Hamish and Annie Say:

Go Placidly Amongst The Noise And Haste
For The Silly Season Is Upon Us.


      Pam's Journal For December 2008

  Monday 1st December 2008  
  Pete Mate had a day to himself whilst I went up to the house to clean. I have to say it wasn’t as bad as I first thought and the boys had made an effort with their fixing and cleaning. Later I had coffee with friend Tracey before heading home for a much needed shower and glass of wine.  
  Tuesday 2nd December 2008  
  A visit to the doctor’s surgery was first on our list of things to do today. We wanted our scripts renewing and our annual check up. All went well until she asked how much wine we drank. You should have seen her face and heard what she said. We just nodded meekly and agreed to cut down to one glass a day with our evening meal. This, of course, left us in a quandary. Then the solution struck me; we'd change doctors!

After that experience we needed coffee so we found a G.J.’s tucked away inside the huge shopping centre of the Carousel. We had a wander around the place. This has also changed since we have been away. Yesterday, whilst at the house, I was having a great clean out of things we no longer need. Among these items were a stack of LP’s and as vinyl is making a comeback we called in at a record dealers. What a waste of time that was. He kept us standing around for ages then offered us peanuts so we took our records back and left. I mean one cannot buy wine with peanuts! We already knew they were going for much more on E Bay as NP had checked it out for us. We then had to make another visit to Centrelink regarding the pension. By this time we had had enough and we headed home. Once revived we started cleaning windows. Once the nets had come down for washing we realised how dirty the windows were.
  Wednesday 3rd December 2008  
  We were out the door early this morning for our blood tests, caffeine yearning can do that to you. (We had to fast before having the test). Once that was out of the way we visited a coffee shop which is also a bakery for our fix, which I might add was really nice. We wandered around yet another revamped shopping centre before entering Woolworths which looked the same. We then decided we needed another of those lovely coffees.

Once home we finished the windows and some other cleaning. The task of putting back the nets was next on the list. Anyone who has put up net curtains in a caravan will sympathise with me. Later in the evening John and Tracey came over for drinks. We had to sit inside the caravan as the weather was too cold for outside entertaining. It was a lovely evening and we enjoyed their company very much.
  Thursday 4th December 2008  
  Four years ago today we set off around Australia – here is an extract from that journal.

Saturday 4th December 04

Left home at 9.00am. It is about 19°C. but it feels much hotter. Peter is getting used to towing Bessie again. Peter decided to drive for as long as he was comfortable doing so. We stopped at Merredin for lunch then pressed on to Southern Cross for a cuppa. We decided we would travel through Coolgardie and stop at a road side picnic spot - our first attempt at ‘roughing it’.

The roads in Coolgardie are very wide to allow camel trains to turn around. We didn’t see any camels but later we sure did see a train!

We arrived at the campsite with the light fading fast, set up camp and cooked dinner. It was still very warm so we decided to eat outside, I got quite a shock when I saw lights fast approaching us, we did not realise we had set up camp alongside a railway line!

Sleep was scarce that night, what with heat, the roadtrains and the railway trains. We were up early next morning and back on the road.

How much we have changed, how much we have learnt! And it was warm weather on this day four years ago, not like today. The most important thing is what a wonderful time we had.

Back to the present.
We awoke to pouring rain and it was cold. Yes, cold in Perth in December, unbelievable, I even closed the door and a window or two. We decided to have a lay day as sightseeing was out of the question and we did have things to do. Pete Mate spent ages trying to enable our satellite dish so we can watch the channels we had on the old card. (The card we were using became obsolete this month). These people do not make life easy for us little old grey nomads.

I wrote some Christmas cards. If I leave it much longer they will be in time for next Christmas. Later in the afternoon I met my friend, Pat, for coffee at GJ’s. We chatted for so long we lost track of the time and decided we had better make tracks when they started turning the chairs upside down on the tables. Be fair! We had four years worth of gossip to catch up on!

  Friday 5th December 2008  
  We called over at the house to pay the tree lopper and were invited to have coffee with our neighbours. It was very pleasant catching up with them after all this time. We then made our way to South Perth via the caravan shop where Pete Mate bought some ‘stuff’ for his on-going mission of maintaining our beloved Jayco.

Once in South Perth we wandered along the water and Pete Mate took photos. We enjoyed our lunch with views of Perth from the other side of the water. After leaving South Perth we continued our touristy jaunt to Kings Park. It is many years since we had been to Kings Park and even then we didn’t do it really thoroughly. Today we did; we walked and walked but it was so beautiful. The different plants and trees, the water gardens the memorials and, of course, Isabella. You should have already met Isabella on page 90, such a cute little thing. We also witnessed a wedding in progress. There were a great many people within the park, doing the same as us, walking around or enjoying picnics or even just relaxing under a tree reading a book. Yep, Pete Mate spotted the sun bakers before I did. It was now getting late so we made tracks for home, along with thousands of people who had just finished work for the week. The freeway in places was just like a huge car park and I have to say I didn’t like all the traffic and yearned for a country town.
  The new Mandurah railway runs down the centre of the Kwinana Freeway.
We were soon to join the Friday afternoon city exodus on the left carriageway.
  Saturday 6th December 2008  
  We awoke to a beautiful sunny day so I headed towards the laundry to catch up on the washing. Alas, so did everyone else. Anyway eventually I completed that task before we went into Kelmscott to do a little shopping. We kid ourselves we need groceries just so we can justify calling in at the bakery for their delicious coffee. In the evening we met up with friends Ann & Wal for a Mexican dinner. The food and wine were good, the company excellent.  
  Sunday 7th December 2008  
  The day started slow and I did some cleaning whilst Pete Mate caught up with the web site. I then did the ironing; I knew ironing was a thankless task, I left my keys in the laundry and now they are missing. I can only hope that someone will hand them in. Later we were invited to John and Tracey’s for Happy Hour, which seemed to be a long one because I for one came home and went straight to bed. It was again a very enjoyable time with our good friends.  
  Monday 8th December 2008  
  We went up to the house today. Pete Mate to fix the ceiling and to do some computer work using Nic’s broadband connection. I did some more cleaning and packing away our things. In the evening we enjoyed a very pleasant time at John and Tracey’s with friends Pat & Tony and Jim & Sandra. The barbecue was lovely and the company excellent.  
  Tuesday 9th December 2008  
  Our first appointment of the day was with the accountant. It was all good news - we don’t have to pay any tax. This is a first time since becoming employed this has happened, lets hope there is more of it. To celebrate we went to the bakery for a coffee which turned out to be a disappointment. We then made our way up to the house for Pete Mate to have another go at the ceiling. It didn’t go well so we left. (I am pretty sure we went out in the evening but I can’t remember where. Sorry dear diary).  
  Wednesday 10th December 2008  
  We had to buy a new cornice on the way to the house, that in itself was a laugh; me driving slowly up the hill whilst Pete Mate held on to it. Putting it up was another amusing episode, only we didn’t think so at the time. Once we left there we went down to the bakery for a well earned coffee. It was then I discovered I had glue in my hair.  
  Thursday 11th December 2008  
  I met NP for lunch, did some shopping before returning home. In the evening we went to friends Andrew and Vanessa’s house for dinner. We were joined by Andrew’s Mum, Dot and his sister Caroline. It was a really lovely evening with lovely people. The food was excellent and the wine flowed.  
  Friday 12th December 2008  
  A couple of days ago I received a phone call from Karen, lady I hadn’t seen for 30 odd years. I first met her when I was 16 and worked with her mum. I was their official baby sitter but as Karen and her brothers and sister weren’t babies, I don’t suppose I did much ‘sitting’.
Karen arrived at the caravan park early afternoon and we spent a very pleasant couple of hours drinking tea and catching up with all the news. Karen and her husband have just immigrated to Perth and seem to be settling down very well. So the old saying ‘it’s a small world’ is very true once more.
  Saturday 13th December 2008  
  We were out and about in Armadale shopping, then in the afternoon I did some cooking for tonight. We went to Tracey and John’s for the evening. Pat and Tony were there again plus Judith and Peter. It was a really good evening and before we knew it it was 12.45 a.m. so we hastily made tracks.  
  Sunday 14th December 2008  
  We were very tired so stayed home and relaxed. (For "very tired" read "hung over".) I caught up with my journal after a week of neglect. Apologies to anyone we met up with who isn't mentioned - I know I had a good time, just can't remember where or when.  
  Monday 15th December 2008  
  Our first call of the day was the real estate people to arrange an appraisal for our house. We then went to the Dome café for a coffee which turned into lunch and more coffee. We were just saying we had been out and about in Armadale & Kelmscott for three weeks and hadn’t bumped into anyone we knew, when a familiar face appeared. Our friend Jim was with his wife Sandra and some friends.

Once we left the Dome we did some shopping before returning home. In the evening we went to friends David & Santi’s for a meal, it was a very pleasant evening with excellent food.
  Tuesday 16th December 2008  
  We had quite a few things to do today the first being a trip to the caravan shop for some more trim for the caravan. Then we revisited our ‘favourite’ doctor but this time she was in a good mood plus all our tests came back with the all clear. So drinking wine is good for us. She tested Pete Mate to see if he is gaga and apparently he is not, therefore he can stop pretending and do the dishes.

After the doctors we went in search of coffee. We had a couple of things to do at the shopping mall so we headed there. We have neglected G.J’s in Perth as we prefer the Dome coffee. Once in Tamworth I guess we will return to G.J’s as, from memory, I don’t think they have a Dome.

Once refreshed it was onwards to Skipper Mitsubishi to pick up the wheel nut they left off Billy when he was serviced. Since the service we keep getting a warning light, so poor old Billy has to go back tomorrow for them to look at him yet again. Poor old Pete Mate has to drive him there and then hang about. At least the coffee in the waiting room is good and they provide chocolate muffins.

After Skippers we drove to West Perth to see our financial advisor. Nothing new on the stock market front but it was reassuring to see him so positive.

Permalux was next on our list as we needed some paint, we said our goodbyes yet again to everyone there and then made our way home for a nice glass of red.
  Wednesday 17th December 2008  
  I had a girls' day out today. Pete Mate had to take Billy to Skipper’s to get him fixed. Tracey collected me from the caravan park early, with Pat already on board. We spent a really lovely day looking at lots of gift shops, some dress and shoe shops, eating and drinking (coffees not wine). Of course, there was lots of chatting. Then in the evening we went to Pat’s for a barbecue which included the men. An absolutely fabulous day.  
  Thursday 18th December 2008  
  Another busy day. Here there and everywhere. We spent some time at the house, I wanted to do some sewing and Peter Mate finished off the ceiling. The real estate person came around and gave us an idea of how much our house is worth and we were pleasantly surprised. In the evening we had our Christmas dinner with NP at The Manse restaurant, which used to be a favourite of ours before we started travelling. Well, the food and service is as good as ever and we enjoyed a very pleasant evening.  
  Friday 19th December 2008  
  I set off early to do some supermarket shopping and just by coincidence I bumped into Pat, so what can you do but go and drink coffee? After we said our goodbyes I did the shopping and a couple more errands before heading home. I then did a few more chores before getting ready to go to Jan & Peter’s for dinner. We had a lovely evening and enjoyed a very nice meal.  
  Saturday 20th December 2008  

It is pouring with rain. December in Perth and it is raining!!! We kick started our day with breakfast at the bakery with Pat, Tracey, John & Greg. It was a very enjoyable time which involved lots of coffee drinking, eating and chatting, all ‘stuff’ I am good at. After we said our goodbyes Pete Mate went off to wash and feed Billy then he went home to start getting things ready for Monday. I, on the other hand, raced around the shops before meeting NP for lunch. More eating, drinking and chatting. Afterwards NP dropped me back at the caravan where I had time to collect my thought before I was collected by friend Elaine. We went to a craft shop/gallery/tearooms for afternoon tea. Yes, more drinking, eating and chatting.

Once home again I had a couple of hours before we both made our way to a local restaurant where we met Pat & Tony for dinner. More of the above. We had a very nice meal with excellent company and all too soon it was time to say goodbye. Far too many goodbyes in one day just makes me plain sad!

  Sunday 21st December 2008  
  We started around 9.00am cleaning and packing everything away and finished around 5.00pm. We see other people pack up and go in an hour or two so I don’t know why it takes us so long. Anyway it was all done and we were hitched ready to go.  
  Monday 22nd December 2008  
  We were away by 7.30am along with all the workers off to their day jobs. Once we left the metro area the traffic thinned out so after a couple of hours we swapped seats and I did some of the driving. Towing the caravan in traffic for any length of time was a first for me. Pete Mate said I did well but I did get a bit stressed when the large trucks came up close behind me. Anyway we survived and we arrived in Coolgardie safe and sound.

On the way we'd passed through many little towns with names familiar to me from the days I worked at the silo sealing company. The memories were happy ones which cheered me up a bit as I was very sad to leave everyone behind, it was a much harder wrench than in 2004.

Note: Previously in this daily journal I made a blunder. Because I'd got a little behind I couldn’t remember where we had been or who with. Luckily I have a friend who remembers for me, (well she is younger than me). The evening of Thursday 11th December was spent with the Fisher Family, some of the nicest people I know. The evening was really enjoyable as you will find if you re-read the 11th which has been amended . I apologise for this memory lapse.
  Tuesday 23rd December 2008  
  We were away again by 7.30am and had a pleasant day. The roads are so quiet we hardly see any traffic at all, for which I am grateful as it means I can get used to towing without having to worry too much about other traffic.

Late afternoon we pulled into a roadhouse tired, sticky and in need of a shower. I left Peter to lock the caravan door and made my way over to the shower block. I had already started my shower when I heard Peter's voice saying my name. I thought he had poked his head around the door and was checking to see if I had picked up my key. We all know what 'thought' did! He was actually in the shower cubicle next to me and he then said, "You do realise you are in the gents, don't you?". He had recognised my cough and was 99% sure but once I was in the shower he looked under the partition and saw my purple shower shoes with bling. No mistaking those. I went into panic mode and rushed my shower. Peter had to check that the coast was clear before I left the shower cubicle. Once in the clear we saw the funny side of it and laughed all the way back to the 'van. Actually, I think Peter saw the funny side of it straight away.

I should have known it would be a strange day when I discovered I had my trousers on back to front. We had stopped for morning coffee and I went to the loo only to find I had dressed backwards that day.
  Wednesday 24th December 2008  
  I started the day with a shower, in the ladies this time. The showers in the gents were far better, so maybe I will try that again sometime. We shared the driving again and had nana naps, not the driver! It makes for a very relaxed journey especially as we have had our breaks at roadhouses with coffee that has caffeine. By the time we reached the Nullarbor Roadhouse we were weary and having left an hour and a half behind at the South Australian border it was late. So we made an executive decision and decided to stay two nights here instead of one. We spent a couple of pleasant hours in the bar chatting to the locals and their families.

Note: My diary for 12th December has been amended. My apologies to Karen.
  Thursday 25th December 2008  
  Christmas Day on the Nullarbor and it is raining. Actually it is thundering and lightning as well. Once the storm passed over the day became warm and sunny. We presented ourselves at 1.00pm in the restaurant for our Christmas lunch. I made Pete Mate hurry as I didn’t want to be late and then as it turned out the staff weren’t ready and we had to hang about drinking. Once the meal was ready we could help ourselves to fresh prawns, oysters, ham, turkey, pork, roast vegetables and various salads. A feast in the middle of nowhere and very good indeed. Dessert consisted of a very rich looking cheesecake and pavlova. These were cut into huge slices for us to help ourselves. Once lunch was over we were told to take away as much food as we wanted and take away cartons were provided for this. We had eaten far too much as it was, so declined the offer. Pete Mate and I then went back to the caravan for a well earned nanna nap.  
  Friday 26th December 2008  
  Our night was disturbed by yet another thunderstorm. The lightening was quite fierce and I was very unsettled as I kept thinking our 'van would be struck.
We set off a little later than we intended, I think this hour and half difference has thrown us out of kilter. It was a long day but made easier by listening to the talking books. I did some of the driving again and am now more comfortable dealing with the traffic and pulling over for the trucks. We arrived at Kimba late and set up camp for the night. The caravan park is again part of the roadhouse but this time was a Top Tourist park. I reckon it was someone’s idea of a joke. Top Tourists parks have to maintain a certain standard and believe me, this one didn’t make the grade. It was basic but adequate and at least we didn’t need dollar coins to shower as we did at the Nullarbor.
  Saturday 27th December 2008  
  We had a restful night’s sleep without God giving us a fireworks display. We left Kimba at 8.00am and had a good trip through to Broken Hill. I didn’t do a lot of driving today as once Pete Mate had had a nanna nap he felt fine to do most of the driving. The roads were busier today and we swapped seats just before we arrived at Port Augusta as I didn’t want to drive through a busy town. (I might have had to turn right!) We arrived at Broken Hill late and decided to have a break tomorrow and stay two nights instead of one.  
  Sunday 28th December 2008  
  Lay day. At least I now have a chance to do some overdue washing.  
  Monday 29th December 2008  
  We left Broken Hill around 8.00am and had a good but long trip through to Cobar. I again did some of the driving and am relaxing more now. We arrived at Cobar late and tired but before we could relax we had to fill Billy with Diesel and pick up some wine.  
  Tuesday 30th December 2008  
  We left Cobar around 8.30am, we had another good travelling day without incident. When it was my turn to drive I encountered a lot of trucks and a lot of hilly winding roads. I found it a little scary but as we arrived in Tamworth safe and sound I guess I must have done okay. We arrived in Tamworth around 5.30pm and waiting for us were our friends Marilyn and Greg who are spending a few days in Tamworth. They are on their way home from Brisbane to Adelaide. After setting up camp we had a very late Happy Hour and an even later dinner before flopping into bed, very tired indeed.  
  Wednesday 31st December 2008  
  We finished unpacking and setting up in the morning. In the afternoon we had to go and do some supermarket shopping as supplies were very low. Before we knew it it was Happy Hour. As it was still very sunny we sat under the barbecue area in the shade and were joined by two young men from New Zealand. I could not believe it when someone said it was 11.30pm so we decided to stay for midnight to see the new year in. So much for our planned early night. It was a very enjoyable night I just hope we didn’t disturb too many campers.