Monday 15th September
…and so begins the first week in our new home.
Unpacking continues slowly. There is still not enough space in the garage to fit either car. Today we managed to free up enough space to move the two steel cabinets into the multi- purpose room behind the garage. In turn this allowed us to get many of the smaller items off the floor and into the shelves so we can reach other items and begin putting “stuff” away.
Tuesday 16th September
Unpacking and putting away continues and will do so for some days to come but at least the initial overwhelming scope of the task has diminished.
Donnis has managed to have a swim in our heated pool yesterday and today. We took a walk to Treasure Island and sorted out our site agreement. The giant caravan park has a Treasure Island, Pirate and Adventure theme activities for children (and adults) to enjoy. There are so many things to do in the park that many families arrive and just stay in the park until it is time to go home. As tenants of our village we are entitled to use the facilities when we have visitors. We then walked to Centrelink to re-register for my pension. We also managed a walk across the road to Harbourtown Shopping Centre to get a few groceries. Late in the afternoon we sorted enough “stuff” to make space for TERIOS in the garage.
Tomorrow I have to leave Donnis for at least three days, perhaps four to cope with day to day unpacking and sorting while I travel to Armidale over the border in New South Wales to attend court as a character witness.
Wednesday 17th September
Today I travelled the number 1 highway over the border into New South Wales as far as Ballina where I turned west onto the Bruxner Highway through Lismore, Casino, the historic town of Tabulum and on to Tenterfield where I turned south on the New England Highway to Armidale. The town of Tabulum is quite small but has a very old and rickety one lane timber bridge over the Clarence River. The bridge was built in 1902 and still carries all the traffic from the coast to Tenterfield. Have look at the history and some photographs here. https://www.google.com.au/search?q=tabulam+bridge&es_sm=122&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=oHEdVI7GOcOC8gXo9ICoDA&ved=0CCEQsAQ and https://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=5&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CC8QFjAE&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.northernstar.com.au%2Fnews%2Fthe-fight-to-save-the-tabulam-bridge%2F1981771%2F&ei=oHEdVI7GOcOC8gXo9ICoDA&usg=AFQjCNF9Lb26IzeotoneWgBibOhtylQh7A&sig2=4BIc1s17I3KcQBG-Bu6y1A&bvm=bv.75775273,d.dGc
About 20Klm south of the little town of Deepwater I heard a siren and saw flashing lights in my rear view mirror. As I was sitting on the speed limit I pulled to the side to allow the Police to pass.
He was not passing. He was pulling me over!!! WTF!!! The Police officer approached me and asked for my licence. Uh huh. Can do. He then told me he was doing a Random Breath Test!
Huh! A random breath test In the middle of %#@*ing nowhere!!! No officer I have not had a drink today. I passed the test. He thanked me for my co-operation, wished me a safe journey and went back to the patrol car. WTF was that all about??? Later young Gavin explained that my Queensland plates probably caught his attention. Why would you pull up individual cars for a random Breath Test? Surely he would capture more drink drivers by having a roadside breath test station and stopping ten or more cars at a time? Having the flashing lights and siren almost gave me a heart attack!
Once I arrived in Armidale late in the afternoon and opened the car door the cold hit me like a blast from a cool room. Wow! I had forgotten how cold it can be here compared to the coast. It is Spring after all!
Thursday 18th September.
Without providing any personal information I will comment on the bare reasons why I am in Armidale. I am here to provide a character reference for a friend who has been charged with a criminal offence. We spent most of the day sitting and or pacing the waiting area in the new Armidale courthouse. The case was in a Closed Court which means until we enter the courtroom as a witness or character reference we are not allowed to watch and or listen to anything presented. The main door to the courtroom has a narrow glass panel where we could look into the room and see some of the players including the person giving evidence on a closed circuit TV. Obviously the person was in another room somewhere in the building. We could not hear anything but once while peering through the glass panel the Sheriff came around the corner and said we are not allowed to watch proceedings and to move away from the door. This did not stop other persons such as a detective and other witnesses from coming and looking – after first checking for where the Sheriff was. located.
A long and boring day was had by all but at least it was an opportunity to talk with people I know.
Friday 19th September
Another day at court. The other character witness (he is also a character in his own right) and I fully expected to be called in the morning. By lunchtime neither of us had been called. After lunch the prosecution witnesses were called and by almost days end the other character witness was called. At that stage the judge called a halt to the proceedings and declared next sitting would be the last week of October and I was left standing and feeling like a Shag on a rock – hung out to dry. The defence barrister advised he will try to get my statement issued via an affidavit to save another trip next month.
Saturday 20th September.
At this point I feel I can mention I stayed at the White Lanterns Motel in Armidale. A motel which looks nice on the outside but the cleanliness leaves a lot toi be desired. It seems the relief manager is a one man band of front desk, cleaner, cook and general repair man. Frankly he is falling behind on most of those jobs.
Another long drive back to the Gold Coast. The route I had taken was a reverse of the one taken to arrive in Armidale. I should mention that the journey between Tenterfield and Casino involves travelling over the Great Dividing Range. Part of the trip is a 34 Klm stretch of up and down and around corners which has speed limits of 35Klm per hour and seems to be the longest slowest part of the trip. Today the traffic over the bridge at Tabulum involved stopping in queue at one end while traffic came from the other end. It is a good thing I was not still living in Airlie Beach as I would have had at least two, perhaps three, plane trips each way. It was so nice being back in my new home in my old familiar bed and let the tension of the last few days and the long drive home ease out of my mind and body.
Sunday 21st September
We visited the giant Ikea store located about 40 Klm along the motorway towards Brisbane. If you have never been to an Ikea Store it is sort of like being trapped in a maze. The maze is so well designed to pull you away from the main route – which is marked by a lighted arrow on the floor – to explore room designs Ikea also put a cafeteria at the beginning and or end of the maze to encourage you to stop and eat to recover from your ordeal.
Afterwards we drove to visit Regelyn and son Chris who agreed to come and stay with us for a few days.
Hmmm! All unpacking has come to a grinding halt and no further unpacking will occur until after Chris goes home.