Albert and Annie Say:

“Smile, it is the key that fits the lock of everybody’s heart."  ~  Anthony J. D’Angelo

     

      Pam's Journal For November 2010

     
  Monday 1st November 2010  
 

We found out where the local Mitsubishi dealer and service centre was and headed there first thing. To our surprise, if we didn’t mind waiting they would look at Billy today. So we left poor old Billy in their hands and went in search of a coffee. We only had to walk a little way before we found a diner. We spent an hour drinking very slowly and reading their newspapers before heading back to Mitsubishi only to be told they hadn’t had chance to look at Billy yet. So we waited in their waiting room and read their magazines. Eventually a chap came to tell us they could find nothing wrong. And because they couldn't find anything, they wouldn't charge us one cent. Now how many doctors or dentists would do the same? Not one!

We drove Billy home without any problems and then prepared ourselves for the full journey through to Phillip Island tomorrow.

 
     
  Tuesday 2nd November 2010  
 

We enjoyed a good trip from Bendigo to Phillip Island; Billy behaved himself impeccably. We had one or two stops on the way and a lunch break. We were sitting inside the caravan eating our lunch when we heard the sound of a steam hooter. We first though our ears were deceiving us, but no, a steam engine pulling carriages passed by and we had a front seat view.

We arrived late afternoon at the caravan park and were not overly impressed by the park or the office. The ablution block is old but clean and seems well maintained. The park mainly consists of cabins and is at the back of a theme park. We are, however, centrally based for sightseeing - not that the island is that big anyway.

 
     
  Wednesday 3rd November 2010  
 

It poured with rain overnight and I expected to walk out of the ‘van into a sea of mud but the ground had dried surprisingly quickly.

We went for a look at Cowes, collected the mail and enjoyed a particularly good green tea in one of the hotels. Pete Mate, of course, stuck to his coffee; no green tea for him. We had a wander around the township and liked it very much. We then decided to explore more of the island and ended up at The Nobbies. This area is well known for the fur seals, we couldn’t really see them very well even through binoculars but not to worry the centre boasts that you can see them from inside the building via CCTV.

We walked the boardwalk in the hope of seeing a seal but all we saw were hundreds of Silver Gulls nesting, bonking or squawking in a loud a raucous manner. One time we thought we had upset them as they went ballistic but it was two large birds that had come for a feed of chicks. They didn’t get any.

After the walk we went inside the centre and found to our dismay all the screens and cameras were out of order so we didn’t get to see a seal in its natural habitat. We then decided to make our way home as it was after four, we drove past the famous racing track but nothing was happening. The island is very green and very pretty. Cowes seems to be full of accommodation and eating places though we saw signs of morons at work, smashed shop windows.

 
     
  Thursday 4th November 2010  
 

We ventured to a different part of the island today, a place called Rhyll. Now, what did I expect from Rhyll? Perhaps a stirring of childhood memories spent on the beach at Rhyl, North Wales. If I did I was sadly disappointed, the town was small, insignificant and had a dirty beach. If you blinked you would have missed it, so we decided to go back to Cowes and enjoy a cup of our chosen poison at the Hotel we discovered yesterday.

On arrival we spied a sign declaring the place closed. On closer inspection we also found several other shops closed. We were told Cowes is a sleepy little town and generally the shops close each day between 3.00pm and 5.00pm. We did eventually find another coffee shop open and enjoyed a drink there.

 
     
  Friday 5th November 2010  
 

Today we thought we would give Churchill Island and Newhaven the pleasure of our company. You can actually do this whole island in one day if you left the caravan sometime before lunch. As we don’t; our sightseeing is spread out over a week.

Churchill Island was very pretty and again we encountered the very small pink and yellow daises that seem to cover most of Victoria. It does make everywhere look very attractive, especially against the deep green rolling hillsides. On the island, apart from an old homestead and farm land, were the Cape Barren Geese which somehow looked odd with their yellow beaks.

Once back on Phillip Island we stumbled across the chocolate factory. Now my day suddenly took a turn for the better.

 
     
                  My kinda place!                                                                          Okay, I did think about licking the walls
                                                                                                                  but sometimes self control kicks in.
     
 

The factory was owned and run by a chap called Panny who originally came from Malaysia but is of Indian descent. Panny’s family were already established chocolate makers in Queensland when good old Panny arrived in Australia in 2000. He developed his own style and fillings, and let me tell you, it was pretty damn good. The chocolate itself is imported from Belgium and then Panny’s team do all sorts of things to it to make it taste even better.

On arrival at the chocolate factory you are given a warm greeting and a chocolate to eat. This is my kind of place. We paid our money and wandered through the display that informed us how chocolate is made, which was very interesting. We also saw a huge picture of Dame Edna’s face all made out of chocolate . . .

 
     
   
  Dame Edna Everage, a.k.a. Barry Humphries, made out of chocolate.  
     
 

In fact there were many displays made out of solid chocolate. There was a village, a statue, paintings hanging on the wall and some penguins.

 
     
   
    A chocolate village. Can I live here pleeeesssse?                                        Statue of David  
     
 

We were invited to play games where chocolates were our rewards. Pete Mate managed to get one chocolate and, being the gentleman he is, he gave it to me. (He knew I would knee him somewhere painful if he didn’t.) A young lady came around with little cups of chocolate shavings for us to eat; they were very yummy until I saw the dustpan and brush in the corner. No, they wouldn’t, would they?

One display was a robot; if you pressed a button it would deliver a chocolate to you. A little girl was just standing there so I pressed a button. She set off wailing because “that woman pushed in”. Excuse me, a chocolate factory is no place for children and if you are not prepared to be trampled on then stay away.

All too soon we were through the display and away from the free samples so I had to go and buy some. Well, you just have to, don’t you?

 
     
   
  So much to choose from, so little time. Maybe one of everything would be the way to go.  
     
 

We did enjoy a cup of our chosen brew which was accompanied by another free chocolate; I felt I had wandered into heaven.

 

   Two of the yummy desserts on the menu at the coffee shop.

 

Once we left the chocolates behind we had a look at Newhaven, which like Rhyll, was unimpressive so we travelled over to the mainland to look at San Remo. Not a lot to see there either.

 
  Saturday 6th November 2010  
 

The sun is shining and it would have to be the warmest day we have enjoyed since arriving here. I did a few chores as one is expected to do occasionally. We took a drive over to the race circuit to see if anything was happening but it was as dead as a dodo. Pete Mate saw a sign for Pyramid Rock so we drove down a long unsealed road until we reached a car park with a board walk leading off it. We walked to the first lookout saw the rock, cursed ourselves for not bringing a camera and I walked back as nature was calling me quite urgently.

Pete Mate walked to the next lookout but he said he didn’t see any more than I had. The daisies were again very colourful and covered the headland. Just for a change I saw some little orange ones amongst the many pink and yellow. Leaving the area we spied a pair of Cape Barren Geese with about six fluffy chicks. And all the while those damn cameras were lazing in the caravan.

We finished our trip today with a visit to the supermarket which is, of course, always fun. Not. Then it was time for happy hour. Where does the time go?

 
     
  Sunday 7th November 2010  
 

We were all set to go and watch the Penguin Parade tonight, dinner was prepared early and not a drop of vino passed our lips. Then the weather changed and we had a full blown thunderstorm with lashings of rain. So our plans were cancelled the books came out and you could hear the clinking of glasses. As much as I like penguins, no way was I going to sit in the pouring rain in the hope of catching a glimpse of them.

 
     
  Monday 8th November 2010  
 

We decided to have a drive out to the penguin sanctuary to see if we could see any during the day. We did see a couple in nesting boxes with a chick, very cute. We had a wander through the displays and then left for the "A Maze ‘n Things" theme park. On the way we spied an echidna wandering about. Pete Mate hopped out of the car to take photos. It was then full steam ahead to A Maze ’n Things. We didn’t really know what to expect apart from the actual maze itself. Well let me tell you we didn’t actually make it to the maze but we did have a lot of fun on all the other stuff. We both had a go in the wheelchair simulator and we both failed. The maze of mirrors was not my favourite place as I felt trapped. We played on sorts of things and before we knew it, it was closing time. Home we went for happy hour. Tomorrow we leave for new pastures and I will not be sorry to leave this caravan park.

 
     
  Tuesday 9th November 2010  
 

We were on the road just after 10:00 and enjoyed a good run through to Toora. We arrived in plenty of time for lunch, so we set up camp before partaking. The rest of day was spent relaxing.

 
     
  Wednesday 10th November 2010  
 

We walked into town, down one side of the street and back up the other. Not a lot to see. A lot of the shops were empty and those that weren’t were mainly closed. Now this is a very sleepy town. We had a look at the park opposite the pub mainly because it housed a toilet (the park not the pub). Once we were back on the main road we visited Barb’s Coffee Shop which came recommended. It was very nice and Barb herself was very friendly, Actually, all the locals we encountered on our walk were friendly.

 
     
  Thursday 11th November 2010  
 

We started our day by attending the Remembrance Service at the cenotaph which is always very moving. We then walked across the road to Barb’s for refreshments. After lunch we went for a drive to Leongatha so that we could visit Woolworth’s; we needed cheap fuel as we were practically empty.

After we had filled Billy we did some sightseeing along the coast, I was increasing becoming uncomfortable with some bug I had picked up so when we finally headed home I for one was very happy. An early night was on the cards for me.

 
     
  Friday 12th November 2010  
 

A lay day, literally for me as that is what I did all day. Pete Mate looked after me; he can now add scrambled eggs to his culinary accomplishments. By evening I was beginning to feel better and less inclined to meet my maker than I was at 4:00am.

 
     
  Saturday 13th November 2010  
 

It rained all day and was pretty damn miserable but hey, we were warm, dry and had red wine. Yep, folks, I am feeling a whole lot better.

 
     
  Sunday 14th November 2010  
 

The rain is still with us so we did pretty much the same as yesterday.

 
     
  Monday 15th November 2010  
 

It is still blessed raining; we do keep telling ourselves if it didn’t rain the countryside wouldn’t look so beautiful and green. By lunchtime the weather had improved so we decided to go for drive. We drove up to a lookout which showed us all of Toora; it is bigger than we thought. We noticed a rather large industrial building but as far as we were aware there wasn’t any industry in the town. So we investigated and found the building belongs to Bonlac Dairy Manufacturers and Wholesalers which closed down in May 2000 and is now used for arts and crafts and the Farmers Markets when they have them.

After the webmaster took his photos from the lookout we made our way to the viewing area of the wind farm. We viewed the windmills and the green grass, Pete Mate read all the blue stuff, then we moved on. Agnes Falls was our destination as we had heard good things about these falls. We parked the car and had a short easy walk to view the falls. They were magnificent and even the sun came out for the photos.

 
     
  Tuesday 16th November 2010  
 

Today’s jaunt took us to Wilson’s Promontory, which was really beautiful. The mountains and the beaches were quite spectacular. We did a couple of short walks, nothing too strenuous! It was a really lovely afternoon but then it was time to head home and happy hour.

 
     
  Wednesday 17th November 2010  
 

We had heard that Port Welshpool was worth a visit; never believe anything you hear in caravan parks. Firstly, on the way there, we saw a sign for Barry’s Beach so we thought that must be worth a look. How wrong can we be, the road came to an abrupt end and all we saw were industrial type businesses. We did see a very cute Echidna scurrying across the road, however. Port Welshpool was very interesting if you liked looking at large smelly ships. That was it apart from a pub and shop and some extremely clean public toilets. We were a little disappointed so we decided to explore further and ended up in a lovely little town called Yarram. It was a small town, but busy, and the people were friendly.

Pete Mate managed to get a memory card he wanted for his camera then we enjoyed a cuppa and made our way home.

 
     
  Thursday 18th November 2010  
 

We have enjoyed two days of sunshine but today the cold wet weather returned. Not that it bothered us as we were busy with ‘inside’ things. I do love these days where we don’t rush off anywhere but just potter about reading, doing crosswords and knitting.

 
     
  Friday 19th November 2010  
 

I did some inside cleaning and Pete Mate did some outside cleaning. After lunch we walked into town to do one or two things before making our way to Barb’s Café for a cuppa. The sky is blue and the sun is shining, life is good.

 
     
  Saturday 20th November 2010  
 

We cleaned and packed everything away ready for our departure tomorrow.

 
     
  Sunday 21st November 2010  
 

Usually we have to vacate our site by 10.00am but this park allows you to stay until 11.00am so we didn’t rush, not that we ever do. We only had a short trip through to Sale and it was an uneventful journey. The roads were uneven and bumpy so things were a little disturbed inside the ‘van. We received a warm friendly welcome in Sale and were allocated our site. We set up camp quickly and then had lunch.

Pete Mate had a nanny nap whilst I sat outside in the sun knitting. Once his nap was over Pete Mate joined me and there we whiled away the rest of the day.

 
     
  Monday 22nd November 2010  
 

The information centre here is next door to the caravan park so we took a stroll over there to find out what there is to see here. We then drove out to the oldest surviving swing bridge in Australia. It was quite interesting for a 'blue' thing. We walked across it and had a look at the surrounding information boards. It was quite a picturesque spot where the Thompson and the Latrobe rivers met. The river banks were very green and there were picnic tables scattered about. The only problem was the place was infested with killer mossies. I retreated to the car to escape them but they opened the car door and buzzed inside.

Talking of bugs we have been quite intrigued since arriving here by the sound of the cicadas. They set off with this almighty racket and then they all stop together and we have complete silence. We have cicadas in WA so we wondered if they were the same. Pete Mate found cicada skins on a tree where the insects had shed last season’s fashions.

We were chatting to our neighbours about this when she spotted a couple of live ones. So to find out more about these insects, which are very different to the version in the west, what does one do? Google of course, which is what Pete Mate did and found all sorts of varieties of cicada.

We had a drive around Sale and found the shops which is always good when you are low on the essentials. The people were friendly and helpful.

The weather is hot today. One lady told me it was 34 degrees which is a bit of a shock to our systems which had become used to an average of 17 degrees for months. We will enjoy getting used to it, long may it last.

 
     
  Tuesday 23rd November 2010  
  Lay day.  
     
  Wednesday 24th November 2010  
 

Washing and cleaning in the morning, then in the afternoon we went shopping. I bought sandals, a new iron and Ellie & Ethan’s Christmas presents. A very productive afternoon.

 
     
  Thursday 25th November 2010  
 

Apart from a trip to the post office & Dick Smiths, we didn’t do very much. On the way home we had a look at the Port of Sale which - we discovered - is just walking distance from the caravan.

 
     
  Friday 26th November 2010  
 

We took an afternoon stroll to the Port of Sale, had a good look around and eventually found a café/bar. We sat and sipped our red wines whilst overlooking the port. Not a lot was happening but it was still a very pleasant place to be. We walked back and called in at the information centre on the way as Pete Mate wanted some information regarding the railways.

 
     
  Saturday 27th November 2010  
 

I read a book; it was one of those you couldn’t put down. Pete Mate went off into town and beyond to take some photos. We decided to leave the packing up until tomorrow as we have a late check-out and our journey to Bairnsdale is only and hour’s drive. By evening we were beginning to regret not packing everything away as a storm blew in and the heavens opened and didn’t close all night.

 
     
  Sunday 28th November 2010  
 

It was absolutely pouring down when we woke up. After we had had breakfast the rain abated so we quickly got ourselves into gear and packed everything away. We had a very short journey to Bairnsdale and luck was on our side as it didn’t rain whilst we unpacked everything. The weather was cold and miserable so we dug out the heater once more. A week ago I was considering packing it away along with my nice fluffy dressing gown, now they are both in full use again. Have we had summer, I ask myself?

The caravan park seems nice enough. We are on the banks of the Mitchell River which has a walking path along it so no doubt, once the weather improves, we will be exploring that. We are within walking distance of some of the shops, a big plus for us as we need some exercise. Yes, I think we will be very happy here for the next five weeks.

 
     
  Monday 29th November 2010  
 

The weather is still miserable so sightseeing was out of the question. We had a drive around checking out where everywhere is, we then went to the information centre and met a very friendly helpful chap that gave us lots of ideas for days out.

 
     
  Tuesday 30th November 2010  
 

We still have not seen any sunshine for a few days now and are suffering from the syndrome called SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). We went into town to get some groceries and discovered we had a flattish tyre. Pete Mate put some air in it but a tyre repair place is now on our list of things to do.