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Published: March 1st 2012
February became a bit of a working day. Graham was up early to make some progress on preparing the foundations of the new shed which will house a couple of caravans (including Sweetie) and our car. Last night, family friend Nigel had provided the basic information and some detailed measurements to enable some post holes to be dug out so Graham spent much of the day and most of his energy digging with a very heavy crow-bar and a long-handled shovel. Considering his medical condition and his current state of fitness (overweight!) he made remarkable progress and the holes, six of them, all came along nicely. As for me, realizing that time was running out for packing up the caravan, I made as much progress as I could, identifying and suitably packing a) things to be left in the caravan b) things to take to Melbourne for packing in our suitcases at Daphne’s and c) things we can manage without which might go to a charity shop. Like Graham, I made good progress and, also like Graham, I was shattered at the end of the day. During the afternoon we nipped in to Mansfield to visit the charity shop
and great coleslaw too!
but Graham needed a beer after his efforts!
and to get some groceries for this evening’s family meal which was to be a barbecue outside by the pool. Mark had already acquired the main (meaty) ingredients but we needed to get some salad items and additional things. Mark was working for some of the day but would be home in time to get the main items going while Graham and I prepared the salad, coleslaw, zucchini and some other fancy trimmings. Everything went well and we had a brilliant barbecue which everyone enjoyed. Graham, Mark and I did the clearing up while the kids did some homework (Ken reluctantly!) and Simone had a well-earned rest after a hectic day at work for her – and she was for the rest of the day “on call” in case of emergencies!
February was a very eventful day in many ways. Graham and Mark continued preparations for the shed which involved attaching a trailer to Mark’s car and driving into town to pick up some wooden posts. At the same time, Mark had some metal items he wanted to dispose of at the local scrap metal yard so the trip was doubly worthwhile. I went with them and
ordered some rolls from the bakery (I cleared them out of all that they had!!) and then met up with Belinda and baby Kia in a splendid café – one we haven’t used before. Graham and Mark joined us later for coffee and fruit toast. The rolls were required because Mark had been busy organizing a “farewell” party for us this evening (we don’t actually leave until Monday!) and almost everyone we’ve met on our many visits to Mansfield has been invited along with many we haven’t met! The ones we haven’t met are all musicians and the plan is to have a major “jamming” session well into the night. Meanwhile, after dropping me back at the house, Mark and Graham drove off to get more building materials – a sand/gravel mix and some cement. A cement mixer was already “on order” from friend and neighbour Willy – he will deliver it on Saturday morning. Whilst back at the scrap yard to collect his money for the copper scrap and tins he had delivered earlier, Mark noticed some corrugated roofing sheets which would be perfect for the shed so he asked for them to be kept until Saturday when he
and Graham would collect them. They’re used but almost perfect sheets which will keep the cost of the new shed down considerably.
Mark had to work from midday until about 3:30pm and, after a busy but successful morning, he cut it a bit fine but just about made it to work on time. He returned at about 4:00pm and he, Graham and I set about organizing the food for tonight’s party. I had already made a couple of puddings and others would be bringing more and some nibbles. Mark and Graham’s primary task was to prepare the main course which would revolve around the many rolls I had bought with some different barbecued meats and fancy “fillings”. Mark is an expert at creating a feast from apparent chaos and, by the time people began to arrive, everything looked splendid. Some early arrivals brought some cheese, grapes and nibbles to supplement what I had already bought and the party was soon in full swing. Among the many musical instruments brought were several guitars, harmonicas, a serious looking didgeridoo, piano accordion, all complemented by Mark’s drum kit which is permanently on the “stage” in the corner of his shed. A large
sound system accommodated all of the electric instruments and several microphones supported those (and there were many) who wanted to sing. Meanwhile, the food was going well (together with plenty of drink!) as the various musicians dabbled, often producing some excellent sounds. The highlight was undoubtedly a small group comprising of Mark – lead vocals, Graham – guitar and harmonies, Paul (Mark’s brother) – bass guitar and Garry – electronic harmonica. It would be easy to assume that they were a well rehearsed group but virtually everything was made up as they went along – brilliant. Mark and Graham did a couple of duets that they had practiced earlier including one about Ned Kelly – “Oh, Ned, you’re better off dead”!! - and a song that Mark had written himself. Graham did a couple of well known “folky” classics – Streets of London, Colours etc accompanied by Julie on the piano accordion – but the style was mainly Rock music. It was a brilliant (though very late) night and to meet up with so many people who have become really good friends during our many visits to Mansfield was fantastic. We got to bed at about 2:00am and of course
we weren’t the last away by any means!!
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