only have to pay weekly. Why they couldn’t have told us this originally when we booked in for two months I have no idea.

Anyway we move on to the permanent site on Tuesday next week when our original booking expires.

Friday 18th November.

I had an idea today while waiting for Linda while she was doing her shopping, about future TV watching. I went to a computer shop and asked what was available in the way of a TV receivers that will plug into a laptop and found that several devices do exist. At the price of $125.00 I was almost tempted to buy one there and then. I then decided to have a look somewhere else, like Harvey Norman, and see what else is available. While sitting in the car thinking more about it, I also started thinking about another thought I had previously had along the same lines.

I have been suggesting to other travellers that if one were to buy a desktop computer, mounted properly somewhere, and make sure the monitor could also be used as a TV screen, several problems could be overcome with TV’s, Laptops etc.

Adding both ideas together could then be a more suitable option. A desktop with decent wide screen monitor and DVD drive, digital and or analogue TV tuner (USB connected), and not keep a laptop would cover all TV and computer situations we have, and get rid of some weight.

I would consider that if one were to go this way on initial set-up the costs would also be dramatically reduced. I even consider that if we decided to convert that way now and find a buyer for our existing, and then redundant, gear we would almost offset the set-up costs of the change over.

I am now looking at using our several months in Melbourne to pursue this option and see if units would appropriately fit in existing space in the van, find out costs, and decide if it would be viable, we do now have a fair amount of time.

Melbourne

Chapter 34.

Melbourne stay.

Tuesday 15th November 2005.

We have been in Melbourne for a week now and have settled in rather well, and have settled Narrelle and Matt in as well.

We are having caravan park dilemmas again: The cost of Apollo Gardens has increased to almost $200 per week and we consider this a little too much. The other problem is that this park would be the only one that wants full payment for bookings in advance, even if the booking is for several months. My ideas are that I won’t pay too much in advance for two main reasons. Number 1 is that I can’t see why they should have access to my money when I could be using it to earn me some, and number 2 is that if we for whatever reason decide to cancel our stay I can only imagine how much trouble we would have getting our money back.

We today went touring to check out a couple of other parks, one at Wantirna and Crystal Brook at Doncaster, but decided that these parks would not be suitable for our circumstances. Wantirna only had two sites available and both were far too small for the van and annexe. Crystal Brook are getting rid of permanents and say that stays at their park will be limited to about a month. Their price was cheaper than here, but the sites on offer were not extremely good with very small slabs.

After all this we have decided to stay at Apollo as it is more convenient to most everything we want to do. I will approach them tomorrow with our story about how we want to stay for at least 3 months, but will only pay for a month at a time, and we will take it from there. I would also insist that if they intend to overbook us we will then just take our business elsewhere.