Legends from our own lunchtimes

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Strange Days

Strange days indeed, and today was one of the stranger of it's type.  

We arrived safe and sound in the big smoke of course, to find that good progress had been made on the construction of our forthcoming granddaughter, which is more than can be said for progress on her intended place of abode.  After five weeks of rain, the inevitable cost and time overruns have taken their toll, so it looks like there'll be lots of family quality time involving building materials over the next few months.

Then of course there's the other new grandbaby, the one we hadn't taken into account in our planning, and while the construction progress may be well advanced too now, it's at a great cost to the actual constructor.  Sadly, Jen has spent more time in hospital than out of it of late, and after four days at home we trotted her off again for rehydration and in search of any comfort that can be provided.   And we thought she did it the hard way last time!

Of course in the back of our minds as ever, progress on the the negotiations grand has once again slowed, with promises by their people of the contract mid next week.  At least they haven't promised tomorrow again.

At home now, it seems as though we've been gone for months, and a lengthy catchup with neighbours has confirmed a complete lack of progress on all fronts, except that the minister has written to announce that she's going to make an announcement at the end of next month!

It seems that Christmas and Easter have once again failed to produce a deadline that could be achieved, so we are waiting once more for Christmas.  One wonders how things ever actually get done in countries where the birth and death of Jesus are not celebrated!

Who cares?  We actually feel retired at the moment, I wonder if that will last beyond tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


It's got to be some sort of reflection of the quality of conversation in Port Macquarie that for the first time this year I failed to take a photograph somewhere around where we had actually slept.  I could of course have fudged it, but it seemed simpler to bend the rules!

With a monster breakfast barely settled, we none the less felt compelled to stop a few hundred k's after leaving Joan and Trevor's for a small energy boost.   The fritters at the big banana were sensational, something approaching those that were once available at the big pineapple we thought.   There was just enough sugar in this little lot to keep us kicking till Ballina as well.

Within cooee of home tonight; their people say the documents are still in preparation, our people have requested them tomorrow.   

Monday, March 29, 2010


Another top day, but lack of sleep is starting to sting my eyes.   I think we're missing the tent too, but staying old friends has its compensations.   We hadn't paid any attention to Newcastle for a lot of years, and apart from all the good bits, don't quite get why the old wrecked bits are still old and wrecked.

Newcastle is, after all, where the term Solistalgia was invented, but I suspect rather than change in the community it's a reluctance to change that's holding things back.

While speaking of reluctance, tomorrow we phone our people again for a report on lack of progress.  Tomorrow we also drive all day until we come to our journey's end.

Tonight we sleep in Port Macquarie.


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Burnbrae - Beyond Thunderdome

This morning dawned allf mountain misty.  Burnbrae didn't want us to leave, and for that matter we were happy to comply. We put up a good fight though and managed to tear ourselves from its spell by late morning.

It's a special place for us, full of memories of good times and great friendship but when we are there we experience a sort of timelessness.  

I want to was lyrical about it all, about being enveloped by it's warmth, hugged by its corridors, and likening it to an old and friendly security blanket, but I can't find words that don't make it all sound so corny and shallow.

We are heading north, back along the coast.  Newcastle tonight, and more old friends.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

(It's my blog and I'll change a post if I want to!!)

There is a room in Burnbrae, I cannot walk past without defferentially averting my gaze, tip toeing as silently past as my clumsy frame will allow.

When I was very young, I lived with my Grandparents for a time. That was the time when little children were seen and not heard, when beds were very tall and rooms dark and mysterious.

Last night it dawned on me that my strange behaviour was something embedded deep in my subconscious.  I daren't peek within, lest my grandmother, at her most ferocious would catch me and wreak here vengeance.  It's extraordinary but very real and it's taken me years to work out why I creep past that doorway, barely ajar, even though I'm fully aware that it has no occupant, and she has been gone for four decades.

I managed to get as far as the doorway today, even opening it a little, but I am yet to set a foot in the room, not because of fear or superstition I hasten to add.   Just because.  

From that doorway I can clearly detect the smell of a large chamber pot in need of emptying and the clop of the milkman's horse up Norman Avenue, a thousand kilometres and half a century away.

Enough of that nonesense though. We've somehow thus far managed to forgo our ramble round the yard, but I'm sure we'll manage that in the morning.   Another drive in the country, egg and bacon pie (or is that quiche?), chocolate cake with butter icing, mountain air, a couple of lakes, evening haze.... sigh.

Tired but happy again!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Big Day Out

Downhill to the bigsmoke today, lunches, coffees, galleries, artshops, old friends, new friends, and glad we weren't on the bike for the long climb home.

We didn't see Burnbrae in the daylight, and even though Ian insisted that ours were sentiments reserved for after a day at the beach not a city, it is fair to say we arrived home tired, but happy.   

Very happy.

Happy birthday happy.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

and a good lie down....

Driving through the mountains today to the tune of the mobile phone ringing, if "ringing" is actually what mobile phones do these days.   "To the tune of an electronically synthesised glockenspiel alarm" just doesn't sound right, even if it is probably much more accurate.

First our people with the news that their people are still working on it and will be back to us next week.  NEXT WEEK!  That's another seven days away!

Then someone in our street with the news that no one is working on it, then someone else with the news that they are.  We can only live in hope.

It's time to take a couple of powders and have a good lie down.

For a week!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Crystal Ball

Today we headed for the hills for a time under roof, clearing our throats in preparation for hours of chat, and hoping for news from the home front.

No news is good news we keep telling ourselves.

I looked into a crystal ball, but all I could see was the house next door.

Upside down.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

High Tension

As the week progresses the tension builds.  
We are walking around Kiama loving the place for what it is.  
We are leaving tomorrow.  
We want to relax, but our minds are once again elsewhere.  We are trying to think out our future, or at least the next part of it.
The phone rings.  
It is a neighbour relaying news that funding is on hold until the minister makes his announcement at the end of next month.   What does this mean?  Will our progress stop in its tracks?  Is it all over?
Do we still have a future in the short term?
Or is this just another dose of solistalgia, the high tension wires a metaphor for what is obscuring our view for just a time.
Tomorrow:  the mountains and perhaps an injection of reassurance!

Monday, March 22, 2010

We woke up early again, but with daylight saving we get to see the sunrise not long before seven, if we can find the energy to open one eye.    Batemans Bay is particularly well endowed in the pretty lights just before the sun comes up department, and I reckon if I hadn't been too lazy to drag out the tripod, I could have taken a really top shot.   

Once we were up there was nothing for it but to start the relentless move north.  Now we have a new week and a new anticipation about travelling home, expecting a contract to magically appear this week, and a constant round of catching up with friends between here and home, this trip is about to take on a completely different character.   It's starting to feel like a holiday rather than something we do for a living.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Close knit.

Like Madame Defarge we sit, under the shade of our awning, cooking slowly in the reflected UV light, knitting relentlessly.  The order has just been doubled and the footy socks are turning out as though on a production line.

Sure we get the odd quizzical look, or to be more truthful, I get the odd quizzical look and even the odd enquiry as to my well being, but I carry on like a person possessed.

At my most recent charge-out rate, each of these mini-socks is worth around eighteen hundred dollars, or for those mathematically challenged, more than three and a half thousand dollars per pair, but no price is too much to pay for socks for our grandchildren.

Tomorrow, daylight hours become fewer, the week begins again with the hope of documents to be received from their people, and we'll probably move from Batemans Bay to somewhere further north.



Saturday, March 20, 2010

We didn't get back to the tent until this morning, (curse you internet dating friends!) and we didn't make up our mind whether to stay or to go until quite late in the morning,  and once we'd packed well we drank coffee and ate cake until it was this afternoon (curse you too, camping ground friends!) but with the forecast suggesting that precipitation may be apon us in a day or two, we really felt that it might be smart to get a few hundred kilometres under our tyres.

The smoke was still around too, which probably encouraged us to keep driving, but we made mental notes about every ten minutes between Marimbula and Batemans Bay about having to come back and spend more time next time.

Poor old Marimbula missed out on a photograph, which it probably deserved, but since it had a nocturnalising effect on us that was never going to happen, but the banksia men that watched over us as we ate our watermelon in Tathra smiled happily for the camera, so all was not lost.

Friday, March 19, 2010


Surrounded by smoke we've been.   The control burning in Gipplsand has really impacted on the coast hundreds of kilometres away, it seemed the further north we went the more visibility was reduced.  By the time we got to Pambula we had our lights on, but on the cliff top at Merimbula at least the air was clear enough to see to pitch the tent. 

 Until a change in the breeze around midday today started to disperse it, apart from an interesting but not particularly photo worthy sky at sunrise, the smoke seemed to draw all of our enthusiasm for discovery.

So we did what we like to think we are beginning to do very well: nothing in particular.  Well nothing apart from knitting a few booties and talking to neighbours and catching up with old friends till much later than we had planned.  

After a full day in Merimbula, all we have to show for it is a smoke effected view of the bay in Eden.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


The day dawned surprisingly gloomily in Malacoota with a dull grey pall of smoke from the bushfires enveloping us and everything within view.  But the sun did it's best to blast through the smoke and succeeded well enough to sprinkle little layers of efflourescence behind every swimming creature.

We watched the magic for ages, sipping our coffee, quietly knitting our booties and trying to decide whether to move on or not.  "Not" we thought, and by ten we'd breakfasted and taken the odd photo and not moved from our seats, transfixed.   Off to the office to let them know and pay for another day or two we thought.

"Not today" they said, and so it came to be that we are spending tonight in Merimbula.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Taking Flight

I've always wanted to get a photograph of a pelican taking off over water at sunset, and last night I got my chance at Mallacoota as we sat watching fireworks in pastels from the comfort of our tent.

It was a day of strangely pastel fireworks in real life as well.  We've barely moved from the shade of the awning, chatting for hours with a charming young German couple, interspersed with calls from our people talking to their people.   If all goes well, (and why would it?) we may even have a contract in a week or so.

We think we'll hang around here for another day, then perhaps we too will fly off into the sunset.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Fresh Local Prawns

Lakes Entrance gave us plenty of reason for reflecting.  The least of them spending twenty dollars for a one minute consultation with an auto electrician who confirmed our magic black box which controls the fridge and other camping things battery is dead.   We already knew that, but confirmation that no fix is available till we get home and have it replaced under warranty was not really what we want to hear.

Thanks to our decision to race home before the forthcoming Easter Holidays, we won't be too disrupted.   It won't be too hard to find powered camping sites between now and then, but impossible once the holidays start.   It's crook really, all these people having holidays can really play havoc with the life we would like to lead!

On the home front, our people are waiting on a call back from their people still, and "the Minister" is going to make an announcement at the end of April.

We hope it's an announcement that the government owns our house.

Monday, March 15, 2010

For reasons best known to it's pseudo Celtic roots I suppose, Inverloch seemed to be the sort of place which invited all manner of contemplation.
We have been overwhelmed by the number of on-site vans and cabins along the Victorian coast in particular. We've watched over time as panel vans and two man tents have been usurped by lumbering motorhomes and caravans which seem to be larger than heavy vehicles were when we were growing up,  and now with so many permanent structures filling the camp grounds, we wonder if there will be anywhere to pitch the tent in coming years.
But more interesting perhaps is the ubiquitous dispenser of commercial toilet tissue to be found in each amenities block.  
For reasons which beggar contemplation, the dispensers are set well down and aft in the cubical in which they are located, making it impossible to tear off a polite length.   It comes out a yard at a time, twisted and crumpled at the ends with a small usable bit in the middle, but it is so thin than employing less than three layers is a precarious pastime indeed.  One can only suspect that purchasing  a more sensibly specified product located in a less anthropometrically challenged position could save half of the trees felled in Tasmania each year. 
Is there coincidence in the observation that the particular tissue in question is as fine and delicate as the best of its type used in flash jewellery stores to wrap parcels of special significance?

Ahh, tonight we're in Lake's Entrance so who knows what tomorrow will bring.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Talk about urban tapestry.  Some some of the new houses in Altona look like building material display centres, but I still like the way one can see the water at the end of the street beyond the red brick fences.

Lattes on the street, then back on the road.  We'd only spent two nights under roof, but we both felt strangely as though we were "on our way" again as we turned the car onto the Eastbound Freeway, or " "Freeway E B N D" as the lady in the sat nav software was fond of calling it.

As usual we had no plan, intending to stay at a more or less remote beach near Phillip Island, but missed the turn by travelling inland for a time, and ended up in Inverloch, which when last we visited, was in Scotland.

Goodness our life can cause confusion, or maybe it's the Cold tablets I've been taking.   That's what I blamed on the fact that I discovered my wallet missing this morning, only to find it in the jeans I'd worn two nights ago.

Just as well I didn't try to buy anything yesterday!

Saturday, March 13, 2010


When in Ballarat we choose to stay at the delightful Ardenlee Traditional Bed and Breakfast, well OK this time we didn't choose, it was foist apon us by some good friends how glad we are that it was!

I'm never one to wax lyrical about lace curtains, but Marian and David have done a sensational restoration job of their home and it's a joy to see a couple getting so much pleasure out of others enjoying their work, so say nothing of their skills as consumate hosts.

Oh that's right, we've already said we love the place, and if we can't sleep under canvas, well this is a close second, so everyone should rush down to Ballarat and give them a hoy.

Tonight is our second night in a bed for ages, after a great day catching up all over the state we have retired to Altona having some terrific family time with our rather extended family whom I have to say, while technically unrelated never let that get in the way of a great reunion.


Friday, March 12, 2010

More straight lines

Just to prove to Mandy we aren't all straight lines and crisp intersections, the melalucas at Anglesea are just some of the best things.
With more twists in them than the road we took to Ballarat, we'll remember the couple of days we spent under them quite fondly.

Sleeping under a roof tonight.

On a bed.

The walls aren't flapping with each gust of breeze.



Thursday, March 11, 2010


Tucked behind the primary dune, the sound of the ocean trickling over the top of the trees and a thin layer of salt slowly building on the car.   That's the way we like it!

We'll take a few deep breaths of salt air tomorrow morning as we leave Anglesea and the coast for a few days and head inland, that will get us through!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

How much can a Koala bear?

We woke up this morning in the cold and drizzle with at least some of the big winds gone, along with the hot water from the showers in the camping ground at Port Campbell, so  sulked off along the Great Ocean Road without taking a photo of our overnight location.

We added to our inglorious start to the day by declining to pay the fee* to view the Twelve Apostles, (considering the light and rather atrocious conditions perhaps one could expect to get paid to wander over there),  and later deciding that a visit to the Cape Otway lighthouse really wasn't worth the $16.50 each admission fee when we'd seen lighthouses before including several today.  All that considered, for reasons which don't seem particularly obvious, we ambled down the twelve kilometres of Otway road anyway, to see what we could see.

And we saw koalas.   

Big mobs of koalas.

A plague of koalas methinks, and mostly quite close to the ground and within a normal lens' reach. 

What a sensational day!

*or were we sold a pup?  Our decision (this time) was based on conditions not dollars, but confusion currently reigns over the 'carpark' costs.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Good Decision

It looks as though we've missed the worst of the weather, although it's been rather windy and therefore quite chilly as well.  It's probably the lack of shadow in the photo that tells the story, but we left Narrawong with the car heater on, had a sausage roll in Port Fairy and after a detour to see friends in Garvoc, ended up in Port Campbell for tonight.

Last night we were jolted into reality though, having been invited to meet friends in Ballarat on Friday.  A deadline!  It took time to confront the idea, but we came to terms with it and for the next few days we are running to a schedule.  Three days to cover two hundred kilometres, doesn't sound like a big ask, but we're quite used to not having deadlines at the moment.

And then someone told us about Easter!  Gasp!  It looks as though we are going to have to cut the last part of this journey short, or risk having nowhere to camp.   

Meanwhile back at the ranch, their people still haven't spoken to our people!

Monday, March 08, 2010

Shall we stay, or shall we go?

The "weather" as they say, is still hanging around to the east of us.  What an annoying misuse of language that is.  We have weather here too, it's just that ours is currently delightful if a little cooler than our sub tropical systems would prefer.
Perhaps we'll stay in Narrawong today.  Maybe we'll backtrack for an hour or two to see what Portland has to offer, we've driven through it often enough after all.  If we were to go, we'd have to contend with the Folk Festival Crowd at Port Fairy as well.

It's half past eight, it's an hour since I took the photo and I'm back in bed, it's warm in the tent and we're surrounded by the sounds of 600 campers slowly stirring and getting ready to pack.

That's it.  

Wild horses couldn't drag us from here today.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Time to Fly

Another glorious morning in Beachport and we were tempted to stay just one more day, or perhaps two, specially since it's raining buckets of ice pretty much everywhere in Victoria, but we eventually motivated ourselves to pack up and after another round of farewells, began our amble east.   
Not too far east we thought, and just as well as we seem to be camped right on the edge of another bout of storms reaching across the rest of the state.   We may well be in the only dry spot tonight, but it would be foolish to speak too soon!
It's a public holiday in two states tomorrow, and the population of camping ground at Narrawong will reduce by six hundred in the morning.  Perhaps we'll stick around to see what it's like quiet!

Saturday, March 06, 2010

According to the forecast we'll be packing up in 20-40 millimetres of rain tomorrow.  If that's the case, we may just stay put for a bit, but we've seen plenty of good bits in clear weather, like the middens at the five mile for instance.
It's a long weekend here, and apparently this is the closest beach to Victoria that allows four wheel drive vehicles and the town is over run by macho tyres and orange flags on tall antenna.  It's been quite bizarre thus far in a pleasant sort of way, having our neighbours as neighbours in a camping ground, but today we are alone, catching up with friends we didn't know we had.

Friday, March 05, 2010


Things that may be otherwise be mundane become spectacular experiences to those witnessing them from an unfamiliar viewpoint.   
When temperature inversion occurs over the ocean the locals roll their eyes in the knowledge that the fog will roll in with amazing rapidity, hovering for a time just above the warm surface of the land.   
We've seen the same in the desert with mirages and Fred Williams seemed to play with it often on canvas, but it's great fun and quite satisfying to capture the fleeting moment in a photograph as well.


Thursday, March 04, 2010


Beachport is one of those clever places that has a coastline that curves and winds and features a long jetty which allows one to capture all manner of views of where one has been, or perhaps may go, as one perambulates along the shore.   It allows for a kind of geographic introspection as one meanders. 
We haven't yet had time for any personal introspection (which is just as well) with a non stop round of social engagement with new friends and acquaintances, although on the home front reports would have it still raining quite a lot, and our people made no progress whatsoever with their people.
In fact it seems that their people are becoming somewhat intransigent, so it may well be time to move on.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010


I have no idea what it is in our psyche that makes us leave one of the best beaches in the country, to drive two and a half thousand kilometres across the centre to get to another beach, just so we can drive back another four thousand kilometres along the coastline to get home, visiting hundreds more beaches.
Whatever it is, much as we love the bush, as soon as we found the water we felt that our journey had come to an end.  
The travelling is over, now the touring begins.  Four days to get here, four weeks to get home.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010


Horsham is probably a wonderful place, when it's not blowing a gale and getting close to chilly on the second day of Autumn.  Driving ever southward today, we meandered through red gum country, and the colours in some parrots that we disturbed actually seemed to be inspired by sunset last night in the caravan park!
We had another lesson in random navigation, this time by hitting the "shortest route" button on the GPS, and following it faithfully just for fun.
At one point it took us off the road, down a track which became barely discernible in the bush, through a creek, and in four wheel drive by now, up the other bank across a Go Kart track!  No one said we shouldn't be there, so we followed the girl in the dashboard's directions past some tyre barriers onto a Motor Racing Hill Climb Circuit, turned left near the top, and suddenly we were back on our way.
We'll be doing that more often.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Hay Days

Hay today gone tomorrow.  When we lived in bayside Brisbane we used to shudder at the very thought of spending our golden years in a retirement place called Pleasantville, which was just up the road a bit, and then a movie was made about a place of the same name giving it some legitimacy.  Pleasantville was usurped as the worst address for us in the world yesterday when we found "Hay Days" Retirement Village in Hay.
Even the emus were running away from the shocking puns that followed.

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