Albert and Annie Say:

"I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision."
                                            Maya Angelou.


      Pam's Journal For September 2010

  Wednesday 1st September 2010  

It rained all night and then all day, so sightseeing was out of the question. After lunch, however, we did venture out into town to the information centre and met a very nice helpful lady that gave us lots of leaflets about what to do in this area. We had a drive around and got lost on a huge housing estate before finding our way to Woolworths.

  Thursday September 2nd 2010  

We enjoyed a lovely drive out to Split Point and the surrounding area, calling at that famous surfing beach, Bells Beach, where the Easter Classic is held each year with surfers from all over the world competing. We watched some surfers, one in particular delighting us with his fancy moves.

The lighthouse at Split Point was closed for tours which devastated me no end, I don’t think. The café was open and they served one of the best green teas I have had in a while.

We finished the day by having a look at the Sundial as recommended by the lady in the information centre. We were very pleasantly surprised, it was beautiful and however many photos we took from different angles we couldn’t possibly do it justice.

  An echidna, a possum and a galah are just a few of the creatures featured on the Sundial.  
  Friday September 3rd 2010  

We decided to explore the coast in the other direction today and looked at the towns of Barwon Heads, Point Lonsdale and Queenscliff. I wish I had known before going to Barwon Heads that it is where the television programme Sea Change was filmed, I would have paid more attention to the little town. We looked at yet another lighthouse and again it was closed for tours. Shame! We did, however, see a lady singing on the beach. She and her party were apparently practising for a beach wedding the following day. The surfers were entertaining us somewhat and what intrigued me was the age of a couple of the surfers - they looked older than Pete Mate. We always thought it was a young man’s sport. The weather has improved but is still windy and cold.

  Saturday September 4th 2010  

What did I say about the weather improving? It absolutely poured down today; a lay day was definitely in order.

  Sunday September 5th 2010  

The rain seems to have cleared but the weather is still not flash. We decided to go and have a look at Geelong. Before we had even put our shoes on the heavens opened and it bucketed down and that is how it was for the rest of the day and evening. We cancelled plan A and enjoyed another lay day.

  Monday 6th September 2010  

Get ready day for tomorrow we leave Torquay for Bendigo. I for one am very happy we are moving on, I do not like it here and the people are unfriendly.

  Tuesday 7th September 2010  

We were on our way around 10.30 with the sun shining for a change. We had a good trip through to Bendigo passing through some very wet, green countryside. I noticed lots and lots of daffodils along the verges and wondered who had taken the trouble to plant them there. Then I remembered Diann from Bright telling us that if we see daffodils along the wayside it usually means a house used to be there. Pioneers used to plant them around their homesteads. So who knows, could there have been houses along the wayside or just an industrious person who likes daffodils.

We arrived in Bendigo around lunchtime. Before setting up camp we took the caravan into the repair shop to book her in for a service and to get a new awning. So by the time we had done that and booked in at the caravan park it was a very late lunch indeed. This caravan park is very nice in fact it could well be one of the nicest parks we have stayed in. All the sites have their own en suites and the rates are really reasonable. The park itself is well maintained and the people very nice. Methinks I could stay awhile.

  Wednesday 8th September 2010  

We went for a look at Bendigo city this morning. First stop, as always, was the Information Centre. We were met by a friendly face who armed us with a good map and lots of information. We lunched at a very pleasant café before having a walk around the town; this walk included a visit to Centrelink and Telstra. The young lady in Telstra was excellent and assures us our account is now sorted out, the proof of the pudding will be in the next bill. We now decided it was time to wend our way home calling at the supermarket on the way. We also booked Billy in for a service on Monday.

  Thursday 9th September 2010  

Lay day. The weather hasn’t improved and we have a big day out tomorrow. We are going to have to set the alarm for the first time since I gave up work.

  Friday 10th September 2010  

We needn’t have worried about getting up early and being on time as we were parked outside the locked gates of the repairer’s yard by 8.30am. Now where was he? I asked myself. That extra five minutes we could have stayed in bed!

Once Bessie was settled in we snuck away for the day. We drove into the town of Bendigo where we found a coffee shop with excellent coffee. Today was a 'pink' day and first on the list was the Bendigo Woollen Mill. Pete Mate stayed in the car whilst I entered my idea of heaven . . . wall to wall wool. All colours, blends and plies. I was at a loss what to look at first. I bought some wool but remained in control and did not buy the whole warehouse.

From there we travelled to the Bendigo Pottery where we watched a potter making plates. We found it fascinating watching him work with the clay and turn it on the wheel. Whilst we were watching him a nearby door slammed shut; he said the door had been bolted to the floor. I jokingly said, "You must have a ghost". His serious reply was, "Yes, we do. That is a picture of him up there". Apparently the ghost is the original owner of the pottery, George Duncan Guthrie, born in Glasgow in 1828. He arrived in South Australia penniless and tried his luck at gold mining but found fine white clay instead. Consequently the Bendigo Pottery was born in 1857, which this indomitable man ran until his death in 1910. The potter then embellished the tale with stories of how sometimes, late in the day when everyone has gone home, machinery can be turned on, seemingly by itself.

We decided it was time to make tracks; we had already looked around the showroom and made our purchase. I won’t say we rushed out of there but we did walk quickly to the car! We still had hours of daylight to spend before we could collect our 'home' so we decided to go and have a look at Echuca. I have wanted to go there for so long as it is where they made one of my favourite television series, All The Rivers Run.

Echuca is a lovely quaint little town with paddle steamers on the Murray. Today the steamers were being secured as the river was rising and they didn’t want them damaged in any way. We spent time watching the process of manoeuvring these grand old ladies of the river and a man moving his 'home' along the river to a safer place. Then it started to rain so we went in search of some lunch. After lunch we had a walk around and I did some retail therapy, browsing before heading back to Bendigo. We hadn’t been travelling long when we received the call to say Bessie was ready. We collected her and then went home to set up camp once again.

  Saturday 11th September 2010  

Lay day today. We are tired, early mornings are not for us anymore.

  Sunday 12th September 2010  

Another lay day as the weather is not the best.

  Monday 13th September 2010  

Shopping day today, we managed to get a gift for Ellie at last. We also bought some new things for the caravan as after six years things are now beginning to wear out.

  Tuesday 14th September 2010  

Major cleaning day, we discovered we had a water leak and it had leaked into cupboards and under the bed. Pete Mate worked hard fixing the leak which wasn’t easily accessible. At one point I had to grab his legs and pull him out as he was stuck. Once the leak was fixed we had to empty everything out of the drawers and cupboards, clean and then put it back. We took the opportunity to have a huge clear out and filled three bags for the charity shop as well as filling the park’s garbage bins.

  Wednesday 15th September 2010  

We took the day off from cleaning to go and have a look at the Murray again in Echuca. The river was higher than when we were there last Friday, the garbage bins and picnic tables were now surrounded by water. We were looking at a tree that had fallen on a walkway when we heard an almighty crack and saw another tree come down on a houseboat. Luckily for the house boat owners, no one was on board and a steel post saved the boat from getting badly smashed. There were a lot of people milling about and the caravan park was being evacuated as the river has not yet reached its peak.

  Thursday 16th September 2010  

More cleaning and sorting was done today, plus we pulled up the carpet which left the rubber backing attached to the floor. It was a devil of a job to get off but we found Mr Sheen worked well. We cleaned and polished at the same time. The floor was sparkling clean but also now doubled as skating rink. We spent the rest of the evening trying our best not to go A over T. We had a break from the cleaning to go and buy some more carpet; we were very pleased with the deal as it was the end of the roll so he gave us a metre for free.

  Friday 17th September 2010  

Pete Mate laid the carpet and did bits of cleaning working around him. We then had the shopping to do for milk and wine and a few other essentials.

  Saturday 18th September 2010  

More cleaning and sorting out was done today. Then I had a really good time on Skype with my sisters in the UK and brother in New Zealand. It makes the miles between seem very small indeed.

  Sunday 19th September 2010  

Lay day. Not feeling the best, another stupid tummy bug.

  Monday 20th September 2010  

Marathon washing job today, I washed everything cushion covers, throws, clothes the lot. We went into Bendigo as we hadn’t collected the mail, did a few other chores and then on the way home called in at a camping shop. We need a new table for outside the ‘van, we received no service so they received no sale. It was the worse shop we had encountered in Bendigo. Once home it was pack up and get ready, for tomorrow we travel to Swan Hill.

  Tuesday 21st September 2010  

We set off just after 10.00am and had a good journey through to Swan Hill. Many of the verges we passed were covered in yellow and orange daisies, mainly orange. In some places all we could see were a carpet of orange - beautiful. We kicked ourselves upon arriving at Swan Hill that we hadn’t pulled over and taken photos.

The caravan park at Swan Hill was nice except the showers were kind of small to move around in especially if you have a rather large bottom. I’ll say no more.

  Wednesday 22nd September 2010  

We were again on the road just after 10.00am and again we had another good journey this time through to Mildura. We set up camp, sorted ourselves out, had showers and then we were greeted by our good friends Phil and Dawn. They collected us from the caravan park and took us back to their place for an absolutely scrumptious meal. It is so lovely to meet up with old friends again.

  Thursday 23rd September 2010  

We awoke to a beautiful sunny day, we had a few things to do in town and then it was home for relaxation.

  Friday 24th September 2010  

The weather was again perfect today; it is so nice to have so many sunny days, makes one feel glad to be alive. If we thought the park was full yesterday it is positively bursting today. We went in to town to the outdoor concert but before we did that we took my IPod speakers back to Harvey Norman as they stopped working. Pete reckons it is because I play opera on it. Harvey Norman staff were charming and very helpful and we left there with brand new IPod speakers. The day really warmed up and I was a little burnt by the end of it. At the concert we enjoyed seeing and hearing a few artists including our friends Michelle Little and Donella, both excellent as always.

  Saturday 25th September 2010  

Today’s main event was a concert in the evening at the Edge Hotel. We booked a table for dinner which automatically reserved us our seats for the show. We enjoyed an excellent meal then we were entertained by first class artistes. It was all so good I for one did not want it to ever end. Marie Hodson, Donella and Michelle Little were all there plus we really liked Amber Joy Poulton. Eventually it was time to leave for home; I knew this because after Pete Mate had hugged all the girls he was going for a second round.

  Sunday 26th September 2010  

Every day we are treated to entertainment in the caravan park, today we took our chairs to the barbecue area to listen. Some of it was very good, some not so good. It was a nice relaxing day.

  Monday 27th September 2010  

We collected Dawn and went to Wentworth Wharf to listen to the music there. On the way there we were enthralled by the flowers on the verges, hundreds of beautiful pink ones. Dawn told us it was called pigface; how can something so pretty can have such an awful name. We introduced Dawn to the music of Marie and Michelle and she enjoyed both. The whole show was really good and we all enjoyed it very much. Afterwards we went into the Wentworth club for a very late lunch. In the evening we were going to take our chairs and listen to the music in the caravan park but instead we stayed home. We had all the windows open so we could still hear it.

  Tuesday 28th September 2010  

We had fairly relaxing day apart from a shopping jaunt. In the evening we went for a meal and show with Phil and Dawn as it was their 47th wedding anniversary. It was an excellent night with Michelle singing a song for Dawn and Phil which was very appropriate as it is about retirement and caravanning.

  I don't know who owned the hand. Together with Dawn and Phil.  
  Michelle with Dawn and Phil.  
  Wednesday 29th September 2010  

I am officially tired, too many late nights for me. We went into town and collected the mail and did a shop for tonight’s tea. Our neighbours, Jodie & Ian, invited us to join them for a barbecue. They have been extremely kind to us and wanted us to meet Barbara, Jodie’s mother. It was a pleasant evening with far too much food. Why do we do that? Do we think the army will arrive at anytime and need feeding? We said our goodbyes to Barbara as she is leaving in the morning, before retiring to the caravan.

  Thursday 30th September 2010  

A day to relax, do the washing and one or two other jobs that needed doing. There was entertainment in the park again tonight.