Sad Farewells

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February 29th 2012
Published: March 2nd 2012
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We were obviously aware that Monday 27th February would be our last opportunity to say our farewells to all of the Reeves family but we were also aware that Simone would dash off to work early and the kids would be catching the school bus at about 8:20am. So we set our alarm to go off ridiculously early (for us!) so that we wouldn’t miss them. We were in the house by 7:30 but Simone was already preparing to leave and we desperately wanted a group photo. All of the kids were up (Ken needed some prompting) in various states of dress but we achieved our aim and, with the help of the “automatic” setting, we managed to get a perfect photo that included everyone and Spotty the dog to boot. We made our emotional farewells to Simone but our emotions were tempered a little because we will see them all again in England, possibly as early as June. We then spent time with the kids as they got ready for school with Mark overseeing their clothing, games schedules, rucksacks and lunch boxes to make sure they had everything they needed especially their sports equipment which is often forgotten. We accompanied them to the bus stop and gave them each a hug and a wave as the bus disappeared into the distance. That left Mark who immediately launched into his housework as we did our final preparations to the caravan. Graham dashed off to the scrap metal dealer to try to secure enough extra sheeting to complete the new shed roof but the place was all padlocked!! A large sign suggested it was only open on Fridays and Saturdays so Graham made a note of the telephone number and got Mark to ring when he got back to the house. Mark knows the proprietor well (he knows everyone in Mansfield) and when Mark explained the importance of his call the fellow told him where he could find a key to the place and suggested that Mark helped himself to what he wanted. Life seems to be like that in Mansfield! They both then dashed off to obtain the final pieces to the roofing jigsaw and returned with what they needed but also with muddy feet - the heavy rain had made the scrap yard a muddy mess but they had to persevere to complete the job. Because the shed still needed a lot of work before it was finished Mark suggested we left the caravan where it was for the time being. Graham will be returning with the car on Thursday so he can re-position the caravan and leave the car in whatever position suits Mark and the on-going shed development. As we had progressed everything as far as we could, we decided to head for Melbourne, especially as the continuing rain made anything else virtually impossible. On the way through town we called in at the V-Line bus depot to get a ticket for Graham for Thursday. We then drove on towards Melbourne but a check of the bus ticket showed that it had been issued for the wrong day – Wednesday instead of Thursday – so we had to drive back to get it corrected. Eventually we were able to drive on towards Yea where we had planned to have lunch. A café there which we had used before was open and serving roast dinners so we fed ourselves well on roast chicken. We eventually arrived in Barkly Street, Melbourne at about 4:00pm after a very wet journey during which, at times, the rain was torrential.

Daphne wasn’t in when we arrived but, as we were off-loading our bags etc, Kym, Bert and Daphne all arrived home within a few minutes of each other. We settled in reasonably well and we were soon catching up on Daphne’s recent events and relating those of ours. Daphne had planned a special dinner for the evening (ironically roast chicken!!) as a belated celebration of Bert’s birthday last week but time passed by quickly and it was about 8:30pm before we all sat down for our meal. Daphne had also prepared a chocolate tart at Bert’s request so we ate royally at the end of what had been a pretty hectic day. Conversation carried on for some time after the meal and it was gone midnight before we retired to bed.

Unfortunately, the wet weather continued into the morning of Tuesday 28th February so a possible excursion into the city was put on hold until Wednesday. Graham had suffered some severe leg cramps during the night and a painful “knot” of cramp persisted to aggravate in his left calf. Ironically, brother David had given us some anti-cramp tablets ages ago when we were up in Warwick but I can’t for the life of me remember where I have stored them (we must have left them in the caravan). So Graham painfully made his way to the local pharmacy where they prescribed the very tablets that David had given us – at a cost of $22! Because it was raining he drove to the shops but suffered no discomfort while driving – only when walking from the car park to the chemist and up and down the drive. This is good because he has a long drive to Mansfield on Thursday and a drive to Box Hill tonight to see Grant, Anna and the girls. We’re taking them out for a meal tonight so let’s hope we haven’t got too far to walk or that the cramp eases.

We left for Grant’s soon after 4:45pm – it should have been 4:30 but Daphne decided she needed a shower so, inevitably, we were late leaving. We had a good run to Box Hill though so we weren’t as late arriving as we might have been. There was some discussion about which restaurant we might go to - we were happy to be guided by Grant and Anna as they seem to know every restaurant in the area. We were anxious for the girls to be able to eat sensibly as they’re not partial to fancy foods and often end up just getting a bowl of chips. We settled on a Persian restaurant a little drive away which G and A had used a while ago when it was just trying to establish itself but they enjoyed the food and they thought the girls would like it too. The restaurant had clearly established itself well and truly as, when we arrived, a little after 6:00pm, it was already packed and all the bigger tables had been reserved. As we were early they put us on a table which would be used later and we let G and A decide mostly what dishes we should order. It proved to be very successful and even the girls partook of some (although they still had a bowl of chips!). The girls fancied finishing the evening off at a Gelataria so we drove a short distance to a large restaurant where their ice-cream has an excellent reputation. We were able to “eat in” so we took our time ordering our ice-creams. Graham and I, and eventually Daphne, settled for small portions while all the others ordered large portions. We couldn’t believe how HUGE the portions were!!! Even the small ones took some polishing off and although Charlotte managed to finish her multi-coloured large concoction, none of the others did. Daphne was relieved she had settled for a small one and she only just managed to finish that. But it was an excellent way to finish off the evening. Graham’s cramp wasn’t getting any better so, after his shower, he took a magnesium tablet, rubbed some soothing gel on the sore area and went to bed. He was concerned that it might be a DVT and with a long flight coming up he was getting a bit anxious. However, after checking on the information given on the internet he decided that the problem was almost certainly due to muscle cramps so let’s hope that is all it is.

Wednesday morning of “leap year day” – 29th February – was a bit cloudy although it was dry and quite warm. Graham’s leg was still sore but he hadn’t suffered any more cramp during the night and was a bit more flexible today. Nevertheless, we decided to leave going
Enjoying a Persian meal Enjoying a Persian meal Enjoying a Persian meal

with Grant, Anna, Charlotte, Amy and Daphne
into the city for another day (it will have to be Friday as that’s the only spare one left!!) and to do some essential shopping. We needed to get our last supply of fuel (enough to see us around Melbourne and for Graham to drive to Mansfield tomorrow), to visit a Telstra shop to arrange for the last dongle voucher to be activated (for some unknown reason I couldn’t do it as I usually do via the computer) and to buy some ingredients for a “pavlova” pudding. We had been invited to Grant and Anna’s for an evening meal and a “movie” night. They are aware that I had been unable to watch “The King’s Speech” on our initial flight from the UK as an American woman talked non-stop during the whole flight!! So they’ve hired the DVD and thought it might be nice for us all to watch it tonight. They asked Daphne to provide a pavlova especially for Therese, Jordan’s fiancé. – hence our need for a bit of shopping. Obtaining the fuel was easy and the garage nearest to Daphne’s was selling diesel with a tremendous discount and with a Coles extra discount voucher we were able
and for 'afters' we popped to an ice-creamery and for 'afters' we popped to an ice-creamery and for 'afters' we popped to an ice-creamery

where some (but not all) had huge helpings
to get it really cheap – shame we only needed half a tank. We drove to Knox City, a huge shopping complex we had used when we were staying in the caravan at Wantirna. We found the Telstra store and “Will the techie” was able to upload our dongle voucher by removing the sim-card, placing it in his company telephone and transferring the credit directly to the sim-card. When the card was replaced back into the dongle it had the increased credit already on it so that was excellent – and very easy! We strolled through the shopping complex and decided we would have some lunch out, buying three large “wraps” which went down very well. Daphne then bought the ingredients for her pavlova and we drove back to Burwood – a very successful shopping expedition.

For the rest of the afternoon Daphne prepared her pudding while Graham and I prepared things for transporting back to the caravan in Mansfield. Graham will be leaving at the crack of dawn tomorrow to drive the car to Mansfield, leave it in storage at the Reeves house alongside the caravan which is already there, and to catch the bus back to Melbourne. There will be no time for any last minute arrangements in the morning so anything we don’t do today/tonight will have to be left. There are also a few things that need to be collected from the caravan and a few things to be deposited in the caravan as well as the moving around of the vehicles, so it will be a pretty hectic trip. I’ll be busy putting the finishing touches to our cases which I fear will be overweight! But tonight we are heading for Box Hill and the movies at G and A’s.

Daphne never ceases to amaze us. Yesterday she was late getting ready. Today she was an hour early!! We made it in good time to G and A’s who were busy helping to organize the departure of their future daughter-in-law back to Sweden. Therese, who will marry Jordan in Sweden in June, has to leave because her visa has expired. The next time the Adams’ will see her will be on the wedding day so it was quite an emotional evening. Also, Therese is to wear Anna’s wedding dress and most of the evening’s organizing revolved around trying to get the dress in
Jordan and ThereseJordan and ThereseJordan and Therese

Therese left for Sweden later that evening
a suitcase without doing any damage – not as easy as it may seem as the dress is pretty grand. The evening started with a special Italian meal – Therese’s request - Interspersed with the girl’s homework and Grant getting ready for a nap before he starts his night shift. Bill, Anna’s dad was also in attendance together with two of his grand-children whose mother had dislocated a knee and whose father (Anna’s brother James) was still at work (but he manages Bill’s business so he had a good excuse for not having the children!). After the meal, which was completed with Daphne’s excellent Pavlova (another Therese request) Jordan and Therese completed their preparations and an emotional departure for the airport, leaving the rest of us to watch The King’s Speech. It proved to be an excellent movie and impressed us with its historical facts much the same as The Iron Lady had a few months ago. Eventually, we said our farewells to Anna and the girls as we won’t see them again before we leave on Friday. We’ll see Grant, however, as he has kindly offered to take us to the airport. It is likely we’ll see all of them again in June/July as they plan to do a whistle-stop tour of Europe following the wedding. We got back to Daphne’s a bit later than planned and Graham promptly went to bed as he has a very early start in the morning and I followed not long after.


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