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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