Back in Mildura ~ April 2015

A chip on the shoulder is a sure sign there is wood further up.

Wednesday 1st April 2015

Pete Mate did some website work and I had a wash-athon. I washed everything I could think of including the seat covers. Pete Mate had to help me peg it out because once again the washing lines are too high. When will caravan parks realize that not all women are giants. I also did some much needed cleaning and we finished setting up camp. Afterwards I sat outside reading for a while and then it was time for Happy Hour. It was lovely to sit out and not get wet or be frozen to death,

Thursday 2nd April 2015

We went into town to the information centre and to do some shopping. When we arrived home we found a half drum and some fire wood for a camp fire plus our chair and step had been moved. My first thought was that our friends Jo and Gavin had arrived earlier than expected. Pete Mate’s first thought was the neighbour from hell, Jodie was here. (Jodie was our neighbour last time we were here in Mildura). We went to the office to find out; the wood and drum were meant for the site next to us and yes, our friends had arrived, so we knew it was them playing tricks. Phew! We were having a walkabout looking for their site when they came up behind us, drinks in hands. So what does one do after the hellos and hugs? We had a very happy Happy Hour. It was great to see them again.

Friday 3rd April 2015

We enjoyed a lovely breakfast cooked to perfection by Gavin. I love any meals I don’t cook. We then spent the day relaxing in our own ‘vans and met up again for happy hour. It was a long and very pleasant happy hour with lots of yummy food.

Saturday 4th April 2015

Jo and Gavin went off to do some shopping and then we all met up for lunch. The café was on the banks of the Murray River and was a very pleasant place to be. The service was excellent, the food and drink yummy and the company was top class. We all enjoyed ourselves but when we got home we discovered we had been overcharged. I rang the café which seemed to be used to people being overcharged and said a refund wasn’t a problem. A little bit of a sour note on an otherwise great day. We enjoyed another lovely happy hour with Jo and Gavin.

Sunday 5th April 2015

Pete Mate and I went to see the ANZAC exhibition at the arts centre. It was very good and made us realise what sacrifices these men made for their country. The arts centre is next door to an historic home and we were able to wander through and have a look. The home belonged to one of the Chaffey brothers who played a huge part in the irrigation of Mildura. It was as interesting as the ANZAC display. The arts centre is asking people to make poppies for their garden and a wreath in time for ANZAC day. I made two whilst I waited for Pete Mate to finish looking at the display. I then collected two more kits to make at home. In the evening we went over to Jo and Gavin’s caravan for dinner. We were once more fed really yummy food and it was a great evening. We are so blessed to have so many wonderful friends.

Monday 6th April 2015

Jo and Gavin came over for a cup of coffee before they headed off home. We sat about chatting and - looking at the clear blue sky -we scoffed at the weatherman’s forecast of rain. Soon after they’d left the sky changed and then the rain came. It became really cold and oh so wet. We stayed firmly inside keeping nice and warm.

Tuesday 7th April 2015

We ventured outside between showers to find we are now living in a quagmire; the bulldust has turned to mud. We had a drive into town to collect our refund (see Saturday 4th above), have some lunch and pick up our medication. The town was busy, it was freezing cold and we were very glad to get back to the warmth of the caravan.

Wednesday 8th April 2015

The sunshine has returned but it is still a bit chilly. In the morning I made pikelets for afternoon tea then I made four poppies for the Art Centre for ANZAC day. After all this activity I sat outside reading until our good friends, Dawn and Phil, arrived for afternoon tea. It was great to see them again and we spent quite a long time chatting with lots of laughter. By the time they left the wind had dropped and it was warm enough for me to cook our dinner outside. That is always a plus.

Thursday 9th April 2015

We went into town to do some shopping and a few other things. Pete Mate wanted to take some photos plus I dropped off some of the poppies at the Art Centre and picked up a couple more kits. We met Dawn and Phil for lunch at the RSL; it was a nice lunch with good company. By the time we finished our errands in town it was time for happy hour.

Friday 10th April 2015

Pete Mate took Billy into town to have new rear air bags fitted. I did some computer work and some cooking. We enjoyed a very pleasant happy hour sitting outside in the perfect weather.

Saturday 11th April 2015

Pete Mate had to check out the new air bags. This involved putting the tow ball on Billy and hitching up the caravan. Measurements were taken with air bags full without the caravan then with the caravan. Finally the measurement was done with the air bags deflated with Billy still hooked up. The results were not good and now Pete Mate has to return to the workshop on Monday to discuss their work. Then Pete Mate had to do everything in reverse so we were back to a normal set up. Luckily, when the caravan settled with a loud bang, I was sitting outside the caravan.

I finished reading my book made four more poppies and then later had a session on Skype with my sisters and brother.

Sunday 12th April 2015

We drove out to Renmark to have lunch with Jo and Gavin and also collect the turbo oven Jo has very kindly given me. It was a really lovely day to be out and about, the weather was perfect. We sat outside the Renmark Hotel and ate a scrumptious lunch with a good drop of red. It was very pleasant and relaxing but all too soon it was time to make tracks and return home. The drive home was uneventful, thank goodness as the light was fading and we were on the alert for kangaroos and emus.

Monday 13th April 2015

Pete Mate went off early to see the air bag man but came home without any proper answers. At noon we were collected by friends Dawn and Phil and taken to the home of Elwyn and Lindsay, some friends we met through Dawn and Phil. We enjoyed a lovely afternoon with lots of good food and wine. The company, as always, was excellent and once more we felt privileged to know such nice people and be welcomed into their home.

Tuesday 14th April 2015

We walked around the caravan park to see if we could find a better site. We would prefer one with grass instead of bulldust and even better if there weren’t any trees. At the office we were told that if we wanted a grass site we would have to move every seven days, so that was out of the question. We hummed and hawed so much that in the end we decided to stay where we are.

(Non-Aussies, 'Bulldust' is Australian colloquial for fine, powdery dust often found on outback roads.)

In the afternoon we drove into town. We had a few places to go to including the post office until I realised I had left the mail at home. At least this time I remembered the memory stick and was able to do some printing at the library.

Wednesday 15th April 2015

Phil and Dawn took us out for the day. We saw a useless solar power plant, a good example of the government wasting taxpayer’s money. We were given a grand tour of the food growing district which was very interesting. I find it quite odd that there is so much grown locally but is not sold here. They grow the best asparagus ever and unless you go to the farm you cannot buy it here. Crazy. We enjoyed a very nice lunch at Red Cliffs Club, the meal was very large and so yummy none of us were game to leave any.

Once home I sat outside reading whilst Pete Mate had his nanny nap. We then went over to the organised Happy Hour. The owners did a sausage sizzle and we just had to take our drinks and chairs. We met a lovely couple who were brand new Grey Nomads; they had sold everything and bought a huge ‘van. The chap had worked in the caravan industry so was very interesting to talk to.

Thursday 16th April 2015

Pete Mate dropped me off at the hairdressers early and then he returned home to get ready for his doctor’s appointment. The hairdresser was very quick so that gave me heaps of time to wander and browse. This time I remembered the mail so that was sent off and then I saw a charity shop which is always good for a bargain. I bought one or two things and then headed into the mall.

I went into a clothes shop and tried a couple of tops on. Whilst doing this another lady was trying on an outfit and asked for the opinion of the shop assistant. The lady wasn’t convinced so we ladies inside the cubicles came out and gave her the encouragement she needed. It was quite amusing how we all emerged at once in different stages of undress. I did a bit more shopping and then went into a coffee shop for a cup of tea. I had just settled down to wait for Pete Mate when he rang to say he was at last out of the doctors.

We had arranged to meet at Coles so I quickly drank my tea and bought the man a take-away coffee which I carefully carried down the streets of Mildura. I did the supermarket shop whilst PM enjoyed his coffee. I knew I would forget something, I seem to do this a lot these days. I had left the shopping list on the table in the caravan. Luckily I didn’t need much and remembered it all.

Whilst I was in the store a drama unfolded when a young mum allowed her small child to wander off to look at something. At the time I thought it a silly thing to do and, yes, the child then could not find Mummy. I saw both of them and tried to get the child to stay with me until I could reunite them but no, this little one was distressed and running all over the place. Then Mum appeared and I told her where her little girl had run. Other people were now realising that a child was missing and were beginning to look when this child appeared, saw Mummy and began to sob its little heart out. It turned out this little girl was actually a boy with very long hair. Life returned to normal, I finished the shopping and returned to the car. We hadn’t been home long when the forecast rain descended upon us and poured down for the rest of the day so we stayed warm and snug inside the ‘van.

Friday 17th April 2015

It rained all night and all day. If we thought we lived surrounded by a quagmire before we were wrong. Everywhere you looked there were pools of water and the bulldust had turned to mud. We stayed inside the ‘van. I did some computer work and some reading. I tried out the new oven for the first time and was very happy with the results. The only trouble was I had to do it inside the ‘van because of the weather. The whole idea of having the oven is to cook outside.

Saturday 18th April 2015

The rain has now stopped but everywhere is still very wet and muddy. It is also very cold. We changed our planned visit to the markets to staying at home in the warm. I finished the computer work and did some reading. Later Pete Mate went outside to wash some of the muck off the caravan.

Sunday 19th April 2015

We enjoyed a lazy morning and then in the afternoon went to the Wentworth Club to listen to the music. It was a very pleasant afternoon, there were three singers. One was very good, one was not so bad and the third ... well, I couldn’t do any better so maybe I should stay quiet. We then went to Dawn and Phil’s for dinner; it was a lovely evening even though we both ate too much but what else can you do when the food is so yummy? As always, Phil and Dawn’s company was the best.

Monday 20th April 2015

The sun is shining so that means washing needs to be done. Once it was all on the line we started cleaning up the mess around the caravan. Pete Mate likes to hose everything and I prefer to brush things and then wipe with a cloth. I did the spare chairs and put them away before he emerged from the ‘van. Pete Mate, trying to fasten his shoes, lost his balance and crashed into the table, breaking a leg - the table leg not his, he was fine. He'll need to try harder to get out of doing some work. We moved things and took up the very muddy floor matting. Pete Mate hosed it off and we then hung it out to dry. We decided not to put it down again as it would only get muddy again.

Later we went for a drive to look at another caravan park in Mildura. We found the park to be better than where we are plus our friends will be staying there for a few days next week. So we bit the bullet and booked in from Sunday. We will be overjoyed to leave this park.

Tuesday 21st April 2015

Even though the sun is shining it is too cold to sit outside and being indoors all the time is driving me crazy. So much so I suggested a trip to Bunning’s to buy the new table. Anyone who knows me will understand my level of despair if I want to go to Bunning’s! We found a table and a new tape measure for Pete Mate plus we had a bit of a drive around because Alice decided to take us the scenic route.

Wednesday 22nd April 2015

We had a full day out planned but things do not always work out the way you think they will. First we did a detour to Lock 11 to see the Paddle Steamer Melbourne go through the lock. It was interesting but what thrilled me the most was a kookaburra sitting on the fence really close to me. He just sat there looking around, not fazed at all by my proximity.

We then went to Merbein to go to a lookout but because they are laying pipes the road was closed and we had to follow the detour signs which were taking us further and further away from the lookout. Plan B: Go to Wentworth to see the things I had listed. We arrived at Wentworth and first on the list was the renovated Paddle Steamer Ruby. We accidentally drove past the road we needed and found ourselves going over the bridge. Never mind, we will do that on the way back. We parked and then walked the wrong way down the street to find the Old Gaol and the Museum which, of course, we didn’t find. We did however enjoy a sandwich and drink in the Services Club. We were just about to leave the club when I noticed an art display. We wandered through looking at the wonderful paintings, all scenes from WWI. Each one had the face of a military person in the foreground. There wasn’t any information so I asked one of the staff. The prominent faces were all holders of the Victoria Cross.

When we left there we walked over the road to another ANZAC exhibition in a hall which was also very good. We decided we had enough for one day and started the journey home. We did find the road leading to the Ruby and a statue of a man called Possum. Possum was a hermit who lived off the land for many years. He was a local character therefore he now has a statue in his honour.

On the way home we hit the detour again which led us this time near the lookout. We went to have a look and were glad we did, we saw views of the river and white sand hills. Then we literally went all around the houses to get home because whoever placed the detour signs needs another lesson in how to do it.

Thursday 23rd April 2015

We had a day of cleaning and packing away. We both got through our ‘to do’ lists which in itself is an achievement for us.

Friday 24th April 2015

We visited the Chaffey family cemetery which isn’t far from the caravan park. Always sad when you see how young some of them died. From there we paid a quick visit to the Arts Centre to drop off the final poppies I had made, then we went into town to do some shopping and have some lunch. Once home I unpacked the shopping had a rest and then went off to the camp kitchen to make some parmesan crisps. I prefer to use the park’s oven rather than mine as you have to have it very hot. This batch was not the usual success. During the evening the promised rain arrived and it rained all night. Once more we are living in a quagmire.

Saturday 25th April 2015

We attended the ANZAC parade and service here in Mildura. It was cold and pouring with rain and I felt so sorry for the people taking part. During the parade a Tiger Moth flew over twice; it was great to see. On the way home we called in at the caravan park office to tell them we were departing early and why. Margaret apologised but wasn’t inclined to give us any money back even thought I pointed out that it was down to them why we were leaving. Once back inside the caravan we didn’t venture out again.

Sunday 26th April 2015

The rain has stopped and the sun is shining. We packed up the rest of our things and left the park at a leisurely pace. We arrived at Golden Rivers caravan park and received a warm welcome and lots of help. We set up camp and then relaxed for the rest of the day.

Monday 27th April 2015

We met friends Dawn, Phil, Elwyn and Lindsey for lunch at Hogs Breath. We arrived late because Alice decided to take us somewhere else for the fun of it. Once we arrived we enjoyed a lovely lunch with good company. During the lunch I received a phone call from Apex Caravan Park to say they were refunding our money after all. So all in all it was a good day.

Tuesday 28th April 2015

It was a lovely sunny day which encouraged me to do a few chores. After lunch our friends Karen and Peter arrived for a couple of days. Once they were all set up we enjoyed a very long happy hour. It was so good to see them again and we planned an outing for tomorrow.

Wednesday 29th April 2015

It was another perfect day weather wise which enhanced our cruise along the Murray River. It was a pleasant way to spend an afternoon, sitting back letting the paddle steamer do all the work whilst we sipped wine. Pete Mate and Karen were off with their cameras clicking away. Peter wandered about the boat and I just sat. Perfect. Once home we said goodnight to Karen and Peter as they were going out to their friends house for dinner. Pete Mate and I had happy hour on our own.

Thursday 30th April 2015

Believe or not we were ready to go out at 9.00am, pretty good for us. We collected Karen and Peter and then started the day with breakfast at the Dockside Café. The breakfast was very nice and huge, big enough to last us all day. Karen and Pete Mate went to inspect a small boat you could hire for the day. They had no intention of hiring it, they were just being inquisitive. Peter had to do some computer work on line and I just wandered about. This is when I walked smack bang into a glass door. I was dazed and bruised but nothing broken thank goodness, even though my nose felt like it was. This door was large, all glass and very clean; I think there should have been a patterned strip across it to alert people to its presence. Perhaps future users will be alerted by the grease mark and lipstick smear caused by my impact. Pete Mate said he'd love to have been at the the other side of the glass with his camera. Hmmm.

Leaving there we visited the Art Centre and Chaffey House. Pete Mate and I had already done this so whilst Peter and Karen wandered I sat and made three more poppies. I caught up with the others inside Chaffey House and then we 'did' the art gallery. I watched a new exhibition on four screens all about wire. It was supposed to illustrate some aspects of war but it completely went over my head. Watching a man sitting cross legged in a muddy paddock cutting his hair is not my idea of art.

Not far from the Art Centre is the small cemetery of some of the Chaffey family. We dropped Karen and Peter there and drove a little further on to the Apex Caravan Park just to check if any late mail had arrived. We then took Karen and Peter into the mall in the middle of town as Peter wanted to go to a secondhand book shop. This suited me as I wanted a couple things from the mall. Once that was all sorted we took them for a drive. We saw Big Lizzie, plenty of the country side, a couple of lookouts and then finished with the unused solar generator plant. Our friends Phil and Dawn had taken us there a few days before and I am amazed Pete Mate and I managed to find it again.

We finished our day out with a quick visit to the supermarket for supplies for dinner. Once home it was time for happy hour, we enjoyed some nibbles and a few drinks then our friends Dawn and Phil arrived. Happy hour continued and then we progressed on to dinner which was a simple cooked chicken and plenty of salads. It was a very enjoyable day and evening.

And so ends April 2015.

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