1st March 06
Lay day today. In the evening we went to Bev and Greg’s for
dinner. It was a really nice evening.
2nd March 06
Lay day, all this enjoying oneself is very tiring.
3rd March 06
We had a few errands to do today and then we were off to Brian and
Marjorie’s for dinner. Brian is Peter’s brother’s
wife’s brother. Did you manage to work that out? We had a really
lovely evening with them, Marjorie cooked an excellent meal and we
really enjoyed their company. We learnt a lot more about the history
of Sydney from Brian who seems to have a memory like a computer, not
only for events but for dates as well. Anyway, as they say, all good
things must come to an end, so we said our goodbyes and set off home.
We hadn’t gone far when the mobile phone rang, I had left my
glasses behind. Back we went and then set off again. The phone rang
again. Peter said “Now what have you left behind?” But
I hadn’t it was just Brian ringing with some information he
had very kindly looked up for Peter.
4th March 06
We were on the move early this morning as we were travelling into
the city to watch the Mardi Gras. We were told by our neighbours to
get there early otherwise we wouldn’t see anything. So we did;
we caught the bus, then the ferry into the city. We then walked to
Oxford Street, had some lunch and found a good position near some
toilets inside the fast food outlet, Hungry Jacks. We then had to
move across the street as Hungry Jacks closed the toilets. We weren’t
fazed by that though as now we were outside a pub. Toilets plus drinks,
who could ask for more? What we didn’t take into account was
that as it got nearer the time for the parade, the crowds grew dense
and we were well and truly blocked in. Anyway the parade started and
we enjoyed some of it but most of it was in poor taste or too political
or just plain disgusting. Some of the costumes were spectacular and
some people made a big effort but we won’t be going again next
year. We arrived home about 12.30 a.m. and were very, very tired.
5th March 06
Bev and Greg joined us for breakfast at a local café near the
caravan park. I have to say Pete Mate and I were still tired from
yesterday. Anyway we drank copious amounts of coffee and began to
feel human especially after devouring bacon and eggs as well. We finished
off breakfast by a walk on the beach. We had a bit of a rest and then
it was off to Kirrabilli to meet up with the Fisher family. Not Kirrabilli
House (where the Prime Minister of Australia lives) but the grassy
banks under the bridge.
happy reunion with friends of long standing.
met Rosalie’s 'intended' as well as family members and friends.
It was so good to see Dot, Rosalie, Vanessa and Andrew again. It was
a very pleasant evening eating our Thai takeaway with million dollar
6th March 06
Apart from doing some shopping and washing we didn’t do a lot
during the day. In the evening we went to Sue and Sam Goosen’s
for dinner. Very nice it was too, I hadn’t met them before.
Peter worked with Sue and hadn’t met Sam before. We enjoyed
their company and of course, good food and wine.
7th March 06
It was 'get ready day' today. I got on with my chores and had pretty
well finished by lunch time. Pete Mate started well after lunch and
hadn’t finished when Bev and Greg called round to have a farewell
drink. Drinks and nibbles turned into dinner so any jobs remaining
will have to be done in the morning. It was another pleasant evening
and very difficult to say goodbye.
8th March 06
We tried to get away early but so many people came over to chat and
say goodbye, it was 9.45am before we left the caravan park. We had
an uneventful trip to the caravan repair place. We had a leak in the
roof near the air-conditioner, and now, hopefully, we don’t.
We had to wile away a couple of hours whilst the repairs were being
done. We found a very large shopping centre, had some lunch and a
wander around the place. We then got the call to collect Bessie, which
we did and then continued on to the caravan park. It seems a pleasant
enough park, the ablution block is clean and has soap. Once we'd set
up camp it was Happy Hour - a perfect end to another perfect day.
9th March 06
decided to walk into The Entrance from the caravan park. It was only
3 kms but it was very hot and my foot wasn’t the best. Anyway
once there we had a look around and then had lunch - the worst Caesar
Salad ever. After lunch we found the town centre and had a look around
there and to our dismay discovered that Gloria Jean’s (coffee
shop) has not arrived at The Entrance. We found a mediocre coffee
shop then headed back down the road home. Our first impression is
that The Entrance is very pretty but there is a lot of litter caused
by free newspapers being delivered to unoccupied holiday homes. The
locals were not over friendly either.
10th March 06
went to Bateau Bay to do some shopping and found a Gloria Jeans. Yes,
I know we are sad but we are addicted to their coffee. After dinner
we headed off to our first concert of the festival. It was at the
local Golf Club, the drinks were cheap and the concert was free. Country
music it wasn’t but it was still very enjoyable. It was music
from the 50’s and 60’s. It must have brought back happy
memories for Pete Mate as he bought the CDs . . . or could it have
been that they were so cheap! ($10 for 2). Anyway the Golf Club drinks
are not only cheap but very strong too - I felt quite squiffy when
I left there.
11th March 06
had a full day of concerts with some really good music. There are
so many talented young people out there. One of our favourites was
performing, Kirsty Lee Akers. We saw and fell in love with her in
Tamworth. We saw a young chap of about 12 play the banjo and boy,
was he good! The main attraction of the day was Adam Harvey who was
excellent and Beccy Cole did a surprise guest appearance with him.
Once that was over we went home for dinner before setting off to a
RSL club to watch Smokin’ Guns. They were so good and very
funny. Overall we had an excellent day.
12th March 06
First event of the day was a Poets Breakfast. It was very good . .
. . . male and female poets kept us
entertained with their amusing rhymes.
it was one concert after another until 5.00pm when the closing concert
started. The idea was that any of the festival's performers could
walk up and do a couple of numbers but only three turned up. The band
running the show had do more numbers than they'd anticipated so it
became very spontaneous with a lot of requests. They were very good
and it was an enjoyable concert but by now we were very cold. I was
anyway. When the concert has just about finished we absconded to the
local Thai restaurant for dinner and to get warm.
Monday 13th March 06
We had a very pleasurable time with Margaret Drewitt Smith. (Mother-in-law
of Pete Mate’s brother Andrew). Margaret lives in a retirement
village which she proudly showed to us and it is very nice. We enjoyed
a nice lunch and it was lovely to chat to Margaret about places we
had visited as she had also visited them many years ago.
Tuesday 14th March 06
We are due to leave tomorrow but I have started with a streaming cold
so we decided to wait a few more days and leave on Saturday. We didn’t
do much as I spent most of the day lying on the bed.
Wednesday 15th March 06
Felt a bit better today so we went to do the shopping. I was very
glad to get home and lie down again.
Thursday 16th March 06
Oh no, looks like Pete Mate is going down with the dread lurge! So
far it is only a ‘mild’ version. I feel I am over the
worst now so Pete Mate suggested we go out for lunch and have a wander
around The Entrance, which we did. I have to admit it did me a lot
of good, I felt a lot better when we arrived back home. More than
I can say for Pete Mate as he is now lying down. The mild version
has now turned into the ‘male’ version. No need to explain
that to all the women out there!
Friday 17th March 06
Looks like we will be here at least until Monday. Pete Mate is worst
and I am a lot better. Apart from that it is a beautiful day, warm
not hot and sunny. We were hoping for rain before leaving here so
we could test the roof repair. Well, we had rain all day Wednesday
and so far the repair is a success.
Must get those maps out today and get a bit of a plan going!
Saturday 18th March 06
Well, we are a pair. Pete Mate is no better and I feel worse than
yesterday. Another lay day.
Sunday 19th March 06
We are still a pair of miserable buggers so we took ourselves off
to The Entrance for a coffee, thinking fresh air and a change of scenery
will help. We also sorted out a few pending paperwork issues - tax
Monday 20th March 06
We didn't feel the best so we have extended again for another two
days. We had to do some shopping but as soon as we got home we both
had to lie down. I cannot believe it is taking us so long to shake
this bug off.
Tuesday 21st March 06
I feel a lot better today, Pete Mate is better but still feels rotten.
We have decided to move on tomorrow but if, when we get up, Pete Mate
is not better then we will stay another night. One good thing is the
trip tomorrow isn’t that far, only about 47 kms. I did all my
chores and still felt pretty good. We then went for a short walk on
the beach and I mean a short walk, but by the time we got back I had
to lie down. Overall though, I reckon we are now on the mend. The
beach, by the way, is a nice surfing beach but as we are not into
surfing it didn’t do much for us. The Entrance is a nice place
and we wouldn’t haven’t a problem coming back here next
year for the festival.
Wednesday 22nd March 06
We finally moved on today. We only had a short journey to Belmont,
just outside Newcastle. We set up camp, Pete Mate had a nap and I
went for a walk. We are very close to Lake Macquarie which, according
to the brochures, is bigger than Sydney Harbour. I had a very pleasant
walk along the waterfront and then, lo and behold, found some shops.
I had a look around and then returned home. I was very glad the weather
remained fine as I didn’t take an umbrella.
Thursday 23rd March 06
We had heavy rain during the night and we now have a leak on the front
window. Well actually there has always been a bit of one there but
since the caravan repair people had a look to see if they can repair
it, it is worse. Pete Mate is confident he can repair it. We went
into Newcastle to do the touristy bit today. I quite liked the city.
At first you notice buildings that are badly in need of some TLC but
if you look beyond that Newcastle has some fine old buildings that
have been beautifully preserved. I especially loved the terraced houses,
one in particular has just sold for over a million dollars. Mind you,
it is now detached as all the adjoining houses have been demolished
over the years. Even so it wasn’t that big. We did the tour
of the city on the tram, it was a really good way to see all the best
places with the commentary added. We even saw hang-gliders take off.
Rather them than me! In the evening we saw Ann and Tom, friends we
had met on the cargo boat trip we did from Cairns. It was lovely to
see them again and we enjoyed a lovely barbecue and, of course, a
few glasses of red.
Friday 24th March 06
Pete Mate didn't feel like doing much so we had a lazy day. We went
for a walk in the afternoon.
Saturday 25th March 06
We had some grocery shopping to do and also we needed a Bunnings and
a camping shop. We spent an hour in the camping shop and another hour
in Bunnings. I bought one or two things but Pete Mate just looked.
We enjoyed a nice lunch at a small coffee shop, the food tasted a
lot better than the place looked. Once back at the caravan park we
got ourselves ready to move on in the morning.
Sunday 26th March 06
Even though we did all the preparation yesterday it was still 10.00
a.m. when we left the caravan park. We had an easy trip, not too long,
and arrived at Old Bar around lunchtime. The park is nice, right on
the beach, but there are so many rules it is ridiculous. Anyway, Pete
Mate and I made a New Year's resolution not to follow rules. We phoned
friends Jill and Sandy to see if they would like to 'catch up'. The
result was that we met them in Taree for dinner along with their children
Cameron and Kirsten. It was a very enjoyable and relaxed evening.
They invited us to go to their house tomorrow for a sightseeing tour.
Monday 27th March 06
We arrived at Sandy and Jill's around 11.00ish. After the grand tour
and a cup of coffee we set off for a trip to Ellenborough Falls and
a picnic lunch. We did a short walk and saw plenty of wildlife, the
whole area is very attractive. It was a lovely day. We then headed
back to their home for a barbecue which again was really nice.
Tuesday 28th March 06
We went into Taree to collect the mail. Not all of it had arrived
so we will have to return tomorrow. In the evening we met Jill, Sandy
and Kirsten for dinner at one of their favourite restaurants. Cameron
couldn't make it as he had band practice. We enjoyed a very pleasant
evening then we said our goodbyes.
Wednesday 29th March 06
We did some shopping in Taree and checked the mail - still not arrived.
They are going to forward it to Jimboomba for us. Once home it was
preparation time as we are on the move again tomorrow.
Thursday 30th March 06
We didn’t do too bad for us, managing to leave Old Bar around
9.00 a.m. We had a pleasant journey during which nothing of any real
significance occurred. There were plenty of f#!*|?*g road works though.
(That’s what Pete Mate called them). The countryside was very
pretty and very green. During a mid-morning coffee stop I discovered
Pete Mate had programmed into Alice a caravan park which, on paper,
looked the worse of three in Arrawarra. A tactful suggestion that
we might look at the other two was greeted with a positive response.
When Pete Mate had a look at the book he realised he had chosen the
wrong one. (Amazing what a girlie look can do). Only trouble was Alice
didn’t agree and would not find the other caravan parks, so
- and I know this will impress you - we did it the old fashioned way
by looking at road signs.
We were not too far away from our destination when I needed a toilet
break, as you do. Anyway we decided we might as well have lunch as
well. So we are sitting in our caravan eating our sandwich discussing
why Tom Jones has today been knighted. What has he done for society
except sing and collect knickers! So we decided, in our wisdom, that
my mum should have been honoured for her work in looking after over
a hundred babies when she was a foster mother. She was far more deserving
than Sir Tom Jones or Sir Mick Jagger. So from now on our caravan
- formerly called 'Bessie' - shall be known as Dame Bess. This led
us into a discussion of when women receive a title, do they get the
sword on the shoulder or is that a sexist custom? Maybe women just
have more sense than to play around with swords in the ‘lopping
off the head’ region of the body.
Anyway, we found the revised caravan park without a problem and it
is one of the nicest we have stayed in. And, I might add, not the
most expensive either. Very clean ablution block which even has a
separate bathroom with a bath and hand basin, plus a children’s
bathroom. They supply soap but alas, no paper towels only a hot air
dryer, so they forfeit half a point. The laundry is pristine also.
Yes, Pete Mate, you have chosen well.
After we set up camp it was time to view the feeding of the Lorikeets.
It was . . . mmmmm . . . interesting. Maybe. The birds were
very pretty colours but made such a screeching sound. After that was
over we walked down to the beach; it was a very similar style of beach
to the one at Old Bar. Gosh, where has the day gone? Happy Hour is
Friday 31st March 06
Woke up this morning to the sound of rain hitting the roof. Worse
than that I couldn’t for the life of me remember where we were.
Looking out the window didn’t help much as it was dark. It took
a couple of minutes to register we were in Arrawarra. This is the
downside of moving every four days. We decided - or the weather decided
for us - that it would be a lay day today. It has poured all morning
and doesn’t look like it will improve. If it does we will go
and explore Coffs Harbour this afternoon. Well it rained all day so
it was a day of letter writing and other such pleasures.