Page 140: More of castlemaine then shepparton
     
   
  On a hill overlooking the town sits the old Castlemaine Gaol, presently closed to the public for renovation.
Left: One of the guard towers, its slit window reminiscent of a medieval castle. Right: Renovation work underway on the gaol.
 
     
  Shepparton  
 

Yesterday we hitched up and left Castlemaine for Shepparton. Alice, our GPS, was in a frisky mood and decided she'd like a nice drive in the country. The driver hadn't done his preparation properly and just trusted Alice. Fortunately the ex-navigator not only had her wits about her, but a map too. What's more, she was holding it the right way up. There followed an altercation between Pam and Alice, who can't talk back, but is a master at dumb insolence and contradiction. Gradually Pam brought us back on course.

When we arrived in Shepparton, Alice took us straight to our selected holiday park without a hitch . . . only I had given Pam the wrong phone number and we were booked into a different one. Had we not previously paid a deposit we might have stayed where we were; it was, after all, our first choice. However, $36.44 is $36.44 so we turned around, found the other park and set up camp for nine days.

Life hadn't quite finished screwing up our day, however. With the caravan parked and the car detached, we discovered that the nearest power distribution box was a metre further from our 'van than our power cable would reach. As we were on a concrete slab we tried pushing the caravan back. It was as immovable as Ayers Rock; I swear I could hear the damned thing chuckling. I jacked the front up higher and Pam backed the car on again. When I let the front of the 'van down, the jack bottomed before the ball was seated. Hmm. So I jacked up the front of the 'van again and placed a stand under it, then lowered the 'van onto the stand. I then removed and repositioned the jack, raised the 'van again and removed the stand and finally lowered the 'van onto the tow ball and remove the jack. Then we shunted everything back until the power cable reached.

These are the little delights that make our lives more interesting. At least it wasn't raining.

 
     
   
  The Little Woman looking slightly sad as the rain pitter-patters on the surface of Lake Victoria.  
     
 

Each day we walked around Lake Victoria and watched the workers watching the work. The level of the lake had been greatly reduced by pumping the water into the adjacent Goulburn River which eventually joins the Murray. We were told the lake would be refilled in time for the Easter festivities but the picture (below right) shows its level with only two days to go.

Some workers were planting reeds along the water's edge and others were spraying vegetation left high and dry by the lowering of the surface. Others were engaged in earthworks. There are large notices illustrating how the completed project should look and I have to say it seems very well thought out and should be an impressive attribute for the town.

The caravan park partly borders the lake though our 'van is a hundred metres from the bank.

 
     
   
  There were dozens of workers in hi-visibility shirts around the lake but no one seemed to actually do anything. Yet one day we saw shallow holes surrounded by formwork, the next day the holes were filled with concrete and the day after that there was a new bench or perhaps a bin bolted down. The R.H. picture shows the drained lake in the background.  
     
 

Around the lake there are sport facilities. There's a large aquatic centre which looks very smart on the outside; we haven't been in. There are lawn tennis courts being prepared for an Easter tennis tournament and a very well patronised skate board, bike and scooter facility. Some of the lads using it were really talented and we watched them pick up speed down an almost sheer concrete ramp then zoom up another one, turning a complete somersault in the air before landing upright on their wheels. Usually.

 
     
   
  They're mad! In each of the six pictures there is no part of the lad or his bike/scooter touching the ground
though it may appear otherwise. And there is very solid concrete below them.
 
     
   
  Nearby a flock of Galahs took no notice whatsoever, intent on finding seeds to eat.  
     
  Shepparton's Moooving Art.  
 

No, it's not a 'typo', Shepparton has fifty four fibreglass cows distributed around the town to represent the large dairy industry in the area. Each cow has been painted by a different local artist.

 
     
   
  Here are two . . . no, three of the cows. They cheer you up on grey days when the temperature is only 18°C.  
     
 

As Easter approached the caravan park became really full.

 
     
  Just a few of the caravans and tents that packed in for the five-day Easter break, ANZAC Day falling on Easter Monday this year.  
     
 

On Good Friday we took another walk around the lake and found that river water was being pumped in, the lake level visibly higher.

We both took our cameras and a few birds posed for us . . .

 
     
   
  The breast colour of the Galahs in Shepparton is a much brighter red than their Perth counterparts.  
     
   
  Not so attractive is the scruffy, monochrome Sacred Ibis, only a brown leaf bringing a skerrick of colour to this picture.  
     
   
  Ah, the good old Laughing Kookaburra about to have a grasshopper for lunch.  
     
   
  A pair of Black Swans with distinctive white stripes across their red bills.  
     
 

We found a food market with entertainment and various attractions at the far side of the lake.

 
     
   
  Being Easter, the Bunny was not a surprise, but a tap?  
     
 

I'm bored with this page. Let's go to Page 141 and see what's there.