This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

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1999 Travels April 9


Saw our accountant in the morning and got some investment advice.

Did some shopping at Chirnside.

Back at home, moved our things from the house back out to the van. Cleaned up the house. Washed the bed linen we’d used and put it away when it was dry.

P and K arrived back after lunch. They’d had a great time in western USA, though they did not get to see the Grand Canyon, as planned, because it was snowing in the area!  It was P’s first overseas trip. I thought they were pretty chirpy after a 13 hour flight! They looked through my photos of the wedding.

John left to return the Disco to Frankston and collect Truck, which is ready. When he got back, he was not happy with the engine noise, though – thinks it has too much of a whistle. Tappet noise, maybe? We were not charged for this work, at all, which was great – thanks to the Service Manager of the dealership.

We all had fish and chips for tea, then P and K went out to see some friends.

We retired to bed in the van, again. This feels better!

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1999 Travels April 8


For some time now, John and I have been throwing around ideas for where we will spend next summer – the millennial one. As with the one just past, we do not want to be where it is too hot, cyclonic, or coastal crowded. We have settled on Tasmania. I joked that if the civilized world does grind to a halt, there are worse places to be at the time!

This morning, we visited Jetset Travel in Lilydale, booked our trip to Tasmania, and paid for it. We will sail on 22 October and return on 15 April, 2000. That will give us six months, more or less, over there, and avoid the peak season high fares. Given the high cost of taking Truck and van over on the ferry, we need a good long stay there, too, to get our money’s worth.

We booked a cabin for each leg. My first ferry trip to Tasmania was almost forty years ago, on the Princess of Tasmania, and my friend and I – impoverished students at the time – only booked the chairs. Lessons learned! Bass Strait can be extremely rough, at any time of the year. Being surrounded by sea sick fellow travellers is most unpleasant. Sharing communal bathrooms in those circumstances is even more dire. Since then, I have made several more crossings – but always book a cabin! These have their own bathroom.

We paid out $1400, which included travel insurance. We deemed it wise to take this out, since the trip is so far off.

Whilst walking back to our upmarket vehicle, encountered our accountant in the street, and arranged on the spot, to see him tomorrow about taxes and finances.

Back at home, I dried some more figs.

Tea was cold roast lamb and salads.

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1999 Travels April 7


We did house and garden work in the morning. There certainly has been a lot to do!

After an early lunch, drove in to Windsor, to see the surgeon who did John’s hip replacement, in 1996. It is the 12 month check up – somewhat late! He seemed quite pleased with the hip’s progress to date – but did not want to know about the other one! I suspect that is because of the complications of blood clotting, back then. This might mean that John will have to find another surgeon, when the time comes. We will worry about that one later.  Much later, I hope!

Back home for a quick tea because K’s friend R was coming over, to return a computer game that John lent him on Friday. We had a pleasant chat for a couple of hours.

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1999 Travels April 6


We occupied much of the day with gardening and house work.

Our rhubarb patch is fruiting well, so I picked and dehydrated it.

Our computer supplying friends came to dinner. I made my ham and mushroom pasta dish again, but it was a bit too runny this time, because I used thin cream in it. I served stewed fruits for dessert.

This was another good evening, with friends who have been doing some travel, in short bursts. We tried to talk them into tackling the Simpson Desert crossing with us, later in the year, but I don’t think they are quite ready to take on something of that magnitude.

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1999 Travels April 5


I spent the morning doing housework and cleaning, and meal preparation.

My friend T was coming to tea. He arrived about 4pm and took us out to see the block of land he’s bought in a nearby estate. We thought it was an excellent block, in a pleasant estate, with some good views. He described the house he is planning to have built on it.

I cooked roast lamb for dinner, and served stewed figs with ice cream for dessert. T seemed to enjoy the meal. John is trying to persuade him to take up bowls!

T and I revisited the great flowering sugar cane debate that has been going on for nearly a year, since I mentioned in a letter about the cane flowering near Cairns, and he replied that sugar cane does not flower! Seems the variety that grows on his family’s farm in northern NSW does not flower – but there are varieties that do. So we are both right!

I thoroughly enjoyed his visit.

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1999 Travels April 4


Through the morning we did a lot of work around the garden and house.

After a late lunch, drove to Chirnside Park shops, where I collected the photos I took of the wedding. I was very pleased with these.

We continued on to Carlton North, to John’s daughter R, for tea. She has just begun to rent a flat there. It is in an older, small block, in a typically narrow side street, but within walking distance of all of the good parts of Carlton, and the Uni. It is quite comfy, albeit rather small, with a very urban, ugly view over roofs.

We had a pleasant meal and evening, and it was not too late when we got home again.

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1999 Travels April 3


Some of the men from John’s family are in the habit of participating each year in a very big tournament, on Easter Saturday, at Beaumaris club. It was on again this year.

We needed an early start to get to Beaumaris by 8.30am. John dropped me off at his sister’s place and went on to bowls.

This sister of John’s runs an art gallery in the suburb of Hampton, so I went there with her, for the morning. While she was dealing with customers, I wandered the local shops. Spent some time in a very good knitting wool shop, just browsing.

There are some beautiful bird paintings in H’s gallery. There were also two ducks on her swimming pool this morning.

H and I purchased some things for pre-dinner nibbles, then looked in on the bowling men, about 5pm. They were still playing, but were almost finished. We went back to H’s. The men eventually turned up. They were relatively happy with their performance; John, brother R and H’s husband F, plus a friend of R’s, won one game and lost two. There is big prize money attached to this tournament, so the competition is fierce.

After nibbles and drinks at H’s, we adjourned, with partners and H’s daughter and son in law, to the local Chinese restaurant, for tea. It was decided – by majority rather than consensus – that we would have the banquet, for $17 each. There was plenty of food but I thought it was only of very average standard.

It was very late by the time we got back home.

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1999 Travels April 2


It is Good Friday today. I am very glad that we are based at home over Easter, rather than battling it out in a crowded caravan park somewhere. Very good timing on the part of the offspring!

Spent much of the day gardening and working around home.

Had a long phone conversation with my brother, who is still worried about his teeth. We abandoned the possible dinner with them, tonight.

John went to a friend of K’s, who took the wedding photos. They loaded photos onto a computer, for emailing to P and K, in the USA.

I washed the kitchen curtains. Hand sewed the curtains for the laundry – there is no way I can get near my sewing machine, buried somewhere in John’s study with the rest of our furniture!

Tea was poached chicken breasts, and vegies.

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1999 Travels April 1


We were supposed to go to my brother’s, for tea, but he was still suffering the after-effects of root canal work, and our transport situation was uncertain, so we agreed to defer.

We went and picked up the annexe roof from the canvas place – they had done us a favour by repairing it in a hurry. Went to Spotlight, where I bought some lacy curtain material to make curtains to cover the laundry window and the glass in door. Covering these should help to keep heat in the house. I will sew the hems by hand, as my sewing machine is buried somewhere!

The Disco is certainly very comfortable to travel in. I wondered whether we could let them keep Truck and we would keep this one! It has lots of gadgets and comforts that Truck does not – but possibly also lots more than could succumb to dust and corrugated roads. Basic might be best.

The news from Frankston is that Truck has a busted head gasket – and it will not be ready until after Easter! Isn’t it fortunate that we were not planning to set off again until after then, anyway?

We had fish and chips for tea.

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1999 Travels March 31


John phoned the Landrover dealer, early. They said he was to take Truck to Frankston. We were rather nervous about this idea, and worried about “cooking” the motor, but he got there alright.

We were supposed to go to John’s nephew’s – H and M – for tea tonight, but due to our problems, I phoned and changed arrangements for them to come here.

So, I walked to the shops to get the items needed to make dinner.

H and M arrived about 4pm, ready for a good talk about our travels – we hadn’t seen them since we were all in Cairns, last year. We ate nibbly things and compared notes.

John got back from Frankston about 5pm – driving a new Discovery that he had on loan. While he’d waited at Frankston, Truck’s thermostat was replaced and the radiator flushed. It still boiled when they tested it. It might be a head gasket problem. All very uncertain and somewhat worrying. Still – like the fridge – it is lucky that it happened here, and not out somewhere remote. Thank heavens we took the extended warranty!

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Rather more luxurious than we are used to!

Tea was pasta with ham, mushrooms and cream, followed by stewed figs and ice cream. Our fig tree in the back yard is cropping.

Apart from concerns about the Truck, it was a most enjoyable night.