RFDS, Travels and New Friend

The RFDS Cake

In the wee small hours of Thursday (3rd) the rain came pounding down. By 9:30 there was still rain and heavy cloud cover  and I was just a tad concerned that this function would go ahead, but by 9:55 the RFDS aircraft touched down. Everything went well and the food provided was extraordinary  brilliant catering.  Our two major sponsors were represented – CEO of Elders and CEO of SA Power Networks, the Central Operations Chair and CEO,  the  RFDS Coordinator, one Flight Nurse and the Pilot. The event was well attended and there were Long Service Awards (10 years ) for a number of our members. There were, of course, speeches,  but short. The  newspaper people were there and after the speeches and the traditional Cutting of the Cake,  everyone was free to

Some of the service Awards People.

wander around, chat and mingle. I – of course – had the camera. I am not the world’s greatest photographer, but if I have the camera and wander around taking photographs, I don’t appear in any. Clever -yes?? Since there were no other aircraft due in, we were free to wander on the apron and inspect the RFDS aircraft, talk to the flight nurse and the pilot. By 11:30 it was time to go and head off to Jamestown, the last stop on the three day tour. We said our farewells,  snuck in a few more photographs and by 12:00 the aircraft was on its way.

Going back to the weather. It rained for hours on Wednesday and Adelaide, for example, had more rain in one day that it has had all this year. Ours was pretty heavy too, and I have yet to go and see if the rain has made any impression on the wetlands. : Quick response – it didn’t. However, it did clear up just before the RFDS arrived at the airport as I said earlier.

I just returned from Naracoorte last night after having been away since last Thursday morning.. The drive to Adelaide was cold and wet and with a sudden rush of blood to the head, I let the GPS take me to Elizabeth via  the Gawler bypass instead of going the way I generally go via the Salisbury Highway. Wont ever do that again!! By the time I got through all her – turn left at the next / turn right at the next/ and on and on, I could have piloted the space shuttle to the moon and back. By the time I finally got to where I was going I was starting to feel like a modern Allan Quatermain. I  stayed in North Adelaide overnight and headed off to Naracoote in the morning. It was cold and damp

Just Because
New friend I made in Padthaway.

and other than fuel, I didn’t really stop much. I stayed overnight in Padthaway and drove to Conference on the Saturday morning. It was understood- or at least that was the expectation- that we would be finished by about 2pm  and I was quite pleased about that since it would give me ample time to get to Tailem Bend before it got dark. Yes, well, by 4.45 pm I was on my way and got as far as Keith and stayed there overnight. Another thing I wont do again! Suffice to say I had a troubled night and was not quite at my best when I left as soon as the dawn hit the sky – 6:20am I believe. I drove through to Port Wakefield  and  had a coffee. From there to the Port Augusta – more coffee and fuel – and then home, where I sat on the floor for a good twenty minutes  until Benji settled down and for much of the night I could hardly move without him. Annabell said that he did his usual – sulked in my room, came running through when the doorbell rang and when Annabell opened the door and he saw it wasn’t me, he went back to my room again. I discovered on this journey that I have a very odd wife. This is the first time I have been away on Mother’s Day, so I telephoned her from Adelaide and asked if she wanted anything for Mother’s Day. She said “Yes” so I asked her what she wanted and her answer was   “you home safe and well”  Jings, I would have thought after all these years she would be glad of the peace and quiet. Anyway, apart from Padthaway this was not quite my best journey. For some odd and strange reason it was filled with concerns and frustrations . Still that’s me home until August.

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Melbourne – The journey Home

Andrew with Trish's Koala Bear
Andrew with Trish’s Koala Bear

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

From Horsham Service Station
From Horsham Service Station

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.

Tailem Bridge and a healthy looking River Murray
Tailem Bridge and a healthy looking River Murray

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)

The Drive to Melbourne Part 1

Great Ocean Road
Great Ocean Road

Day 1

We left home – John, Andrew & Me –  on Friday morning and drove to Adelaide, stopping at Port Wakefield for fuel and food. I had  expected we would share the driving so I assumed there would be a changover at Wakefield, but no, Andrew decided to stay as driver. From Wakefield we drove through Adelaide then on to our next stop at Tailem Bend – then Keith, through Naracootre, Penola and finally to our overnight

Commodore Motel Mt. Gambier
Commodore Motel Mt. Gambier

stop at the  Commodore Hotel in Mount Gambier, arriving there at 6pm. After  getting the rooms sorted out, we decided to go for a walk through town and get something to eat. We could have eaten at the hotel  but we needed a walk to compensate for the driving and sitting. As it turned out we found a nice Pizza Place that seemed to be quite busy. That’s usually an indication that the food is good, we  went in there. It was good so we stayed a while to

A very old Post Box.
A very old Post Box.

wind-down and have a few drinks. I did come across something interesting in Mount Gambier –  at least 50+. A very old Post Box. Have not seen one of them since childhood.

Day 2

The primary object of the trip was, of course, the Edinburgh Military Tattoo in Melbourne, but the secondary object was to travel the length of the Great Ocean Road. That being the case we drove from Mount Gambier, crossing into Victoria and then down to Port Fairy. Most of this area is forest country so really not a lot to see, although I still maintain that like the Road to Mount Gambier, I would not be surprised to see Gandalf, or at least a Hobbit. We had a stop for cool drinks in Port Fairy. Back inland again to Warrnambool and our first real drive along beside the Ocean started   again at Peterborough – to the Bay of Martyrs – Bay of Islands These were interesting and provide a great indication of just how fragile the coast is in this area. I think the rock faces are mainly

Bay of Islands
Bay of Islands

Limestone – soft and washed away over a short space of time. I understand that the road had to be

realigned a couple of times because the coast had collapsed. From the Bay of Islands we drove to Port Campbell where we stayed for lunch and a walk around the town. Our next stop was The Twelve Apostles National Park. This really floored me. I have never seen so many Chinese/ Asian people in the one place – there were hundreds of them and buses of them arriving every few minutes. There were so many people that it was difficult to get near the edge to take photographs. The top of the walkway as you can see is just people.   Personally I think this is a bit on the dangerous side in that if someone fell, they are dead – no discussion of that because by the time help arrived the person will have either drowned of been battered to death against the rock face. – always assuming they survived the fall in the first place.  There were two helicopters operating and they were going non-stop. As one landed one took off and the queue was something else.

This walkway out to the end was just wall-to wall people.
This walkway out to the end was just wall-to wall people.

 

 

The lady is wearing her blue dress

Friday /Saturday 14th Nov.

I am in Mount Gambier, which as I said before, is about 900+klm  South-West of home. I arrived here yesterday afternoon after a five and a half  hour drive from Adelaide,

Not enough sun to show its true Blue Colour
Not enough sun to show its true Blue Colour

where I stayed overnight. My accommodaying is quite pleasant and spacious so I  am comfortable enough. In the morning I will attend to Presbytery and in the early afternoon, head back to Adelaide. I’ll stay there overnight again and head home on Sunday morning. I will have been away for four days and although John has come over each night to take Benji our walking, I have to say that I miss my dog. Goodness I’ve hardly had him five weeks and I miss being away from him already.  Herself tells me that he gets excited when John comes to take him out but most of the time  he jumps up on my bed and stays there for much of the day.

I did get to see the Blue Lake in Mount Gambier and although it was quite blue, it needs the sun to bring out the full colour and we didn’t have much sun today. For most of the year it’s just a normal water colour but from mid-November it starts to change due to

The Rook Look-Out at the Blue Lake
The Rook Look-Out at the Blue Lake

some chemical reaction. It was a volcano. There were two other smaller lakes beside this and although there are viewing platforms for them, they have mostly dried up.  By the time I come back here – probably in May – the colour will have gone. We are not due back here again until May of 2016.

Adelaide 14th/15th

The meeting finished just before noon and I did not stay for lunch but headed back to Adelaide, arriving here  shortly after 5pm. stopping only briefly at Keith for fuel. The freeway was fairly quiet, so it was a good run through to Bolivar. I called home to let herself know where I was then had a fairly good sleep. I packed up and was on the Main Highway to Port Wakefield at 5:35 and with only one stop for fuel and food I was managed to catch  the after service coffee at the church before going home with herself to get attacked by an excited dog. I think it’s fair to say he was glad to see me. It was only four days for me, but that’s a long time for a dog.

The trip, however, was great and I  enjoyed passing the wineries and vinyards and although all the major  wine producers are there, there is a fair number of smaller boutique Wineries and the next time I come through here I  am going to make a point of stopping at some of the smaller wineries and perhaps doing a bit of a stock up  :o)

Home 16th. Nov.

In the meantime my computer is playing up something chronic. I cannot get into my mail server and I don’t know how much I have lost. I cannot get into other programs so

Hello!!
Hello, again, Hello!!

although I need to finish off the  Magazine, I cannot because I can’t get into MS Publisher — so, we are doing the best we can until Wednesday when John will come over and help me set up the new computer. I’ve just about had it with this one- it’s been an on-going battle for months now and although this is not the first time I have lost mail, this time it is serious and I cannot even get into the mail server.  and it’s only my good nature (??) that stops it from having an up-close and personal with a sledge hammer. However, it’s not a total loss and after we set up the new computer I will format this one and see what we can do with it. Use it as a spare with Windows 10. At the moment I seem to have no major concerns with the Internet and internet programs, but everything else is gone haywire. At the moment I still have no mail system but we are working on that. Part of the concern is the amount of stuff I have on Outlook Express – which is no longer available.  We are having problems setting up the Windows Mail system, but as I said, we are working on that.

Trip to the South-East ( Pt.1)

St. Andrew's Naracoorte
St. Andrew’s Naracoorte

Before I even left home I was being told that Naracoorte was a cold place, so I took a pile of warm clothing with me. As it turned out it was lovely for the whole time I was there – cold at night, but warm during the day. I had an excellent four days – good accommodation and lovely weather. It was also a good drive to get there, but not something I will do again. I am not a professional driver so 800klms. was a long drive for me. This was a bit silly since I was advised to break the journey, but I didn’t.

The accommodation was excellent and I really enjoyed the duck park across the road. It was

interesting sitting and watching the birds during a breaks. I didn’t spend too much time getting through Adelaide but I did stop for a little while at Tailem Bend before hitting the last 200+kms. After that I could actually sing ” I’m 500 miles from my home”.  The river looked healthy – well the part of it at Tailem Bend was anyway.

The Ferry at Tailem Bend
The Ferry at Tailem Bend

The Drive from Keith to Naracoorte was interesting in that it is part of the wine region of  South Australia and the landscape on either side of the highway was vineyards – dairy farms and more vineyards.  I did take  photographs but it really does not show the extent of the amount of  vines there were.  I saw some beautiful photographic opportunities  when drivi9ng on the Expressway  but not worth risking a hefty fine since there is no stopping unless in an emergency.

The Bonny Moorhen
The Bonny Moorhen

I did mention the park and duck pond in Naracoorte and this a photograph of one of the birds. I was not sure what it was so I asked and was told that it was a Moorhen, found in Indonesia and parts of Australia.  Lovely thing it was. We do have Moorhens in Scotland but I must admit that I had never seen one.  Annabell told me that the ducks were Mallard Ducks since I remarked on their size.

On the return journey I completed the 340 Klms from Naracoorte to Adelaide and  stayed in Adelaide for the night. Actually I really hadn’t intended to but I met up with friends and stayed longer than I had intended. I  drove out as far as Bolivar and stayed there for the night. The other reason is that Annabell wanted me to get some things for her in Port Augusta and if I had gone ahead, the places would have been closed. As it was I only managed to get half the things she wanted and placed an order for the remainder.