Back in Victoria

It has been a while since my last post, we have shifted states and stayed in quite a few towns. The last couple of weeks in Ballina gave us perfect weather. The day before we left it was 25 degrees, lovely and warm. Water temperature in the ocean was 22 degrees but no one was swimming or surfing as the beaches were closed because of the repeated shark attacks.

There were two serious attacks on local beaches while we were there and several other sightings. The theory is that the huge amount of rain has fed freshwater into the ocean and that combined with the warm water has attracted huge schools of fish and of course this has attracted the Noah’s Arks. Then you have a wetsuited leg hanging below a surf board and the shark thinks ” aha, a baby seal, a  nice tasty morsel”.  The baby seal is my theory only and thus has no scientific significance.

One day at Shelly Beach I watched a large flock of birds diving vertically into the water and coming up with fish in their mouths. It looked spectacular. I didn’t see any fins but you would thing they would have been nearby with so much food going.

The boat Bill has been building has made it out of the shed and raised in order to fit the keel, a massive lead device that you would not want to fall on your toe. Steel toe caps wouldn’t save them. I haven’t heard if it has been launched but I don’t think so. He delayed the launch as there was still work to be done and as he said, been building for 13 years another few weeks won’t matter. Pity I would have liked to be there to see it get the bottom wet.

We had a pretty easy trip South with 4 overnight stops, came right through Sydney, a pretty easy drive now the F7 freeway almost meets the Newcastle Expressway. Unfortunately Australian road authorities seem to have an issue linking freeways (well, tollways anyway). You could also ask why the Western Ring Road isn’t connected to the Eastern Freeway and probably get the same answer. Marginal and/or Green seats would be the short answer I think.

We lobbed into Bendigo for a few days, mainly to pick up Marlene’s car and see my sister. Gwenda has sold her house, and got the asking price so she is stoked. Marlene’s X Trail then developed a strange fault, the engine would pick up speed and then drop down again, you really needed to keep your foot on the brake in the 60 zone. Turns out the engine computer had forgotten how to maintain a steady idle, probably as the result of the battery being flat. It seems this is quite well known with this model. The local garage tried Nissan’s reset procedure which requires, among other things, the wheels to be dead ahead, the throttle body to be cleaned and probably the stars aligned and hold your mouth the right way,but it wouldn’t take so it had to go the Nissan dealer who had better equipment. Cost, $220. Bugger!

Fortunately the caravan park in Bendigo is very nice, much cheaper than Castlemaine (which is decidedly average) and with all sites having onsuites and most having parking for two cars. Just as well it was nice as we spent more than a week there.

A friend in Warragul has offered us a bungalow on his property while we look for a place to live. Very comfortable it is too. We have had to resolve the issue of where to live, it looks like Castlemaine is it. Herself was pretty adamant she wanted to live there so it looks like I was on a hiding to nothing. We are going back to Castlemaine to look at a couple of properties on Wednesday. The one I like is brand new, double glazed and with solar PVs on the roof and pretty close to town. We actually made an offer on another place on Friday but it is quite a bit short of the asking price and I can’t see it being accepted even if they are considering it over the weekend. One thing in it’s favour though is that it has a pool. That’d be very nice on a summers day.

Being back in Victoria means lots of weather, today started out with rain, then a nice sunny morning and now it looks like rain again. Welcome to Gippsland. Some of you might (or not) know that I was born in Warragul and went to High School here. I also did grade one (primary) here and the rest of primary school at Poowong North. The town has seemingly doubled in size and has gone from being a sleepy country town to a bustling mini metropolis. The bloke doing all the development is a bloke I went to school with. Dunno how popular he is. The development on the other side of the valley to where we are staying is 1200 houses, absolutely massive. Drouin, just down the road has also grown massively in sizetoo.

Cruising around Warragul I only saw one empty shop and it seems the predominant form of retail commerce is coffee. It seems like every 3rd or 4th shop is a café and they all look to be doing a roaring trade. Spoilt for choice for my morning Latte! The down side to all this development is that parking is at a premium, I can tell you I am grateful for my disabled parking permit.

That pretty much brings me up to date. The pic is of Brutus and the caravan parked with his big brothers at a truck stop on the Hume Highway.big rigs

 

 

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Still in Ballina

Hello again from Ballina. Not much been happening up here, just moaning about the weather. After the rain stopped (a week ago) the wind started, damned cold it was too. The wind came in huge gusts followed by periods of relative calm. I have been worried about the awning, it is one the crappy American ones Jayco fit to their vans. Not a patch on the locally made one I had fitted to the Windsor. I have pulled the ends tight with anti flap devices but then the middle is loose. Light rain runs off but heavy rain leaves a pool in the centre. A pretty heavy pool. The solution is a couple of curved, adjustable rafters at great expense to the management. At least it stops the flapping which is like a crack and moves the whole van. Despite the rain and wind it hasn’t been much below 10 degrees at night and when the sun is out it gets into the low 20s. Much better that some of the temperatures in Victoria I think.

We have not watched any telly since we moved out of the house (May 8) so I dragged it out to watch the V8s at the weekend. Bloody remote didn’t work. I tried to buy one of the universal remotes at Hardly Normal and guess what, you cannot get one for a Kogan TV. Fortunately Marlene noticed a post on a notice board in a local shopping centre for a bloke fixing remotes. Dropped it off and 50 minutes and $30 later I had a repaired remote. The alternative was throwing the Kogan TV in the bin and buying a new one, or not watching telly at all. There is some merit in the last idea as there is so much crap on the air. Why do we see 40 year old reruns on the HD channels, beats me. You cannot watch a movie on the commercial stations as the ads ruin the story the extent that you can lose the narrative.

We are heading South at the end of the month, a quick detour to Castlemaine to collect Marlene’s car (and visit my sister) then on to Warragul and home ownership. Living in the caravan is Ok but I feel like our life is on hold. I’m itching to start getting a network together again. We both had pretty networks going in Castlemaine so we know the sorts of organisations to join to make friends and fill in the days. I already know a some people in Warragul so that is a start anyway. At least I won’t be a blow in, I was born there and went to High School there so technically I cannot be a blow in.

I spent time in NSW when I was in the Navy and the Air Force and I reckon the NSWers are different to us Victorians. I haven’t changed my mind on that. I remember in Manly in 1973 a bloke on a Rickman Honda (for the nonmotorcyclist, an exotic and expensive motorcycle) being ridden by a bloke in  full leathers, Bell helmet, gloves – and – thongs. D’uh?? The still ride around in shorts and thongs up here. This is an ideal place to ride a motorbike but there are not that many. I guess it is too hard to cart the surf board on a motorcycle. Some bright spark has worked a way to cart them on a push bike.

The surf has been pretty flat the last few days so not many in the water. Yesterday there must have been a large school of fish at Shelly Beach as there was a large flock of (I think) Terns diving straight into the water. A pretty good chance there was a shark around too. The birds looked like they were have a pretty good feed. Strangely there was no one fishing off the beach. The fishermen of Ballina are pretty well informed via the community radio station. Maybe they got there after I left. That was the big excitement in Ballina for this week.

The photograph for this post is of a snow gum shot in an early (just after Anzac day a few years ago) snowfall at Mount Beauty.Snow #1

 

Hello from Ballina

Marlene and I are still at Skennars head and we will be there until the end of July. The weather has not been kind with lots of rain and heavy overcast skies. I had forgotten how little there is to see when you go driving, the Coast Road between Ballina and Byron Bay offers only a few glimpses of the ocean over the 40 odd kilometres. All you get is very dense vegetation.

On our train trip from Brisbane to Cairns in 2012 the scenery was constant heavy vegetation or sugar cane farms. The Pacific highway is no better until you get to Grafton and there is farming on the river flats, and a lot of that is sugar cane. Couple that with the narrow roads and there is nowhere to pull off safely if you get a photo op. There has been a distinct lack of photo ops

The big news is that Bill, Marlene’s daughter’s fella has finally dragged the boat out of the shed. The boat has been under construction for 13 years, a big job but it certainly looks the part. It is going in the water in a couple of weeks so that will be a big occasion for them. Still a long way to go for them as the mast needs to be stepped and  rigged, which will take some time, and money.

Not much else is happening up here, I want to go South and get get started looking for a house  to buy. We can’t live in the caravan forever, she misses her sewing machine and I am missing my 27 monitor.

If this Post looks a little messy it is because I am still finding my was around the s         The Boat #2The Boat #1The view

Hello world!

Howdy folks, I have started a blog  to share some of my pictures with friends. You have received this because you are in my email address book. If you do not care to receive regular posts please let me know and I will remove you from the mailing list.

Homage to Ken Duncan at Burra. It rained on an off the whole time we were at Burra. Had some excitement sliding along the clay access track. Although Ken Duncan's pic had a nice blue sky I don't mind the cloudy version. When I nest have time to spare (don't I always) I might try it in Black and white.
Homage to Ken Duncan at Burra. It rained on an off the whole time we were at Burra. Had some excitement sliding along the clay access track. Although Ken Duncan’s pic had a nice blue sky I don’t mind the cloudy version. When I nest have time to spare (don’t I always) I might try it in Black and white.

This first pic is the cottage first taken by Ken Duncan and used on the Midnight Oil album. My take has cloudy skies because it rained everyday we were there and there is only so much you can do in Burra. Very small town, much like Maldon in Victoria and not much to amuse one for more than a couple of days.