Published: January 25th 2012January 23rd 2012
January was no brighter than yesterday – probably marginally cloudier but not cold. This morning we decided to spend our Myers Christmas vouchers and the nearest Myers is at Knox City – a huge shopping complex only about 4 kilometers away. We made a slow start to the day but managed to arrive at the complex at about 10:00am. Shopping in Myers is against our normal shopping principles– it’s usually horrendously expensive and, from our observations, the higher costs don’t always result in higher quality. But since the vouchers were gifts, and Myers were still promoting their New Year sale, we thought we would find something that we considered value for money. Graham needed a decent shirt for the forthcoming wedding and it would have been easy to spend $100!!!– ON A SHIRT??? (have we been in camping mode too long?) He eventually found one he liked which was included in the sale so persuaded himself that it was worth it. The rest of his “share” of the vouchers went on an expensive pair of shorts which we both liked and which he’s bound to get some good use out of. Finding things to buy for Graham would have
Happy New Year!
This year the new year starts on the 23rd January but next year it will be in early February as it is dependent on the lunar calendar
been a lot easier if he hadn’t put on so much weight in the last few months – too many pies and too many cakes!! Spending my share was altogether more difficult, of course, and incredibly time-consuming. I identified about four items I thought I liked but when I tried them on they weren’t quite right. Graham went off to the café to buy a coffee and biscuits (he’ll never learn!) and was disappointed that, when I joined him, I hadn’t bought anything!!! So he persuaded me to go back for a pair of slacks and a top, if only to make sure the vouchers were spent before the three hour time limit ran out in the car park!! We went back to the caravan for lunch and relaxed while watching tennis before getting ready to head on over to Grant’s in time to see the Chinese New Year parade.
We arrived at Grant’s at about 3:30pm to find David and Grant busy doing some electrical work, Mele working through some wedding arrangements and Anna and the girls about to get ready for our departure later in the afternoon. Daphne arrived at about 4:15 having caught the bus over
from Camberwell. Grant would have to attend for police duty later so he wasn’t going with us to see the dragon parade. We were just waiting for David to get himself ready and we would be off. It was no surprise that David wasn’t ready in time and our waiting for him meant we were cutting it very fine. Eventually we, in our car with Daphne, and Anna, Charlotte, Amy and a friend of theirs, Ashia, in Anna’s car, left with little time to spare. David and Mele would have to make their own way when David was ready. The plan was to park the cars in the police car park as the traffic would be horrendous and a few of the main roads had been blocked off. There was a 10 minute walk from the station to get to The Mall where the dragon would be performing one of two displays. We had to negotiate huge crowds and rows of stalls set up in the streets before we found our way to The Mall. Alas, our hanging around cost us dear as we just missed the dragon parade. We arrived in time for the formal speeches but Anna was
disappointed as, for a variety of reasons, she and the girls have never seen the dragon parade. She was also disappointed for us but the jolly atmosphere and colourful stalls, mainly food, were most entertaining. We sampled some pork dumplings and some small Chinese pancakes before I treated everyone to an ice-cream. The girls fancied a go on a “bungee jump” type apparatus and they seemed to enjoy it. After a couple of hours or so we made our way back to Grant’s but Anna was already contemplating coming back out for the main show – another dragon parade and fireworks at midnight. Because there’s a huge Chinese population in and around Box Hill, she was desperate for the girls to see the dragon and appreciate some of the Chinese culture. We were keen also as we felt all of the stalls and Chinese lanterns would show up much better in the dark. In the meantime we all had an appointment at a Chinese Restaurant that David had booked so at about 8:15pm we all made our way back into Box Hill, parked again in the police car park, and walked to the restaurant. As per usual, we arrived half
an hour later than David had booked but, fortunately, they hadn’t re-allocated our table. The restaurant was packed and the ambience was excellent and the food, a selection of personal choices which we all shared, was superb. We had a special guest which caused a bit of amusement for fellow diners. Grant, in full uniform, along with a colleague, came in to make an “arrest” claiming we were causing a disturbance. Fortunately he let us all off with a caution and we were allowed to finish our meal. It proved to be a lovely family occasion so thanks to David for organising it.
Anna had calculated that, because the girls were showing signs of tiredness, we would have time to go back to the house and let everyone relax and recover a bit before we left again at about 11:30, in good time to see the midnight display. For whatever reason that no-one can really put a finger on, we left our departure a little late again and it was a mad rush to get into Box Hill, park up, and take the 10 minute walk to The Mall. Predictably, the crowds seemed to be heavier as Anna and
the girls raced on to give themselves the best chance of seeing everything. However, their view was better than ours and they would have seen a bit more of the dragon display than we did. There was a sea of heads in front of us and all we could see was the occasional glimpse of a dragon head when it reared up. As for the fireworks, they were very disappointing but probably because our expectations were too high. The fireworks turned out to be Chinese “crackers” so they were all at low level and didn’t last very long. Once again Anna seemed disappointed but, for us, the atmosphere, the colours of the stalls, the lanterns etc, now all showing up brightly in the night sky, were excellent and we thoroughly enjoyed it. We even got an excellent view of a deflated dragon as it was being carried away!! One of the highlights for us was a Chinese ‘Wock’ Band who performed such great classics as “We Will Wock You”!! We called back at Grant’s briefly to collect the car and to say goodnight to everyone before getting back to the caravan at about 1:00am. Even though there had been some
disappointments, overall it had been a brilliant evening!
Needless to say, we both slept in on the morning of Sunday 22nd
and were in no hurry to get up and about. It promised to be hot today and by the time we eventually stirred it was already very, very warm. We talked through how the next few days might pan out – we have a couple of invitations to go to Grant’s on Tuesday (Rod and Tania arrive) and Wednesday (Charlotte’s birthday and John will have arrived) and one to Daphne’s on Thursday (Australia Day). We also have to get the car cleaned, get our wedding outfits cleaned and to take the wedding cake from Dandenong to Yering on Thursday so that it’s there in advance of the big event on Friday. Today, though, we had a bit of shopping to do in order to get something for lunch. It was a late lunch as we didn’t get to the shops until about 2:00pm but, with the tennis on the TV and the pool just a few yards from the caravan, we knew we would have a casual afternoon and evening. I worked hard to catch up with the
blogs and managed to get TWO posted albeit without any proof-reading so no doubt the odd error crept in. The tennis was quite exciting and went on late into the evening so we weren’t very early getting to bed.
January got off to a good start - Graham cleverly erected our mesh ground-sheet as a sun shade to reduce the amount of direct sunlight onto the caravan door. It worked a treat and should help to keep the inside temperature down a bit but the day still promised to be exceptionally hot. We hit the road relatively early and went straight to the car-wash to give PIE a reasonable wash down. At least we got rid of some surface dirt but she’ll need a bit of a rub down before Friday. Then we went to the Vermont Shopping Centre where we left our wedding outfits to be cleaned and arranged to pick them up on Wednesday. I did a bit of shopping there, mainly for the ingredients for some puddings I plan to make. Alas, not only did I struggle to say “Crème Fraiche” and “Fromage Frais” but I struggled to find any too! In the end
I just bought some ‘lite’ cream and I’ll adapt the recipe I had in mind. The rest of the day was spent catching up with some housework, more blogging and giving the car a bit of a spring clean after its wash earlier. Graham had a swim in the pool to cool down but I just wanted to keep out of the sun as much as possible – the very hot temperatures are set to get worse later in the week. We’ve become a bit addicted to the tennis as we spent much of the evening watching it before retiring at about midnight.
There are more photos below