Albert and Annie Say:

"If all the economists were laid end to end, they’d never reach a conclusion.” ~ George Bernard Shaw.

     

      Pam's Journal For March 2010

     
  Monday 1st March 2010  
  We took the computer to one shop that only did corporate work. We then went to a couple more repair type places; one guy was very helpful and spent ages trying to help us but gave up in the end. The next one agreed to look at it but wanted paying $66 for their time; we declined as we thought we had better see what the insurance company required us to do. We went home and rang them; the result of this was to be a return trip to the computer repairers as the insurance company wanted a quote. First though, Pete Mate had to replace all the keys, this took him the rest of the day.  
  Tuesday 2nd March 2010  
  We took the computer in for its quote and then treated ourselves to a very nice lunch in town. The rest of the day was spent reading and knitting.  
  Wednesday 3rd March 2010  
  The sun was shining and we have had enough of reading and knitting, so we packed our lunch and sallied forth to Glenrowan - Ned Kelly country.

Glenrowan is a nice enough little town and it is full of Ned Kelly memorabilia. They have a theatre that shows the downfall of Ned every half hour but we gave that a miss and went to the museum. The museum was very informative and as you walked around you could listen to a constant narration via a loud speaker of the Kelly family’s lives.

It would seem that they were picked on from the outset so who could blame them if they turned to crime! The fact that they robbed, killed, took hostages and seemed a thoroughly bad lot didn’t have much to do with it, I am sure.
 
     
   
  The Kelly Family's shack.  
     
  Anyway poor ole Ned was captured at Glenrowan in June 1880 and then, after they had healed his bullet wounds, they hanged him. Half the local population wanted to set him free as they thought the police and government officials were bullies, but alas for Ned, the law prevailed and his dash was done on the 11th November 1880.

Ned is now a folk hero bringing lots of tourists and money to small country towns, and why not? We walked the Heritage Siege Precinct which was well laid out and displayed lots of information. The figures depicting Ned, the police and townsfolk need some imagination but they did add to the folklore of the whole story.
 
     
   
  Left: A keen policeman. Centre: The town's people - a tough bunch. Right: No wonder Ned lost - he's got no arms!  
     
  Once we exhausted our interest in the Kellys we travelled further south to Benalla. We didn’t really explore the town, just had a drive around. From what we saw it was just a typical country town but lacked the charm of Glenrowan.

From there we went to Mansfield, the reason being it was on the way to our next point of interest which was Powers Lookout. This lookout was named after Harry Powers who was Ned Kelly’s mentor and friend. The lookout was often used by both men and their gangs to keep an eye out for any approaching police. The views from this lookout were superb. We did find out you could climb higher on another nearby lookout but by means of ladders. I don’t think so! This girl doesn't do ladders.

We discovered this from a German back packer on the way down. Whilst we were admiring the view she had appeared from the bush and took us by surprise. She continued walking through the bush without speaking. We encountered her again on the drive down and gave her a lift.
 
     
   
  Looking out from Power's Outlook.  
     
  By now we were in need of a cool drink so we travelled into the next little town where we found a general store open. We bought our drinks from a very unfriendly man and sat outside to drink them. Whilst slurping away we tossed a hypothetical coin to decide whether we should visit the Paradise Falls. It was after four and we still had a long drive home. What the heck, we went anyway. Access to the falls was via a steep stone stairway and rough track. I made it so far but decided to turn back and look at Pete Mate’s photos later. So glad I did, the water wasn’t running and Pete Mate was more than disappointed. He arrived back at the car park out of breath declaring that his exercise for 2010 was now done! We reckoned it was definitely time to go home as Happy Hour was well and truly in progress somewhere without us.  
  Thursday 4th March 2010  
  Not a lot happened today, just a walk into town, washing and reading. We can’t even look at our photos! How sad is that?  
  Friday 5th March 2010  
 

Apart from my early morning walk and some shopping, we did very little. It was nice to just sit outside the caravan and read.

 
  Saturday 6th March 2010  
  I awoke to blue skies and the sun shining so went for a morning walk. Today was the day of a big local cycle race and there were plenty of cyclists around for their big ride. I'm not sure where they are all going, but I tell you ladies, there were a lot of nice little bottoms in lycra. I quite enjoyed my walk this morning.

I hadn’t been home long when the heavens opened. The bike riders scattered everywhere looking for shelter and that is how it remained for the rest of the day and night. So we did not venture out at all.
 
  Sunday 7th March 2010  
  If we thought it was wet yesterday we were mistaken. Today it absolutely poured down all day; it was the wettest March day for . . . well I don’t know how long, but a very long time. We had 103mm in twenty four hours. We stayed all tucked up snug and dry in our caravan, reading.  
  Monday 8th March 2010  
  It is still raining but it does look like it is easing. We had some sunny periods, very short sunny periods, but there all the same. We felt so sorry for the cyclists, their big weekend ruined by nature. Our day was spent pretty much the same as the last three days - reading, knitting and watching television.  
  Tuesday 9th March 2010  
  Today is the day! What day? I hear you ask. The day we buy, not one, but TWO new computers. The insurance company have accepted the repairer’s assessment and have given us the go ahead to purchase a new computer sans red wine. But first we visited a couple of computer repair places to see if we could acquire a new keyboard for the old computer. The answer was no. Pete Mate is like a dog with a bone - he won’t let the sad old thing go, he believes he can still fix it. As Kevin Rudd would say, and let me tell you, if anyone can fix it, he can.

New computer #1 came inside to be set up; this one is to be mine. I set it up as far as I could go then Pete Mate took over whilst I did other more mundane things.
 
  Wednesday 10th March 2010  
  At last the sun has returned to Wangaratta and one of us can do a stack of washing. I walked into town early as it was such a beautiful day. On the way home I collected two take-away coffees. BIG mistake. Pete Mate’s was okay as his is white but a black coffee is so damn hot I kept burning my hand.

Once breakfast was out of the way I did the washing whilst Pete Mate spent all day on the computer getting things transferred and set up.
 
  Thursday 11th March 2010  
  Now what did we do today? It is so hard to remember working backwards as I am. I know Pete Mate spent a lot of time setting up my computer with his software so the two computers will be compatible.

We did our usual walk into town and enjoyed coffees at the second hand bookshop which is also a coffee shop. They were nice people and the shop was bliss, crammed full of books. We then walked around the town. I was browsing, Pete Mate was being the charming husband he is and waited patiently. Well, I did warn him I would be browsing. I love the fact that the town is within walking distance as it gives one a purpose for the exercise. No, Pete Mate, not for health reasons, for retail therapy. We then had a spot of lunch at a coffee shop we rather like, before picking up one or two things at the supermarket.

Before entering the supermarket I had to dash off to the ladies - as one needs to do at regular intervals, these days. Anyway whilst doing what you do in a public loo I spied a stack of mail on top of the loo roll holder. Being a nosy sort of person I had a look and realised it belonged to one of the local businesses. We stopped a passer-by and asked directions; Pete Mate went off to deliver it whilst I did my thing in Woolworths. We assumed that an employee had had an urgent call of nature after collecting the mail and had inadvertently left it behind. Nothing that simple, no one had left the mail anywhere. In fact the mail should have been in their mail box at the front of the building. So it would appear some naughty person helped themselves to the mail and taken it into the ladies toilet to open it looking for cheques. After this unusual finish to our wanderings we made our way home to read and in Pete Mate’s case, to play computers.
 
  Friday 12th March 2010  
  Not a lot happened today. We did some work on the computers and we now have two complete computers and one without a keyboard. We should rename our caravan the mobile computer command centre. The emails are all over the place at the moment so if you are reading this and we haven’t replied to an email please resend it. We walked into town for some exercise and balanced that out by partaking in an ice coffee, made with skinny milk of course. Once home it was just about time to clink those wine glasses and pour the red nectar.  
  Saturday 13th March 2010  
  We decided, as it was such a nice day, we would venture forth and visit the Milawa Muster. We arrived around noon as we never hurry anywhere and were surprised to find such a small number of people. We thought - as I am sure did the organisers - that more would come during the afternoon. Alas they didn’t, which was a shame as it was the first Milawa Muster . . . and maybe the last.

They had entertainment on during the day. Some of it was quite good, one was not our taste, but some people seemed to like him. Pete Mate liked the stationary engines. I have to admit some of the little novelty ones were very good. The llama was cute, the old cars were not old, just shiny, and the craft stalls were good but not enough of them. The clown and the performing horses never appeared. Milawa is famous in this area for its cheese, olives, mustards and wines but they were also nowhere to be seen. I would have thought that the locals would have taken this opportunity to promote themselves.

We did intend to wait around for Peter Pratt and Kevin Harris, both hail from Tamworth, but as we had forgotten to bring our chairs and the metal bench we found was marginally better than standing up for hours we decided to wend our way home.
 
  Sunday 14th March 2010  
  Not a lot happening in the Ransons' caravan apart from a lot of keyboard activity and Pete Mate’s constant declarations of what he is going to do to Bill Gates. I cannot repeat them here as we do not want to be sued. We did the supermarket shopping which was a joy, especially when a woman thought my legs should be permanently connected to her child’s stroller.  
  Monday 15th March 2010  
  Another beautiful morning greeted us; our weather is bliss, warm sunny days and cool nights. We are such sleepy heads these days and do not rise with the lark. After breakfast Pete Mate was on the computer “trying to sort out this damn web site”. So after doing the washing and a few other chores I left him to it and walked into town. I wandered, browsed, shopped and drank coffee then like a good wife went home and made lunch. I popped into Woolworths for a couple of things I forgot yesterday, then noticed the specials and ended up carting a really really heavy bag home. The brain should send out reminder signals ‘you are walking; you have to carry everything you take off the shelf’. I should have checked out home delivery like my niece Joanne does in the UK.  
  Tuesday 16th March 2010  
  We are on the move again. We packed up and left Wangaratta around 10:30. We really liked it here and would definitely come back one day. The caravan park was exceptional in its hygiene and maintenance plus the couple that ran the park were really lovely people. The laundry set-up was so convenient I could take the clothes off the line, iron them in the laundry before putting them away.  
     
   
  Wangaratta's main street.  
     
  Anyway, off we went to Porepunkah and were greeted on arrival by some more lovely friendly people. We quickly settled in on our site on the banks of the river. The park is full of trees with a backdrop of mountains. We think we are going to like it here.  
     
  Wednesday 17th March 2010  
  We travelled the short distance into Bright today, five minutes by car. First we checked out the village of Porepunkah; there is a general store which is also a newsagent, post office and petrol station combined. There is a pub, a café and a motor vehicle repair shop. Once in Bright we parked the car and had a good walk around, we found all the essential places such as a liquor shop and supermarket. Woolworths is opening a brand new store in April which we thought was a shame as it would somehow spoil the charm of Bright. Talking to a local they can’t wait as there is only one supermarket and it is so expensive. This lady travels to Wangaratta to do her shopping. So it all depends on your perspective, doesn’t it? At least there isn’t any signs of MacDonald’s arriving, yet!

We enjoyed a very nice lunch at the Bakery, called in at the information centre - to give them information this time. We checked out a Brewery place that has free entertainment on Sunday afternoons so we mentally bookmarked that.

We had a yen to see Mount Hotham. We travelled over familiar ground through Smoko and Harrietville before entering a very winding steep road. The white lines had changed to yellow for the snow season and the steeper we climbed the more uneasy I became. A familiar cry could be heard at intervals, “Don’t go near the edge!”
 
     
   
  Mount Hotham Resort.  
     
   
  "Harriet the Hat" at Mount Hotham.  
     
  The views were magnificent and we were so surprised to see this little village on top of the mountain. Even more surprising was the huge modern police station; must be a rowdy lot these snow people. Once we had taken our photos we started the trip down, stopping along the way to take some more. I for one was very glad when we emerged from this winding road into the relatively flat town of Harrietville.  
  Thursday 18th March 2010  
  We did the washing. I say 'we' and meant we as the washing lines were a little high for me yet again. When we actually came to put the clothes on the lines we realised that they sagged enough for me to reach. Once the washing was out I walked along the river path into the village. The path was easy going and it only took me fifteen minutes. Pete Mate would do it in half that time. I bought a couple of things from the general store declaring - silently - that I won’t be doing much shopping here. Very pricey. Once back at the ‘van I made some lunch and then spent quite a lot of time reading and doing crosswords.  
  Friday 19th March 2010  
  Lay day. We spent more or less all day catching up with our computer work. I think I may have RSI. The park had filled up a little more with dogs and children; I guess they came with Mums and Dads as well. One child in particular is not much of a delight, if she can’t get her own way she screams. Oh what joy, at least we can close our door and drown out the noise with the clink of wine glasses.  
  Saturday 20th March 2010  
  The sun was shining once more so we packed a picnic and took off for Mt Beauty. It was as lovely as we had been led to believe, or maybe even lovelier. The drive over there was another winding road with a drop on one side – my side! It wasn’t as long or as bad as Mt Hotham though, so my blood pressure remained normal. On the way there we stopped at a couple of lookouts and took some photos. At one lookout we were just about to get back into the car when Pete Mate spied a goat track. He and Billy have this thing about goat tracks these days. For a goat track it didn’t look too bad but I was anxious when Pete Mate suggested we went up it. Then he roared with laughter as he was only joking. One day, Pete Mate, just one day.

The Information Centre at Mt Beauty would have to be one of the best we have been to; also Midge the volunteer on duty was amazing with her local knowledge and information. She encouraged us to actually come and live there as she loved the place so much. We watched two short films; one informed of us what to see around the area and the other was the history of the place.

This area was first seen by Europeans in 1824 by Hume and Howell but the town of Mt Beauty wasn’t developed until the 1940’s by the government to house construction workers on the Kiewa hydro project. We ate lunch at a lovely spot near a lake and whilst enjoying our salad we spied an object falling from the sky. We discussed at great lengths what it could be, a dead parachute maybe? I decided it was the beginning of an alien invasion and kept watch for more. Then Pete Mate saw a glider in the sky and knew immediately it was the release of the winch cable. (I prefer the alien version myself).
 
     
   
  Our lunchtime view.  
     
  Once lunch was consumed and the remains packed away we headed for the gliding airfield as one would, being an ex glider pilot. I always carry a book and a crossword for occasions like this which is handy as we emerged from the airfield an hour and a half later! Pete Mate seemed to enjoy his time there but he didn’t have a flight. He does inform me, however, that at Easter there will be many gliders at the local airfield at Porepunkah.

We had a look around the town and then proceeded over the ridge on the winding road home.
 
  Sunday 21st March 2010  
  On the journey home yesterday we decided we wanted to stay in this area for a few weeks so today we asked Lynette, the park owner, if we could. The lovely lady changed her bookings around enough for us to be able to stay another six weeks. The downside was that we had to move sites but as we were due to go out shortly we asked to do it tomorrow. Alas, no, she needed our site today if possible. What could we say? We abandoned our plan to go to The Brewery to listen to the music, eat and drink. Instead we packed up everything in a haphazard sort of way as we were only travelling from one side of the park to the other. This was all achieved with no hassles at all plus we are now in a convenient position for the ladies loo. This is always a plus from my point of view. It was now late afternoon so what else was left to do but crack open that red and relax.  
  Monday 22nd March 2010  
  Myrtleford was on our agenda today; we had passed through this small town a couple of times and made a mental note to visit it properly. They have an historic tree called, would you believe, ‘The Big Tree’? It is the largest River Red Gum in the district and is at least two hundred years old. Over the years it has been used as a meeting place for many different groups of people.

One of the reasons we wanted to return to Myrtleford was a tree on the side of the main road. We were very curious about it as it was lying on its side and showing a marvellous display of roots. When we found it again we soon discovered it was a sculpture and not a fallen tree. The sculpture was called The Phoenix Tree by Hans Knorr unveiled in 1986. I found it quite interesting and took some photos to prove it.
 
     
   
  Left: The 200 year old "Big Tree", the largest Red River Gum in the district.
Right: Two views of the "Phoenix Tree".
 
     
  After a very nice lunch at the Bakery we ventured forth in search of a lookout, which according to the leaflet was worth the drive. We drove up this dirt track for a while and then eventually we arrived at the communications tower. We had a quick look around and decided it wasn’t worth it as we couldn’t see anything for the trees. Pete Mate saw a goat track and understood very quickly from his passenger we were not going up there. So we trundled down the hillside until we saw a sign pointing in the direction of the lookout. Oops, we'd gone the wrong way. Now isn’t that unusual for us? So we eventually arrived at the ‘official’ lookout and the leaflet was correct - it was worth it.  
     
   
  Looking out over Myrtleford.  
     
  After leaving the lookout we decided to end our visit to Myrtleford with a drive to Lake Buffalo. We found the lake easily enough and drove over the dam wall and then continued to drive around the lake. We assumed, incorrectly that the road we were on went around the lake. All was well for a while but then we were in dense forest and could not see the lake. The track became dirt and narrow and very rough in some parts. We laughed and said we were on an adventure, one hour later we stopped laughing and starting yelling at Alice. We had no idea where we were and Alice was as much help as a chocolate fireguard. Actually, if she had been chocolate I would have eaten her. Another hour passed by and we emerged from a track back at the lake. We then had to retrace our route back to Myrtleford and then home. Once home we intrepid adventurers enjoyed a glass or two of the red stuff whilst reliving our adventure which by now was an enjoyable experience. By tomorrow we will have started believing that we meant to get lost in the bush.  
  Tuesday 23rd March 2010  
  A relaxing day today, not much is happening apart from the washing machine droning on. I really don’t know where all our washing comes from. After lunch we walked into the village which for some reason is sign posted as town. We had to collect some mail from the post office before sampling the wine at the local pub. We weren’t overly impressed so decided not to stay for more.
The following photos are of the walk along the river into the village.
 
     
   
     
  Wednesday 24th March 2010  
  We had a few things to do in Bright, one being getting a photo done for Pete Mate’s mother. It was supposed to be sent at Christmas; hopefully it will be in time for Easter. We visited the bakery again, not our fault if they make yummy food and good coffee. Apart from our trip to Bright we did little else other than computers and reading. I am reading a book at the moment called Who Killed Angelique. All I can say is, why nobody killed her before I don’t know. She was a horrible person.  
  Thursday 25th March 2010  
  We awoke to a smoke filled valley, not good for someone who suffers from asthma. We know the Rangers and Country Fire Authority have to do the burning off for safety reasons but I wish they wouldn’t do it whilst we are here.

We decided to try and escape it so we packed a picnic and headed for Mount Buffalo. We didn’t get very far when we realised that the smoke was getting thicker in the direction we were going so we turned around and headed for Mount Beauty in the opposite direction. If the smoke was still bad in that direction we were going home for a picnic! Luckily we started to leave most of it behind as we climbed the steep road to cross over to Mount Beauty. As you can see from the photo taken at the lookout where we had lunch, the smoke was still about.
 
     
   
  A beautiful view tinged with blue from the fire smoke.  
     
  This time we continued through Mount Beauty and on to Bogong where a hydro electric power station lives. We had been told we could go into a visitor centre and view the plant. We drove around this very strange little town but couldn’t find the centre. The roads were so narrow it was hard to manoeuvre Billy, so someone was getting grumpy. He wasn’t too grumpy to search for a ladies loo for me, for which I am eternally grateful. Bogong was named after a moth because a long time ago the Aborigines used to come to this area to eat the moths. At a certain time of the year the moths were in abundance. I did not see a moth nor did I eat one. We left Bogong a little bemused as it did seem a very odd little place.

We travelled further up the winding road to Falls Creek which is a skiing resort similar to Mount Hotham. We had a look around, enjoyed a coffee and then prepared ourselves for the journey home. I was in a dilemma - do I keep my eyes open and alert or do I close them so I don’t have to look at the huge drop on one side? The chap that served us coffee told us a young guy died up there last week. He was going too fast and took off into midair on one of the bends. Thinking about this I decided being alert was the best policy.

We arrived home safe and sound back into the thick smoke. We did not sit outside with our wine tonight nor did anyone else. I sat with my wine and finished my book – now I know who did the dastardly deed, good for them I say.
 
  Friday 26th March 2010  
  A day of washing, cleaning and catching up with things on the computer. The smoke is still with us but not as bad as yesterday.  
  Saturday 27th March 2010  
  Not a lot happened today, we went into Bright as we needed more wine but apart from that we did very little.  
  Sunday 28th March 2010  
  We spent a very nice afternoon listening to live folk music at the Bright Brewery. It was mainly Irish. Listening to it brought back many happy UK memories. We met an interesting chap called Steve who seems to have been everywhere and done most things.

The entertainment was interrupted by an unexpected downpour, short but heavy. As the concert was outside under sails, everyone was clamouring to the centre so not to get wet, musicians included. As fast as it started it was over and everyone once more relaxed. After the music had finished and people were preparing to leave the heavens opened again and this time it continued throughout the night. Hooray, this might mean the end of the smoke.
 
  Monday 29th March 2010  
  It is raining, it is pouring and the old man is snoring. That covers Monday!  
  Tuesday 30th March 2010  
  The sunshine has returned and the smoke has gone. We packed a picnic and headed for Mount Buffalo National Park. We thought the entrance fee was a bit steep at $10.60 but if you compare it to a couple of coffees, I guess it isn’t so bad.
We drove through the most spectacular scenery, very rugged in parts. We saw dense green forests and pretty little waterfalls. When I was brave enough to look over the edge of the steep winding road, I saw the forest floor had wall to wall carpeting of lush green ferns. All very beautiful. We also passed the paraphernalia that is used in the skiing season. We haven’t quite worked out what does what yet so maybe we will have to wait around for the snow to see it in action.
The Mount Buffalo Road ends in a carpark at the summit. From there it's a 1.5 kilometre walk up to The Horn. Now, we had heard about this track up to the top; it wasn’t far but it was steep and strenuous. I did not think I would be doing it as I am fat, unfit and have short legs, but on arrival I decided I would have a go. Pete Mate went on ahead as we both thought I would only make it so far and then turn around.
He was very surprised when I not only caught him up, but had managed to get as far as I did. We continued together until I said I had had enough. Pete Mate continued and unbeknownst to me the top was just around the corner. He shouted for me to come up but I didn’t hear him so I started to make my way down. Pity, but I was happy I had made it so far; Pete Mate was upset I didn’t hear him and get to the top.
Anyway once back on the level we had a break and took some photos before making our way down the steep winding road, stopping only to take more photos. It was an excellent day out and we will probably return to the park as we didn’t cover all of it.
 
     
   
  Two pictures from the Mount Buffalo summit car park.  
     
  Wednesday 31st March 2010  
  I awoke this morning without any after-effects from yesterday's climb which was good as I had a pile of washing to do plus some cleaning. Later we went into Bright for lunch before driving out to Wandiligong, known as Wandi by the locals. Wandi is a very pretty little town surrounded by some lovely scenery; Pete Mate loved it so much he wants to live here.  
     
   
  I loved the range of greens in the tree leaves.  
     
  We had a drive around before finding the signpost to the Chinese Bridge. This bridge is significant as it represents a time when the gold rush was taking place. The bridge is situated where the Chinese plus other nationalities used to pan and dig for gold. They would set up camps along the river and by all accounts were not treated kindly by the local residents.  
     
   
  Pete Mate on the Chinese Bridge over Morse's Creek at Wandiligong .  
     
  To get to the bridge was a short walk along the creek from the car park. On the way back I spied some fungi growing on a tree, which I thought were quite pretty.  
     
   
  Fungi growing around a tree trunk in Wandi.  
     
  As we drove back into Bright we saw para- gliders landing in a paddock. We stopped to watch and Pete Mate had a chat with one guy. If I want to have a go they do tandem flights. I don’t know, maybe, maybe not; we will have to see.
We then carried on to Bright to do some shopping but saw a sign to Huggins Lookout so decided to check it out. We would rather do anything than go to the supermarket. The lookout was actually on top of the hill where the para-gliders take off. The lookout was worth the trip up there as we could see the whole of Bright in all its glory.
 
     
   
  I took these two pictures of Bright independently but they almost butt together.  
     
  Now we really did have to go to the supermarket, and then it was homeward bound.