This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

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2017 Travels May 1


There had been a rather leisurely preparation and pack for this short trip, in amongst tests, scans and appointments. With the news that a necessary specialist appointment would not be until May 17, we had a clear fortnight – and were away!

John was up early and sent the dog in to wake me at 8am. Crude, but effective. 28 kilos of dog doing a flying leap onto the bed, than going into the so-happy-to-see-you routine, is impossible to ignore.

All organized, dog on board, house locked up, Terios on back, we drove off down our street at 10.15 am. A couple of hundred metres along, John managed to collide Bus with a large green wheely bin, fortunately empty. It was minding its own business on the nature strip, but he was trying to activate one of his dashboard gadgets and strayed from the road. There was a most impressive noise, and bin bounced off, somewhere. Obviously, our solid bull bar was not going to be injured, and he did not stop to check on the welfare of the bin. According to John, it had no right to still be out there, since collection day was last Friday.

The day was cloudy and cool.

Took our usual route via Yarra Glen, Yea, Seymour, Heathcote.

There is a property between Coldstream and Yarra Glen that I always look at with interest. Once it used to have alpacas grazing but now there were very handsome sheep, with black faces and legs. I don’t know the breed, but they are much more attractive than the standard variety plain white sheep.

Topped up the fuel, as usual, at the Glenburn servo, where there is plentiful room to get the rig in. $1.149 cpl for diesel.

Stopped at the old railway station rest area at Yea – mainly for a comfort stop for the dog. We walked her across into the area that once was tracks, and let her have a run. Ungrateful creature! There was one small patch of mud where a tap was dripping and, of course, she found it – and wallowed in it before either of us could reach her. I swear the look on her face meant something like “I know you are cross with me – but it was worth it!” I’d gone to the trouble and expense, last week, of taking her to the grooming service at the Animal Aid, for a bath, so we would have less of a doggy smell about the place. Now there was a distinct swampy doggy ambience.

Old railway station Yea

After Yea, there were some encouraging patches of blue sky appearing to the north.

Next stop was Heathcote, for lunch from the bakery there. John took dog for another walk, firmly on the lead, while I did the buying. A pastie and sausage roll for John – he had been looking forward to the yummy pastries from here, for days. Egg and lettuce sandwich for me, a couple of coffees and a pumpkin and garlic scroll to have with tonight’s soup. $29 in all. Supporting small town economies…

I had been coming through Heathcote regularly, over the fifteen years that daughter had been living in Bendigo and had noticed how much this small, historic, Goldfields town has revitalized in that time – much of it due to the impact of tourists.

1.30pm when we left Heathcote for the last leg to Marong. Good timing as far as making our way through Bendigo before school traffic time.

John was happy with the feel of the new clutch. He had feared it would be very stiff, but not so. The gear changing seemed smoother and easier.

Lake Eppalock must have been really full as Mt Ida Creek, just to the west of Heathcote, was overflowing its banks. This links to the Lake and I can’t remember seeing it this full, here, before.

Our Garmin, with me carefully checking its instructions against my paper map, took us on the through traffic route that skirts the centre of Bendigo. It involved a few turns and the need to be in the correct lane in advance, but was not too hard.

Arrived at the Big 4 Marong Holiday Park at 2.30 and were allocated en-suite site 1, the same as we occupied last time here. We would be comfortable. The site cost $37.80, after discount.

I had not let daughter know we were going to be in the area until we were actually on our way, given how things had been going for us, lately. We decided not to actually meet up with them until tomorrow, because John wanted to nap for a while and then see if he could get his newest tablet working as a mobile hot spot/modem for the internet for our laptops.

Both ventures were successfully accomplished. I relaxed on my bed, and read.

Tea was cucumber soup brought from home, some slices of cold roast beef left from the weekend roast, and the scroll, which was very nice eating.

After tea, rain started and lasted for most of the very chilly night, but we were snug and cosy in Bus.

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2017 Travels April


I succumbed to another round of the mysterious allergy that had sometimes affected me in recent times so tests and treatments were needed. As well, a new leg ulcer had developed. I was starting to think the two might be linked somehow. So medical stuff delayed us through the rest of April.

Last year, we had set out to explore some of the Victorian goldfields region, but did not get as far as we’d planned, running home ahead of the deluge that flooded some of the places we’d been heading for.

Part of that trip was to have allowed John to visit the site of the second one-teacher school he’d had in his early career – Boolite. So, we could try again for that. It would work in nicely with visiting some of the rather new phenomenon of the painted grain silos of the Wimmera region, which I was curious to see.

In my somewhat stop-start forays into researching my ancestry, had recently discovered that a hitherto – and apparently twice bigamous – great-grandfather was buried in the Wedderburn Cemetery, I wanted to visit that to see if his grave could be found. It might throw some light on his life subsequent to totally disappearing from Tasmania around the time of grandfather’s birth, about 1865. His use of two different surnames had obscured the facts for a while, too.

A middle name that could double as a surname was useful!

So there were the bones of a short swing through the Wimmera and our first trip for 2017. It would also be the first outing of Bus since the new clutch was installed, late last year.

Later in the year,  we would probably need to revisit Canberra and John’s family there – maybe even get in a couple of visits, as they would be off overseas on another posting, next year.

The north coast of NSW beckoned, too. The area around Coffs Harbour was a favourite two-week school holiday destination, in our working days. There was so much of that coast, from Newcastle north, that we had not really explored.

So, still no shortage of ideas about where to go.

We issued an invite for friend M, recently back from a few weeks exploring New Zealand, to accompany us. But she thought she’d be too busy planning her coming jaunt to Paris and England.

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2017 Travels March


With autumn’s onset, our thoughts – well, mine – turned seriously to this year’s travels.

Back in summer, we’d talked about doing a 3 or 4 month trip this year, to be away through the worst of the Melbourne winter.

A friend, actually former boss from one of our working holidays, was now based at Dimbulah in Far North Qld. We had been reading his latest book – Camp 64 – the story of his 2011-2012 solo walk from Camooweal to Birdsville following the Georgina River system, and using goats as pack animals. This sparked the idea of heading north again, visiting some places we had yet to see, and maybe calling in to have a yarn at Dimbulah.

The cover of Owen’s latest book

With that in mind, I had started a serious hunt for house sitters. The length of time was too great for the as-hoc arrangements we’d had for the past few years.

I e-mail contacted some fifteen sitters advertising on the housesitters site we’d used years before. To no avail. Some were already booked but had not updated their ads. Others really did not want to be in Victoria in winter. Couldn’t blame them for that.  So I put in my own ad for house sitters wanted, specifying a mature-aged couple, with no pets. I already knew, from past experience, that we would get replies from any number of younger, single people, often with both children and pets. And thus it proved.

We are not as prejudiced as people might think, from the above. Although our swimming pool is fenced, we simply do not want to take the risk of having children living here that we are not supervising ourselves. Some of our carpets never fully recovered from the less than house trained dog that our home minding son had, years ago. So – no pets, no kids.

After replying “Thanks, but no thanks” in effect, to a number of people, I was left with three possibilities. All had the added benefit that they were already around Melbourne, so we could meet in person to discuss the role. Theoretically, anyway. One lot proved very difficult to pin down, with several broken appointment times, and in the end I jettisoned that one as too unreliable to bother with.

Then, I thought we’d found a very suitable couple. We’d met here, they had seen the place and were keen. We arranged the date for them to move in here and thus for us to be away on our travels. Then came the news that the owners of their current sit wanted to stay overseas for another three months, so they would not be available after all. Damn.

Then, the final possible phoned to say they had just accepted a sit that started earlier and went longer than ours, which suited them better. That phone call came an hour after we were due to meet here for afternoon tea. The scones went into the freezer.

I couldn’t face starting the whole rigmarole all over again. So North Qld was off the agenda. It was more my idea than John’s anyway. It would just have to be more of the shorter trips, where leaving the house wouldn’t be an issue.

We started to make tentative plans for the first of these to be after the Easter school holidays, in mid-April this year. Threw some destination ideas around.