Pam's Journal For December 2005

  Thursday 1st December
First day of summer and we have been treated to thunder, lightening and plenty of rain. We went to the museum this morning after finally finding someone in the caravan park office. It was a fairly basic museum but the lady there gave us a conducted tour and told us interesting facts and stories which made it more enjoyable. She was also able to tell me that the high death rate in 1910 in Roma and St George was due to a diphtheria epidemic. We did a few more touristy things then headed for home to get ready for the journey tomorrow.
Friday 2nd December
What a night, rain and strong winds battering the caravan. As it is still blowing a strong headwind for our journey, and it looks like a pretty awful day, we have decided to postpone our departure as the forecast for tomorrow is better.
Saturday 3rd December
We awoke to a beautiful sunny day so it was all systems go to get on the road to Toowoomba. We set off around 7:30 a.m. and made good time to our first stop, a rest area at the side of the road. We ate breakfast in the van and just as we were preparing to go, a couple walked past and started talking. We had aimed for a twenty minute break, an hour later we managed to extract ourselves from the clutches of this chap who wanted to talk and talk and talk.

We stopped for lunch at Dalby which appears to be a much bigger town than I thought. No one in our travels has ever said "You must stop at Dalby" so one would assume there is nothing of real interest there. Maybe, maybe not - we didn't stop long enough to find out.

It was then on to Toowoomba, which, by the way, I cannot pronounce. But then that is nothing new, I cannot pronounce the majority of towns in Australia. Whilst travelling we had to pass through quite a bit of water on the road. As it was a beautiful mild day we were travelling with the windows open. Confucius he say, "When travelling through water with Pete Mate driving, keep the damn window closed." To say I was unhappy would be an exaggeration but I was not best pleased! Wet shorts, tee-shirt, map books and so on but he stayed dry! We arrived in good time in Toowoomba and set up camp before we went to the information centre to find out what there is to do here.
Sunday 4th December
We didn't do very much today. I went to church in the morning whilst Peter repaired the computer and our scales. The road from St George was pretty uneven and we bounced along for the majority of the trip. Some things in the caravan had moved but the worse catastrophes were the computer and the scales. As we are obsessed with weighing ourselves each morning we were at a loss to know what to do. Withdrawal symptoms set in. And the computer. Peter started to turn very pale. Anyway he managed to fix both and we are all systems go again. Strangely the coffee percolator that has been playing up for a while is now working perfectly. Late in the afternoon we went for a walk. I had misjudged the distance so the short walk turned out to be a long one. Pete Mate was heard to mutter at one point "How much further to Longreach?"!
Monday 5th December
Another beautiful day here in Toowoomba. We had a few errands to do today, shopping dentist and collecting the mail. It was very noticeable, the overall difference in the supermarket prices. Especially the fruit and vegetables which were not only plentiful but cheaper than we have paid in a long time. Whilst I was loading up our trolley with 'healthy stuff' a lady approached Peter and asked him how to cook asparagus. Yes friends, of all the people to ask, she asks Pete Mate who can only just manage to boil an egg! Anyway, after he had recovered from the shock of being asked such a question he called me over. I gave the lady a cookery lesson in the middle of the supermarket while Pete Mate stared down her cleavage! We also had a walk around the town which is nice, it has lots of old buildings and lovely gardens. We then went for a drive out of town to Prince Henry Heights. My, my, are there some big houses up there! The views are fantastic, absolutely lovely. After a photo session it was back to the caravan for dinner.
Tuesday 6th December
After attending an appointment in town we had a picnic lunch in one of the many parks in Toowoomba. We then went to an excellent museum called Cobb and Co. It was full of the original stage coaches and such like, plus had the history of the town. It even had a kids' section with toys from the early 1900's to today. It was good fun. I played with everything and what's more I didn't have to duck down to walk through the entrance. As I was leaving two men were arriving (they had to duck down). They asked, can you play with the toys? When I told them they could their little faces lit up! I don't know where their wives were, maybe looking at something intellectual. You do meet all sorts of people as you travel around.

Speaking of which, one day not so long ago we were out for a drive when we passed a woman on the roadside, in full view of the traffic, with her knickers down having a wee!! As I said, there are all sorts out there. Now where was I? Ah yes, Toowoomba. (Some days we have to think hard where we are.)

After the museum we went for a drive out into the countryside. It was lovely, the scenery yet again surpassed itself. On the way out we came across a German Clock shop. This shop was full of clocks and if you have looked at the website you will see Peter's account of his most enjoyable time there. I enjoyed it as it was really like an Aladdin's Cave but I had had enough long before Pete Mate. I was just about to frighten him by getting the credit card out when he decided it was time to leave. From there we continued our drive and then returned home for dinner.
Wednesday 7th December
Shopping and emails today.
Thursday 8th December
Roses have a reputation as dependable garden plants but they have a greater meaning than that. Roses are interwoven throughout history in myths, religions, art and medicine with its flower the most popular decorative motif in history. Roses are thought to have originated twelve to fifteen million years ago, with the most cultivated by the Chinese. Confucius records that many roses were planted in the Imperial Garden in Peking, and Tea Roses were cultivated in China for at least two thousand years before they reached the west in the nineteenth century.

In the third century BC the Greeks introduced roses to the Romans who left a legacy of a mixture of poetry and treatise on rose culture.

Roses were grown for scent, ornament, medicinal purposes and food flavouring in England and what are now France and Germany and in China and Japan. There now, you didn't realise that you were about to get a history lesson from Pam's Perspective.

The State Rose Garden in Newtown Park is where the photos and information are from. The park itself is full of history, mainly military. The local council purchased the land for a park in 1912. A competition was held for the design of the park. Once established it housed tennis and croquet courts. It was used by the locals for concerts and other events. Then in 1913 the 11th Infantry Regiment decided they liked the look of it and took it over, erecting a drill hall. They occupied the park until after the first world war then it was given back to the people. In 1923 the Infantry took it back. In the 1930's it was again given back to the people but the military moved in again during the second world war. Its more like a boomerang than a park!

Anyway the people have it now and it is lovely; Pete Mate and I spent a little time wandering amongst the roses. Earlier we went to the Japanese garden, Ju Raku En, which means 'Longevity to enjoy a place for public recreation'. It was a lovely garden, lots of water and bridges, beautiful trees and plants. It was so peaceful there considering it was very close to a main road and the University. Then, after a stroll in the city we headed home.
Friday 9th December
Pete Mate and I have been reminiscing about when we first started this journey. We had to refer to the website a lot as our memories are not what they were and we had forgotten a lot of where we have been and what we have done. For me, I feel I have become more confident. When we first ventured forth I carried a lot of old fears with me - boats and swimming to mention but two, and there were many more. These, I believe, I have dispelled for good. Adjusting to living in the caravan took a little while but now I think it will be a problem adjusting to living in a house again. Overall I can say we have had, and are having, the best time - better than we ever imagined. So anybody reading this is thinking of retiring and doing similar, get out there and do it now!
Saturday 10th December
We enjoyed a nice cup of tea with Avonil. We met Avonil and her sister, Loye, whilst travelling to Cape York on the cargo boat, Trinity Bay. We could not stay in Toowoomba without calling to say hello. As it turns out Avonil lives just around the corner from where we are staying. Anyway we had a very pleasant couple of hours with her.
Sunday 11th December
After church I packed a picnic lunch and we set off for a 'scenic' drive. We ended up at Oakey where the Army Aviation Museum is. Funny that! Anyway we had our picnic in the carpark whilst looking at an airport where nothing seemed to happen. Then we amused ourselves by having a look at aeroplanes. The best pieces of memorabilia were the funny stories about the aircraft. After a fascinating (not) hour or so we continued our scenic drive, ending up at a Coles Express petrol station where we filled up trusty Billy using our 4c voucher. Then, yep, I know the excitement is getting a little too much . . . then we went through the automatic carwash!! Whilst Pete Mate was attending to all of this I was busily looking at the map to find somewhere else of interest. I found Picnic Point. Now, we thought we had been to Picnic Point but scrutiny of the map revealed we went somewhere else! So as we had told everyone we had been, we thought we had better go. We are so glad we did, the views were marvellous. It was a lovely spot and it was evident that it is a very popular with the locals. There were lots of families scattered about picnicking. On the way home we called by a lake to look at some water birds. The only ones we saw were Cattle Egrets.
Monday 12th December
Hairdressers for me first thing and then we went shopping.
Tuesday 13th December
Peter went to the dentist today to get his broken tooth fixed. In the afternoon we went into the city to see the new Harry Potter movie. It was great. Could watch it again. The cinemas are attached to a huge shopping mall so we had a wander through some shops but as they were closing for the night we decided to go back tomorrow.
Wednesday 14th December
Retail therapy day!
Thursday 15th December
Lay day
Friday 16th December
We went into town to do emails and the website. That out of the way, we went for lunch and a wander around the shops which turned into a much longer look as it started to pour with rain.
Saturday 17th December
Get ready day today as we move to Jimboomba tomorrow.

Sunday, 18th December
We left Toowoomba in plenty of time to arrive at Ross and Jan's for lunchtime. We received a wonderful welcome and very soon felt very much at home. We met the family who had all come over for lunch. We had a really nice time, especially catching up with Ross and Jan again.
Monday 19th December
Settled in and Jan took me down to the local shops. It is a really nice area around here, lots of 'acreage plots'. During the day it can be quite hot but so far in the evening it cools down and enables us to sleep without any problems.
Tuesday 20th December
Jan and Ross took us out for the day. We went for a drive up into Tamborine Mountain. We had a short walk to some waterfalls then proceeded to a hotel for lunch. We sat outside and admired the beautiful scenery whilst enjoying a very nice lunch. After lunch we had another drive around the area before heading for home and happy hour.
Wednesday 21st December
Peter and I took ourselves off to the city (Brisbane) for the day. We hadn't quite finished our Christmas shopping and we also wanted to have a look around. Later we called in to see Pete Mate's friend, Paul Kidd, at his office. By the time we arrived home we were exhausted as the city area is much bigger than we anticipated.
Thursday 22nd December
Jan & Ross's friend, Sandie, came over for lunch today. Had my first swim in the pool as it was getting really hot. Later I went with Jan to collect granddaughter, Dione, from kindy. In the evening we were invited to Paul and Helen Kidd's for a barbecue. It was a very enjoyable evening.
Friday 23rd December
I went to the shops in Jimboomba by myself today. I wanted to have a go at finding my way around. In the afternoon we lazed around, had a swim in the pool and then it was time for Happy Hour.
Saturday 24th December
Emily (granddaughter) was one year old today so a party was planned for the afternoon. It was a very pleasant day with Emily a little confused with all the attention she was receiving. As it was hot we all spent some time in the pool. Ross and Jan's neighbours came over with their granddaughter who is also a water babe.
Sunday 25th December
The day started with a ham and egg breakfast cooked by Jan. Very nice it was too. It was already hot so the pool looked very inviting. I had a phone call from Pat in Perth and Kelly had a little boy at just after midnight on Christmas morning. Their very own Christmas Babe! We then went in the pool to cool off. Other members of the family arrived and it was a day of eating and drinking. We enjoyed a beautiful lunch and we all ate too much. It was a lovely day and we enjoyed it very much.
Monday 26th December
We just relaxed after yesterday. Had a swim in the pool.
Tuesday 27th December
Ross and Jan took us to the Gold Coast today. We saw Surfers Paradise and heaps of other places. We ate a nice lunch in the Surf Club. We had another drive around before heading for home.
Wednesday 28th December
We had a lay day, just relaxing and having a swim in the pool.
Thursday 29th December
We all went to the movies today to see Harry Potter. Peter and I enjoyed it so much the first time we wanted to see it again. Ross and Jan hadn't seen it before. After the movies we had lunch and then did a little shopping before collecting Dee (Dione) from kindy for a swim in the pool.
Friday 30th December
We had a lovely day catching up with Tony and Judy Van der Putten. It is many years since we had seen them but I felt we slipped back into the old friendship as though we had only seen each other yesterday. After lunch Tony gave us a tour of the area whilst Judy made the house ready for some prospective buyers. We left quite late in the evening to return home to Jimboomba.
Saturday 31st December
We didn't do much during the day, just a visit to the local shops. In the evening we went out to the 'Bearded Dragon' for a Chinese meal and the New Years Eve celebrations. Scott and Tara were also there. It was a very quiet evening and as soon as 2006 was officially here we all headed for home.
  This is as far as I've got with the page reworking process in Pam's Journal. From here on is all original.