Bob and Pooh Say:

Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the
candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.
                                                                       - Buddha


      Pam's Journal For March 2011

  Tuesday 1st March 2011  

Weather is still pretty awful cold and windy.

  Wednesday 2nd March 2011  

We went in search of a decent coffee shop, pharmacy, newsagent and supermarket. We found all four, did what we had to do and then returned back to the comfort of the ‘van. Someone doesn’t feel very well.

  Thursday 3rd March 2011  

I felt a lot worse today, some bug I have picked up from a generous person. By evening I felt a whole lot better which is lucky as we are off to Melbourne tomorrow.

  Friday 4th March 2011  

We are going on holiday today. We had to first unpack the car so we could then pack it again with things we needed for the weekend. We had a good trip through to Melbourne but, boy oh boy, so much traffic. We couldn’t find the Travelodge Hotel so we parked the car in a car park and walked around the block looking for it. Had we walked the other way we would have bumped straight into it. We checked in and found out that the hotel didn’t have a car park and we had to lug our baggage from the depths of the nearby public car park. Not happy. Once in the room we were unpacking . . . sorry, I was unpacking . . . when Keith & Brett arrived to say hello. We walked around the corner to have a spot of lunch before embarking on a sightseeing tour of Melbourne using the free trams. We just love Melbourne, the city and the people.

  Melbourne - old and new.  
  Federation Square  
  Transport, old and older.  

We parted company with Keith and Brett and made our way back to the hotel. Along the way we saw buskers and a poor homeless girl begging. We also watched the rowers on the river Yarra.

  Rowers on the Yarra. Looks like they were taking a break.  
  An ever-hopeful busker on a bridge over the Yarra.  

We decided to call at one of the many bars for a glass of the red. We first called in at the bar underneath the bridge but it was crowded and noisy plus I really didn’t think I would manage to sit on a crate. So we found another and sat watching Melbourne go by whilst we sipped our nectar. I enjoyed it so much I decided to have another. When we had finished Pete Mate went to pay the bill, this is when we discovered the wine cost $14 per glass.

  Left: Friday afternoon celebrations at the bar under the bridge.
Right: Pete Mate enjoying his wine before he found out how much it cost.

Later we met Keith & Brett for dinner; it was a very nice meal. We then went for walk along the water front; it was very pretty and very busy. Outside the casino, on the hour every hour, large flames shot up in the air making a very spectacular scene. I cannot do it justice in the description; you really need to see it. Alas we didn’t have our cameras with us. We finished the evening with coffees/teas and then said our goodnights.

  Saturday 5th March 2011  

The day we have waited for since October, the Avalon Air Show. We collected Keith & Brett from their accommodation on time, pretty good for us! Once at the air show we lost K & B as there were so many people it was impossible to stay together. I have to admit to not doing my usual wandering off as I was a little overwhelmed by the size of the crowd.

Pete Mate and I found a place to sit and watch the display, so I left him in charge of the spot whilst I went back to the car for my chair. Eventually I made it back and we spent the rest of the day watching and admiring the great aircraft doing some amazing stunts. Near the end of the day K & B found us and we decided we had all had enough, we were pooped. It took us a little time to get back to the accommodation as the traffic was dense.

We dropped K & B off with arrangements to meet up later for dinner. Later we walked over to their accommodation and enjoyed a very nice meal in a nearby pub. We said goodbye to Keith and Brett as they are flying home in the morning. We then had to walk back to the hotel, which was interesting to say the least as we both had had a little too much to drink.

  Sunday 6th March 2011  

Plan A was to get up early, have breakfast and then arrive at the air show before the crowds. The alarm went off, I switched it off and we decided to go with plan B which was we arrive at the show when we do. We managed to organise ourselves to have breakfast and be booked out by 10.00am - not too bad. The journey to the air show wasn’t long. Two hours later we arrived at Avalon having been stuck in a traffic jam that went on for miles and miles. Thank goodness we had a talking book.

Once parked at the airfield we then had to walk miles to where it was all happening, the crowds were worse than yesterday and all the prime viewing spots were taken. Anyway we did enjoy the day. We saw aircraft we hadn’t seen the day before which thrilled Pete Mate but if I am absolutely honest, by this point I was over air shows and wanted to be home with a glass of red in hand. I did wander a little and tried to look inside some of the tents to see what was on offer but the people were too closely packed and at one point I did panic and elbowed my way out again.

We stayed until the end as PM wanted to see the Hornet FA-18 again. That meant we left with everyone else and made the long trek back to the car. PM had had the foresight to bookmark Billy’s location in Alice so we found him quite easily.

Now comes the tricky part . . . getting off the airfield. The journey back to the caravan should have taken us about twenty minutes, three hours later we arrived home, tired and hungry. Luckily I had dinner in the freezer so it was eat, drink and bed for us.

Things I have learnt from Avalon Air Show:
1. One day is enough.
2. Once you have parked the car, take everything you need for the day with you.
3. Pay the extra money for a seat in the grandstand.
4. Take your own food and drink, plus plenty of water.

We did have a really good time both in Melbourne and at the air show and wouldn’t have missed it for the world. Now then, Pete Mate, let’s discuss how many pink credits I have.

  The only photo I took at the air show, a talking Robot.  
  Monday 7th March 2011  

I thought I would need a day to recover from our weekend away but, no, I was up early and did some cleaning and washing. Colleen and Rob (friends from Mt Gambier) arrived after lunch. After greeting them we left them to set up camp and met up later for Happy Hour.

  Tuesday 8th March 2011  

Today was a mixed up day as we were supposed to be going out but that never happened. Pete Mate spent some time trying to get R & C’s television to work. I busied myself with other things I wanted to get done. We enjoyed a Happy Hour with C & R.

  Wednesday 9th March 2011  

I had at the top of my list for Geelong was the National Wool Museum. I spent some time in there whilst Rob & Pete Mate had a wander around the Ford Museum just opposite. Colleen did some shopping. I thoroughly enjoyed the museum; it was so well done with excellent access for disabled people. There was plenty of staff on hand to explain things plus lots of monitors that showed videos of the actual machines working. One machine that took my fancy was a sock knitting machine, too large for the caravan, but really interesting.

I met up with PM later and we went and had a bite of lunch in a café overlooking the waterfront. We had a bit of a walk around the waterfront for me to take some photos. Next on our list of things to do was a 'pink' shop. Yes folks, Spotlight.

I stocked up with wool and generally had a good time looking at everything. PM stayed in the car. Then to our delight we went to do the supermarket shopping which is always made more pleasant if you stop and have a chat with people you have never seen before and probably will never see again. Happy Hour tonight was a short affair as the weather has turned a little nasty again.

  Left: Surf lifesaver effigies on the Geelong waterfront.
Right: A joyflight floatplane with no takers on a cold, dull day.
  Thursday 10th March 2011  

Get ready day. We packed everything away ready for our trip tomorrow. We enjoyed our last Happy Hour with Colleen & Rob which was a rather long one as our WA neighbours joined us for the latter part and no one seemed in a hurry to go home.

  Friday 11th March 2011  

We said goodbye to Colleen & Rob and then around 10.20am we said good bye to Geelong. We enjoyed our stay there and even though the staff at the caravan park were not the friendliest, the park was very nice. We had a nice easy run through to Ballarat, then Alice decided to play games with us. Taking the ‘van down a gravel road was not the best idea Alice has had this year, especially when the pot holes were as big as Africa.

We arrived at the caravan park in time for lunch; we received a very friendly welcome plus our immediate neighbours are really nice. We unpacked and set up camp then had some lunch before enjoying a short but restful nanny nap.

  Saturday 12th March 2011  

A few chores needed to be done then after lunch we had a drive around Ballarat. We checked out the Botanical Gardens and book-marked it for later when all the crowds have gone home.

  Sunday 13th March 2011  

A lay day of sorts. I did some washing and ironing, read a little then watched the movie Pride and Prejudice whilst doing some knitting. The weather started off beautiful and sunny but then we had rain and it became very chilly again indeed.

  Monday 14th March 2011  

We have a public holiday today, here in Victoria, so we took the day off and did nothing at all.

  Tuesday 15th March 2011  

We spent a splendid afternoon in the Botanical Gardens. I know Pete Mate was dragging his feet a little, not really his thing, but I do have to use some pink credits sometimes.

Once there, however, he did enjoy himself as the gardens were beautiful and anyone with a Canon camera was stopped and chatted to. Why not, that is what it is all about, isn’t it? We do get to meet the loveliest people out and about.

The gardens had some vibrant coloured flowers, some magnificent trees, lots of statues . . .

      Left: A magnificent Sierra Redwood.                               Right: Deodorant letting you down?  
  . . . and a beautiful fountain.  

We could not, however, find many begonias on display. Eventually I found a conservatory full of them . . .

  A conservatory inspired by the Japanese paper folding technique of Origami.  

Pete Mate did some grumbling . . .

  There were two of these magnificent sculptures.  

. . . about having to pay but soon changed his tune once inside. We were greeted with an abundance of colour and size, we had no idea that begonias grew like this. I couldn’t decide which were my favourites, as I loved so many of them.

  All those glorious begonia blooms. Lovely smile, PM.  

The flowers were so large they had to be supported by wire cradles. The left flower shows this clearly.
There were similar blooms in overhead baskets; there the blooms were allowed to hang down.


The conservatory wasn’t just any old glass house. It was designed by Peter Elliot who was inspired by the Japanese paper folding technique of Origami. The conservatory has controlled heating and cooling but all the plants are hand watered. The building was funded by a bequest from Mr Robert Clark, the grandson of the co founder of The Courier, a Ballarat newspaper.

All that was left to do was walk over the road to a café for a coffee and a tea. We sat on a veranda overlooking Lake Wendouree which seemed to have an abundance of black swans along with other water birds.

  Wednesday 16th March 2011  

Yesterday we were treated to beautiful warm sunshine. Today I am back in winter clothes and it is freezing. We went to have a look at the Eureka Precinct Centre. We knew it was closed for improvements but we thought we would have a look anyway. It was a sad looking place all deserted with graffiti on the door and wall. We had a wander round, read the information boards and took some photos.

  A picture taken at the Eureka Stockade Precinct - there were a lot in the same style made from perforated (rusty) sheet metal. The variation in the background makes it difficult to appreciate the image. I'm not sure
what this is supposed to represent (except for the Union Jack). What's the bloke to the left of the flag doing?

We then went in search of the Arch of Victory and the Avenue of Honour. When you read that the tree lined avenue is 22kms long and there is a tree for every Ballarat resident that fought in World War I it makes you realise how many thousands of Australians were sent to fight a politician’s war. Nothing changes.

The afternoon was drawing nearer to happy hour so we made tracks homeward bound.

  Thursday 17th March 2011  

We were heading towards the post office to collect some mail, chatting away as we do, when we realised we had missed our turning. This was a new challenge for Alice to get us back on track and a lucky break for one poor beggar with a flat tyre. We found him wheeling it along the highway towards a garage to replenish the air. We waited for him and took him back to his car where his workmate was waiting. Now here is the comical bit - they were on their way to work in a tyre manufacturing plant! So we didn’t take a wrong turning, we were exactly where we were supposed to be at that moment. We did eventually find the post office and then proceeded to McDonalds to use their internet service as ours is playing up again. In the end we gave up and went to do the supermarket shopping.

  Friday 18th March 2011  

We were up and organised early today because I had arranged for an upholstery/carpet cleaner to come and do his stuff. I did not realise how disruptive this would be. Whilst he worked we had to sit outside and wait and believe me it was cold, in fact I am sure I saw a penguin! Eventually all the cleaning was completed and we could have some lunch but we had nowhere to sit other than outside in the cold.

After lunch we paid a visit to the post office as our new flagpole and flag has arrived. Once that was on board we couldn’t decide where to go as we didn’t want to do any touristy things because we had forgotten our cameras so we went to a large shopping centre for some retail therapy. We found a Gloria Jean’s and sat awhile watching the world go by.

  Saturday 19th March 2011  

Not a lot happened, the day started off dull and uninteresting but turned out lovely and sunny.

  Sunday 20th March 2011  

A day pretty much the same as yesterday. Pete Mate is redoing the map on the website. It is taking hours and hours.

  Monday 21st March 2011  

We took a drive out to the historical Lydiard Street to see the many preserved old buildings. I wanted to take some photos but to be honest they wouldn’t have worked out. The buildings were old and lovely but there are so many lovely old buildings in Ballarat you would be hard pressed to know which was best. The buildings of Lydiard are well known to television and movie buffs as they are very often used as a backdrop to period dramas.

  Tuesday 22nd March 2011  

Lay day.

  Wednesday 23rd March 2011  

We did some shopping, I had a washing, cleaning and cook fest all ready for our move tomorrow. We packed away everything then relaxed with a glass of red.

  Thursday 24th March 2011  

We left Ballarat around 10.15am. For a change Pete Mate had to wait for me. We had a good journey through to Horsham only stopping once for a toilet break. At the rest area I went inside the ‘van to do what I had to do. Blow me when I came outside again there was Pete Mate chatting to two young ladies with horses. He just cannot help himself even in the middle of nowhere.

We arrived at the caravan park around lunchtime. After receiving a warm welcome from the office staff we parked the ‘van and set up camp. It was quite windy and we noticed no one else had their awning out. We veteran nomads put ours out (or rather Pete Mate did, and secured it with ropes). We decided not to attend the concert tonight as the line up of performers wasn’t our cup of tea. Plus it was freezing cold.

  Friday 25th March 2011  

We drove into town and checked out where tonight's concert was being held. We had a quick look around town and sat and listened to the music for a while. Once back at the caravan we ate an early dinner and headed out. We did not realise how cold it was going to be but luckily we had an old rug and clothes in the car so we were able to wrap up a bit. The concert was great; we were, as always, thrilled to hear Michelle Little sing Patsy Cline songs and Dale Hooper did a marvellous Johnny Cash. By the time we left there we were frozen to the bone but soon warmed up once home.

  Saturday 26th March 2011  

Today’s entertainment was a full day and evening event. After last night we decided to put on three layers of clothes. We appreciated this in the evening but the daytime was a little hot. The entertainment was top class and we had a really good time. Everyone around us was friendly and we chatted to a few people.

Late afternoon a group of people arrived and amongst them was a very voluptuous blonde girl wearing a belt for a skirt. The men in the audience were positively drooling as she danced the hours away. We noticed she had a tattoo on her leg but couldn’t quite make out what it was, so PM decided to go and ask her. He never misses an opportunity. One day he will return with a black eye!

Definitely not dressed to please women! PM was determined to capture that tattoo but she moved too fast. Finally, however . . .

Amongst the performers today was Emmanuel Kelly, everyone enjoyed his performance as did we. PM has written about Emmanuel and his family already so I will not repeat it here. All too soon the day was over and we made our weary way home. How can sitting watching and listening make us feel so tired?

  Sunday 27th March 2011  

Today’s concert was a Gospel marathon; this will be the closest Pete Mate gets to attending church. Again the entertainment was excellent and to hear Michelle sing Ave Maria without any accompaniment was a privilege. She had the audience in the palm of her hand as did Emmanuel when he sang Amazing Grace.

There was a little bit of banter going on about the lady in the white dress. I wonder if she knows so many men talked about her for two days! We said goodbye to Michelle once again before she left for her return trip to Sydney. By 4.00pm I had had enough and was glad it was home time. It was an excellent festival, very well organised and if we are ever this way again we will be sure to attend.

  Monday 28th March 2011  

We had a lazy start to the day, after I did some washing we were going to go into town to check a few things out. Instead we sat outside in the beautiful sunshine and relaxed.

  Tuesday 29th March 2011  

We finally made it into town today and called in at the information centre. The lady there was very helpful and nice, she recommend that we drive out to Wartook as it is a lovely little place. So after a visit to the Post Office and Pharmacy that is what we did. It was forty kilometres there, we drove through the place, looked at each other in amazement as there wasn’t anything to see. We passed many Bed & Breakfasts or similar accommodation and signs that pointed you in the direction of some walks, a lot of them inaccessible after the floods. So we trundled back into town to pick up a couple of grocery items before heading home for happy hour.

  Wednesday 30th March 2011  

The weather has changed yet again, last night we had the air-conditioner on today it is the heater. Not a lot happened here in Horsham. I defrosted the fridge and went on a sock hunt. I have lost one of my purple socks, how sad is that? Pete Mate spent all day on the computer whilst I tackled a new knitting pattern.

  Thursday 31st March 2011  

Just over a week ago I was bitten by a spider which was hiding in my sock. When I complained that it hurt like hell, I was told it was only a pin prick and stop fussing. A few days late my ‘pin pick’ was bigger and very angry looking; it steadily got worse not better so in the end I went to the Pharmacist for advice. He recommended I see a doctor as I might need antibiotics. So today we sat in a doctor’s waiting room for just over an hour to be told by the expert that the worse was over and just to leave it alone. He did however seemed quite convinced, from what I told him, that it was a white tailed spider. I just knew it was dead; it wasn’t getting a second bite!

Two grey nomads still having a good time.

After we escaped the surgery I went for a hair cut and Pete Mate took Billy in for a service. Pete Mate then joined me in the hairdressers, no not for a haircut but to listen in to our female conversations. Billy was going to take longer than we anticipated so he was killing time. I would have like the hairdresser to have talked less and maybe she wouldn’t have cut my hair so short. Luckily it grows fast. We then went for a bite of lunch to while some more time away before we set off walking and walking around the town of Horsham. Eventually we decided to go and check on Billy as ‘that’ hour was drawing near. When we arrived at the workshop Billy was all ready and waiting for us. All that was left was to pay the bill and toddle off home for happy hour.