Pam's Journal for September 2007


Saturday 1st September 2007.

We were up fairly early considering the frivolity of the previous evening and were ready to leave around 9.30 am. We had a whole gang of people to see us off and these occasions are always emotional. It is sad to say goodbye but we always look forward to exploring new pastures. We had a good run through only stopping once for a toilet break. We arrived at Cardwell around lunchtime so we set up camp and had lunch. I had a look around the camp, giving it my usual inspection. It seems very nice, ablution block meets all the obligatory requirements but the camp kitchen is in great need of a clean. They need our friend Terry from Cool Waters. People are very friendly so I reckon we will like it here. We didn't do very much for the rest of the day and then before we knew it, it was Happy Hour. It was a very quiet Happy Hour just the two of us sitting outside the caravan sipping our red wine. In the words of daughter Julie "Ah, Bless them".

Sunday 2nd September 2007.
The sun is shining and we both had a restful night. I did some washing and then we walked into town for a look around. It is a fair walk but very pleasant along the beach. We walked along the jetty and saw the mandatory fisherman who doesn't appear to be catching any fish. We had a look around the town and discovered there is not a lot to discover. A week here will be plenty of time. We had coffees at the coffee shop and wandered home for lunch. No pub stop for us today; are we good or what? In the afternoon Pete Mate was on the computer and I knitted a sock. It was then Happy Hour which was a repeat of last night.

Monday 3rd September 2007.

It rained quite a bit in the night but the sun was shining this morning. We decided to have a drive around the area. Our first tourist attraction on the list was Port Hinchinbrook. It is a new development with a huge marina full of boats. The houses already completed and those under construction are something else; huge and verrrrrrrry expensive. We had a drive around before heading off to Ingham. Ingham was just a country town, bigger than most but nothing special. We then went to tiny Halifax where I visited the Post Office which was an experience in itself. They didn't know what they were doing and all I can say is, God help Australia Post. After Halifax we went to Lucinda Point on the coast. It was very pretty there but the view was spoilt by a 5.7 km long box-section jetty which carried sugar from a local storage plant out to ships in deeper water. So we found a nice pub that served lunch and replenished our energy before heading back to Cardwell. We now had the task of finding the (one and only) supermarket for which we had unsuccessfully looked the previous day. Finally I gave up and asked someone. Believe it or not it was just around the corner from the caravan park. We then went home and it was soon Happy Hour. We met our new neighbours who seemed nice enough. They probably think we are strange as Pete Mate was regaling them with stories of Normanton. He saved the 'gin story' until tomorrow. We didn't want them hitching up in the middle of the night to escape those weird poms!

Tuesday 4th September 2007.

Once the rain stopped we went for a walk in the opposite direction of the town. We found a memorial park that commemorated the Battle of the Coral Sea from WWII. It was interesting to us, as we did not realise how close to Australia it was. We then walked down an unsealed road for a while but as we didn't know where we were going, and we were 'grit blasted' every time a car and boat trailer went past, we turned back. We walked back along the beach, all very pleasant and we got some much needed exercise.

Wednesday 5th September 2007.
More rain. Someone told us Cardwell was one of the wettest places in Australia. There aren't any water restrictions here and people just seem to waste water. Crazy. One town is crying out for water another wastes it. We went into town to do some shopping but that was about it. The sun came out in the afternoon for a short time but we soon returned to rain.

Thursday 6th September 2007.

We awoke to rain again this morning. Hopefully it will clear enough for me to do some washing. I read the following in a magazine, so it must be true.

Life shouldn't be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safe and well preserved,
but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine in the other,
totally worn out and
screaming, "Whoo! What a ride!"

Well the weather cleared in the afternoon but I didn't do the washing. Pete Mate washed the outside of the van including the roof. We had parked under a mango tree and the blossom had fallen everywhere with the heavy rain and was beginning to stain. So, once the van was clean we had to hitch up and move it. We trundled along up the other end of the park turned around and trundled back parking on our slot but facing the other way, clear of the tree. I did the driving and Pete Mate did the directing using CB radios. It went very well considering we had an audience. Thanks goodness for Happy Hour.

Friday 7th September 2007.
I was up early this morning and the sun was shining so I quickly did the washing. After breakfast I went for a walk and called in the shop on the way back as we are unsure of what is available at our next stop. We then walked over to the beach and took some photos. We enquired at the restaurant (attached to the caravan park) if they were open for coffees. No they didn't do coffee but we were welcome to make our own (instant but free) and take it out onto to the veranda. We did this and it was lovely, just sitting there enjoying the view.


Two views from the veranda of the restaurant at the Beachcomber Holiday Park.

After coffee we went back to the caravan to finish getting ready for tomorrow. We had another quiet Happy Hour and an early night. Much good it did us. We were awoken by a group of people having a fight on the road outside. We had just dropped off again when Pete Mate starts fighting someone in his dream. I had to wake him up. We had just dropped off again when we heard all this yelling. At first we thought it was the fight again but this time it was a woman screaming. We didn't know what to do, whether to go and help her or what. We all know Pete Mate's track record with 'gins'. Whilst we are discussing what to do another grey nomad went to see what was happening. Apparently her boyfriend had been bashed on the beach. She requested the police. Note, not the paramedics. This chap called the police, they came gave the woman a mouthful and drove off. By this time the story had changed a little and her boyfriend had become her husband. (Quickest wedding in history and we didn't get any cake!). It was quite obvious she was known to the police. After our boys in blue left it all went quiet, she walked off and everyone went back to bed. It still left me wondering what happened to the poor chap on the beach and why did she want the police and not medical help. After that excitement we got very little sleep.

Saturday 8th September 2007.

We were on the road by 7.45a.m. As we were up early that was no hardship. We had a good run through to Midge Point even though it was a long day. The caravan is behaving well at the moment. We set up camp and then it was Happy Hour time. The park is so quiet and very beautiful. All the caravans are parked amongst thick lush rainforest; all we hear are the sounds of the birds. We had an early night as, after the day's travels and last night's carry on, we are pooped.

Sunday 9th September 2007.

We both had a good night's sleep and woke quite early. After breakfast we went for a walk along the beach. We were fascinated by thousands of little crabs running around the sand. The beach is good, hard sand in most places so it was good for me to walk on. Once back at the caravan we had lunch and then sat outside reading for a while before it was time for Happy Hour. I delayed my drinking time so I could phone my sister Sandie for her birthday. It is not always possible to phone overseas as I use the public phone boxes and not all caravan parks have them. This park seems to have everything we need; there is even a pub and a shop five minutes down the road by car.

Monday 10th September 2007.
We seemed to have a slow start to the day. I took Billy out and showed him the way to the grocery store. The store has only been open a week and sells all the basic things plus a few extras, but a Woolworth's it is not! The rest of the day we spent reading and doing computer stuff. We were supposed to go for another walk but that didn't happen. Happy Hour was very pleasant, just us. We don't have any neighbours as they all left this morning.

Tuesday 11th September 2007.
I was up early so I went to the phone; this time I called my brother Barry. I am making hay while the sun shines as the next caravan park may not have a phone. I then did the ironing but when I went to do some washing the laundry was closed as there is a problem with the water which has turned brown and dirty looking. We were warned not to drink the water until the problem is fixed but we can shower in it. The warning came a little late for us as we were already drinking our coffees, but I reckon it would be fine as I had boiled the water. Goodness knows what it is doing to our water filter. After breakfast we went for a short bushwalk to the lagoon. It was a 3 km round trip and was more like walking down an English woodland path than walking though the bush. We soon realise we were actually walking through an old mango orchard. The trees were laden with blossom so when the fruit is ready the trees will be overflowing. I hope they don't go to waste as I love mangos.


There was row upon row of abandoned mango trees, all covered in blossom.

Once back at the van we had lunch and then did some more reading and I started a new project in my knitting. This time for niece Hannah's new baby due next year. During the afternoon we heard a plane flying over the beach, Pete Mate resisted for all of five minutes and then grabbed his camera and went to the beach. He was rewarded with photos of an ultra light plus a joy ride in it. How jammy is that? Note he didn't come back for me. Mind you, after seeing the photos I wouldn't have gone up in that thing. Happy Hour was soon upon us and again very quiet.

Wednesday 12th September 2007.
We had breakfast and got ready to drive to Proserpine to do some Woolworth's shopping. Once at Proserpine we decided to have another look at Airlie and Shute Harbour. We found the little café we visited last year. It is high up and looks down on the beautiful waters and islands surrounding Shute Harbour. Million dollar views. We enjoyed a nice lunch before heading down to Cannonvale to do the shopping. New houses are popping up all over the place at Airlie and Cannonvale where there's now a shopping mall with some of the major outlets such as Target, Katie's, Tandy and Coles; all new since we were here last year. We did the shopping and filled up with diesel and red wine, then drove back home. By the time I had brought the washing in off the line and put all the shopping away it was time for Happy Hour.

Thursday 13th September 2007.
We had another lovely day out. We had a drive out to Cape Hillsborough. It was a beautiful sunny day with clear blue skies. Along the road to the Cape Hillsborough beach and camp we called in to have coffee with Michele at the Old Station Tea House. She makes nice coffee and is lovely to chat to. Last year when we stayed at Cape Hillsborough we used to go there for coffee and take our laptop to log on to the internet, as the signal was good from there. Leaving Michele we went out to the caravan park where we stayed last year. We enjoyed a glass of red and a sandwich from their restaurant. (Michele only does Devonshire Teas, Cakes and Biscuits, so we couldn't have lunch there). We had a look at the beach and then made our way home. Another excellent day on the Queensland coast. We were in the middle of Happy Hour and discussing our forthcoming travel plans when a couple named Ross and Colleen arrived. We had recently met them in Cardwell and they were staying with friends in Midge Point. They were out for a walk and had a look for us. We might see them again along the way as they are staying at Emu Park and Tamworth. After they left I started to cook the dinner. I generally cook outside as I do not like the lingering smells of cooking, especially when we are sleeping. Tonight was chicken curry and curry is one thing you never cook inside a caravan unless you want to inhale it for the next few days. I cooked it, divided it into two bowls and upon re entering the caravan I managed to drop one of the bowls. Luckily it landed upright but some curry had spilt. It went all over the rubber matting and door mat. I said "Oh dear me". I think not. We cleaned up the best we could but some of it will have to be done in the morning. The remaining curry was very good, however.

Friday 14th September 2007.
I awoke early as I tend to do, so decided to start cleaning. I scrubbed the doormat but the rubber matting was another story; I would need help with that. After breakfast we started cleaning and packing everything away. It took us all day, so we didn't do the bush walk to the creek. One day we would like to return to Midge Point so we can do it then. We didn't have Happy Hour as we had an AFD.

Saturday 15th September 2007.
We were away early and as we didn't have too far to go we arrived in Sarina in time for morning tea. We were told by the caravan park owner, Dennis, to park the van and grab a cup each and come and have some morning tea. We met a few people, it was really nice. The park is very nice and we were sorry we were only staying the one night. After we had set up camp and had lunch we went to explore the area. Before we left, one of the ladies invited me to go with them to a craft show. It was so nice to be invited but we wanted to go and explore. I did, however, go in by myself and have a look. A lot of talented women live in Sarina, the crafts were lovely. If Pat and Tracey had been with me we could have spent a long time there. We found Grasstree Beach, parked Billy and took a walk along the beach. We hadn't been walking long when we found a large starfish. We weren't sure if it was dead. So, after taking photos, Pete Mate waded out into the ocean and put it back into the water but it kept floating. Anyway we walked a good way along the beach and on our return we found the starfish again. I had now a plastic bag in my hand as some delightful fisher person had left their discarded bait bag on the beach and I was transporting it to the nearest bin. I used the bag to turn the starfish over and have a closer look. In my expert opinion it was dead. We left it and carried on with our walk. Why is it that walks always seem shorter on the way back? Whilst your back is turned, does someone come along and steal part of the path? I reckon it is the same people that keep moving the car whilst I am in the supermarket. Once back at the car we travelled to the next point of interest, Hay Point. We had been told about a lookout there and imagined a high vantage point overlooking beautiful scenery and the ocean. However, this was a viewing platform with a panoramic outlook over a port where coal was being loaded onto ships. I counted 32 ships waiting for their loads. It was very interesting and we did get a good view of the surrounding area as well. It was then time to return to the caravan park as we had been invited to Happy Hour. Once back at camp we quickly had showers and then proceeded to the meeting place for Happy Hour and very pleasant it was too. We decided on an early night as we had a long journey ahead of us tomorrow. In the middle of the night we were awoken by a loud siren similar to WWII air raid siren. It went on and on. I haven't heard a siren like that since the war ended. We assumed it was to call out the fire-fighters or perhaps the SES, not to warn of approaching enemy bombers.

Sunday 16th September 2007.
We left Sarina around 7.30am for Emu Park. We had a good run through only stopping once for a toilet break. We received a warm welcome, set up camp and I went to the shop. In the afternoon I had a rest before getting ready for Happy Hour. Very pleasant it was too. Only trouble was Pete Mate and I had another Happy Hour when we arrived back at the caravan. Oh woe is me!

Monday 17th September 2007.
We went for a short walk into the "town" and met Moe who is now working part time at the butcher's shop. The Coffee Spot was closed so we walked home again. I went for another short walk in the afternoon. Happy Hour soon arrived, very pleasant it was too.

Tuesday 18th September 2007.
We drove to Rockhampton to do some shopping. We stocked up on most things and then returned home for a rest before Happy Hour.

Wednesday 19th September 2007.

We went for a walk and then had coffee in a new coffee shop called The Beach. The coffee was very nice, a little strong for me though. This coffee shop is part of a gift shop so you can browse whilst having coffee. We walked home past the pub . . . well, actually we didn't. We went to walk past the pub and somehow ended up inside it. A couple of hours later we wandered home for a rest before getting ready to go to the Kinka Kippa where we met Moe and Mick and their two children, Michael and Christie. It was curry night and very nice it was too.

Thursday 20th September 2007.
We didn't do very much. We went to Happy Hour which extended into the evening as there was really good entertainment here in the park. At one time Dennis Cuthel belonged to Billy Thorpe's band. (For overseas readers "Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs" were very popular here in Aussie-land.) Dennis and his wife had really good voices and we had a great evening.

Friday 21st September 2007.
We met Moe, Mick and Christie for coffee at the Beach Coffee Shop. All very pleasant. We then walked home and before we knew it is was Happy Hour. We have met some really nice people here. Of course we have caught up with old friends from last year as well but added new ones to the long list of friends we have made since leaving home. We went with these friends for a meal at the pub. The wine must be extra strong here because it made me forget things. Like how I managed to actually get home and into bed. The trouble was, Pete Mate was pretty much the same. Luckily we had Pete and Robyn to guide us in the right direction.

Saturday 22nd September 2007.

The day started slow but by mid morning I was firing on all cylinders but Pete Mate took longer. It's his age plus the fact he doesn't drink water. We didn't do very much at all, not even a walk. Happy Hour was again a very pleasant way to spend an hour or two. We said goodbye to Jim and Sue as they are going on holiday in the morning and we will be gone by the time they return. Maybe I will hear less about a new camera now. Pete Mate has fallen in love with Jim's camera, makes a change from 'gins'.

Sunday 23rd September 2007.
I had a major washing day today which is a surprise as I seem to have washed most days this week. We went for a walk and called in at the Coffee Spot for coffees and to see Sharon. It was nice to see her again. We then walked home and didn't do much apart from reading. I bought the next two Janet Evanovich books in Rockhampton and have just about finished both. Such a good, funny read. Happy Hour soon came round and we enjoyed another hour or two with our friends.

Monday 24th September 2007
I did the ironing, Pete Mate played on the computer. We never actually got round to going for a walk but we thought about it. I finished another book and then we went to Happy Hour.

Tuesday 25th September 2007.
We went into Yeppoon to do some shopping. We wanted a food saver machine, we had seen someone else with one and they are ideal for a caravan. After we bought that we had a wander around and bought a few other things. Pete Mate bought a watch; he paid a bit more this time. He has been buying cheap watches but they just fall to pieces in a short time. He needs one he can see without his glasses; poor old thing is going blind as well as deaf. Sometimes it is quite funny in the caravan as we are both a little hard of hearing. Our conversations often consist of:
"I'm sorry, I didn't hear you"
"What?"
"I said I am sorry I didn't hear you"
"What are you saying?"
You get the idea. By the time we were back at the caravan I needed a rest. My arthritis has been really bad for the last three days but today it was agony. Once back at the van I put hot packs on my hip and knees plus I took some pain killers. Lo and behold I was okay for Happy Hour. We had a long Happy Hour tonight.

Wednesday 26th September 2007.
We had a walk and then tried another new coffee shop at the Endeavour Inn. It was nice coffee, just right for me but not strong enough for Pete Mate. We did some shopping before returning home. After lunch Pete came over to show Pete Mate something new on the computer. Pete Mate was impressed. I played with my new food saver machine which vacuum packs food in bags then seals them. We then got ready to go to the Kinka Kippa, stopping off at Happy Hour for a little while on the way. We had a good evening at the Kinka Kippa; tonight was seafood night and very nice it was too. Wayne sang his songs and we met his daughter-in-law and grandchildren.

Thursday 27th September 2007.

Norm the Gnome is missing! I was given Norman for my birthday by the Taylor’s daughter, Terri. Norman is a door guard. He stands just outside our caravan door and loudly greets arriving visitors with such remarks as “Not you again!” or “Are you going to do the dishes this time?” or "Oooo, you've put on weight".


My poor little Norman and the sort of place I searched for him.

When we arrived home last night he was missing and today I searched the park looking for him. I looked up trees and under caravans but he is gone. I have my suspicions, however, one being he is just like his Dad and saw a young gnome babe and took off after her. Another could be he just went "walkabout". The main suspicion is that one of the following four dodgy suspects took Norman and goodness knows what has happened to him!

Top Left: This is "Penguin Pete" and he's the prime suspect. Don't be taken in by that shy, innocent look.
Top Right: "Devilish Dougie". Would you buy a second hand car from this man?


Lower Left: "Butter-Wouldn't-Melt Bill" looks such a nice bloke, but . . . is he?
Lower Right: "Axeman Alan", obviously capable of anything!

Apart from looking for Norman we didn’t do much today. I was so distraught I only just made it to Happy Hour! Having to sit with the suspects was just too much for anyone to endure so after I finished the bottle of wine I went home for dinner. This is when I found a note pinned to the caravan door. The note said "To find your little man, take a short walk. Ho-ho-ho, a bottle of rum – stick it up your bum". Was this a very and sophisticated clue, I wondered, or the deranged rambling of an intoxicated Happy Hour attendee? I need chocolate!!!!!

Friday 28th September 2007.
Norman is still missing. This is now day 2. If he doesn’t return soon I will have to go to the media and make a heartfelt plea on national television. The note will have to go for fingerprint and DNA testing today.
To take our minds off Norman’s kidnapping Pete Mate and I went for a walk and then had coffees at the Endeavour Inn. Pete Mate enjoyed his so much he had another but I had tea. Too many coffees in one day is not good for me. We did some shopping and then returned home. After lunch I made the salads for tonight and Pete Mate played on the computer. Anything to distract our minds from the fact that Norman is still missing. After Happy Hour we all went to Janet and Bill’s house for a barbecue. Not before, I might add, we'd had a look inside Judy and Bill’s 5th Wheeler. It is beautiful, one of the nicest ‘mobile’ homes we have seen. To thrill Pete Mate even more we all went in Bill and Judy’s car which is a Ford F250 with a V8 diesel motor of about seven point something litres. What does all that mean. Pete Mate loved it; for me it was a means of getting from A to B. The barbecue was lovely; in fact the whole evening was very pleasant indeed.

Saturday 29th September 2007.

Norman is still missing. This is now day 3. We had a visit from the child protection agency this morning because someone has reported us for neglect. It had been noted that Norman lived outside the caravan and we didn't feed him. Pete Mate washed the car in the morning and then at lunchtime we went to Joanne and Mick's for lunch. We didn't realise access to their place was via a dirt road, so much for washing the car. We had a lovely time, good food, wine and company. All too soon it was time for us to leave. On our arrival home we were greeted by Norman and his boyfriend and somehow whilst he was away he had a son, plus three empty beer cans. So no one had abducted Norman as we thought but he was out on the town. Naughty Norman.

Sunday 30th September 2007.
We went for a walk and had coffee at the Endeavour Inn and then wandered home. We watched a DVD called Hotel Rwanda in the afternoon. It was a very good movie but also very disturbing. How can we, the human race, allow a million people to be butchered and do nothing? If Rwanda had oil, wouldn't it have been a different story? We went to Happy Hour but I told them Norman hadn't returned as I thought I would now play a trick on them. After Happy Hour we had dinner, watched some television and went to sleep knowing that Norman was safe.

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