First Trip, Tassie

Chapter 3

First Trip.

11/10/2000 Wednesday, (Tassie).

What a start to the trip, a very eventful day, lost a wheel off the caravan, ran into the back of another car, I hope this is going to be all our problems gone for the rest of the trip.

The day started well with all done that we had to do to get organised before our departure. The house is now on the market with a real-estate agent taking full control in our absence. He has organised an open day for Saturday and is rather optimistic of a sale, but he is a chap with a weird sense of humour so wether he was serious or just over optimistic who knows. If he does sell all well and good because we are hopeful that when we return all we have to do is move out and be free to return to the mainland after Christmas.

We have cleaned out a lot of things that we will no longer need after the sale, a heap of articles for Narrelle to help her with settling in after her marriage, and some to Matthew and Adrian. The articles for Narrelle didn’t help on the day because they were all in the back of the panel-van, and being my fault and not realising the extra weight, I found it more difficult to stop the car when problem situations arose, like one less wheel on the caravan than should be and following too close to other cars in peak traffic.

We were fortunate with our mishaps in some respects though, no.1 that we decided to travel to Devonport a day early so we would have a relaxing day on the day we board the boat, No.2 that the wheel fell off in a 60 km zone and near a service station, no.3 that it was a day early because if it had been tomorrow (Thursday) shops would have been closed in Launceston due to show day holiday and no.4 the mechanic at BP Hagley knew where to send me in Launceston to obtain the replacement parts.

What actually happened is, which I should be ashamed of but see it as having learned a lesson, several weeks earlier I did some work an the wheels on the caravan and removed the offending wheel in the process. On completion of the job it started raining and even though I do have a recollection of tightening the wheel nuts I obviously didn’t. The lesson is to check all wheels before moving off in the future. On our travels the wheel nuts came loose and obviously one by one fell off. When most had fallen off and the wheel started wobbling the studs with nuts still on, snapped off. The wheel became jammed in the wheel area and the caravan then skidded on the springs, or the ‘U’ bolts holding the axle to the springs, and the wheel drum. After removing the wheel drum and taking it to the mechanic, he then informed me where to get replacements so then made a trip to Launceston and would you believe it, while returning by the northern outlet obviously too close to a 4 wheel drive vehicle I found that I didn’t have enough room to stop with all the weight in the back of the car. It sounded like the complete front end was destroyed. The other vehicle then drove off so thinking that he was looking for somewhere to stop safely I followed him and to my amazement he just kept driving as though he wasn’t even aware what had happened. After failing to get his attention and noticing that there was no damage to his vehicle I decided to not bother any more and found a place to stop and check my damage. I couldn’t believe the small amount of damage, I guess that plastic makes a lot of noise when it is hit and then restores itself to it’s original shape.

All spares purchased, a return trip to Hagley, and parts put together by the mechanic, saw us safely on our way again.

We finally settled in to the caravan park at Devonport at about 7.30 and enjoyed the relaxation that followed after such a hectic day.

New Life Start

Chapter Two

New life start

Monday 4th Sept. 2000.

A few days have now passed since leaving work and I am finding it rather enjoyable knowing that we can arise from bed whenever suits us.

In the weeks gone by I have taken the opportunity to buy myself a laptop computer, a CD writer and a new digital camera. Most of my free time so far has been taken up with loading all these devises to work on the laptop and practise using them. I feel these toys will be very useful in the future to write the story that I am now doing and to take heaps of pics of such things as Narrelle’s wedding and of our travels around the large island of Tasmania (Australia).

Plans have started to sell the house, as we have decided, so that we can invest the money’s from the sale to give us something to have when and where we decide to settle in the future. The organization of the will has also commenced, which is something we should have done a long time ago.

Things to do in preparation for the sale of the house are being delayed at this stage because of things like the weather, moving Adrian from one flat to another which is tying up the use of my panel van and shed as all our travel equipment which belongs in the panel van is stored in the shed and I cant put it back in the van until it is free. Painting of the interior of the house will have to wait until the weather improves because it is really too cold to paint right now, but a Real estate agent has agreed to commence the sale procedure now on the basis that who knows what will happen.

Tuesday 12th September.

My redundancy payment turned up today and my investment plans have been set, so we can now happily settle into the life of relaxation. We treated Adrian and Matthew, plus family, to a celebration dinner this evening and all had a fantastic time, even the other dining patrons who were taken aback with the antics of Elly (grand daughter).

The past week has been one of the most enjoyable for a very long time as there have been no worries of any kind, especially no alarm clock. I have had the opportunity to sit back and think about and plan things to happen in the near future. I have changed our boat bookings to the mainland for Michael’s wedding in October and Narrelle’s in November so we can have the 7-week trip, and practice run in the caravan, that we had originally planned but a lack of sufficient leave from work prevented. We don’t have to worry about things like that any more as we have all the free time to do whatever, whenever we please.

The house fixing can basically wait now until we return from our trip with the exception of tidying up the yard and perhaps a little paint I may be able to spread around the inside in the meantime.

We have started proceedings with the will and hopefully finalise them this week.

Our appointment with centerlink is tomorrow to work out if we are entitled to any allowances from the government, I think it about time something was paid back after all the years of paying tax. I am not holding my hopes too high on receiving any benefits but anything that we can pick up will be a bonus to making our life that little easier.

No benefits are forthcoming immediately, but after a minimum wait of 13 weeks I will be entitled to a portion of the allowance called New start and Linda will be eligible for a partner allowance. One of the conditions of receiving this allowance is that I will be expected to either look for work or, because of my age, partake in some form of voluntary work. The voluntary bit sounds ok but I don’t know how long I will be entitled to the allowance after we start travelling. I would doubt that we would be entitled to anything.

I guess things from now until we head off to the mainland in October will be a little mundane so I guess chapter three will start with that trip, or at least the preparations.

The Package pt 2

Tuesday 15th August.

At last an ‘E’ mail message was received telling me that a redundancy had been approved for myself, and all that had put their hands up. An agreement document was being drawn up and to be submitted to the union and management for approval and I could expect a copy sent to me on Thur. or Fri.

Late Thursday 17th August.

The agreement documents have arrived by mail along with an acceptance form, which after reading the agreement, I promptly signed and returned to management as my indication that I was definitely interested in leaving work. The return of my acceptance is now to be sent to Victorian management for final approval that will result in a response announcing the date on which I will be expected to terminate my employment.

Friday 18th.

Another visit was made to Patrick (my financial man) with the papers for him to verify my financial situation and to present me with an agreement for dispersal of our funds for us to survive.

Waiting now for final notification so I can finalise our financial arrangements and start to prepare for the journey of our lives.

Monday 21st.

Find out about a retirement seminar to be held on Wednesday and make bookings to attend.

The seminar was rather informative and gave me some ideas that I must pursue, such as making sure a will is properly drawn up and find out some more information about what to do with my super when I reach the age of being able to use it. Appointments were made and these points will be pursued in the near future.

Wednesday 23rd.

An express letter was received informing me that my employment would be terminated on the 30th of August, (what a sigh of relief and can’t wait). Over the next few days preparations were made to leave, tools were sorted out for return, computer was released of storing any files which were personal, arrange for someone to take over the job presently doing, etc.

Tuesday 29th.

Defrocking procedure was undertaken to hand in my tools, relieve me of ID cards and keys, fill out document declaring all the things the company needs to rid itself of me and any liabilities of any nature after I leave.

One more day to go, there was not much work to be gotten from me now so Linda was told to turn off the alarm for the following morning. No rush was made to attend work on Wednesday, as all I had intended to do was to fill in and send my final time sheet and organise the final few minor things that had to be done.

Thursday 30th 4.00 PM.

One last thing was to be done, THE FAREWELL PRESENTATION. Quite a few people turned up to see us off. There were four of us leaving in the North, Andrew Ray, John Chellis, Ian Buck and of coarse myself.

The usual speeches for such an occasion were made, and presentation of flowers to the wives, and bonus cheques to the leavers and return speeches. I added a little novelty to the proceedings by pulling out of a bag containing one of my old alarm clocks, another bag in which I placed the alarm clock and a large hammer. I then proceeded to ask Linda to assist in the ceremonial destroying of the alarm clock, seeing that it was she that the clock woke and then she would wake me, but being her nature not to partake in anything slightly embarrassing she refused so I placed the bag containing the clock on the ground and proceeded to demolish it by pounding it with the hammer (the second bag was to prevent any pieces flying everywhere).

A good time was had by all and at the end of the evening it was time to bid everyone goodbye and start the beginning of the rest of our lives.

The Package


The Package


4.00 PM, I sighted a memo, that was circulating but had not yet been officially mailed to all staff, calling for expressions of interest of staff who were willing to accept a redundancy due to NDC Tasmania being over staffed. I immediately went to my LAN terminal and sent a mail message indicating that after sighting the memo my hand was fully extended in the upward direction as my expression of interest. Upon pushing the send button I received the mail message containing the memo.

If they are serious with offering these redundancies I consider this would be our ideal opportunity to do what we are so looking forward to, so my expressions of interest at least are very serious.


A request was made from payroll services for a figure of final payment on the basis that I would terminate employment on 30/08/2000. This statement is to be due to arrive on or about Monday the 14th.

Friday 11/08/2000

A visit to a finance adviser at Island state at midday verified that my plans of survival until I could lay my hands on my super was in fact viable and he will pursue options which would allow me to have the arrangements that I require and have my money also work for me so that we would be even more comfortable financially.

Now it is time to wait again for an answer as to whether or not I will receive the package.










01/07/2000 PREFACE

After saying for years that I would leave work at the age of fifty, using the terminology of not being committed to a job, I have had to change my mind on two occasions so far prior to turning fifty. Once prior to NDC becoming an arm’s length company of TELSTRA, and once when NDC did become an arm’s length company. The reasons were 1) that I had not yet turned fifty, although the idea at the time was rather inviting, and 2) I simply could not afford to.

During the period of 1999, after having the opportunity of cashing in my long service leave, which had amounted to about 9 months duration, and having access to some of my superannuation, Linda and myself decided to do something to prepare ourselves for the day when the occasion arose when I could leave my work situation and live a life of ease. Our decision was to buy a caravan so that we could travel the larger island of Australia as we have not travelled much at all. My long service leave payment was enough to purchase what we consider the ideal caravan to suit our purpose.


This van was built for only two, 18 feet in length, one double bed.


A good kitchen area (which Linda really liked).

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A good lounge area that one does not have to battle to get around the table (especially after I trimmed one end off it).



Plenty of cupboard space, and heaps of other good features.

After towing the caravan with the VL Commodore it was decided that we needed something more suited to towing because the VL was just too small and lacked the real towing power. At the time I was driving a Ford panel-van at work and I decided that with it’s weight and power it would be a much more suitable tow vehicle. This vehicle was soon to be replaced but after investigating, it seemed that it would not be replaced for some time yet.

Then with some of my super I purchased what I consider the ideal tow vehicle.




A 1997 Ford panel-van, ex Victorian police, having several features that make this vehicle much better than the work vehicle. These are better looks, air vents in the roof, ABS brakes, a different front suspension which makes it a much better vehicle to drive (in fact after driving this vehicle the work one is like driving a truck). Pin-striping the side of the panel-van to match the caravan makes them a beautifully matched pair.

Many and varied trips over the next year in the van convinced us that we had made a wise decision and we were looking forward to our plans of large island touring.


About August 2000


After having health problems, which has succeeded in getting me off the booze since August 99, a study of my financial situation, which had significantly improved because of the lack of booze, indicated that this was the time of cut-over from not being able to afford to give up permanent employment and being able to afford it. The situation was that if I could receive a redundancy package from work then we would have sufficient finance to survive on until I reached the age of 55 and could then live on my superannuation. Enquiries revealed that an option that was available to accept option ‘C’ from the days of changes in NDC was now no longer available, so there was no option now but to either work for another two years or hope that another opportunity would arise.












Ronald & Linda Tew, All over the countryside