Caravanning

Caravanning is not for everyone.
In fact I would say it is not for the faint hearted.
My first experience with caravanning was about twenty years ago. I was so excited.
A new way to holiday.
By all accounts, from friends, strangers and aquaintances, this was the only way to holiday.
First a van has to be purchased.
So many decisions. Singlebeds or double?
Ensuite or no ensuite . No ensuite means less water to carry. Water is heavy. 1 litre weighs I kilogram.
The average caravan has about 400kg payload. You may think 400 kg is a lot of weight, but no, it is not. If one has extra water for shower and loo then this can quite easily take up 200kg of that weight allowance.
Then there is the kitchen.
Gas bottles, stove , microwave, let’s throw in a camp oven and a slowcooker. And don’t forget the coffee machine.
By now you are up to over 300 kg.
Gosh. Who would have thought these things weigh so much?
Still plenty of allowance though. Linen, outdoor chairs and table. Of course you need a barbeque as well. Hoses, a shovel, a mat so the sand does not come into the van so easily. Oh, almost forgot the annexe. Might need that too. That annexe must weigh at least 40kg. Hmmm.
What next. What have you forgotten. Oh dang, you might need some clothes and food. How could you forget those things.
Time to weigh it all.
Oh no, 600kg. Gosh there wasn’t that much in the van, surely not.
Go home, unpack half of it and try again. Better result. Down to 399kg.
So, hook it up to the tow vehicle making sure you have the right size vehicle to safely tow the van. Check lights and brakes etc and fix what isn’t working.
By this time you are starting to wonder if this caravanning thing is going to be a holiday or just a lot of hard work.
Definitely a lot of hard work.
Time has come to begin the trip. All good for the first 100 kilometres.
What is that noise? Was that smoke coming from the van wheels?
Uh oh, the car is running a bit hot.
Better stop for a while under a shady tree.
What? No trees to be seen anywhere.
Temp is over 40C. Press on.
Hey, there is a nice river down that slope. Pull in and stop for the night. Ahhh. The serenity. Beautiful sunset and calming waters.
Actually, this caravanning thing seems pretty good after all.
Be prepared for lots of things to go wrong.
Take an extra suitcase of patience and a whole bagfull of humour.After that first initial trip, you are sure to be hooked on the van life.
It gets easier each year.
Just a word of advice though.
If you are vanning with a partner make sure you are the best of friends. There is no where to escape an angry or frustrated partner. Hopefully this may help some of you decide on whether or not to give it a go.

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Mums Chooks

Mums’ Chooks
My Mum had chooks.
Lots of them.
40 in fact.
Mum decided to go to the UK to the Chelsea Flower Show and asked me to care for her beloved chooks.
Ok, so my sons and I moved out to the farm for a month so as to care for these creatures.
I have never liked chooks.
Dirty filthy things that they are.
Chooks are canabalistic, they will attack and eat a sick member of the flock.
All in all, I do not like them.
Heck, I do not even like eating eggs, but, Mum loved her chooks so I steeled myself to care for them in the best way I could.
The first week went without incident. Let them out into the paddock in the daytime, collect eggs, feed them some grain and lock them up at night so the foxes do not get them.
Easy.
Nothing to this I thought.
One morning I went out to do the daily chores and disaster had struck.
Every chook was covered in fleas!
I know not from where these fleas appeared.
What to do.
The chooks would surely die if not relieved of their fleas.
I remembered I had some chemicals to spray on my horses when they got itch mites.
Maybe this would do the trick.
I sprayed the chooks, actually almost drowned them, but they recovered and no more fleas to be seen.
Phewww that was a close call.
A friend came to visit.
Between us we had 4 black dogs.
These dogs had never shown any interest in the farm animals so we went inside for a cuppa.
All was quiet , we talked and talked, then it was time for the friend to leave.
But.
Where were the dogs?
After a couple of whistles ,the dogs appeared, oh no, was that feathers on their mouth?
Better check the chooks.
Disaster!
8 black chooks and 7 white ones dead.
Dead as dodos.
Just lying there like they were sleeping.
What was I going to do.
Mum was due home in a few days.
I dreaded facing her.
She was a savage woman at times.
Especially if something happened to her darn chooks.
I was beside myself with worry.
I sat there aimlessly flicking through the local paper, looking for I don’t know what.
Suddenly I saw it.
The ad.
Chooks for sale.
I quickly rang the number.
Do you have any black and white chooks I asked.
Sorry was the reply. Only brown ones.
Oh no, I can’t replace them with brown ones.
The place down the road has black and white chooks the lady told me. Maybe you can get some from there.
I rang the next place. It was a chook farm. Poor things locked in small cages laying eggs all day and night.
Heck, now I was feeling sorry for chooks. Must be getting soft.
The man agreed to sell me the required number of chooks. Not cheap either.
I went to collect them.
Golly gee, the chooks barely had a feather on them but you could just make out their colour from a few tufty feather on their heads.
Ok, put them in boxes, load up the car and off we went home.
The noise and stink was bad. Very bad.
By the time I arrived back at Mums place the whole car stank and was covered in liquid chook shit. Ughhhhh
I released the critters into the pen, they were joyous little bald things
savouring their freedom.
I could relax a little now.
Next morning there were loads of eggs in the nests. Must have been a thank you from the new residents.
Mum returned and first thing she did was to go out and count the chooks.
All there! Whatever happened to the feathers she asked.
I pleaded ignorance and said they just dropped their feathers overnight. Maybe I fed them too much barley and they got hot.
They are laying well though.
Til the day she passed, Mum never ever knew the truth.
As a goodwill gesture, she left me the chooks when she passed.
I gave them away!

The Phantom Beast

Stories

Meeting the Phantom Beast.
Was I nervous? No.
This meeting had been 7 years in the making.
Years ago I went on a dating site, just to see what it was all about. It was not for me, but I did make contact with someone I called the Phantom Beast.
This man, well I was pretty sure he was a man, inspired me to write two little books of limericks.
We messaged each other regularly. We had a lot of laughs, lots of deep and meaningfuls and eventually even phone contact. I still called him the Phantom Beast. I did not know his name nor what he looked like. That was unimportant. Our phone conversations were quite risque. They were nice, it felt like I had known him forever. He was easy to talk to. He made me laugh. He made me tingle . He made me feel alive, and ,better still, he inspired me to write.
I never felt the need to actually meet him.
We lost contact for a number of years. I often thought of him. I could not write anymore. I was not in the least bit inspired to write anything.
I had lost his phone number and could not remember what site I had found him on.
Out of the blue came a message. “Merry Christmas to you and yours.”
We were back in contact again.
Just messages. It was good to chat again. We lived in different states but I did travel to his hometown and thought it was time to meet . It had been 7 years.
And meet we did. He was lovely. He was such a gentle caring man. It felt like I had known him forever.
The time we spent together was so nice. He will always be my Phantom Beast, even though I now know his name. Will we meet again? Maybe we will. I know we will always be friends no matter what.
I am inspired again.
This is my first story since we made contact again. There will be many more, I know there will be. Thank you PB.. thank you for everything.

Men Without Benefits

Men without benefits
As I enter the golden age of life, I have noticed that most men come without benefits.
You may well ask, “what are benefits”?
To my way of thinking, benefits are sexual relations.
I believe that women and men alike, crave a close relationship, one that offers it all.
Friendship, companionship and of course, a healthy sexual relationship. (Benefits)
My sexual relations seem to have left town..
They did not leave a forwarding address, nor did they say good bye. They just up and went, pooof, just like that.
I have searched high and low for them, to
no avail.
I keep thinking they may reappear some day. There is always hope. Where there is life there is hope.
My journey through life has been great. It has had highs and lows, but there was always those benefits, they helped me through many a rough patch.
These days, most men I meet have also lost their sexual relations. I am sure they too would love to find them again. Most that I have spoken too say that sexual relations are quite hard to cope with in old age. This is very sad. They feel they are let down time and again.
To those lucky enough to have a man with benefits, treasure him, dote on him, and never let him go.
He is a rarity. You may never find another.
Me, well I live in hope. I still enjoy the company of one without benefits, but oh how I long to find those missing sexual relations.

Winter

The first day of winter is fast approaching. I am not looking forward to it at all.

Give me the warm sunshine and cool evenings of spring and autumn any time, but winter, you need to stay away.

I know it is not going to happen so I am planning on removing myself from Victoria for the next eight weeks.

By luck, a friend in Noosa was looking for a property sitter, that is where I am going. Thanks Linda and Barry. I am looking forward to sunny days and cool nights. Perfect.

The van is loaded , ready to go. Beforehand though, I need to get the garden into some kind of order. All one and a half acres of it. I have leased the other six acres to the neighbours so that is one less chore for me to do.

My dear Daughter in Law is bringing my newest Grandaughter down from Qld to see me.

I am off to Melbourne tomorrow to pick them up from the Airport. I will also get to catch up with Simon and Peter, the terrible twins. (Not really). They are my babies and two finer young men would not be found anywhere.

I am looking forward to seeing  my little Princess. Babies grow so quickly, she will be walking soon

 

 

The Rally

The Rally
I am a member of a Historical Collectors Club and we have just had our yearly rally.

This club is for anything old. Cars, tractors, steam engines, collectable crockery, knick knacks, even old people such as myself, the list goes on.
A few weeks before the Rally our members gather around and decide what to have for food, where to place certain items and generally tidy up the yard and hall where we hold the Rally.

There is much activity and this year the blokes put up a new barbeque shed in record time.
There are only 30 members of our club and probably about half of that number help out. The others are kind of silent members.

Most clubs have a few members who do not partake in any of the hard work. They turn up for the free meal though.
Several of the women decide what to offer the exhibitors for the Saturday Night meal. These exhibitors receive a free meal in exchange for bringing some of their items for the general public to look at. There is also breakfast on offer, for a nominal fee, on the Sunday morning. Camping onsite is free.
The day arrives and it is beautiful .Sun shining, no wind ,just perfect. Exhibitors are setting up everywhere. There are many wonderful things to look at. A great big steam tractor, numerous steam engines, all shapes and sizes.

I myself have a 1914 Waterloo Boy petrol powered hit and miss engine. It is a big engine and was used to power the first Dairy in Ballarat. I also have a collection of Austral, Ronaldson Tippet and Southern Cross motors, as well as a 1948 grey Fergie tractor and several vintage cars.
Getting all of these to the rally requires some help which is always forthcoming from other members.
There are Wolesley shearing plants and all manner of cutters used for shearing sheep back I the day. Little steam engines put put around the grounds and some of the bigger ones hiss and cough along all day. Old steam powered milking machines, lots of noisy Bulldog tractors and many different vintage farm machinery.
Inside the hall is an exhibit of old perfume bottles, salt and pepper shakers and various vintage clothing. A lady sits knitting and sells scarves and lots of different knitted items.
Someone brings a small paddle boat and takes people for cruises along the Murray River , which is right next to the site.

There are several locals with stalls selling second hand goods. They pay $5 for their site.
We run a small food stall and all day long sell many hamburgers, sausages, pies, dim sims and cakes. A couple from Wedderburn bring their pancake making gear along so there is plenty of good food.

The food stall is busy as busy, many locals and a fair few out of towners make frequent trips to sate their hunger.
Saturday night arrives and time for dinner.

The ladies, myself included, have been busy cooking for weeks. We cater for around 100 exhibitors and this year had pumpkin soup, three different types of stew, veges , and of course dessert of apricot shortcake and bread and butter pudding.
After we have feasted until bursting at the seams, an Undertaker from Castlemaine fires up his band.

Yes , a singing Undertaker. He sings well. I often wonder if he practices his singing whilst laying out bodies. It is a mind boggling thought.
The oldies join in the singing, the younger ones look about wondering at the singing and why some of us tap our feet and smile with delight at music that actually has lyrics that can be understood.

All too soon it is midnight and time to turn in.
Tomorrow will be just as hectic and instead of a nice meal there will be a long drive home for many. It is all good though and everyone , plus some, turn up again the following year.

Cotton……

What Pisses me Off.

Cotton (all over the side of our beautiful roads.)

Have you ever driven along roads strewn with white tufty cotton?

I am sure most of you who travel outside of the city would have seen it.

It looks disgusting.

It looks like someone has blown their nose on a thousand tissues and dumped them.

It looks like small pieces of used toilet paper flying everywhere.

Obviously no one cares or the roadsides would not be like this.

It makes me mad. It makes me extremely sad. It well and truly pisses me off.

I travel quite  a lot, in most states of Australia. There are so many beautiful places to go and see. Most of the roadsides are reasonably clear of litter. It is a pleasure to drive along them.

However, it soon becomes clear in which areas cotton is grown. I have nothing against cotton per se. Cotton is a beautiful fibre. It is cool, crisp and clean.

But, when this fluffy white stuff appears along the sides of the roads, I do not like it. It spoils the landscape. It must be a danger to animals grazing along the sides of the road. I mean to say, what would happen if an animal ate the cotton fluff.

Surely it could choke?

Maybe even get a stomach full of cotton debris and die a slow painful death from a seized up bowel or stomach.

I am sure if I ate the fluffy stuff, things would not be too pleasant in my digestive tract.

The average person would be fined thousands of dollars for littering like this.

Oh yes, you or I would be in deep trouble if we stood there throwing this litter out along the roadsides.

But, some people get away with it. Time and time again, year after year.

They never get fined, they do not seem to care about the mess they make.

These people are the Cotton Growers and Carriers.

There are signs all over the outback, asking trucks to dump their dust before entering a town. Asking the carriers to spray the animals in the tick bay before proceeding.

Why are there not signs telling these people to cover their loads, to pick up their mess?

Surely it would not be too difficult to cover the load so the pesky white fluff would not blow all over the road.

Surely there has to be a way to stop all this fluff blowing all over the countryside.

Lots of goods are transported in covered containers or tarped down so nothing can escape.

Why can’t the cotton bales be covered?

Why aren’t they covered.

Do you blokes who grow and transport this stuff have no pride?

Just cover your load!

Where are the litter police when Cotton season is happening?

There must, literally, be tonnes of fluff all over the place.

I am sure some enterprising soul would make an absolute fortune if that person was dedicated enough to collect all this waste. Heck, I reckon one could make enough undies for a thousand people out of it.

Enough sheets for a family of 300. There is no end to the uses of this litter.

Cotton is expensive, the average Aussie cannot afford to buy pure cotton garments. Yet, here it is, absolute waste, all over the side of the road. It goes on for hundreds of kilometres, sometime really thick and other times not so much, but all the while it is there.

Maybe we should start a petition to stop all this litter.

Now that sounds like  a good idea.

 

snippets of my life as it is and how it was