Monday, 8 March 2010

Port Broughton...

...Sure brought on the wild weather!

We didn't get away until 4.30 Friday afternoon, and Port Broughton is on the Yorke Peninsula, so we had a 2 hour trip ahead of us. Add to this equation Peak Hour traffic, Plus Long Weekend... and you have our trip. Stop. Start. We arrived about 7.15pm, after a quick pie along the way while Fluffy adjusted the tow hitch.

Anyway, it was windy as all heck when we arrived. Adelaide had been forecast showers starting Friday night, and through to Sunday morning. Those who arrived earlier in the day were assured by the local yokels that it wouldn't rain up there.

So it was windy. We got everything set up quickly, despite the wind, and Dobby promptly disappeared with her friends. One was going to sleep over Friday night but wasn't feeling well so Dobby stayed alone. But it's always good when we get together. The group dynamics have changed, with a lot more younger people joining and a few of the older members not coming as much. And so many of us have children.

As always we sat around chatting all evening until late. Again.

It continued to blow throughout the night on Friday, and Fluffy had wandered off to socialise so didn't put the legs down on the van. I swear, it was like being on a boat on the ocean! What a ride!

Anyway, Saturday a few of us wanted to go to the trash and treasure at the local scout hall, plus check out some garage sales. Fluffy didn't want to go, and Dobby was at the pool, so I tagged along with a couple, I will name Flo and Jim. They had brought along Flo's daughter and Jim's son and daughter. Dobby spent most of the weekend playing with them. Perhaps I shouldn't say playing, teens don't "play", they "hang..."

Our first stop was the Trash and Treasure. Lots of trash, extremely little treasure. I did buy two small wine glasses for Fluffy, two tumblers with gold leaf design for me (make good Baily's and Milk glasses), plus some mulberry jam and tomato chutney (note to self - remember to get those out of the van...).

Next stop was a garage sale where I found Pop's father's day gift - an old Kodak camera still in it's box, including film and batteries! Guess how much! 50c! plus some candles... Next stop was in town, at a local stall and I found a little cow money box for Dobby, similar to one she already has. Plus Jim found another Kodak disc camera in a battered old leather case. $5 that time. Next garage sale I found a hand made patchwork bedspread and bed surround for the van for $8. Almost perfect fit, too!

Anyway, we got home and the kids had Kids Club, where they were given a list of things to find and stickers to collect. Things like The Man With The Swiss Army Van. Fluffy. Wearing Their Partner's Name Tag - Fluffy and I had swapped. Stuff like that. Kept them busy for a while.

Anyway, after this it poured down rain. I mean poured! We had seen it come in, but didn't expect quite that!

A bit later Flo and I took the dog for a walk along the beach (he won't do his business close to the van) and we commented on the impressive storm fronts that we could see building around us. Not long after we went back, Dobby came back from the pool with her friends, one of whom decided to go up with Dobby for a shower. No sooner had she walked around the corner of her van and the storm hit. It was that quick! She raced under our cover and I sent them inside. She even dropped her shower gel but I wouldn't let her go back and get it. It poured!

Then it hailed! Only pea-sized, but it pelted down! Fluffy and I were standing outside the van door watching it, and as I was getting wet I stepped around him and up into the van, and suddenly CRACK! The awning collapsed! The wind was so strong it snapped the awning off the wall of the van, and as a result the barrel of the awning snapped off the other leg. The whole thing collapsed around Fluffy. Then the flood came!

The storm lasted about ten minutes, but afterward, when people started emerging, the drains had blocked and the entire area was under water. There is no grass on the back of this park so it was all mud and silt. Our site was ankle deep before it finally receded. Fluffy and I inspected the damage. Oh shit.

And do you know, others in the club came to check on each other, as they do, and the amount of people that surrounded our site and helped lash down our awning was humbling. Practically every guy (in fact, I think every guy and a lot of the women) came to help out. We went from a double awning covering a huge area to a single half-rolled up awning barely big enough to house the table and chairs.
The collapsed awning - it has dropped because it tore from the other wall, and here it has snapped from the support arm. See the hail?

Poor Ozzie's bed is full of water and hail.

Jonesy helps hold the remaining arm while Nigel ties it into place.

Fluffy ties the existing support to the ground while some members hold it steady for him.

This is where the arm actually snapped off the wall. The awning blew back over the van, which is why the other end of the barrel snapped off the support arm.

This is all the rubbish left by the rain. Fluffy has tied the remaining arm in place and is picking up all the supports that were spread around. We found ropes out on the road, and never found the velcro anti flap straps or velcro bands that hold the arms agains the side of the van when traveling. The barrel end of the awning here is only tied to the support arm now, as this is where it snapped.

But you know what? Dobby's tent didn't flinch. And apart from a tiny area in the front the size of a shoe, it didn't get wet. I was very impressed!

One caravan suffered a hole in the side from a flying table leg. This was a brand new van on it's maiden voyage too. Another site lost their brand new pergola, which I later saw twisted and bent dumped outside the camp kitchen. And the poor lass behind us was in a tent suffered very wet sleeping bags from the flood. I believe the dryer sorted those out okay though.

We were to have fish and chips supplied by the club for dinner that night, and after lashing down the remains of the awning as best we could, we all headed off to the local RSL hall. We had to bring a salad too, and although I really didn't feel like going, I did. And I am glad I did. After dinner Dobby's friend from the next van thought she might like to try sleeping over again. She did. They had fun.

Saturday night brought more strong winds and showers. In fact, it rained almost all night, sudden, heavy showers. Scary.

Sunday Dobby hit the pool again, and Fluffy and I decided to walk into town. We stopped at the bakery for lunch, and the dog enjoyed his sausage rolls. Up to that little stall again and I bought a honey log cake (just finished a piece, very nice). Back to the park for a rest. We were going to pull down the remains of the awning but I suggested we wait. It did serve as some protection, and with more storm fronts floating about I didn't want to leave us too exposed.

Later in the afternoon we took the dog for a long walk again. Most of the men decided to go fishing, but Flo stayed behind to plan the evening's Social activities, so Dobby hung with her kids. We enjoyed our leisurely stroll by ourselves (with the dog). We could see this storm building, and by the time we got back it was quite overhead. Nothing happened though, but it was pending...

As you can see...

After dinner we met at the RSL hall again for games. It ended up being quite fun. We were divided into 4 teams, ABC & D. We played games like carrying the balloon between your knees, picking up lifesavers with a straw, musical chairs (I got down to me and 4 others before I got out, and 3 of the others were from the one family! What a cack that was! Mum pushed dad off the chair to claim the crown). We had supper then came home. When we emerged we discovered it had poured during our games.

Sunday night was more wind. And because the awning was roughly attached to the van and not as stable as it should have been we were pulled in all directions. Fun!

This morning we got up, had hardly anything to put away, so we took our time. Dobby helped me do the tent, and a few of the boys helped Fluffy and I wind up the awning, then disconnect it from the side of the van. It then got put inside the van and the remaining let cable tied to the side of the van. We were on the road by 11.

Now, we are home, I have done two loads of washing (although it's windy and cloudy outside so they won't dry) and Fluffy has gone to bed. He is working tonight poor thing. We are having bacon and eggs for dinner, cause I don't want to cook! Easy! lol!


Chris H said...

What a weekend! I hope you didnt' all come home like drowned rats!

Anonymous said...

Jez, never a dull moment on your caravanning trips! Lucky you didn't cop the Melbourne storm! Good pressie for your dad. Mum still has her kodak box brownie she got for her 21st 54 years ago!love rat.

Anonymous said...

glad everyone ok. shopping sounded fun. love wally

SOL's view said...

So much excitement! All that mulberry jam! *jealous* Mulberry jam. Rosella jam. My faves and you can't get them except in some local stall....