Saturday, July 23, 2011

Holiday Confusion

I was just having a good laugh to myself as I read Dina's latest post. Seems I have rather confused her, and perhaps others too. Sister and Bone Doctor live near Queenscliff. We went there Sunday and stayed the night and the next day we went to the Otway Fly. We went back to Sister's and stayed another night and then set off Tuesday morning to Mount Gambier where we stayed two nights, giving us a full day in MG.

From there we went on to Adelaide where we stayed five nights and Tuesday, ten days after we left home, we drove home from Adelaide in the same day.

Yes, Bone Doctor drills and saws human bones. She has a mean hand with a chisel too.

The Vic (Victoria) Hotel in Queenscliff is a pub as we know it. I am unsure whether it offers accommodation. Some do, some don't.

Bit clearer now?

Day 3 Tuesday 12th

It was a grey and drear day.

We're off!!!, to Mount Gambier in South Australia. Sister fortified us with cereal and fruit toast with huge chunks of apricot within. Bone Doctor did not turn the heating on when she arose. Sister was already up when I rose at 7.30. R and Andrew, look after Little Jo, I am going off for a long bike ride, and off Sister went and Bone Doctor went to work. I immediately turned the heating on when Sister left.

We fixed Little Jo's breakfast and dressed her, well, I watched R do it. Too many hands in the kitchen you know.

Ciao, ciao, ciao.

We stopped in Geelong for a decent cup of coffee. Moorabool Street. I wondered if a tram ever ran along the street as there were plenty of buses. At this point I did not know the name of the street. I stood and saw the name of the street. Sure enough. I remembered trams ran along this street. We planned to stop off at our old friend's place at the foot of Mount Elephant. I rang him and suggested we buy some pies and pasties in Geelong and bring them for lunch. No, buy them here at my local when you arrive, he suggested.

We took his advice and bought expensive Four and Twenty pies in his local take away, instead of buying cheaper and bakery made ones in Geelong.

Our old friend has become a very old 74 and very large and nearing the point where he will have to sell his house and move into some care accommodation.

After the stop of one and a half hours we journeyed on through Mortlake, Hamilton where we took a break, and Casterton where my step mother was born, to Mount Gambier where we were to stay for two nights at a motel.

It was late afternoon when we arrived and after settling in to our rather nice room, we were out to the local supermarket to buy things for breakfast. We forgot to check what was actually in the room, so we ended up buying paper bowls and plates and plastic cutlery, which cost about $5. Some of the stuff we did not end up needing but no matter. Dinner was a pizza delivered to our room. R was frustrated because although it was digital television and could show the minor digital channels, it would not show the major commercial stations. Regardless, the motel was very nice and the staff friendly and helpful. Our only criticism was the old fashioned and noisy in the wall air con unit.

I didn't really take photos that day, but here are a few I took in the town of Mount Gambier the following day.

The outlook from our motel room.

It looks quite dated on the outside but it was very modern inside.

We never think to take photos of accommodation before we mess and clutter it up.

A bed of kale? in the main drag of Commercial Street East.

As usual, the catholic church sits on high ground in Penola Street to dominate those evil protestant places of worship.

I stepped out of the car to admire this house in Bay Road.

But it wasn't the only one. I turned around, I looked left and I looked right. Is that money I can smell? All very nice.

The town hall, the part to the right of where I snapped was undergoing renovation.

A pub.

Another pub, where we ate that night.

High on the edge of the volcano and overlooking the town sat this shell. School? Hospital? I don't know.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Day 2 Monday 11th Pt 2

It is still a grey and drear day.

The Fly part of the name Otway Fly refers to flying fox facility, but we were there for the walk in the tree tops and it was excellent. There were interesting things to see as we walked down the hill too.

We climbed up the tower, a decent task for Little Jo. Towards the end, Sister and Little Jo were well ahead of us and there was an aged femme in distress. 'I can manage', she assured us, but she could not manage to get the large pram containing her grandson down many steps. R and she lifted at the back and I lifted at the front. Aren't gay guys so kind and helpful to stupid old cows who cannot see the steps marked on the map or ask if the walk is suitable for prams. That is unfair really. The steps are not clear without studying the map and the staff should have told her.

We were now feeling a bit weary and look, there is the station where we can get the golf cart back up the hill. Sister: I'll walk. Us: We'll take Little Jo. We did not have to wait too long for the golf cart to appear. Along the way we picked up some young types. At the top there appeared to be some flying fox practice thing happening with journeys of ten or so metres on a flying fox.

But we had only just ordered our bowl of hot chips and coffee when Sister appeared. She must have run up the hill.

We could have driven home the easy way, but oh no, Sister was pressing us to travel the hard way home on the Beech Forest Mtsabi Road/Turtons Road, a road that she had travelled a few years ago and was then unmade. It was now made, fortunately, but very narrow and winding with lots of warnings about approaching log trucks. There had been a severe wind and there were many tree branches on the road. The Highriser motor was now officially more filthy inside and out than it had ever been.

Don't stop to buy instant coffee Brother. I will walk to the shops when we get back. And she did, a decent hike. Sister is not a small lass, but by golly she is fit for her 44 years.

While waiting for Bone Doctor to return from her workplace of buzz saws and hammer drills, we caught up on the recorded Tour de France and then later the Matildas as they lost their match against ???. The TdF was quite exciting with much crashing of cycles and cars swerving to avoid trees. What mayhem!!! I think it was about this time that Ken and Walt were roadside in France as the Tour flashed past. The Matildas were good to watch too, except girl soccer players don't do melodramatic, oh, you touched me, I am fatally injured, that male soccer players indulge in.

We had offered to pay for a meal out that evening.The Vic Hotel in Queenscliff provided us with a very nice meal. Sister offered to pay for her meal. Our shout. Bone Doctor who arrived a bit later did not say, Cheers, thanks, would you like a drink?

I know the Vodafone internet works in an almost acceptable manner if I take the lappie outside at Sister's. Mid winter, I am not going to be sitting outside. Vodafone worked in an unacceptable manner inside. Sister and Bone Doctor have digital channels via their Foxtel machine, but it is not high definition, so no ABC News 24. I had brung my digital radio, so I tuned into ABC News Radio and I slept.

Dina, we travelled through Gellibrand to get to the Fly and returned via Barramunga and Barwon Downs and joined the Cape Otway Road/Barwon Heads Road where we had travelled earlier.

Another dinosaur. This one is pretty 'armless.

The walkway. We were excited.

Bark looks quite different when you are level with the branches that trap its fall. It is a Eucalypt or gum tree if you like. In the moderate wind, the quite thick trunk was moving perhaps 5cm in either direction.

Slight touch of the vertigos.

It was a bit of a climb.

Not quite ants down below.

Level with the tree tops. Marvellous.

While R and I were out on this cantilevered section.....

we spied a familiar wee lass.

I liken lichen.

And I like trees.

Way back down on the ground a crystal clear and icy cold creek flowed.

The practice flying fox. We did see some metal poles of the real Otway Fly from a distance in the bush.

Pretty rosellas.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Day 2 Monday 11th Pt 1

It was a grey and drear day.

R and I are the stereotypical gay males at home. We are clean, tidy and organised. I know a decent number of gay guys who are not so.

Dyke stereotyping is equally fraught, but Sister and Bone Doctor fit the stereo type. They live in permanent untidiness, chaos and disorganisation. It is not for me to criticise, just make observations. They live very differently to us. However, they are quite good hosts.

Bone Doctor had the heating on when we arose, the first morning at least, and Sister got busy in the kitchen cooking us a bacon and egg breakfast and then making cold roast meat sandwiches for lunch during our day's outing.

With Little Jo's car seat transferred to the Highriser motor, we set off for the Otway Fly via Barwon Heads where we stopped for petrol. We had forgotten to bring petrol discount dockets from home, but Sister steered us to a cheapish petrol retailer. Although I have been accused of being a coffee snob, I like instant coffee in the morning, as does R. Sister doesn't drink coffee often, and when she does, you makes it in a plunger. She had no instant coffee so we had tea at breakfast. Sister assured us the quickest way to the Fly was via Barwon Heads and roads parallel to Highway 1. Who were we to argue. We were crying out for coffee, so we stopped in Birregurra. It is quite a well preserved town in a non action manner. That is, nothing new has been built in Birregurra and nothing has been done for years. It did not speak prosperity, but it was quite a nice town. Ok, I do exaggerate slightly. We had a nice morning tea at a great place called that had a bar out the back and it potentially could go off on a Saturday night.

We then travelled through Colac, the town Mother has visited many times as my Late Step Father called it his stamping ground and many of his offspring and their offspring live in the locale. I had never seen Colac. It was a larger and more important place than I thought. I imagined a Moe of the western district. On the surface, apparently not. Maybe Moe has changed too.

It was a picturesque drive on to the Otway Fly. We ate our sandwiches and set off to walk in the tree tops. Firstly we had to walk down a steep hill. R is officially a senior and a return trip up the hill of a golf cart was offered. Bah to that, we thought. More to come...........

All country towns must have a public hall.

I am not sure what the Outback Trading Company trades in.

The local engineering works. Closed down? Some nice Art Deco lines.

There weren't too many solid looking buildings like this one in Birregurra. Looks like an old bank to me.

The venue for our morning tea. There is a sheltered area in between the two buildings to sit and people watch the non existent passers by.

Oh, all the mail in a wooden building!

Can't say much for the exterior of the pub. Perhaps it is nicer inside. Now, I shall sit back and wait for the protests from the Birre Progress Association. It is hard for businesses to survive in small towns like this.

Panels to read at the Otway Fly car park. The only part I recall from the boards was that the tree top walks were manufactured in Launceston, Tasmania.

A friendly local dinosaur.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Day 1 Sun 10th

It was a grey and drear day.

I worked quite unsuited times to get my act together for our holiday in the preceding week and there were the computer issues to deal with. I did leave a lot to the last day, umpteen loads of washing and drying and ironing (that which I had ironed, I stuffed vaguely folded into a suitcase), and trying to remember things to take on holidays.

You may well recall that Little Jo has had a birthday, but her birthday at home was to be celebrated today. She went off to a farm where children's birthdays are hosted. The weather only just held up. At an insignificant point, they were all forced to seek shelter. No matter. Little Jo reported back about her farm birthday positively to us when we arrived late in the afternoon.

Sister and Bone Doctor always want to make us walk to the beach. I think of it as just a short car ride away. 'I'll just stay here', went unnoticed. 'It's raining', I protested. 'You can keep this Auntie Andrew', said Bone Doctor and she shoved a waterproof Geelong Falcons jacket at me. Kyewl. Perhaps some cute young gay boi will think I am his macho hunk, or maybe a footballer will like me, buy me drinks and then have his wicked way with me (black footballer reference removed).

I was glad I went to the beach. Monster waves were promised at Bell's Beach and big waves were certainly happening on the Bellarine. Sister bashed off on her own and was chatting to a chap she knew. 'See that flash light in the distance, that will be my Highriser Brother taking snaps.' Quite so.

We walked back to Sister's across a footy oval. Lads were playing and their dog was roaming. Dreaded Nephew, Oldest Niece and Chainsaw niece had given Little Jo a hat for her birthday that Dreaded Nephew bought at Camberwell Market. It had hanging pom poms on it. The dog rushed up and bit into a pom pom. I did not see that. Little Jo thought it was funny. I started to observe the dog. Little Jo started to run and the dog was pursuing her. I heard Bone Doctor call out something like 'Andrew, intervene', as I was close by. I could see the dog's body language had changed. It was on the hunt. I ran (no small effort) and got in between the dog and Little Jo. I metaphorically widened my body and blocked the dog. It may not have meant harm, but who would take the chance.

The dog went back to its Masters', who unconcernedly continued their kick to kick.

Sister cooked us beef schnitzels with spuds and vegetables for our dinner. The meal was fine but I am spoilt by R being such a good cook. As is usual at Sister's, we retired early.

While walking to the beach I saw the light.

Oh dear, where is the beach? Taken out to sea, I hope not.

Look out Little Jo, a wave is coming.

This scene would normally show a concrete path and clean rocks. The waves have washed over the high wall and dumped seaweed and sand all over the path. I felt sorry for the two lasses who came along carrying their now inappropriate roller blades.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I is returned

I has high pressure and environmentally irresponsible water wasting shower, with hot hot water blasting at me that does not run out.

I has replaced the disturbing roar of jet planes taking off with the soothing rumble of passing trams.

I has a proper big computer with fast internet.

I has big tv screen and ABC Melbourne radio.

I has place that does not need heating overnight.

I has a tap that propels soft and odourless water to fill my water bottle.

I did has a great holiday, but

I is always happy to get home.