Friday 29th June.

My idea of slowing down has worked to a degree where I haven’t done everything yet, but it is hard as when I start to do something I tend to just carry on and do whatever there is to be done. This is what life is all about; at least now I have a choice of when I want to do things and when I don’t.

Small world; memories of work situation of years ago, the man in charge of the maintenance section and the St John building where I used to work was one Ken Manson, alias ‘HAP’, he was the centre of stirring at the time due to the fact that not many people liked him. It was also known that whenever any body travelled overseas, or wherever they travelled, his nickname would be inscribed somewhere obscure, and the stories that resulted by other travellers, finding it, was one of the comedy situations of the time. Well, who should appear and stay at the holiday units where we are camped but he himself. Things have changed over the years and he has become sedate, or at least he does not have the worries of work anymore and I know how he feels, even my ideas have changed and I find I am conversing with him as if he had been a close friend for life; I never thought that would ever happen, as I was one of those who disliked this man for reasons of which are now unknown to me. Another couple moved in next to us in their caravan, also from Tasmania, and it turned out to he used to work for the same section of Telstra that I did but in Hobart, Max Roberts being his name. It turns out he remembered my name, although I have no memory of ever meeting him, as I believe I was rather well known throughout the state. When he mentioned his name I also remembered it, as he was well known statewide as well. So in the space of a couple of days I have met two people from close to home and known to me.

It occurred to me a couple of days ago that I haven’t been in contact with any of my old work mates for a long time, I am of the belief that any email address, work wise, that I had for them may not apply anymore as they have had changes to their LAN and web connections and such so this could be a good reason why. I did send a message to my ex boss, Tim Arnold, explaining this and his reply was that several people had enquired as to my whereabouts and what I was up to, so I guess somebody back there does care after all. With further messages I will attempt to obtain current addresses so that I can contact some of them personally.

I have been getting on reasonably well looking after myself while Linda is gone and have found that it is not all that difficult. I haven’t weakened yet by eating out, but I don’t know how long it is going to be before I do.


Tuesday 26th June, (Cairns).

It is almost a week now since I have been on my own and things have settled down, I have gotten myself into sort of a routine in what must be done when it must be done. I have taught myself how to use the sewing machine, which has enabled me to strengthen the corners of the awning, for eye holes, that I had constructed for a cover at the front of the caravan, and surprise, surprise, after reading the instructions it wasn’t all that difficult after all.

Buying the pushbike, at this stage, seems to be proving one of the best things I have done for ages, after having it for a week and riding a short distance daily my legs are feeling better for it already. Although the distance I ride is not great it seems to be becoming easier each time. I went to Port Douglas the other day and rode along the beach, given that the name of the beach is 4 mile beach one would assume that a return ride would amount to 8 miles, which I handled ok but the legs certainly knew what they had done.

I went for a drive up to the Atherton table lands today with the intention of having a look at scenery, caravan parks for when we move up there and such with the idea of riding the bike around wherever possible, but wouldn’t you know it, as soon as I went over the top of the mountains it started raining and persisted all day, or at least until I returned to Cairns and it looked as though it did not rain much in town all day.

One thing I am going to have to learn is not to rush in and do all these jobs I intend doing as before I know it I will have them all done and will be sitting here on my own, twiddling my thumbs trying to think of something to do with myself, so I figure that if I slow down and only do a small amount at a time then the tasks I have to do may last the duration. Actually if this unnatural weather for this time of year continues it should not be too difficult to delay these tasks.

Cairns, Clifton Beach

Thursday 21st June, (Cairns / Clifton Beach).

At 6.oo am this morning I put Linda on the plane to go back home for a month for the birth of grandchild number two, and here it is 6.00 pm and I have all day been feeling stranded, or lost, in a remote area on my own. I am sure I will get used to being on my own, but how long it takes is another question. After all these years of being spoiled the strangest feeling of the day has simply having nobody to tend for me so I have to learn to do it myself.

It has been a full week since putting any words down, which just simply demonstrates that life is just too hectic and one just does not find time.

We moved from Port Douglas to Clifton Beach, about 17klm north of Cairns city, and moved into a property owned by the API, the one we looked at earlier. We stayed hear, in the units, when we travelled up here for Christmas 1995, or so, to meet Narrelle on a break from her missionary in Papua New Guinea. The climate at that time of year was unbearable but we fell in love with the area, and now that we have moved back in to the unit grounds a lot of memories of the previous trip are flooding back and we are happy that we decided to park here. I think now that Linda has gone and left me to myself, I will enjoy it here, as the area is quiet and suitable for doing some work that I intend to do to the van. I now have extra work to do as I purchased myself a pushbike and I will need to construct a carrier to mount on the back and a cover on the front to park it under, the cover will be big enough for two as I intend to purchase one for Linda upon her return, assuming I, or my knees, take to cycling ok. More benefits of this area are the beach across the road, not that I intend swimming, but it will suffice for walking, and the whole area has cycle tracks running along side the roads which make cycling all the more an attractive option, which will help entice me to ride often and train myself up before Linda returns.

Port Douglas

Thursday 14th June.

The weather still hasn’t changed any, it is not raining much but it looks as though it will all the time.

After speaking to a fellow traveller I learned that the road to Cape Tribulation is actually sealed, I hadn’t studied the map to find out and was of the belief that after the ferry crossing that the road was four wheel drive only, so we went for a tour yesterday along the coast to there. The experience was one well worth it, travelling along a road that traversed rain forest, so one couldn’t have been closer to the rain forest if one had tried. We had visits to beaches, which declared, “Where the rain forest meets the reef” and the statement is surprisingly true, with palms and forest plants growing on the edge of the beaches, which are the edges of the reef. I also asked the question of a couple of locals as to whether the road from there to Cooktown was of a nature that my panel-van may traverse, as I was contemplating trying a return on that road when I visit Cooktown in a couple of weeks, and the reply was that the road is closed after some hoons chopped it up with chains attached, so that idea has now fallen through.

We still have the trip to Daintree village and a river ride, which we are planning for tomorrow, but if the weather does not improve we will have to leave it till later.

Port Douglas

Tuesday 12th June, (Port Douglas)

We are now at Port Douglas at a park called Pandanus on the main road to the township. This is a very nice park and one gets the impression that it is an old park, well established with large shady trees and concrete blocks on all sites. There is a very nice beach here, very long, flat and very solid sand, which makes for easy walking or bike riding.

The weather is still a surprise to us as it is supposed to be the dry season in this area and it has rained nearly every day since we have been here, it even looked like rain on Sunday when we were due to move, but we decided to move anyway, and it did rain after we left. Last month we experienced the lowest average minimum temperatures recorded for the month of May (down to 11°, cold eh) and this month, on Sunday evening, we experienced the highest minimum temperature recorded for June (down to 23°, warm that night I tell you). The weather has if nothing else made our decision of what to do with ourselves very easy as our choice on most occasions is absolutely nothing, and we have been able to achieve this with consummate ease.

After having a look around Port Douglas, a very nice place and very tourist orientated, there is not a great deal more we wish to do in this area apart from a trip to Daintree and have a good look there and take a boat ride on the river, which I am told is very worthwhile doing. So depending on the weather tomorrow we will go up there, or if it is not fine we will go on Thursday, we must go no later than Thursday because I have made a booking at Clifton beach, near Cairns, for Sunday and if we keep waiting for a fine day we might just miss out, the way things are going.

A little advice from Linda for anybody coming to Port Douglas is to purchase your groceries first, as prices here are very high and she commented that the fruit quality is not very good.

We must be back in cairns next week as Linda flies out for home on Thursday and no doubt there will be heaps she will want to do before she goes to make sure my bachelor spell goes well and I have no problems looking after myself (spoiled aren’t I).

Today was looking as though it may be the first day in over two weeks that it hasn’t rained, but as I sit here it has started again.