Archive for May, 2011

193. Sunday 29th May 2011. A week in Bucasia. No photos this week…

30/05/2011

Monday 23rd May

As the title says, there are no photos this week.

Have I been too busy?

Have I been slack?

Have I forgotten to keep the camera handy?

Have I just not found anything that takes my photographic fancy?

Choose one of the above.

In fact during my walking around on my work days I see many things I would like to photograph but carrying a camera along with all the other stuff I carry would be just too much.

I carry, letters, clipboard, pen, sunglasses, hat, mobile phone, blue tooth earpiece for said mobile phone, money, pedimeter and a big bunch of keys.

What a miserable misty wet day. It was not cold, just miserably misty wet.

Did I mention miserable?

I spent some time between showers of rain, installing the ShurFlo Town Water Regulator Inlet. The device works but the fitting on the hose attachment leaks…badly.

The fitting on the hose at the Y fitting also leaks. In that case I turned off the water and will buy new brass fittings in the hope they seal better.

At least we are now on town water, albeit with reduced pressure. When we turn on the tap there is no longer a pump noise just a nice quiet steady stream of water.

Donnis and I took a walk along the beach in the early evening in the misty rain. Quite interesting really, following the edge of the tide, walking up to knees in mud in the gathering gloom. We have never done that before and it was just fun.

Tuesday 24th May

Another work day for Frankieg. We have now been placed on a regular schedule. My days are Tuesdays and Sundays. For some reason I enjoy just delivering the letters on Tuesday and enjoy picking up the completed surveys on Sundays.

Today was brilliantly sunny with a light breeze from the south. My work area allotted today was Lamberts Beach at Slade Point. I could not have wished for a better location. Brampton and Carlisle Islands were so clear it was as if they had moved 12 klms closer to the mainland overnight.

I could see the coal loading terminals at Hay Point and Dalrymple Bay an hours drive south of Mackay. I counted twenty ships, anchored offshore, waiting for their load of coal. That’s not bad considering coal from the mines was held up for a couple of months during the rain and floods earlier this year. In years past I have counted over 50 ships anchored offshore.

I enjoy walking in the sunlight and seeing parts of suburbs I would not see unless I got out of the car and explored. As an added bonus I get paid to enjoy my walk.

Up to a point…

…Dogs.

What is it with dog owners?

Today I met the most bad tempered dog guarding a house. That’s OK, dogs generally guard houses. Except, this dog was on the footpath, outside the gate and very threatening. The Lamberts Beach area seems to have more dogs per capita than any other area I have worked in. Most dogs were safely behind fences or doors and most barked or yapped. A few snarled or growled. It seems though that some dogs just bark all day at nothing in particular. Of course all the dog shit I see on the footpaths makes ya gotta wonder if dog owners have any control over their animals. It seems very few clean up after their K9, as required by local by-laws.

On our way home we stopped at Bunnings and bought brass hose fittings. A bit expensive but they work and will not deteriorate in the sunlight. We now have town water connected instead of pumping from our tanks.

I have not watched any of the episodes of Survivor since last year. I knew there was a series touting the grudge match up between super villains Russel against another villain (huh?) Boston Rob. I thought the series was finished and I had no idea who won. While channel surfing I found the final three episodes were being aired tonight. I discovered bad guy Russel was eliminated on day eight and Rob was still in the running for $1,000,000. Rob may be considered a villain, although I have no idea why. However I like Boston Rob and believe he is a 100% competitor. This was Robs fourth Survivor as well as being in two series of Amazing Race along with his wife Amber. He met Amber on Survivor All Stars in which Amber won $1,000,000. Their wedding was also a TV show. (did you know Amber was voted 50th in the worlds top 100 most beautiful women in 2005 and 73rd two years later?)

Long story short, Rob was the sole survivor last night and won the million dollars. Congratulations to Rob. Amber was on hand with their two children, the most recent being born in December 2010, to congratulate Rob.

Hmmm. I got to bed at 11.30 and slept all the way through.

Wednesday 25th May.

State of Origin.

State against state.

Mate against mate.

The hardest, toughest, fastest game of Rugby League in the world.

For our International followers I will not try to explain Rugby League. There are local competitions and there is a national league. State of Origin is a step above the elite national league where the best players are selected to represent the state of origin where they commenced their professional playing career. NOT the state of origin of their birth.

The two states involved are New South Wales and Queensland. The result is decided by the best of three matches commencing late May and each two weeks thereafter. The only other elite game is to be selected to play for Australia. Generally the players from State of Origin are most likely to be selected to play for Australia.

Queensland has won the last five encounters. Tonight they won round one which is always a good psychological advantage and only have to win one more round to make a record six annual encounters.

Donnis also stayed awake long enough to watch the game.

It is a two blanket night as well as a smaller blanket over Donnis legs as they were particularly cold.

Thursday 26th May

Our neighbour, Maria was talking with me this morning and asked what I was cooking last night as it smelled delicious. It was. I cooked chicken thighs plus tomato paste, herbs and spices, stock, veggies and a couple of handfuls of spirali pasta in the pressure cooker. It also had one more ingredient which I have not eaten since I was a kid. We called them swedes while others called them parsnips. Maria, it tasted every bit as good as it smelled.

I received a call from a job application I made on the weekend. The job is taking urine and or saliva specimens in the workplace, generally mine sites. They are looking for a permanent casual to be on tap on three hours’ notice. I just cannot commit to that sort of schedule as we only have one car.

Awww shucks. That might have been interesting.

The office called this afternoon. Could I come in on Saturday as a couple of people called in who could not work. That means I work all weekend instead of just Sunday. Oh well the money will be handy and the job only has another three weeks to run.

Friday 27th May.

My mobile phone has been doing a “beep beep” every thirty minutes. All day all night. I have no tasks set up and can find nothing in settings which would account for the beeping. I thought it may be because I have blue tooth activated but both devices, one ear piece and a hands free for the car, are both turned off. I have no doubt I will figure it out – eventually.

Today was just a glorious sunny day, little cloud cover and with a cool breeze blowing. Just delightful for sitting in the sun, out of the breeze and reading a book which I did for a little while but started to feel guilty about doing nuthin.

When in doubt or feeling guilty, go for a walk on the beach. Besides, my hip was painful today and I needed painkillers and an anti-inflammatory. While on the walk and as I approached the creek, it was at the bottom or near bottom, of the tide. I sat on a sandbank some 5 metres above the creek level. Later when the tide comes in where I was sitting would be well and truly underwater. I watched the shore birds and one out of place eagle (this one really is an eagle but as yet I am unsure which type) flying in circles above me. It dropped something from its talons then swooped onto the object on the beach and while holding it down with a talon, started tearing at it with its beak. It then picked it up flew around a bit and dropped it again and repeated the holding down and tearing process. I could not see what it was but the seagulls were staying close so I guess it was some largish fish.

I cooked a Tandoori style chicken in the Weber tonight. It was slow cooked for about 90 minutes and was crispy on the outside and tender moist on the inside. The bird was split in two halves. I thought we would eat one half tonight and the other half tomorrow. Hmmm! We had a bit of an appetite tonight as there was just enough left over for lunch. Besides, it was only a small chook. The taste and smell lingered enticingly for hours.

Love those Tandoori spices and the Weber barbecue. It was the first time I have used it this year.

Saturday 28th May

Another glorious sunny day.

Today my work was delivering Survey Packs to households and the location start was only 500 mtrs from the office. However I still walked more than 9 klms today. Late in the afternoon the supervisor asked me to call in. I had delivered about 75% of the packs. He asked if I would take on a second delivery area in the morning as the other worker only managed to start the job before calling in ill. His services have been terminated as he has done this several times. I expect Sunday will be a long and tiring day. We cannot even start early as we cannot start knocking doors until 10am. That means I have at least another 100% delivery schedule, normally done over Saturday & Sunday, to be completed on Sunday alone.

Sigh!

Sunday 29th May

Sigh! A glorious sunny day. It was wet and miserable on Monday and has been fine since. In fact without reading back over each day, I could not recall it rained at the beginning of the week.

Let me give some background to what follows.

Both times when we were at Carmilla Beach for a few days last month, we met a man called David. He is 92 in the shade and lives in his Gazal Caravan towed by his Subaru. He stays at Carmilla for a week and moves away for a few days and then comes back to Carmilla. His needs are simple and he is happy with his life. He is active and aware of the world and uses a mobile phone but not a computer.

Last Sunday on the Macca on Sunday programme, a man called in to say he was camped at Carmilla with his family and mentioned a 92 year old man called David camped beside him. Wow! David got mentioned on national radio.

Last night I received an email from John H who has been travelling this year, in the outback, in his Sunliner motorhome. He has hit the coast and travelling home to Casino NSW. He sent a few photos of his campsite at…drum roll…Carmilla Beach. From his photos I can see he is camped next to David so sent back an email asking him to say hello.

What a small world. Is that weird or not?

It was a long workday today.

I walked 13 klms.

Part of that walking was up a hill allegedly the steepest in Mackay. In fact a resident told me it was the steepest residential street in Oz and the 2nd steepest in the world. The steepest is in NZ.

Hmmm! A Google search shows the NZ street title is disputed and there is no mention of this Oz street in Mackay being in the record books. I will go with steepest in Mackay.

I had to walk it to deliver survey packs to four houses. Views from the top are spectacular. In fact there is a lookout at the end of the street and the coastline is laid out below. Walking back down was a challenge as I always felt I would fall and slide all the way down.

I am writing this post at 2am Monday morning as I was too tired to finish it last night. I woke not feeling well. I had a headache, shakey stomach and trembling legs. I decided to walk to the outside toilet as the cold night air would clear my head.

What the…!

At 2am you do not expect to see anybody else awake in camp. There must be about 50 campsites with an average of two persons per site. In the distance, near the pool there is an all night light and I saw two shadowy figures walking. Then somebody stepped out of a darkened caravan, dressed only in shorts and walked to the ensuite toilet I was heading for. On my way back our neighbours dog started barking and the neighbours woke.

Then Donnis woke wanting to know what was going on.

Sheesh. Guess I was lucky the whole camp did not wake up.

There will be photos next week.

Promise.

192. Places, faces and whatnot…

25/05/2011

At post 188, I reviewed our travels on the road since leaving our home in September 2010. Included were a few photos. I have been asked for a bit more photo journalism of the places we visited which may not have been included in the original post or photos, for whatever reason, were not included in the original post. The following photos are not in any particular order except, maybe, roughly, alphabetically.

Do not forget, all photos in this post as is true of all photos in all posts, can be enlarged. Twice! Just click on the photo to enlarge and click again if you want to double the enlarged size.

At the Kidman caravan Park in Bourke NSW there were a number of artefacts. For some reason this old outhouse was transformed into a modern telephone booth. Yes, the phone really did work.

Ward River about 30 klms west of Charleville on the road to Quilpie. Floods had passed through about a week before we arrived and the flood levels were noticeable.

Abandoned chimney at the tiny settlement of Copperfield near Cleremont Qld. There was once a thriving town at this copper smelting and mining area.

A pair of infectiously happy sisters, grandchildren of my cousin Bobbie and wife Dianne at Coonabarabran NSW.

Artesian Hotel Barcaldene, Qld. One of many pubs still surviving and one of many before some were burnt. Hmmm! Strange there were so many fires in Barcy despite the fact most buildings were constructed of highly flameable timber.

Farms and farmlets on the hills above Cooran Qld as seen from our three month house sitting at Traveston.

Sunlit nearest house at our Traveston location.

Early morning misty view at Cooyar Qld.

Our start point in September 2010. Pioneer Arabians Horse Stud and Endurance Training at Finch Hatton, Qld.

Coffee Shop at Guya NSW which as well as coffee, sells meals and a bit of this and a bit of that. Our friend Greg T is on the left, owner in the centre and Donnis on the right.

Donnis n I both enjoyed a swim in the delightful Gwydir River near Bingarra NSW.

Glasshouse Mountains sign as viewed from the Blackall Ranges near Maleny.

Lake Keepit, midway between Gunnedah NSW and Tamworth NSW is an incredibly popular holiday destination for people of the northwest of the state. There are hundreds of permenent cabins, caravans, motorhome and relocatable homes at the security controlled campground. People have their Christmas, Easter and other long weekends and holidays here. My cousin Bobbie and his family have a permanent on site caravan and have done so for around thirty years.

We spent a happy pre Christmas weekend at Kenilworth Showgrounds with the South Burnett Wanderers a chapter of the Campervan & Motorhome Club of Australia. The weekend started with a wonderful hot and sunny Friday but by Saturday the rain began and by Sunday was torrential and one by one all campers packed up and headed elsewhere.

Lightning Ridge has many tourist attractions, many are free, unless you take a guided tour. We had a look at this defunct open cut mine. The locals consider it to have been an immense folly as well as a rape of the countryside. Hmmm! It seems if your mine is mostly underground and hidden from view there is no folly or rape involved. Many underground mines have not provided a return and all the underground becomes unstable from the hidden rape.

At Longreach WWWGO is holding up the tail of the Qantas jet while repairs are carried out. (nudge nudge wink wink)

Moonie River bridge at Nindigully. A few days before we arrived it seems floodwaters covered this old, now disused, bridge. Some caravanners and motorhomers left their departure too late and to be towed out of the boggy soil by a tractor. At a cost of $100 per vehicle.

Noosa River mouth looking towards mount ??? a volcanic remnant as are all the other mountains in the area.

The artesian spa at Pilbara is no different to other aresian spas's. Weed grows prolifically in the warm to hot conditions and can be a bit disconcerting for first time users.

Historically the last Cobb and Co Stagecoach left from the Surat Post Office. It makes you wonder what wazs going on way out here to justify a stagecoach service. These days there is no train or bus service.

High in the hills above Tenterfield reminded me of a visit to the NSW snowfield many years ago.

Like many other country towns in NSW, Qld and Vic the Railway Station is now a museum because the trains don't live here no more. Sob.

The skyline of Surfer Paradise as seen from the bottom of the Gold Coast strip at Rainbow Bay.

Morning at Theresa Creek Dam near the Qld town of Cleremont.

The storm clouds approach Mt.Cooran from our vantage point at Traveston.

Ginger Gardens at the Buderim Ginger Factory located at Yandina. I stress the location as Buderim is some 50 klms distant from Yandina. Explanation. The original factory was at Buderim so the name has been retained. Nice place to visit.

191. Sunday 22nd May 2011. We are still in Bucasia and still working but have time to look around…

23/05/2011

Last post I mentioned the planets in alignment. This week I managed a bit of alignment myself. Got the tri-pod set up, got the remote shutter cord attached, camera on tripod and woke up in time to catch a time lapse photo between cloud cover.

Mercury, Venus, Mars and Jupiter in Alignment. Only three are visible in this photo. Not too bad considering the cloud cover.

Monday 16th May 2011.

Wow! I slept through the night again. It sure takes a long time to begin to relax. I guess I still have more than 50 years of corporate life to put behind me. Although I am now working again I know it is only for a short time to clear the credit card, purchase a few items we need for our life on the road and to build up the coffers for unexpected expenses.

Today I planned to erect our new change tent and set up the washing machine inside and refer to it as our laundry room. There was a strong wind warning in place so I delayed setting up until I was sure the tent would not get blown away while I was halfway through the process.

Our laundry room.

Well, the change tent/shower tent/laundry tent is up, a slatted wooden base holds the washing machine level and the water, power and drainage is fitted and a couple of loads of washing run through the washer. After use we just zipped up the front and all our washing gear is out of sight and it looks quite neat and presentable.

Our washing machine is doing a load of wash in our new laundry.

Tonight I made mushroom soup from scratch (I did cheat a little, using Campbells stock instead of making my own but that’s because I could not get any chicken frames to make the broth). There was enough for seconds and an entrée size portion each for tomorrow night. I used 275 gr of mushrooms but that is because that is all I had but 400 gr, which the recipe calls for, would make a more intense flavour. Yes it does have a little cream and some butter and of course we made some rye croutons and it was a delicious meal. Far, far better than anything which comes out of a can. It cost less than $6 including all ingredients for such a great meal. Next time mushies are on special I will be making this soup again. Um, to be on the safe side I had better keep a container of Campbells Chicken broth in the pantry.

There has been a strong wind warning in place all day and heavy rain fell in the afternoon.

Drum Roll for the recipe…

Mushroom Soup

Ingredients (serves 4) This is 4 generous serves.

25g butter

1 onion, sliced

400g field mushrooms, roughly chopped (I only used 275 gr so the 400 gr would make a really nice soup)

2 garlic cloves, crushed (I used 5 cloves but that is a personal choice)

3 cups (750ml) beef stock (I used 4 cups and omitted the water)

1 cup (250ml) water

1 (250ml) cream (I used about 125 ml of thickened cream and would probably use the full 250 ml next time)

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

salt and cracked black pepper ( I also used a half chilli, including the seeds, finely sliced)

crispy croutons, to serve

Add above ingredients to your shopping list

Method

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the mushroom and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the stock and water and cook for 35 minutes or until mushrooms are very tender.

Remove from heat and, using a hand blender, process until almost smooth. Return pan to heat and stir in the cream, chopped parsley, salt and pepper.

Ladle soup between serving bowls and serve with crispy croutons.

Tuesday 17th May

A strong wind warning was in place today with the chance of local showers. It was delightful in the sun out of the wind. The wind is from the cold southern states but we should be back to warmer days and nights by the weekend. No rain today.

I walked 10klms for my work today. I must mention my good running shoes (which I use as walking shoes). They are Asics Gel 1150 and depending on where and when you buy them could cost you as much as $200 or more. I bought mine for $80 at a store closing in Goondwindi last December. It was a bargain but with the price came a bit of sorrow. The store has been a Goondiwindi icon for over 100 years but they just cannot compete with costs and called it quits and sold everything at around half price. Some items were being sacrificed at $20 for things like jeans and leather sandals (which I also bought)

A long time ago in a galaxy far away, I played squash almost every night or day of the week. I was not a champion but not a bad player nonetheless and always got invitations to play particularly to fill in for higher grades. I always spent the big dollars and bought good quality shoes. Initially, the shoes I bought were called Tigers. They were so light and flexible on my feet. You could almost tie the shoes in a knot. Asics bought out Tiger and continued the quality running and sporting shoes tradition.

Peta J came over to visit us this afternoon and go for a walk along the beach with Donnis.

Muddy mooring.

Peta is Donnis’ son, Peter, ex-girlfriend. She is such a nice person and we have continued the relationship with her. She is a Catholic School teacher, in her first year as a teacher.

Family fun, pumping for yabbies in the mud at low tide.

Wednesday 18th May

It is my day off and according to my supervisor, my next shift is Sunday morning, unless I get called in as a back-up.

Today I did a load of washing and re-arranged the hose supplying water to WWWGO and the washing machine by installing a Y valve with on/off taps. I did a bit of reading a book and a bit of time reading a blog by a couple who started out travelling in a Toyota Troop Carrier about the same time we started our retirement travels in September last year.

Apart from the strong wind warning there were scuds of rain all day. Each time I decided to sit outside in the sun or walk the kilometre to the supermarket it would rain and I would scramble to get the clothes off the line then re-hang them later when the rain passed on. A most frustrating day from that point of view. The sun comes out, the wind picks up, the clouds roll in and it rains. The sun comes out etc.

I did take the opportunity to try a new casserole as follows.

Basic beef casserole            Ingredients (serves 6)

1 tbs vegetable oil

40g unsalted butter

1kg gravy beef or chuck steak, roughly chopped into 2.5cm chunks (I only used 600 gr)

2 onions, finely chopped (I used three small)

2 celery stalks, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 large carrots, cut into 2cm cubes

2 tbs plain flour

1 tbs tomato paste (I used 2 tbs)

1 cup (250ml) dry red wine

2 cups (500ml) beef stock (used stock cubes)

400g can chopped tomatoes

2 tbs oregano leaves

(I also added pepper n salt and half a finely sliced chilli. I also added a can of drained chick peas and a small can of baked beans to give a bit of additional texture and bulk)

Method

Heat half the oil and half the butter in a large wide-based casserole over high heat. When hot, cook the beef, in 3 batches, for 2 minutes or until browned all over. Transfer to a bowl.

Heat the remaining oil and butter in same pan over low heat. Add the onion, celery, garlic and carrots and cook, stirring, for 3-5 minutes until the onion is soft. Add the flour and tomato paste and cook, stirring, for a further minute. Increase the heat to high and return the beef and juices to the pan with the red wine. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until wine is reduced by half.

Reduce heat to medium-low, then add stock and tomatoes and simmer, uncovered, for 1 1/2-1 3/4 hours, stirring occasionally, until the beef is tender and sauce is thick. Stir in the oregano leaves and serve.

Yummo!

While the casserole was simmering, Donnis was studying at the table and I was reading, lying on the bed. We heard a voice from outside calling “Donnis? Are you there?” She went outside and called to me to “come quickly, Jason’s here.” Jason? Jason? I thought. Who is Jason? Stepping outside I saw it was my neice Kelly and her partner Jason called in for a surprise visit. They had only arrived in Bucasia the day before. They have been travelling around Oz for the last three years. Kelly is 5 months pregnant and decided to return to their home in Bucasia to have the baby and Jason can obtain work. Kelly’s dad lives around the corner in Bucasia and her brother Aaron lives at Slade Point about 20 minutes away. It makes sense to return to your own home and have family around when your first child is due. That was a wonderful surprise visit and we look forward to a family barbecue next week.

Thursday 19th May.

Another cool, windy and occasionally sunny, day.

Donnis alarm went off at 5.30am. Normally I would toss n turn or get out of bed and help her with breakfast or lunch. This morning I stayed in bed and woke just before 7am. What the…? I never heard her making breakfast or getting dressed for work or leaving WWWGO or starting the car and driving off. Wow. I musta been tired.

It rained off n on during the day.

Between rain showers I went for a walk along the beach and played signwriter in the sand.

Friday 20th May

Another cool, windy and sunny day.

I was out walking the creek today and saw a Brahminny Kite hovering in thermals above the beach and creek.

Brahminy Kite riding the thermals looking for lunch.

I have always called these magnificent birds a Sea Eagle. In fact the Sea Eagle is mostly white in the underbelly and chest whereas the Brahminny Kite has a clearly delineated white chest only. I watched as it went into a speed descent with wings tucked in and hurtling towards the water. At the last possible moment it pulled out of the dive and grabbed at something with its talons then swiftly flapping its large wings to gain altitude. A group of Masked Lapwings took turns harrying the Kite like a set of fighter pilots and chittering away at the Kite as they pulled away from their target. The Kite continued to ignore them but they just kept on and on with their aerial bombardment.

Climbing higher for a power dive at the creek.

For dinner we had a wonderful Asian Crab Omelette drizzled with stock diluted oyster sauce. I will not bore you with another recipe unless I get requests.

Saturday 21st May

Heavy rain woke us.

Later in the morning I left Donnis to continue her studies while I drove to Mackay to purchase a replacement Town Water Pressure Valve and Water Inlet. Ours has never worked on town water as it leaks heavily when the tap is turned on. Regretably it is a sealed unit so replacing worn washers is not an option. I will fit it on Monday, my next day off. I drove to daughter Melissa property at Finch Hatton to collect our mail, barbecue, the bike helmet, bathroom items and a dozen fresh eggs.

Tonight we went to the movies to see the latest Pirates of the Caribbean movie, On Stranger Tides. We chose to see the 3D version and so glad we did. Yes. OK. It was just an excuse to continue to make money from a successful franchise and Johnny Depp continues to play the part of Jack Sparrow in a camp way and Jefferey Rush plays his foil. The 3D effects are quite effective and the screen seems to be right in your face. The price of admission is much dearer. Given that it costs more, and the story line is a bit thin, we still enjoyed the 3D experience. If you like a swashbuckler movie and if you can suspend your logical mind for a few hours (the movie runs for 2.30 hours) it was an enjoyable experience. Of course Johhny Depp is in control and I could not help waiting for his next one liner which usually made the theatre audience roar with laughter.

Sunday 22nd May.

A workday for FrankieG today. He walked 8klms. Did not finish until 5.30pm.

Donnis did housework.

It rained on and off. Mostly on, so the raincoat and umbrella came in handy.

190. Sunday 15th May 2011. A week in Bucasia…

15/05/2011

Monday 9thMay.

Our site among the Casuarina Trees and Coconut Palms on Bucasia Beach.

There is this very large and wonderful Paperbark tree on the edge of the mangroves lining the creek behind WWWGO.

The day started – for me – at 4am. Wide awake. Geez. I thought after two days and walking close on 20klms I would be dog tired and sound asleep. Not so. Oh well, it gave me a chance to get a few things up to date on the laptop. Eventually I will be tired enough to go back to bed before the alarm goes off for Donnis to go to work.

I drove Donnis to work then hotfooted out to Finch Hatton to collect some food, bedding, washing machine and the bicycle before heading back to Bucasia to finish off some jobs which need to be done.

As there always is.

Forgot the bicycle helmet so cannot ride around Bucasia until I arrange another trip back to Finch Hatton and collect a few more things.

Tonight we dined on chilli con carne made with chicken mince. I’m not sure if the name becomes something other than con carne if you do not use beef. I will still call it CCC. It is also the first time I have cooked pasta since going on the low carb diet two months ago.

Tuesday 10th May

Drove Donnis to work and started my own job at 9am. It was a short work day but enjoyable in the brilliant sunshine.

I got a haircut on the way home and decided on some greasy chips for lunch. I bumped into BIL (BIL = Brother In Law) John W, who was also shopping for greasy fish n chips for lunch. He has a team of workmen renovating an investment house he has in Bucasia. He offered to buy them lunch. Afterwards I put a couple of loads through the washing machine. The machine is only 2.5Kg rated so loads can only be small. The wash time is the same as if I was doing a bigger load. It does a good job and is far better than Donnis washing her work clothes by hand.

Tonight we had delicious thick n hearty chicken n vegetable soup leftover from the weekend and which we had frozen for another day. I made some croutons in the frypan from the end of a rye loaf otherwise too small to toast.  A good soup is a wonderful meal and is also cheap. Donnis bought the chicken carcasses for $3 which she boiled for a few hours along with onion, garlic, celery, pepper n salt. After draining and picking out the chicken pieces it was set aside for a few hours to cool and remove any fat which solidifies on the top. (Cooling in the fridge overnight is a better option but we only have a small fridge) We then bring the soup to a boil again adding carrots and a couple of handfuls of soup mix of  dried peas, lentils and barley which has been soaked for a few hours. Once it is all bubbling away for some time we add a can of drained five bean mix and let it simmer for a couple of hours. We also added some extra chicken stock cubes and viola. Soup enough for two people for two days and all for less than $7 including cooking costs.

Wednesday 11th May.

It was such a cool night we had a thin blanket on the bed all night and we were both a bit reluctant to escape from our warm cocoon. I was so tired last night, I slept through until 4.45 then went straight back to sleep. Donnis had to get up at 5.45 to get ready for work but unusually for me, I stayed in bed another hour.

Today was spent walking along the beach,

Bucasia Beach at low tide with early morning sunlight.

Bucasia Beach has a swimming enclosure to guard against stingers during the "season" November to May.

re-arranging stuff under our awning and figuring out a better way to cover two open parts on our awning. Should it rain we cannot leave the door open. I installed tarps over the awning yesterday but they are flapping in the breeze and one has rolled into the shape of a sausage.

Did some washing in our little washing machine.

Dinner was yummy lamb fillet, asparagus and baked sweet potato chips (no… not the frozen ones from McCains, these were freshly cut up by yours truly and baked). No fat or oil or deep frying was involved. Over a cup of tea and watching something on TV, great tiredness overcame me and I fell asleep sitting up at the table. Donnis insisted I go to bed. I did and slept all the way through until 5.15 and quickly went back to sleep.

Thursday 12th May.

Woke when Donnis alarm went off at 5.45am but I stayed in bed out of her way. She is now very well organised, making her lunch the night before and cooking her breakfast, unless I get out of bed and do it for her. It is simpler if one person does the cooking while the other gets dressed or sleeps.

Another day of washing and re-arranging the tarp over the doorway. It is quite windy today and a little cool in the shade. Inside at midday it was 25.9° but outside in the sun it was delightful. I sat in the lounger for an hour reading my book.

The sand forms into low ridges as the tide recedes.

I thought a little history may be in order.

In the late 1800’s, Catholic Father, Pierre Bucas established an orphanage and cemetery in the area then known as Marara, which became known as Seaview and is now named Bucasia in his honour. The land is bordered by sandhills and sea on one side and mangroves and swamp on the other three sides. In those days a horse track led from Mackay to the Northern Beaches area of Eimeo, Blacks Beach and of course Bucasia. (even as late as the seventies, the road to the northern beaches area was still nothing better than a gravel or sand track and only adventurous spirits lived there. Father Bucas brought the first nuns to Mackay, the Sisters of St. Joseph who ran the orphanage from 1876 to 1879. When they withdrew, they were replaced by the Sisters of Mercy who ran the orphanage from 1880 to 1885. At least 19 children died of Malarial Poisoning as it was known then and they were buried in unmarked graves on the estate. So far the cemetery remains unlocated. The Orphanage was located on the highest point of land in the area and that is probably where the name Seaview came from. The orphanage was closed in 1885 and the remaining children were moved to an orphanage in Rockhampton. Father Bucas moved to Barcaldine in 1912 and remained there for many years until he moved to Rockhampton where he died in 1930. In 1946 his remains were disinterred and moved to Mackay and reinterred in the old Mackay cemetery. The Catholic Church in Bucasia is named in his honour. The church sits on the edge of swamp ground in sight of the hill, about 1 klm distant, where the orphanage was located, believed to be on what is now known as Bucas Drive and Geoffrey Thomas Drive. The only remains of the original orphanage were some mango, guava and papaya trees planted in the orphanage grounds. The buildings have never been located and the orchard is long gone.

I received an email to advise my next shift is 9.30 on Sunday to collect survey packs we distributed last weekend.

Friday 13th May

Yep! Today was Friday the 13th!!! Despite there being some dire predictions the world would end today due to the fact that four planets, Mercury, Venus, Mars and Jupiter, would be in alignment, the world continued doing what it has always done for many billions of years. The sun shone, the birds sang, the tides came and went, came and went and the day panned out with nothing out of the ordinary.

Well, that is until Donnis got up at dawn to see the planets in alignment because the best time to see them was at first light, or hint of light, in the eastern sky a few degrees above the horizon. This event last occurred in 2010 and will not occur again for another thirty years.

Donnis was unwell today so stayed home from work. We drove into Mackay for a little light shopping and one of the items we bought was a change tent. This will become our outside laundry and storage area. While sitting around Canelands Shopping Centre waiting for Donnis, I received a call to ask me to come to work on Saturday as a reserve. Okey Dokey. Will do.

Saturday 14th May

We both woke, without aid of an alarm clock, at first light, to look at the planets in alignment. While Donnis remained snuggled up in bed and viewed the spectacle from our bed window, I lay around on the boat ramp car-park, trying to set up the camera. Once that job was completed I crawled back into the still warm bed for another hour.

Arrived at the office to be told I was no longer reserve but had a full shift today and tomorrow delivering survey packs.

BTW I have lost about 9kgs and 8cm from around the belly. No wonder all my underwear and pants are falling down on me.

Today I walked 10 klms and still have to do it all again tomorrow to visit the people who were not home today.

After the shift I was on my way home and the thought occurred to me that outrigger friends Ken and Trish J, once lived in Bucasia. I have not seen them for many years and decided to call at the last known address to see if they still live there.

They do!

Trish is National President of AOCRA (Australian Outrigger Canoe Racing Association) and was away at Mooloolaba for the National Marathon Titles but Ken was home. It came as a shock to see Ken who has Oesophageal Cancer as well as Prostate Cancer. Ken is only 59. He was diagnosed with the prostate cancer 18 months ago and as part of the scans they discovered the OC. If it had not been for the PC he would probably not be alive today. He has had his Oesophagus and stomach removed and is on heavy duty Chemo Therapy. Once he has that under control he then needs a prostate operation. He has lost around 30kgs and for someone who was once a professional tennis player and an outrigger paddler, he is now a shadow of his former self. He is quite upbeat and confident he can beat the Big C.

Goodonyer Ken!

It sure puts our life in perspective and reaffirms our decision to get out and enjoy our chosen lifestyle while we are young enough to do so. We are both enjoying the parts of Australia we have visited and look forward to those we have not yet seen. It is sort of like a lucky dip and an almost daily adventure.

Even when we go to work.

With my job of calling on people and delivering survey packs I mostly meet nice people sprinkled with a few grouches and fewer anti-social types. One house I visited today had a sign at the door which read “One really nice person lives here along with one grouchy person”. When a lady answered my knock on the door I greeted her with “you must be the really nice person who lives here”. It was a pleasure to see her cheeky smile in response.

I walked another 10klms delivering survey packs today.

Sunday 15th May.

Another 4.5 hours today and 8klms of walking.

Finished all my deliveries by 2pm and picked up a few items from the hardware store, the WOW store and a Supa Cheap store and those items will give me a few jobs to do tomorrow.

We both did a small grocery run to Bi-Lo at the Eimeo turnoff.

Small grocery run??? Almost $80, mostly fruit n veg, no meat but combined with groceries in the fridge, freezer and pantry we have enough until mid-week. Donnis is still coming to grips with buying smaller amounts of groceries often. We simply do not have the room in the fridge or the freezer to buy all the stuff on special. We have plenty of pantry room. When we eventually get out west again, fresh fruit, meat and veggies will be in short supply and there will be less choice.

Donnis son Peter is home from working in Western Australia so she went to call on him late this afternoon before he heads off to west Oz again.

189. Sunday 8th May 2011. Working week, moved into a caravan park and unexpected angst…

08/05/2011

Monday 2nd May

Hmmm! What did we do today?

Donnis went to work.

Frank stayed home.

There are some benefits to having WWWGO break down outside your daughter’s house. I get to spend some time with her and the grandchildren, Shelby-Rose and Anakin. Last year Averyl, Shelby-Rose and Anakin flew to Melbourne to take part in a national Tae Kwon Do competition. Shelby-Rose picked up two silver medals

Shelby-Rose and her medals.

while Anakin picked up a trophy for his outstanding first year.

Anakin with his trophy.

Showing off.

Tuesday 3rd May

Frank started work today. It was a training session held at Clarion Hotel Mackay Harbour. It was a full-on day including lots of paperwork so we can get paid and have money put into a Super Fund. Most of the day was taken up with an explanation of the three stages of the survey and how the forms are to be completed and the complex recording of information for each household we visit.

Caution! Rant approaching.

Lunch was supplied. It was a smorgasbord of some sort of fancy pizza, perhaps? Plus some half baguettes with ham n salad or apparently, (I say apparently cause I did not see any) smoked salmon n salad. A bite of the first pizza type concoction was yuk. I tried the second which seemed to have bacon as a topping. Yuk! At least by removing the bacon pieces something tasted OK. I noticed other classmates doing the same. The baguettes were, ummm, err yuk. This is a fancy hotel and dining room we are talking about here. A full kitchen with a qualified chef. I guess the chef must have received his training at Macdonalds. Apart from the little piece of ham which was artfully arranged to poke out the top of the baguette to give the impression of being part of lots of ham it was filled with….drum roll…that crappy mayo that Macdonalds and Hungry Jacks and KFC and Red Rooster use. As well, the arty chef squirted lots of mayo type insipid American Mustard into the mix. Once you take a bite of the baguette, the sloppy mayo and equally sloppy mustard squirted and the baguette fell apart in your hands disclosing not much else, apart from the aforementioned small piece of ham. I noticed other classmates doing the same thing as me. That is, using several paper napkins to wipe the mayo gunk off their hands. Why oh why do we need so much mayo in our foods these days? Surely it would be nicer to taste the ham inside a ham baguette instead of tasting the mayo n mustard inside the ham baguette!

I rarely eat at Macdonalds or their other look alikes but when I do (include Subway in this list) I have to say, NO SAUCES AT ALL.

Their sauces are either high in salt or sugar or fat or all three and we can do without them.

End of rant.

At five I got a call from the Iveco man while I was still in the classroom lining up to have my pay paperwork checked. Long story short. There was nothing wrong with any of the on-board computers or the Camshaft Timing Sensor. He found the error by chance. A leg and foot from a tiny field mouse was caught up in the timing mechanism slot and was registering as a fault. Luckily, the body was not caught in the timing belt, otherwise the belt could have been thrown off the pulleys and the motor destroyed. Once the leg was removed and the original CTS re-installed, the motor started first try and ran smoothly.

Yeehar!

Ummm! How much is that gunna cost?

Wednesday 4th May

Donnis went to work.

Frank went to work delivering 45 pre-addressed letters.

Simple!

Nahhh!

The pre-addressed letters must be delivered to randomly selected, homes. As well, each address had to be confirmed it was a real address, there were people living there and a description of the house recorded for the next person who came along to deliver the survey packs. It involves a lot of walking and if an address was a vacant lot or an empty house, replacement envelopes, addressed to different houses were used. The procedure, on the surface seems a little anal, with lots of checks n balances. However as the survey is being conducted and paid for by Department of Motor Transport and Main Roads, they want to know the random sampling was carried out according to a certain formula.

At a guess I would say I walked about 6klms today.

I was tired n sweaty and ready for a cold beer by the end of the day.

Thursday 5th May

It is moving day.

Donnis left for work at 6.30 while Frank started to pack WWWGO ready for departure. I had aimed for 10am but that was a loose time frame and it did not matter if I left at lunchtime. As things turned out I did leave after 10 and was at the Bucasia Beach Caravan Resort a little after 11am. The “resort”, looks little different to when I lived around the corner 15 years ago. Perhaps there are a few more coats of paint on the amenities block but they are the same ancient amenities blocks I remember. Everything has reached and passed its use by date. Mostly the “resort” is occupied by semi-permanent residents in a variety of camping styles, motorhomes, caravans, camper trailers, tents. The sites with ocean views are reserved for tourists who may only be here a few days. Those who stay longer are given the back sites, usually with little or no view. For pemanents the rates are cheaper by about $30 a month. There is no discount for staying a week or a month or longer. Despite the aged worn out amenities, the location is ideal. It is the only campsite on the beach within 100 klms, north or south, of Mackay. For us it is only a 20 minute drive to work. Our campsite is temporary until other people move out in a few days then we can get one of the semi-permanent sites. At the moment we are close to amenities and have a view over the ocean through the palm and casuarina trees.

Bucasia Beach at low tide and looking north to Shoal Point. Our house is near Shoal Point in the distance.

We have ideal digital TV signal, full five bars of 3G signal which means we have excellent telephone and internet signal. It was 27° during the day with 46% humidity and a refreshing breeze off the ocean.

Friday 6th May

Donnis left for work shortly after 6am.

While warming up the Terios, a flock of Plumed Whistling Ducks came in to land behind us. The sound of their wings in reverse mode was loud in the still, morning air. The ducks then began their daily walk through the resort looking for breakfast. A woman in a tent was feeding them scraps.

Part of the Plumed Whistling Ducks being given a handout by a camper.

Ducks are more polite eaters than seagulls who fight and squark and run around making all sorts of noises and the more noise they make the more seagulls keep joining them. The ducks on the other hand stay together and make few sounds.

While on my first beach walk

Eimeo Creek mouth at low tide.

One of several catamarans in Eimeo Creek.

I could see big black clouds building up on the ocean horizon and the nearest island, St.Bees, was almost obscured.

St.Bees Island behind storm clouds.

Hmmm! It looks like rain coming sometime today. Maybe it will just blow on by at sea.

Yeah. Right.

It did not take long for the rain to arrive. Slowly at first.

Back at WWWGO I used our handy little compressor to inflate the tyres. They appeared low when I arrived yesterday. As usual, the rear dual outside tyres are almost impossible to attach a nozzle to the valve stem. I know there are attachments which can make the job easier (in fact I have extension valves for the inner rear wheels and they work a treat and are permanently in place) and they are easy to find on US websites. A complete kit costs around US$90 and even chrome wheel covers cost around the same. I have not been able to find an Oz website which sells extension valve stems. I know they are available in the US but even asking at tyre repair shops and places like Supa Cheap only gets a blank look in reply. Inflating tyres on this dual rear wheel vehicle is fraught with frustration. Even other dual wheel vehicle owners report the same problem.

Hello vehicle manufacturers, this problem has gone on, long enough. Surely you have the technology to solve this problem.

Iveco called late today to ask where to send the bill and when I will pay it. When told the amount I asked if it was all labour. The reply was, labour, call out fee, travelling time, computer connection and computer time. Mail the bill and I will pay it when I see the itemisation.

Gulp! This will have to go on the credit card. Drat! We had no choice on this and if I ever get my hands on that three legged mouse who caused all this trouble he (or she) better watch out.

Grrr!

Saturday 7th May

It was raining this morning. Heavy rain. It continued to rain all morning until I arrived at the workplace. Strangely it stopped when I arrived and stayed stopped all day.

Donnis had the day off and spent it sitting inside WWWGO doing studies on-line so she can amass enough points to maintain her nursing license.

Frank went to work delivering survey packs to pre-selected homes. I wore a pedimeter today and amassed 11 plus klms in my walking. That means I must have walked at least 12klms on Wednesday, not the 6klms I estimated.

Sunday 8th May.

We moved to one of the sites allocated for permanent or semi- permanent sites. Not without a bit of angst it seems from a couple of other campers who reminded us another permanent wanted the same site. I spoke with the manager who confirmed the site was given to us as we had asked for it. The other camper, it seems he has never asked to move to site 26. Donnis wanted us to drive straight into the site rather than the more traditional reverse in. The neighbour who had told us we had no right to site 26 came over to tell us we had to reverse in. Then his wife chimed in. “it’s so you can leave quickly in an emergency”, she said.

Hmmm! I pondered aloud. “I note that your rig is permanently set up with fences and additional awnings, annexe and other tie downs. How long do you take to pack up and leave in an emergency?” I do not think my question was very popular.

Anyway… We are in site 26 with management blessing.

Donnis spent another day inside WWWGO with her on-line studies.

Frank went to work today continuing to deliver survey packs. According to the pedimeter, I covered another 7 plus klms today. My shorts and trousers are beginning to fall off me.

WooHoo. I am loosing weight AND girth.

Hmmm! Methinks another few weeks of the low carbs diet and all this walking and I will need a new wardrobe.

At dinner Donnis confessed that although we are only 50 metres from the beach she has still not been to the beach.

After dinner we walked onto the beach under a starless cloudy night.

WWWGO is reversed into the campsite. Fifty metres behind us is the car park at the boat launch facility on Eimeo Creek. Terios is parked in the boat car park behind WWWGO. At night we can see the street and house lights of Eimeo across the mangrove lined Eimeo Creek.

188. A review of travels since we have come full circle…

05/05/2011

At the end of the Sugarloafers Chapter meeting at Carmilla recently, Wally asked if I can give a brief rundown on the places we have been since we last saw then on 19th September 2010. In reply I did give a brief summary only of those places where we stayed at least overnight or longer. I did not include towns which we merely passed through.

On reflection I thought our readers may like to know as well.

I also gives me a chance to show some photographs which I did not use in the original posts.

Since leaving and arriving back in Finch Hatton WWWGO has travelled 7,630 klms.

The Terios (perhaps I should start calling it the TOAD) has travelled 10,018 klms not including klms travelled behind WWWGO.

That seems to be a lot of klms for the Terios when most of the time I was at Traveston. However I would go to Noosa most days and that would be at least 100klms per day. Some days the klms were even greater. For example, we travelled from Traveston to the Gold Coast several times and that was in excess of 250 klms each way. At an average of 100 klms each day for three months that would be at least 9,000 so although the total klms looks high, the travel does support the high klms recorded.

Week 1.

Travelled from Finch Hatton to Theressa Creek Dam,

Shag on a rock early morning at Theresa Creek Dam.

Capella, Barcaldene, Lloyd Jones Weir.

Freedom campsite at Lloyd Jones Weir.

Week 2.

From Lloyd Jones Weir to Longreach,

Barren freedom campground at Longreach.

Ilfracombe, Blackall, Tambo, Charleville.

Week 3.

From Charleville to Morven,

Welcome sign in tiny botanical gardens.

Mitchell, Surat.

Week 4.

From Surat to Nindigully,

Moonie River at Nindigully.

Dirranbandi

Freedom campsite on bank of river at Dirranbandi.

after which we crossed the border

Anyone thinking of keeping a pet rabbit at Hebel on the border?

into New South Wales and stopped at Lightning Ridge,

Week 5.

From Lightning Ridge to Bourke.

A local Bourke resident at his home.

Week 6.

From Bourke to Burren Junction, Narrabri, Bingara.

Freedom campsite at Bingara as seen through a field of yellow flowers.

Week 7.

From Bingarra to Byron Bay then crossing the border back into Queensland to Eight Mile Plains Brisbane, Redcliffe.

Redcliffe Marina not far from the showgrounds.

Week 8.

From Redcliffe to Noosaville.

Week 8.

From Noosaville to Cooyar, Wallangara,

Sign outside Wallangara Hotel on the Qld NSW border.

then crossing the border into New South Wales and camped at Beardie Waters

Beardie Waters NSW.

near Glenn Innes, Ben Lomond

Week 9.

From Ben Lomond to Tamworth, Connabarabran.

Week 10.

From Coonabarrabran to Moree then crossing the border into Queensland once more and camped at Millmerin, Crows Nest, Cooyar, Kenilworth,

Santa in his formal wear at Kenilworth Showgrounds.

Noosaville.

Week 11.

Noosaville, Traveston, Gold Coast.

Weeks 12 to 26

Traveston while house sitting. Explored and visited the area around the Sunshine Coast and the Mary Valley including Gympie, Rainbow Beach.

Week 27

From Traveston to Kandanga, Inskip Point, Yandaran.

Week 28

From Yandaran to Benaraby, Waverly Creek, Carmilla Beach, North Mackay,

Week 29,

From North Mackay to Finch Hatton, Carmilla Beach.

Week 30

From Carmilla Beach to North Mackay, Finch Hatton.

187. Sunday 1st May 2011. Finch Hatton, North Mackay, Anzac Day, breakdown, horses and jobs…

02/05/2011

Monday 25th April 2011

Anzac Day.

I should be reporting that I was at a Dawn Ceremony or at least a local street march. I did neither of those things. Out here on the farm we do feel a little isolated from world events except when we watch the news at night. When I woke this morning –early- it did not occur to me that today is Anzac Day. I do feel I should have commemorated the day in some way and over the last few years I have urged others to do the same.

Sorry. I let the side down this year.

I watched the news tonight with reports of services around Oz and in various places around the world. Those that touched me emotionally were the dawn services at Gallipoli, Turkey and Frommelles, France. Perhaps one year I can make the pilgrimage to Gallipoli. Sure hope so.

Apart from the daily things which must be done here at Pioneer Park we took time to drive to Pinevale and check out the camp site for the Sugarloafers meeting in June. We had heard the Pioneer River in flood had diverted its course and has left a build-up of sand to the turn near the campsite. The sand could make it difficult for some rigs to get in and out. As well, the site now has lots of long, mostly couch grass. In the past a local farmer has kept the grass cut and his horses and cattle grazed to always keep it a nice lawn length. There were perhaps a dozen tents but I noticed they were accompanied by 4WD. The river was running at a much higher level than I have seen it and one bank where the river begins to change direction has been washed away, leaving a steep cliff where once a gentle slope had been. We had no difficulty navigating the soft sand in 2WD but unless the sand is carted away I believe many of the Sugarloafers would have trouble driving their heavy rigs through the area.

A strong wind warning had been issued yesterday and the wind was quite strong even this far from the coast. By the afternoon the wind had died, there was a clear cloudless sky, promising a beautiful night and sunny tomorrow.

Our little weather station in WWWGO said otherwise. At dusk the sky was still clear and the Southern Cross stood out as the most visible stars. Shortly after dinner, a Massaman Curry made with fish and extra chillies, it started to rain and I had to dash outside to close roof hatches and the door. The temperature dropped and by bedtime I had put a doona on the bed.

Tuesday 26th April

Melissa and Steve arrived home today to great commotion by all the horses and dogs running beside their F250 and Fifth Wheeler/Horse Trailer.

When Melissa n Steve with their three horse in the Fifth Wheeler arrived home, all the other horses on the property went crazy, galloping to a point near the driveway and neighing and whinneying to voice their welcome.

We had planned to leave by 1pm to go to North Mackay and I could babysit the grandkids Shelby-Rose and Anakin tomorrow and Donnis does the first of her three shifts this week. I turned the ignition key at 2pm and the motor sounded terribly noisy, sounding like loose tappets (which diesel motors do not have). A warning light appeared on the dashboard screen and the instruction book merely mentioned an ECD injection system failure but no other information, such as, is it safe to drive and if so, for how long. I took a chance and decided to drive. Good thing we had decided not to tow the Terios on this trip as power was down by about 25%. We got away from the farm by 3pm. Just as we were pulling up near a set of lights in Mackay, Donnis called to say she received a call from my cousin, Bobby and his wife Dianne. They were in Mackay at KFC and would meet her there while I continued on to a fuel stop as a low fuel warning light had been annoying me for the last 10 klms or so. They all met me at Averyl’s house then B&D left to find a motel room and arrange somewhere to eat out tonight. Reading about Iveco EDC on the Internet tells me I should not move WWWGO until I speak with the local workshop.

Wednesday 27th April.

First call this morning was to the local Iveco workshop who said not to drive, they would send a technician this morning. True to their word he showed up before 11am and pulled out his computer and got to work. Good news is the engine starts albeit somewhat noisy and it is not blowing smoke. He traced the fault back to a Camshaft Timing Sensor which of course he does not carry nor do they keep them in stock. It has to come from Brisbane. In the meantime he traced all wiring circuits to ensure there are no faults anywhere else. When he left this afternoon he still did not have a definite fault. The CTS is shown by the EDC to be the culprit. On the other hand the CTS checks out OK but refers the fault back to the EDC. It looks like we stay at least another day waiting for the part but still may need a full replacement EDC.

Donnis finished the first of her three shifts this week and announced she has 5 day shifts for next week and the week after. She was not expecting more than a couple of shifts a week so that has given her a lift.

Thursday 28th April

Grrrr!. Spent a day waiting for the technician to arrive or at least call. I phoned Iveco at 3pm to be told the part did not arrive but could be in a later delivery, expected any minute.  Nothing heard from Iveco for the rest of the day.

Friday 29th April.

Saw my doctor from 15 years ago, Chris A. He agrees with me that as well as my back problem I have bursitis of the left hip. He has given me stronger pain relief for nights. The pain from the back has masked the pain from the bursitis.  Lots of walking and swimming will help strengthen the back muscles. Lots of walking and swimming will aggravate the bursitis.

Sigh!!!

Otherwise it is just waiting on time to heal it but to rest. No strenuous exercise. He suggested ultrasound via a physiotherapist might be beneficial.

I waited all day for Iveco. In fact, I called them three times. They called me around 4.30. The part has not arrived and they cannot contact Melbourne – huh! I THOUGHT THE PART WAS IN Brisbane -to get a con note number to track where the part is, as Melbourne are not answering their phones.

Hmmm! Could it be a May Day Long Weekend and they have all taken off a little early???

Whatever!

The earliest I can now expect any repairs is Tuesday.

Paul, the grandchildren and I went to the Mackay Harbour for a walk. Afterwards Averyl arrived home from work and we had a barbecue for dinner and watched the wedding of Wills and Kate on the TV.

After that I watched the rugby league game between the Brisbane Broncos and Sydney Bulldogs. The Broncos won.

Saturday 30th April.

Woke at 5am and noticed there was no power to WWWGO. In fact there were no street lights and none of the houses had lights visible. Shelby-Rose in particular sleeps with a light on and her room is in darkness. Looks like a major power failure somewhere as there was no loom of light in the distance over North Mackay or Mackay.

The laptop was down to 79% batteries so the power was probably off for a couple of hours so I switched the fridge to gas.

Paul was not keen on the idea of me emptying our black water cassette in their toilet as it involves carrying it through the house. At first light I loaded the cassette into Terios and took it to West Mackay to empty and clean at the CMCA sponsored public dump point.

We received an email to advise I have the position of survey person with a start date of Tuesday 3rd May for training and work begins the day after.

Hmmm! That’s good. However… Hopefully Iveco fixes WWWGO on Tuesday but both Donnis n I will be at work.

We were planning that WWWGO will be ready on Tuesday and we will move to Bucasia Beach Caravan Park. That is going to be a bit of a tight timeframe and we may have to move to Bucasia after dark when we have both finished work.

Later in the morning we drove out to Finch Hatton to help Melissa and Steve conduct their Endurance Ride. Some background on these endurance rides is in order. Usually the horses are specially bred Arabians. Before a ride, a vet checks the horse for temperature, pulse, heartbeat, a physical check of the body including shoes and a short run around a triangulated area to determine if there is any lameness or other physical disability.

Running the horse during the vet check.

After the ride or between sections the same vet checks are carried out. If the horse checks do not fall within a certain range, the horse is “vetted out” and can take no further place in the ride. The vet must be a qualified vet as well as a licensed endurance vet. The rides are in natural terrain including creeks,

Oooh! It's cold!

hills, mountains, rainforest, thick scrub, desert and including all natural obstacles. After a ride, the vet checks are carried out again and the vital readings must fall within certain ranges. Rides can be as little as 20klms and as much as 400klms and can be ridden at night or even over three or four days.

Smile for the camera man.

I was given the job of checkpoint at a creek crossing and radioed to control base as each horse and rider crossed Cattle Creek.

Endurance Rider on the creek crossing.

I enjoyed sitting beside the creek for the afternoon.

In a quiet moment beside the creek and the sugar cane in the background.

Sunday 1st May. Yay.

I spent the morning beside Cattle Creek on radio checkpoint duty again.

We were packed and ready to leave by 3pm when Steve phoned in to say he had run the Hilux ute into a washout

How did ya get in there?

beside canefields when he went to take down all the endurance direction signs.

All efforts to drive out failed.

We picked him up and returned to the farm where he collected the tractor to tow out the Hilux.

The tractor drags out the ute. I steered the ute but could not put it in gear as there was only a metre of towing strap between the tractor and the ute. Once on ground clear of washouts I was able to drive through the canefields to the road.

I went with him to drive the ute out of the ditch and back to the farm. Wow! He was lucky not to have gone further into the washout and roll the Hilux.

We arrived back at North Mackay about 6.30.

It has been a long and interesting weekend.