Posted by: glenswatman | October 21, 2010

20101001-15 AUS Qld NSW Vic



2010 –
A last visit to the library and shops in the morning.  A BBQ is scheduled for the residents in the
evening but a cool wind causes it to be called off so I cook up the steak for
us to eat indoors. Round off the evening with cards.



We are all going our separate ways today.  Kay is off to Brisbane to see a show of
Rudolf Valentino gowns.  Ken is playing
bowls and Steve and I are going to a birthday party.  It is Bev & Norms granddaughter Ella’s 2nd
birthday and Louise is organising a party at Tickle Park (lovely name) on
Coolum Beach.  $6 (£3.60) each gets us a
bus ride all the way there and it’s a scenic one in and around the hinterland
taking 1 ¼ hours.  The party should start
at 9am but when we arrive just before 9.30am there is no one in sight.  We contact Bev & Norm and they are on the
way down to pick us up and take us to the house where they are holding the
party due to the bad weather.  Once there
we meet their son Glenn his wife Karen and their son Jasper for the first
time.  It is a lively gathering and Ella
seems very excited and loves her bright blue butterfly birthday cake.  We spread ourselves around chatting to
different people and the time flies. 
Late afternoon Louise’s husband Jye runs us back to Minyama where we are
the first to arrive.  Ken & Kay get
back around 7pm both whacked so an early night is in order.



Our last day and we have arranged to meet up with friends for
lunch.  We head out with Ken & Kay to
Sunshine Plaza shopping centre, one of only 2 in the world that has a natural
river running through it.  I make use of
the MacDonalds wi-fi whilst Steve does crosswords in the car.  We meet Dave & Val for lunch at the fishermen’s
wharf.  They are coming on the cruise
with us so Val has a few last minute questions. 
Round off our day with another card evening with Ken & Kay.



Ken drives us for our rendezvous with Bev & Norm near the Ettamogah
pub around 8.30am.  Norm has a special
hat on with D-Tours (Dickins Tours) a change from his usual Swatours one.  We hop in their car and head off with the
caravan being towed behind.  It is a very
pleasant drive with some good views as we climb Cunningham’s Gap.  Norm, Bev & Steve take turns at driving
so it is easy to keep going with just a few petrol and pee stops.  Cross into NEW SOUTH WALES and put our clocks
forward 1 hour for daylight saving (now 10 hours ahead of UK).  Lunch stop at Gilgandra where the visitor
centre has a good display telling the story of the “coo-ee” marches.  During World War 1 men marched from Gilgandra
to Sydney recruiting people en route with great success.  By early evening we drop lucky in Moree
getting an en-suite cabin at Gwydir Carapark and for Bev & Norm a
campsite.  Moree is famous for the artesian
waters and the site has its own pools so after our evening meal we wallow in
the hot pools to relax.




After breakfast in the caravan we are on the road by 8am and the
weather is glorious the clear blue skies a far cry from the rains they are
still getting in Queensland.  Not so many
changes in scenery as this is all farming country although the purple flower of
the weed “Patterson’s curse” makes many of the fields look like a beautiful
carpet.  In the evening we check out a
hotel in a small village but the $40 rooms are really basic and not overly
clean, the hotel is full and there is only one bathroom.   The next village is Beckom and the Hotel
there is 100 years old but the rooms are clean and we would be the only
visitors using the solitary bathroom. 
Bev & Norm have free camping across the road with free electricity.  The village celebrated its 100 years over the
weekend and they are still clearing up. 
In fact the landlord wasn’t much bothered whether we stayed or not and
seemed very happy that we did not want the deal including breakfast.  Bev & I walk down to the pretty tree
lined stream and also around the streets where we see lots of rusty old farm
machinery on display.  Norm cooks up a
meal on the free electric BBQ then we retire for the night.  We can see why this has won an award for
being a friendly town.  The midnight
train causes a bit of a disturbance as does the 4am rubbish collection but
other than that we sleep well.

BECKOM, MUNROS BECKOM HOTEL, $50 (30) double, shared



Another 8am start with the 3 drivers taking turns.  As the least experienced driver at towing I
am happy to bow out.  Crossing into VICTORIA
we hit the rain and notice a sudden drop in temperature.  Around 5pm we arrive in Ocean Grove at Bev
& Norm’s new house in Paris Court. 
It is a stunning contemporary design and very posh inside.  We have the difficult decision as to which
guest room to take but settle on the upstairs double with ocean views.  We also have a lounge with kitchenette at our
disposal whist Bev & Norm have their own huge bedroom set up downstairs.  Send out for a Chinese take-away to round off
the day.  We get a text message to say
Steve’s Dad Trevor is in hospital so make a couple of phone calls to confirm he
is stable.



Down at the library I find that not only can I get free Internet but
by signing up can borrow DVD’s for free as well.  I do a bit of shopping so that I can make a
cottage pie for tonight’s dinner.  Bev
& Norm have a really hectic day doing jobs whilst Steve is just the
opposite and spends the time watching the Commonwealth Games. 



Today I walk the opposite direction to the Safeway shopping centre, it
is about half as far again and there is no library so won’t be doing it
again!  In traditional Friday fashion we
round off the day with a fish and chip supper, Norms whiting out of the freezer
and delicious.



It is a nice day, much better than Queensland where they are having
storms and torrential rain.  After my
Ocean Grove walk for shopping and Internet I return to potter around.  Bev & Norm are starting to catch up with
their jobs around the house.  The house
has been designed with many extra features such as a rain water tank, solar hot
water and solar generated electricity and double glazing so is relatively
economical to run.  In fact whilst they
have been away the electric meter has been going backwards so they are in
credit.  Using our Aussie phone card we
can call landlines in England for 2c a minute so we spend the evening catching
up with home news.



In Australia it is the car not the person that is insured so we are
offered use of Bev car. Norm backs it out of the garage and leaves it parked on
the right hand side of the street.  I hop
in and have just about got to the junction when I realise I should be driving
on the left!  It is a nice sunny day and sheltered
from the wind we can sunbathe au natural on the terrace.  Steve is in heaven as he can lay back on the
sun lounger and still watch the Commonwealth games on TV.  Bev & Norms friends Bobby & Rhinda
call round in the afternoon and we have a quick chat with them, they used to
live in South Africa and we have visited their home town.  Round off the day with a curry evening.



Steve needs to stock up on booze so we take the car to Ocean Grove
and combine it with shopping and the library. 
I am getting embarrassed seeing Bev & Norm working so hard around
the house where they refuse our offers of help. 
I have been able to do some cooking and things like bringing the washing
but now realise I can help a bit more by doing the windows upstairs.  Have been watching too much TV but one of the
programmes was about cleaning with natural products and I can now confirm that
warm water with vinegar and cornflour works a treat on windows. 



Bev’s Mum Joan is in a home at Drysdale so I join Bev for a
visit.  Joan is suffering from Alzheimer’s
but still seems happy to see us both and has been primed by Bev showing her a
photo of us all on holiday.  The home is
run on very relaxed terms with visitors welcome at any time.  On Tuesday afternoons they open a coffee shop
where we all get a drink and banana and white chocolate muffin.  Afterwards we take a stroll around Drysdale
and just get back before a downpour. It is still raining heavily when we got
out in the evening to the Bowls Club. 
Tuesday is chicken parmigiana or pizza and a beer or wine for $10
(£6.50).  Bob & Edna join us and we
have an interesting evening.



Back to a dull morning. 
At the library I put a deposit on a motorhome.  We don’t get back to England until next May
but this one is a brand new ex demo model greatly reduced and they have to sell
it now to release the money to buy the 2011 models.  Luckily the company is in Bradford and
Claire’s friend has been over and checked things out for us.  In the afternoon I get to use Bev’s built in
vacuum system.  There are sockets around
the house into which you plug a hose and that is the vacuum that sucks all the
dust out into a huge container in the garage. 
Better still there is a slot in the kitchen below the work tops where
you can hand brush crumbs then open the slot and have them sucked away
instantly.  Almost makes doing the job a



Luckily good weather prevails so we spend the afternoon sat
out sunbathing making the most of it as the forecast for the next few days is



For once they got the forecast right as we wake up to much cooler
temperatures with strong winds and rain. 
Through Couchsurfing we have been contacted by Ruth & Tony from
Melbourne and they want to meet us.  By
chance they are doing a weekend house swap with someone just down the road in
Queenscliff and have invited us over for lunch. 
We hit it off immediately with many similarities.  Ruth comes from Leicester whilst Tony is an
Aussie.  They both hope to retire soon
and plan to do property renovation to raise money.  Ruth has put on a terrific cold buffet and we
spend the afternoon grazing and eating. 
None of us can believe that when we suggest it may be time to leave it
is actually 5.30pm.  We arrange for them
to join us for Sunday lunch so we can chat more.  Bev & Norm just beat us back and we spend
the evening with the fire roaring away and the rain pelting down outside.  Temperatures have plummeted to single figures
and they are talking of 10C below seasonal average.



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