Saturday, 18 September 2010


The little suckers that help your blood clot had a party in Len's Leg, and forgot to leave and get on with their job of looking for cuts to mend etc.
There was a lump (sore one) on his inside left lower leg for some time, probably just where it must have been hit during the move, so it was thought.
Len also took up riding his bike to work a few days a week, and went to Ikea for 4 hours of shopping (standing!).
Jude has said all along that it must be looked at urgently.

Len is stupid.

On Wed. Len just knew that it was important t get in and have it looked at.
The medical people were great, rushed him through, got a doppler (whoooo, nice word) done and was sent straight to hospital. Do not pass go, do not collect $200, or clothing etc.

So, many needles to the stomach later, wolferine tablets, really 'nice' stockings to wear, and a few days laying down, Len is home again.

No walking much, no brussels sprouts, spinach, cabbage and all the other stuff that will be hard to give up (even ginger!), and perhaps 3 to 6 months of treatment, and having to wear the STUPID STOCKING until FOREVER.....

OK, calm now.

The food was quite respectable, the needles weren't.

The annoyance of having what feels like a disability is... well....annoying.

It was a Deep Vein Thrombosis.
Fortunately it did not travel around the body, or this blog might have a different title, along the lines of 'So long Len, some of us will miss you'.

On the travels down the West to Gippsland area w must have run over a hundred chinese people (that is supposed to give you bad luck, not that we believe in luck, but you get the drift.

The Prado cost $8000 to fix, on top of the $3000 we spent just before we left Darwin.
Our Air con blew up after a week of being in the new house.
The caravan is needing repairs and we were ripped off by the 'repair' (HA) man.
The good news is, friends have called, church people have called, Anthony and Len's mum called. People have been unbelievably kind.
The house is great, apart from the Air con and the fixing we will do, but the fixing items were what we wanted to do anyway, so it is still cool.

On Tuesday we get three aircons put in, and that will be better than sitting in front of the little fan heater as we are doing now, shivering a little.

Anyhoo.... that is the news.

Catch you next time.
The Clarks

Thursday, 29 July 2010

The Prado Lives, and well it might!

Hey all,
We picked up the Prado today, finally.
I wrote that the bill might be $2500.

I was wrong. Again!

It was $7200.00

This was a shock, and now we have a Prado that has LOTS of new stuff, motor, fuel pump, etc etc etc etc.

Anyhoo, we have 5 weeks until 'Clinton Court' days.

We are unconditional with the contract now, so it is all ahead on 1st Sept.

So, keep in touch and blessings to you all.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Some ups, some downs, some colds

Well, today the wind blows from a direction that must include a snowy landscape.
So far we have not experienced the icy winds of Burnie this winter, except for today. Still, it is not as cold, but unwelcome anyway.

The news...
For some time we have had our caravan up at Warragul where a bloke has been messing about, but finally we got it back on Friday, a lock was replaced, a window and a light cover that was smashed transporting it to him. It cost a bit, and when we got home the glass is cracked already. :-(
The bloke messed us around so much that we will not try to take it back, so it is here at last.
There has been some smoke from the Prado for a time, we thought it was injectors, but it has a cracked head, and injector issues. So the bill will be somewhere around $2500.

We have also been looking at homes here, as we pay a considerable rent anyway, so we may as well make it count.
We will sign for one tomorrow. That is the one in this post.
The internet address for the place, so you can have a look is;

It is a flat block and a large house.
There are a few things that need repairing, but we can do them ourselves.

We will consider what to do with the Burnie house, at the moment, it stays.

Judith has been very unwell. Jessie also, but less.
Sam and Len are robust!

Sam kicked another goal on Saturday, so that made his day (goals are VERY rare in his team!).
Jessie is in art classes, and attending a holiday club, the Scripture Union 'Shipshapes' programme.

So that is the news.
Blessings to all.

Don't forget to stay in touch...PLEASE!

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Football makes us wiser

So, Sam is a Footy Player now.
Each Thursday night we travel to Tarwin Lower (25 mins south, in another country almost!), fly capital of Australia in the Summer. Also the place where Sam and Len take SPECIAL care to look for cars with no lights on at night (It still haunts them a little).

Two weeks ago Sam had to play at Yarram, which is another hour towards New Zealand (or, if you are a Kiwi speaker 'New Zilland, Bro'). This week was Philip Island.
The good thing about driving an hour in every direction from Gatha, is that you get to see the countryside a bit.
The Yarram drive was beautiful. There were lots of cows (as usual) but a nice mountain lookout and very pretty countryside. Philip Island is beautiful, and we will take some of you there if you visit and time permits etc. There is a seal population just off shore by 1.5km that is 20 000 strong, and you can see them with binoculars, well, they don't have binoculars, you need to have binoculars in order to see the seals, get it?
(Just in case you were confused)
So, footy has taken us out and about the place, the only good thing about footy.

School is VERY busy, there are exams and reports coming up, so the holidays will come very soon.

The family have had mild cold things, but all ok otherwise.

Travis has had the bone samples taken (YUCK, poor Trav) and this week we find out the extent of the treatment required. We continue to pray for him and the family.
Georgie is nearly 2 years old, and Skype has let us see her and blow kisses, Michelle is still working most days and being a great mum.
Anthony has sold his flat and will move to Devonport next month, that should be good for him we think.

Our caravan is STILL (STILL!!!!!) at the 'repair' place, three months and no action. On Monday we will call the insurance company and, depending on the conversation we have with them, we may take it away to somewhere else. I don't think we will have it in time for the holidays, sadly.

Anyhoo.... that is the news that is the news.
Will post some pics soon. Comments welcome.

Friday, 30 April 2010

My goodness, what a few eeeks...

Hi all.\
We have returned to 'Gatha' after the trip to Tas.
We loved catching up with all there.
We were there for Travis' operation to remove some lumps in the throat.
Sam and Len decided to visit Michelle and Trav asap, and it was just after Trav returned from the op. and was still messy and half asleep when we arrived. Apart from the blood on Trav and his pillow, the scar and stitches, the heat of the hospital and that Sam had not drunk much for the whole day, it was topped off by an old bloke across in the next bed that was blind and had one eye that was completely whit(ish). Sam managed that...just. But then a nurse came in, dipped two fingers into some cream stuff and proceeded to rub it INTO THE EYE, as in 'INTO the flamin' thing'!Sam then managed to get a bit overcome by it all, and fainted. Much to our surprise and consternation. His blood pressure was so low for a minute that the blood pressure cuff could not read it at all!

Unfortunately the test on Trav showed it was cancerous and has spread.
It is apparently the 'best' kind to have if you are to have any form of the dreadful thing, but we are obviously concerned a great deal and ask that those who pray, pray for Trav please.
It is a great shock and strain on all, especially Michelle.

I have witnessed worse things being healed by God, so that's what we are asking for.

It is colder here now, as elsewhere in Southern OZ.

Last night Sam and Len went to Tarwin Lower (20 mins east of Gatha) for Sam's footy training, on the return trip we missed our usual turn and ended up on another road to home.
Sam and Len were discussing how bright the moon was, and how Cat Stevens wrote the song 'Moon Shadow' after leaving London for the first time and seeing a shadow cast by the moon. London was sopolluted (still is0 that he did not know the moon could shine so much.

They came to a T section and turned right. At this time Jude and Jess were actually praying for a safe trip home for the boys.

On turning right, Len stayed in the right hand lane more than usual and then felt teh urge to swing to the right quickly.
As he did, a car flashed past from behind.
It had been speeding without the lights on, enjoying a Moonlight Shadow night as a prank.
It missed the car by a foot for the length of the car.
If Len had turned as per usual, or not swerved they would have been T-boned and Sam certainly would have been killed, and perhaps Len as well.

It is the closest to death they have been.

The car turned their light on and went off.
It was quite upsetting, but we are all thankful for the prompting of the Holy Spirit, obviously there is work for the boys down here to do yet.

That is the news as it stands for now.
Hope you all are enjoying yourselves,
Blessings to all.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

In Leongatha, off to Tasmania!!

Well, we survived the first term here in 'Gatha' as the locals call it.
It is a pretty good place, and the school is fine.

We have a HUGE house, as you know already. We are getting used to having to walk a 1/4 km to get to the bathroom. We have a new lounge setting, a new TV, beds and BBQ, but the gas bottles are all on the caravan or in Tas, so we will light it up later on.

We are off to Tas tomorrow to pack the remainder of our gear, which I am dreading.

We fly tomorrow, and will be at Michelle and Travis' for a few days, then to Hobart and back, then return to Gatha.

We will have our mobiles on us, so give us a call if you want to see where we are.
Jude is 0408 569 753
Len 0418 585 660

We have the phone on, and it is STILL (amazing) 03 5662 5687
We also have the net on at home now as well.

Travis is to have a pretty serious operation on Wednesday, please pray for him.

Better get some beauty sleep.
Bless ya all,

Friday, 12 March 2010

The phones, the phones

Hi all,
We thought we would get away from Telstra. That was the plan anyway.
As it turns out, they have the plan we needed, so we went with them again.
Simple, right?, actually.

We WERE supposed to have the phone on today, but the first bloke didn't put the order through correctly.
He also gave us a phone number which we memorized and began to tell appropriate places about it.
When the phone was not on as stipulated Len called Telstra, and another bloke said 'sorry' Blah, blah, blah

We then have a new number (the other one went due to the different time the order was actually placed).
Internet will be in a week or so, phone on Wednesday (we'll see!).

So, here are our details,
Home address is

30 Lee Parade, Leongatha, 3953.

Postal address is P.O. Box 93, Leongatha, 3953

Phone number is (hopefully!!) 03 5662 5687

The doors are open, feel free to visit.

The Clarks.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Satellites, School and Stumps

One week of school down, three until we get into a house.
A house!!!

I must say it again, a HOUSE, whooo hooooo.

Firstly, satellites.
I have always wondered how satellites fly above us, staying in orbit etc. Amazing.
More amazing are those that are in geo-stationary orbit.
You know, sitting above one specific point of the Earth, never falling away or towards Earth, never moving forward or backward at all.
I can reveal the secret.

From a satellite point of view it is always racing forwards and falling towards Earth at a constant rate, it is not sitting stationary at all.
The reason it does not crash is that the Earth is round! As the satellite races forward, it does so at the exact rate of rotation of the Earth, and it is falling at the exact same distance that the Earth is moving AWAY from it (the Earth being round means that Earth is always curving away from the satellite which is falling towards it).
So it is falling towards an object that it never gets closer to, and it is racing forward but never gaining and distance from the surface point of view.
Fascinating, I reckon.

That's just how Len felt last Thursday and Friday.
Two days to prepare for school, three brand new subjects and one of those days was spent in meetings (how I love meetings!!).
By Friday I was very unwell, headaches, neck aches, a pain in the left ankle and a desperate feeling that I wanted to run away. Possibly a panic attack and not pleasant at all.
It turns out that the pain in the ankle was cystitis, and is not a good thing and very painful.
A trip to emergency and antibiotics are sorting that out now.
since then the week has progressed reasonably OK, and calm is slowly replacing fear.
Judith went off to work and all is well, she keeps ranting about 'A House', for some reason. (Did I mention 'A House' before?)
She seems to like her new duties, and this week will be off to the other campus (students = 12) about 30 mins drive from Korumburra along a very windy but picturesque road.
Jessie has found a few friends already and seems to like the school, Sam has been in a cricket match already, and they are in the finals in a week or two.
He has displayed great maturity with some of the students at the school, one in particular who uses others to get dirty jobs done for his own benefit, Sam has stood up to that very well indeed.
On Friday night sam And Ln went to Melb to the MCG and watched the Paki/Oz T20 game. It was a thriller and great to be there, even if it took HOURS to get out and home.

So, satellites, school and stumps have all had their way this week.
It is a very beautiful area and we went to the Anglican church this AM, which was good.

What will this week bring??

Until next time.

Monday, 25 January 2010

And back again.

Well, here we are.

Back in Leongatha.

We had a good time in Tasmania meeting again with family and friends.
Some of the time was interesting, much was excellent.

It will be these people whom we miss that will be the hardest thing about being in Victoria.

We collected our trailer and crammed the Prado and Xtrail with gear, put heaps onto the roof of the Prado as well, upturned our kitchen table onto the trailer cover and packed that as well and eventually made our way back here safely. This was not always a 'given', as it all looked a bit over the top.

That is, until we went to board the Spirit of Tas., where there were all sorts of people with strange loads on top of all sorts of vehicles. We felt right at home there.
The prize for strangest in the loading bay queue must be the person who had a complete shell of a VW Beetle on top of his car!
I felt positively small fry compared with that effort.

We loved the wedding of Jude's niece, seeing family and having some time to sit and breathe.
The Prado has decided that the fuel pump needs attention, and the exhaust billows smoke when it is first started. It is only $3500 to fix, we were told!

On our return we stopped in at the Fountain Gate Shopping Center, and proceeded to spend lots on furniture orders as we have no lounge or bedroom furniture or TV (actually we had to go into debt to do it, oh well). So they are ordered and will be delivered in 8 weeks when we get a house (we hope!), and some pay.

We thought that it would then just be a matter setting up the van and resting for a few days in Leongatha Caravan Park, then work and being at the park for the 8 weeks or so to come.

However the lady there informed Len that even though we had booked a week we would have to leave after that, as she had a golf tournament that had booked the park solid. We were floored, as we then had no home, a van, two cars and new jobs/schools/everything else.
We had told her that we needed the spot for some time, around 6-8 weeks, and had booked one week already. She had said we did not need to book the rest until we returned so we didn't.

To top it off the lady was very rude and her grandson was worse. Len is in shock!! Judith is calm.

In a panic we phoned the Korumburra Caravan Park and explained our situation, they have put us up and we will have to shift for a weekend in 5 weeks, and return again after the weekend, we can stay at the park, just in another temporary spot they will make for us. How good! The manager talks fast and non-stop to the point of nausea, but it feels, and is, much nicer here, so it has worked out well after all.

Korumburra is just west of Leongatha, and you drive through it to get there. So, we have to travel 15 minutes to work each way now, instead of 2 minutes, but we have a place to lay our heads at least.

We arrived late today (Monday) partly set up and will do the rest tomorrow.

Now, for a good lie down.

Monday, 18 January 2010


After being in Leongatha for a short time, we high-tailed it to Tas, to collect some gear and see dear family and friends.

Leaving Leongatha proved much more difficult than first thought.

We went to FOUNTAIN GATE shopping centre.
An enormous, maze of shopping delight.
There are shops enough to keep Imelda Marcos happy for a few days. Jude and Jessie for weeks, Sam for hours, Len for... well no time actually.

We then went via the M1, using the trusty GPS to guide us safely to the Spirit.

Unfortunately the male got into Melbourne, and disbelieved the GPS ('You can't be serious, you stupid machine. Shut up!, What? Surely you can't turn off the M1 THERE!!!! I am going to find it MYSELF, so there!').

It turns out that you CAN in fact turn off the M1 where it was recommended by the GPS.
(To be fair, the maps have not been updated for 2 years and there are new freeways in Melbourne that are not on the maps, so the doubt factor was high, having driven on non-existent roads coming into Melbourne a few days earlier, thought I should just like to make that clear, OK)

It turns out that not following the GPS adds considerable stress to the whole affair.
Added to this was the fact the one car was dangerously low on fuel.

After a couple of laps through the center of town, much grinding of teeth and considerable calming talk from the wife via our two way radios, we stopped for directions.
The older male was considerably stressed.
Stress has a way of spreading.
After some desperate conversations with a video shop operator (thanks customers who waited for the talk to stop) we set off, knowing we were in fact close.
Bursting onto the M1 again with instructions to 'Turn onto the M1, get into the left lane immediately, then turn off onto blah blah blah road, and you are set'.

We raced onto the M1, raced into the left lane and Len raced past the left turn off.
It was only a few hundred meters where we entered.

Needing to smash a few things, much hard breathing was done.

The train station looked lovely as we drove past it again. It was the first time we had driven over the Yarra.
Around we went again, time was ticking by. And why do light take SO LONG to change when the teeth are clenched so hard?

This time we saw a fuel station which we had driven past some 30 minutes earlier from the opposite direction.
Jude filled the car (one problem down), Sam looked at our new shiny Melways, Len spoke to a bloke who offered to drive in front to the ferry.
His instructions were so clear that we declined the kind offer.

Onto the M1 again, we made the turn and Sam (GPS Sam, Global Positioning Sam) guided us safely and directly to the vessel.

Instead of 45 minutes spare, we had 30, so that was OK.

The voyage began smooth enough.

At midnight it was not so smooth.
At two in the morning it was positively rocking.

Len has always been a chronic motion sickness sufferer, so it was earlier that we unleashed the secret weapon, GINGER.

Applause, admiration, almost devotion to the miracle that is GINGER.

NEVER before has Len traveled and not been violently ill for days, so it was with much fear that the trip was planned.

The family had Travacalm, the ginger ones, Len loves ginger (how good is that) and ate it crystallised.
No-one was sick, even though much of the night was spent tossing back and forth, expecting the worst.
All hail ginger, and thank you Myth Busters, where they tested it thoroughly.

Sunday morning began at 5am with an announcement over the loud speaker, 7am arrived at the in-laws for breakfast, then to Burnie Apostolic where we saw lots of good friends, lunch with some of them and it was great to meet our mates again.

Later we went to the Walkers and are staying with the lovely daughter and hubby, and seeing our dear grand-daughter.

Very nice.

Oh, one last thing... it is cold here!

Until next time

Wednesday, 13 January 2010


So, we made it.

Leongatha is actually better than Len remembered it to be.
There are a few more shops, and very friendly people.

What there is not, however, is accommodation.
The new desalination plant is to be built near here (somewhere) and homes are nearly all full up.
We inspect two tomorrow. Here's hoping!

A certain Mr. Flower esq. wanted us to be over the magic 10 000km mark by the time we got here from Darwin.

The stats are (NOT counting from Melbourne to Leongatha).

1904.88 litres of diesel (I am so sorry, Planet Earth!)
$2585.00 fuel cost
Average of 19.22 liters per 100km (that is soooo bad, but a very heavy pulling load)
9856km to Melbourne in total.

If we add on the KM from where we were in Melbourne when we last filled to now, we add another 145.1 kms

WE GET.......


Hooray, I hear Mr. Flower esq. exclaim.

Hooray, we exclaim.

The rest probably say nothing much at all and go and make a nice hot cup of tea.

Now, we have been busy, and we have already secured a post box, so you can post donations to the 'Pay for the diesel' fund.

This is the new address for us all.

L. J. S. J. Clark (Whomever it may be you want to post to)
P.O. Box 93
Leongatha 3953
Victoria, Australia

Now, get writing!

Until next time (or you visit us here)

Addled Aide

We arrived in Adelaide after the trials of the Nullabor.
We saw a bloke on a push bike half way across!
We also knew what lay in front of the intrepid traveler, and wondered how the heck he was going to survive the time in the sun.
Then we drove through what he had already pedaled through, and wondered how he HAD survived the time in the sun.
There is an old bike at Nullarbor (The town that is, Nullabor on Nullabor, get it?) with an even older helmet. It is the bike and helmet of the first person to ride across the plains.
We are also pretty certain he was mad.

Adelaide put on it's best weather for us (read 'Stinking hot', and we had the pleasure of staying with the Flower family, and visiting the Jack family, both dear friends of ours. That was great.

We were a day ahead of schedule and were going to leave on Monday, but a Catastrophic Fire Warning was issued for the area we were heading to, and it would have been a struggle to get the van up the hill heading out of Adelaide. We waited until Tuesday.

Tuesday was wet and much cooler, so we headed out and drove to Ballarat, we would have driven into Melbourne but it was too hard to find a caravan space.

The van found additional leaks and we have wet bedding and coverings etc.
It looks bleak for the future of the van, insurance people will have a look in the next few days in Leongatha.

Today (Wednesday) we head to our new town and try to find a home to live in.

Today is also dawning bright and sunny.

The Main Game commences.
Until next time

Thursday, 7 January 2010

The view from here is hot

Esperence is a jewel in the tiara of the south west of Oz.
The Beach Drive is stunning. The water is so clear that close to shore waves seem to shimmer inwards, rather than move, as you can see straight through to the sand. The deeper water is magnificently turquoise, and we were fortunate enough to see a pod of perhaps a dozen dolphins frolicking in the waves on the first beach we looked at.
Driving along, seeing magnificence after magnificence we went into sensory overload and returned tired and happy to the caravan.
We left the next day to try to get as far towards Adelaide as possible.
It was 47 degrees in Esperance later in the day we left!

We decided that we would not dally on the Nullarbor, and skittle across as quick as possible. 'As quick as possible' turns out to be between 80 and 100kph. It also means 'two days of lots of driving'.
The view across the Nullarbor for passengers is not as one may expect. There is no places that are red dust either side, but much low scrub-land and some wooded areas. It is not a place to settle down and raise a family, we feel. We met my brother and partner (now newly pregnant) at Caiguna Roadhouse where he is working until next week.

The view for the driver across the Nullarbor looks a lot like a temperature gauge of a motor vehicle.
There is a very solid and delicately balanced link between the temp. gauge and the accelerator pedal.
As the vehicle is pulling quite a heavy load, it tends to run from 1/2 way up to 7/8 to the dreaded RED zone. A slight touch harder of the accelerator pedal and it soars to the RED zone, and heart attacks occur spontaneously for the driver, who must nurse the system down a tad, until it feels safe-ish to continue on. Even stopping and idling to cool things down a bit actually makes the car get hotter!
MANY hours were whiled away looking anxiously down to the temp. gauge and up to the road, then repeated, and .... well you get it.

We have driven for over 800k one day and over 700 the next.
Adelaide is only 5 or 6 hour away now.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

What's in a Name?

If you come from Tasmania it is easy to pick a foreigner.
They say 'Lawn-seston', not 'Lon-seston' for 'Launceston'.
Interestingly, if you are from England, the original pronunciation for Launceston is actually 'Lawn-ton', spoken very quickly.

Tasmanians don't let the fact that they say it incorrectly bother them when they frown at foreigners who pronounce it differently than the local dialect dictates.

Albany is actually 'Al-bany', not 'All-bunny'. We got that right so we fitted in there, although dealing with N.T. number plates was a little problematic, so we left them on the Prado.

En route to Albany we had a fantastic drive along Highway 1, the route is bumpy, narrow-ish but lined with great forests and lots to see and do.
We stopped at Donnybrook, where they have a huge playground for free, so people drove at least 5000kms to play there (well, we did).
That probably makes it not technically 'free', but there was no entrance fee. It was a great way to split up a 550k drive.

From there we went to the Diamond Tree Reserve, where they have BIG trees that have had the tops cut off and a cubby-house plonked on top, to be used as fire watch towers. There are several, we were told.
We decided to climb the one in the pictures.
Jude and Sam got 1/2 way up and returned to Terra Firma (The more firma, the less terra).
Jess and Len went to the top, and it was quite a feat for a 9 year old. Very scary thing to do, and gained some appreciative 'ooh' and 'ahh's from those waiting their turn to risk heart attack or sudden impact death.

We then went to the Forestry Air Walk, in amongst more BIG trees. Much like Tahune Airwalk in Tas, without the opportunity to scare everyone by bouncing the cantilever, sadly.
Mind you it did sway sideways much more, a fact Sam tried valiantly to exploit.

Albany itself is nestled in the lee of some granite hills, snuggled down in a hollow, where it has a good snooze each day between 12 noon and 6pm. (Not really, it just sounds like it should, being in a hollow and all).
It is also a beautiful town, and one should take a trip to the Natural Bridge and see the awe-inspiring coastline. There are also two 'Blow-holes' nearby, where there are holes in the granite the size of a basketball. If you wait long enough for a good swell then you are treated to a very surprising jet propelled gust of compressed air, strong enough when we were there to remove hats, glasses, tee shirts (Jude held hers down after seeing Len's fat belly exposed to the other visitors in an amusing moment for all but Len), and perhaps strong enough to exfoliate exposed skin, should you so desire.
We were told that some splashes out to sea were two whales. After lots of patient waiting with the tele lens on the camera, and a pic or two of the splendid splashes the larger animal made it dawned that they did not move at all, and looked suspiciously like a few rocks way out at sea that were just being rocks. The pictures have been discarded.
The final thing about Albany, that will be mentioned here, is that if you want a good pizza in Albany, then you must go to Jo-Joe's Pizza.
We bought the jumbo version, $24, fed everyone and there was some left over!!
It just fitted through the caravan door with a slight tilt. Truly the best pizza we have tasted as well.

We are now at Esperence, another 500 or so ks, and tomorrow we explore some beach driving, we think.
Until then.

Friday, 1 January 2010

So, where's the Pestilence?

Some time ago, in a life long forgotten Len once decided that it was necessary to move from Tasmania to Geraldton, in W.A.
Geraldton was chosen because;
1. It had the best year round temperature for anywhere in Australia.
2. It was the furthermost place from Burnie with the best year round temperature in Australia.
3. It was the furthermost place from Burnie and the (then) Mother-In-Law in Australia with the best year round temperature in Australia.

After purchasing tickets etc. He eventually did not go, deciding to face the perils at close quarters instead of long distance.
One result of the last decision was the he always wondered what Geraldton would be like, thinking that it in all probability it was a dump and that it was a very good thing to have not been living in that city for all those intervening years.

It was with some interest and a little dread that we drove into there last week, on Boxing Day.

Well, it is very nice, as it turns out. Everyone loved it, it is bright, warm (not hot or cold) and has great places for family and seems a very friendly place to be.
It would have been OK to live there after all.

It is windy, but the locals consider that an advantage, promoting para-surfing as a sport for Geraldton's trendy people who can still wear small bathers and not make people feel ill.

We saw some Stromatolites in Shark Bay. Actually there are the largest collection on the planet.
Being an algae-rock thing they don't provide any entertainment as all, but we have seen then now.
Jessie nearly expired on the few hundred metre walk into them, it was stinking hot and very bright on the shell walk.
They also mined the shells some time ago, cutting them into bricks for building with. Very strange.
Kikipedia says 'Stromatolites (from Greek στρώμα, strōma, mattress, bed, stratum, and λιθος, lithos, rock) are layered accretionary structures formed in shallow water by the trapping, binding and cementation of sedimentary grains by biofilms of microorganisms, especially cyanobacteria (commonly known as blue-green algae). They include some of the most ancient records of life on Earth.'
So now you know.
In the pictures they look like burnt scones that grandma forgot to watch and then threw into the sea to forget about.

From there we high-tailed it to Perth and this is also a beautiful city, as we were told it would be. It has great gardens, a very 'outdoorsy' feel about it. The King's gardens overlooking the town are magnificent,the Bell Tower is very interesting as well. We paid the price for the tower and went in, where we saw actual bells played by actual bell-ringers. We were told that this is the only place where you can see this happening before your eyes. We think this may be so, as usually the bells are up in a tower, locked away and only share the space with a few dozen soon-to-be-startled pigeons, who also happen to be in various stages of deafness (I assume, given where they live and all). In civilized Perth they have a whole bunch of windows where you can watch the bells tumble when pulled by the somber, rather old fashioned looking people who volunteer to train to pull the chords. The fluffy part of the chord is called 'Sally', which seems appropriate for some reason or another. The bit with no fluff on it is just called the 'Tail'. A set of bells are called......
'A Ring' of bells. How cool is that.
(We were discussing collective nouns as we drove into Coral Bay and came up with a knit of sheep, a neigh of horses etc. We have to make ways to while away the hours spent watching the scenery go by)

So, Perth gets a big thumbs up, we could live here, Fremantle is lovely, Rottnest Island was too dear to travel to, and it has great beaches and some snorkeling we were told. Been there - done that, cheaper. So we gave it a miss.

We were also told we had to have fish and chips on one of the wharves in Freemantle, being home of all things seafood etc.
We did.
We have had better. (Burnie has better fish an chips than anywhere, surprisingly!)

Tonight Len and Sam went to IMax and saw 'Avatar'.
What a pleasant surprise, not the red an green 3D but the better polarized version. It wasn't done to impress with gadgety 3D tricks at all, but was the best 3D We have ever seen.
Well worth the money, go see it, in 3D if you can, and at an iMax if possible.

Pestilence? I hear you ask.
Well, we were coming home from Perth after watching the 20/20 match where we saw three of the best catches ever made, and the sky had a strange dustiness about it.
We later were told that there were fires north of Perth, where we had just driven through.
It seems we are being chased to Leongatha by Moses, or someone who has similar tendencies towards natural disasters etc.
We have had floods and now fire, just leaves pestilence I believe.
That will be interesting to see what happens.
Tomorrow the travel begins again, 5 hours to Albany. Is that ALL bany, or AL bany??
We find out tomorrow.
Until then.