106. Sunday 18th October 2009. More visitors, old cartoons and goin’ bush…
Early in the week I received a phone call on my mobile while I was at work. Until recently I would forget to carry the mobile during the day, somehow it always got left on the dining table. I am now getting into the habit of taking it to work. Good thing too because it has been ringing a bit lately.
Wednesday morning it rang and I was pleasantly surprised to hear Tony Jonas. Now follows a quick resume of Tony in case I have not mentioned this before. “We met in March 1966 as we both arrived at Sydney’s Central Railway Station looking for the special bus to take us away to 2 years of National Service in the Australian Army. Tony was best man at my first wedding and we have been good mates since that first meeting.”
Tony called from Penrith in Sydney. He was on the banks of the Nepean River and had been competing in a rowing event in the World Masters Games. The final day had been cancelled due to the extremely strong winds so all they could do was sit around and drink coffee or other beverages an shoot the breeze. Tony was talking with a Canadian couple who really wanted to take a boat trip in the Whitsundays. I gave him a few phone numbers to pass on and suggested they call me when they arrive. It was great to have a quick chat with Tony.
My niece Kelly called.
Kelly and partner Jason are on an around Australia trip. In the early days of the trip she would send an e-mail with photos and the story of their adventures until they reached Darwin. I knew they had left Darwin, reached Perth but that was it. Since leaving Darwin we have not had an update on their travels.
Kelly called. “Guess what?” she said, “We are in Airlie!” It seems they flew to Mackay for a wedding this weekend and had borrowed Dads car and came to Airlie to look at a boat. We arranged for them to come and have dinner with us but they had to go back to Mackay afterwards. Although the visit was only brief it gave Donnis and I a chance to ask lots of questions about where they are, what they are doing and their plans. Plan is they will stay on the road or on the ocean for as long as they are enjoying themselves. They have rented a house in Perth, both have jobs and will stay at least another 6 months. The weather is different in Perth. Colder and less humid. Jason loves it Kelly hates it – the weather that is, not Perth. They both commented they have no plans to travel any further South…Too cold! They have promised lots of photos of the trip from Darwin to Perth and next year they plan another trip to the Kimberleys to see the bits they missed the first time.
One morning Darren, a work colleague, mentioned his children watch cartoons on Satellite TV in the mornings and he was particularly surprised and pleased that some of their favourites are Tom and Jerry and Silvester and Tweety. He was surprised because he grew up watching those cartoons on TV as well. I chimed in by mentioning I grew up on those same cartoons at the “pictures” on a Saturday arvo.
The conversation then moved on. His kids also watch the Three Stooges, as he did. I also mentioned I watched them as well. Moe, Larry and Shemp. Umm said Darren, they are Moe, Larry and Curly. Ahh, I said Shemp was an original and Curly came later. He had never heard of Shemp. So I did a bit of Internet and Wikkipedia research.
Original stooges were Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Moe’s brother Shemp Howard. Shemp left the act due to a problem with a producer. Shemp was replaced by another Howard brother, Jerry, now better known as Curly.
When first interviewed, Jerry had long red curly hair and a bushy mustache. The film producer said he looked “girlie” another producer heard “curly” and thought that was his name. Jerry shaved his head and mustache and returned. From then on he was called Curly. He died in 1952 and Shemp returned making a further 76 short films until his death in 1955. It seems when Shemp first left the trio he picked up a lucrative film deal and can be seen in a good many early 1930’s and 1940’s comedy and musical movies. For whatever reason most of the Moe, Larry and Curly short films were made into a TV series and the earlier and later Shemp material is still only available in the original short film format and never reached TV.
I mentioned going to the “pictures” on Saturday Arvo’s. I also saw the Stooges, Abbott & Costello, Laurel & Hardy and Our Gang short films at school. Once a month a classroom would be set up as a theatre, complete with sheet screen, speakers at the front of the room and projector at the back. The films were shown on a Friday night and cost us “thruppence”, about 2 cents in today’s coinage. Usually we got to see two or three short films and an old Felix the Cat cartoon. The ladies auxillary would sell home made sweets and drinks at interval. It was safe to walk to and from school at night, on my own.
On page 096 I showed a photo of works in Airlie Beach taken from Mount Whitsunday early in August. Work has progressed since I took that photo. Two roundabouts only chalked out back then are almost fully constructed and should be fully sealed and operational within a week. The luxury apartments being built on the waterfront have reached level four and the roof frames are almost completely in place. I thought another photo of works might be of interest.
I planned to get away no later than 8.30 on Saturday morning. By now you know what that means. I really expected to get away later but called for an 8am start in the hope we get away before 10am. We did! We were driving onto the street at 8.30. Good one Donnis!
A pretty stiff breeze was blowing and we were heading into it. All the way to the Cathu State Forest turnoff then 3 klms of fair to middlin gravel road, across the weir at the river, turn left along the narrow one way track, over the cattle grid and there are the Sugarloafers all camped up. By now it was just on 9.30 quite hot and windy. I chose to park in virtually full sun to keep the solar panels fully charging the batteries. Donnis was not impressed, preferring shade to amps.
By smoko time we were set up with awning out, mats down, windows and hatches open, chairs out and cups and coffee plunger ready to go.
After smoko good guy Doug came over with some timber he had cut to make a new piece of flooring to fill a step which I feel is unsafe when we are camped. He brought tools and screws and within 15 minutes the job is done.
At the same time Carol came over with a problem with a memory stick. She cannot access the stick and keeps getting a strange message when trying to open on My Computer. I fired up the laptop and tried. Same result. Carol is quite upset as she has about 1800 photos on the stick. I could only suggest she finds an IT guru who may be about to recover the data.
Len came over for a visit. He and wife Lyn have been on the road for 5 months and are almost home. They have been travelling in their VW van conversion by Horizon from Ballina.
I mentioned that I have no volume on the two way radio and I was going to throw it out. He mentioned I have an aerial problem so we traced the cable. Oops it has been cut off under the bonnet and there is no aerial. Hmmm! We discussed what type to get and how to install.
Then Lyn came over to talk about reducing all their CD’s into something smaller and how to play back over the car stereo. I suggested the smallest I-pod and a cigarette lighter plug in wireless transmitter. That option would be less than $100. Then Doug came over again and said he could not figure out his I-pod which is connected to his Pioneer stereo so we had a play around with that and although we got it to work we could not get it to stop. Ooops!
We quickly discovered, being parked in the “boondocks” we were also parked over thorns. These are a mini version of the dreaded goats head thorns but nonetheless still rather nasty as thorns go. They had a habit of clinging to rubber soles so we had to take our shoes off at the edge of the mats before going inside. We also found the wind blew them on to the mats as well so stepping in bare feet from inside to outside we often landed on a waiting thorn with the resulting YEEOUCH echoing across the camp.
There is a state-wide fire ban in place so no campfires this weekend. The ground and bush are very dry and there is a strong wind warning in place so a small spark could be blown by the wind into the dry undergrowth.
After lunch Donnis went for a swim in the river. There is only a small current but it is still running. The tall and straight Mackay Cedars are in flower and those flowers are falling like rain so the surface of the water is coated with little flowers. A visitor told Donnis to be careful as she had seen a brown snake swim across the river earlier in the day.
Next thing you know it is afternoon smoko, then time to turn on the hot water service for a shower and back to the main camp for happy hour then back to grab our table and set up for dinner. Donnis gave Sandra a hand getting the salads ready for our communal dinner which tonight, because of the fire ban, is spag bolognaise, garlic bread, lasagne, heated in a few of the on-board ovens and of course the salads.
As always I was up before 6am and went for walk, not, let’s be precise it was more of a stroll than a walk but I was looking at scenery in the sunrise and looking for photo opportunities.
Sunday was a bit more visiting and taking a look through Stuart and Sharees 2008 Leisure Seeker with slide out. Lots more room than ours but they gain a lot of empty floor space. They also lose a lot of cupboard space and underneath storage.
Clouds had been building since late Saturday afternoon and today they looked even more threatening. Donnis wanted another swim and asked me to be the lifeguard and keep a look out for snakes. Just as she was emerging from the water the first few tentative raindrops were falling. I sprinted back to WHEREWILLWEGO to close the two roof hatches and with Donnis help we got the mats brushed off and put away.
It was too late to wind in the wet awning so we had lunch. The rain stopped, the sun came out, the awning dried out, we wound it in and we prepared to head home but first we started to say goodbye. The rain came down again and got heavier and more insistent. Pam & Gerry in their 2 year old Winnebago stopped on the gravel road just before the weir. It seems they have developed a leak over the passenger seat! Not good.
The gravel road out to the highway started to run little rivulets and by the time we joined the highway the wipers were on full speed. The wind and rain was turning the runoff to a white foam on the edges of the road. Probably several months of accumulated road grime (oil, grease, exhaust fumes and so on) getting washed off the road. Ten klms further up the road it was dry all the way home.