231. Sunday 25th December 2011. Travel to Corrimal, Christmas Day and a mix of weather…

Monday 19th December

We left Forster a little after 11am…pretty close to the time I hoped to leave. As planned we met with George C

Almost 50 years has passed since George and I last saw each other at high school. We re-connected via Skype about two years ago.

for lunch in a park at Buladelah.

George and Frank. Different hairstyles.

George is a high school friend who I have not seen for around 50 years.

George and Donnis. George had an unfortunate incident with a verandah overhang the day before we met.

After lunch we were back on the road again and the rain started falling, getting heavier as we drove south toward Newcastle. We decided to pull into 12 Mile Hill Rest Area for the night to use the last two hours of wan light to make a wall hanging form driftwood, shells and jute cord. We went to sleep lulled by the soothing sounds of zillions of trucks zooming past all night.

Tuesday 20th December

We were on the road by 6.30 am to what looked a promising sunny day. We drove the F3 Motorway, a distance of 128 Kms.( The most impressive parts of the  engineering of this road are the approaches to the Hawksbury River section and the cutting through the Hawksbury sandstone in various places. The bridge, linking Brooklyn on the south side to Mooney Mooney on the north side runs parallel with the original Peats Ferry Crossing Bridge.

Peat's Ferry Bridge over the Hawkesbury River linking Brooklyn and Moonie Moonie. The original bridge replaced the umm err Peat's Ferry.

Historical photos are here   http://www.ozroads.com.au/NSW/Freeways/F3/historicphotos_s2.htm ) Despite warnings about school holiday traffic and Sydney peak hour traffic, we arrived at our first stop, North Rocks, just after 9am. We had planned to call into a specialist motorhome repairer to look at the cracks appearing in the fibreglass exterior wall near the refrigerator vent. The original installation made an attempt at waterproofing the vent but water still seeped behind the vent cowling and rotted the plywood behind. The fibreglass is no longer attached to the plywood. The job involves cutting the section out, as far as good solid plywood, cleaning the remaining timber, glueing a new piece in place and once the bond is cured, fresh fibreglass laminate is resined into the area, allowed to dry then sanded smooth. Then the area is colour matched with gelcoat and finally fresh decals are put in place. The job will take a week and a huge chunk of savings. They cannot fit us in until mid January and in fact cannot even give us a date as they need confirmation material will be available.  From there we travelled the M4 and M5  Freeway systems and entered the longest tunnel we have ever travelled which brought us out beside Sydney Airport and near our destination of La Perouse where we surprised our friend Geoff C with our visit.

After lunch we drove to Gymea Bay to sister Bev and husband Pete’s house where we will park WWWGO for a few days while we sort ourselves out for Christmas visiting. The GPS directions took us, in my opinion, by the longest route along parts of the Princes Highway and via Tom Ugly’s Bridge over the Georges River.

Tom Ugly's Bridge over the Georges River.

Worthwhile historical information is here. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Uglys_Bridge

Wednesday 21st December

We drove to Wollongong today where we caught up with the CO-PILOT son, Errol, his wife Nicole and their daughter Amelia.

Thursday 22nd December

While the CO-PILOT  baked Gingerbread cookies, I drove to Wollongong and met up with a workmate and squash player mate from 25 years ago, Peter D and his wife Sharon. We caught up over coffee beside the delightful Wollongong Harbour. It was fun talking about old times, old workmates and new adventures.

In the evening we drove back to Gymea and our own bed in WWWGO.

Friday 23rd December

It was a lay day for us. Mostly catching up with our spread-sheet of expenses and enjoying some time with Bev.

Also… Yesterday afternoon the CO-PILOT was offered a 5 week nursing posting at a 12 bed hospital at Henty NSW. Although the offer is earlier than planned we have decided it will be an adventure as well as bringing in some valuable income. For a good part of the day the CO-PILOT was busy getting applications and declarations completed. She still has some inoculations to arrange but she starts work on 16th January.

For a look at what’s in store for us, have a look here,   http://henty.nsw.au/

Saturday 24th December

We left Bev n Pete’s house just on midday after a slow morning cleaning, packing and washing. We set up camp at the building site in Corrimal

WWWGO at the worksite of the house that Errol built. (Still building)

and went to a church service with Errol, Nicole, her mum Merrilyn and of course baby Amelia. Then it was back to their unit where we enjoyed a late dinner around a crowded table as Nicoles brothers, Greg

Nicole with brother Greg.

and Scott had arrived along with Scott’s Peruvian wife, Monica.

Scott and Monica

While the CO-PILOT, Nicole and Merrilyn went driving to look at Christmas lights I went back to WWWGO and caught the last half hour of the RockWiz Christmas Special on SBS Television.

Twas the night before Christmas

And all through the house

Not a creature was stirring

Not even a mouse

We are a good distance off the road here and there is no traffic noise, no hoon cars, no sound of doof doof car stereos. Just a few quiet neighbours in this little cul de sac.

Sunday 25th December Christmas Day

I trust that everybody had a happy and safe Christmas and will enjoy an equally safe and prosperous new year. I further trust all readers will practise sensible drinking over New Years Eve.

Another busy day in the life of a retired couple.

Huh! How can we be so busy?

Christmas morning we arrived at Errol’s

Nicole is 4 months pregnant. What is Errol's excuse?

unit for morning coffee and a couple of slices of cheesecake.

Merilyn with son, Greg.

After the opening of gifts, mainly for Amelia, we moved on to a turkey lunch.

Christmas lunch around a crowded table.

After lunch including with one beer, the CO-PILOT and I drove to Sydney to have dinner with Bev n Pete. They were not yet home when we arrived so we took a side trip to Cronulla beach

Cronulla Beach with a gusty uncomfortable noreasterly onshore wind blowing.

and then on to the birthplace of our nation, Kurnell on Botany Bay.

Entrance to National Park at Botany Bay. Although there are no signs indicating where this anchor came from. There is some inference that it was from the Barque Endeavour.

We visited the spot where a member of the Barque Endeavour skippered by the then Lieutenant James Cook, later Captain Cook, stepped ashore on Australian soil. That crew member was Midshipman Isaac Smith (a cousin of James Cook’s wife) who stepped ashore on 29thApril 1770. Within minutes some 40 other crew members had joined him and they were confronted by two indigenous males who made it clear by threatening spear actions, they were not pleased with the intrusion. After some spear throwing and musket shooting, the locals ran off into the bush and the rest, as they say, is history.

Monument to Captain James Cook at Kurnell landing site.

After walking around the area absorbing the ambience we drove back to Gymea and had dinner.

Donnis with Chris, son of Pete n Bev.

We decided after dinner, dessert and a couple of wines we would be better off staying the night.

In the coming week we will explore more of the Leisure Coast from Gymea Bay to Nowra.

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