Saturday, October 22, 2016

Campervanning Day 7 7/10

While we had toured around Merimbula before three years ago at the very least we must see the lovely Short Point again. It is just along the road a little from the caravan park in Short Point Road. You can see photos of it back here, including one of recumbent me. Merimbula is the first red dot on the right and we drove from Merimbula, off the map at the bottom.

Ah, I became confused. I did take some photos this time. Short Point.

In the opposite direction.

Not too far to travel today, so it was a leisurely start.

We hugged the coast as closely as possible. This is the historic wharf at Tathra. It was repaired after storm damage but then damaged again and is again being restored. At the top of the steep hill above was a sign warning that there was not turning space for a caravan or bus. Well, we aren't that big, so down we went. Guess who had to reverse back up the hill and around curves for over three hundred metres. The side of the road dropped away steeply. It was just a matter of reversing slowly, but R covered his eyes and I received a lecture.

Along the way, to stretch our legs.

We took a lunch break at Bermagui.

Again the wind was blowing hard but still we sat outside, as it was not cold. The waiter remarked when she brought our coffee, the wind would blow the top off a cappuccino, and she was right.

There was a pleasant scenic drive. I knew there would be no negativity from my passenger as I had seen a tour bus come down the hill.

I can't remember where this was, perhaps when we walked to a vantage point at this afternoon's destination, Narooma.

Narooma is a nice place.

We again stayed in a Big 4 park and this one was quite crowded. We hadn't been in such close proximity to other guests for our travels so far. The park was fine, right on the edge of the sheltered sea and we went for a wander along the main street and stopped for an icecream. Two aboriginal youth were lounging at the doorway with their tops off and very nice they were too, one very handsome. They wandered off and we sat outside to eat our ice cream. Oh. The very handsome one is returning and what I had not noticed was how his slim hips clad in low hanging jeans with his exposed underwear swayed when he walked. He was very obviously gay and I guess the other was too. He and his friend went inside, bought an icecream each and sat down at an inside table. Eventually he twigged that I was taking a bit too much notice of him and he gave me a half smile. A cat can admire a queen.

We had taken some bird seed with us, as you saw earlier, but lorikeets don't eat seed. They eat nectar. A neighbour in a van had made up some type of mixture to feed them and they loved it. He gave R some mixture and R was absolutely covered in lorikeets as he fed them the mixture, and ended up with scratches on his arms.

We had a great dinner at a local sporting club, just a short walk away. It was oyster special month, $1 each. I restrained myself and only ordered six and they were better than the last oysters I had eaten in Melbourne, which cost $14 for six. There was even music outside, which was quite good. The most attractive member of the band, a real hipster type, joined them after dark.

NSW clubs are just brilliant and very community focused. The Narooma Club even has Tia Chi classes. They have pokie machines which subsidise community events at the club. We were promised similar when pokie machines were allowed into Victoria, but it never happened. 

Friday, October 21, 2016

A photo

I love my daily photo. If you go to the website, you can see the photos huge and with great detail. I am always amazed at the skill of the photographers back then.

This one appealed to me.  They are clearly wealthy and stylish young women of a good family, but the standard of their maid's, Black Betty from South Carolina, ironing skills are questionable. Perhaps it is a difficult fabric.

Myer update, the kindness of strangers and bits

Myer media monitors work well. I received a very nice email because of my blog post from someone at Myer, suggesting ways to contact them, including an email address, apologising for the men's changing rooms and with the assurance that they will be renovated early next year. I may reply that the most annoying thing is the lack of coat hooks, that is a very small job for the Myer handyman. Ok, I am not so tech illiterate but many older people are but I reckon many know how to email or fill in a feedback form. Both should be on the Myer website, but it does take staff resources to deal with and not so easy to outsource, as is employing a media monitor and responding where warranted.

Anyway, a good result and thanks to the person at Myer who responded.

Mother's electrician, kind, young and cheap, but incompetent. It has rained on her house twice since he attended and both times the same lighting circuit was knocked out. In time something dries and she can reset the circuit. She is going to get him back. The rear extension of two small bedrooms, now one large junk room built in the mid seventies and full of stuffs for her next garage sale that will never happen, has no lighting working, so there is the starting point, I think.

A quite old man, a blogger, who I rather like, especially as he writes very well, asked for my postal address, saying he would send me something. Indeed something did arrive in the post, much delayed by Australia Post, his published autobiography. Isn't that so nice? I only knew his blog name, not even his real name. That someone of his age has a blog, communicates with people via the net and does kindness is just so amazing. Even at his very senior years, his life is not easy and I guess a couple of you know who I am referring to. Of course that should be 'to be whom I am referring', but I ain't so posh with my grammar. I don't actually know rules for grammar, but I kind of know what is right and what is wrong.

Our friend, the former Northern Territory policeman and politician, self published his autobiography of his time in the Northern Territory. It is a good read if you are interested in the Australian outback, but self publishing is not for the faint hearted.

As usual, Thursday is Mother Day. R gets so crabby with me on Mother Day if I go along and today was no exception. It was not about me, but Mother and her slowness. Slowness, not because she old and slow but just because she............pisses around and is never organised. R is very firm about leaving at 3 to avoid peak traffic. He tells me I need to give her queues, like having the car door open for her to get in, instead of allowing her to sit on a bench and have a cigarette. Sister recently refused Mother financial assistance until Mother give up smoking. ABI Brother expressed his disappointment that she went without cigarettes and substitutes while for two weeks in hospital, as soon as she was home he had to go and fetch her cigarettes.

At one point after Step Father died, she was feeding cats in the number of teens. She is now down to two ginger cats, which are probably male and so won't breed. Aren't all ginger cats male? Confirm if you please Strayer.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Campervanning Day 6 06/10

I am not sure if I mentioned the red dots being places we stayed each night. From the left San Remo, Waratah Bay, Lakes Entrance then inland to Omeo and then Merimbula. There will be a new map with the next post.

The Omeo Caravan Park transport. No thanks, it had cobwebs inside.

It was a long drive today so we were away early enough. We again brunched at the cafe in Bruthen. This time R's coffee was served at 80 degrees and perfect to his taste. We stopped for fuel at Cann River.

And arrived at the Merimbula Big 4 holiday park mid afternoon. We liked our site. It is the best park we stayed in during the trip and not the most expensive. Powered sites over the twelve days were between $37 and $45, with Big 4 giving a 10% discount to people driving Britz vehicles. The facilities are amazing, as is the water fun park for the kiddies, with buckets and other things tipping water over them. It was still school holidays in NSW and so there were children about, but we were sensibly put up the quiet end. There was a slight slope to the land and it is amazing what a difference just a small angle can make. Something wet on a smooth surface moved and the sink did not drain at one side.

The park wan't quite as quiet as it appears. Last time we stayed here, we were in a two bedroom cabin.

We had takeaway fish and chips for dinner from Jodies Fishpen Takeaway. The fish was excellent, the chips terrible. Mother advised us to have seafood in Merimbula as she had good seafood there, some 45 years ago. Roll of eyes.  I only took five photos for the day. I think this one was next day. It had been a long drive and we slept the sleep of the innocent. We just love Merimbula. 

As this is short post, I will tell you a bit more about the van. It had its own shower and toilet. We did not use the shower but at some point there was water sloshing around at the bottom of the shower. It was because R washed down the toilet with the shower hose and and the grey water tank was full. The tank was mostly drained by connecting a hose to the outlet and draining into a specified pipe at powered sites but at times I just turned the drain tap on a bit as we were driving. 

The fresh water tank was of a decent size but I did let it run out once and I think it then had an airlock, which affected the pump that would not pump properly anymore. We weren't without water, but the pump became noisy and the pressure had dropped. 

The radio in the driving compartment had speakers above the seating/bed area. If the ignition was off, the radio would still work and shut down after about forty five minutes. Good to go to sleep by but we didn't.

The sat nav also had a 'how this bit of the van works' menu and the same was also on memory stick attached to the keyring. It also had the app Campermate which gives you invaluable information, but we didn't use it. The sat nav also operated as a wifi hotspot. When we went to pick up the van, as well as express return package being reduced from $250 to $150, we were asked because we had hired the large outdoor table, camp chairs and annex, would we like free wifi too, and that would reduce the cost by $1. Of course. I may have already said this but I am sure the sat nav hot spot used the Telstra data system. As caravan parks and our home need to cater for peak hot water usage at around 8 am, later on weekends, so too does wifi need to work at peak times. It often didn't with much buffering. Using my phone as a modem made no difference, so that is why think the campervan was using Telstra and Telstra was at fault. We must have chewed through the bandwidth though, with both of us using our tablets for tv at the same time. It was pretty good for internet matters, but internet collapsed at the same peak times as tv watching did.

Gas; we used judicially for cooking on the stove, for hot water for washing up but aside from one night without power in our friends driveway in Lakes Entrance, we did not need the gas for boiling the kettle aside from roadside stops and were able to return the 9kg gas bottle nearly empty.

Storage: We did not even get half way to filling the many storage spaces. Just brilliant. All cupboards when travelling had to have their open button depressed so they would not open as we swung around a bend. They did not have to be locked up like that when stationary. There was a fridge lock too, called Vent. Is vent known as locked in some other language? German? Gattina?

The Youtube video indicated we would only need to plug into power every second day for the non mains powered things to work. The next morning in Lakes Entrance where we were off the grid for a night, the power failed. While the Youtube video indicated that the running of the vehicle would only trickle charge the battery, it did much better and 15 minutes of the engine being on, we had full power. There was a volt meter gauge

I just know you have been waiting for me talk about the lavvy, lovey. It seems American campervans have a storage tank which you drain off at caravan parks with a large hose. Australia has gone for the European option by using a cassette. Isn't that a brilliant euphemism for a shit container?  The Youtube video suggested, like everything else, that we empty the cassette every second day. Given we only used it to pee into it at night, we ignored that advice to our peril, and at about Day 6 it started to smell.

The cassette has a separate water flushing system and while the indicator said the tank was only half full, when I opened the cap to top it up, water was to the top of the filler. I didn't understand but a half full cassette flushing level is ok. In caravan parks they are called dump points, where you empty your cassette into the town sewerage system. Make sure the cassette flap is closed in the toilet. Release the clips, and it has wheels, so you trundle it across the caravan park just like a suitcase but a walk of shame because you seem to be human, except we did not and emptied it as we entered or exited a park with the van hiding our humanity. Twist the spout out, press the green air intake button and release the contents into a generously sized drain. Rinse with water from the hose provided. Open the cassette lid and put in the chemical. Put it back into the van, making sure it is secure. 

Wow, we are on the south coast of the New South Wales and the weather is improving.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Campervanning Day4/5 05/10

The black dotted line is where we should have travelled.

We did not bother our friend in Lakes Entrance for breakfast. I was quite enjoying cereal in the van and then a later brunch out. It was so nice to see our friend after quite a while, the last time being in Melbourne when she visited. Anyway, we had to get going early, like 9.00 am and our friend had her community garden friends catchup. We are now to head over the mountains to Bright but weather conspired against us. We stopped off for brunch at Bruthen, and it is a really good cafe. R's extra hot skinny latte was severed at 75 degrees, but it was not hot enough.

Alpine Resorts, Omeo and Wangaratta is the direction we are going. There should be a notice, read this before proceeding with information about the route.

We stopped along the way for breaks. This is the Tambo River.

A high point somewhere along the Great Alpine Highway where we chatted to a bloke taking a break while he was travelling from Canberra to .the area with a spare part for a broken down road maintenance vehicle.

We stopped for lunch at Omeo.

We set off to get to Bright. Omeo is down below.

Wow, I did not expect this. Snow. I have not seen snow for about four decades. I was so excited.

The snow became thicker. Did I see a sign saying wheel chains must be carried at all times? Maybe but I was driving so I could not focus on signs.

R was getting very nervous and so was I. The snow was now a metre deep next to the road. We reached Mount Hotham village and I saw just white in front of us and snow was falling. I called it quits. Aside from slowly and cautiously, I don't know about driving in snow. We headed back down the mountain. Given I bogged the van yesterday, better to not press our luck by skidding off the road. I did not take any photos at where we turned back. I just wanted to get out of the area as the falling snow was getting heavier.

This was shown as a major road to get to the north of Victoria. Who would think there would be snow in October? Not me, and I did not research. What you need to do is call a business who put chains on your wheels as you go up the mountain and then take them off as you go down, for about $35. We would have done that but down on the other side there were floods and roads were cut.

We retreated to Omeo for afternoon tea and checked into the local caravan park and rethought our travel route. The caravan park was just wonderful. There was another campervan there that we saw earlier and had come over the mountain with chains, and a couple of contract road workers in cabins, but otherwise the park was empty.

Caravan park dog Malcolm kept us company. She (sic) was great company. The other van owners there had a cat, which they let out for a wander around. It did not go far and next morning, Malcolm found their van the most interesting to sniff around.

Very good facilities and such a peaceful spot, and I think the cheapest park we stayed in with the nicest jovial host.

Over a dinner of barbequed something, we changed our holiday route, going the opposite direction to what we had planned. Instead of coming down the south coast of NSW, we will go up the south coast of NSW, but it will be a long drive tomorrow. By the time we cover NSW south coast, the floodwaters in northern Victoria should have subsided.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Myer, I am pissed orf

I looked at our Melbourne department store Myer's website and apart from a phone call, and I hate phone calls, there seems to be no other way to contact them to complain. I want to send them a written message, either via an email or a contact form, but after looking at their website, I can't see any way, aside from a written letter or a phone call. Maybe Myer has a Twitter account, but too hard. I just want to complain and my complaint to receive attention.

About what you may be wondering? The mens try on clothing cubicles. Raggy old curtains that are difficult to pull across to give privacy and almost without any qualification, clothes hanging hooks broken, to the point there are none and horrible wire chairs with missing feet that means they bang against the wall if you try to use them. This is really not good enough for Melbourne's premier department store and goodness knows, we have spent a lot of money at Myer over many years. As a regular customer, I deserve better.

Hopefully Myer media monitors will pick this up. If Myer is not paying for media monitors, they damn well should be, and don't put it past me to write a letter.

Sagrada Family?

We are thinking of staying in a hotel in Barcelona next year owned by the Sagrada Family. I know nothing of the family and I can look it up as easily as you can, but do you know anything of the family?

From Google Maps there seems to be a number of businesses owned by them, a cathedral with their name and a Metro station. For extra points, did the family collaborate with General Franco?

Life after a holiday

Life has gone on since we returned from our campervan trip. Thursday we returned  the van and there was no damage. Oddly we were not asked if there were any issues with the van. I pointed them out, nevertheless. The sat nav voice stopped working, at times a blessing, and the water pump had pretty well failed.

Friday was my birthday and while the Face Book good wishes were wonderful, I am turning off birthday notifications for next year, especially as it will be a significant birthday. I think I turn 30 but that may not be quite correct. It was a busy but achieving day, with the barbeque gas bottle replaced, the car washed and emergency shopping done.

Friday night we had a pub meal with two friends and then went to see Jesus Christ Superstar at the National Theatre. I had not seen the musical before but I have had enough of a religious education to guess the ending. Jesus was made dead. The National Theatre is dowdy and old, with peeling paint and badly needs a restoration. But money has been spent on lighting and the sound system, and behind the stage. The show was ok, the performers, music, lighting and sound quite flawless. The script was mostly the original but with the clever addition of a more recent European turmoil, as an analogy I guess. My only criticism is too much movement of staging props. It was distracting. Instead of paying perhaps $140 to see a big city musical, the cost was around $50, terrific value. Praise to the CLOC Musical Theatre Company who entertained all the poofs and old grey hairs.

Saturday was a late start and fresh food shopping. We had a late afternoon visit to our travel agent for next year's holiday. R cooked a shoulder of roast lamb for dinner and it was lovely. Unfortunately the gap between pre dinner drinks and the meal was a bit too long and wine was involved. After dinner I went to sit at the computer and ended up flat on my arse on the floor and in shock. I was ok but mystified as to what had happened as I sat on the floor with R asking if I was ok. R said, I must have sat on the edge of the chair, not properly on the chair. No damage done, apart from pride and dignity. I was so puzzled as to why I had fallen onto the floor. I was perhaps a little tipsy but certainly not drunk.

Sunday was my family birthday celebration at the Franger (Frankston) RSL. It is a great place for such an event and convenient for most to attend, especially us with it being only a 50 minute drive away. Relationship with Sister and Bone Doctor seems ok, after I sent Bone Doctor as testy sms.

Seventeen family were there seated, not including the Little M and Little Em, who did not need their own seats. Fire Fighting Niece is now Hospital Service Niece and while we already knew because of FB video call when we were away, she made the announcement that she is going to have coffee coloured twins by her on and off again Cook Islander partner.  There was a possibility that the twins could be Irish, from her recent visit to Europe and Great Britain, but that has now been discounted. Coffee coloured will be good, but red headed Irish with the gift of the gab would be good too. Only privately are the family worried about her future with twins and her future with the Islander bloke. As I say to family, it could be worse. He barely drinks, I think his family is Mormon, he seldom smokes, he has a good work ethic and is not a party animal and doesn't do drugs. Brightest spark in the fire? Not really.

We went from the club back to Tradie Brother's place who had a terrific spread, that no-one could eat after lunch. His platonic female friend gave me a scratchie lotto ticket for my birthday and I won $2, which today I turned into $5 by buying another ticket with the $2 win. Double your money and leave the gambling table is my motto. I am not saying he is ahead with his modest gambling, but R won $120 at the club pokie machines. Tradie Brother has a chook called Thelma, a dog called Cobber and corella called Betty. Thelma and Cobber sleep together.

Mother rang early for her at 10, Monday morning. One of her power circuit breakers has been tripping and she just resets it but it would not last night and kept tripping. Water has gotten into her wiring somewhere and she asked me to find a phone number for ABI Brother's cricket mate electrician. I did so and the electrician's underling visited and fixed the problem, we hope, for $100 if Mother paid cash. She did. Very reasonable and the sparkie acted like he cared.

I accidentally threw out my second pair of jeans a while ago, so I have been surviving for a time with one pair of jeans. After three weeks without a wash and travelling, something had to be done. I bought a new pair of black Levis 504 for $79 at Myer department store while the Levi shop was selling them for $109. Tooth brush heads, six for $25 at the Shaver Shop was better than Chemist Warehouse with four for $26. A new brand of hand cleanser has appeared at CW, for $2. I am quite good at looking after the pence, but perhaps not so good with the pounds.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Recommended link

From Janine at The Resident Judge of Port Phillip.

How could anyone in the United States possibly vote for him. Clinton may not be your favourite, but she is the only person to vote for.

Well, this person is not up for election but is born to rule and the Crown Prince of Thailand is about to become King of Thailand after the former much loved king died. The Crown Prince is widely disliked in Thailand, for many reasons but you will never hear about or read about his shenanigans in Thai media. Thais learn of the Crown Prince via whispers and overseas media. The crime of lese -majeste is taken very seriously in Thailand The late king's oldest daughter has huge approval because of her devotion to good works with charities but the succession must be male. What rubbish. Lordy, the UK was not a great place to live under various monarchs and in its different guises, and it is only in our grandparents time that woman received the right to vote, but at least a woman could become a reigning monarch.

I give you the a photo taken at Munich airport of the Crown Prince of Thailand who is about to become the King of Thailand. Respect? Pretty good drugs, I reckon.

Campervanning Day3/4 04/10

Waratah Bay to Lakes Entrance. I am struggling with these Google maps. They won't display how I want them to and I may give up on them and they are very time consuming to make.

There was a shower of rain when I woke but the morning weather wasn't too bad. We were in a much better spot that the allocated one. Naughty us or bad them for not giving us this space. Waratah Bay Caravan Park was probably the least best park we stayed in. It had the feeling of being run by a bureaucracy rather than someone who really cared. Nevertheless, the facilities were clean and the amenities good. It is a bit of a rabbit warren though. It took us two circuits to find out where we should park, mainly due to the lass who checked us in saying, just follow the main driveway, and the spaces were very poorly marked.

Halfway down the steps to the beach is a shelter with a seat, which was a wonderful to place to sit and contemplate the power of the sea.

It was a very pretty spot.

Check out time is 10.00 am generally in Australia and caravan parks are not an exception. We usually left sometime between 9 and 10. We reached the town or Toora and I swung the van off the road and up very steep and winding road.

We paused at  a lookout point and Corner Inlet was spread out below.

Along with the township of Toora.

In the 1970s I lived forty kilometres away from Agnes Falls and frequently drove past the turn off yet I never visited them. What an idiot. The falls, especially after the recent rain, were spectacular. This is the upper part of the falls.

Agnes Falls has longest waterfall drop in Victoria at 60 metres and it was both hard to see and hard to photograph.

The gorge, carved out over hundreds of thousands of years.

Have a look at the volume of water in this eight second video I can't remember taking. R can't even remember the falls as we saw another very impressive falls later in the trip.

I lived for two years in the town of Yarram in the 1970s. It was a cliquey town and myself, my father and stepmother were never really accepted. Father owned the freehold of a house and and shop front, while Step Mother and myself owned the service station business. We made a wage each from the business and paid Father rent. But the bright lights and sex in the city called me and I left. I had already met someone in Melbourne, everything I dreamed about. We were together for a couple of months. 

The house was quite nice inside. Father knocked down a couple of walls and built a bar. It went back for miles. I had a huge varnished plywood and battened bedroom without an angle where the walls met the ceiling, but a nice curve. It now looks very sad.

Where the petrol pumps used to be. I think I painted the island with grey paving paint.

I don't remember ever noticing these timber shingles.

Yarram just oozes money. You can smell the scent of pound notes in the street. We used to have stock freighted up by train from Melbounrne, but the rail service was discontinued many years ago. I wrote about the train line back here, but Google maps have not held up well.

I worked six days a week with Friday off and so I did not learn much about the town. I would bolt to Melbourne for my day off. Very little about Yarram felt familiar to me, so after some lunch at the excellent bakery, I was pleased to get away.

Just before Sale, a sign indicated an historic swing bridge close to the highway. We took a look. Sale was once serviced by boats coming up the Latrobe River from the sea, hence the need for the swing bridge for boat clearance. The bridge has been restored to working order by the government and local council, but I am unsure if it is ever operated.

R was having a rest in the van, as the rain fell. What I had not realised at the time, at the top of the photo is another river, so we were at the confluence of the Thompson and Latrobe Rivers. 

I don't think your graffiti is very cool.

We were to park our van at our friend's place in Lakes Entrance. We were a little early and the van needed some sorting out, so at Swan Reach I pulled off the road onto a grassy verge. Off we go, but we didn't. The rear wheels spun and then one wheel only spun and dug into a deep hole. If it was a car, I could have gotten it out by rocking back and forwards but with the weird transmission, that wasn't working. Mild panic, yes. Worst case, call the RACV to pull us out. No sooner than we were bogged, the ever so handsome young Brett from Queensland pulled up with his four wheel drive. I think he had his chick with him, but I did not take much notice of her. Brett checked the underside of our van and found a hook on point and simply towed us backwards using his very strong cable. From bogging to being back on the road was all of ten minutes. We did leave a terrible hole in nicely maintained grass, for which I am regretful, but it wasn't deliberate.

Descending from on high to Lakes Entrance gives lovely views. We had drinks once we reached our friend's house in Lakes Entrance and she made us a delicious meal of borek and her own garden grown salad. We sensibly did not stay up too late, drinking wine and sorting out the world with our friend.