149. Sunday 15th August 2010. The first week of retirement…


I called into the office to have cake n coffee for Joey’s birthday. Started cleaning up the many fallen palm fronds hidden within the live fronds of the Golden Cane Palms. Lots more than I thought and I have accumulated quite a large pile of waste to take to the dump. While carting stuff to the back yard I discovered a flat tyre on my Subaru. Yikes! I had to jack up the car, remove the tyre, put on the spare and arranged to take it to the tyre shop. It seems I had a tiny hole in the sidewall. Also, the two rear tyres are down to their last couple of thousand K’s so I had them replaced. Also had a wheel alignment carried out and 90 minutes`later walked out $326 poorer.

I am pretty sure I have a burned out 240v element in the WWWGO fridge. It is booked in for Thursday morning. There goes another $200 or so and so far no income.

It is 2am Wednesday morning as I write this. There is a reason I am awake at this hour but let me go back to Tuesday itself.
I woke at 4am, which, it seems, is becoming a habit. That is, waking early and not able to go back to sleep. I worked at getting my iTunes sorted out on the laptop. During the course of the day I started clearing more undergrowth around the garage. Hmmm. I found more evidence of fallen branches from cyclone Ului which had lodged themselves firmly between the garage wall and the larger than life Wild Orange Blossom Bush. In a stroke of genius I cut the fallen branches into manageable lengths for firewood and as an experiment turned our Smokey Joe Weber Barbecue into a portable campfire pit. With just one match and some fallen leaves and dried twigs I soon had a blazing fire on the go. Of course the day was too hot for a fire but we will now take the Weber on our travels as a barbecue come firepit.
The day was quite hot, much hotter than expected at this time of year which is still officially Winter. It felt like a late Spring early Summers day. Later I went a little crazy with the chainsaw and whipper snipper and worked up a sweat.
The expected iPad did not arrive.
Then it was time for a shower and head off to dinner with Maria and Keith at Coral Sea Resort, the premier dining spot in Airlie Beach. M & K arrived with a gift of a bottle of Baileys and a bottle of Frangellica. While waiting for dinner (which was disappointing – Donnis and I both had fish) Donnis called son Errol in Mackay. He was concerned about our awning as a storm was predicted during the night. I tried to explain how to get the awning rolled in but soon realised without me there to tutor, we were not going to get the awning in. I suggested he find another caravan or motorhome with the same awning and ask the owners to help him roll the awning in.
I am awake for three reasons.
1. It is hot. It was still hot when we were getting ready for bed and my Winter flannel pyjamas were much too hot to wear so I discarded them and pulled out the shorty cotton pyjamas instead.
2. The storm has arrived with heavy rain, thunder, lightning and wind. I am concerned Errol never got the awning in and we sustained damage. I suppose we can only try to get back to sleep and talk with him after daybreak, perhaps a bit later when he is sure to be awake. We are going to Mackay later today to bring Errol back here while I stay with WWWGO another night and get the blown refrigerator element replaced on Thursday morning.
3. My stomach is heaving and I feel unwell. I suspect the fish, as it was “not right”. Donnis thinks it is the wine I drank. Either way, I am not feeling 100% and I feel shaky along with the aforementioned heaving stomach.
Errol plans on flying out of Hamilton Island late on Thursday.
The rain has eased but I can hear the wind high in the trees and I am feeling drowsy. Time to go back to bed, perchance to sleep.


It was still raining quite heavily when we woke. From the radio we are informed that most places in and around Mackay and the Whitsunday’s there was around 100mm of rain overnight. I can believe it.

The iPad had not arrived by 11am so we went to Mackay.

We caught up with Errol while he was having some lunch. I asked him for the keys to WWWGO so can get the awning rolled in (by now it was a clear mostly sunny day with temps back in the high 20′)  while it was dry.  Errol sort of  made a pretence he could not find the keys. It was no pretence! For reasons best known to him he had removed one key from the bunch, used it to close the door of WWWGO and put it in the top pocket of his shirt. Earlier in the morning he had dug a trench and bent over often. Lets cut a long and frustrating story short. That was the only key to gain entry. The spare set were inside.  I was getting angrier by the moment but trying to suppress all the comments I could make. We did get inside without  breaking in. I left Donnis to help Errol and I started to roll in the awning. It was halfway in when it locked. In my controlled suppressed anger mode I had forgotten one step in the roll in process.


It was locked. It would not roll in nor roll back out. I had hold of the roll up cord and could not let it go as once I got the awning unlocked the spring action would roll it up – uncontrolled. I managed to reach an Ocky strap in the outer hatch and used it to tie off the roll up cord. I then needed the step ladder to unlock the arms holding the awning and retrieving the roll up cord was finally able to pull the awning back out and start again. The awning is now rolled up, albeit imperfectly but it will have to do for now. My black mood has deepened.

Time and Tide heal all wounds. By 6.30 I had done my chores, Errol announced he was finished and we were able to go for dinner. The night was becoming quite cool and the forecast was for a cold night and morning. Donnis and Errol left for home while I showered and settled down for the night.


6a.m. Outside my bed blanket cocoon  it was very cold. According to the radio, 11 degrees and to expect cold nights and mornings for the next few days.

After a good breakfast and ensuring all the bits n pieces are put away I can drive to the repair man. First he does a few tests.

Hmmm! there is a fault but not the one I was expecting. In his opinion the fridge was working but drawing too much current! I had thought it was drawing none! He set up his test equipment and planned to monitor it over an hour while I went off to Maccas for a coffee.

The fault was no longer evident and he proclaimed the fridge working as it should. Expensive lesson learned. I used the time while in Mackay to book into Big Wheels once more to have the wheel alignment completed. That means I have to come back on 26th of August but in the meantime, they ordered parts and I had a pleasant trip home.

The iPad has still not arrived!


The iPad had not arrived by noon so we headed out to Orchid Creek for a Sugarloafers weekend. The campsite is on an ex cane farm owned by a man, Roscoe, who fell off a ladder a few weeks ago and broke his neck. He gets around quite well with an apparatus screwed into his skull and held in place with a brace around his shoulders and chest. He just loved the company of about 40 people as he lives alone although he does have regular visitors.

Several rigs managed to get prime positions down by the creek

Recent heavy rains stirred up Orchid Creek.

although the afternoon sun disappeared early due to the tall trees on both banks. We set up camp a bit further up the hill, a little apart from most of the other rigs. Friday night was quite cool with a temp of around 8 degrees. Thats cold for our climate.

This was the first chance we have had to test out some of the shade cloth awnings which came with WWWGO.


I was up early, about 6.15 am and started out for a walk. Carole was walking around camp looking for someone to spend time with. She cares for her Alzheimers mother 24/7 and she just relishes the opportunity to walk and talk with somebody while her mother sleeps on. She joined me for a walk of close on 3 klms which gave her a chance to have a conversation. Donnis also slept on but at least when she wakes we can have a good conversation over breakfast. I am not sure how this happens but whenever we go away I always find her waking up in bed bathed in sunlight.

Brian who was a recent starter at the office arrived at lunchtime armed with a slab of bacon, a slab of hash browns and a half dozen eggs. We cooked them on the small outdoor gas stoves and tucked into a big lunch.

Saturday night the club put on a big barbecue inside Roscoe’s big shed and ably cooked by John Silver. It was a cool night so John shut the roller doors while he cooked The shed filled with BBQ smoke and it became difficult to see. Eventually reason prevailed and the doors were opened to allow fresh breezes to blow through and clear the smoke. The complaints about it being cold were ignored. Thank goodness.


We did what we usually do on a Sunday. We have a morning coffee meeting then sit around and chat or play cards or go for a walk or whatever we want to do. We said goodbye to a few friends as we will probably not be here for the next meeting.

This week we had visitors from Tasmania, South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales all slowly heading back to their home state .

Although the setting was quite nice and peaceful I was not greatly inspired photographically speaking so I have only two photos this week.

Some of us stayed on another night and had another BBQ. Again with the smoke filled shed.

Sigh. The learning process can be lengthy for some.


2 Responses to “149. Sunday 15th August 2010. The first week of retirement…”

  1. Steve & Wendy Says:

    Hi Frank & Donnis,
    I just stumbled onto your blog through The Grey Roamers Blog – we met you guys at Lloyd Jones Weir and you helped me by giving me some toothache drops – thank you for that – finally had the tooth removed – much better now. Hope you had a great Xmas – we are heading down to Tamworth for the country music festival – mid to late Jan 2011.
    Steve and Wendy Heinrich


    • frankeeg Says:

      Hello Steve n Wendy.
      I have been reading your blog since we left LJW.
      We had a very quiet Christmas and managed to stay awake long enough to greet the new year.
      We stayed overnight in Tamworth a few weeks ago on our way to Coonabarabran. Sure would like to be there for the CMF but Donnis will be in Canada and I will be anchored in Traveston until the end of March.
      We plan to return to Coonabarabran to explore the Warrumbungles in April.
      See you down the road somewhere.


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