216. Sunday 25th September 2011. Another week in Finch Hatton and another week closer to leaving…

Monday 19th September 2011.

Fitted the lambs-wool seat-covers we bought last Friday to TERIOS. A nice snug fit and they sure look good.

We removed the lambs-wool seat-covers from WWWGO. We will put them through a wash cycle. Also need to replace the plastic locking clips as two of them are broken.

Other than that it was a quiet day down on the farm.

Tuesday 20th September.

We were up early and away by 7am as TERIOS has an appointment at 8.30 to try to sort out what caused the terrible vibration two weeks ago. The Toyota dealership wanted the car for 6 hours although the scheduled work would be a fee of $135 for a minimum one hour job plus any parts and materials.

The service department dropped us at Canelands Shopping Centre where we wandered around and wasted time. After a coffee mid-morning we walked uptown to visit Centrelink and the CO-PILOT took the opportunity to look at clothes as she has lost close to 20Kg and her clothes no longer fit.

I was on my best behaviour at Centrelink and did not give anybody a hard time, I did not get angry and did not revert to cynicism or sarcasm in my discussions. That’s a bit hard to do when I do not get a pension yet still have to report each two weeks. At least I came away with a clearer understanding of how the system works.

I am still confused.

In a nutshell, here are the results of the discussion.

My pension has dropped away to almost zero as the house at Airlie Beach was not treated as an asset for the first 12 months of my retirement. It seems the honeymoon is over, the house is now an asset and the rent is included in income. Ergo we have too many assets and too much income to get a pension. Or only a small pension, which is then income tested. While either of us is working we will not get a pension. We have both been working since end of May so have not received any Pension benefit in all that time.

However…

As we no longer live in either house but indeed live full time in WWWGO we will be entitled to rent assistance if we pay site fees at say, a caravan park. The rent assistance is not income tested until after the regular Aged Pension reduces to zero due to the income test. In other words, when we stay at caravan parks in our travels we can submit the receipts and will be refunded a portion of those fees. The Rent Assistance was not available during the first 12 months. It was suggested that we register for Rent Assistance when we leave Mackay and each 12 weeks, lodge the receipts at a CentreLink office of which there are many around the country including some outback centres.

I waited outside the store and read a book on the iPad while the CO-PILOT tried on clothes. I was called inside once to see a pair of slacks she wanted. They are two sizes smaller than she normally  wears and was excited to show off.

The problem with TERIOS was quickly found and rectified. A nut had come off an engine mount and this was most likely the reason the vibration happened just after it was put up on the hoist for the service two weeks ago. The engine has probably been pushed up and off the engine mount bolt and consequently the drive shaft was out of alignment. They found the fault, put on a nut, tightened down all four engine mounts, took TERIOS for a test run and I was only charged for half an hours labour.  That could have been a disaster as the engine had slipped back down on its mounting but any rough roads it would have bounced off again and unless rectified quickly could chew out the drive shaft bearings and damage the gearbox.

I came away happy and the CO-PILOT came away with a new wardrobe.

Our new digital scales, which I earned with Fly Buy points, arrived today. The scales have individual memory and records weight as well as advising such things as body fat, body mass index and a few other things which I have no idea about. I guess I will learn these things over the next few days.

Wednesday 21st September.

Woke early at 5am and wide awake, unable to get back to sleep. I seem to recall this happening earlier this year.

It was a quiet sort of day but hot. A hot breeze sprang up mid-morning and combined with smoke haze covering most of Queensland it was an uncomfortable afternoon. There are lots of bushfires burning all over Queensland. I sewed new plastic buckle clips to WWWGO lambs-wool seat covers, screwed a corkboard to the wall inside WWWGO, finally joined the two sets of awning roof rafters and made a home for them in the hatch. They are 2.3 metres long and just fit.

Thursday 22nd September.

Woke at 4am.

Grrrr!

Nothing much to write about except to say it is hot, I am in shorts n T-shirt all day, there was an annoying wind blowing all day

Friday.

Woke at 5am. This waking early stuff is annoying.

This is the young colt EXCHANGE having a sleep in the middle of the day.

...then wakes up a stretchin an a yawnin and full of agro.

The same hot wind blowing all day. I busied myself fitting the WWWGO lambs-wool seat covers. Then re-installed the Roman Blind between the driving compartment and the living area. We took the blind off to wash it earlier this week. It was fun threading the pulley cords back through where they belong.

The Three Amigo's having some chow time.

...ten minutes later and they are still chomping away.

Apart from that it was a lazy day with the hot wind blowing.

WWWGO has a wonderful site, with the Great Dividing Range as a backdrop and views all round looking over the valley.

My second chosen team, Brisbane Broncos were beaten by Manly tonight. My preferred teams have both been eliminated. Hmmm! My next choice would be the competition leaders, Melbourne Storm, to win their semi-final round against New Zealand warriors then go on to win against Many in the Grand final.

Saturday 24th September

Melbourne Storm lost to the New Zealand Warriors. Now how can I choose between these two teams which hold no interest for me?

Go the mighty Warriors!!!! What else can I do? No way in this wide brown land would I cheer for the Manly Sea Eagles.

Woke at 4.30. Sat at the table and read a book then crawled back into bed at 5.30 to be woken a short while later when the Co-Pilot alarm went off. Went back to sleep and woke at 7.30.

Another hot windy day.

Rain is desperately needed. This time last year it had been raining for two weeks and the grass was green and long. Plus there were muddy bogs all over the farm.

Sunday 25th September.

A hot day. I was going to say it was an uneventful day but on reflection that was not the case. Mid-morning I received a call from niece Kelly. She and Jase were heading up to the gorge when they spotted WWWGO on the hill. They dropped in for a quick tour and a cup of coffee. Kelly is pregnant and baby is due in the next week. It was a nice visit and it looks as though we will be visiting Kelly and a new bub real soon.

Mid-afternoon I received a call from a lady interested in buying VIRAGO. I gave her directions to daughter Averyl’s house as VIRAGO is stored there. I called Averyl and set up a time for inspection. The lady called later. She could find neither of the streets I named and somehow got lost. Perhaps it was my too simple instructions. Perhaps it was her interpretation. So I gave an alternate set of instructions. The lady is on board a yacht heading to Bowen and had asked a friend to drive her and has to ask a second time for another favour.

Sigh.

Averyl called. She and Paul had started VIRAGO but each time they put it in gear it turns off. Oh. Dear! What a time for this to happen! After talking them through several possible causes Paul commented the stand was still down. That is a built in safety feature. When the stand is down the bike will turn itself off when attempting to put it in gear.

Sigh!

The CO-PILOT called at 5pm and left a message while I was out feeding the chooks and the horses. She finished work late and discovered she had left the lights on all day and TERIOS has a flat battery. She had to wait an hour for RACQ Roadside Assist to turn up as they are busy and Mirani is a 40 klm trip from their base.

Sigh!

The CO-PILOT arrived home about 6.30. The battery was not only flat but the cells were damaged beyond repair. A new battery was installed. In the process, the stereo unit shut down and required a code word to unlock it. Luckily I found a pass word amongst the vehicles papers so managed to get the radio working and re-programme the local stations.

SIGH!

Not such an uneventful day after all!

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