NSW-Victoria ~ April 2012 

Good friends are like stars. You don't always see them but you know they are there.

Sunday 1st April 2012

As daylight saving ended in the early hours of this morning we gained an extra hour. You would think by having the extra hour we would be on the road earlier but, no, we weren't. 10.30am saw us leaving Temora; I think maybe we were dragging our feet as we really do like it there. We arrived in Albury early afternoon to a very warm welcome. We learnt later that Mike and Cheryl were temporary managers as the usual ones were on holiday. The sites are very small but eventually we were in and set up. We met our neighbours who again were very friendly; we were even given some Tasmanian apples by a couple who had just brought them over on the ferry. Not sure they should have done that. Anyway we enjoyed a very pleasant happy hour before heading indoors for the evening.

Monday 2nd April 2012

We went out and about checking where everything is. We found the liquor shop, very important, plus all the other places we think we might need. I called in at the information centre to find out what we can do here. The young lady was very helpful and very knowledgeable.

Whilst I was doing this Pete Mate was inspecting the railway tracks as the Information Centre was right next to the station. He wasn’t happy with his findings. We left there and went in search of the Bended Elbow which is a British style pub. We enjoyed a very pleasant drink in very pleasant surroundings. It was then home for us.

We arrived to find we had new neighbours, a nice couple called Barry and Robyn. We enjoyed a very long happy hour with them, we didn’t realise the time until someone from another caravan asked us to be quiet. It was 10.15 and we hadn’t had dinner - too late to start cooking so we made do with a snack. Barry and Robyn are experienced caravanners but had never heard of happy hour before except in a pub when the drinks are cheaper. They obviously do not move in the same circles as we do!

Tuesday 3rd April 2012

Pete Mate dropped me off at the hairdressers for a long overdue haircut. An hour later we met up for lunch then had a drive out to Hume Dam; it is much fuller than when we last saw it. Pete always relies on my memory for the names of places or people as he says he has a bad memory. When we arrived at the dam he could remember everything about our last visit whereas I couldn’t even remember being there. I only know the water level was higher because, when we got home, PM showed me the photos he took last time.

No happy hour tonight. After the marathon last night we needed the rest.

Wednesday 4th April 2012

We were having a relaxing day, drinking coffee and reading when we heard and felt an almighty bang on our caravan. We went outside to be greeted by another caravan being reversed away from us. This chap, trying to squeeze in to these small sites, had whacked our awning so hard he knocked us off the stand at the front. He had ripped the awning but when he looked he said he did not do any damage as he only tapped the awning. It didn’t feel like a tap to us from the inside. By the end of the day the chap, whose name is Casey, gave us his details and we were able to contact our insurance company to arrange repairs. Management here refused to help in any way, the whole incident could have been avoided if Jon, the manager, has guided Casey in instead of letting him struggle. When Happy Hour came around we invited Casey to join us as he was not totally to blame. Having said that, he never apologised either.

Thursday 5th April 2012

We paid a visit to the shopping mall to buy a few things including our Good Friday fish. Pete Mate fancied a prawn curry so that is what I made. We enjoyed a short happy hour with our new neighbours, very pleasant people.

Friday 6th April 2012

Good Friday we did what we do often; relaxed, read, played computers and knitted. The curry was very nice even though I say so myself.

Saturday 7th April 2012

Not much happening here today, playing computers and bit of knitting and a lot of reading. We again have new neighbours, the Hoffman’s, who are entertainers and we actually saw at Horsham. They also know a few people we do. Nice people.

Sunday 8th April 2012

Not a lot happened here today. I read for a while outside but the wind was quite cool so I retreated indoors. I did some washing which dried quite quickly and one or two other chores.

Monday 9th April 2012

We were up and organised early then we went for some important supplies, . . . wine. We enjoyed a spot of lunch before heading home. I decided to do a wash as the sun was shining but no sooner had I got it on the line when the heavens opened and down came the rain. So once again the inside of the caravan resembles a Chinese laundry. Around 3.30pm our friends Greg and Bev arrived to spend a few days with us. We started happy hour as soon as they were settled and continued with dinner which was cooked by the men on our little gas barbecue. Did I mention that after the rain the weather turned very cold indeed? These two chaps stood freezing whilst Bev and I were snug inside keeping a watchful eye on the salad. Sorry chaps.

Tuesday 10th April 2012

Greg had to get a tyre repaired so we girls were dropped off at the shopping mall whilst the boys sorted it out. It seemed like five minutes later Bev received a call to say they were waiting for us just inside the mall. We joined them and then decided to have a look at the city. By now it was lunchtime so we found somewhere to eat before having a wander around the shops. We then drove up to the memorial for a look and take some photos. Then in was on to Hume Dam for Bev and Greg to have a look. As it was drawing near to that hour we headed home for a very pleasant Happy Hour.

Wednesday 11th April 2012

We had to be organised this morning and ready to leave by 9.30am. We arrived at the Rutherglen Winery by 10.30am for a tour we had booked. We expected to be taken out the back shown a few things and then taste a few wines. How wrong can you be? We were collected by the boss himself, Phil, and then taken out to the vineyards and processing plant. It was the most interesting wine tour we have ever done. We learnt all about how the grapes are grown from the very beginning. Phil explained everything to us, including the business side of things. At the processing plant we had to climb steps and then walk on metal grated gangways. I am not the best with heights and I hated being able to see the ground underneath where I walked, but I did it. Yes Pete Mate has the photos of me clinging on for dear life. It reminded me of the time I did the Treetop Walk in the south of W.A. Once the tour was over, Phil took us back into town for the wine tasting which was very enjoyable. Up to this point we had not paid a cent, it was an amazing tour and all for free. We did however buy some nice wines as we did like them, and with 35% off how could we pass up on a bargain like that?

We left there in search of food to soak up the wine; we found a nice little café and enjoyed a pleasant lunch. After lunch we went to another winery that boasted ‘excellent gardens and aviaries’. We didn’t wine taste here but wandered about. The birds looked sadly neglected and the gardens not up to much at all.

Next on the itinerary was the Olive Orchard where we tasted all manner of olives, oils and pickles. I bought some olives and Bev treated herself and me to an olive spoon. Thanks Bev. It was now drawing once again to that time so we headed home. We enjoyed another pleasant happy hour followed by a lovely Chinese/Thai takeaway.

Thursday 12th April 2012

After a lazy start to the day, we drove into town via Wodonga. Bev and Greg wanted to see a lookout there. Once they had had their fill of the beautiful views we continued into town. We found a really nice café for lunch run by the students of the local TAFE. The prices were incredibly cheap and the meals lovely. Once lunch was out of the way Bev and I went off to do some serious retail therapy. The boys did blue ‘stuff’ looking at televisions and such like. Later we met up for a drink at the 'Bended Elbow', the British pub here in Albury. Once home we all had a nanny nap before happy hour.

Friday 13th April 2012

We enjoyed a wonderful day with Greg and Bev taking them to a favourite place of ours, Bright. Once in the Alpine Region we took them up Mount Buffalo where the views are magnificent, we stayed a while whilst they had a look around and took photos.

View from Chalet Lookout
PeteMate, Bev and Greg at the lookout near the Buffalo Chalet. The rock beyond
the railing falls almost vertically to the bottom of the Buffalo Gorge.
The Grand Old Lady - a.k.a. The Chalet - was still there standing proud. Sadly it looks like any renovations are on the back burner yet again.

Walking back from hanglider ramp
Bev, Greg and PM trudging back up from the hang-glider launch ramp. It makes my
stomach clench just to look at it. We've never seen anyone use it.
Once down the mountain we went into the town of Bright where we had some lunch then a wander through the shops. Time was getting on and Pete Mate wanted to take us home a different way, via Mount Beauty, so we got our skates on and left beautiful Bright. The drive home was lovely but we were all getting a little tired now. Once home we all had a rest before going out for dinner to the local pub. Dinner was lovely as was the wine and the company excellent. It has been a very enjoyable week.

Saturday 14th April 2012

I started getting myself organised early and then cooked breakfast for the four of us. It was a lovely morning so we sat outside; a perfect way to start the day. We said our goodbyes to Bev and Greg and then took Billy for a wash and fill up. It was a very good carwash. Once home we set about packing away everything ready for the move tomorrow.

Sunday 15th April 2012

We are on the move again, this time back to our beloved Porepunkah. We are not sorry to leave the caravan park here in Albury but we did enjoy our stay.

Monday 16th April 2012

We spent a ‘perffick’ day here in ‘Punka’ just sitting by the river, reading or chatting whilst we drank tea/coffee. Later we brought out the wine. Life is good.

Tuesday 17th April 2012

We had a quick trip into Bright to do one or two things. It was quick as we had to be back for the caravan repair man coming to look at our damage. It all seems straightforward and we are hoping that we will have it all done on the 14th May when we leave here.

Wednesday 18th April 2012

We awoke feeling sad as today was the final journey Mum will make; it is her funeral in the UK. We decided we would go to the top of Mt Buffalo as it is one of our favourite places but also we know Mum would have loved it there. We packed a picnic and started the drive up when our wonderful weather turned wet and dismal but we still pressed on. Once at the picnic area the rain had stopped and we were treated to a little sunshine and a rainbow. We enjoyed our picnic but before long the weather was changing again so we packed up and headed for home. We spent a day with mixed feelings as we were sad Mum has gone but we took a lot of pleasure in reminiscing the happy times we spent with her.

Thursday 19th April 2012

These days it is rare for me to drive Billy, mainly because I just don’t like driving. Anyway I wanted to do one or two things in town and Pete Mate didn’t want to come so I took Billy out for a spin. He behaved very well and we found our way there and back without any dramas. Later I put my feet up and read one of the library books I had picked up whilst out.

Friday 20th April 2012

The weather is a mixed bag right now; we have had typical Melbourne weather, rain and sunshine in the same day. I cleaned another cupboard out, I am doing one each day and disposing of things we haven't used in a year. Later I read and Pete Mate played computers.

Saturday 21st April 2012

We had a drive out to Wangaratta this morning. Pete Mate wanted to check out where he had to take the caravan for repairs as it looked a tricky entrance on Google Maps. We found the place without any problems and, yes, it is a tricky entrance. We had a look around whilst we were there at some caravans as you do.

We had to do a supermarket shop so we decided to drive back to Bright for a late lunch and shop there. By the time we got home and put the shopping away it was time for a drink or two. It was very pleasant sitting outside as the sun was still warm. Then it was my usual Saturday chat with my sisters and brother on Skype.

Sunday 22nd April 2012

Usually when we stay here, on a Sunday afternoon we can be seen at the Bright Brewery sipping wine and listening to music. Today, however, Mother Nature stepped in bringing the rain and the cold so that plan was scrapped. Instead we stayed home with the heater on reading and playing computers.

Monday 23rd April 2012

I did a few chores and some washing. Later we had a short but very pleasant walk into the village. The Ovens seems to be higher than last time and is flowing fast. It is such a lovely walk and not too taxing, we should do it more often. We made it back before it rained so that was a plus as well.

Tuesday 24th April 2012

We went into Bright for a doctor’s appointment; we needed our scripts renewed, our flu jabs and our annual blood tests. Being on the road all the time I have to time these things so we are in places we have been before and are registered with a doctor. When the doctor called us in we both got a shock. We decided she must be about old enough to leave school but . . . to be a doctor? Anyway, young she might have been but she seemed quite good. No, actually she was very good because she didn’t weigh us or ask us how much red wine we drank.

We left there with the necessary paperwork and our bank balance a little the poorer. What I like about this surgery is while you wait you can knit, they provide wool and needles to knit squares for the "Wrap With Love" project. (Squares are knitted then made into blankets for the poor and homeless).

Once we left there we went in search of coffee. We decided to use a different café which was good, variety being the spice of life and all that. We had to send a parcel off and collect some mail so the Post Office was next on the list. The chap in the post office decided the parcel was going to cost too much so worked out a better rate for us; they are so good in there, always helpful and friendly. We then did a few other errands, one being the library for me. Again nice friendly people work there. Once home I did one or two things and then read my book.

Wednesday 25th April 2012, ANZAC Day

We went into Bright for the parade and service; we arrived in plenty of time and stood around in the cold with everyone else. They had a few problems with the public address system so we were late starting. The parade marched up one side of the main street and then down the other; it was a small but proud parade. The service went very well and the speaker, Lt Col Jack Burn, Rtd, was excellent. He spoke about the First World War and the effect it had on Bright and its families. Once the service was over Pete Mate and I came straight home because we had to raise the flag from half mast to full. The sun was now out but it was still cold so we put the heater on and stayed warm and toasty for the rest of the day.

Thursday 26th April 2012

We went for our annual blood tests today; the hardest part was having to fast beforehand. Trust me, as soon as the young lady had taken her fill of blood we were straight into the nearest café for brunch. The young lady - I'm not sure if they are nurses or what - was excellent. I explained about the problem in extracting my blood and she listened and did as I asked, the result being I left there with one dressing and not three as so very often happens. The café we chose today was again one we had not been in before. The food was good, the staff friendly, but most of all it was warm.

Bright has become very chilly indeed. We had a few things to do in the town, one being a visit to the charity shop with a bagful of discarded Ranson items. Once home I did a load of washing, put the shopping away and tried once more to tidy up the ‘van. Although I am going through everything and being brutal about what is discarded, the place doesn’t look any better when I have finished! So what else was there to do but make a cup of tea and read a book.

Friday 27th April 2012

Washing, cooking and cleaning were the order of the day today. Another cupboard sorted and another bag of goodies for the charity shop.

Friday 27th April 2012

It was a funny old day; all our plans were cancelled because poor old Pete Mate had a dose of flu and spent the day in bed. We had tickets for a play in town but they weren’t wasted because I found a couple who were willing to go in our place.

Sunday 29th April 2012

Pete Mate is still in bed feeling rotten so again we cancelled our plans, hopefully tomorrow he will feel a lot better.

Monday 30th April 2012

We enjoyed a wonderful afternoon listening to Ian Stapleton, what a marvellous man he is. He has not only researched the history of this area but he remembers it all as well. Today’s talk was about the Pioneer Women of the mountains. It makes one feel very grateful for running water, power, supermarkets, cars and medical assistance, just to name a few. The pioneer women had none of these things and many produced a dozen or more children whilst working every bit as hard as the men.

After the talk we came home and decided not to do the murder mystery tour this Monday but save it for next week.