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Page 164



Back to beautiful Bright

Well, not actually Bright itself. We stay at Porepunkah about five kilometres out of Bright; not as developed or 'touristy' but really beautiful as the following pictures will show. These were taken with Pam's Canon 350D because my 60D is still being repaired.

Caravan under Chestnut Tree

This is our caravan under a spreading chestnut tree. It dropped nuts constantly and there was a pile raked up around its trunk. A few metres behind the camera flows the Ovens River with a quaint suspended foot-bridge spanning it.

chestnut

Opening the chestnuts by hand was too painful, the needles snapped off and stayed in your skin. The best way to open them was to trap them with one foot and scoop the prickly cover back with the other. Hint: Wear shoes!

Suspension Footbridge

The footbridge spanning the river dipped and swayed as you crossed. It was fun watching dog
owners trying to coax their pets to walk onto the bridge. In the foreground is a water depth indicator.

A rear view of the caravan

Another view of the caravan showing the bridge support cables on the left. More chestnuts litter the ground. I wonder how many are on the 'van roof? Some campers roast them on open fires but, unfortunately, we don't like them much.

Autumn leaves

The area is renowned for its variety of European trees, the leaves of which provide a riot of colour in the autumn.
We missed the best this year but this was one view from the caravan.

Beautiful, yes? And that's only the Porepunkah Pines Caravan Park. The pictures below show far more rugged views from the top of nearby Mount Buffalo, another of our favourite places.

Mount Buffalo

There's a stone shelter at the top of Buffalo with panoramic views across the High Country.
The cleared strip along the ridge is a high tension power cable easement.

Another View From the Mt Buffalo peak

A wall of cloud and a wall of rock. Mount Buffalo is over a mile high at 5,653 feet. Mount Bogong, Victoria's highest peak, is 860 feet higher. While both are minuscule compared to Everest, they are both higher than Ben Nevis in Scotland - Britain's highest point - which peaks at 4,409 feet.

Dead Branches

Life is tough above 5,000 feet. Snow Gums and many other eucalypts have swellings called lignotubers at the base of the trunk or below the soil which have many dormant buds that are stimulated to grow by the death of the tree above.

Pete and Pam on Buffalo

Here we are, Folks, facing the camera on its tripod. Makes you feel self-conscious, doesn't it? It was c-c-cold up there.

The nicest thing about returning to 'Punkah is the welcome we always receive from the people at the caravan park. They abandon the office and rush out to hug us. Kinda makes us feel special. This time the park owners, Lynette and Theo (pronounced Tay-O) are away but Judy's welcome was as warm as ever. Our favourite site overlooking the river was waiting for us.

Good News!

Canon has returned my 60D fully repaired, beautifully clean, well packed and at a very reasonable cost. Thanks to Pam for the loan of her 350D which does an excellent job and is much lighter.

The ANZAC Day Service, 2012

The service was very moving and the speakers excellent. This year, again, the children were there in abundance which was commented upon by several speakers. It was very nice to see them taking an interest and so well behaved.

ANZAC Day

ANZAC Day at the Memorial Clock Tower in Mafeking Square, Bright, was very well attended considering the cold. Once the P. A. system got over its sulk, all went to plan. Note for 2013: Continually tapping the microphone solves nothing.

ADF contingent from Albury Wodonga

A detachment of troops from ADF Albury Wodonga Military Area. They provided the Catafalque Party.

That word "catafalque"; I looked it up because I guessed you'd ask. Both the Oxford and Macquarie dictionaries describe a catafalque as a decorated wooden framework to support a coffin. In this context it is slightly different; I quote from http://anzacday.org.au

Legend has it that the first catafalque (cat-a-falk) parties guarded important and wealthy people’s coffins from thieves and vandals. A catafalque, normally a raised platform supporting a bier on which a coffin rests, may be represented for ceremonial purposes by a shrine or remembrance stone. At a memorial service for a distinguished personage, which is being held at a different location or time to the actual funeral, a representation of a catafalque may be erected in the churches concerned. A catafalque party is a guard mounted over a catafalque on any one of the following occasions:
  • during a period of lying in state,
  • during a military funeral in a church,
  • at a memorial or special occasion such as ANZAC Day or Remembrance Day, and
  • during a memorial service in a church for a recently deceased distinguished personage.
A catafalque party consists of four sentries, a waiting member in reserve and a commander. If a catafalque party is requested to be mounted for an extended period of e.g. ‘lying in state’ then a series of ‘watches’ divided into ‘vigil’ periods will be provided. A catafalque party must not be senior in rank to the deceased over whom it is mounted.

Sorry if you're not 'into' words but anyone who is interested and who was unsure of 'catafalque' (like me), is now full bottle.

wreaths

The wreaths after the ceremony.

Back at the caravan our flag was still flying at half mast. Protocol dictates that it should be slowly raised to the full mast position at noon but, owing to the P.A. system malfunction, everything was slightly behind time. The service over, we drove home and raised our flag to full mast.

See, I was right!

My plan is to live for ever; until last week it was going well. I always advise people to stay as far away from doctors as possible. This business of crowding patients into a waiting room is not because the poor doctors are so overworked, it's a ploy to give that cocktail of germs plenty of time to mix and spread, ensuring continued job security for the medical fraternity. Note how they stick a television in there? Keeps you occupied, stops you thinking about what you're breathing.

Last week we visited a surgery. Why were we there? To get our scripts renewed yet again - job security, force us to keep going back - and to give our annual blood sample and receive our 'flu' jabs . . . work creation for the back room boys and girls.

Seventy two hours after having the 'flu' jab, this perfectly healthy geriatric went down with the worst influenza you can imagine. It was MAN 'flu'! What are the chances that I was infected by the injection or, less probably, someone in the waiting room?

Stupidly failing to take my own advice, I asked the doctor to look at a tiny little white growth on the back of my hand. The doctor summoned a second doctor and they both bent and stared at this tiny, white, lighthouse-shaped growth. Why did it take two doctors? So both could book time on the jobsheet, of course. It was decided to burn it off by freezing it with carbon dioxide snow or some such. Three days later that tiny growth sits proudly atop a huge water blister. I tell you . . . stay away from doctors!

So you think getting old is funny?

Last night I phoned Telstra Bigpond because I’d forgotten the password for our ‘hotspot modem’. The nice lady in the Philippines took my details and said she’d send the password as an SMS message to my mobile but would stay on the line until I received it. She's not allowed to see the password, the SMS is sent by computer.

We waited and after a minute I told her that the phone hadn’t rung so she said she’d resend the password. Again nothing so I began to search for the phone which had been on the seat beside me a moment ago. As my search became more frantic Pam joined in while the good-natured Telstra lady waited. We turned the place upside down but it was nowhere to be found. Pulling myself together I explained our predicament to the nice Filipina lady.
“It’s okay”, she reassured me, “I’ll wait”.
“Now let me think back,” I said. “The phone was on the seat next to me. I picked it up and used it to call you. And . . . . . I’m still on the call!”

Footnote: This re-working of Page 164 was completed on 4 April 2013. It conforms to HTML5 and CSS level 3.