Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Aussie! Aussie! Aussie!

So today is Australia Day, and like a good Australian should, I am proudly wearing a fake tatt on my shoulder. But then, we all are! Fluffy has his on his forearm and Dobby has hers in the middle of her forehead! I didn't bother asking for a pic, the fireworks such a simple request produces are not worth the hassle.

Anyway, what a week it has been. Busy busy preparing for our weekend away. Packing the van, shopping, dropping off keys to the neighbour to feed Roger. Plus, our hot water system died on the coldest night of the week! But a call to the landlord took are of that, bless him.

Plus, at work, our DME (Dimethyl Ether) gas plant has broken down and we have no stock and customers will not be happy with that at all. The boss is away at his beach house this week, and although he will be dealing with the back end of that I will be dealing with the disgruntled customers. Something to look forward to.

Our weekend away to Aldinga was nice though. It got off to a bad start because I was late home (after a brief wine tasting at work I was 5 minutes late packing up) and then I thought Fluffy knew the way as he had looked on the internet and said he did, but alas, it would appear he forgot so it got a bit tense while we got lost. Neither of us could remember the name of the road the park was on so we couldn't put it into the Sat Nav.

Anyway, we found it. Our site was a large one, much to the jealousy of the other campers. Too bad, I say. Fluffy had rang and asked for a larger site. We got one. Very nice! Saturday morning was the usual morning tea gathering, then we had lunch and headed off in a convoy of about 11 vehicles down to Silver Sands beach. As we didn't want to drive our car onto the beach we hitched a lift with others, and Dobby went with a friend of hers.

Because the Tour Down Under happened to be in Aldinga that weekend we had to take the long way round. We did get to see all the houses decked out with yellow balloons (they must have bought every yellow balloon in the shops!) and we finally made it onto the beach.

It was a lovely day for it, the water was warm, the sun was not too hot, and the company was great. The adults (most of them anyway) played against the kids in a game of touch footy, and poor Fluffy was a bit battle weary that night. However, I just sat around reading, as I do best. Oz liked the water though, for a change.

We came home, and cleaned up, then back to the group for happy hour. Drinks all round. Then dinner, and "social" at 7, which was 4 games set up with a time of 15 minutes each game. We played Celebrity Head, Twister, Smart Ass, and Charades. Quite fun when you got into it.

Sunday was morning tea, then a free day. We went for a drive and found the local shopping centre. Bought a few supplies and had a light lunch. Back to the park, and for Dobby, back to the pool with the girls. She got terrible burnt because after the beach Saturday she hit the pool again. Can't help herself that kid.

Happy hour again then a social gathering after dinner again.

As Monday was not a public holiday the club did not have anything planned, but they decided as a group to go to the beach again. As I had sustained a rather nasty painful burn to the back of my knees I didn't want to go, so the same friends who took us Saturday took Dobby Monday. Very nice of them to offer. We took old Ma (I shall call her) shopping and bought her lunch, and then Fluffy had a nap and I read. Very long, quiet afternoon as the others didn't return until 4pm. Again, Dobby hit the pool. We gathered informally, as large groups traveling together do, and then after dinner congregated to the common ground for more drinkies. Fluffy and I don't indulge much. He had a few beers over the weekend and a couple glasses of wine. I didn't have much more than a Pepsi Max.

The teenagers were going around offering everyone Australia flag tattoos, and the little kids were offering glo-sticks (I got a pink one to match my dress!) It was a fun night.

It was a great weekend, lovely and long, and relaxing, and a slow pack up this morning. The group generally manages to get a late check out, and we were on the road by 11.45 this morning, home by 12.30.

Unpacked the cold stuff, did the washing, and now veging out for the afternoon. As I write this Fluffy is in the hammock on the patio, Roger the cat is curled up on the floor, Oz is laying in the laundry in the cool, and Dobby is watching TV (instead of making a move on her room - can you hear the fireworks about to start?).

Time to go make sure she has everything ready to start school tomorrow morning, and make sure she makes a start on her room - its a bomb site at the moment! Wish me luck....

Monday, 18 January 2010

I will survive!

So I made it through the first week back at work. Didn't think I was going to. By Thursday I was ready for a break! Tuesday and Wednesday evenings I worked back, and Thursday I ended up working a little late too. Friday, however, I had to go early.

I was supposed to give blood, see. Planned it all out. Thursday night I had a headache but couldn't take anything for it or else I wouldn't be able to donate.

Then Dobby came to me with a spring off one of her braces. Great. So I phoned the after hours number and the doc said bring her down just before closing Friday. There went the blood donation. But it did mean I could take a headache tab.

Fluffy could have done it except he is back on day shift. Man, I hate day shift. It really cramps our lifestyle! Also, there was an incident at school Thursday that he wanted to sort out Friday. Apparently Dobby feels like she gets in trouble a lot at holiday (and after school) care. She hates it and doesn't like the director. This day, she and another girl had been sending eachother bits and pieces by bluetooth. The other kid asked for a particular thing, and when Dobby sent it, she went running to the teacher complaining that Dobby sent her offensive material. Mind, she had sent Dobby filthy material before that.

Anyway, the director flew off at Dobby and told her that phones were banned and it was all her fault. Fluffy wanted to go and speak to her to get her side of the story and to put forward the affirmation that Dobby had only sent the girl what she requested.

Turned out the girls mother was there too. Fluffy suggested she look at the girls phone because there was smut on there. She was quite shocked. All was sorted amicably and the director assured Fluffy that Dobby (being the eldest in care) is one of her favourites, and that she quite likes her. Fluffy suggested she work at establishing her relationship with Dobby then....

Meanwhile, I raced in earlier and grabbed Dobby and flew down to the dentist. When I phoned to tell them we were coming, they panicked as the dentist wanted to leave early. We had 15 minutes to get there (from work, via the school).

We did it in 20 and arrived at 4.37. We still didn't get in to see the dentist till just before 5 anyway... go figure....

KFC on the way home made it all better.

Saturday was a trip to Marion to spend my David Jones voucher. I wanted an eye make up pallette. I found one. Wasn't quite what I wanted but it will do. I also found a blow up bath pillow, which I had requested for Christmas. Found some cushions for Nan too but it turned out they were not what she wanted so I get to put those in the van.

Saturday afternoon was rather quiet. Did some work around the van and the house. Sunday we went to the video store to return some movies, and to Officeworks. $100 later! Man, that place is a bloody trap. Mind you, $57 of that was print cartridges...

Now, here I am, back at work, wishing it were Friday.

This Friday we are off to Aldinga for the long weekend....

Sunday, 10 January 2010

For your viewing pleasure

I have finally put up some pics. Most of you will see them on my Facebook Page, but here are some anyway.

Some of the rocks on the Great Ocean Road.

Hermione and Dobby on the Great Ocean Adventure.

Sorry it's on it's side, but this is the rainforest too at Ottway Fly, a huge walking platform set high in the treetops above this spectacular scenery.

Ottway National Park rainforest (aka Wally's dunny door)

Somewhere on the Great Ocean Road. Dobby took this pic.

Fluffy and I at Bay of Islands.

One of the lovely rock formations at Bay of Martyrs (I think).

12 Apostles. Looks a little different from my painting!

Family shot at Mt Gambier Blue Lake. A family was taking pics so I offered to take one of all of them, and they returned the favour.

Smile! At Mt Gambier.

The Blue Lake. This pic doesn't actually do it justice, it's a lot darker blue.

Cute little shop in the main street of Robe.

The beach at Robe, at the bottom end of the main street.

Big Lobster (or Crayfish, as I think they called it) at Kingston S.E.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Ain't it good...

... to be back home again, to quote the great John Denver.

Well, I think so. It's been a wonderful trip but man, it's GREAT to be home. I was really missing Dodge and I know Fluffy was pining for Ozzie too :-)

The second week of our Great Ocean Adventure was good too. A lot more relaxing, though.

Monday of week two saw us head to Mt Gambier. It was a short trip, just a couple of hours. We were on the road by 9.45, and after a detour through Portland, we arrived at Mt Gambier at lunch time. Funny thing, I wasn't paying attention to where we were headed, and we just naturally followed signs to Mt Gambier, but without knowing Fluffy wanted to go the coastal road, which meant actually travelling through Portland, not into and back out the way we came. Pity about that...

The caravan park was a Big 4, which you Aussies may know is a very highly respected group of 4 star parks. However, while this one was lovely, with a pool, several amenities blocks, and a play ground, it only had 2 washing machines for the whole park, and not nearly enough showers and toilets for the volume of guests.

Also, the sites were unmarked, and despite booking an ensuite site, which we had actually forgotten about, we were given a mud map of the park and told to find ourselves a spot. We followed all the other vans driving around in endless circles looking for a site.

We found a spot, which was under a large tree and quiet, with only two others campers on the block, got set up and then realised, no water. bugga! There was a tap across the way though, so we had to make do. I am terribly disappointed though, that had I remembered we had booked an ensuite site, I would have made bloody sure we actually got one! Let alone one without water at all!

Anyway, we also had a couple of issues with the girls at this place. A friend of Hermione's was there, and according to Nan, she was the least savoury of her mates. Turned out Nan was right, as there were issues.

The Blue Lake at Mt Gambier is quite different. To look at, it looks like a badly doctored photograph. The colour of the water looks so artificial that if I were to paint it, people would criticise the colour. When I put up photos tomorrow you will see what I mean. Hopefully.

The township if quite lovely though, and we spent lots of money (of course), plus checked out the Sink Hole again, although it would appear the possums have moved on.

Thursday saw us move on to Robe. We had a lovely little site at the end of the block, right near the main walkway to the beach. That meant a lot of foot traffic but in all it was quite a nice park. Extremely busy, with lots of campers crammed in together. The shower was like Grand Central Station at 10.30 at night! That was a shock! We took the girls for a walk along the beach after the heat of the day had diminished somewhat, and they collected shells. The next day we went for a look at Kingston, and I took a couple of photos around there. The highlight of that visit was a look at the Cape Jaffa Lighthouse, which is housed in Kingston. It used to be situated about 8km off the shore of Cape Jaffa, out in the ocean. The elderly gents who gave us the tour seemed to know what they were talking about and made it interesting.

This trip has been an eye opener in a lot of ways. It has made me realise what an awful child Dobby can be - rude, discourteous, and downright mean to name a few. The funny thing is that Hermione keeps forgiving her. Mind you, she is no angel either, and knows exactly which buttons to push. But I think they b0th enjoyed the trip, and next time we will make a few changes. For the most part though they tidied up after themselves, cleaned out the car after each trip, and packed up all their gear the night before leaving each place. And they washed up after dinner each night. I was quite pleased.

I promise tomorrow I will upload photos for you. Now, though, I am trying to get Dobby into the shower so I ca go soak in the tub. Night.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

On the road again...

...well, we will be tomorrow.

One week down of our Great Ocean Adventure and it's been interesting. The girls have had a few issues. Dobby is not the easiest person to get on with and Hermione is not used to bossy people I think (me included I guess - we do ask a lot of the girls and expect to be obeyed) but on the whole it's been great.

After an overnight stop at Horsham we arrived at Geelong (Belmont actually) via a sidetrip through Ballarat, on Sunday 27th. The gateway to the Great Ocean Road. The afternoon was spent doing nothing. Absolutely Nothing.

We did speak to the housesitter, though, as he had a couple of questions. Apparently Dodge is the coolest cat he has ever met (of course!) and Ozzie is just devine. Good to know they are in loving hands.

We spent Monday shopping locally at Geelong, where I found a Millers having a special (oh dear...) and we spent way too much money on nothing. No surprises there really.

Tuesday was our first day of the Great Ocean Road. We drove as far as Appollo Bay, and the journey from Anglesea to Lorne took so long due to an influx of people. *note to self - never do the Great Ocean Road around Christmas...*

The place was hugely packed. Dobby wasn't terribly impressed because the coastline is rather boring on that half of the road, however she was quite taken with the sheer cliffs and forest so close to the road. She received a camera for Christmas and it has gotten quite a work out!

She was also promised new shoes, which we would pay half of, but Appollo Bay didn't have what she was after so we stopped at the Surf World at Torquay on the way home. The trip there was an adventure in itself - we went the very, very long way round! But it was worth it!

We had $100 for a pair of shoes between us, and at Torquay we found Kustoms for $50, Pollys for $30 leaving enough over for a pair of Billabong thongs for Hermione. Everyone was happy.

Wednesday we ventured west to Warrnambool. Lovely spot. The park here is tiny and terribly expensive but it's on the main road and our neighbours are great. Very funny couple.

We had a look around at the waterfront and grabbed fish and chips for dinner and ate it on the promenade.

Thursday was so much fun. We decided to do the Otway Fly air walk, up in the rain forest. We had planned to also do the Cape Ottoway Light Station, but circumstance dictated we change our plans.

See, apparently, Dobby cannot watch DVDs on winding roads. Up came the spaghetti she had for breakfast, and all we had to clean it up with were an old sheet, the dog's car seat blanket, and a packet of Wet Ones. We did okay though, but her poor new Polly shoes took the brunt of it.

She was okay after that, and it wasn't far from the Otway Fly, so we did that. Its a walkway set high up in the tree tops above the rain forest. Extremely hot and sticky day we picked for it too but it was well worth it.

After that we stopped at the 12 Apostles. I didn't get as good photos this time as previously but still, I did get some good ones.

Friday was New Years Day. After the predictable sleepless night, we decided to explore around the township of Warrnambool. Quite pleasant it was too, with a lot of little shops open. I found some great clothing bargains and myself and the girls were the beneficiaries of that. Poor Fluffy missed out. Again... :-(

Saturday was wet and windy, and after the heat of the last two days, quite a shock to the system. We didn't really pack winter clothes so poor Dobby only had one light jacket.

We ventured back to town for a quick look around, and at the local shopping mall, which is actually quite large, Fluffy bought Dobby a new hoodie jacket. However, not long after she put it on, the zipper disintegrated. She was devastated.

Today, Sunday, we took the jacket back and they swapped it no problem. Then we headed off for day 3 of the Great Ocean Road. We checked out Bay of Islands, Bay of Martyrs, and London Bridge. I got some great photos today though. Will post when we get home.

We also stopped at Port Campbell, where there was a market set up. Picked up a few bits and pieces and headed back to Warrnambool. On the way back we stopped at Cheeseworld, the Warrnambool Cheese Factory. I spent a heap of money on cheese and other stuff. Also, Fluffy and Dobby bought me black plush kitten, which Hermione has said is my Van Dodge.

Slow afternoon, and then dinner at a local bistro called Maceys. Highly recommended.

Anyway, tomorrow we head off for 3 nights at Mt Gambier, then two nights at Robe, then HOME! I am really looking forward to seeing Dodge and Ozzie again. Can't wait!

I'll check in again soon!