Monday, 28 February 2011

Say Bye Bye

Sorry, I totally forgot. With my addled head I totally missed the one big thing that happened this week.

We bought her in November 2001, and sold her in February 2011. She did us proud, saw a lot of the countryside, but it's time to let go.

Yes, she's gone. We are now vanless. For a few weeks anyway.

Wave bye bye now...


....I don't really have a blog for you this week. That is, I have a head cold and can't really think of anything worth writing about.

I didn't get the camera out all week so I don't have photos to upload. I was way too busy over the weekend to do my homework, although I was eager to try.

About the only exciting thing that happened was that Fluffy and I went to the Caravan and Camping, and Outdoor Show on Saturday. We knew we wanted to buy things for the new van, and we knew it was going to be expensive, so getting them at the show while on "special" made sense.

We bought a roll up flat sullage hose, roll up flat mains water hose, and caravan cover. Those were the big expensive items. Plus a couple of little gadgets, like a solar light for Dobby for the tent, and poles to replace the old awning props for our extended awning when we use it.

Yesterday Dobby was supposed to clean her room. Her bed is falling apart and needs to be tightened but of course Fluffy can't get anywhere near it. Yesterday, while she was supposed to be doing that she sat on the bed and "snap". It has broken so she can't sleep on it. And, she didn't clean her room.

I spent the day trying to get rid of the last of this stuff. Dobby has been putting clothes out all day for the laundry. Yesterday she put out three loads, today there is another two. Most of what she put out for today's was clean so I folded it and put it away, but there is still 5 loads of laundry. And I am not surprised because she hasn't put clothes in the wash for weeks. Despite my nagging...

I did manage to change the bed linen, do all that washing including my big frog blanket (although it's really too big for the machine and it won't spin it - and it weighs a ton wet!) I packed up stuff for the second hand shop, and moved stuff from the bedroom floor. sometime this morning I need now to vacuum.

And if I didn't have to go to work today I sure wouldn't. I feel like death warmed over. But, there is no one there to do my job so what choice do I have? Sometimes I hate my job...

Anyway, hopefully next week's blog will be a little more exciting. I just seem at the moment to be on an endless cycle of work, chores, sleep, work, chores, sleep. With nothing in between. So, I'll try take some pictures through the week to upload.

Oh, one I do have but haven't uploaded yet is the fabric we are getting in the new van. It's sweet. Seeing it again gave us a better idea of the decor in the van. However, the new 2011 colour for curtains and quilts leaves a bit to be desired. Last year was a lovely light cream neutral colour. This one is like a pale olive/grey colour. Not at all what I exected. I don't like it at all with our "happy fabric" but what choice to I have? Anyway, have to rethink the colour for the bed sheets etc.

Well, off to put the first load of washing in the machine. Thank God the mowers come today. Last time they cut the grass so short it almost died, now in 4 weeks it's a foot tall in places. Up near the house is so long you can't find anything in it, and down the back is crackling under foot from the heat. Stupid grass....

Monday, 21 February 2011

So I thought I had better....

...get my act together and update. I know, I usually do this on the weekend. But this weekend was a total write off.

See, last week was fantastic. I only had to work 2 days. As did Fluffy. And Dobby only had 2 days of school.

As it was school camp last week Fluffy and I decided we needed some time out. So I organised for us to go up to the Barossa Valley for a couple of days. Last year I purchased a voucher (well, paid some of it, with the rest to be paid when we used it), to The Vineyards Motel, with a complementary bottle of wine on arrival. What better time to use it!

We had the van on sale, and on Monday evening some people came to have a look at it. Tuesday they came back with an offer, and we accepted it. So we could afford to relax for a couple of days.

Wednesday we got Dobby off to the school bus, waved goodbye, then back home for a quick clean up, pack up the car, and we were off. The weather was lovely - mid twenties, patchy cloud but nothing serious.

We took the Ford up for a drive. Fluffy decided that as a highway vehicle it will do quite nicely.

When we got up to the motel, our hearts sank.

This is it here....

The Vineyards

Looks lovely, doesn't it? Let me tell you something. It wasn't. I didn't even think to take photos. I don't know where the photo of the bedroom was taken, but it wasn't our room. The pool area was overgrown with weeds and the furniture was old and beaten up.

Our room was toward the end of the right hand row, and the little garden beds outside the room had dead plants in them, or none at all. The room was dark and gloomy, with an old paisly burgundy carpet straight out of the 70s. The bed head was a padded brown number, and the bedspread was an old thing too. But the furniture was odd. Beside our bed, under the window, was an aluminium and glass outdoor setting, quite nice. The desk to the front of the room was old, chipped and marked and painted cream. There was a fridge, a cupboard with an ironing board and iron, extra pillows. There was a plastic cake tray which housed 3 tiny tea cups, 3 saucers, 3 little glasses, and 2 teaspoons. Tiny little canisters housed about 4 sachets of sugar, 3 of coffee and 3 teabags. The kettle and microwave looked new, but what would you use the microwave for? There was no crockery or cutlery... Oh, and toaster looked fairly new too.

Beside all this was an old ceramic sink set into the bench, above which was an old brown non-working airconditioner. A new reverse cycle number was under the sink. Well, it was new about ten years ago. It rattled and clunked away through the night...

The bathroom had an old standard door like we have here at home. It housed a toilet and shower, with only the tiniest little shelf under the mirror. No basin...

The first day we were there, we couldn't find a teatowel, dishcloth, or handtowel. The second day a teatowel and wash cloth appeared...

To make it 4 star, they had put half a dozen cans of softdrink into the fridge, and a hairdryer in the cupboard. Now, if only they could paint the cupboard, change the floor covering, update the bed clothes...

But, well, we were there. Breakfast was provided each day so we had cereal, toast and coffee/tea.

On Wednesday afternoon we wandered around Angaston for a bit. Not much to see but we had a bit of a look anyway.

Back to the motel to settle in and watch Channel Max, who were playing an 80s music countdown. The only good thing on TV and a lot of fun reminiscing.

When we did arrive back, though. our neighbours had just arrived. German couple. They said hello, all that. While we were inside watching TV, they took our table.

When I cam outside, Fluffy, who was sitting on a single chair says "you can't sit out here. They've taken our table and chairs". He was disgusted. What? Our table and chairs?

A little while later they went out. We took them back.

Dinner was at The Barossa Bistro. Our waitress, indeed the only waitress, was a lady almost 60, but very pleasant. There were only a handful of patrons in that night. I ordered Carbonara, and Fluffy had, if memory serves me, the seafood catch - or platter, depending on where you buy it.

My carbonara arrived and it was full of vegetables! Weird. I ate it. No bacon... quite interesting. I couldn't finish it, and when she boxed it up for me, (in a stupid styrofoam box I was never going to be able to reheat it in) I asked was this the vegetarian dish instead of the one I ordered? She went away to check. Indeed, it was the vego alternative. Luckily it cost the same. And was palatable. Not one I would get again. Olives, peas, capsicum and corn in the carbonara just doesn't quite do it...

But it was a cheap meal, made even better by the 20% discount we got as part of the package.

Back at the motel, we hadn't been home long when the neighbours returned. They immediately took the table back again. Fluffy went out to confront them. "Why do you keep taking our table and chairs?" he asked. "We were here first, these are ours!" he shouts back.

I heard this, stuck my head out the door and said "No, we got here before lunch". Okay, he concedes, you were. But why didn't we just go over and explain? "I knew as soon as you arrive, you trouble people" he yells. He was getting very hot under the collar and Fluffy honestly thought he was going to get violent. He was yelling at me and pointing to Fluffy and pointing at my all the time accusing us of being "trouble people!" I can laugh now but I just closed the door in his face and came in for a shower. Rude. Fluffy nicknamed them Sour Krauts...

Then, after the wife had gotten another table and gave it to Fluffy to use (it had a horrible lean on it and I was nervous every time I put his coffee on it...), they started to say rude things about his smoke. Fluffy came inside killing himself laughing. The husband was walking around with his nose buried in his elbow complaining, calling Fluffy Mr Stinky. They took a different table and chairs, and sat at the end of the driveway away from Fluffy's cigarettes. Mind you, Fluffy even moved under our window so as to not let smoke drift into their open windows. They didn't stay open for long!

People trying to get around the end of the long drive were forced to do a several-point turn because of where the Krauts had put their table, but they refused to move. The people would look at Fluffy, laugh, and call them idiots. And still, we're terrible people??

After that, every time Fluffy went outside they would tease him with "here comes Mr Stinky" and put on a performance. Hmpf. Children.

Thursday we decided on a road trip. We would drive the circuit, from Angastaon, down through Singleton, Eden Valley, across to some of the other little places, Tanunda, and back to Nuriootpa. No worries.

We headed off about 9.00. It's a little misty outside... indeed light misty rain was falling for a bit.

We made it to Singleton in about 5 minutes... and there was nothing there. Just a pub. Closed. A general store. Looked to be closed. But I did get some lovely photos of this heritage tree. Apparently a family (ancestors of the legendary Simon Goodwin) used to live in it. Fantastic old thing it is.

Also, a dug out canoe and old pump.

We took our time looking at these lovely things. Next stop was Lyndoch. We had been here on two occasions with the club, but not to stay. Just while staying at Tanunda. It's a pretty little spot. Snack at the german Bakery was nice. The knick knack store next door beckoned, and we spent too much money on some little bits and pieces.

Just outside Tanunda was The Whispering Wall. Last time we were here we brought mum and dad up, so that was about 7 years ago. It's a concave dam wall, that has wonderful accoustics. You can hear the person across the other side like they were standing right there with you. Amazing. I took the camera to try some stuff out but didn't get anything earth shattering.

Both these shots were around the wall. As I said, nothing spectacular but nice spot. We almost missed the turn off, did a screaming hold and whipped around into the driveway. We had a laugh because the couple behind us did the exact same thing! When we saw them later we shared a joke. Nice people.

Up around to Tanunda then. We walked through the town, Fluffy not really wanting to look in the shops, so I didn't. Stopped for a rest in a beautiful little park.

Back up to Nuriootpa then. It was getting late so we stopped for a bite to eat. By late I mean about 1.40pm or so. Quick bite to eat back at Anguston and back to the room for a rest. The Krauts were not home so we had some peace and quiet.

Dinner back out at the Brauhaus pub. Lovely meal there, and the Krauts had dinner there too... they walked past us but didn't see us I don't think.

We sat then watching a Marcia Hines concert, and interviews with U2 and another semi-famous band, then crashed about ten.

On Friday morning it was raining. I mean raining. Not misty, just raining. It has set in. We paid the bill, packed up, and left before 9.30, leaving our neighbours to complain in our absence. I asked Fluffy if we should mention anything to reception. He said no, we will never see these people again so don't bother. I tended to agree.

Home slowly in the rain. It takes longer to get through Adelaide than it does to drive from the Barossa. A quick stop at the spare parts place to get a new lock for the caravan door, and home to unpack. We didn't hurry.

Back to the school to pick up Dobby. She enjoyed her camp, but wasn't happy it was raining. Unpack, start some washing, and vege. Aaaaahhhh.

Saturday Fluffy went back to work. Dobby and I tackled the van. Well, I tackled it. Dobby did help somewhat, going down the back to get her father's trolley to put a heavy box of food on, wheeled it inside herself, and put the trolley back. Very helpful. I brought everything inside and dumped it in the office, in the kitchen, on our bedroom floor... who would have thought we could fit so much crap in the van!

Oh, on Thursday we got a call from the buyer saying they had deposited the money for the van. It's all go.

Sunday Dobby was supposed to do her room but didn't. Lazy little twerp. It's still not done. I slipped up to Cunningham's for some plastic storage boxes, and set to work sorting through the rubbish. I filled 4 boxes with stuff to keep, and threw the rest out. When I say threw it out, I mean it's stacked against my wardrobe waiting for me to take it to the second hand store.

Remember that beautiful blue velvet comforter I love so dearly? I simply have nowhere to put it now so it has to go. Heartbroken I am over that! That was a mother's day present several years ago. Sniff... But it was that or the frog blanket, so you know what I chose...

Anyway, when my back got too sore I gave up. Fluffy had just a few things to sort through, a couple of minor things to fix, and it's all done.

Actually, the door lock almost beat him. It didn't work. First, he bought the wrong one. He had to take it back and swap it.

Then, he tried the new one, and it jammed and wouldn't unlock. He had to literally rip it off, breaking it apart. Luckily the old one was mostly working, and he was able to combine the two to make the lock work.

But, today is Monday, and that money still hasn't cleared. Here's hoping tomorrow sees it in my bank. Fluffy has offered to deliver the van, as it's too difficult to get it out our yard for someone who doesn't know the place to do. Lovely chappy.

Today is also our 3rd Wedding anniversary. I wondered which one we should celebrate - wedding in Feb, or getting together in April. Common concensus seems to be - BOTH! So, we will. We don't officially acknowledge it, just wish each other a happy anniversary, give a kiss and acknowledge that we are glad we are together. Love you, Sweet Cheeks! x

You know, upon re-reading this, it all sounds very negative, like I'm whinging. I want you to know, I'm not. All these things that happen are just little interesting things that I write about. They are not meant to be "poor us" type things. But without them, my blog would be sadly boring, would it not? So, don't think I'm pessimistic, cause I sure ain't. Just looking at everything as "character builders" and trying to find stuff to write about.

I hope it keeps you amused for a little while. :-)

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Wish I had done this years ago!

Yep, I sure do. See, I started my photography course this week. The teacher is somewhat weird. An ex-Pom, which probably explains a lot. He tries to be funny, and while he does elicit a laugh, it is usually at someone's expense (mine to begin with). But once you get over that, the guy seems to know his stuff.

This week's lesson was to do with shutter speed and aperture. What the? Well, shutter speed obviously is how long the shutter stays open for, and aperture is Depth Of Field. How far away from an object do you want the blurry stuff? If I were taking a photo of you, would I like the background and foreground blurry? Or the whole thing crystal clear?

If I am taking a movement shot, I set the shutter speed and then adjust the aperture to suit (there is a cute little graph thing in the view finder on the camera that tells you when it's right). Then, if you are taking still photos, you adjust the aperture first and the shutter speed next.

I am not sure what next week's lesson is, I don't remember, but our homework this week was to take some practice shots. So I had fun playing...

These two photos are two of the club members trying "worm" skipping. Terribly, I might add.

One has the shutter speed set fast, the other slow.

These two sets of shots are of the sunset over Tanunda.

I set the aperture first on these, and as you can see they didn't really work because the shutter speed was too slow.

When I played with that, I got a better pic.

Then, of course, there are these....

Anyway, I am getting ahead of myself.

This week was work. And it was a bad week for Dobby. On Monday she had a dentist appointment so her dad had to pick her up. Wednesday she was feeling sick and didn't want to take the bus home so had to wait at school until I could finish work and come get her (she finished early that day too to compound the issue). Thursday was school photo day and she left her diary at home with her photo money in it. Sigh. That girl really needs to get organised!

So I had to leave work, race home, grab the book and take it back before she had her photo taken. Mission accomplished anyway.

Then on Friday we were taking the van away for it's last hurrah with us. Monday someone came to look at it, but we didn't hear back so I guess it wasn't what they wanted.

Dobby was playing netball on Friday evening so Fluffy was to take the van up after work and we would join him Saturday morning.

Only, on Friday night, Dobby vomited. I wondered if it wasn't stress (after last week's netball fiasco, then taunts on the bus on the way home from the same girl/s). She thought perhaps it was.

So I called the coach and pulled her out of netball. Not having that rubbish. I think though that if the coach speaks to the girls involved that they may retaliate against Dobby at school. But hopefully she can stand up for herself, or take it further with the school, which they encourage. Guess we'll see.

So, at the last minute I figured I had better get going and go with Fluffy. I didn't have a thing ready for myself. Just got Dobby to throw a couple of changes of clothes into a bag and lets go.

When we got there, it was cold and overcast. And guess what? No blankets or winter gear in the van. No jackets at all but luckily I did find one cardi and we just used the bedspread for a blanket. Not ideal, it kept falling off. I didn't even have pyjamas, so just wore tomorrow's clothes to bed each night. Everyone else seems to do that anyway... Poor dog had to sleep on the cold floor cause we didn't even have a blanket in for him. I mean, it's been 37 degrees people!

Saturday it was cold, cloudy and horrible. But that didn't stop the kids from diving into the pool. After that the whole club, probably except the oldies, Fluffy and myself, walked into town to the lolly shop. It gave us an hour or so of peace. Fluffy slept. He has not been doing a lot of that lately.

Then, after lunch, the kids all went back to the pool and Fluffy slept again. He obviously needed it. I just wandered around, read the paper, chatted here and there.

At Happy Hour, the skipping ropes came out and everyone, grown ups included (well most of them, but not a few of us), gave it a try. Even the club president (who is 70 and recently had heart surgery) had a go. I got some neat shots of that too.

Then dinner, then Club Game. The first night everyone gathered outside our neighbour's van till midnight. Last night I don't know where they were. I think they stayed outside the sound shell where we were having games, but apparently they stayed up until about 4am!

Late check out today. 11 am for us and we were first to go. Home just after 12, and all the washing etc to do. But plenty of lazy time. Fluffy has started taking all the gear out of the van. We parked it in the front yard so we can wash the awning etc. I just have to take the sheets off the bed, and the food from the cupboards. Then it's done. I will miss the old girl, but I can't wait to get my hands on the new one! Yay!

I'll keep you posted with the photography pics, too, if you aren't too bored!

Monday, 7 February 2011


Not really much to report this week. Nothing earth shattering. We had to take the Falcon back to get the LCD screen replaced. They had to hold onto it a bit longer because the one they put in was just as bad as the one they took out.

In other news, we went to Studio 2000 to have a viewing of our photos we had taken. Boy, those people really know how to screw you. But the lass that was our sales rep was a family friend. Fluffy agreed on a package which saw us now officially broke. But in April we will have some lovely shots. The very last ones I think we will have done. Although I am not supposed to, I have included a sample...

I don't have any of the photos of Dobby yet. She had them with her when I scanned these. But I'll have a look at putting some up later.

Dobby also started back at netball this week. There were tears. She is very nervous because a couple of the girls who gave her trouble last year are on her team. This day the key offender (whom in previous posts I have named Myrtle) was also hanging around, although she doesn't play netball.

Dobby had a friend with her, and that friend asked on of the girls which court they were playing on. The girl answered with a look "That one. Dobby should know that". At which point Dobby burst into tears. She put her foot down and said "I can't do this. I won't play". I talked to her and told her to not let them beat her. Get out there and play. This went back and forth a bit. The lass with the acid tongue looked extremely frightened and couldn't understand why Dobby was crying. Anyway, when the game began I pushed Dobby toward the coach and she joined the team. Although she didn't play the first quarter she played the remaining 3 and did really, really well. Scored a couple of goals, and put all her effort into it. It's still a joy to watch her play. I did have a bit of a giggle though, because the poor kid had terrible chaffing so by the end of the game she could hardly walk.

Saturday Fluffy worked. Dobby had that friend over Friday night, and we took her some Saturday. Then she had another over Saturday night who was picked up Sunday. Sunday for me was spent doing housework.

As you know, we have the caravan up for sale. There are a number of people "watching" it online, and one wanted to come have a look. So I had to clean our stuff out of it. Except for the things we will need this weekend at Tanunda that is. It looks much better. Then I realised I had to clean the fridge, microwave, grill, floors... well it's done now.

That fellow is coming to have a look tonight. Guess we'll see how it turns out....

Then our own house had to be done. Plus the ironing. I did it all and even managed a few minutes to sit and vege in the late afternoon. As a wonderful surprise I got a phone call from Wally in Gladstone on Sunday morning and we chatted for about an hour and a half. Man, I miss that girl! We have discussed taking a girlie weekend to Melbourne later in the year to see the King Tut exhibition. I think that would be ace!

Otherwise, I can't really think of anything else that happened. Mind you, my brain is asleep - it is Monday morning afterall!

On that note, better get back to work. Catch you next week!

PS Still no resolution for the drop kick who conned us with those badges.