Albert and Annie Say:

I do not pretend to be someone I'm not,
because I'm great at being me.


      Pam's Journal For December 2010

  Wednesday 1st December 2010  

Another rainy day. If this keeps up we will have webbed feet and hands. We did venture out into town for a little while, I wanted to do some Christmas shopping and Pete Mate took Billy to have his tyre repaired. Apart from that we stayed dry and warm inside the ‘van.

  Thursday 2nd December 2010  

The rain managed to cease during the morning so after lunch we thought we would take a chance and go for a short walk along the Mitchell River. The path is used by walkers and cyclists so it is a good even path for my poor deformed feet. We had been walking for about half an hour when we decided we would do the full river circuit which, according to the leaflet, is 5.4kms and takes one and a quarter hours. Well my pedometer declared it was more like 6kms and it took us two and quarter hours. Have I mentioned before that I walk really slowly? I think I may have.

The walk was a very pleasant one but what we didn’t expect was the beating down of the very hot sun, we didn’t have a hat or sun screen on. By the time we got back to the ‘van my knee was complaining very loudly but revived quite well when it received a good dollop of red wine. We had been home no more than an hour when a thunder storm blew in. It is so true what they say about Victorian weather – all the seasons in one day.

  Friday 3rd December 2010  

We had a drive out to Paynesville as we had heard it was very nice. Well it was a pretty little town on the water but the smell of rotting seaweed was overpowering so we high-tailed it out of there as fast as Billy could take us. We called at the lookout at Eagle Point but that was pretty ordinary so we decided to drive along a silt jetty. Eagle Point’s claim to fame is these silt jetties which were quite interesting but the highlight of the drive was seeing two black swans with their cygnets, so adorable.

We backed tracked somewhat before we got to the turning for Lakes Entrance, which we had been told a number of times is really beautiful. It is very nice, very pretty but so over-commercialised it did not really appeal to us. Anyway we had a look around and saw some statues created by a chainsaw artist in memory of fallen soldiers. The trees were originally planted in their memory but had deteriorated so an artist was commissioned to make these beautiful statues. We have seen similar work elsewhere but not by the same artist.

The day was drawing in so we went and had a cup of tea/coffee and then made our way home. On the way home Pete Mate pulled over in a drive way and asked if I wanted to look at dolls, but alas the place was closed. I then confessed there was a particular doll place I wanted to see. The confession is that when we looked for it earlier in the day I only told Pete Mate that it was a coffee shop - no mention of dolls. So we went again in search for it on the way home to book-mark it for another day. No wonder we couldn’t find it earlier, it had closed down. Overall a pretty good day.

  Saturday 4th December 2010  

It is our sixth anniversary today. That is, six years travelling this beautiful country of ours. The sky was blue and the sun shining so I did some washing and hung it out. Again the washing lines are too high for me but I managed. Two hours later the sky changed to a dark grey and we had thunder and lightning so I decided to take the washing off the line and put it in the dryer. Before we could manage this we both got drowned by torrential rain and took shelter in the laundry. In a matter of minutes we had a stream flowing past the laundry. Luckily we were wearing our shower shoes and could wade through it to dash home.

Earlier we had had the air conditioner on to cool down; now we put the heater on. Within the hour we were back to sunshine and the rain stayed away long enough for us to walk to a local Indian restaurant for our celebratory dinner. Very nice it was too.

  Sunday 5th December 2010  

I spent a good deal of the day wrapping Chrissie presents to send off tomorrow. Pete Mate read and played computers. We have plenty of reading material as we have joined the library here. By the time we have finished travelling we will have library tickets from every state.

  Monday 6th December 2010  

We had a busy day in town today, lots of things to do. First on the list was to give Billy a wash so we treated him to the works at the car wash. Then it was on to Jayco to check if we need to adapt our television aerial in readiness for digital television. As Charlie at Jayco couldn’t help us he recommended another place in the centre of town. I left Pete Mate to deal with it whilst I went off to do many things; we met up later in the supermarket. Marvellous things, mobile phones, when you remember to take them with you. The day was dull but it didn’t rain so we decided if tomorrow is similar we would go out sightseeing.

  Tuesday 7th December 2010  

Surprise, surprise, the sun is shining so we packed a picnic lunch and took off for the day. We drove through Bruthen, which is a pretty little town, then on to Nowa Nowa which was one of those towns that if you blinked you'd miss it. It did have excellent public toilets, though.

Orbost was our next stop to see the Snowy River once more. This Snowy looked mighty fine, flowing really well, not at all like it was perhaps twelve months ago. We sat under a gazebo and ate our lunch before setting off for the next leg of the journey.

Marlo had been recommended to us by the chap in the information centre; it is also where the Snowy meets the ocean. Not a lot there apart from a pub, a general store and two caravan parks. A nice place to stay and chill out or fish if that is your thing. We drove along the coast road to Cape Conran. That stretch of road was very picturesque. When we left the coast we headed back into the hills before turning back towards Bairnsdale.

We drove home via Lakes Entrance and saw the other end of town this time. We agreed it was a nice place with all the waterways but not really our cup of tea. Again Pete Mate pulled over at the doll place and this time it was open.

What is going on here? His usual trick is to distract me so I miss seeing these places. Anyway, not one to look a gift horse in the mouth I tootled off inside. Wall to wall dolls, some very expensive, some not so expensive but nothing cheap! Not that I was going to buy a doll, there's nowhere to display it in a caravan. I did buy a small fairy for my collection and a couple of scented soaps. Once back at the car Pete Mate enquired if I had bought a doll. When I said no his reply was that if I had bought one that could be my Christmas present. Does he think Christmas shopping is that easy? I don’t think so, Pete Mate. No, a tyre repair, sandals and a new iron do not constitute Christmas presents as none of these can be worn around the wrist or neck. A tyre can. Be careful woman! Ever hear of necklacing?

  Wednesday 8th December 2010  

I walked into town to the hairdresser's and I had to change the library books and finish my Christmas shopping. Pete Mate collected me later and we went off to Mitsubishi to see if we can get some body work done on Billy. We were directed to a body shop. (I wonder if I could get a new body? Mmm, maybe not.) The chap there was very helpful and friendly and will supply us with a quote by the end of the week, then we will decide if the budget can stand it. The rain is now back with a vengeance, absolutely pouring down, with the usual thunder and lightening we have come to expect.

  Thursday 9th December 2010  

It rained for most of the night and when the day dawned it was a miserable, dull one. Washing had to be done so it was dried in the dryers using up some of my carbon credits. Then we managed to spend the day staying dry and warm and not getting into any trouble. It is always a good day when you stay out of trouble. Well, when you don’t get caught.

  Friday 10th December 2010  

Lay day.

  Saturday 11th December 2010  

Lay day.

  Sunday 12th December 2010  

We walked into town as it was the Toy Run. This is an annual event where motor bike riders from different clubs do a run through their local towns collecting toys for disadvantaged children. We saw many bikes, bikers and lots of toys. We gave a donation this year as I didn’t buy a toy. I really don’t know why I didn’t as I have been in and out of toys shops just recently looking for animals for daughter Julie. Anyway I gave our donation, Pete Mate took photos and we soaked up the atmosphere of the Christmas spirit.

We then walked on to St Mary’s Church which we had been told was worth a visit. The ceilings inside are so beautiful; to say we were awestruck is an understatement.

  A part of the ceiling in St Mary's Church.  

I know Pete Mate has another photo on the web page and even though they are good they cannot do this amazing artwork justice. I lit a candle and made a Christmas prayer for all my family and friends. We then walked home and sat outside in the sunshine until it became too cold.

  Monday 13th December 2010  

A trip into town to the library and post office was the main event of the day. Pete Mate went off to buy a gadget for his camera which he had to order. My excitement of the day was when my new washing line arrived. I can now put it up outside the caravan and no more will I have to stretch myself silly to reach washing lines. Am I happy? Yes, I am.

  Tuesday 14th December 2010  

I did a few chores in the morning then in the afternoon we walked the path alongside the river. It was a glorious day and the birds and cicadas agreed. At our turn around point we sat for a while and just watched the river, the birds and anything else of interest. We never forget how lucky we are that we can do these things and not have to rush off here and there.

  Wednesday 15th December 2010  

A beautiful sunny day with a top of 32ºC expected; glorious. I walked into town for an excellent pedicure and to do some shopping. Pete Mate collected me when I summoned him and then we went home for lunch and a relaxing afternoon.

  Thursday 16th December 2010  

Seventeen years ago today my Mum died and I still miss her.

It rained overnight and the day dawned pretty damn miserably. A day for reading and similar activities so that is what we jolly well did.

  Friday 17th December 2010  

Apart from a walk into town and back we did very little else. The weather is not the best but at least it was dry.

  Saturday 18th December 2010  

A day of reading, knitting and computer playing as the weather is now wet as well as cold. In the afternoon I decided I would watch the DVD, The Devil Wears Prada, which I had purchased a couple of weeks ago. It was a snip for $8 from Dick Smiths.

However, a bargain is not a bargain when you cannot get the damn thing out of its case. I tried to prise it open, I stabbed it with a knife, I belted it on the work surface but, no, it stayed shut tight. Pete Mate had a go, nothing happening still; I had another go then rang Nic in Perth. He didn’t have any answers but ‘Googled’ the problem whilst I was on the phone. He discovered it could only be unlocked by the shop and I would have to take it back there. A little embarrassing as by now the case resembled something out of a war zone.

I decided to call it quits and watch something else. Pete Mate, however, was not going to be beaten and eventually he prised the damn thing open. Please tell me why a shop would sell me a DVD in this state? I should sue them for frayed nerves and a phone call, let alone the damaged knives.

  Sunday 19th December 2010  

Today was pretty much the same as Saturday except we didn’t have a DVD saga. We keep telling ourselves that all this rain makes the countryside very green and pretty.

  Monday 20th December 2010  

Another dull, cold day so we took ourselves off for a walk along the river. Apart from getting a fright from the nose of a dog the walk was uneventful. We had stopped to look at some bats and hadn’t heard a girl and her dog approach until the dog stuck its nose where it shouldn’t have. Pete Mate says it was a blood curdling scream but my recollection was that it was more of a dignified yelp.

  Tuesday 21st December 2010  

It was another dull old day, not terribly exciting. We went into town to do one or two things and then hurriedly retreated back into our warm caravan. Summer? What is summer, please?

  Wednesday 22nd December 2010  

The day dawned with blue skies and lovely sunshine so we decided we would go for a drive into the mountains. That is, until Pete Mate noticed a dead branch of a tree hanging precariously over our caravan. He went up to the office to see if we could move but there was only one site available which was not much better than where we were. So we decided to stay put and go for a drive as intended.

After a coffee and more discussion, we decided we wouldn’t go for a drive but walk into town to the library and Pete Mate wanted to change our new 'digital set top box' for a better one as ours locks up. He'd already changed it once but the new one was just the same.

We were just about ready to leave when the owner called in with a tree lopper. Would we move our ‘van back a little as the offending branch was about to be ‘sorted’. So our plans changed yet again and we had to set to and move everything. Then we waited and waited for the tree lopper to come and do his thing. We did, however, take the opportunity to do some cleaning inside and outside.

Eventually he came, lopped off several dead branches and cleaned up. We then had to move everything back again. By now it was late afternoon but we still walked into town and did what we had to do before walking home for happy hour.

Pete Mate and I agreed, it was a very odd day indeed.

  Thursday 23rd December 2010  

Washing and cleaning were high on the agenda today. Once that was out of the way we walked along the river, not the full circuit, but we did a good four kilometres quite easily. As we walked back we have to pass through a parkland area which has public toilets and I cannot pass them by without checking them out.

As I made my way past a parked car, I heard a bang. Something had hit the car. The ‘lady’ driver shot out of the car and started yelling at some kids up a slope; they had apparently thrown something at the car. Let me tell you, it wasn’t “Excuse me young person, could you please refrain from throwing missiles at my vehicle?” It was more swear words than non-swear words, and believe me, she did not leave anyone in any doubt she was angry.

The little tyke that started this wasn’t having any of it and replied in similar vein, so it was on for young and old. The ‘lady’ issued many invitations to the offending person to come down here and get up close and personal. Thankfully he declined; we are far too busy to be called as witnesses to a murder! So what does a grey nomad couple do in situations like this, Pete Mate stared hard at the river whilst I had the quickest wee in my life and we high-tailed it out of there. Once back at the ‘van we sat outside with our coffees until we decided that, even in the sun, it was too cold and retreated indoors to read.

  Friday 24th December 2010  

We were up early as I wanted to get into town and do the shopping before the big rush of the day. We both walked into town. Pete Mate then went off to do his own thing and walk home. Once I was in the supermarket I realised that everyone had the same idea as me and it was mayhem in the aisles. Having said that, the Woolworth's staff worked really hard and the queues at the deli counter and checkouts were dealt with fairly quickly.

I then rang Pete Mate to come and collect me. We decided to do it this way as PM wanted the exercise and we knew parking would be at a premium. The rest of the day was spent relaxing in the sun reading.

  Saturday 25th December 2010  

The expected rain did not appear but the day was cool and cloudy though we did have one or two sunny spells. It was perfect weather for walking so we did the 6 km river walk - we know exactly how far it is because we took Alice. We shaved half an hour off our previous time and had one or two laughs along the way.

We encountered a group of Indian people near the park area and they all seemed to be taking photos of each other. Pete Mate grabbed hold of me and posed for one of these ladies. She thought it was great fun and insisted on taking the photo, and then she got someone else to take a photo of her with us. It is amazing what people do when they have new toys from Santa.

We had set off on our walk after partaking of a very nice but large brunch that I cooked. By the time we arrived back at the ‘van we convinced ourselves that we had walked it off and so could start again.

We ate our Christmas dinner early evening, as it was perfect weather for the roast turkey and beef with all the trimmings, followed by mince pies. Methinks we will be walking for the rest of the year to get rid of that lot.

  A Very Merry Christmas to All  

We did have a very enjoyable day. Pete Mate bought me a gold bangle with diamonds in it and I bought him a camera. He, of course, had been using his camera but my bangle was hidden until Santa found it.

  Sunday 26th December 2010  

Not a lot happened today; we read, played computers and knitted. We ate leftovers and commiserated with each other over how much weight one can pile on in one day. We had a very short shower (the weather, that is) but I managed to get the washing dry under the awning.

  Monday 27th December 2010  

Today we went on holiday to the Snowy Mountains; Jindabyne to be precise. We had a good drive through lovely scenery which, once we were in New South Wales, became very dry looking indeed. We were surprised as they have had so much rain in the last few weeks.

We arrived at the caravan park late afternoon and quickly settled into our cabin. The cabin was basic but adequate for a few days. We strolled down to the lake to have a look at the level and were pleasantly surprised by how much water there was. The level had risen so much some of the campsites were under water, a different story to when we were here last time.

  These trees were high and dry in 2007.  

We walked back to the cabin and opened a bottle of red and settled back for a relaxing evening.

  Tuesday 28th December 2010  

We walked into the town of Jindabyne along the side of the lake. The path is even and the distance not too far but far enough for me today. Once in town we had lunch and then Pete Mate walked back for the car whilst I had a browse in the shops.

After my chauffeur had collected me we drove out to the dam, Pete Mate was disappointed to find that contrary to what we have been told in the media, they are not releasing water into the Snowy. We then wandered home as the hour was nearly upon us.

  Wednesday 29th December 2010  

We packed a picnic lunch and headed out for the day but not until we had enjoyed the day’s entertainment. A four wheel drive towing a boat couldn’t get past a car parked on the verge. No one admitted to being the owner of this vehicle and soon Mr Boatie became quite irate. We didn’t just have just one park employee trying to help, but three of them all scratching their heads. One of them tried all different keys to get into the car, which we thought was a little rude. Eventually one of the park’s people went and got a little tractor and towed the boat around the corner for Mr Boatie who then hooked it up to his car again and away he went.

As the show was over, we could now get our car out we took off in the direction of Numeralla, a small town that we had been told was worth visiting.

It was much further than we thought and though it was a nice little town, that was it.

There was a row of these beautiful trees in Numeralla.
Are they copper beeches?

The "Cascades", also very highly recommended, were another sixty kilometres further and as we were short on time we decided not to go.

Instead we made our way to Adaminaby as we were interested to see the water level in Lake Eucumbene after all the rain. We were disappointed as to us the level looked little different to when we were there previously. We had a look around, took some photos and then decided to call it a day. Alice, true to form, took us sightseeing on the way home whether we wanted to go or not.

  Thursday 30th December 2010  

Our little holiday is now over; we have had a good time and have been so blessed by the good weather. I will, however, be very glad to get back to my own bed as this one has given me chronic backache.

We had a good run back to Bairnsdale; the roads were quite busy which is only to be expected at holiday time. Once home we sorted out the car and caravan before settling down to a nice cup of tea.

  Friday 31st December 2010  

We walked into town, changed our library books and then Pete Mate walked home. I did some shopping and then Pete Mate collected me. The weather was really hot - someone told me it had reached 42° C. Whether that was true or not, it was still damned hot.

I did what I usually do on New Year’s Eve and went to bed. Pete Mate was reading when I nodded off but when I awoke he was nowhere to be seen. He had heard a party in progress in the park and had gone to join it. You party animal, Pete Mate.