Wednesday, November 11, 2015

A day of Remembrance

As mentioned earlier, today we travelled to Canberra's War Memorial to witness our country's tribute to fallen soldiers from World War 1 on this Remembrance Day 2015.
The morning was cold and a little threatening with grey clouds above but regardless, a group of 10 of us walked into the centre of the city to catch a bus to The Memorial in time to obtain a good posse for the ceremony.
We arrived in plenty of time for the service but alas it started to drizzle just after we got there, and, as we were not ticket holders, had to stand just outside the barriers as we had no allocated seating.
Approximately 5 minutes before the start, the barriers were opened and we could grab a seat if we wanted but Murray and I decided to stay where we were as we had an excellent view of where the dignitaries were to be seated from where we were standing.
We watched as 'important' people were ushered in... The Prime Minister, his wife, the leader of the opposition, Sir Peter Cosgrove, Govenor General and his wife, Tony Abbott and then in a sleek black car arrived HRH Prince Charles and his beloved wife HRH Camilla. 

By then the skies had well and truly opened and umbrellas were the order of the day so, as we stood and watched whilst slowly getting wetter and wetter, the service began.
1100 hrs. brought the obligatory minutes silence. Funny how the discussion of war, the musical notes of 'The Last Post' and the uttering of 'The Ode' always bring me to tears as I think of my father and his father, my uncles who also fought and those innocents who died not knowing why they were in a war far from home as it turned out.
Such an emotional remembrance, despite the lousy weather had people stand in silence for that minute with no distractions to bother us apart from a plane that flew overhead.

All too soon, the service was completed and we dispersed in the rain, pondering how to return to the familiar streets of the university.
We trudged in rain soaked streets away from the War Memorial until we found a bus that would take us back to the heart of the city.
From there it was lunch at the Pancake Parlour which was surprisingly tasty and comforting for our cold bodies.
We stepped out of our lunch eating house to the bus stop and within minutes our number 7 bus was waiting to return us to our temporary home back at the university.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Story of Four Little Hens

Once upon a time there were four little brown hens.
They all had names and these were Charles, Camilla, Audrey and Cluck.
One thing about these four was that three of them were impossible to tell apart as they all looked very much the same. Cluck was the only one that looked different because of her tail feather which stuck out like that of an Apache Squaw.
Cluck's tail feather was not like that at birth nor for the first few weeks of her life but became so because the dog-next-door decided one day he might like to have a home chicken dinner compliments of Cluck and her family, both hens and humans.
Fortunately for Cluck, the dog-next-door was thwarted in his plans by the human male who fed her, when he heard her cries of distress as the dog was making off with her to his home.
When the human male who fed her heard her desperate cries plus those of her sisters, he threw rocks and sticks at the dog-next-door until the dog got the message that this chicken dinner might not be such a good idea after all, and so, he released his very mouthy strangle hold around her neck and made his way back through a hole in the fence to safety, pretending all the while that he was a good dog, despite being adorned with Cluck's feathers.
The two dogs that lived at the same address as Cluck watched all these happenings without much enthusiasm and the human was most disappointed that they did not attempt to save their family member from the dog-next-door but such is life, and goodness prevailed in the end with Cluck saved (this life... and this misadventure) from the jaws of a dogs life.

So, time went on and the chooks loved to roam around the paddocks that were the home to the humans who fed them lived there.
The two dogs who also resided at the same address did not concern themselves with the chooks as they were far too busy chasing rabbits (not that they caught any, mind) but they would follow behind, munching on the leftovers the chooks forgot from time to time.
The male owner was most taken by the way the four chooks scratched to find insects and bits to eat whereas the woman owner was quite taken with how these four ran when called, cocking (no pun) their heads to one side and chattering as they ran to the human voices from time to time as well.
The four hens lived a full and productive life each laying an egg per day and occasionally one of these eggs was a trophy egg, being large and a double-yoker.
The female human would sometimes wonder how it much feel to lay an egg and wondered if there was any pain involved.........
On one occasion one egg had a very soft and spongey shell and was consequently deemed not good and was given to the two dogs who resided on the land. They were not fussy dogs and were very happy to receive a tasty morsel outside of their normal food time. 
On the whole though each of the chooks continued to produce one egg per day and these eggs were usually birthed in straw which protected them from the hard earth of the ground until the humans collected them after 10 am. each day, regular as clockwork.
Needless to say, all four hens, Charles, Camilla, Audrey and Cluck continued to live a most productive life, enjoying their morning scrounge outside once they were freed from their home each day, whilst the male human stayed within close distance as there were wee red foxes about.
The foxes were to be seen occasionally hovering in the distance and human neighbours who lived not far from this home would tell tales about the pillaging if one was not careful.
Consequently, these hens were allowed freedom when the humans were about, but for their own safety were put back inside when the humans were not around.
This is the end of Part One of the story..... The Story of Four Little Hens.

Monday, October 12, 2015

The frog, the fox and the bandicoot.

So, my recent nursing  efforts have been mainly in aged care, more specifically working in a facility in Mount Beauty where the people are referred to as residents for this is their life and they reside there indefinitely.
My first couple of shifts were awkward to say the least as it is the responsibility of the Div 1 nurse to administer medications throughout the day, whilst overseeing my colleagues as they physically care for the residents, some of whom are very dependant whereas there are others who require a minimum of care. 
They are all together in this ward, living in separate rooms, some with furniture, others with bits and pieces left over I dare say from the sale of their homes when their lives are changed irrevocably with admission the the hospital setting.
Some of the residents are quite cognitive and require some degree of physical assistance. A few have various stages of dementia and it can be a little tricky dealing with their confusion and petulance at times. I have found it easier to sit with these people and explain their medications each time simplistically but without patronising their situation.
 As I have worked there a few shifts now I have become more familiar with not just the layout of the establishment but with the people I am working for (the residents) and their various needs and wants. I still have to be very careful with medications as they can be a little tricky (thank goodness for MIMS!!!) and I like to know what I am coercing people to take so, whilst I am taking a little bit longer than my colleagues to 'do the drugs' I am too being educated on old medications that haven't changed since I was a junior nurse and new medications with names that are unusual to say the least.
I know within this establishment who to trust to swallow their tablets and those who will wait till you leave the room to spit out what you have given them.
I have learnt how to crush using a mortar and pestle, mix it with the purée of the day and feed it to those who are infirm and are unable to swallow formed tablets and capsules.
I fed medication to a lady this evening who with every spoonful would mutter "no tablets here sister". I had to reassure her repeatedly that her tablets were crushed and in the purée I was feeding her and she was delighted, thinking I was slipping her a little treat that the others weren't getting.
There are a couple of women there who need full assistance with all their care. I love to look at their family representation around them when I am with them so I can chat to them about their grandchildren, children and husbands. One woman I was with tonight who has lost the power of speech and is permanently in bed has a photo by her bed of herself, say, some 10 years ago. She was a fine looking woman back then with upswept hair, makeup, beautiful clothes and pearls around her neck. She must be very loved as there are cards surrounding her from various family members and mementoes from her life before hospital.
I feel pain in my heart when I think of the person she was, and still is mind, but life has cruelly robbed her of her vivacity and her ability to be who she once was. It is so important I realise to treat her with respect and deference rather than just another job on the shift.

All the shifts I have worked at Mount Beauty have been morning shifts until today.
I have loved the drive over of a morning. I have to leave home by 0600 hours at the latest as it takes me the best of an hour to get there but morning sunrise makes it so worth it. One morning as I drove over Pretty Valley and the mountain into the Kiewa Valley I spied no less than 12 kangaroos and wallabies.
Today I started work at 2:30 and finished at 11pm. The nurses I worked with tonight regaled me with tales of deer, kangaroos and wombat encounters on the roads to their homes so I was a little apprehensive about what I might literally run into as I drove over the mountain again.
As I left Mount Beauty and was travelling up the road to Tawonga I spied a little transparent frog gaily hopping into the middle of the road in front of me. I was going slowly enough to ensure he didn't encounter my tyres so I was happy with my conservation effort there.
As I left Tawonga and was driving through Coral Bank, I encountered a brown fox who was on the side of the road. Fortunately for me (and him) he made no effort to run into my path so once again I notched that one up also. Mind there are many out there who might dispute the fox thing and say "kill, kill kill the fox" but it won't be me doing any killing if I can help it.
So, I left the Kiewa Valley Highway and turned left into Pretty Valley Road which is where it becomes very windy as the road snakes its way over the mountain and into more familiar territory (for me that is).
At the top of the mountain after a couple of hairpin bends where I was terrified of running into a curious kangaroo or a destructive deer and I was travelling very slowly I saw an animal making its way slowly across my path. He did not look right nor left but just proceeded across at his own pace so I stopped and let him pass. There was no danger as I was the only fool on this road at this time of the night. This was my bandicoot who seemed to look my way when I stopped as if to say thank you, then proceeded on to his destination, and then so did I.
I encountered no further night time creatures other than a very well fed bunny on my drive as I got home so for this I was most grateful.
I consider myself one very fortunate person for many reasons. My encounters with creatures great and small, human and non-human makes me realise just how fortunate I am at this stage of my life to have health and vision and the heart to be grateful for these things.

Friday, September 11, 2015

A tale of two valleys.

Today I had the pleasure of travelling quite a distance from home, across a valley or two to a beautiful town at the very foot of the snow mountains, with the apt name of Mount Beauty.
I have worked so far at the Bright And Myrtleford Hospitals and enjoyed every shift. Staff have been very welcoming and receptive fortunately for me and when I accepted an orientation shift at Mount Beauty Hospital I thought I might have mozzed myself and run out of good fortune.

I knew Mount Beauty was quite a drive, around an hour from home, and one must always be on the lookout for kangaroos, deer (yes deer), bunnies and foxes up here and there are many winds to the roads as you traverse up and down mountains so, as I was unused to this drive, I set my alarm last night for 4:45 this morning. 

When I awoke and gazed outside as I ate my cereal and drank my cup of tea I saw a low slung crescent moon with Venus shining just above it. There was a glimmer on the hills opposite our place to let me know it wouldn't be long before the sun arose and as I made my way down the drive as I left home the moon disappeared from view leaving Venus Star to shine for just a little longer as the dawn broke and the birds awoke.

All along our road until I got into Myrtleford there was fog cover more dense in some parts than others and try as I might to see local fauna, they must have all been sleeping steadfastedly as there were none to be seen. 

I turned left when I got to Ovens to travel along Pretty Valley and there were patches of breathtaking beauty as I drove along the lonely road winding along the valley until I then traversed the top of a mountain range over into the Kiewa Valley. There was such abundant bird life as I listened to the radio and I could faintly hear Red Simons chortling away from time to time and it kept me distracted enough as I was a little stressed about how my day would go in yet another new environment.

What really made me gasp with pleasure was the sight of Mount Bogong to my left as I drove along,  its top covered in snow and Falls Creek in front with its snow capped mountain beckoning also. To be surrounded by such beauty really made me take stock of these life changes we have made and how grateful I am to be living in such a spectacular environment now.

I got to Mount Beauty with five minutes to spare, so all up it had taken me 55 minutes to get to the hospital which was right on the main roundabout as you drive into the town. All very easy to find.
I walked into the main reception and was greeted warmly by a staff member and was then invited into the nurses station where I ran into a nurse I had worked with many years ago when I was a student!
You can guess dear reader, that this started my day off with a big smile on my face and dear reader the day just got better and better.
I worked the day with Paul, a diehard Hawks fan who was very excited for his football team tonight, a British nurse Jacqui who looks about 16 (but can't be) as she is the Mum of four with her eldest aged 24, Heather who is the acting NUM and an overseas student Maricelle. I have not laughed at work so much for such a long time. Work was all about having fun for a change, joking with the various patients as we showered them, dishing out their medications, moving beds, cleaning beds ( nurses get to strip beds, clean beds and make the beds up here) taking patients outside into the warm sun, going across the road to the local pharmacy to drop scripts off, having morning tea and lunch and walking out at the end of the shift with a smile on my face.
I might not be birthing babies at the moment as birthing numbers are certainly reduced in these small rural hospitals, but I am gradually merging into a team of midwives who practise case-loading with those few women who elect to birth with minimal intervention as possible. 
Next week I will be doing my second lot of 24 hour on-call for a woman who is due to birth shortly. Once these women advance to 2 weeks prior to their due date, midwives are offered on call in anticipation of their labour so it will be exciting to finally participate in a birth or two if it so happens on my watch.
Birthing numbers are reduced up here now, as these rural towns are embracing older generations more and more as people like myself and my husband appreciate the advantages of living in a calmer, cleaner atmosphere as we retire and try to age gracefully. The death rate out of the major towns is far greater than the birth rate I am told, but whilst this must sound morbid one must realise it's a fact of life and part of the evolution of such places.
I left Mount Beauty this afternoon just on 4 pm. as I had to purchase a couple of things before winding my way back home.
The drive again was spectacular and I drove a different way home over the Tawonga Gap back into Bright and therefore onto more familiar roads. I was at peace with many things as I returned to Buffalo Creek Road and I knew once again we had made the right decision for ourselves as I felt my heightened excitement at returning to my home, husband and dogs.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

I did survive!

Well, as you can tell just by reading the title, the evening went off with a bit of a  whimper.
As I have mentioned previously, the ward has a capacity for 10 acute beds.
Yesterday when I arrived to work, we had 5 beds occupied by older aged people with various ailments.
There are always two staff rostered to work each shift and if anyone presents to the emergency area, the person in charge has to assess, triage and treat those who rock up except on weekends when there is a designated nurse to work in the A&E unit as well as the other two staff in the ward.
Not long after I had logged on ( yes, we do that here too, only by phone!) and we had had handover, one chap arrived. Seems he had stubbed a toe some weeks before, elsewhere, and now because it was sore and a little swollen he decided to come to  see what miracles Bright Hospital could perform.
After looking at said toe and commiserating with his pain, I informed him there was no doctor on site and he would do well to take himself off to the one and only clinic in Bright to see a doctor as there was naught I could do. All said in my politest voice I might add, so off he went.
Without giving names away, and not long after, a person of HIGH esteem was sent in by a local doctor because of nasty pasty gastro- intestinal symptoms and a good dose of an URTI as well.
Fortunately for me, this person was well versed in this hospital's practises and was able to do her own paperwork etc., so the pressure was off a little as yet another walked in feeling just as crappy as she.
By now I am thinking is there something going on in the community that is going to cause 50% of the population to present for me tonight, but it fortunately slows down after this second presentation, so I can get on with doctors recommended treatments for both.... IV fluids, antiememtics, antibiotics, paracetamol etc. and all the paperwork that goes with each presentation.
One doctor decides to admit, the other doctor decides to let the second presented go home after successful treatment and so, I can return back to the ward and focus on the in patients again.
The person I am working with is amazing. By the time I felt it safe to return to the ward, she has done all the observations, given out medications and assisted people with eating dinner. All I can do is thank her profusely which seems paltry given all she has had to do in my absence.
Eventually the shift draws to a close. My hands are dry and sore because of the constant washing and drying. I am thirsty because of not drinking enough water through the course of the shift but my brilliant side kick senses this and brings me a hot cup of milo before the night staff arrive at 10:45 pm.
We sit down to handover, myself and two nurses somewhat younger than myself, but well experienced all the same and they ask me how my shift went. As this was the first time I had met them both, I hesitated in my reply, then threw caution to the wind and replied, " Well, at least no-one died on our shift. All patients are alive and well". Fortunately there was laughter with this reply and handover was completed without much ado.
One admission which made the bed status six patients, and three A&E presentations, not bad for my first in charge shift in my new life.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Working Place

As you know, recent times have seen my better half and I create a change of environment and lifestyle with our move to new wide open spaces.
We love our home, as we did previous homes of course for many reasons, but this place with its magnificent bird life and multi tasking on the property have given us both a new lease on life.
With this move, came the opportunity for me to expand my work style as well and may I say it's been quite the change.
I am working bank which means casual call in at two local hospitals, one which is 10 minutes away, the other, 40 minutes away.
The drive to both is neither arduous nor fraught with traffic. The main concern, especially at nighttime is to stay alert and watch out for kangaroos and wombats. They are reknown for causing major damage to cars here, just as much as anywhere else. There are also occasional deer to be on the alert for as well but fortunately, I have encountered none other than the odd bunny on my drives to and from the workplaces I now frequent.
I've had to draw on my dormant nursing skills as the majority of people I now care for are elderly and medication rounds are fun times as I like to know what I'm administering, so I have a dog-eared copy of the Mims booklet on the trolley as I go through the list.
What I really find fascinating is chatting with these elderly folk discovering their backgrounds and attachments to this area. There is 'A' who has been a farmer in the area all his life. He once lived close to where we reside now for a time and we have spoken about farms in the area and local history, including the story of three little boys who drowned during a flood some 100 years ago.
There is 'B' who was a young Jewish child living in Germany at the onset of the Second World War and now has traumatic flash backs to her experiences back then and consequently trusts no one now. Her workife profession was that of a palaeontologist which is particularly fascinating. One evening when she was agitated, I found some photos in her drawer and we spent an hour or so reminiscing about her extended family and this seemed to pacify her a little and caused her to smile for a time.
All come from different walks of life and have had varied experiences during their lives. One older lady was a psychiatric nurse in England and when we spoke, she shuddered at what she had witnessed back then in various institutions. 
Not all memories recounted were bad but it's funny how we tend to recall those snapshots of time that fill us with sadness and fear before others when asked.
The work loads are very different to what I am used to also.
We have time to sit and chat with our patients, we have time to feed them if they need assistance and I am re-learning all about slings and steady eddy's as time goes on too.
I will retain my midwifery for as long as I can... One hospital had a first time mother birth on the weekend and I was on call to come witness the birth. I was called in just before midnight on Saturday evening and I got there about 15 minutes later. 
One can understand that when I got there, I was greeted with a smile by one of the nurses telling me the woman had just already birthed and I had missed it all. Was lovely to walk in and see the relief on her (the new mum's) face though as I had had the pleasure of meeting her a couple of times in the days leading up to her labour as she was overdue and anxious not to have intervention.
Both she and her delightful partner had a birth plan and were not wanting induction but understood that it might be a possibility if spontaneous labour did not occur.
Needless to say, her labour was short and ever so sweet. She greeted me with 'No stitches!" and so, all was great in her world.
I have done fetal monitoring on one Mum who is classified as an elderly multiparous woman (45). This woman has had to book at one of the regional hospitals because of her advanced maternal age but with her track record of quick labours in the past, I have an inkling she will present to the closest hospital when the time comes anyhow so it's far better she has some recognition of the birthing room beforehand.
This week I have been asked to work in charge at one of the hospitals which I am a little apprehensive about.
The ward side of this work I am comfortable with, it's the emergency department of which I am to be in charge of that fills me with dread.
Each of these hospitals has an unfunded emergency department and have to deal with simple to major problems from time to time. I have been promised that the Div 2 nurse I will be working with is very capable and will support me, so I will just hope and pray no one rocks up with chest pain or anything I might find difficult to deal with.
Ambulances bring patients there too unannounced so, if you think of me on Wednesday evening, please send me a thought that all remains calm in my world and I haven't been inundated with chest pain and MVA's and asthmatics and all those horrible nasty emergency things I can think of.
The last time I worked in an emergency department was many years ago and my memory of that shift is of a boy who severed his arm after crashing through a plate glass window.
Let's hope history doesn't repeat itself on Wednesday evening!
Shall keep you all posted!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Time is fleeting...

We have been here a month already. The weather has been so varied from day to day.
Some days are brilliant sunshine and warmth radiating through the windows, other days are freezing with winters tentacles sliding through those same windows trying to grasp onto whatever warmth there is inside.
Earlier today the weather was fine with a hint of blue skies and the atmosphere not too inclement.
Now it is freezing outside. Even your breath turns to vapour as you talk before it dissapates into the sky. It is raining again, not too strong like yesterday's sky carnival. Just a soft gentle rainfall that makes me know it must be snowing higher up again.
The cows across the road don't look too fussed. It's heads down over there as they munch on their diet of grass and hay with an occasional bellow heard as they barter for best posse along the hay line.
We lit the weber today and I've just put in a lovely rolled leg of lamb that with do us for dinner nicely, not too mention lunch over the next few days as well.
This arctic vortex or whatever it's called is apparently upon us and the dogs are even snuggled inside taking pride of place in front of the wood fire sleeping on the mat.

They are both filthy, and I will proceed to explain why.

Yesterday, Murray and I ventured down to Melbourne to pick up our last load from the storage place we had hurriedly dumped stuff between Merryn moving overseas, Mum moving into her aged care facility and us moving up here.
We knew the weather was going to take a turn for the worse but we were not expecting the pyrotechnics, the thunder and torrential rain we drove through to get back home. As some of you might be aware, we drove through a snow patch on the Snow Road coming home which was a novelty for a city girl like me, but alas when we arrived home, it was water water water everywhere.
Where we had the front paddock cleared last week, we listened last night to a large sound which initially I thought was wind but Murray and Stuart thought different.
Stuart sat there with his ears pricked on the deck and I could tell he was frightened, not only because of the thunder but this new sound too. Because it was so dark outside there was no way we were going to venture down to see where the noise was generating from so it was an early night for all as a clap of thunder had knocked out our TV reception anyhow and it was too cold. I might add at this time Noni was rather ambivalent about all these happening as usual. 
Stuart is the anxiety ridden timid dog when it suits whereas Noni is laid back and not too much phases her. It was so cold and wet, they spent most of the night inside in front of the fire which I am sure they were happy about.
Anyway, I woke up this morning around 6:30.... which is about 30 minutes before sunrise. The predawn light was just enough for me to visualise an unusual phenomena at the front of our property.

Low and behold, we had our very own mini lake, creek, or river....which has managed to remain throughout the day so the rainfall must have been enormous whilst we were away.

This was what Stuart and Murray had heard the previous evening and today the local ducks thought it a wonderful event as they swam and they swam all over our dam!
Murray and I dressed up in our jammies, slippers and coats to witness this new landmark firsthand and as we walked back up to the house Noni accompanied us. We arrived back at the homestead and Murray realised Stuart was not with us but was comfortable he was off on an early morning wander which he usually does.
Not 10 minutes later, at the back door, there stood, resplendent in the freshest colour of brown, our black and white border collie. As many of you know, S&N are partial to a swim at the beach. Apparently Stuart thought this nature made swimming pool would suffice as his current swimming hole as he came back not only covered in dirt and mud but bramble bits, twigs and the like on his erstwhile fur. Perhaps he was chasing the ducks and frogs that had taken up residence in the 'fresh' water.
Half an hour later, Noni was seen also having a wonderful time rolling around on the grass, in 'what it was I don't care to know' as she too returned not only in a dirty brown shade but also there was a greenish hue on her white bits too.
It's a dog's life that's for sure.

The day has been spent admiring the beautiful green scenery in front of our property with a visit from Michelle, a friend and colleague from WMH and her two girls who are returning home from a trip to the snow. Although it was a brief visit it was great to see one of many I am missing these days in our new place.
Let's do the time warp again.........

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Can you believe it???

Can you believe it?
It's been a week now since we moved heaven and earth to make this place our home.
This past week has been a week of moving furniture; of bringing in boxes and emptying said boxes; of replacing stuff from said boxes (I am so over stuff) and of shuffling furniture around and around to fit into the house.
I finally sorted the kitchen pantry last evening, and today it was so lovely gaining access to the pantry, knowing where I had put things, instead of the ramshackle (now there's a word you don't hear every day) misplacement of food, condiments etc.
We even had our very first guests who honked their horn as they came up the drive.
It was so wonderful to have visitors come and admire our place for the very first time. I know, after all our hard work to make this house and property our forever home, it was great to get some feedback and know we have made the right decision for us both.
Life changes as you become older, not necessarily for the better as some will attest, but we have up till now, been most fortunate in having our health and the ability to continue with work if needs be in the short term future.
I know I have secured employment, be it casual at this point with the immediate health professionals in Myrtleford, Bright and Mt. Beauty and I look forward to augmenting their work and knowledge base with whatever I bring with me when I start work there next month.
This past week, whilst it has been a frantically busy one because of the wet weather we have experienced, has been extremely therapeutic and rewarding as we have put our worldly goods into place.
Our dogs I might add have apparently enjoyed the change in their lifestyle too, with a few hills to climb, new smells to sniff and roll in, yes, literally roll in, wombat burrows to investigate and creeks to check out as well at the foot of the property.
Stuart as always, is the adventurous one and goes a wandering all over the place, whereas Noni displays a bit of insecurity and continues with her ball fixation whenever there are humans she knows around.
Perhaps we need 'Harry' around to give us some advice on how to stop her throwing the ball at our feet all the time but at least she is comfortable with the familiarity of our presence after such enormous changes, so, hopefully she will settle down in time.
We both love our new home... Our forever new home, nestled in the hills out the back of Myrtleford.
Here's hoping we live forever, happily ever after!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The beginning of the journey

So, yesterday, the driver and I picked up a 4 tonne truck and had ourselves a bit of a road trip.
We had to take the truck up north to a storage facility close to our soon to be new residence filled with odds and sods from the garage out back here.
I did not realise we had so many tents (4) at last count, not to mention tent poles...about six sets, let alone tent pegs by the thousands!
We took up a lot of childhood memories...... Books from my own childhood and that of the kids...... assignment pieces that when completed we thought were amazing and apparently most of their teachers thought so too.
How does one dispose of such stuff?
I would love sometimes to be cold and callous and just send the lot to the tip, but I am a proverbial hanger-onner and lots to do with my children I have kept, if only for my sentimentality.
I recall doing assignments myself such as the Suez Canal and the book I wrote in 6th. Grade called "Bang" and understand them to be forever obliterated through time and decay but I am loathe for my children's masterpieces to suffer the same fate.
Anyhow, I digress...this is all about our road trip and the adventures we had along the way.
Up to the truck hire place by 8 to pick up the aforementioned vehicle then back to our place to load it up with that camping equipment, bikes, outdoor settings, books upon books upon books (didn't know I had so many of those either), outdoor fire-pits, more books, old children's toys....guess what Mez, not only did I find your Sylvanian dolls house, but your Barbie dolls, some with hair, some without!
Lots of soft toys from baby days and other bits and pieces which we cannot part with yet.
We had loaded by 9:30 am thanks to Jimmy The Mitch and were on our way not long after.
I did not know that such trucks are made with thin iron bars in the back rest and seat which are designed to make one shift uncomfortably from time to time.
The cabin was relatively spacious though and warm, which is all one can ask on such a cold winter's day. We were out of the city and on the Hume by 10 which was pretty good going, as Westgate and the Ring Road are often fraught with stop start intervals. It was our lucky day with that aspect though and we made it up to Myrtleford with just one stop at Milawa for something to eat and an ablution and before we knew it, we had arrived at our storage facility.
The driver unlocked the gates to the complex then reversed up to where the door was. There was an unsuccessful attempt at this stage to unlock the padlock securing our storage space and a brief moment of panic, thinking we had not brought the right key up.
My driver then thought...."Bloody lock must be stuck" (he might have added a few other expletives at this time but me no say!) "What shall we do"? 
I had a go at unlocking unsuccessfully as he made the van suitable for unloading and then came across a set of bolt cutters he had brought up just in case.
Before one could mention Jack Robinson the lock was busted for all time, but it was then he, the driver, had an epiphany.....Perhaps he was trying to access the wrong shed!
Sure enough, we tried the lock next door with our key and miraculously, the shed door opened. I tried without much access to keep a straight face as he realised he had broken into, and without much effort, someone else's storage shed, so, without much fuss we quickly put our lock onto the 'not our shed' shed and proceeded to unpack our stuff into 'our' shed.
That didn't seem to take too long at all and we were finished by 3. 
The next job was to nick into town though and purchase a couple of new locks to replaced the busted one and give to the agents as a conciliation attempt towards the owner of the other shed!
That was done finally and we were underway again before we knew it and it was homeward ho once more.
The truck travelled quite well with minimal noise and as I mentioned before, the cabin was quite warm and cosy. The only drawback was the not overly comfortable seats but I suppose trucks aren't made for their seating comfort. One just gets used to such things as one gets a little older.
No time to check out our new abode today...
That will be done on Thursday as we will venture up again for a 'final inspection' and it's just a matter then of emptying out what we have left (lots!!!). I am sure 'stuff' grows when you're not looking, especially when you've lived in this house/home as long as we have.
An uneventful journey home apart from city traffic had us back safe and sound by 7:00pm. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Every day's a new day...

A different day today. One filled with yet again, another tinge of sadness; a large quantity of joy and anticipation, some celebration, some thankfulness for friends we have and to round it up, a feeling of never ever wanting to eat again.
Murray and I were up early this morning as the plan was to meet the owners of the property we are purchasing then mosey on over to the local winery to celebrate a another friend's 70th. birthday.
Our primary plan was mildly thwarted as the wife of the property we are purchasing is unwell and in hospital but the husband was happy to meet us at our soon to be new address providing it was early in the morning as he had to go be with his wife for the best part of the day elsewhere.
Given this lady is unwell, we had wanted to purchase some flowers for her husband to take to her whilst she was in hospital, but despite visiting the one and only florist in Bright, then both supermarkets, not to mention Myrtlefords opportunities, we had to go empty handed as there were no flowers fit for an unwell patient in hospital to be purchased.
We visited our property and we're delighted yet again with what it has to offer us....beautiful scenery, a delightful contemporary (to us) home, albeit 15 years old, a marvellous garden and lots of opportunities to flash my camera again and again. It was with some sadness we learnt that the wife is extremely unwell in hospital and her treatment is palliative at this time. Consequently, the husband is not yet sure where his future lies once he leaves this property other than him residing in town with his wife until life declares itself, once we move up and in.
He is a very personable chap, quite easy to talk to and more than willing to support Murray with his initial ventures once we make the grand move.
We worked out some logistics re fridge, freezer, kitchen dresser, washing machine and so forth. Checked out the ride-on mower, equipped with trailer and props, spray system, chain-saw and various collections of timber and corrugated iron etc. and then it was time to depart so he could be with his wife.
We called into town for a coffee and then returned from whence we came (our cabin) to prepare for lunch with friends at Boynton's Winery across the road.
It's a delightful 10 to 15 minute walk from our cabin which is just as well, as quaffing a few wines mid day is not conducive to driving afterwards regardless of the distance so needless to say after our rather large lunch we walked back to our abode to rest up for a bit.
Lunch was in honour of Pauline who lives just a couple of cabins down from us. It's Pauline's 70th. birthday this week so celebrations were in order . Plenty of wine was drunk, white and red and our two-course meal was to die for. I am no food commentator, but it was delicious and plentiful and the service by all the staff exemplary not to mention we were also honoured with a visit by Kel and Janine, the owners of the winery who certainly know how to host.

Just a little example above of my roast pork with crackling. Scrumptious to say the very least. 
I don't normally take photos of food but this was the exception today!
Following our delightful meal we all staggered home...staggered for more reasons than one...then just as I was about to rest up Fay tripped down to tell us the park owner had baked scones and jam and cream for Pauline as well and we were to partake (again!!!) of fine food.
No room at the in my belly for anything else tonight that's for sure!!!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

A story for Mal

Today I am writing. Not because it is Easter time. Not because I feel sad for yet another child with progeria who has died. Not because I have eaten too much chocolate, which I actually haven't (put that in ya book Mr. Ripley!).
I am writing for a friend I made and met whilst we were in France last October. 
I cannot understand how that trip is now six months away from today. Six months! Six bloody months sinced I accomplished a few adventures on my own personal bucket list over in Europe.
Unbelievable how quickly time passes when you are that little bit older.
I suppose some short term memory loss has kicked in and some days now they have gone, might not even have existed if I did not have calendars throughout my home.
They were obviously not special days as I have no recollection, so I believe that could be a reason why time has dissipated without recognition.
This friend of mine (Murray's too I might add) has steadfastly remained in contact with me and sends me occasional messages as well as lots of funny humourous sayings and video clips to make me smile and laugh. This lady is a gentle compassionate soul who lives close to water in northern New South Wales with her partner in crime and time. May they both live happily ever after in their spot in the universe.
My friend, in a roundabout way has prompted me to write as she said she had missed my writings of late, so, here it is. Once again a lot of flotsam and jetsam and much ado about nothing really. Just a bunch of words thrown together to form a collection of sentences, but entertaining and time occupying for me all the same.
It's Sunday morning here as I write. Easter Morning to be precise and I sit out front of my cabin, on my own with my cup of green tea with ginger (invigorating to the digestive tract) and listen to the sounds of the holiday park in which I reside.
Children laughing and playing, probably comparing chocolate stashes, cars whizzing by on their way to church no doubt, others cooking on their camp stoves, bicycle bells, occasional birds getting their two bobs worth in and people emptying their rubbish from the previous evenings revelry (holiday parks rock at night time!!!).  Footsteps on the gravel can be heard too as people walk and run and ride their bikes and drive their cars around the road within the park. One never gets the sense of being alone here yet ones can be alone at the same time. This is a very family oriented park with its big jumping castle out the front and play areas around conducive to children's' occupation and playing.
It is Easter and my plan is to travel to Harrietville this morn as I am of the understanding they have yet another market to attend. I went to the Bright Market yesterday and in parts it was jammed pack with people, in other places it was not so busy. 
For the life of me I cannot understand why people bring their dogs to such events, especially little ones that are encouraged to walk on a leash. I tripped over one dog, hopefully not hurting it too much in the process, apart from my pride. Got a dirty look from the owner as I obviously wasn't looking where I was going in the crowded throng. There was another dog obviously lost and running up and down looking for its owner. I do hope he/she found who it was looking for eventually. There were heaps of designer dogs being carried in handbags a la Paris Hilton which seems to be a new wave thing!
For those of you that reside in Melbourne and have been to Vic Markets on the odd occasion, there were even the South American musicians playing the pan pipe music, not to mention the heavy metal musical man and the young chap with his beautiful lab sitting there along side as the master played his guitar.

The rain has just started here and the perfume in the air, magnificent. 
I have just realised I've left yesterday's washing on the clothes line out back....oh well it'll have to dry another day and it's a good excuse for me to pack up my breakfast stuff and prepare myself for a venture to the foot of the snow mountains for the day.
So there my friend Mal..... A little bit of rumination for you. Now i've written this, I hopefully will have the urge to write some more later today.
May every person who reads this have a safe happy Easter (what's left of it that is) and we will catch up on the flip side as Julian Lennon is oft to say!
Buon Pascale! Joyeuses Paques!