Pam's Journal for June 2007

Friday 1st June 2007.

In the morning we went to the book exchange out at Banjo’s Outback Shed. That was an experience in itself. I think the last time it was cleaned was when Captain Cook was on these shores. Apparently they have camp oven meals there on Sundays; no way in the world would I be eating there. In the afternoon we visited the pub, but didn’t stay long.

Saturday 2nd June 2007.
Pretty much the same as yesterday, except we stayed in the pub far too long talking and drinking with a couple of locals.

Sunday 3rd June 2007.
I did quite a few chores today and then spent the rest of the day reading and knitting. In the evening we went over to the camp kitchen for a roast meal followed by entertainment. The Singer/Joke Teller (Tom) was a little too much for me. I like a good laugh but his jokes were just smut, even though Pete Mate disagrees with me as he laughed long and loud. The meal was really good, so much so we are going again and I will give Tom a second chance.

Monday 4th June 2007.
We went into town in the afternoon to do some shopping and visit the Post Office. We of course called in the pub for a couple of drinks and then returned home for a quite but pleasant evening.

Tuesday 5th June 2007.
I went into town by myself today. I visited the hairdressers and then had a browse through some shops. I enjoyed a very nice lunch followed by some more browsing and spending of the kids’ inheritance. I then returned home for a quite and relaxing afternoon, knitting and watching a video.

Wednesday 6th June 2007.
We went into town in the afternoon to do a few things and visit the pub as our favourite barmaid, Kylie, is going on holiday and we won’t see her again. We had a couple of drinks and we met this really nice young man called Rhys. He is a pilot and he and Peter got talking about planes whilst I talked to Kylie. Rhys invited Peter out to the airport tomorrow to have a 'blue day'. We dashed off home as we were going on the river cruise. We got ready and went to wait at the designated pick up point. This happened to be outside the office. We waited a while and then I popped my head in the office and said we were waiting for the cruise pick up. "Sorry, all cruises have been cancelled, didn’t anyone let you know?" Obviously not! It wasn’t the caravan park people’s fault as we booked directly in town. We apparently have to call in and get our money back. We were not impressed. So we walked back into town and had a few drinks with Kylie and a meal, then she left and we had a few more. We were a little under the weather by now and got a taxi home. We enjoyed ourselves, I think.

Thursday 7th June 2007
We both woke up with headaches and vowed we would never drink again. Well, not until tonight. I did some washing and reading. I then watched a DVD which was rubbish whilst Pete Mate went off to have his 'blue' few hours with Rhys. No doubt he will explain all on the web page. A very, very quiet Happy Hour today.

Friday 8th June 2007.
The day started with me searching everywhere for my keys and not finding them. I concluded that I must have left them in the laundry, so toddled off to the office to see if anyone had handed them in. They were there waiting for me. The lady in the office had been around the caravan park looking for the Mitsubishi to which they belonged. She came to our site but thought we were both out as Pete Mate had the car on his blue day. Anyway she told me who handed them in so I went to thank them and apparently I had dropped them right outside their caravan. They were a lovely couple from Southend in the UK. Southend is where the 707 was found, so they are also waiting for the plane to arrive. See? I lost my keys for a reason. It was so that I could meet these people. Pete Mate did some more maintenance on the caravan and I took the car into town to do some shopping. I had another lovely day browsing and shopping. I enjoyed a quiet lunch at my favourite coffee shop whilst sifting through the mail that had just arrived. Actually the mail arrived Tuesday - they always write the date on it when it arrives in case you do not collect it. They keep it for a month and then return it to sender. Anyway to make this short story even longer, I had called at the Post Office on Wednesday and was told it hadn't arrived. So it there all the time, probably out the back waiting to be sorted. We had another quiet Happy Hour inside the caravan as it is blooming freezing outside!

Saturday 9th June 2007.
We did a few chores in the morning and then walked up to town in the afternoon. Our intention was to have a couple of drinks at the Longreach Club and then return home. On arrival at the club we read a notice stating it was closed until 5.00pm. We then wandered up to the Starlight Tavern where we saw Stella and Frank. We had a few drinks with them and then said our goodbyes and walked home for dinner.

Sunday 10th June 2007.
The day has finally arrived; the 707 will fly home to the museum today. We were up and out of the caravan by 9.00am. Amazing how a certain person can get his bottom into gear when a plane is involved. We arrived at the 'prime position' that we had sussed out three weeks earlier. We found half a dozen people there already. Pete Mate set up the camera and I stayed in the car and knitted and drank coffee. It was blooming freezing. Different aircraft flew in and out and then the big moment arrived. I did get out of the car to watch it arrive and it was quite a spectacular sight, especially knowing the background of its 'rebirth'. The Captain did two flypasts before landing her for the very last time. Then we got ready to leave the paddock. It was then that I noticed hundreds of other people there also - when did they arrive? We, as they did, made a mad dash over to the airport for the rest of the day's activities. Of course we had the statutory politicians who did the speeches and all the official stuff. The place was crowded and soon I'd had enough of planes and all that went with them so I went home for lunch and left Pete Mate in his element. The price he had to pay for his 'blue day' was to walk home as I took the car. I'm not silly. In the evening we had a roast dinner by the campfire and then listened to the bush poet. We enjoyed the company of Evelyn and Harry (who originally came for Southend where the 707 was found in its derelict state). Overall it was a good day but very tiring.

Monday 11th June 2007.
Get ready day. Tomorrow we are off to Julia Creek.

Tuesday 12th June 2007.

We set off just after 9.00am; we knew it was going to be a long day but not too long. We hadn't been going long, however, when Alice started dinging her head off. I looked at the map to check whether we were going in the right direction. I discovered that Alice was going to take us on a dirt road to Julia Creek. Pete Mate was not impressed as he had just washed the car and caravan. We called in at Winton Information centre to check the route and found we had to go around this dirt road which added lots of kilometres and some hours to our journey. Pete mate was mad with himself for not double checking the route; I said nothing except that when we finally arrive at Julia Creek he and Alice were to sit on the naughty chair for a very long time! We arrived in Julia Creek after 5.00pm, very tired and a little fed up. We parked the van and were about to set up camp when our next door neighbour came out to say hello. It was Terry, the father of our next door neighbour in Perth. We had met him and his wife in Longreach and had no idea they were coming to Julia Creek. We set up camp, I cooked dinner and we enjoyed a glass of red.

Wednesday 13th June 2007.
We walked into town in the afternoon. It didn't take long to check out Julia Creek as it is a very small country town. We did what we had to then called in the pub for a drink before heading home to get ready for our journey tomorrow.

Thursday 14th June 2007.
We set off around 9.00am, called in for fuel and then commenced our long journey to Normanton. After about an hour and half we stopped for a break. Peter always checks the wheels when we do this. This time he found we had a broken spring on the chassis of the caravan. We decided to continue towards Normanton and deal with it there as opposed to returning to Julia Creek. We stopped after a short while for Peter to check and it seemed to be holding okay so we continued on. We had to take it slower than normal and the road wasn't the best, mostly a single lane road, so when another vehicle approached we had to move off the bitumen to prevent dust and stones flying everywhere. We eventually arrived in Normanton and booked in for a week. The only site available wasn't crash hot, so the caravan park owner asked us to stay hitched and he would move us to a much better site tomorrow. We were so tired would have agreed to anything. We unpacked the bare essentials, the wine glasses being first. I cooked dinner, we ate drank and then slept only to be woken up by very noisy merrymakers in the park next door. This went on until well after midnight. Apparently our native friends get paid on a Thursday, hence the noise and drinking in the park.

Friday 15th June 2007.

We decided to go for a walk after breakfast but first Peter wanted to check out the site to which we were moving. Peter then saw a Pajero that looked different to ours so off he went to chat. I went to look at the barbecue area and started to chat to a couple. Pete Mate and I seem to go in different direction so our walk actually became a game of hide and seek. When we eventually caught up with each other we decided to put the walk on hold and move the van. Peter wanted to get set up and then take the offending spring off so he could then ring Jayco. By this time we had attracted the attention of one of our neighbours, Charlie. He gave us all sorts of advice about everything including the broken spring. Very kind and obviously lonely but Pete Mate really wanted to get on. Charlie very kindly lent us his phone to phone Jayco, as it was his 'free hour'. I had a walk into town and left Peter to it. Well, we did need some milk. I had a pleasant walk and quite liked the town, quite a few natives about but very friendly. I found heaps and heaps of ring pulls scattered about, I collected quite a few but will have to go back with a poly bag.

Saturday 16th June 2007.
We went for a walk in the morning and then Peter drove over to check out a man who will help with the caravan. In the afternoon I did some knitting and reading, then we went over to the pub for a couple of drinks.

Sunday 17th June 2007.
Today was pretty much the same as yesterday apart from the walk, as I didn't feel like it today.

Monday 18th June 2007.
It poured with rain all night and was still raining this morning, hence no walk. We had to do some shopping, plus go and see the caravan man. Normanton is an experience no one should miss. The town boasts four supermarkets but please, when I say 'supermarket' don't think of Woolworths or Tesco. Think more of a large corner shop, not especially clean, poorly stocked and very expensive . . .

One of the four Normanton 'supermarkets'.

We took our scripts to the pharmacy to get them filled. They send them to a town hundreds of kilometres away and we collect them from the pharmacy a couple of days later.

On the left is Normanton's sole chemist, 'Mrs Mac's Pharmacy and Furniture',
scripts filled in just two days. On the right, haute cuisine, Normanton style.

The Sunday papers arrive on a Tuesday or Wednesday and you cannot buy green tea anywhere in town. Neither have we found a decent cup of coffee, it is all instant. Definitely no Gloria Jeans here! Last night we had tea at the pub, it was nice enough but full of fat, not good for me and my stupid stomach, so today I am paying for it. What I would like to know is how in the world Pete Mate can drink copious amounts of beer, then some liqueur followed by a Baileys, and then not have a hangover. Must be a case of practice makes perfect!!

Tuesday 19th June 2007.
The weather was still not the best for sightseeing. We read and I did some more knitting. I cannot believe it is so cold, I thought it was always supposed to be hot in this region. Later we went to the pub and met up with our local friends plus a native called Curtis. Curtis asked for a drink so we bought him a couple. BIG MISTAKE. He then wanted more and we said no, so he ordered a beer and said a fellow native would pay. Then all hell broke loose because the other chap, Mick, who was a decent sort, also said no. Curtis pushed Mick really hard and the language was very colourful. Then Mick disappeared and returned with a knife. Dorothy, who owns the pub, tried to calm things down, then Liz the manager took Curtis outside and that was the last we saw of him. We were quite concerned for Mick as he was much older than Curtis. Our two friends told us to keep out of it as you never interfere with two black fellas fighting otherwise they both turn on you. The moral of this story, never buy a strange black fella a drink!

Wednesday 20th June 2007.
More rain, we only ventured out to the pub and back. It was again so cold.

Thursday 21st June 2007.
The weather still wasn't the best but the rain looked like it was clearing so we decided to drive to Karumba, a small fishing town on the coast of the Gulf of Carpentaria. It was cold and raining when we arrived so we had lunch then a drink at the Animal Bar before hurrying back to the caravan. The heater managed to thaw us out in time for a daily walk to the Purple Pub.

Friday 22nd June 2007.
The rain has finally stopped so we went for a good walk today. We checked out the railway station and booked for a trip tomorrow, hoping the weather might have improved further. It is still overcast and cold but at least it is dry. We did a few errands and some shopping before heading back to the caravan for lunch. Later we made our daily trek to the pub.

Saturday 23rd June 2007.
We had to do a little rushing this morning to arrive at the station in time to ride on the Gulflander. It was a really enjoyable morning, we were given a commentary about the train and the area all the way to the terminus and then for most of the return journey. The journey had only just begun when the train was held up by a Bushranger on horse back. It was a really funny skit and had everyone laughing and trying to get photos. We stopped by a water hole for morning tea which consisted of all sorts of damper plus fruit cake (there is always fruit cake) and tea and coffee. It was all very nice and there was plenty of it. Once back in Normanton we walked from the station calling at the shops and the pub on the way home. Later in the afternoon we went over to the pub for Happy Hour.

Sunday 24th June 2007.
The day looked like it might just be sunny so I did a load of washing. I then went for a walk; I hadn't been home long when it poured with rain yet again. By the afternoon it had cleared and the washing actually got dry. Later in the afternoon we went over to the pub for Happy Hour. [Perhaps you should just take that sentence as read each day.]

Monday 25th June 2007.
More rain and cold weather. It cleared for a while so I went out for a short walk. Later in the afternoon we went over to the pub for Happy Hour.
I left early to cook dinner and managed to get home before the heavens opened with a vengeance. Pete Mate wasn't so lucky and he got soaked.

Tuesday 26th June 2007.
Still raining. We went out early to check if the new spring had arrived. Surprise, surprise it has. In the afternoon, when the rain eased a little, Pete Mate fixed the caravan whilst I went for a walk. I was accosted by some beautiful, smiling Aborigine children whose warm smiles soon disappeared when I refused to give them money. We are now more than ready to leave this little town of 'Normal-town', if only the rain would ease. We have to wait for a spell of dry weather so that the road verges have chance to dry a little. Later we walked over to the pub for happy Hour.

Wednesday 27th June 2007.
I don't believe it, the sun is shining. We went for a walk in the afternoon and checked out a travelling bus that had lots of jewellery and bags on it. Then we visited the other travelling bus that was full of fresh fruit and vegetables. Bliss. Until you have experienced this town you would not believe how difficult it is to get really fresh food. After our walk we visited the Albion Hotel, just to check it out. We then wandered home and back to the Purple Pub for Happy Hour.

Thursday 28th June 2007.
The sun is still shining. We took the broken spring to the tip and did some shopping. Later we collected a cake from the bakery for Donna's birthday. (The barmaid in the pub). We had a few drinks there and a meal and then paid a visit to the Central Hotel. Jeff and John were on a wake as their brother had just died. We felt sorry for them as they were really grieving but trying hard not to show it. Anyway we went along with them to the Central; I didn't really enjoy it much. We then wandered back to the Purple Pub before heading home for the night.

Friday 29th June 2007.

Get ready day. We washed and packed away everything ready to move on in the morning. Later in the afternoon we went to the pub, had a few drinks and a meal before making it an early night. We said our goodbyes to everyone, which was sad as we had made lots of new friends.

Saturday 30th June 2007.
We had a good run through to Croyden where we stopped for lunch. The town took five minutes to explore. We went to the only café we could find open and bumped into a family we had met in Lightening Ridge and Blackall. After lunch we set off on the last leg of the journey to Georgetown. When we arrived Peter noticed a burning smell. On inspection he found out it was one of the caravan brakes. Here we go again, good old Jayco. We set up camp and then went off to have a look at the rodeo in town. It was quite good but cold. We saw bull riding and enjoyed a nice roast meal. We then went home as we were pretty tired.

That ends June. Please click below for July.

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