We drove out of the hotel carpark fairly early on the Monday morning to begin the journey home. I have to say that I was impressed with the drive through Melbourne and found that getting out of Melbourne is actually easier than getting out of Adelaide. Once we left the hotel carpark, the journey consisted of a succession of freeways, toll roads and back to freeways again – moving seamlessly from one to the other. It was our intention to get some breakfast along the way but it was Dadswells Bridge before we stopped – about 300klm. This is the home of the Giant Koala and I convinced Andrew to buy a large Koala Bear toy for Trish to compensate for not being able to get the Tattoo Teddy Bear. I also bought one for Annabell. We had a quick snack there before driving on to Horsham
where we finally filled up with fuel for the car and for us. Melbourne – Ballarat – Ararat – Horsham -Bordertown – Murray Bridge – Mount Barker – Adelaide – Port Wakefield – Home. . I thought we would be stopping in Adelaide for the night, but the boys decided that they wanted to get home so we pushed back through to Port Wakefield – fuel and food – then drove the remaining 300 klm to home. At 11pm, Annabell was surprised to see us as she had expected us to stay in Adelaide overnight. Benji went gaga, he was so delighted to see us (me) back safe and sound. We drove from Melbourne to home – about 1300 klm with Andrew doing most of the driving – which he enjoys anyway. Overall, a fantastic trip on every account – me being away with my boys, the Great Ocean Road, the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo in Melbourne, Chadstone Shopping Centre and then the drive home.
The day after we arrived home Andrew telephoned the Tattoo organizers and asked about the Merchandise. He was told that there had been a glitch in the system and many people were without packages. The ship was now on its way to New Zealand and would be attended to when it arrived there. It was not. Andrew telephoned again and was told that the packages would be sent out from Edinburgh (Scotland) in a few days. As it happened the package arrived last Friday and Andrew brought it over last night. It was quite a good package; I particularly liked the coffee mug – and I have quite a few commemorative coffee mugs from various events. However, it’s good to be home and with any reasonable luck I should not have to move again until early May and then out to Mount Gambier for a church conference. Although, since coming home, my computer crashed (Windows 10) and as a result had a meaningful conversation with the Factory Reset Button. Lost much but I was also able to save much and managed to start again. I did have to rebuild my Outlook Address book and some addresses I still have not got, but they haven’t got in contact with me to ask why the silence.
At the moment I have over the last day or so, designed and printed an Order of Service – cover page and contents – for a Funeral tomorrow. One of our ladies died suddenly and I was asked to do the Order of Service for her. Generally I do that anyway, but the church photocopier is on long service leave for necessary repairs so everything has been done here on my computer and printer – all 100 x 4 page Documents. Just as well the Board of Management are paying for the ink cartridges – although only 30 of that total have parchment covers and are in colour – for family. The remainder are in greyscale. I dare say I will get back to what I was doing in the garden ===in the fullness of time :o)
Edinburgh Military Tattoo Melbourne
Day three of our trip and today is the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. I think everyone was up and ready bright and early. The Tattoo was at 1pm but we had no idea where the Ethiad Stadium was, what the area was like and what kind of parking to expect. We talked about this and made the decision to call a taxi, deciding that this was, by far, the easiest choice – probably expensive – but easier and less stressful. At about 12 we headed off to the Stadium. On the way there we passed what we were told was the largest Shopping Mall in the Southern Hemisphere – Chadstone Shopping Center. I decided that had to be a must if possible. We decided to hit the merchandise area and this is where we had a major disappointment. As part of my birthday gift, Andrew and John had purchased a Tattoo Merchandise Voucher. We heard nothing from anyone so we assumed that this would be in the form of a kind of Tattoo Show bag
and I presented the Voucher at the Merchandise Area only to be told that this had nothing to do with them and that the Tattoo Administration should have contacted me and sent the goods to me directly. This never happened. (More on this) Also Andrew wanted a Tattoo Teddy Bear for Trish, but they had run out of them. I just bought the usual – a golf shirt, T shirt and a Baseball Cap. Our seats were not too bad, but the best Andrew could get at such short notice. They didn’t know about it and it was something they dreamed up for my Birthday at almost the last
moment, but I have to say the seats were not bad at all and we had a fairly good view of things. For anyone who has been to Edinburgh or seen the Tattoo on Television, the format is fairly standard and flows swiftly from one section to the next. I think over the years most people ( or perhaps just me) have decided on their favourite. I liked all things from the Governor’s Guard of Honour, Australian Defense Force Band, Pacific Islanders, The New Zealand Maori the King of Norway’s Guard, the Scottish Country dancers, the South Australia Police Band, Massed Pipes and Drums, but my favourite over the years is the Top Secret Drum Corps from Switzerland. They fascinate me.
The performances by all the cast ( 1200) was outstanding up to and very much including the closing performance and the Lone Piper. If I were to make one complaint it is that due to the roof being closed over the smoke from fires and guns took a long time to clear so a lot of the photographs have a smokey look about them,not as sharp as they should be – if that makes sense.. Would we go again – most certainly – I would even give up Celtic Thunder to go back to Melbourne.
At the end of the Tattoo we managed – after a while – to grab a taxi and make our way to Chadstone Shopping Center – and yes, it is a massive place but it was late in the afternoon so we really didn’t have much of an opportunity for a full exploration of the centre – perhaps next time – although I did need to get to Optus and have some adjustment made to my phone. Since the distance between Chadstone and Oakleigh wasn’t too far, we walked back to the hotel. We had something to eat and drink in Chadstone, so no one really felt like dinner, so the boys read whilst I did some work on the computer – I carry a portable modem with me. An early night was in order for the drive home in the morning. – Confession – I went out to the nearest KFC ( about five/six minutes walk away) and had a Cheeseburger.
From the crowds at the 12 Apostles Tourist Complex we headed back inland through rain forests with an occasional glimpse of the coastline until we reached
Marengo ( no battle here – different Marengo) then Appollo Bay. We stayed in Apollo Bay for a little while to have a bit of a break – food and fuel – then all the way along the coast to Lorne. Lorne is where my trip to the Great Ocean Road stopped so many years ago. When I visited Drysdale (Victoria) during my sister’s last
illness and then her funeral, my Brother-in-Law took me touring through the Ballarine Peninsula and then on the Great Ocean Road as far as Lorne, so, in essence, this was me actually completing the journey. From Lorne we drove to the Memorial Arch and then wandered on to the beach. There were quite a few people on the beach and
we had only been there a few minutes when we realised that we were the only males. I managed to get some photographs of the area once I had moved away from where the females were. We had been driving all day and by the time we reached the Arch the sun was against us, which made it difficult for photographs. Sorry about that but I thought I
had better include one photograph of me to show that I was really there. However, once you get over that shock, be assured it is the only one – promise :o)
Most people don’t realise that the Great Ocean Road, from Torquay to Allansford (243 klms) is the Largest World War One Memorial in the world. It was started in 1919 by returned soldiers as a memorial to those who fell in the Great War. It was completed in 1932 and over 3000 returned soldiers worked on its construction using little more than picks, hammers, shovels, explosives and horse and cart. Quite an achievement, but it did cost several lives
From the Memorial we drove to Aireys Inlet and then to Bells Beach. I have to confess that like the first time I was there, I was very underwhelmed with the area. There’s not a lot of beach at Bells Beach but I understand from About Easter onwards the surf and
waves get quite big and powerful. Sometime I would like to come back and see it like with the big waves pounding the
surf. I also understand that the place gets quite crowded. I would also like to be able to do this journey over a longer period of time. By the time we reached Torquay were starting to get pushed for time and we still had a fair way to go to Melbourne. In fact the hotel called Andrew to ensure that we were still coming. We picked up the freeway and headed on into Melbourne arriving at our hotel in Dandenong Road fairly late but still in time to get freshened up and get down for dinner – an opportunity to relax and unwind.