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Published: January 6th 2011
Happy New Year to you all
(as close to midnight as we could make!)
Thursday 30th December and the cold bug we had both caught began to get a grip on us. We needed to pop to the shops for a few essentials but that’s all we did. Sadly, the following day - New Year’s Eve - we felt just as bad and we weren’t helped by the Melbourne weather. It was the hottest day we had experienced on this trip by a long way – it was over 40 degrees for most of the day and well into the evening. In addition there was a strong breeze throughout the day which dis-lodged much of the loose bark from the many gum trees in the park. Many of the strips of bark were in excess of two meters and quite “hefty” so not only did they make a clatter when hitting the van but the whole park looked as though a whirlwind had passed through. Fortunately no damage was done but the park staff had their work cut out to tidy it all up.
On New Year’s Eve Daphne and David went off on their regular annual jaunt to the winery on the Mornington Peninsula which is owned by long term friends – Nat
and Rosalie. It’s a traditional occasion for Daphne and David and we could have gone too. But we felt it best to keep our germs to ourselves so we decided we weren’t up to it as it would have involved a fairly lengthy journey and an overnight stay. Graham did venture as far as the caravan park swimming pool but it was so busy he just stayed in long enough to cool off a bit. I didn’t feel like going anywhere so stayed quietly by the caravan and relaxed. We did venture out in the evening – we thought we might be able to find a vantage point to watch the early fireworks display that we knew was going to take place in the city centre. There’s a terrific view of the city from the nearby Doncaster suburb but we struggled to find a suitable parking spot so we tootled back. We just managed to stay up beyond midnight to toast each other and ate a few nibbles from the hamper that Rod and Tania had sent us. Graham looked out to see if he could spot the source of the fireworks we could hear but it was difficult to
see much through the trees. A few people called out New Year greetings which was nice. I sent a few New Year text messages to mark the occasion but then we went to bed feeling a bit worse for wear.
New Year’s Day, Saturday, dawned a much more pleasant day weather-wise. The fallen bark from the previous day was still strewn everywhere. The park caretaker craftily challenged all the youngsters on the park to see how much they could carry. It was a brilliant ruse as most of the bark was cleared in no time and the kids seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves. The caretaker still had a fair bit of “fine tuning” to do before it was fully back to normal and a lot of bark is still hanging precariously ready to fall the next time a strong breeze passes through.
Sarah rang at about 1:00am English time (midday our time) and we had a lovely chat although our phone is proving a bit temperamental at present so the chat was intermittent. The “character” of the caravan park is gradually changing as the caravanners who were visiting relatives over Christmas and New Year begin to leave to
be replaced by tourist campers – young “door-slammers” and campers under canvass. Still full of heavy colds, we visited the local shopping centre again but very few shops were open. A relaxed end to the day ensued as we both enjoyed the pleasant sun, checked out our new boxes of trivia questions and continued reading our latest books.
Sunday was another splendid day and as we were feeling a little better we thought a day out in the fresh air might help so mid-morning we went to Daphne’s. We had talked about having a picnic somewhere though David had arranged to visit an old friend who was in a nursing home. At Daphne’s we agreed to travel to Williamstown, a waterfront suburb which required a drive through the city via the new freeway and over the Westgate Bridge. So with enough sandwiches to feed an army we set off and were parked up in the heart of Williamstown within 25 minutes. Although very sunny, there was a bit of a breeze but we enjoyed our picnic alongside the harbour entrance. We then walked along the waterside away from the town for a while admiring the lovely houses with their
remarkable rooftop terraces which gave a splendid view of Melbourne city across the water. We strolled back through the heart of Williamstown and were tempted by some short cruises and even a seaplane flight. But we were happy walking and made our way to the Timeball Tower – a bit of a local landmark which was both a lighthouse and time check machine for local shipping in times gone by. Back in town we enjoyed an ice-cream and then made our way back to Daphne’s. David rang us “en route” to say that he was in a supermarket and what could he get for dinner. We enjoyed a splendid fish supper before making our way back to the caravan for about 10:00pm.
Monday was the official Bank Holiday so, once again, not many local shops were open. Our colds were persistently hanging on so a quiet day was called for but in the evening we were invited to Grant and Anna’s for supper. David was already there doing some work so we collected Daphne and then went back to Grants. We hadn’t realized there would be quite so many people there gathered to continue the New Year celebrations but
it was lovely to catch up with everyone again including Kathy, Geoff, Jim and Margaret (who we had chatted to on Christmas Day). I had the opportunity to put my skills with the Wii ten-pin bowling game to the test against David and Charlotte and found that more practice was required!!
Another splendid barbecue based meal was prepared by Grant with several people contributing “desserts”. I had brought along another homemade non-cheesecake (healthy option), this time mixed with raspberries which was surprising well received (I need to be more confident with my cooking but will forever be in the shadow of Daphne and David). We really enjoyed the evening so thanks again to Grant and Anna for inviting us. We got back to the caravan much later than we intended and it was about 10:00pm when we staggered in.
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