Albert and Annie Say:

“I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle.
I just wish that He didn’t trust me so much.”
~ Mother Teresa


      Pam's Journal For April 2010

  Thursday 1st April 2010  
  Lay day. We computed, read and did other enjoyable, relaxing things. The park has been invaded. It was pretty quiet until late afternoon then the masses arrived, bringing lots of children on bikes and yapping dogs. The invasion continued well into the evening.  
  Friday 2nd April 2010  
  When I awoke in the morning I couldn’t believe how many caravans, tents and camper vans are crammed into this little park. The next few days should be fun!! We were sitting in the ‘van having our coffees when someone walked past saying, “Jason isn’t coming, he has a nail in his foot”. We thought it was very funny - how appropriate for a Good Friday. I bet poor Jason, whoever he is, didn’t find it so funny.

We decided to escape the hordes of people and go for a drive to the Buckland Valley. We discussed taking lunch with us but decided we would be back in time for lunch and if not we could always buy a sandwich. First stop was, of course, the airfield. How could you go past a paddock with gliders in it? Later, much later . . .
No not really, Pete Mate wasn’t that long. I think I only managed half a crossword.

And so it came to pass that we ventured forth into the unknown of the Buckland Valley and beyond. Way beyond. As we drove we viewed lovely scenery, we passed wineries and orchards with the mountains in the background. Eventually the bitumen ceased to exist and we were on the familiar surface of DIRT. I say familiar as these days we seem to spend a lot of time on such surfaces. Gone are the days when the creed of ‘Billy is for towing the caravan, not four wheel driving’ was adamantly adhered to. I could comment that Pete Mate has been stolen and replaced by one of the Leyland Brothers but I have it on good authority that one of the Leylands is dead. So we won’t go there.

Anyway, we are now on a dirt track. We passed many parties camped on the banks of the Buckland River but as we climbed they dwindled until there was no-one at all, just us. For the next two hours we drove on a track that was marginally better than a goat track. We not only had to avoid tippling over the edge but also fallen trees either side sticking way out over our pathway or actually lying on the track. We had one or two hairy moments, I can tell you. Plus it was way past lunchtime and not a coffee shop in sight.

At around three thirty, Pete Mate gave up saying “This road has to lead somewhere” or “We will just see what is around this corner” and asked me if we should turn back. By this time his very placid wife was extremely grumpy because:
a) she wanted to pee, and
b) she was very hungry.

Pete Mate turned the car around and pulled over.
“Go and pee over there, we haven’t seen anyone for two hours, you are safe”.
No sooner had I done what one does in these circumstances and had got back in the car when two utes came around the corner! I did see the funny side of it. Had they been a moment sooner they would have had the shock of their lives.

They enquired if were we on our own and where were going. They were surprised we were on our own. It made us think. No one knew where we were. Heck, let’s face it, we didn’t know where we were. Alice was again as much use as a chocolate fireguard. In fact, I am thinking of replacing her with chocolate because I can tell you that a nice bar of Cadbury's would have been a lot more appreciated than bloody Alice.

Like the fools that we are we gave her one last chance to get us off the mountain. We were returning the same way we went up, but Alice found another track that we thought would get us home quicker. Wrong! No self respecting goat would have tried this track, but hey, we did. Then we had a heck of a job turning around. We do have common sense somewhere; on this occasion I think we must have left it back at the caravan. Anyone with any common sense would not follow a GPS in any way or form when all the way up the mountain she kept telling us to turn right – a very big drop.

Eventually we arrived home and replenished the energy levels with bread, cheese and wine. Then, as we sat outside, peeling garlic and prawns, the nightmare once more became an adventure and all the angst was forgotten.

The garlic prawns were pretty damn yummy too.
  Saturday 3rd April 2010  
  We went into town for a few things in the afternoon and discovered the markets, but alas they were packing up. For some reason I thought they were happening on Sunday. Maybe they will be there tomorrow as well. Pete Mate owes me big time, all those hours of sitting, waiting at airfields, not to mention goat tracks.

We did what we had to then PM decided he wanted to drive out to Harrietville – the man is mad, I already said one million times that the meat was in the oven. Anyway we had a drive out to Harrietville and then returned home to rescue the meat which was very nice indeed.
  Sunday 4th April 2010  
  We enjoyed another lovely afternoon/evening out at the Bright Brewery. The music this week was Blues and Roots, not really our type of music but we did enjoy our time there. The two performers were not only accomplished musicians but entertainers as well. We sat with two really nice people from Melbourne, Mel and Steve, and our friend Steve from last week joined us as well. A good time was had by all.  
  Monday 5th April 2010  
  Lay day today. When are all these people going home? We are trying not to be grumpy old people but when a kicked football hits your car for the third time your patience wears thin.  
  Tuesday 6th April 2010  
  It is raining, it is pouring but the old man is not snoring, he is doing important work on his computer.  
  Wednesday 7th April 2010  
  We enjoyed lunch in Bright and did some shopping.  
  Thursday 8th April 2010  
  Another lay day as the weather was still pretty awful. In the evening we walked into the village for dinner at the pub. The walk is about ten minutes by road but we wrongly assumed that there would be street lights so we did not think to take a torch. Now if we thought it was dark going, coming back it was pitch black. We could only see our way by following the white line. Every time a car approached we had to scurry on to the verge, not knowing what was there. It didn’t help that Pete Mate kept saying he could see red or green eyes looking at him from the bush. Sometimes he deserves such a good slap.

The meal at the pub was okay but not something we are planning on repeating. I nearly forgot to mention - for those wondering - yes, I did complain all the way home in great detail.
  Friday 9th April 2010  
  The weather was dull and cloudy but dry so we decided to go into Bright and do the Canyon walk. You know what they say about plans of mice and men. Pete Mate had to do some minor maintenance on the caravan which turned into a major cleaning job. He then discovered our hot water pipe underneath the caravan was leaking. Our walk was well and truly shelved now. He made a temporary repair until he can get the parts to fix it. He managed to source what he needed on the Internet and ordered them; there isn’t anywhere here in Bright that sells caravan parts.  
  Saturday 10th April 2010  
  A pretty quiet day, I wasn’t feeling the best. We went into Bright to shop and have lunch. I was very glad to get home and lie down again. The weather was wet and windy but we were very comfortable and snug in the ‘van.  
  Sunday 11th April 2010  
  It is still pouring with rain and is so cold. Not a lot happening today except the two computers were running hot. Pete Mate has discovered he can talk to his and it listens. Maybe he can get it to do the dishes next. We have named the two computers, Pete Mate’s is Mildred and mine is George  
  Monday 12th April 2010  
  We walked into Bright, all six kilometres of it, and it nearly killed me. By the time we got to the coffee shop my ankle had given up and I had three blisters on my other foot. We ate lunch and then Pete Mate walked home for the car. I used the time to get my fringe cut and thought I would browse a while. I could hardly walk so I bought the newspapers found a bench and waited for my knight in shining armour.  
  Tuesday 13th April 2010  
  We did a short walk today, only three kilometres; we also found the coffee shop in Porepunkah. Apart from that we didn’t do very much. Oh yes, I remember, I defrosted the fridge. Exciting times, these.  
  Wednesday 14th April 2010  
  We went into Bright to do some shopping and then Pete Mate walked home. He is much quicker walking on his own and made good time.  
  Thursday 15th April 2010  
  We did the short walk today; the first part of the walk is through a very pretty woodland area. The second part is along the Rail Track, not so pretty but the deciduous trees around the place are so colourful it does make for pleasant walking. We called in at the café for lunch, homemade pumpkin soup. We were not overly impressed and will skip the soup next time.
  Friday 16th April 2010  
  Relaxing day reading and knitting, the weather is so beautiful it is just lovely to sit in the sunshine. We went for our normal walk but reversed the circuit; a change is as good as a rest.  
  Saturday 17th April 2010  
  We went for our usual walk, the day was glorious and the walk a pleasure. Pete Mate took a couple of photos I rather like – simple but pretty.  
  We stopped at the bridge over the river to play pooh sticks and Pete Mate won . . . or was it a photo finish? Yep, PM took a photo so we could be sure. Pooh sticks is a very serious sport; I wonder if there is an Olympic section for it? Pete Mate thinks we are mad. I know we are!
After lunch we went into town to do the shopping and found a very quiet Bright indeed. Lull before the storm, maybe, as next weekend is the start of the Bright Autumn Festival.
  Sunday 18th April 2010  
  We had heard that the food and entertainment at the Wandiligong pub were very good. So off we went to the Wandi (that is what we locals call it) for lunch. We were a week early for the entertainment, which must be a first for us we are usually late. The lunch was very good and huge; we now know why they offer half serves. We left there and made our way to the Bright Brewery to listen to their entertainment. It was a mixture of pop and blues – well that is what the poster said. We just found it dreary and not really entertaining. We did however meet a really nice ex-Pommy couple from Geelong.  
  Monday 19th April 2010  
  The weather is changing; it wasn’t a glorious blue sky today. However, after lunch we decided to go for our walk. We took the car part of the way then walked the Rail Trail into Bright, nice and easy, about 1½ kms. We had coffees at a café that overlooks the river; it is a nice spot and is rapidly becoming a favourite place of ours. We noticed a track we had not been on which follows the river so I asked the waitress about it. Apparently it is the beginning of the Canyon Walk. She assured us it was a lovely walk and - with a diversion - would take us back to the car. So away we went. A very easy path to start with then it narrowed and became, yes, you have guessed, a goat track. When we set off from home I thought we were going to walk on even pathways so did not take Harry my trusty walking stick. Once on the track I lamented the absence of Harry and had to rely on Pete Mate to help me up or down the really rough parts. Anyway, eventually we made it back to the Rail Trail and walked a short way to the car. I for one was very glad to see Billy. We then made our way home, looking forward to that first sip of the red nectar.
  Tuesday 20th April 2010  
  Not much happened here today. I read a little, did some knitting which I wish I had checked before continuing as I did the pattern back to front and had to unpick the lot.  
  Wednesday 21st April 2010  
  Did some chores in the morning then went for out walk. After lunch we went into Bright to shop and drink coffee. What a life!  
  Thursday 22nd April 2010  
  I didn’t feel like doing much so after a few chores I finished reading my book. It was a good story; I never guessed who the murderer was and I usually do. Pete Mate took Billy into the garage for an oil change which seemed to take all okay.  
  Friday 23rd April 2010  
  We set off for Mount Beauty but not before we watched Theo, the caravan park owner, remove a tree stump. There is something pleasing about watching other people work. The tree stump was just outside our caravan and prevented us parking Billy there, so very often we parked on a vacant site. This is all very well unless, of course, the park is busy, which it will be now as the Bright Festival starts tomorrow. Anyway once we had supervised the tree stump removal we sallied forth over the mountain to the Mount Beauty Music Festival.

We were disappointed to find that, not only did we not know any of the artistes listed, but the programme didn’t give details if they were folk, blues, jazz, country or what. Then, to top all that, the day tickets were fifty dollars each and the entertainment was not continuous all day.

We have attended excellent concerts in Tamworth and have paid a lot less. I guess we have been spoilt by Tamworth as Mount Beauty’s atmosphere was, to be frank, boring. Only one mediocre busker was to be seen. So we had an early lunch and decided to travel on to Omeo.

We had travelled the road up to the Falls Creek Ski Resort before so expected the steep, twisting road. After Falls Creek we encountered the newly sealed section. I wasn’t happy that Pete Mate kept declaring that he would happily bring the caravan this way as the road was good enough. I have to say I did not agree as it was narrow and very winding.

The scenery was beautiful even though we left the sunshine behind in Mount Beauty. Once at Omeo we had a look around and enjoyed afternoon tea at the bakery. By now the weather was really dark and dreary so we decided to head home as it was a fair trek. We were very surprised by the excellent standard of the road from Omeo to Mount Hotham. In many parts it was straight without such a long drop over the edge. Once through Mount Hotham we encountered the winding road with the drop on one side but as we had travelled it before it wasn’t so bad. All in all it was a really good day out.
  Saturday 24th April 2010  
  The rain thundered down on the caravan during the night and didn’t stop until around four in the afternoon so we did not venture out of the ‘van all day.  
  Sunday 25th April 2010  
  ANZAC Day. We watched the services and march on the television, how damn lazy is that? We were then going to The Brewery for lunch and the entertainment but forgot. This was our punishment for not getting up at dawn.  
  Monday 26th April 2010  
  The morning was taken up with goodness knows what, because I don’t. In the afternoon we attended a lecture in Bright. It was due to start at 3:00 p.m. but didn’t begin until 3:45 p.m. due to a technical hitch. The technical hitch was the chap was trying to play a Power Point presentation on a DVD player. Even I know that isn’t going to work. Eventually it was all sorted and we enjoyed a really interesting lecture about the people of the Dargo Plains. As it had started late, at the end the chap had to hurry as the place was closing which spoilt it a bit, but nevertheless it was well worth the wait. At the end of the lecture we, of course, went to our favourite coffee shop and managed to squeeze in two coffees before they closed.  
  Tuesday 27th April 2010  
  In the morning we attended a photographic workshop which just happened to be taking place in our favourite coffee shop. I found the morning very interesting and informative but Pete Mate said it was boring as it was so basic. Hey, I need basic!

Barbara (the photographic lady) asked the ones with small cameras like mine to show her how we held them. She looked at me and said,
"No, that is wrong, you should keep your finger straight."
She also remarked that my shutter button was in an awkward place. She continued to talk about it for a couple more minutes, all the time looking at me. I then looked at where my finger was and said,
“Oops I'm pressing the On/Off button, not the shutter button”.
Talk about embarrassed! Everyone laughed and I said,
“Don’t worry, I used to be blonde.”
At this point I looked down the table, straight into the eyes of a blonde lady. Oops.

After the workshop had finished we enjoyed a really nice lunch in the café. We then walked the town to see what else was happening. We soon realised that nothing was happening except the weather. It was cold and then it started to rain so we hurried back to the car and then home to our nice cosy caravan.
  Wednesday 28th April 2010  

The morning was similar to Monday; in other words I have no idea what we did. In the afternoon I attended a craft workshop, working with beads. I hadn’t done anything like this before and always wanted to have a go. I soon realised it is not my forte. Firstly I couldn’t see the holes in the beads to thread the wire through and secondly I have no idea about design so I just copied their example. I was pleased with the result, a necklace, even though it isn’t perfect but then the person who will be wearing it isn’t perfect either. Me!
I met Pete Mate at the coffee shop who declared he had been waiting an hour in a tone that was not conducive to any future hours waiting around on airfields. He was, of course, joking. We enjoyed afternoon tea before heading home.

  Thursday 29th April 2010  
  Big day in Bright today; the new Woolworths store opened its doors for the first time. I was looking forward to some really good specials but was disappointed. I found some things cheaper than IGA but overall it came out the same. The big difference was the variety of goods. Next we will have a Woolworth’s petrol station and then, who knows what will follow? Shame really as Bright was just right as it was.  
  Friday 30th April 2010  
  Lots of cleaning and washing done today plus I made a large batch of Moroccan spiced soup, very yummy. By late afternoon my heart was sinking as I was sneezing and my throat felt red raw. I prayed it was an allergy, but no, it is official - I have a cold.