Back in Victoria and summer's over ~ March 2017

Realise deeply that the present moment is all you have.

Wednesday 1st March 2017

We 'did' the Aradale Lunatic Asylum Museum today. We were the only two on the tour with two guides. We didn’t know what to expect as these places do not have a good name. However, Aradale was quite different. It opened in 1867 and in the early days things had not been so good, but once a new Superintendent - Doctor Gordon - took over the wellbeing of the patients, things improved and Aradale became a considerably happier place. Basically, the new Superintendent replaced brute force and physical restraints with drugs to pacify violent patients.

In its heyday the place was regarded as a town within a town, having the land to grow its own food and the manpower to tend it. It boasted its own market gardens, orchard, vineyard and piggery. Other livestock were also kept on site. If I tell you that this asylum had 63 buildings you'll realise that they were serious about it! It was almost self-sufficient.

The tour lasted two hours, two very interesting hours, and we were so glad we revisited Ararat so we could do this tour.

(We previously visited Ararat in March 2015 for the day. At that time we toured the asylum's J Ward [est. 1887] which had been an old prison building. J Ward housed the asylum's criminally insane. It was never modified from the original purpose-built prison as it was only 'temporary'. It was eventually closed in 1985 after 98 years as a temporary annexe to Aradale.)

One of the interesting stories we heard is documented here. Click on - https://www.gordonmoyes.com/2006/04/11/aradale-mental-hospital.

After the tour we did some shopping and then went home for some lunch and to prepare for our departure tomorrow.

Thursday 2nd March 2017

It was a good run through to Werribee where will camp in readiness for the Avalon Airshow. We settled in nicely and then relaxed.

Friday 3rd March 2017

I tried to do some of Sue’s accounts but everything was against me, I ran out of ink in the printer, I forgot my password, my pen gave up, and then I lost the new pen. I read a book instead. In the evening we met up with friends Gail and Jerzy, Libby and Steve. It was a very nice restaurant and we all enjoyed some really nice food. The company as always was excellent.

Saturday 4th March 2017

The day of the Avalon Airshow. We set off fairly early but couldn’t avoid the traffic going to the show. We were directed to the disabled carpark which should have been the closest to the main gate. It wasn’t. We were collected by a golf buggy which took us to a waiting bus. This took us quite near the gate. No one could tell us how we were to do it later, in reverse. We eventually found our seats by the time the show had started. By 11.30am I had had enough of the same old aerobatics and wished I had brought along my knitting. I didn’t realise at the time Pete Mate was also bored with the same old stuff.

Just when I thought enough was enough it got interesting and the army, navy and air force combined forces to show us how they perform in a war zone. It was all done really well and I did enjoy it. Then we had a beautiful glider take to the sky. It was so peaceful and the music they played over the loud speakers was perfect. I truly loved it but was a little cross with four people who stood in our line of vision with their backs to the display talking. Pete Mate in the end had enough when he looked along our row and saw everyone else was craning their necks to see. He politely asked her to sit down. Eventually it was all over and we slowly made our way to the exit, no point in rushing as the traffic build up is always great. Not knowing how we could get the bus back to the carpark we walked; it nearly finished us both. We have never been so glad to see Billy.

Sunday 5th March 2017

We had a lay day and I didn’t know whether I was Arthur or Martha. Very tired and too much sun yesterday.

Monday 6th March 2017

We enjoyed a lovely barbecue lunch with Gail and Jerzy. The food and the company were excellent, never mind the wine. We look forward to seeing these two at Emu Park later in the year. Once home I did some packing away ready for tomorrow.

Tuesday 7th March 2017

We had a stressful trip to Traralgon. We didn’t actually go through Melbourne but the freeways were bad enough. We set up camp and then did nothing.

Wednesday 8th March 2017

I had an appointment with Roger’s podiatrist. (Roger is an Emu Park friend who lives in Churchill, near Traralgon). I have a very painful toe and hoped the podiatrist could fix it. It turned out it was infected thanks to a pedicure I had in Perth. I said at the time it was a dirty place. Next stop was the doctor’s for antibiotics. Roger met us at the podiatrist and we three went off to the bakery for lunch. We then parted company after arranging to meet up for dinner that night. Pete Mate and I had a few things to do in the afternoon and then Roger collected us from the caravan park and took us to his club for dinner. It was a very nice meal plus I won one of the raffles. A good time was had by all.

Thursday 9th March 2017

The doctor’s appointment was first on the list. Once that was out of the way we were supposed to phone Roger. Where was the phone? On charge in the ‘van. I found a public phone box and Pete Mate supplied the number and I managed a very disjointed call to Roger. These phone boxes do not tell you how much you need to put in. We established we were having lunch together in Morwell which was good because I needed some wool from Big W in Morwell. The lunch was exceptional, really nice. I did my shopping and Pete Mate got a new watch strap and then that was it. We said our goodbyes to Roger and went home for a rest.

Friday 10th March 2017

We enjoyed a wonderful day meeting up with old friends. We had arranged to meet up with Phil and Bev Bale at Roger’s house. We first met Phil and Bev at Emu Park but they haven’t been for a couple of years so it was really good to see them, and looking so well. Roger put on an incredible spread for morning tea and then lunch. We all ate far too much as the food was so yummy. The chatter didn’t stop all day and by the time we left we were all a little tired.

A special moment of the day was when I remembered that a mutual friend, Jerzy, had given me a pin connected to bowling. Jerzy had promised this pin to Phil but as they haven’t been up to Emu Park he couldn’t give it to him. Phil was so thrilled to receive this pin because of the thoughtfulness of Jerzy. Just a small kind deed can give so much happiness. Well done Jerzy!

Saturday 11th March 2017

I had a very busy day washing, cleaning and cooking. The camp kitchen here is well equipped and I took advantage of it. This park is so nice, well maintained and kept clean and tidy. The people are very friendly; one couple came into the kitchen to see what I was cooking. Later I did some reading and knitting.

Sunday 12th March 2017

We were invited over to Roger’s for lunch as he had a lot of leftovers from Friday. The lunch was just as lovely as before. Again heaps of food. Roger’s friend, Johnny, popped in for a cuppa in the afternoon. We met Johnny a couple of years ago so it was nice to see him again.

Monday 13th March 2017

We went into Traralgon for some fuel ready for our departure on Wednesday. Then it was back to Morwell to meet Roger for lunch, (our treat), to thank him for his hospitality. We went to Morwell again to the same restaurant and once again we were not disappointed. Afterwards we went to collect the supermarket shopping from a BWS outlet. For the first time ever I had done the weekly grocery shopping on line - click and collect, they call it. A wonderful system, the chap even put the shopping in our car for us. I was very impressed.

Tuesday 14th March 2017

We managed to do all our shopping chores before meeting Roger for lunch in Traralgon. In the afternoon I went to the doctors for a toe check-up. The infection had cleared and I was given the all clear to carry on travelling. Once home I did some packing away ready for the morning.

Wednesday 15th March 2017

Check out time was 11.00am so there was no rush. We arrived at Kilmore early afternoon. I hadn’t booked a site and the only one left was on a bit of a slope. We had a look and decided we could manage for two nights. Sharon and Phil, the owners of the park, were lovely people and were very concerned we would be okay. They offered us another site for tomorrow after the current occupants leave. We decided we would stay where we were as it was only for two nights.

Thursday 16th March 2017

A totally relaxing PJ day.

Friday 17th March 2017

We left Kilmore for Wangaratta around 10.00am. It was a good run through. We set up camp and then discovered our TV aerial was in a blind spot so no TV for us tonight. I was a bit annoyed as I wanted to see the next installment of Broadchurch. I will have to catch up later on iView.

Saturday 18th March 2017

We walked into town. The path leaves the caravan park and meanders alongside the river. It is not a long walk but is very pleasant. We made our way to a coffee shop we had previously visited in 2013 and had inadvertently left without paying for our drinks. When we paid this time I mentioned I owed money from before; the girl thought it quite amusing. We then went to Harvey Norman’s to buy a kettle as ours is leaking. I found one I really liked and asked the price. $199!!! I don’t think so. I purchase a very good kettle for $30 and am very happy with it. We called in one or two other shops and then made our way home. It was getting quite hot now and we were grateful for the air conditioner in the ‘van.

Sunday 19th March 2017

We left Wangaratta just after 10.00am and had a good run through to Temora. We diverted at Wodonga to get some fuel and I discovered the service station was also an IGA store so I could stock up on some essentials. When we arrived at Temora we were surprised to find the place packed. There had been a flying day on the Saturday plus a big fishing competition. We had been allocated a site over the phone but someone else was in it! We found another site near the camp kitchen where we received TV and a good internet signal; both things are usually hit and miss here. We soon set up camp and then relaxed.

Monday 20th March 2017

I found yesterday very tiring so did very little today, mainly reading.

Tuesday 21st March 2017

The weather has changed; a huge thunderstorm came in. We were fine in the ‘van. I did Sue’s accounts whilst Pete Mate read.

Wednesday 22nd March 2017

Today was pretty much the same as yesterday, including the thunderstorm.

Thursday 23rd March 2017

Again, today was another repeat except the forecasted storm did not eventuate.

Friday 24th March 2017

A lovely sunny day today so I got on with some cleaning. When that was finished I read my book. A surprising ending.

Saturday 25th March 2017

Today did not go as planned; first I fell into the caravan and hurt my knees and then Pete Mate decided to unhitch the car and we would do our shopping today. I had planned to knit all day. Men!

Once home I put the shopping away and Pete Mate re-hitched the car and caravan ready for our departure tomorrow. Later I just rested as I did not feel the best.

Sunday 26th March 2017

We left Temora late but weren’t too worried as it was a short journey to Forbes. I had booked a drive-through site so parking the car and caravan was easy enough. It is a lovely little park alongside the Lachlan River with lush green grass and lots of beautiful trees. The park and amenities are well maintained and everything is clean. Make a note; if in Forbes, stay at the Apex Caravan Park.

Monday 27th March 2017

We did three large loads of washing; not having washed for week it had piled up. Afterwards I did some accounts work and then I picked up my knitting. This jumper is taking longer to knit than any other I have recently done. I did enlarge the chart which made it a little easier.

Tuesday 28th March 2017

For days now the television has kept us up to date with the progress of Tropical Cyclone Debbie which formed over the Pacific and has been slowly approaching the Queensland coast, increasing in strength day by day. Today, Debbie came ashore as a strength four cyclone near Bowen in North Queensland with winds gusting up to 250 kilometres per hour. As always happens, once over land Debbie was deprived of her power source, the warm ocean water. She wasn't finished with her destruction yet though, oh no! She was holding millions of tonnes of water in her clouds and her winds were still quite capable of lifting a roof off a house or bringing down huge trees across power lines. And she was just so happy to demonstrate her tricks.

Wednesday 29th March 2017

We enjoyed a good run through to Dubbo, not a long journey. When we arrived I went into the office to pay and couldn’t find my credit card. Panic moved in and all common sense moved out. Thankfully the lovely girls in the office were calm and helped me think through when I last had the card. I went and searched the car. No luck there so the girls rang Forbes to see if I had left it there. By this time Pete Mate is also in the office thinking, "Here we go again", because it is not the first time . . . usually it is keys. I then remembered where I had put my card. Panic subsided and was replaced by feeling foolish. We were then allocated our site but when we drove on to it, it was not big enough to stay hitched which was our intention. I walked back to the office and explained. With smiles on their faces they gave us two other sites to try. We chose one and soon set up camp. I needed a lie down.

Thursday 30th March 2017

A restful sort of day just spent reading and knitting. It rained a bit but not much, nothing like the poor people up north. This caravan park would have to be one of the nicest ones we have stayed in. It is council owned and run by managers. The whole park is pristine and the amenities are better than our bathrooms in our house. We would stay here again for sure.

Friday 31st March 2017

We went for a short walk across the road from the caravan park to buy some milk and bread. In the row of shops, we saw a coffee shop and as it was lunchtime we decided to partake of some food. The café wasn’t overly big but the owner, Adam, was big on friendliness, a very cheery chap. We enjoyed our drinks and sandwiches. What amazed me was that as soon as a regular customer walked in, Adam was already making their drinks. What a memory!

Whilst we were waiting, two men came in for coffees. They were dressed like they had been gardening but both wore large Glocks on their hips. We assumed they were policemen and after they left we asked Adam and he said they were undercover. We thought that highly amusing – undercover clothes, yes – but the gun forgot to cover up! We know the guns were Glocks because Adam told us. After buying the milk and bread we headed back to the ‘van for a peaceful afternoon.

Goodbye March. The 'Next Page' button will take you to . . . yep, the next page.

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