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Oceania » Australia » Victoria » Box Hill
April 17th 2010
Published: May 29th 2010
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Monday 12th through to Friday 17th April

Our plan this week was to get the caravan sorted in the shortest amount of time possible thus making time for a couple of day trips towards the end of it. Sadly it didn’t quite work out the way we’d hoped - cleaning and packing takes ages!

Despite having loads to do, Darryl doesn’t neglect his favourite duties and still manages to get the girls lunchboxes ready for school, visit the bakery (to see his ‘Chinese friend’) and grab the paper for Grant. I’m back in the old routine too and that’s walking the dogs with Anna as soon as we’re both up and about. It all works very well and leaves Grant to get some sleep after his first shift on nights.

With the girls delivered to school, Anna off out to work and Grant in bed, our big clean up can begin. We emptied every cupboard, sorted through every drawer and dragged every storage box from the darkest corners of the caravan. No stone was left unturned. It’s quite astounding how much you can fit into a 16ft caravan and we had a giggle over the ‘essential items’ that we’ve carried the whole way around Australia but never used once!

There’s the spider catcher implement I’d bought from the Betterware catalogue before we left the UK. We were sure it would come in handy but we found it still in its wrapper and we’d completely forgotten about it until we found it buried at the back of one of the bedroom cupboards! Would it have been any use in the removal of the Red backs? We’ll never know but we’ll put it back in the cupboard for Mum & Dad to use in the event they’re ever faced with an emergency eviction of an eight legged friend! We come across a huge bag full of laptop cables and mice - computer mice. For some reason I packed no less that four computer mice - we’ve only got two laptops with us so goodness knows why I packed four!

It took about six loads to wash all the curtains and the nets. For three days Anna’s washing machine worked like a slave and thankfully the winter weather here in Melbourne was at least windy enough to get things dry.

We made trips to the Op Shop to pick up ‘new’ mugs & egg cups. Although we’ve made do with the tops of juice bottles it doesn’t seem fair to make Mum and Dad suffer the same plight! What with our trips to Bunnings for silver spray paint we were having a very exciting time of it.

Whilst Darryl worked on tidying up the outside of the caravan, I set about trying to fit the contents of a caravan into 2 suitcases. Our saving grace will probably be the unexplained increase in our luggage allowance. We each now have 30kg rather than the measly 21kg we came over with and that means the various bits and bobs we’ve collected during the trip now stand a chance of making it home. You might all get some Gumnut Babies after all!!

The girls were great sources of entertainment when they got home from school although Charlotte had a lot to contend with this week as she had a new plate fitted on Tuesday. The plate will help to straighten out her teeth and she’s very pleased with it because it’s pink, glittery and has stickers on it that she chose herself! Eating is a bit of a struggle for her but we’re very proud with the way she’s persevering. Good on you Charlotte.

Our flight back home to the UK has been confirmed for Sunday the 26th of April for quite some time now so imagine our surprise when a volcano erupts and throws the travelling world into chaos. Every TV news programme brings us pictures and stories of weary travellers stranded thousands of miles from home, a scenario that we’re being told ‘could be us’ in a week or so! For the time being at least we’re in denial and feel pretty sure that we’ll be flying home on schedule … although who could argue that a couple more weeks or even months out here in Australia would do any harm!?! Ah, our work places, that’s who!

One massive distraction to all the cleaning and packing is to get the house organised for our ‘Farewell Hoo-Ha’ on Friday night which means a trip to Vic Market in the heart of Melbourne on Thursday. To make things a bit easier on us we picked up Aunty Daph on our way there and she managed to find a quicker route into the city than even Tom Tom! The main attraction for us at the market is a Polish delicatessen selling Kranskies. These had been specifically requested by Anna but our plan to buy 80 in total was completely floored when were told the price over the counter. It was going to cost around $225 so we quickly came up with an alternative, buy 40 instead!! That seemed far more sensible and of course far cheaper (especially for Grant who was paying for them!). We went from Vic Market back to Box Hill Market then dropped Daphers back and returned home laden with goodies!

Anna has been ringing round the friendship circle for most of the week to make sure the ‘usual suspects’ are still coming to the party. There’s only one major party rule and that is that the invitees must have at least had a conversation with us at some point during our trip! The reason, well everyone wants to get in on an Adams party, they’re pretty legendary the food is generally divine. They come with such a good reputation that even John & Kate (we stayed with them in Mount Gambier) were planning to fly across for the weekend but they got the keys to their new house on the same day so had to rethink their priorities! Kate is very close to giving birth to baby number two so it was a huge gesture for them to even think about making the trip. We’ll look forward to hearing the update of their new arrival but by then we’ll already be out of the country so will have to rely on photos via the web to get a look at him or her!

On party day itself we gave the Box Hill Resort a pretty good clean up, Anna bathed the dogs and then we all set about getting ready for a great gathering. I thought it was unusual that Charlotte, Amy and even Anna had their hair in plats but there was no give away to the surprise theme of the night until the four of them pranced through the back doors in full costume holding aloft a flag and announcing ‘Welcome to German Night’ or should that be 'Willkommen auf Deutsch Nacht'! We laughed and laughed and laughed.

For the past twelve months my gorgeous husband has re-told stories of his time in Germany and quite often has expressed a tongue in cheek opinion for some of the German ways (please, nobody take offence, it’s nothing personal). Anna has always thought this particularly hysterical especially when we’ve come back home to Box Hill at different times during our trip with tales of how we spent nights around the campfire with Germans and how a couple of Germans (albeit Australian Germans) saved our buts in the Bungle Bungles when they cooked our dinner for us. Anyway, they couldn’t think of anything better than surrounding Darryl with everything German for just one night! Almost everyone that came to our special ‘German Night’ dressed up one way or another!

Joan (one of Helen’s longest friends) was an absolute star in her sexy get up while Nicola did herself proud as the England goalkeeper from that famous 1966 world cup match! Anna was dressed to impress, so to were the gorgeous Mel, Poorvi, Jo, Colleen, Pru, Paula, Kym, Liz, Marie and Angela. What a laugh we had ladies. Getting in and out of that bath was no mean feat I can tell you but who on earth has the photos?!

The boys looked great too, Jordan & Marty looked scarily in character while Grant, Uncle Frank, Bert, Dale, Matty and John joined in too. Our eyes lit up when Mark & Jake arrived from Mansfield though. We’d wondered why Grant wanted to phone them at the beginning of the week, now we knew! Even they were in on the theme with Mark looking great in braces and Jake coming as a German Backpacker! Very funny!

People went to a lot of trouble with the food they brought along too although you could tell from the amount of deserts that Anna was in charge of ‘who was bringing what’! Aunty Chris did a terrific job with the potato bread & mushroom soup - absolutely gorgeous and infact the only thing I ate all night!

It was great to see Bill & Helen, Cathy & Jeff and of course Aunty Daph too - thanks so much for coming and thank you Bill for your kind words, thoughts and prayers when we were stood on your daughter’s family room table trying our best to thank everyone for coming along and for making us part of the family during our time in Australia - it's a fabulous, fabulous family to be a part of. It has to be said that we missed the company of Uncle Jim, James (Anna’s brother) and John & Kate but we’ll see you in the future at another shindig!

Sadly Anna was a bit poorly in the middle of it all and had to answer a call on the big white telephone. Mel was on hand again to assist, it all got a bit graphic and it was a huge shame the hostess with the most-es missed the final parts of the night. She wasn’t the only one who snuck off early, Nicola fell asleep on the sofa in the family room and then just as we were coming in to go to bed she woke up and wanted to start the fun all over again!

Darryl had an absolute ball with everyone and really enjoyed the Kranskies. More entertainment came later in the evening when Mark & Jake got the guitars out and played into the wee small hours. By about 3am Jake couldn’t quite work out where his fingers should be on the bass so we had to return to the stereo but that was shut off at about 4am by a bleary eyed Anna who by that point quite rightly decided enough was enough!

With Grant on one sofa, Jake on the other, Nic & Coll in the ladies lounge, Mark in the spare bedroom and us in the caravan the house eased into silence for about 4 hours until the girls woke up!

There’s little or no point writing a separate blog for Saturday because pretty much nobody was good for anything! Credit where credit is due though, Nicola you are our hero for getting up and cleaning the house plus the courtyard before most of us were even awake. Good on you girl!

Mark slept until quite late but he didn’t miss anything apart from me, Darryl, Colleen and Anna sitting on the sofas watching Nicola clean! We were good for nothing and then along came Grant to cook us all a fancy breakfast - Eggs Benedict, well you just can’t say no to an offer like that, the word rude springs to mind!

As the remaining guests slowly drifted away we quickly fell back into bed until shame finally caught up with us and we went for a walk with the dogs and the girls. That really sorted us out and the rest of the day meandered along quite nicely with a bit of footie watching followed by some general packing here and there.

The main thing is that we’re fit and raring to go on our day out with Luke and the girls tomorrow - Puffing Billy here we come! Choo Choo!

Dar and Sar

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