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October 27th 2009
Published: October 28th 2009
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DAY 354

No, it is not our last blog post, the title may mislead you into thinking that but it is relevant to something Andy had to do today which he was not happy about doing.

We have not had many occasions when we didn’t enjoy the camping experience, but the Big 4 Woodlands, Townsville was just such a place. It would be difficult to put your pinkie on why we didn’t like it, but it was just you got that feeling that all the blocks just didn’t fit into place. Anyway we decided to move on today, oh the life of a gypsy traveller, it obviously won’t all be chocolates and roses where ever we go.

The colour of the water did not help, it was very brown, so we used the water we had in our own containers, it seems bizarre that all the places we have visited with crystal clear, “boil before drinking” water and here they must be on town water yet it is an unattractive colour. The one consolation was we had power that means we could exercise our little “pop up” friend doing 4 slices of white, with Jam or Marmite.

Sitting here 24 Hours later typing the blog, I can’t honestly remember if or what time I got up yesterday morning, but it would have been early. I do remember typing the draft for the blog the day before, and I can remember making Caroline her cup of tea

Caroline surfaced and we started to pack away, the showers were fantastic at this site, but that was all so we were glad to be moving, plus we felt that we were a little too far out and wanted to be further in the city of Townsville, to scope it out.

With most of everything packed away, we started talking to our “Neighbours” because everybody needs good ones, so we are told.

Jim and Robyn Woodward are from Perth and they wanted to go and discover Australia, as Jim had spent many years as a Journalist, actually he was a Cricket and Rugby Journalist and spent many years working for Rupert Murdoch, travelling the world, in press boxes and the like, then one day realised that he was never at home and fed up with living in hotels.

Jim was interested where we were from, so we told him and he tells us he loved the UK especially, or strangely enough Southampton, he said he knew Southampton from his journalism days and his family all came over when he was covering the ashes one year and they had a fabulous time.

They agreed with us about the feel of the campsite, but as they were only sticking around for two nights just decided to make do, but they move on today. We say our goodbyes and wave as they headed out on their journey.

I had suggested to Andy that we have a quick drive around Townsville to check out the other caravan parks, which we did, but none of them gave us that nice feeling so we went up to the other Big 4 heading back out of town towards Ayr, this one is Walkabout Palms, we find that the reception is in the roadhouse and there is a huge security gate on the front, which is a bit more than the other ones have so we venture in to check it out anyway.

I soon book us in for a few nights, this site is quite empty of travellers, there are a few permanent residents around, it is quite a big place and looks ok, especially as there is a huge swimming pool near the entrance.

Again we unpack and set up, it is a hot day and although we have some shade from the tree behind we decide to put the awning up for extra shade, oh great I thought, I hate putting the awning up, but I know it will be worth the pain just to be able to stay out of the sun!

In record time we are set up including the awning, not much swearing or cussing this time round, the last time we used it was in Darwin so we have not had much practice with it recently, but once it is up we can immediately feel the benefit of having the cover, which will also become apparent later on tonight.

I get a load in the washing machine and for a nice change there is a decent washing machine here, they are all fairly new front loaders and of course a $4.00 fee to use them, most sites are $3.00, however at least you can put conditioner in the machine to be used at the appropriate part of the cycle, all of the machines that I have used on this trip so far, you have to keep checking at intervals to see when the rinse cycle has started before you can add the conditioner, and sometimes if you don’t get the timing right you miss out.

We freshen up and get some clean clothes on, but I must not brush over this part, it is a sad occasion for Andy as he needs to throw out a t-shirt, I am sure that most of you think what’s the big deal? However for Andy throwing out clothes is not his favourite past time and neither is shopping for clothes, usually when Andy shops, he wants to walk into a shop choose a load of stuff and then that’s it for the next 12 months. Back in England I used to throw away some of his clothes, but he would find them in the bin (or rag bag) and get them out again! So today I offer to play the last post as Andy tears up his now exceptionally baggy, worn and grubby t-shirt and puts it in his tool box for use as a rag!

We pop into Townsville for a drive round and really just to have a reccy on the area, we find a shopping centre that has a Woolworths, we wander around for a while, have some lunch and then head into Woolworths to stock up on some fresh items, such as milk and bread, oh and eggs. I am still not sure about eggs, I cannot yet move on from the egg incident at Mount Surprise back in August, I think it will take a bit longer to even think about eating an egg.

I consider buying another game for my Nintendo Dsi but I have not quite finished the current game that I am playing, I have one more puzzle to crack and then it will release some more, however it is the Knights Tour that I am having difficulty with, I was able to do the first two with ease, but this one is not so easy and I have not found a system in order to make it work yet.

The good thing about these puzzles is that it really makes you think, even when you are not playing the game you find your mind wandering as to how you can calculate an answer, excellent brain food!

Andy manages to buy two pairs of shorts, but nothing doing on T-shirts, but that is not a problem as he brought loads with him that he has not even worn yet.

Back at camp, my washing is drying nicely on the line, Andy settles down to do the blog and for a while I sit and read one of the glossy gossip magazines that I found in the laundry, after a while the heat gets to me and I can hear that swimming pool talking to me with that lovely crystal clear salt water begging me to get in and cool off, so off I went.

The water is cool, but I get in with ease, after a while I find that I have this huge pool to myself so manage to do several laps in peace. As the sun disappears behind the roadhouse it starts to cool off in the water so I get out and rejoin Andy who tells me that he has an appointment in the morning to see a job consultant.

It is funny really but my head is in the same place that Andy’s was in back in Darwin, I am now thinking that it is time to get some work and find a focus, in a way I find it hard to think now that I will be working over here and wonder if heading back to England is going to be an option, as much as I miss our life over there, friends, family etc. We still need to experience real life over here, travelling for this long does put you in some kind of surreal state really.

Andy would like to go round again, but I cannot help but feel that we should get work first, and top of the piggy bank before considering doing this again, we do have unfinished business out there, Australia is huge and we still have a lot to see, not to mention all of the people we have met along the way! Maybe next time we could do Australia in bite size chunks.

We chat to our friend Ruth in Mooloolah, she tells us that it has been so dry that they had to purchase 10,000 litres of water to fill their tanks! Amazing really having to buy water like that, especially as we remember how much rain they had a while back that was causing severe flooding. It just goes to show how unpredictable the weather is and how much we really on that water falling from the sky.

We pop out for dinner tonight, it is cheap Tuesday and we passed an Eagle Boys on the way in so dinner is easy, two pepperoni pizza’s thin and crispy, one with extra pineapple. We sit and wait and watch a significant amount of the population of Townsville also pop in to order and collect.

Back at camp, we fire up the laptop to watch Flash Forward and tuck into dinner, washed down with a nice glass of lemon squash.

Andy has a go at some puzzles on the Nintendo, and I do a bit of reading, but soon bedtime comes and for a change we are both exceptionally tired.

A short while after getting into bed we are both fast asleep but we are soon woken by heavy rainfall, I have to get out of bed to close the large outer flap to stop the floor getting wet, however the rest of our gear outside can stay dry as the awning covers it so I have no need to worry about things getting wet!

Soon we are back to sleep again, but it feels like too heavy a sleep and occasionally being woken by heavy rainfall.

Oh, and I must mention that the town water on this side of Townsville is absolutely crystal clear and much more appetising that the water at the other Big 4 park.

Another day tomorrow! (I may also get the chance to do some shopping while Andy has his interview!!)

So we will bid you all a good night and pleasant dreams.



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