MONDAY 19 JANUARY BALLARAT TO HAMILTON 180kms
John did not take any Warfarin today.
The pack up took us about two hours – longer than I’d anticipated. But we were not hurrying, and it included taking off the awning roof, folding it and putting it away.
The bikes were awkward to put up on the rack again – as they had been when finalizing the departure at home. After some thought, solved the problem of bits getting tangled up, I think, by facing them in opposite directions and so that the gear side on each was inwards.
John filled the rear most water tank on van, to try to reduce the ball weight of van.
The hitch up of Truck and van was much easier than I’d feared. I had been dreading trying to do that again, after our first effort! Tried to remember the sequence that Hardings had followed, and it was fine. Before we left, I did a very careful check around the rig, to try to make sure we’d remembered everything essential – like roof clipped down, propper legs wound up, jockey wheel put away, van windows closed, everything done up on the hitch. I turned the gas bottle off, too.
We had a cool and pleasant drive through Skipton to Hamilton. All very familiar roads to me, after 13 years of living in Hamilton. It was lovely to see the Grampians gradually appear in the distance and watch them grow larger as we got closer to Dunkeld.
I am so glad that last week’s heatwave was over, for our driving day. John’s leg hurt, though, all through the drive, from clutch work.
We went to the Lake Hamilton Caravan Park, booked in for a week, which cost $78. The park is rated 3 star and that seems about right. The people are nice and helpful and, because it is small, it seems quiet. There are no other vans near our allocated site.
Setting up the camp again seemed quite easy.
We have now towed the van all of 355 kms!
After lunch, drove around town, looking at what has changed, and much that was the same as I remembered, even though it is sixteen years since I was last here. Cruised slowly past both my former homes; the Tower House has been beautifully restored and looks good, with a higher fence. Good to see my garden there has been improved, but not too radically altered. The Skene Street cottage is not so well kept, looking neglected: the front garden, hydrangea row and hedge have all gone and it looks really denuded at the front. Poor house!
We went to both bowls clubs, where John arranged games for tomorrow and Saturday at Grangeburn, and in a triples at the Hamilton club for later in the week.
I feel like I am in a time warp – quite strange, actually.
After tea – of cold roast chicken and salad – we went walking. Up past the lake, then up to the hospital area and on foot past the Tower House, where I could have a good sticky beak at it! They have put in shrubbery where the vegie garden was, the big old deciduous tree is still there – I remember the mountain of leaves every autumn! The feijoa, magnolia and crab apple have gone from the front and side, but the camellias are still there. It has a real cottage garden look, with the concreted paths now all paved instead. I am so happy that it looks so well cared for.
Back at van, tried to phone John’s friends, B and M, but it was engaged. Phoned K – he will forward our mail on Tuesday, c/o Post Office, so it should be here by Thursday. Left a phone message for John’s daughter R.
John fiddled about with the HF radio, which is yet another new learning experience to be mastered. He was not successful at making a Selcall.