January 2010

Happy New Year, again. We have spent the day cruising past Points of Interest on the CMCA’s GeoWiki website.

The “caravan park” is just fantastic, and we had it almost all to ourselves. The dogs went for several runs, with Angel pouncing around with no particular plan in mind. Come to think of it, we don’t think there’s much in that mind at all! She’d go pouncing up to Kelly and suddenly realise, “Oh, I’m supposed to follow you, right?” She may be “dumber than a box of rocks” as Julie so eloquently puts it, but she is definitely entertaining.

The castle in the photo is called “Iandra” and that’s about all we know about it.

We have finally found a place to put the FIDDAMAN door knocker that April & Mike gave us.

Saturday, we cruised over to Canowindra (pronounced Canoundra) and on to Carcoar for a lunch break at the showground, then on to Blayney to find the dump point and empty the black tank. More GeoWiki locations to be updated when I can next get online. Our planned destination was Abercrombie Caves, but at the turnoff, we discovered that because it’s in a nature reserve, pets are not allowed, so we kept going. Just prior to that, we had seen a sign advertising the free camping at Tuena and thought we would give that a go. What a great decision. We are positioned about 20 feet from the river, surrounded by trees and the sounds of cicadas. Julie calls them “kati-dids”. Go figure!

Poor Kelly. He knew that I needed to be rescued, but couldn’t quite figure out how to do that.

We have realised that when we are on the road, we are definitely far more relaxed than when we are at home. We sleep in until we feel like waking up, rather than lying in bed waiting for the alarm to go off. We have coffee and just sit and watch whatever is going on outside. And then we get moving when we feel like it. It took quite a while to climb our way up out of the Abercrombie River valley on our last day of “freedom”. Usually on the steep hills, I just whack the 4-way flashers on, to indicate that we are slow moving traffic, and grind on up in second gear. Likewise on dirt roads, we proceed slowly so as to protect the front suspension as much as possible from potholes and corrugations. At Crookwell, we opted for the “main road” route home through Goulburn, rather than the “shortest distance” route through Gunning. And then, a short way out of Goulburn on the Hume Highway, we passed a trio of hitch-hikers. I figured it was time for us to do our good deed for the day, so we turned around at the next available crossover, went back to the Goulburn turnoff and approached them for the second time. The looks on their faces when they realised that we were stopping for them, and not going into the rest area, was precious.

Byron from Canada, Steve from Holland and Fanny from Sweden turned out to be lovely young people and we took them home with us.

Our spare bed and couch must have been very comfortable, because they REALLY slept in the next morning, before Tim took them out for a tour of some of Canberra’s highlights. They stayed another night before I delivered them (in the bus, it’s the only vehicle we have that’s big enough to fit all their gear) on the highway towards Melbourne. Surprisingly, they made it to Melbourne that same day. Since then, it’s been kinda quiet around here.

The following weekend was time to start on clearing out the study, which has recently been looking like the junk room, so that we can better utilise some of the storage space in there and Eemeli will have somewhere to study, as his bedroom is not big enough for much more than the queen size bed that is already in there. At least now we can see the floor in there, several items were identified as being useful in the bus, others were earmarked for sale via eBay and the rest is going “out”. Then during the week, Lawrence from unit 1 came over as arranged and attacked the potato plant growing over the street gate, that looked so “charming” when we moved in and has since threatened to take over that whole corner of the garden. We now have light in that end of the courtyard. He also savaged the weeds in the back garden and even before he has finished, it already looks soooo much better.

We are now off for the weekend to Taralga, staying at the showground with the local Chapter of the CMCA, many of whom we are meeting for the first time. By comparison with many of the motorhomes here, ours is a palace. The Saturday activity was a historical tour of Taralga, including the privately restored front office of what used to be the local Westpac Bank. Some beautiful really old stuff in there.

We were all about to go to dinner and it started bucketing rain, so everyone piled in, and the bus became a bus again for a while.

The end of the month already and I’m sitting here with a bit of quiet time before Eemeli arrives. We have certainly packed it in during the last 2 weeks, getting both the study (aka used to be the junk room) and Eemeli’s bedroom ready. We filled the recycle bin with so many cardboard boxes that we had to wait until the next 2-weekly cycle until we could more our normal load in it. The first big step was that we could see the floor again! Then there was a major sorting and at least putting away in the filing cabinet, all of the papers that had been laying around in piles. Still have to file everything properly, but at least they too are now off the floor. Then a total re-organise of the storage space in both rooms, not to mention (only) 2 boxes of stuff to go to the Salvos. Two weeks later, including the Australia Day “long” weekend (the holiday was the Tuesday, so I took the Monday off as well), the rooms were ready.

Meanwhile, I acquired a second hand (much smaller and lighter) laptop from a work colleague in Townsville and have spent most of this week backing up and moving hardware around, so that Eemeli has a fully functional laptop to work on. 2010, here we come!

Later, his family supplied us with pictures of his preparation in Finland.

Here he is arriving at Canberra airport.

And a nice young man he is. We have checked out the kangaroos at Government House, gone through his subject choices for school, enjoyed dinner with Tim & Lily, and he is now chilling out in front of the TV brought over from Tim’s place, watching the tennis, while we do our stuff on computers.