Bob and Pooh Say:

Life without love is like a tree
without blossom and fruit.


      Pam's Journal For April 2011

  Friday 1st April 2011  

More washing was done today, where does it all come from?

In the afternoon we went to do a large grocery shop because on Sunday we move to Halls Gap and we have been told it is very expensive. We stocked up on everything we could, plus of course lots of wine.

Before we went to the supermarket we stopped at the park where the festival was held. The park is home to a beautiful war memorial honouring all the men and women of Horsham that served in all conflicts. I was especially impressed with the engraved memorial stone that was in honour of all nurses of the forces.

The stone was so polished that it looks as though the nurse is standing behind a reflected wall.

  Horsham remembers those who served and died in many conflicts.  

Once home and everything was put away it was time to pour the glass of red. Incidentally when we were in the doctors the other day he didn’t bat an eyelid when we told him how much we drink. In fact he said his partner drank the same amount.

  Saturday 2nd April 2011  

We cleaned and packed everything away ready for our move tomorrow. We, for once, started before lunch and were well organised in time for happy hour. Then Pete Mate dropped a bombshell. Our good friends, Phil and Dawn, in Mildura are going through a bad time. Dawn contracted an infection during a recent surgical procedure and things are getting worse. Phil sounded quite devastated on the phone.

"How about we go to Mildura again instead of Halls Gap?" he asked. "There's nothing we can do for Dawn but we might make a difference for Phil."

I had been thinking exactly the same thing and agreed immediately.

  Sunday 3rd April 2011  

Thanks to turning the clocks back an hour we left Horsham much earlier than our usual time. It was a long drive through to Mildura and the road was uneven and at times had large holes in it. A legacy left from the recent floods.

Once at Mildura we set up camp and then went to visit Dawn. Both Phil and Dawn were surprised but pleased to see us. We kept the visit short as they had other visitors also.

  Monday 4th April 2011  

The weather has turned glorious; beautiful sunny days to sit outside the caravan and while away the hours. Apart from visiting Dawn we did little else.

  Tuesday 5th April 2011  

We pottered about the caravan in the morning and in the afternoon Dawn and Phil came for a visit. Dawn is allowed out of hospital for short periods of time. It is just so lovely to sit and listen to the birds whilst soaking up these glorious days of sunshine.

  Wednesday 6th April 2011  

We had a few things to shop for, one being a new battery for the caravan. I went and enjoyed a lovely pedicure before meeting Pete Mate for lunch. We then went to visit Dawn who was holding court to a room full of visitors and was beginning to look more like her old self.

  Thursday 7th April 2011  

Pete Mate had a 'man cold' today so we didn’t go and visit Dawn. I did a few chores and then sat outside in the glorious sunshine, reading. Pete Mate worked on the wiring of the car more or less all day.

  Friday 8th April 2011  

Pete Mate is all better today so maybe it was a touch of hay fever, who knows?

We had to go and get some more parts for the car and do a little bit of shopping. At the shopping mall I was waiting for Pete Mate to join me when a group of young people wandered past. One of them said to a male in the group, ”Don’t be mean to the old lady”. I looked around to see if the old lady was alright, then it dawned on me that they were talking about ME. I was greatly amused as I am not old, nor could I fathom what 'mean' thing the lad did. Their day will come!

Buying the parts wasn’t straight forward and we were back and forth along the highway like yoyos. When Pete Mate was satisfied he had what he wanted we popped along to the hospital to see Dawn. She wasn’t so good today and we didn’t stay long. At home Pete Mate discovered he needed some more parts but that will have to wait until tomorrow as it is time for the red ‘stuff’.

  Saturday 9th April 2011  

We went into town for a couple more things for the car, to fill up with diesel and then go and say our goodbyes to Dawn and Phil. Dawn was a lot better today which was good to see, it being our last visit. Phil was conspicuous by his absence so we passed on our goodbyes to him via Dawn. We should have known better, we were back at the caravan packing away all our gear when the man himself appeared to say his own goodbyes. It is always sad to say goodbye but we busied ourselves with getting everything packed away and Billy hooked up onto Bessie. The weather was now changing; after a glorious week of warm sunshine we are now back to the cold and wet.

  Sunday 10th April 2011  

We left Mildura with a little sadness as we really like the town, and of course Dawn & Phil. Alice decided she didn’t really want to leave Mildura either and she took us all over the place before she finally decided that we should really get going. The roads were abysmal and freshly ironed clothes fell off their hangers on to the bottom of the wardrobe. Not happy. Things inside the ‘van got shaken about something shocking. We then hit a diversion as the road we wanted to go down was closed, probably damaged in the floods. Eventually we pulled in to the caravan park at Castlemaine, tired and not overly happy. We received a warm friendly welcome from Claire behind the desk who was a wealth of information but very wisely said she would fill me in when we were settled in and rested.

When I made the booking I asked for a level site as we had read that it was a job and a half to level your ‘van on a lot of the sites here. We didn’t get a level site and it was a devil of a job getting Bessie level. To say we were now grumpy as well as tired and unhappy is an understatement. We did the bare minimum of setting up and then poured a glass of red. Ah, now things are looking a lot better.

We had substituted Mildura for Halls Gap on our programme then rejoined our previous schedule at Castlemaine.

  Monday 11th April 2011  

The weather has now definitely changed and we are back in winter clothes. We finished setting up camp and Pete Mate gave Bessie a bit of a wash down. We drove into Castlemaine for a look around. We parked the car and walked around the centre, it seems a nice town with many old building but not in the same league as Ballarat. We found a very interesting shop full of antiques, old tools, new tools, china, glassware, toys, books and so much more.

Afterwards we found a coffee shop with a pleasant young lady to serve us; we then wandered back to the car first calling into yet another car parts shop for something else for Billy. I had to go with Pete Mate as he had left his glasses at home. As this shop is for 'blue' things I clocked up a few pink credits. Yes I did, Pete Mate.

  Tuesday 12th April 2011  
  Lay day as the weather is cold and we feel like being lazy today. We did a few things on the computer, I finished off my birthday card folder and then I knitted. We also managed to book into Shepparton for over the Easter break which is good news considering we were told we had left it too late. In six and a half years we have never been without somewhere to stay. Mind you we haven’t yet decided whose arm and leg we are giving them, the prices of sites during the school holidays are definitely on the rise.  
  Wednesday 13th April 2011  

For once we were ready to go out for the day early. Well . . . early for us. Then the insurance people rang about the house so that was that, we had to replan our day. We did however manage to get out and about before lunch, a major feat for us. We had been told the views of Castlemaine from the grounds of the Old Gaol were worth a look, and they were.

  The view the prisoners behind the high walls couldn't see though the guards in the towers could.  

The building itself is not open to the public and some renovations were taking place. We got chatting to a local chap who told us the solitary confinement cells were three levels below the ground. Now you're wondering how this chap knew this aren’t you? Rest assured, we weren’t talking to an ex con but the son of the local butcher. His Dad used to deliver the meat to the kitchens and tells the tale of how, when prisoners were released, they were taken to the railway station. Nine times out of ten the ex prisoners would be back in gaol before the warders had returned.

We then drove out to Maldon to see the steam train and the town itself. We found the station and sure enough the steam engine was there having a rest before his return journey to Castlemaine. Pete Mate wandered off to find someone to ask about when and how it was running. He came back with really good information of where we could park to take some good photos. We dashed into town for a toilet stop, picked up some lunch and coffees and high tailed it out to the chosen spot before the train left. The chap was right and we did take some good photos, plus it was a nice spot to stand and wave to all the passengers.

On the way back into town Pete Mate said he would just pop back to the station and thank the chap for his advice and offer to send him the photos. A long time later he emerged from the smelly old sheds with a very broad grin on his face. He had enjoyed his own personal tour of the place. "Ding ding", more pink credits for me.

We had a walk around the town and took some photos of the old buildings. Maldon is a lovely quaint little town full of interesting little shops. Even the insides of most of the shops had been restored to their original décor.

  A view down Maldon's main shopping street on a dull and draughty day.  
  Just as we were making our way back to the car we noticed a motorist in need of some jump leads so Pete Mate fetched Billy and gave the man the start he needed and then we made our way home to the warm caravan and a glass of red.  
  Thursday 14th April 2011  

A day of untangling – first we had to wade through the builders quotes for the house. Once we untangled them here and Nic did the same in Perth it was emails, phones calls and more emails. By the time we had finished it was too late to go anywhere sightseeing. So I sat and untangled some wool I am using. As I said, a day of untangling. Thank goodness for red wine.

  Friday 15th April 2011  

We had a lovely drive out to Daylesford. What a delightful little town with nice friendly people. We walked around and took some photos . . .

  I loved the old-style light on this roundabout. The water feature was probably off due to water restrictions.  
  Looking the other way from the same roundabout.  

. . . enjoyed a coffee/tea and then decided to wend our way home for a nice glass of red.

  Saturday 16th April 2011  

Get ready day. We washed, cleaned and packed everything away ready for tomorrow.

  Sunday 17th April 2011  

Why is it, however early we get up, we can never seem to leave anywhere before 10.30am? We were all organised yesterday ready to hitch up and get going early but it never materialised.

Once on the road, Alice took us down country roads which gave us some lovely views of the countryside but didn’t actually get us to where we wanted to be. So I took over using a map and eventually we arrived at the caravan park in Shepparton. As I got out of the car and noticed a Big 4 sign I commented that I thought we were booked in at a Top Tourist park. (If you join these clubs you can get discounted site fees. We are members of a few different ones).

Once inside the reception office I soon discovered we were not booked in there. Luckily I still had the phone number of the park where I made the booking. I rang them and asked them if we had a booking. Yes we did. I then asked them who they were and where they were. Did they think we were raving lunatics? Probably, but we still received a warm welcome on arrival.

We parked the ‘van and started to unpack when Pete Mate discovered our power lead was too short. So off came the TrailerMate base plate and the jockey wheel was fitted. We then tried to push Bessie backwards a little. Now I was beginning to think we are raving mad. Off came the jockey wheel and we re hitched the car, pushed back a little and all was well. We then finished unpacking before having a late lunch. The sun was out so we sat out side relaxing with a cup of tea.

  Monday 18th April 2011  

We had a morning walk around the lake which is adjacent to the caravan park. There is a lot of work happening around it, lots of reeds being planted, walkways and buildings happening. When it is finished it will be really nice. We had a cuppa at the café by the lake before visiting the Information Centre which is also next to the park. We came away armed with lots of leaflets about this area. One of the attractions of Shepparton is a herd of life sized models of cows that have been painted all sorts of colours and distributed around the town. This was a huge art project and is called Moooving Art. We walked home for lunch before going into town to do some shopping and to have a look around.

  Tuesday 19th April 2011  

We walked around the lake in the morning and then in the afternoon we spent a lot of time relaxing outside the caravan. The weather is glorious once more.

  Wednesday 20th April 2011  

A big change in the weather, cold and dull, but we still managed to do a walk without getting too wet. We watched the kids doing their acrobatic moves at the skate park. Once home for lunch the heavens really opened and we had a steady downpour all afternoon. Our plans for going out were put on hold for another day.

  Thursday 21st April 2011  

We did our walk before lunch. The flurry of activity around the lake had increased overnight as some projects had to be finished ready for a Family Day by The Lake event tomorrow.

After lunch we went into town to do some major shopping. First we called in at the SPC factory shop as we had been told we could buy groceries there cheaper than the supermarket. I bought one or two things but the bargains were when you bought cases of tinned food - not really appropriate for caravan dwellers. We left there and visited a range of shops, one being Spotlight. Pink credits were used up big time here as Pete Mate had to come in with me to check some colours. By the time we had finished everything it was 5.45pm and well past red wine time.

  Friday 22nd April 2011  

Family day at Lake Victoria was our destination today. We didn’t have far to walk, just around the other side of the lake. It was pretty ordinary and did not have the market stalls I was hoping for. The music was loud and seemed okay, people milling about were hoping the huge black clouds above them were not going to produce a downfall.

  Easter Bunny and Friends. Just after this photo was taken Mr Bunny lifted his head off and showed me his big hairy face. Now the illusion is broken along with my heart! I really did believe.  

One of the reasons for the family day was to raise money for the Good Friday Children’s Hospital Appeal. I didn’t see anyone collecting money whilst we wandered about. I needn’t have worried though as once back at the park a fire truck complete with pretty maids came around with collection tins. The rain did stay away but the evening was decidedly chilly so we only had a short happy hour outside the ’van.

  Saturday 23rd April 2011  

The weather has perked up a little so we decided to have a drive out to Tatura where - we had heard - there was a very nice war memorial to the German POWs and civilian internees of the Second World War. Once we eventually found it, we discovered it was for both wars and not really anything special. In the cemetery there were very few POWs. Mainly it was the poor internees that ended up there just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

  Part of the German War Cemetery at Tatura.  

The camps, however, were nothing like the overseas POW camps and these people were well looked after medically and education wise.

On the way home we stopped off at a park that ‘housed’ about 25 more cow statues. I took many photos, some of which you will see below. Some morons had defaced some of the cows with marker pens and sharp tools. They need horse whipping.

  Three of about twenty five fibreglass cows scattered about the paddock.  

Once home we sat outside for a while with wine in hand before the chilly air got the better of us and we retreated to the warmth of the caravan.

  Sunday 24th April 2011  

Apart from going for a walk we did little else other than sit outside the caravan in the glorious sunshine, relaxing. Our walk in the morning was a little different to the walk around the lake we have been doing. We decided to follow the river, we walked and walked and eventually we had to ask someone the way home. Funnily enough they were from Kalamunda (a Perth suburb) visiting their daughter who lives here. They may not have been locals but they were able to get us back on the right track.

  Monday 25th April 2011  

ANZAC Day. We walked into town for the ANZAC Day march and service. We arrived in plenty of time to get good positions to take photos but when the time came I waved and clapped instead, it is so moving to see these ‘old’ people march so gallantly and with such pride. The service was really nice and again very moving, the diggers, the speakers, the school children and a very feisty priest made it all a very special morning.

  All a bit confusing from the photo. The microphone was on the dais at the very right of the picture,
the flags were off the left of the picture and the many wreaths were laid both left and right.

Once home we sat outside and recovered with a cup of coffee. The sunshine is so beautiful today and it was so hard to move but things have to be done as we move camp tomorrow.

  On the way home we found that the lake, which had been filling since Friday,
had hardly a ripple on its surface and the reflection of the trees just begged a picture.
  Tuesday 26th April 2011  

We were organised and ready to leave around 10.00am for our short journey to Porepunkah. It was a good trip without any mishaps. Alice, of course, performed as usual but we ignored her. At Porepunkah we received, as always, a warm welcome but we seem to have mixed up the dates and weren't expected until Saturday. This wasn't a problem except our usual site was occupied; as it turned out we were very happy with that. The site we were allocated is much better and when we sit outside we face the river plus it is a little more private than the other sites. We soon set up camp, had lunch then sat outside basking in the glorious sunshine.

  Wednesday 27th April 2011  

Another glorious day here in Porepunkah. I did a few chores and some washing before we set off for a walk. We walked the circuit around the river which is always a pleasant stroll. After lunch we drove into Bright for a couple of things and of course enjoyed a cuppa at our favourite café. Once home again we sat outside and poured the red, as we do. We have a new toy, a bug zapper in the shape of a tennis racket. It does work but you have to spot the little blighters before they land on you. I will have to improve my back hand a little more.

  Thursday 28th April 2011  

We had a nice relaxing day in the sunshine. We went for a walk in the morning and then spent the afternoon sitting outside the ‘van in the sunshine.

  Friday 29th April 2011  

It is another glorious sunny day here in downtown Porepunkah and day one of the Autumn Festival. During the festival there are a number of Open Gardens to visit and as we didn’t see any last time it was only fair to have some 'pink' time today. The gardens had sweeping green lawns rolling down to the Ovens River, with the most splendid trees.

  Peaceful . . .  
  Just the burble of the water flowing past.  

The gardens surrounded some self contained guest cottages which were all occupied. The tranquillity of the place was second to none and to sit on one of seats with a good book would have been very pleasant indeed.

  Some cute little people lived in the garden.  

After we left there we drove into Bright to the library where I managed to secure the next book in the trilogy I am reading, then it was the post office, information centre, a visit to our favourite café before going to the dreaded supermarket for some groceries. Time was marching on and that glass of red was once again calling.

  Saturday 30th April 2011  

Wandi’ Nut Festival was our destination today so after the usual chores were done and the lunch was packed we drove out to Wandiligong. It wasn’t very far and we were soon in the queue of cars trying to find a parking slot. To call it a festival was a big stretch of someone’s imagination, it was a market with some entertainment for young and old. I enjoyed the market stalls as they were selling local produce such as olive oils and mustards but none of the tacky stuff you often get at these markets. Having made a few purchases I found Pete Mate chatting to a chap helping to roast chestnuts. The chap, who was actually holding the huge roasting pan over the open fire, was a very tall man indeed.

  The man roasting the chestnuts was 6' 9" tall. There must be something in those nuts.  

By this time Pete Mate decided this was a pink day and he had the photos to prove it. That’s okay, I have so many pink credits that my account is overflowing.

  And when I look for him and find him chatting up a woman, he forfeits even more credits.  

We left there and ate our lunch overlooking the Ovens River before heading home. We did, however, make a diversion to Woolworths Liquor store to collect some more 'cleanskins' which were very good value and a nice drop.

We had happy hour with a couple and their friend who we had not met before. Wendy found our web site some time ago and we have been conversing with her ever since so it was nice to meet up at last. It was a very pleasant happy hour but quite chilly.