Towards the Final Curtain F

The Blue Lake, Mount Gambier

Well, that’s Mount Gambier over for another year. The trip was interesting, to say the least. There was a fatal car smash at the dreaded junction of the Inter-state Highway and the Copper Coast Highway, with the rescue helicopter called in. The traffic was backed up for miles in all three directions.  The elderly female driver died at the scene with the husband air lifted out by the Rescue Helicopter. He died a few hours later in the Royal Adelaide Hospital. This is a dangerous intersection and I have had a couple of near misses myself with drivers coming off the Copper Coast Highway and either not seeing or ignoring the give way signs. The Inter-state has “right of way”.  The State Government and Federal Government have allocated funds to try and fix the problem but there seems to be no sense of urgency and the construction wont start until

You can see the buildup of traffic. The only alteration to this photograph is my erasing of the reg, plate

“sometime” in 2020. Still, as it’s not in Adelaide, no one worries much.   Between the detours and the delay, I was about two hours down.  Generally, I shop off for a break at Port Wakefield, but considering the volume of traffic going through because of the accident, delays and diversions, I decided against stopping and carried on to Adelaide. Thursday was not too bad with regard to the weather. I was able to get some shopping done in town and at the Central Market.

At about 10:30 I started to get a bit weary so to bed I went, only to be rudely wakened at 3am with thumping, banging and loud, continuous screaming. Next thing I saw the flashing blue and red reflection on the window blind (police car) – more banging- bit more screaming – a female screaming like a banshee, lots of voices, some sharing their innermost thoughts, then quiet. By then I was wide awake and although I sort of dozed off in fits and starts, I never really got to sleep again. It was either a domestic thing or a sex thing. Don’t know and never asked.  At 6am I was showered, dressed and booked out. By 6:30 I was on the road again – and it was raining.

The drive on the freeway to Tailem Bend was not one of the best drives I have had recently – it didn’t just rain, it poured, with the windscreen wipers sometimes having difficulty in coping.  Fortunately, there was not a lot of traffic on the freeway at that time in the morning, which was just as well, considering the conditions. First time I have ever driven in the daytime with headlights on.  By the time I reached Tailem Bend the rain has eased off – not stopped, just eased off.  I did, however, get my usual photograph of the River Murray. The Murray is looking ok,

The River Murray

but the dull overcast conditions gives you some idea of what the weather was like. More rain on the way to Mt. G. but at least  it was a lot lighter than on the freeway.   Mount Gambier was not so great this trip.  The cold and the rain caused a few electrical failures in Mt. Gambier, one of which was the heating in the hotel. Second concern I have had here, one last year and not another one this year. Perhaps time for a new hotel. One of our members is in Hospital and is not expected to survive. It is really a waiting period. All of his family are there, and no visitors are allowed, other than family. It has been a week since I returned from Mt. G. and I really expected to be called down to  Adelaide.

Fires continue to rage out of control in New South Wales and Queensland with five lives being lost. Here in South Australia we had a bush fire  in the bottom area of the peninsula outside Port Lincoln which was bad enough to put Port Lincoln  under threat.  Fortunately, that one  was brought under control and extinguished reasonably quickly.

The weather here at home has been cool to cold but that is about to change as the forecast is a rapid climb in temperature to 43c on Thursday.   Joy!!!

The May Travels

I miss my dog when I am away.

Sunday: Annabell is much better today. The antibiotic kicked in and she is a lot better than she was last night. She has to take the second antibiotic this evening and we will go see the doctor tomorrow. I am feeling much more relaxed than I was  yesterday. When we returned from the hospital I called the boys and asked them not to come over on Sunday as normal. They were concerned but agreed. Sadly this means that we didn’t get to see the Grandson this week Annabell has been having a  difficult time of late but hopefully this infection has been the underlying cause and, with a treatment of antibiotics,  we should be able to get on top of that fairly  quickly – or so I am told.

Thursday: I headed off to Naracoorte to the quarterly  conference. The boys kept an eye on Annabell whilst I was away. I was very late in leaving mainly because I had appointment with my cardiologist at 10am and I  could not afford to miss that. This was a long  appointment in that it lasted a whole 15 minutes when it normally lasts 10 minutes. I am well and everything is as it should be so really it was just an ECG and then a quick chat about how things were and the fact that he continues to be pleased. I don’t see him again for a year. By the time I reached Adelaide it was late in the afternoon and it took me some time to get clear of bank business before I got into town. I did get some shopping done for Annabell but by and large I  booked into my hotel and stayed there. It was a cold, wet and miserable trip down – rained most of the way, and it was Thursday – no late night shopping in the city. I slept well enough and after booking out set off to the South-Eastern Freeway towards Murray Bridge and then Tailem Bend. Cold, and miserable and the weather was not great either!!  I bought the car in the summer and was more concerned with the A/C – never thought much about the heating — well, you don’t when the outside temperature is 41c.  I practically  froze  on the drive from Adelaide to Tailem Bend. I did have some hot food there before continuing on to my next overnight stay. Here I really had problems in that I was not, for reasons unknown, booked in. Every cabin was taken and I was offered the bunkhouse which consisted of a

I often wonder how she is.

room with two bunk beds, one on top of the other) a fridge and a small tv (that didn’t work) It was a broom cupboard with bunks.  The kitchen was about 200 yards in one direction and the facilities 150 in another direction. I discovered what a great thrill it was to walk two hundred yards, rugged up against the cold and the rain, plus the same distance back, to make a mug of coffee. The discussion of the facilities is not for gentlefolk, so we just wont go there I did not have a shower in the morning. I did have a rubdown with a cold, damp facecloth and when I drove the last distance to the conference I stopped off in town, bought myself a pair of gloves and  deodorant. I have to be truthful and say that yes it was a broom cupboard, but the bunkbed was comfortably and I slept well. Both meetings were poorly attended and only half of the commissioners were present. Still more than enough to hold the meetings. I got my books attested and signed fairly early on and I did the books of two other places. I had hoped to be clear by 3:30 but if not I would simply stay there in town and head for Adelaide in the morning. As it happened, the lack of numbers meant that we concluded business by 2:45 and I hit the road. I wanted to reach Tailem Bend before dark, and I did. I pulled into the River Edge Caravan Park and  I was allocated a lovely cabin overlooking the River Murray. On a really nice day it would be very pleasant to sit outside in one of the chairs  and watch the river and the birds – all very relaxing.

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.



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.