Albert and Annie Say:

'I've learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug or just a friendly pat on the back...' Maya Angelou


      Pam's Journal For October 2010

  Friday 1st October 2010  

We walked our little socks off looking for a particular card for a friend. Eventually we had to settle for second best as we still had to do a supermarket shop. We arrived home with enough time to get ready for a evening out with Dawn and Phil. Phil very kindly collected us so we could drink and drink we did, far too much. We enjoyed a nice meal and good company followed by another excellent show. We have not been disappointed with the Mildura Country Music Festival at all.

  Saturday 2nd October 2010  

We enjoyed a relaxed type of day, went to Henderson Park late afternoon to listen to one or two acts but were disappointed that Michelle Little didn’t appear. We came home made the dinner and watched The Bill.

  Sunday 3rd October 2010  

We have been so blessed with the weather in Mildura, it has been perfect. We took our lunch and chairs to Henderson park to listen to the Final Round Up Concert. We sat basking in glorious sunshine for a few hours listening to artiste after artiste. What a perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

  Monday 4th October 2010  

I awoke this morning feeling a little flat as the festival is over and we had such a good time. Then I remembered our friends Bev and Greg would be arriving today. We had quite a few things to do before they arrived so we got ourselves into gear in the hope they would not arrive early.

What is that saying about "the best laid plans of mice and men"? When they arrived Pete Mate was in the middle of attaching a banner and balloons to their cabin as a welcome. I was cleaning up after doing some cooking. I went outside to greet them by saying “We are not ready, drive around the block.” How nice are we? They have driven all this way to see us and we tell them to clear off. We all had a good laugh about it, organised ourselves and spent the next few hours before bedtime catching up with all our news and drinking copious amounts of red wine.

  Tuesday 5th October 2010  

We awoke pretty chipper this morning, which is surprising, and got ourselves ready in time to board the Paddle Steamer Melbourne for a morning cruise. It was an excellent trip with the Captain giving a very good commentary along the way. We saw a few birds including black swans. Going through Lock Eleven was interesting and again the Captain explained everything that was happening so even a pink person could follow it.

  I photographed Paddle Vessel Rothbury from Paddle Steamer Melbourne's deck.
I have to get the terminology right. Rothbury is diesel fuelled and Melbourne burns wood.

Of course, I wasn't the only photographer on the boat - Greg and Peter were hard at it too.
From the froth on the water I can tell you that this was just downstream from Lock and Weir Eleven.


Once back on the wharf we disembarked and made our way into the centre of town for some lunch. We then drove out to Wentworth to see the junction of the Murray and Darling Rivers. We had seen this before but that was during the drought. Today the rivers were flowing and it was a beautiful spot to spend time. I reckoned I could have brought a book along and sat under a tree and whiled away the afternoon.

We did the very short walk to Lock and Weir Ten and then drove around to it for a better look. Happy Hour was drawing near so we decided to make our way home, but Alice had different plans. Alice had not finished her day and took us off up a dirt track. It wasn’t too bad, nothing like the goat tracks we have been on. Eventually we emerged from the bush track on to the road leading to the caravan park. Another Happy Hour was followed by dinner with Dawn and Phil joining us. It was a really good evening and again the wine flowed.

  Wednesday 6th October 2010  

A quiet day today as I must have eaten a bad piece of bread. This is true as Bev and Greg discovered mould on the remainder of the loaf this morning. I did some washing, drank endless cups of green tea and did a lot of resting. We enjoyed another pleasant Happy Hour and dinner with Bev and Greg; on my part the wine did not flow quite so freely tonight.

  Thursday 7th October 2010  

We said goodbye to Bev and Greg after having had a really good time with them; we'd had so many laughs and too much red wine. Is there such a thing as too much wine? After we said our goodbyes we felt a bit flat so we threw ourselves into the chores of the day. I did some cleaning and washing and Pete Mate gave Billy a good clean. We then made the short trip into town for a couple of things and a coffee. Happy Hour was spent with Jodie from next door.

  Friday 8th October 2010  

Another perfect day here in sunny Mildura, the birds are singing and the river is looking good. There are very few 'vans left now after the festival but we have heard a new crowd are arriving soon.

We went to see our friend in hospital and were really surprised, though very happy, to see how well and cheerful she was after just having major surgery.

Once home we had our annual conference call with our financial advisers in Perth which went really well. Dinner time was spent with our neighbour.

  Saturday 9th October 2010  

We enjoyed a splendid day with our friends Jo and Gavin from Renmark. They arrived in time for morning tea then we took a drive over the NSW border to Gol Gol for lunch. We sat outside with views of the river and the houseboats. The sun was shining and the temperature was just right. We enjoyed some good food and wine and of course, excellent company. Eventually we left there, had a quick look at the local caravan park for future reference then crossed back into Victoria. Jo and I had a quick Spotlight excursion and when we got back to the car the men were missing so our pink credits increased by the minute until they returned. All too soon the sad part of the day arrived, time to say goodbye. Once we waved them off I retired to the ‘van to ‘Skype' my sisters and brother. This has become our regular Saturday catch up time.

  Sunday 10th October 2010  

It was a very nice relaxing day reading, catching up with emails and doing crosswords. I only emerged from the caravan for Happy Hour and Jodie joined me.

  Monday 11th October 2010

We went to have five minutes with Dawn to see how she was before I went to the hairdressers. Unbeknown to me I had made an appointment with Dawn’s hairdresser, how freaky is that? Of all the ones in Mildura I chose that one.

Well, actually I didn’t. Last week, as we parked to go to the mall, Pete Mate said, "There’s a hairdresser, go and make your appointment there."

Once the ‘barnet’ was cut and titivated we had a spot of lunch and collected the mail before returning to the hospital. Dawn was still waiting for the doctor to show himself so we sat with her and Phil all afternoon sharing our colourful stories about our neighbours. When we arrived home Jodie and Ian were waiting to greet us with their friend Ron who is a really nice chap and has come to help them pack up and return home.

  Tuesday 12th October 2010  

I read a book, did some cleaning and some cooking. We had dinner with our neighbours as it was their last night here. The weather changed and it rained for most of the night.

  Wednesday 13th October 2010  

The weather was wet and cool but not windy, thank goodness. It was lovely and peaceful in the park and once again we are practically on our own. I spent much of the day on the computer; I had a few things I needed to catch up on.

  Thursday 14th October 2010  

We welcome our Great Grandson, Ethan, born today.

  We had a few things to do in town plus we went to the library and the information centre. Australian libraries are great; wherever we are we can join and borrow books plus there is generally a sale table where we can buy books for a little as one dollar. Our visit to the information centre was to check out places for our next destination because soon we will be on the road again. We called in to see Dawn and Phil and spent a very pleasant couple of hours. It was then time for home and happy hour on our own in the ‘van. Bliss.  
  Friday 15th October 2010  

If my Mum was still alive she would have been 95 years old today.

It rained all night and this morning there were no signs that it would be stopping anytime soon. By afternoon the wind had picked up so strongly we decided to roll in the awning. Not the best of jobs in the pouring rain and it was so cold. We had to scramble about putting chairs etc in the back of the car before retreating into the warmth of the caravan. That warmth didn’t last long - the power went off and remained that way for five and a half hours. We were so cold we went to bed, only to emerge to cook tea in the gas oven which mercifully gave us a moment’s warmth. Our old table, which we'd left outside took off and landed in several pieces. A sheet of wind-born corrugated iron blew into Billy; we don’t know where that came from. Eventually the wind died down and the rain ceased and peace returned to our lives.

  Saturday 16th October 2010  

The sun was shining today so I did a couple of loads of washing, it is so nice not have to dry everything in the dryer. Pete Mate came with me for a morning walk, first time he has joined me. Everything around us has dried out nicely and life is normal again. Well nearly . . .

I went over to the camp kitchen freezer to get tonight’s dinner out and someone had helped themselves to it. Was I impressed? No I damn well wasn’t. In fact I was pretty mad. How anyone can do that is beyond me. How you can enjoy eating something you have stolen?

Right got that off my chest and am now over it. I had a nice long chat with my sister Sandie on Skype before preparing the dinner. We watched the last ever episode of The Bill and cried into our wine; Saturday nights will never be the same.

  Sunday 17th October 2010  

A day of reading, writing & crosswords and a short trip into town.

  Monday 18th October 2010  

The day was similar to yesterday without the trip into town. In the evening we were again collected by Phil and Dawn and taken to their home for tea. It was a lovely meal with good company, a very pleasant evening indeed.

  Tuesday 19th October 2010  

Did some washing, cleaning and I don’t know what else but I seemed to be busy for most of the day. We collected the mail from the Post Office and returned our library books ready for our departure which is now Sunday. Pete Mate parked Billy at Lock 11 so he could look at Paddle Steamer Melbourne going through the lock. Did I want to look? Not really so I had a nice little snooze in the lovely warm car.

  Wednesday 20th October 2010  

The day flew by as I was busy doing all sorts of things. Dawn and Phil came and had happy hour with us. It was a very pleasant couple of hours. The weather is perfect once more; even at 8.00pm it was still lovely warm.

  Thursday 21st October 2010  

We had a few things to do in town and then it was home again and the nose went back into the book until I finished it. Weather is really warming up now we have been told to expect 32 degrees tomorrow. Again sitting outside the ‘van for happy hour was very pleasant, only thing missing was the good company of Dawn and Phil. The park has filled up a little with "fifth wheelers". We think it might be a club meeting.

  Friday 22nd October 2010  

We went to Mildura's big shopping mall to buy some summer clothes and sandals. We were walking towards the doors and who should we bump into but Dawn and Phil. We had lunch together before we did our shopping and they went off for an appointment.

Later, much later, Phil and Dawn collected us for a lovely evening out at their club. The meal and wine were good and the company as always was excellent. Once home we said our final goodbyes as we are leaving Mildura on Sunday. Before we could go to bed we had to roll the awning in as it looked like a storm was brewing.

  Saturday 23rd October 2010  

The rain was still lashing down when we awoke so any ideas of doing the washing and getting everything packed away early were now on hold in favour of reading our books. By lunchtime the rain had cleared and we had beautiful sunshine once more. Everything dried out fairly well and by happy hour time we had cleaned and packed everything away. Billy was duly backed on to Bessie by yours truly, and then Pete Mate did the blue job of hitching up.

  Sunday 24th October 2010  

We awoke fairly early and as we were more or less ready to roll, we were on the road before 9.00am. We had a good run through to Bendigo stopping for loo breaks and lunch along the way. We had to make an unscheduled stop when we heard a sound which we thought was coming from one of the tyres. Pete Mate checked around the car and ‘van but found nothing. Once on the road again we discovered the sound to be my knitting needles bouncing along on the open glove box door which I use as a table. Along the route we were again enthralled by the beautiful flowers along the verges, so colourful and plentiful. We arrived in Bendigo around 4.00pm and set up camp fairly quickly before enjoying a nice relaxed happy hour.

  Monday 25th October 2010  

I did some washing and cleaning, there always seems to be washing and cleaning. I wanted to keep on the move as my arthritis was really bad today. We haven’t walked for a couple of days and I really felt the difference. In the afternoon we drove into Kangaroo Flat to do some supermarket shopping and also to book our tickets for the Avalon Airshow in March 2011. Yes folks, it is official. Pete-n-Pam have broken all their rules and have a plan.

  Tuesday 26th October 2010  

I did some more washing and not much else; I sat outside the ‘van with my feet up reading. As I did not sleep well last night I had a nanny nap after lunch before cooking tomorrow’s dinner. It was a curry and everyone knows a curry should be eaten the next day.

By late afternoon, two days worth of painkillers have worked and I feel a lot more mobile again. We did go for a walk and intended to walk for an hour but found the path we took came to a dead end so we returned to the park and walked around the caravan park for a while. Our one hour was reduced to half an hour but that was better than nothing.

  Wednesday 27th October 2010  

The sun is shining again, how blessed we are with this weather. We fiddled about somewhat in the morning; well actually Pete Mate was doing very important stuff on the computer. He was mapping a route for us to take on Sunday avoiding Melbourne, any freeways and toll roads. He is not enamoured with the idea of dragging Bessie through Melbourne, I mean who would be? We wanted to avoid freeways as we do not get to see the countryside, all you see is tarmac. We cannot get into our chosen caravan park on Phillip Island until Tuesday as there is a long weekend this weekend in aid of some damn-fool horse race. You may have heard of it; the Melbourne Cup. Anyway we are now going to break the journey with a stopover at Lilydale where all good chickens come from.

In the afternoon we took a drive out to the local train station to research what the procedure was to catch a train to Melbourne; this is our plan for tomorrow. Once we 'sussed' that out, we travelled into Bendigo so I could visit Spotlight which was HUGE; so big in fact I couldn’t find my way out.

Next stop was the cathedral in the city; we missed visiting it last time. Pete Mate took a few photos of the outside and inside whilst I sat and had a word with God about my lovely Day Day who is very sick. Once we had finished with the God stuff we had a drive into the city centre. By now we realised that maybe the place wasn’t as busy as it should be and noticed many shops were closed. We soon discovered today is Bendigo Cup Day so therefore a public holiday.

  Thursday 28th October 2010  

Today we enjoyed a really great day out in the city of Melbourne. The train ran on time and was very comfortable and clean. We were entertained by a lady who seemed to want to talk to us about anything and everything; she was very pleasant and seemed very knowledgeable. The only problem we had was she had a beard! I am not talking a few stray hairs on the chin but a full facial beard. It was not in the same class as Pete Mate’s but nevertheless very distracting when talking to her. Once in the city we said farewell and secretly hoped she wasn’t on our homeward bound train later.

We enjoyed wandering around the streets of Melbourne soaking up the atmosphere of a bustling, vibrant city. People walked everywhere very fast but were very good natured when we got in their way, either because we were stopping to look or because I walk very slowly. We loved how the old buildings were nestled in amongst the new and the different styles people were wearing; it would seem that anything goes.

We savoured the aromas of spices as we passed by little Asian shops or restaurants. Everywhere you looked had a feel of many nations melding together and not one hint of unpleasantness. We walked down alleyways that had full little cafes with tables and chairs outside. In fact, we stopped at one for a drink and a rest as we watched the world go by. It seemed to me that anywhere there was a space, someone filled it with tables and chairs and served food. Wherever you looked there were people eating, drinking and chatting.

We walked for hours and finally decided enough was enough. We found an old but very pleasant pub not far from the station and whiled away some time eating pizza and drinking red wine. Once on the train we were hit by a heat wave from hell; it was unbearable as the air-conditioning had packed up. We had to put up with it until the sun went down and everywhere became cooler.

Once home we did very little before hopping into bed as we were two tired little bunnies.

  Friday 29th October 2010  

I felt very jaded today so did very little apart from some washing. I enjoyed a relaxing day sitting in the sunshine reading. Pete Mate spent all day putting pictures of Melbourne on the website.

  Saturday 30th October 2010  

What is it with these Saturdays? Two in a row, when we are due to pack everything away it pours with rain. Not happy, Jan.

We did try and book in for another couple of days but the park was fully booked so there was nothing else for it but to get wet. We soon had everything packed and ready to go but left hitching up until tomorrow hoping the rain may have eased.

We were amazed to see the small stream that ran through the park absolutely gushing along. When we arrived a week ago it had all but dried up.

  Sunday 31st October 2010.  

The rain had eased by morning so we were able to finish getting ready without getting soaked.

We were on the road by 10:15am and . . . parked up in another caravan park in Bendigo by 11.30am! Billy had started to make a very loud knocking noise and we weren’t game to travel very far.

I believe we were not meant to be on the road today. Firstly, when we tried to book Phillip Island for today we were told they are fully booked until Tuesday. Secondly we had the torrential rain. Finally, the car succeeded in getting us off the road.

Later we watched the news and lo and behold the very place we were going to spend two nights was flooded! I rest my case.