Monday 26th March
A quiet day of home duties.
The sun is out, the cold front has moved somewhere else but has given warning winter is not far away.
The CO-PILOT contract with Henty hospital was completed yesterday. Our original plan was to pack up and leave today. The CO-PILOT accepted an extension until 22nd April.
The day was warm enough to be in shorts n T-shirt. I masking taped up our bull bar. The back section of the bar was once black but over the last few years it has faded to a grey. Once masked up I painted it a nice healthy black again. It looks so good I decided to paint inside our hot water system which has some aluminium and some steel parts beginning to show rust spots. I cleaned up the metal and painted it black.
Hmmm! The bull bar and the HWS both look good painted black. What else can I paint? The retractable step looks a bit faded. Tick. The rear bumper bar looks faded. Tick. The Hayman Reese Tow Hitch looks faded. Tick. The Hayman Reese Hitch on the TERIOS looks faded. Tick. By the time I mask up I realise my careful planning was for nought. I do not have any turps to clean the brush and the bristles had already begun to harden. So the job has been put off until another day when I have turps and get a couple of spare brushes.
The wheel rims look a little jaded. Perhaps I should get some silver paint and spruce them up while I am in a painting mood!
Tuesday 27th March
As long term and astute readers will be aware, we do not often share our plans for the future. Even for the next day. The reason for not sharing our plans is as per the Robbie Burns poem, “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft agley.” (The best laid schemes of mice and men / Often go awry.)
The writer John Steinbeck picked up the theme and wrote his novel, Of Mice and Men, in 1937.
But, I digress.
Simply, telling our plans for tomorrow, next week, next month, next year, is a fruitless exercise and one which means I will have to post an explanation why the planned event did not take place. It is OK for us to make plans, then as they are affected by outside influences, we adapt to those changes. Today was a case in point. After working nine straight days, the CO-PILOT was looking forward to a day off on Wednesday. We planned to go to Albury, take in a movie, do a grocery shop, have dinner in town and then head home in the later evening. All planned, agreed by both of us. This morning the Director of Nursing called, in desperate need of somebody to do an evening shift on Wednesday. Another nurse was taken ill and was in Wagga Wagga hospital. Of course the CO-PILOT agreed. Adapting quickly to change, our new plan is for me to drive to Lavington, near Albury and do the grocery shopping and check WOW to see if their computer prices have dropped enough to buy one. Then I have to be back at Culcairn by midday so Donnis can take the new shift.
Unless, of course, nothing else happens in the meantime.
Of course we also subscribe to the universe influencing us. As has happened so many times we have a vague idea of a number of plan choices. The universe will usually decide and let us know in an appropriate time frame.
Wednesday 28th March
The universe allowed us to have the day as planned. Of course that was the revised, alternate plan after the universe tossed a Spaniard in the Works (now if you do not know what the Spaniard means, you need to do some Google research on the life of John Lennon.
Again I digress.
I went to Lavington, did the grocery shopping and was home by 11.30. I have been wondering all day if I have done the right thing.
You see, I bought a computer, (notebook actually) just as I threatened a couple of posts ago. I was waiting for the closing down price at WOW to get to an acceptable amount. As it turns out I bought the next model up because it has a faster processor. It was the last one in a box. I spent the entire afternoon downloading, uploading and transferring programs and data so it is a smaller version of the laptop. I am wondering if I did the right thing because the Note Book comes loaded with Windows 7 Starter Pack. What the starter pack does is remove access to lots of tweaky sort of stuff normally available on Windows 7 Home for example.
The screen background cannot be changed so you always have the Windows background. There is no screen saver. I can live without both. If I want them it is a simple matter of upgrading.
The cost is $140.
Office is not included. That means WORD, EXCEL, OUTLOOK, POWER POINT and several other things are not available. I use WORD and EXCEL daily so it would be handy to have them. Microsoft in their generosity build office, including WORD and EXCEL, into the program and it can be unlocked with certain conditions. WORD for example does not fill the whole screen. EXCEL is the same. A panel to the right is used for Microsoft advertising about upgrades and other products. I can live with that but it is a nuisance. I do not need OUTLOOK or POWERPOINT.
If I also want the Office upgrade it is $140
Surprisingly the Note Book is about the same size as the iPad but somewhat thicker and only a little heavier. Like the iPad you can watch a movie for example by downloading from the web OR in our case it is set up as part of a home Network and files can be viewed from the laptop or downloaded from it. We can also watch movies stored on a USB device. That is something the iPad cannot do.
The CO-PILOT will use it for surfing the web, facebook, skype, email and storing and viewing photos and it can do all those easily – provided we have internet access of course. It is equipped with WiFi and Bluetooth.
After that review I think I have done the right thing.
Oh, for an extra $17 I bought a kit which includes a cooling pad, mouse, card reader, USB hub (much needed as the Note Book only has two USB ports) lock, mousepad, cleaning solution and cloth and a cleaning brush.
Thursday 29th March
Whew! It was a long day starting at 6am and we did not get home until 9.30pm.
The CO-PILOT had a Stroke Management course to attend in Albury so I drove her and spent the day wandering around. If you have never been to Albury what are you waiting for? I like the town. It is a long way from the coast but it has a lot going for it. In the morning I went to the town park. In fact it is a series of parks, Oddies Creek Park, Australia Park, Noreull Park, Hovel Tree Park, Albury Sports Ground, Mates Park, Aquatic Centre and Padman Park. All are joined by roads and bridges and footpaths and footbridges and follow the Murray River.
Across the street from the Aquatic Centre are the Botanical Gardens and they are a worthwhile place to visit.
Oddies Creek Park has the biggest, most fabulous, fun, exciting, adventurous children’s playground
which includes a gasp, flying fox! Geez I would have loved one of those when I was a kid.
Hovel Tree Park has the umm err Hovel Tree.
The two explorers Hume and Hovel ended theire epic voyage at this location. Both inscribed trees with their names and a date. The tree inscribed by Hume burned down a few years later.
Nearby is the community Wood Fired Oven. These are so popular a second oven was built.
Every second Sunday the public are invited to bring their bread or cake mixtures or pizza and use the oven for baking. It produces great food and great family days out.
I then went to the art gallery and viewed the sketches by the famed artist Russel Drysdale. From there I walked to the huge footbridge which spans several railway tracks and four lanes of expressway.
From there I walked to the Albury Railway Station
to view the wonderful architecture of this landmark building.
In the evening we attended a lecture on Science of Anomalistic Phenomena (S.O.A.P.) at the University. The presentation and wine and finger food afterwards was sponsored by The Australian Skeptics Inc. The presenters stepped on a few toes and ruffled few feathers by telling the audience that people who believe in ghosts and galactic visitors and such like have closed minds wheareas the skeptics who do not believe, have open minds. The audience was an eclectic mix of SOAP supporters, spiritual types, mediums, haunted people and others looking for answers or a chance to have an argument. One uni student came because she thought it was a global warming rally!
Friday 30th March
The problem with buying a computer off the shelf, in a closing down sale, is that there are no updates included. Normally the store would set-up the computer including updates. Of course I needed to do that myself and realised when shutting down after the first set up session, there were 74 Windows/Microsoft updates which were due.
UhOh. Those updates used up all my remaining 1 Gb of internet download monthly allowance. I now have to wait until 4th April before the cycle begins again. We can use the iPad of course as it still has almost 1Gb of allowance to be used but the iPad is limited in what it can do.
Today I started scrubbing and Armour All ing all the external plastic on WWWGO. Over the years the plastic has taken on a dull grey appearance. As I cleaned and scrubbed and polished one section I noted another which needed attention. When I cleaned that I noticed more plastic. What started out as a quick job has taken up most of my day and there is still some to be finished tomorrow.
Saturday 31st March
Daylight Savings madness finishes tomorrow in NSW and those other states with no consideration for others. Yay. When we wake in the morning it will be real time again and I can talk with family in Qld as our times will mesh once more.
Finished the Armour All on the plastic.
Finished painting black metal parts…black.
Finished three wheel rims before calling it a day. The final rim is in full sun and it is just too hot to work there.
Sunday 1st April.
The CO-PILOT had a day off so we did a 250 Klm loop drive to Albury, crossed the border into Victoria to Rutherglen the great wine producing region.
We stopped and walked around this historical and largely Heritage listed town.
Some of the sights we saw around Rutherglen include;
The first Post Office was built in 1860. The street of shops is about two blocks long but it seemed every third shop was an eatery of some sort. A good thing there is because we found a bakery, Valentines which makes a sourdough rye loaf. They use a genuine sourdough starter which is now 21 years old. They use a piece of the starter in every loaf, feed the starter with flour water and yeast and put it back in the fridge to continue fermenting. The proof is in the quality of their sourdough bread. We have now found two bakeries which use this method.
In our drives around many regions in three states of Australia, we are overwhelmed by the number of wineries we encounter. Far too many to visit so we do not visit. Except when hunger and craving a nice wine with lunch.
From Rutherglen we continued on to the town of Yarrawonga and were once again amazed at the huge scale of homes being built around Lake Mulwala, a lake formed by yet another dam on the Murray River. Our destination was on the NSW side of the Murray at the sister town of Mulwala. There are two crossings over the Murray. One is over a quirky bridge with a strange undulating approach then over a dogleg bridge to the other side.