A warm, Gold Coast welcome
Friday, July 29, 2016 â€“ afternoon/evening
After leaving Stokers Siding I only travelledÂ a little further north â€¦ to Benowa, on the Gold Coast.
Two lovely friends, Pam and Valli, made me very welcome at their home, which is undergoing kitchen renovations.
Despite their uncharacteristic lack of order, they were relaxed and happy to see me and, being dog people, just loved having the girls stay and spoilt them rotten.
We had a fabulous Thai dinner, sharing several dishes, which were all delicious. The couple of glasses of red we washed it down with went down pretty well, too.
Attending to the housework
After an early night, I slept pretty well, as itâ€™s a nice, quiet street. Up about 6.30am and had a shower.
While I was showering, Pam and Valli brought the girls inside and they were sitting up on a mat in the loungeroom when I walked in.
Had some porridge for brekky and then did a load of washing and gave RR a bit of a clean-out.
One moreÂ day with sis
Sis arrived about 9.30am and we had a good day, going over Rambling Rose, and Pam showing me different things about it.
Got all my washing in and said my goodbyes to Pam and Valli just after lunch. Sis and I had a coffee down the road and then she headed for home and I left for Mudgeeraba to stay with my friend, Mark Rigney.
Catch-up with a banjo-playing â€˜bushieâ€™
Mark and I had a great catch-up over a cuppa. I met him years ago when he was playing banjo in a bush band called Tuckitinya (along with Matty Zarb).
He lives in a huge house (four or five bedrooms) in a quiet neighbourhood.
As itâ€™s just him in the house now, heâ€™s thinking of either selling the house or putting it up for rent and moving somewhere smaller.
I plugged in and spent a chilled-out evening in the van over a red or two. Mark had a date.
Another productive day
After breakfast the next day, I took the girls for a walk in the park down the road from Markâ€™s place.
Attempted to have a shower in Rambling Rose, but couldnâ€™t get the pilot light to fire up, so it was a lukewarm affair. As the weather has been so hot, it wasnâ€™t such a big deal.
Iâ€™d heard from Heather Darrington the day we had lunch up at Kingscliff Beach pub, and she said then that she and Desree Ilona Crawford would love to catch with me.
A lovely invitation
I spoke to Desree today and she invited me to stay at her place at Leichhardt for a few days.
As I had booked Rambling Rose in to Ultrashine, a car, 4WD, RV and caravan detailing firm at Molendinar on Thursday, I thought Iâ€™d stay with Desree from Monday until Thursday morning.
Getting my website on track
A very productive afternoon spent in Rambling Rose, having a two-hour Skype session with Lynne Carey.
Lynne has agreed to create my website, so we were discussing lots of ideas and plans for that.
Made a few phone calls, did some more catching up with Mark, then a reasonably early night as I had to be up and at the ophthalmologist with Gracie first thing in the morning.
Bird songs myÂ wake-up call
Well, itâ€™s Monday, the first day of August, and I was woken by the laughter of kookaburras.
Itâ€™s funny. Most mornings so far on this trip Iâ€™ve been woken by birds. You sure donâ€™t need an alarm clock if you live in Australia!
Mark helped me pack up my lead. Rolling it up, he looked at me and said, shaking his head: â€œItâ€™s pretty obvious youâ€™re not a muso!â€ Cheeky bugger.
Good news from the specialist
It only took 15 minutes to get over to Carrara, so I had time to fuel up before going to the AES to wait for our appointment with Dr Susan.
Gracie got the best possible report â€“ just the news we were hoping for.
The ulcer was completely healed, but there was some tissue damage. Weâ€™ll just have to keep watch on that eye from here on in.
A special day at Camec
Sis suggested I call in to Camec, an RV and caravan accessories store, at Archerfield, on my way to Leichhardt.
Talk about great timing. It was the grand opening of their new showroom that day and there were huge specials â€“ up to 20 per cent off â€“ all items in store.
I took the opportunity of buying a double size aluminium folding table for outdoor use, a wheel chock set, and some chemicals for the toilet. Grand total â€“ $108. Winning! https://camec.com/
In hot water
While I was there, I spoke to Wayne Castle of CW Caravans, about the hot water system in Rambling Rose.
He reckoned mine came out on Noahâ€™s ark and he didnâ€™t like the look of it. Being the old model it was, Iâ€™d find it very difficult to light the pilot light in even the slightest breeze. (Iâ€™d already worked that one out).
For $800, I could have a brand new system you didnâ€™t have to light from the outside of the van â€“ just flick a switch inside.
He sold me. I booked in to have that done on Wednesday.
Old home week in Leichhardt
Leaving Camec after totally repacking the back of RR to fit in all my purchases, I headed for Leichhardt and Desreeâ€™s place.
Right from the start, it was a bit like old home week, catching up with Desree, Penny and Heather. Just like old times.
In fact, I didnâ€™t realise until the day I left there how close I was to our old house in Raceview. Thatâ€™s a memory lane job to pursue on the way back down into NSW.
Another great spot to stay
I drove Rambling Rose into the back yard, plugged in and the girls made themselves at home right away, being spoilt by three new aunties.
We sat outside in the cool of the afternoon for a while and then I drove Heather home.
When I came back we had a delicious stew. Pennyâ€™s a great cook.
That night after tea we watched some videos of George Payne. Hadnâ€™t seen him in years. What a great act he was.
I hit the sack about 10pm and didnâ€™t need any rocking to get to sleep.
What a big day!
Lunch in the very best of company
I had a good nightâ€™s sleep and did another Skype session with Lynne to sort out of a few website details.
Heather, Desree and I went out to lunch at Ipswich Golf Club, which is now owned by Sirromet Wines.
Lunch was a little ordinary, particularly as I didnâ€™t get what Iâ€™d ordered, but the company more than made up for any shortfall in cuisine.
Heather brought along an old photo album of Des and Beth’sÂ wedding they had organised at Southgate in Tamworth all those years ago. The late Stan Cole, the former mayor and a marriage celebrant, officiated.
There was a cast of thousands, including some of the major country music artists of the day. The late Barry Thornton, bless his heart, gave away the bride!
In those days, Heather was quite the promoter. She still is a force to be reckoned with, Iâ€™d say.
Being artistic is in the genes
After lunch I did a bit of work on stories for the website and later took a break to go and visit Kaye, Desreeâ€™s sister, who lives in the same block of units as Heather, just around the corner from Desreeâ€™s house.
Kaye is very artistic and her paintings decorate the walls of her unit. Sheâ€™s an animal lover and has a dear little dog whoâ€™s very friendly.Â Their parents were musical as well, as was their brother Donny.
That nightâ€™s dinner was another special treat from Penny â€“ potato stuffed with mince, accompanied by a garden salad. Just delicious.
Another reasonably early night. It rained lightly from about midnight onwards.
Worrying over water
I didnâ€™t sleep all that well, worried that the hot water system wouldnâ€™t arrive at CW Caravans and mess up my weekâ€™s schedule.
There was a lot riding on it getting there that day.
Penny was at work, so I took my egg poacher in and made poached eggs for me and Desree for brekky.
Did some washing and had a late shower, then Wayne phoned about midday to say the unit had just arrived and he was ready to install it.
Progress with website
Desree offered to look after the puppies while I took Rambling Rose to Wayneâ€™s workshop.
It only took about 30 minutes to get to Doolandella, which was about five minutesâ€™ drive from Lynne Careyâ€™s house!
No Skype session today. Lynne came over and picked me up and drove us back to her place via the hot chook shop.
Lynne, her dad Rick Carey and I sat down and had chook, coleslaw and chips for lunch before we got stuck in and did some more work on the website.
At least I wonâ€™t be blown up!
I phoned Wayne a few hours later and the job was done, so Lynne dropped me back out there.
Wayne reckoned it was pretty fortunate for me I hadnâ€™t been able to light the gas on the weekend.
He felt it was a very unsafe set-up indeed, with some previous repairer (one of the Dodgy Brothers) using a garden hose fitting instead of a proper gas attachment at the back of it!
He said the vehicle would not have passed a gas inspection had it been sold in Queensland.
As it was a bit more of a job than he at first suspected, I was up for about $500 in labour, on top of the $800 unit cost, but better to be safe than sorry.
I drove back towards Leichhardt $1300 poorer, but safe in the knowledge I now had a you-beaut gas hot water system that wasnâ€™t going to blow up on me.
Rambling Rose is set to shine
Arriving back at Leichhardt around 6pm, I spent the time before dinner preparing Rambling Rose for her next adventure â€“ to get cut and polished at Ultra Shine the next day.
That night, Desree and I listened to some music and did quite a lot of reminiscing. I headed to bed about 11pm ahead of my early start in the