Thursday 25th November, (55th Birthday), Melbourne.

An eventful day was had today to celebrate my birthday. We visited Barry and Ida and they took us to a hotel for lunch, and this was a function where a lot of Barry’s old Jazz band mates meet. This was a regular meeting of his Jazz mates and all the entertainment of the day was those mates in turn playing tunes, the theme for today was piano. This was all very enlightening, as I have not been into Jazz music before and it was a very enjoyable eye-opener.

Sunday 28th November, (Melbourne).

We had another day with Barry and Ida today as a picnic/boat launching day. Barry and his mate have recently bought a new boat for river fishing and the boat is of a novel design. It actually folds up into a flat bag the length of the boat, and when unfolded it is held together, and in shape, by the solid seats inserted.

This is the boat as unpacked.

This is it assembled.

The boat was very easy to assemble, or the more practice will make it easier. I had a ride in it and I am quite surprised, as were the others, as to how stable it was in the water, one could stand up and move about without much boat movement at all.


Sunday 21st November, (Melbourne).

We had a trip around the area today looking for suitable caravan parks to stay in on our trips to and from Tassie because Ashley Gardens is now far too expensive. The park we are in now, Apollo Gardens, is ok but there are no shops in the immediate area and whenever we want anything we have to drive, otherwise it is suitable.

The West City Park on the Western freeway does not have any caravan sites any more as they are now all cabins. While we were there we mentioned the Honey Hush and the response we received from a couple of people in the office convinced us to forego even looking at it. They then put us onto another at Williamstown but that one is full of permanents and would not really be suitable anyway.

We also checked out the Airport Holiday Village finally and it turns out that they only have 3 or 4 tourist sites and one would have to book in with at least a month or two notice. That reason on its own does not suit us, so for a day or two stay it looks like Apollo Gardens.

We do have a couple more to look at down Springfield/Frankston area that might be more suitable for longer periods.

Monday 22nd November, (Melbourne).

I had my appointment with the Super adviser today and left with nothing but very good feelings. I had decided that who, in my present situation, would want to take their money as a pension. I have decided to make a partial withdrawal from my funds whenever the need arises. This way I can control, somewhat, how much funds remain in my super scheme, I would intend to maintain $300,000 in the funds as capital and withdraw for living expenses. This way if Super has a lean period so do we, and if Super has a good period then our funds should increase. On top of all this it seems that most of my funds in Super is non-taxable using it in this manner, even if I for some reason make a very large withdrawal, so these reasons convince me that this method is much more agreeable than changing to a pension scheme. This method also enables Linda to maintain the ability to continue to receive her Partner allowance, which is another big advantage. So all from here is looking rosy, so let’s hope things continue in this trend.

Linda seems to have discovered some anomaly with her mobile account today while enquiring about the purchase of a new handset, so tomorrow will be consumed finding a Telstra shop and finding out exactly what is the story there and sorting it out, and possibly even buy her the new handset.

One thing was found out for sure today is that I never ever intend doing any sort of shopping in the Melbourne city area in future, as with the hustle and bustle of myriads of people and traffic noise I found it almost impossible to concentrate on anything. So it has to be a lot easier to do my shopping in the suburbs in the somewhat quieter areas.


Monday 15th November, (Melbourne).

Now in Melbourne for our last travel leg and last stay before we head back to Tassie in 3 weeks time.

We intend testing an annexe that Barry and Ida have, and no longer need, to see if it fits our van. If it does we are going to give serious consideration to buying it, considering the price is right, and hopefully it will give us a little more protection against bad weather. We have thought that if the annexe is not suited to our van and we do not buy it then we might give thought to getting one made. We originally had the idea that we would not need one, but after attempting to stay in the cold in Tassie last year we have now decided that having a fully enclosed annexe would be a good idea. Barry and Ida are going to bring it around tomorrow so I hope all goes well.

Thursday 18th November, (Melbourne).

The last few days since we arrived in Melbourne have been rather eventful, so hopefully this time next week we may be able to have a few days rest.

Barry and Ida came around with the annexe so we could see if it fitted our van, and it wasn’t a very good fit after all. I was of the misbelief that the annexe was originally built for their present van that is almost the same as ours, but it turns out that it was built for a previous van they had. We could have tried modifying it to suit our van but I think that it may have been a bigger job than one would think, so we decided against the purchase, we didn’t like the colour anyway. It was after we decided not to buy that they decided to tell us they only wanted about $500.00 for it, and at that price we could have possibly afforded to modify it, but we had already made a decision.

Barry and Ida had invited us around for lunch yesterday, which we had accepted, and that was a worthwhile visit as we had a chance to just sit and chat about things, something we don’t do very often because there are not many people we have gotten to know as well as them.

Today was a day for practice runs on public transport, as this was a first for this district, and I needed to know how to go about getting into the city for my appointment on Monday. We parted company when we reached the city, as Linda had a few things to do, shopping that does not over interest me, and I had to find my way to the Telstra building.

I then returned home and had the opportunity to chase up the couple of things to do on the van, wheal-bearing cover for example, and I ended up visiting the factory that built the van and the company that built the chassis. It turns out that the chassis firm may be the only place I will be able to get the bearing covers if I ever need another in future, as they seem to be an odd size. I got two while there so I do now have a spare. I also took the opportunity to talk the van maker about enlarging the wheel arches and the information I obtained was very useful for when I decide to do it, if I do.

Swan Hill

Friday 12th November, (Swan Hill).

The time has come to countdown: My appointment with the super adviser is on Monday week and then I should be able to work out our finances for the duration of our lives thereafter.

We have changed our travel plans once again; this change is not a big one as we have now decided to go straight to Melbourne from here. Linda, especially, has now the idea that we are close to home and a few weeks in Melbourne to do a few things we have to do, and a while for a rest before going back to Tassie. We had to book into the caravan park in Melbourne, as we have changed place of stay there to Craigieburn because the Big4 parks are now too expensive. The park we have chosen indicated that they were rather full so we had to go against our idea of not booking and do so. We leave here on Monday.

Saturday 13th November, (Swan Hill).

Our stay here has now been off-putting somewhat by the weather. It has rained a fair bit and last night it was quite windy. It was quite a sight in fact watching most of the other vanners out at about 9:30pm dismantling their awnings before they lost them, as the winds were as strong as we had experienced for a very long time, perhaps Adelaide last year. Fortunately our awning has more or less proved its sturdiness in such conditions and did in fact stand up to the conditions, which are not that much better today.

Swan Hill

Monday 8th November, (Swan Hill).

The bearing cover seems to be an odd size so nobody in Mildura could help me, so there is probably no other alternative but to leave it until we get to Melbourne.

We did enjoy our stay at Mildura although it did rain a fair bit over the last week. We moved today to Swan Hill, about 250k SE and intend staying here for a week. This township is also a nice looking area and I think we could easily spend some time here, in fact now that we are here I think I would have preferred to stay here for the extra week than Mildura. This is because the caravan park we are in is on the banks of the Murray and there seems to be heaps to do in the way of walks in the immediate area that could fill in quite some time. There are always other times though.

Wednesday 10th November, (Swan Hill).

More tyre problems today: After noticing some vibrations, apparently, from the van on our way to Swan Hill I decided to jack up the van and check out that offending wheel again. Luck would have it that I jacked the wheel off the ground just enough so when I rotated the wheel a section of it jammed on the ground, which led me to find that there was a bulge in the tyre. The tyre was taken to Beau repairs and replaced with another under warranty claim.

While there I had a discussion with the salesman about pressures, and rating limits, and it seems as though I should be running 55 PSI instead of the 50 PSI I have been running, so I will be doing this for a while to see what happens.