Posted by: glenswatman | December 16, 2010

20101201-15 AUSTRALIA Vic, Mildura

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WEDNESDAY 1 DECEMBER – The first day of summer in Australia and it’s about time someone told the weather man as we are still getting rain. At the local gym you can take a tourist weekly membership for $15 (£9.50) so I go along and today do the Zumba class.  It is a kind of mixture of line dancing, Latin American dancing and exercises to South American music.  Surprisingly I get through it quite well and don’t even get puffed out but then again maybe I didn’t give it my all.


THURSDAY 2 DECEMBER – ­Finally a nice morning.  Steve leaves the ducks locked up so that we don’t have to fight off Denis pecking our feet whilst we do jobs in the garden.  I clean the windows and have a bit of a tidy round then shut myself in the pool enclosure so Steve can let the menace out.  After an afternoon sunbathing I make up for my laziness by going to the gym for Ubound.  This is exercise whilst on a mini trampoline and very energetic.  In between bouncing off, losing my rhythm and lagging behind everyone I work up quite a sweat.  Suddenly I am not sure how good an idea this exercise malarkey is as I am sure that I will ache in the morning.


FRIDAY 3 DECEMBER – Got it right, my back and legs are not good at all.  Today I exercise my fingertips doing E-cards on the computer in readiness for Christmas whilst Steve watches cricket.   It is a surprisingly hot day and this continues into the evening so we keep nipping into the pool for a cooling dip.  Still don’t manage a day without rain though as it rains thorough the night – perfect.


SATURDAY 4 DECEMBER – Another glorious day.  We are a bit late getting up and I go into the lounge to open the window only to find Pepper outside.  She is so pleased to see me that she jumps in through the window whilst Taco (the older dog) waits for me to open the door.  Still having trouble with Denis the drake Steve is taking the advice of a Facebook friend and intends confronting Denis by waving his arms and hissing at him.  The first I hear of this is when Steve shouts out that he has fallen over.  He did the actions and hissing but Denis still came at him and Steve backed into a wheelbarrow and fell over so now has a cut arm and grazed bum to add to his nipped ankles.  I head off to the gym intending doing Zumba.  The instructor is off so an Irish lad is helping out.  In fact I am the only one to show up and Fiachra tells me he normally does spin and boxing and would I like to try a ½ hour of each of those instead.  Now how often to you get a personal instructor and chance to try new activities so I’m in.  Well the spin is Ok for the first 5 minutes until my bum starts to ache, basically you sit on a bike and do a minute or two of fast peddling then a few minutes at 60 or 70% rate – totally boring.  Next the boxing where he has me prancing around the room whilst he calls out the punches and kicks – more interesting and a bit of fun but totally knackering when you are as unfit as me.  I am now concluding that I still don’t enjoy gym work, which was always the case for me, and am much better finding the kind of exercise that I enjoy and will keep up.  So back to the finger exercises on the computer!


SUNDAY 5 DECEMBER – My 54th birthday and I am amazed by the number of greetings I get through Facebook.  We head off to Red Cliffs Christmas markets where it is weird to hear the songs about putting another log on the fire and let it snow whilst we are baking in 35C.  Next we take a nice drive out to Wentworth, about 30km away in New South Wales and get a better impression of just how much rain there has been by the way the river is flooding.  At the junction of the Murray and Darling River, with a distinct colour dividing line, the locks have been closed as the water is almost over the top.  Wentworth service and sports club has a lovely location on the riverbanks and an excellent deal of a carvery lunch for $9.50 (£6).  Along with the carvary you get choice of soups plus salad and dessert buffet.  On the way back we try to walk to the end of the land separating the two rivers but it is all flooded.  It’s nice now that we are getting the rain late afternoon and night but nice days.  The swimming pool gets a lot of use from us right up until bedtime when we have our last cooling dip.


MONDAY 6 DECEMBER – Looks like I had the best weather for my birthday as we are back to rain. I do the morning Zumba class with Lisa and it is a little more energetic.  Between storms Steve manages to pick a few apricots from the orchard but overall the ants are getting the best of them


TUESDAY 7 DECEMBER – Now we seem to be getting the bulk of rain at night so Steve sets out to clean up the pool but unfortunately the side is slippery and he falls in badly grazing his leg.  He’s beginning to look like he has been in the wars as his duck fall injuries are still apparent.  At least it is worthwhile as we spend a lot of time in the pool.  Back to heavy rain at night with a storm so bad we soften up and let the dogs stay in the house.


WEDNESDAY 8 DECEMBER – Don’t think we have ever come across so much rain so quickly.  Driving out to the gym many of the roads are closed and in fact the gym is closed as the roof has caved in.  No matter back home Garth & Jude have an excellent library of travel DVD’s a books so there is no chance of us getting bored.  On the evening news they show flood damage including a picture of a boat paddling down the main street.


THURSDAY 9 DECEMBER – Looks like the bulk of the storms have passed so I crack on with the washing before Steve lets Denis out.  Now we have the mosquitoes, attracted by the low lying water, to fight off.  At least we are not as badly off as the poor farmers who cannot tend their vines as the ground is too muddy for them to get through even in a tractor and they need to spray as another crop of locusts are developing.


FRIDAY 10 DECEMBER – We both head into Mildura.  I want to get some passport photos printed for our India visa and UK driving licence.  I’ve been lucky to find a website where I have been able to prepare the pictures and now just need a photo machine to print them.  K-mart offers this service and for 49c each I get a 6×4 pictures contain 7 perfectly sized images.  We pick up the local free paper and Steve reads that cricketer Sir Ian Botham is going to be in Mildura today to visit the Mildura Club for a dinner and speech.  We are just a block away so I head off round the shops and leave Steve waiting.  I arrive back having just missed him meeting Ian and having his photo taken.  Steve had seen him coming down the street with just 1 minder and approached him and found him very friendly indeed.


SATURDAY 11 DECEMBER – I drink a lot of tap water and for the last day or so it has had a strange taste.  Today I have an upset and cramps in his stomach and feel generally unwell so spend half the time in bed and half sitting in the lounge watching DVD’s.


SUNDAY 12 DECEMBER – I’m feeling considerably better so we have a run out to Zilzie winery at Karadoc.  In the paper they are advertising an annual sale with cases of wine for $20 and we are lucky to be there early because minutes after the door has opened they have sold out.  We manage to bag a box of clearskin Shiraz and a box of mixed.  Return via the river roads to admire the red sandstone cliffs of Red Cliffs and the check out our old free camping spot by Kings Billabong – no longer as good as they have built houses nearby.  In the afternoon Steve starts to feel sick and is really bad by the evening feeling sick as well.  As I go to bed at midnight he needs to make a run to the toilet and takes the bucket in case he is sick at the same time.  I hear quite a commotion from the bathroom then all goes quiet.  I call out and get no response so head in there to find Steve passed out on the floor between the toilet and the bath with his knee stuck in the bucket – would be almost comical if I wasn’t so worried.   I manage to get the bucket off and move him and he comes round but shortly after faints again in my arms.  As I begin to lie him down he again comes round so we leave him lying there for a good few minutes until he gets his colour back.  Its freezing cold in the bathroom so I put the wall heater on and scurry around getting blankets.  Eventually he feels fit enough to crawl back to bed.  In the early hours he manages a visit to the bathroom without incident.


MONDAY 13 DECEMBER – Steve still feels unwell so I make up some rehydration fluid with the water that I have now boiler.  1 litre water, 1 level teaspoon of salt and 8 level teaspoons of sugar softened up with some cordial.  In the past we have found that sipping this frequently is a big help.  I have to do the ducks and chickens and find it quite a messy task as you are walking through a cage full of poop.  If it was my job I would go out and buy a big pair of wellington boots – hey that would sure fool Denis when he pecked at your ankles.  Jude has a bit of a vegetable plot and when I check it out I find that the courgettes are ready and in fact some have already overshot and gone into huge marrows.  I gather them then retreat to the house to check out recipes.  There’s an interesting one for a “zucchini cake” so I set about making it and am pleasantly surprised with the results – it’s edible.


TUESDAY 14 DECEMBER – Steve is a little better but not up to doing much.  We get our first visitors; a couple of women appear at the door.  Don’t know exactly who or what they were from but as soon as they started on about the religious season I told them I did not like to discuss our religious beliefs – thank you very much!  I stuffed up a bit doing the visa photos for India because the passport size is different to the visa application size so armed with the new 2×2 snaps I head to K Mart to print.  Realise that even at 49c I did not have the true bargain as that is the price for instant processing and you can get them 1 hour later for 19c or 24 hours later for 15c.  Hang the expense I only need 2 anyway.  There’s supposed to be a special phenomenon of meteorite showers tonight and tomorrow but when I get up at 1am to check it out the mosquitoes don’t even give me a chance to find it.


WEDNESDAY 15 DECEMBER – Well we are now boiling the water and both being careful about what we eat but still have dodgy bellies. Maybe this is practice for India!  It’s a windy day so we catch up on some more DVD’s.  The few times I do try sitting out the mosquitoes chase me back in.  AT the moment it feels like we are being punished for not making the decision to go back to England, on the other hand this is way better than snow.




  1. hi mum dad,i just googled glen swatman and this page come up,now i can keep up to date of your travels day by day instead of waiting till the beggining of the month,very interesting web page,have you ever considered publishing a book about your travels?i think it would do really well,take care now all my lovexxxxxxxx

    • Hi David

      Glad you have found the web page, there is another one at with help for travellers. Now you tell me when would I find the time to write a book and who would bother to buy it ???? In truth very few people read the blog so that gives some indication. Anyway I usually post the diary 2 or 3 times a month so you will be able to follow us around India. See you in May. Good luck with your op. All our love Mum and Dad xxx

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