Pam's Journal for July 2007

Sunday 1st July 2007.

Peter didn't feel too good this morning. We wondered if it was the roast pork he had eaten at the rodeo last night. Anyway, by lunchtime we decide to go and see some more of the rodeo. We watched the horses and roping of calves plus the junior bull riding competition. By this time Peter felt worse so we went home and he took to his bed.

Monday 2nd July 2007.
Peter still isn't well so he rested all day. I did some washing and shopping. I had a look around the town, not a lot here. I really do not like the caravan park. Most parks pass muster but this one hasn't got a thing going for it. We cannot put out the awning as we are parked right next to a tree. If we put it out and the birds do their doo-doos on it we are not allowed to wash it because the water situation is really bad here. The amenities are very poor and there is a constant smell of sewage. There is only one washing line, which is constantly full, plus it is so high up it is very difficult for me to use. I will be very glad to leave here.

Tuesday 3rd July 2007.
Peter was feeling a bit better today so he had a look at the offending brake on the caravan. He found it wasn't too bad; at least we won't be stuck here waiting for a part. In the afternoon we went for a drive to Forsayth, which had been recommended to us. We didn't realise that it was unsealed road most of the way; we soon found out. It wasn't the best road and we kept hoping that the journey would be worthwhile. The town was small with a pub. We couldn't work out why it was a recommended visit. The countryside was lovely, but that is about it. We had a drink and returned home. Peter is still not 100%, so he had a rest on our return.

Wednesday 4th July 2007.
We were awake early this morning and Peter was feeling a bit better so we decided to cut our losses (we have paid for a week) and pack up and move on to Mount Surprise. When we told the caravan park owners we were leaving early they kindly gave us a refund. Before we started to pack up, Peter went over to the toilet and came back with a bird. I give up with this man. He is not content with bringing home Aborigine women, he is now bringing home feathered birds. The bird was an injured owl and all the other birds were attacking it, so Peter rescued it. He then took it to a woman who takes in injured wildlife. Once that was out of the way we had to get our backsides into gear and pack up. We didn't do too bad and were away by 9.30am. We had to stop along the way a couple of times to check the caravan brake temperatures. The journey was only a short one so we arrived in plenty of time for lunch. The caravan park looks really nice and has very friendly people. Before we set up camp, Peter checked the caravan wheels again and found the back wheels running quite hot. So we made a decision to head straight for Cairns from here and book the caravan in at Taylor's Trailers. They know what they are talking about and have all the necessary parts so we can get all the problems sorted out. Once that is done we will continue with our travels up to Cooktown and so on. On the plus side this also means we will be able to see our friends Greg and Bev who are in Cairns for a few days. We thought we would miss them, but every cloud has a silver lining. In the afternoon we had a walk around the town of Mount Surprise, which took all of five minutes so we visited the pub.

Thursday 5th July 2007.
We had to be at the park reception by 12 noon and, surprise, we managed it. We were going on the SavannahLander train to Einasleigh and then by coach to Capricorn Gorge and home again. It was a really good trip and we enjoyed it very much. We drank tea made in an old billy heated over a wood fire. The water came from the river and the tea was stirred with a stick that had been poked in the fire. It tasted good and we are still alive. Once home we didn't have Happy Hour as I was having an A.F.D. - Pete Mate had had a couple of beers in the pub in Einasleigh.

Friday 6th July 2007.
Today we had to be at reception by 7.30am; we made it by the skin of our teeth. We all piled on to a bus to go to the Undara Lava Tubes. I won't go into great detail as Peter has already covered it on the webpage. We had a really excellent day; it was long and tiring but really good. We didn't realise how interesting these tubes were, and so beautiful in places. Our guide was young, kind and very entertaining. The food was superb and the scenery spectacular. All in all an excellent day. The downside was we were both tired when we got back to the van but had to pack everything away so we could get an early start in the morning.

Saturday 7th July 2007.
We were away early and had a good trip to Cairns. We stopped every hour to check the temperature of the caravan brakes but all was well. Alice decided to take us on a steep winding road, we hadn't planned to come that way but Alice has a mind of her own. When we arrived in Cairns I did some washing, set up the 'van and before I could shop or shower, Bev and Greg arrived. Bev came shopping with me whilst the men chatted and then Peter and I had showers before we had Happy Hour. Happy Hour moved to the pub where we enjoyed a nice meal and more wine. It was a good evening and it was really nice to see Greg and Bev again.

Sunday 8th July 2007.
I had a really bad night, being very unwell. I think I ate a bad prawn. We were going to go out with Greg and Bev for the day but I cried off. By lunchtime I felt a whole lot better. By evening I was ready to drink more wine. Greg and Bev called in on their way back and stayed for the park's pizza and entertainment evening. It was a good night and I ate far too much Pizza and drank too much wine.

Monday 9th July 2007.
We went to the caravan repair place and Bessie is booked in for the 26th August. They were very good, knowledgeable and nice. We then went to buy a new extension mirror for the car for when we are towing the caravan as the one we have vibrates something shocking. They didn't have the kind Peter wanted and the supplier seemed to give the poor shop assistant the run-around. He asked us to leave it with him. At this point Peter's shoe fell to pieces. Ever resourceful, he fixed it with a tie wrap until we could get to a shoe shop to buy him some more. We then went and had our first Gloria Jean's coffee in ages. Priorities. It was good.

Then we went to the Telstra shop to upgrade our phones and internet connection to 'Next G'. You probably know, you can't get a phone that is just a phone. We didn't want a camera, or an internet connection, or a video transmitter, or dozens of games, or a calculator . . . but if we wanted a phone, we had to have them all. We didn't want to pay any more than we are now - what we have with the free hours suits us and we are happy with our lap-top internet connection. The young manager there spoke very fast and moved very fast. It was disturbing as I was trying to work things out in my head and at that very moment I had a 'menopause moment.' I went all hot and shaky and thought I was going to faint. He went off to get me a glass of water and then he settled down a bit, and sorted out what we wanted.

After I took a drink of water I could better understand what the contracts were all about. I was thinking, "Let's just sign for the phones, etc, and leave". Not that easy! The woman then started to explain other plans to me. I say "to me" as by now Peter had switched off, and was trying to work the damn phone. In the end I had to say, "Stop!" Talk about confusion. The young manager steps in again and tells this very nice lady not to explain any more plans as she was confusing me. Well it took an hour and a half to complete everything. We were supposed to phone our friends, Bev and Greg, who were leaving that night, to make arrangements to see them off at the airport. I tried phoning but somehow kept sending Greg a video, he kept trying me and got the Message Bank. After three goes he gave up. By this time Peter and I were getting stressed so we asked a young girl in the chemist to show us how to make a call. She did. It was arranged that we would meet Greg and Bev at the caravan. We hurried back to the caravan to find them waiting. We had a drink and then headed off to the airport where we had a couple more drinks. We said our goodbyes and then walked back to the car park. We couldn't find the car and had to walk around the car park looking for it. Of course, eventually we found it and went home. What a day!

Tuesday 10th July 2007.
I did some washing and then went to the shops. Pete Mate played with the new toys. Later I played with my new phone and managed to wipe out the address book. Peter now knows how to restore it. It was a very quiet Happy Hour tonight as it was too chilly to sit outside.

Wednesday 11th July 2007.
We went for our first walk up the hills since arriving in Cairns. We were surprised how well we did considering how unfit we are. Later we went back to the shopping mall to see if we could get some of the features on our phones blocked. We can't, so I guess we will have to learn how not to use the video and internet by mistake. We had a Gloria Jean's then Pete Mate went for an optometrist appointment. He wants to have some new treatment on his eyes. He has passed the first hurdle and now has another appointment for the end of the month. We had a very pleasant Happy Hour sitting outside, the weather is perfect.

Thursday 12th July 2007.
I went for my morning walk up the hills but Peter decided he would go later. The weather has changed a little, it is much warmer but cloudy. Sue and Dwayne held a morning tea today to raise funds for Brain Tumour Research. After that we had a lay day. Peter did some cleaning of the outside of the caravan and I worked on the Rumsey family history. By evening it was much cooler, a bit too chilly to sit outside for Happy Hour.

Friday 13th July 2007.
What a busy day. We first went for our morning walk and extended it a little. Then we went into the city as we had a few errands and some shopping to do. We bought Pete Mate some new sandals as the tie wrap was becoming uncomfortable! Whilst in Cairns Central we had a sandwich for lunch which we had just about finished when this chap walked over to us. After greeting us he said, "You don’t remember me do you?" Oh err, - Normanton – yes of course – but really no. Anyway once his wife joined us I could place them and even remembered their names. Pete Mate is still trying to work it out. It happens so often because we meet so many people for a short time. We also visited Rusty’s Markets and bought our fresh fruit and vegetables plus the yummiest yoghurt you have ever tasted. One of our chores was to visit the bank to sort out some business. We were in there ages and left without knowing the answer. We will get a phone call on Monday or it could be Tuesday or Wednesday. Tanya, the bank clerk, was lovely but whoever she spoke to on the phone was complete d... h..d. Tanya never lost her cool and was so patient with them and kept smiling at us. We were so glad to be home for Happy Hour.

Saturday 14th July 2007.
We didn’t go for a walk this morning. I didn’t feel like it and Pete Mate was going later. Later never came. Peter worked on the computer and I cleaned out some of the cupboards in the caravan. It is amazing what you can collect in a caravan. I went to the local Woolworth’s for a few things. Sometime I play a game; if I am going for half a dozen items I won’t write a list, I make my brain remember. Yesterday I forgot the biscuits and as we really don’t need them it didn’t matter. I did remember the wine, most important. Later we sat outside the caravan in the warm sun, reading. I finished my book and what a good read Pioneer Women of the Outback was. It was so moving, it made me smile and it made me cry; it also made me realise these pioneer women had more backbone in their little finger than I have in my whole body. One lady in the book went from Cairns to Cape York on horseback, about a thousand kilometres. We have been there and thought it a harsh, unforgiving place though still beautiful. She believed she was going to a large homestead but what she found was a tin shack, totally isolated. No supermarkets, of course, and the worse thing was no medical help. In those days even the flu was a serious illness. Amazing people. Later we enjoyed a pleasant Happy Hour but it got a little chilly so we retreated to the warmth of the caravan.

Sunday 15th July 2007.
We went for a walk up the hills before breakfast. We decided to have a late breakfast as tonight is Pizza night. The idea is to skip lunch to save up the calories for later. I did some more cleaning and then took myself off to Spotlight. Whilst I was away Pete Mate washed the outside of the caravan and the ground sheet. I must go out more often. We went over to the camp kitchen for Pizza night and the entertainment. To our surprise it was Carol from last year. It was lovely to see her again and her parents came for the evening. We really enjoyed her performance. Once every one had left we were joined by Terry and Pat, Dwayne’s parents, really nice people. We had a last drink with them before retiring for the night.

Monday 16th July 2007.
We had to rush around and be out early this morning as I had a dental appointment. I had broken a tooth whilst in Normanton. I had enquired about a dentist at the time, it resulted in a lot of laughter. A dentist in Normanton, you’ll be lucky. I then realised why most of the population have terrible teeth - if any at all. Anyway I had the tooth repaired here, plus another filling, so I am all done for another twelve months. We then went into Earlville to collect some jeans Peter has bought. Gloria Jean’s provided us with some good coffee before we headed home for lunch. In the afternoon I started a new knitting project for kids in Mongolia and Pete Mate worked on the computer. All too soon it was Happy Hour but a little chilly to be sitting outside.

Tuesday 17th July 2007.

I was up early so did the ironing before going for my morning walk. I went on my own as Pete Mate had had a restless night and wanted more sleep. I did the three hills without much hardship, which is surprising as I am sooooooo unfit. I then rushed off for a shower as I was expected at the hairdressers for 10.00am. The same girl has been cutting my hair in Cairns for the last three years; she is one of the best hairdressers I have encountered along the way. Let me tell you, some of them have been pretty bad. Once home again we had lunch then raced off to Earlville. We had a few errands to do before settling back in the cinema to watch the latest Harry Potter movie. It was every bit as good as the previous ones even though it takes a little while to accept Harry, Ron and Hermione are growing up. After the cinema we headed home for Happy Hour which turned out to be Happy Evening as we drank two bottles of wine instead of one.

Wednesday 18th July 2007.
I was up early, did the washing and was ready in plenty of time for the Taylors' visit. Jan and Ross drove down from Wonga Beach to see us for the day. We had morning tea and then later went out for lunch. We drove up into the mountains to Copperlode Dam, which is a favourite spot of Peter's and mine. Then it was back home for afternoon tea. No wonder we have a weight problem. It was lovely to see the Taylors again. In a couple of weeks they will be moving into Cool Waters. The park is so full, but Sue has assured us she will find them a spot. It is our third year here and we haven't seen it as busy, apparently most of the caravan parks in Cairns are fully booked.

Thursday 19th July 2007.

We attended morning tea over in the camp kitchen. Again it was to raise funds for brain tumour research. We then went to the bank to sort out some paperwork. One hour later we left the bank. We have been impressed with the efficiency of the bank staff, an unusual attribute these days. We then went to do the supermarket shopping. It never ceases to amaze me how boring it is! In the afternoon I knitted whilst Peter read. It was then time for Happy Hour.

Friday 20th July 2007.
We went to the markets today. We left it until after lunch as I decided to clean out one of the cupboards under the bed. I discovered I have more wool than a wool shop. I think I am addicted to buying wool. We went straight to the yoghurt stall only to find them packing up, they had sold out. That is another addiction, the yummy yoghurt. Luckily he had just one tub left which we quickly snapped up and then continued on to buy our fruit and veg. Once home we spent another relaxing afternoon. Again time for Happy Hour was upon us. What to do!!!

Saturday 21st July 2007.
We went for our early morning walk but I wasn't really in the mood. To start with I had a small confrontation with the lady next door. Most days her kids have been playing with a tennis ball and most days it hits the caravan. We didn't make a fuss as we reckoned a tennis ball wouldn't do much damage. Anyway yesterday we heard a huge bang at the back of the van and rushed outside to see a red mark on the van. We assumed it was a cricket ball. We waited for someone to come over and apologise but nothing happened. I was as mad as mad. Anyway this morning I saw the girls in the ladies toilet block and asked them not to play ball near our caravan. Mum emerges from the shower and asks what her children were supposed to have done. I explained and she said she had no idea and we should have gone and said something. Excuse me, I said, I heard a male voice exclaiming, "You haven't hit that caravan, have you?" So then she had to apologise profusely. We then set off on our walk and I was 'attacked' by two dogs. Well actually they tried to lick me to death. As I am not a lover of dogs it didn't do anything for my temperament. When we arrived back at the caravan three young girls arrived to apologise for their behaviour. All is forgiven. I did a few chores and then knitted for the rest of the day. In the evening Pat and Terry came over for drinks and nibbles. It was very pleasant indeed.

Sunday 22nd July 2007.

Apart from the usual chores and knitting, I didn't do much. Pete Mate seemed to be on the computer all day. In the evening we went to the caravan park's Pizza Night where there was free entertainment which turned out to be Carol again; we enjoy her music very much. The evening ended with a really heavy downpour, the first we have seen since arriving in Cairns.

Monday 23rd July 2007.
It has rained all night, everywhere is soaking. We ventured out in the afternoon to buy the latest Harry Potter book and get some wine and milk. We hurried back to the dry and warmth of the caravan. With wine in hand I started the Harry Potter book. Outside it was still pouring with rain but I was happy as was Pete Mate, also happy reading a book.

Tuesday 24th July 2007.
It is still raining but who cares, I have H.P. to read. We read all day, and only ventured out when absolutely necessary. By bedtime I had finished Harry's latest adventure and loved every minute of it. The best Harry Potter book ever.

Wednesday 25th July 2007.
We still haven't heard anything from Taylor's Trailers and as the caravan is due to be in their workshop tomorrow we thought it might be a good idea to call in. After Peter confirmed the parts had arrived we went to Earlville to do some shopping. It was then home for lunch before packing everything away ready for an early start in the morning. It is still raining.

Thursday 26th July 2007.
This is unbelievable, it is still raining! We took the caravan into Taylor's then went back to the caravan park for morning tea. After a very pleasant couple of hours we were then at a loose end so we went along to the Brothers Club with our books, found a comfortable spot in a corner, ordered some coffee and whiled away the day reading. By five o'clock we were concerned that we wouldn't have a bed for the night, so we walked over to Taylor's (which was conveniently across the road from the club) to see what was happening. They were still working on Bessie. An hour later we left there but had to pull over into a car park to adjust everything as the 'van was now lower. I had to hold the torch as it was getting dark; an hour later we left the car park for home. We then had to reverse the caravan into the site in the dark. I did the driving, Pete Mate did the instructing and we did really well, even though I say it myself. We then had to set everything up by torch light. An hour later we opened a bottle of wine and some cheese and relaxed.

Friday 27th July 2007.
The first time all week we haven't woken to rain. I had better get to the laundry before everyone else has the same idea. We had an appointment at the eye specialist for Peter. We arrived at 10.55am and at 12.00pm he saw Peter for five minutes, put some drops in his eyes and then we had another long wait. Eventually we left there armed with information regarding the operation. We went and had lunch and by the time we had finished Peter had decided not to go ahead. We then went back to the caravan for a rest, as I had a really awful headache. Not enough red wine!

Saturday 28th July 2007.

The sun is shining so I raced around and stripped the beds and commandeered two washing machines before most people had woken up. I then took all the carpets out of the caravan and gave the floor a good clean. It was then off to the shower and then to the supermarket. What a busy morning. For lunch I made a lovely prawn salad which was begging to be washed down by a glass of Chardonnay. Only trouble is one glass leads to another and before you know it the bottle is empty. The afternoon was spent reading and knitting. We then went to Terry and Pat's for the evening. It was really very pleasant we ate and drank. Boy did we drink!!! For a change I had to bring Pete Mate home as he was well away and I was sober. How I managed that I do not know. Must try harder next time.

Sunday 29th July 2007.
Pete Mate had a massive hangover that lasted all day. He surfaced around 5.00 pm for a shower and then went to Pizza night. I, on the other hand, washed and cleaned and read the paper before finishing my knitted vest for Mongolia. Pizza night was good fun. Dave was the entertainer tonight and he is very good, knows a lot of jokes too. Terry and Pat got carried away and had a dance around the camp kitchen. We stayed after everyone had gone and finished the bottle of wine with Terry and Pat.

Monday 30th July 2007.
We had a few shopping chores to do. Pete Mate had to go back to the eye specialist as the bill was showing we owed money and we had paid. We went looking for a brake tool but gave up in the end; you always have to save something for another day. We went home and Pete Mate started painting the tow ball parts. I started my next project for Mongolia, a knitted scarf and beanie. A very quiet Happy Hour, in the evening we watched
The Bill and New Tricks recorded last Saturday night. We just love New Tricks but the series has now finished.

Tuesday 31st 2007.
I woke up late and Pete Mate was up making the coffee. A rare occasion I can tell you. I felt really under the weather and spent most of the day lying down. I couldn't get warm even though the sun was shining; it felt like 'flu was coming on.

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