Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Great News!

Brett rang this morning to say Mum is looking and sounding quite a bit better. She is starting to respond to conversation and is making a little more sense when talking. She’s still not eating, but is not fighting against drinking quite so much. Brett also sounds quite a bit better.

We have been offered another two house-sits. Once over the Christmas week period in Bunbury, and another for three months in Mundaring from May to the end of July 2010. That will mark the end of our time here in SW WA, as the two Navy reunions are in July, and we’ll head off at the end of July.

Yet another lovely, sunny day. Rick put up the sun-shade today, so that he can sit outside, but still stay out of the sun.

His mood has been a lot better the last couple of days. The change of location, even though we didn’t travel far, has released a bit of the stress and anxiety. The noise and number of people around in the more settled area of Fremantle has knocked him around a bit, as has the ongoing saga of the DVA / VRB appeal and Section 31. Every time we have to go through the process of documenting the details and his history of depression, he gets upset and his mood is affected for days.

Had to arrange DVA transport today to take us over to West Perth on the 14th for the psychiatrist visit. We don’t know the area, and the frustration of heavy traffic in Perth wouldn't help his mental state. We looked at going by public transport, but it is a 5 leg, 2.5 hour trip on bus and train. By the time we got to West Perth, Rick would be a basket case.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Coogee Beach to Baldivis - 28km

Really big day today – travelled the huge distance of 28km, to the Motor Home Park.  We’ll stay here for 9 days, before moving on to our first house sitting gig.  For that move, we’ll travel maybe 15km.  Sad isn’t it!

We have finally struck a patch of sun – the van is now sitting in full sun, and we’re actually getting warm.  Able to sit outside and stay warm.  Wonderful.

Mum’s still not eating, and has developed a bit of a chesty cough due to the surgery and inactivity.  We’re both very worried, but there is not a whole lot we can do other than wait and worry.  Brett is giving us daily reports, but the stress is telling on him as well.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Long Sunday Lunch

Had a lovely day today.  Jeff & Jennie came over for a BBQ lunch, and we sat outside and talked for ages – nearly tea-time when they went home.

Mum had the surgery yesterday and everything went well.  She’s still in a lot of pain and on morphine.  Unfortunately she is also refusing to eat and drink.  Brett spent three hours trying to get her to accept a small sip of water, so the hospital have had to put her on a drip, just to get some fluid in.  Brett says she is looking very bad at the moment.

Friday, 24 July 2009

Good News & Bad News

Good news – Jeff rang last night to say that he had managed to arrange an appointment in August (14th) with his psychiatrist – Dr Malcolm Roberts. Once again this has a twofold purpose – hopefully to try and help Rick take the first steps in some sort of therapy, and also to have Dr Roberts prepare another report for the DVA. Rick has not been able to get any work in the last couple of years since retiring, and his options are very limited now. The depression makes it very difficult for him to perform in any type of employment where there is stress or management bureaucracy, and the requirement to stay out of the sun precludes any form of outside work, such as fruit picking or orchard work. Additionally, our nomadic lifestyle is not really conducive to employment.

Bad News – had a phone call this morning at 5am. Mum has fallen yet again, but this time has done quite a bit more damage. Subject to X-Rays, the nurse at Chelsea believes that she has probably broken her hip. She was admitted to Maryborough Hospital, and subsequently transferred to Hervey Bay Hospital where a further examination and x-rays confirmed the diagnosis. The doctors decided that she would need surgery to put pins in the hip, which of course has it’s own problems.

Fortunately, Brett and Joanne are still in Hervey Bay at Emiley’s, so are very convenient to the hospital. They have both done a wonderful job in staying on top of what is happening, and just being there for Mum. She’s not really making a lot of sense unfortunately, because she can’t remember what happened and she is very confused about where she is and why she’s there.

Took a drive down to Baldivis this morning to have a look at Bonney’s Motor Home Park. It’s actually located at the WA Water Ski Park, and is quite nice. Lots of green lawns and not many vans. This apparently is where people who travel WA with dogs come to, as there are not many caravan parks around Perth that accept pets. We’ve booked to come down here next Tuesday. $120 for the week, which is a lot better than Coogee.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

An Afternoon at the Movies

We hired the movie “Australia” this afternoon. Hmmm!!! The scenery is magnificent (and yes, I’m including Hugh Jackman in that description), and I can’t wait to get back up to the Kimberley and the Northern Territory. BUT – I’m really glad we didn’t pay good money to go and see it. The first thirty minutes was pathetic. I couldn’t work out whether it was supposed to be a drama or a comedy. Kidman was a caricature of the stuffed shirt British aristocrat, and David Wenham was the classic evil villain. Having said that, young Brandon Walters completely stole the show as the young half-caste boy “adopted” by Nicole Kidman, and David Gulpilil was wonderful as the medicine man King George.

All in all, we both enjoyed the movie – it was a nice way to spend a very cold afternoon.

Having made this report, I now need to change occupations to chef and finish off our dinner. I am using the Dream Pot to cook a Beef Hotpot which I will serve with potatoes and cabbage.

Camped at Warren Gorge with Chris & Val Martins

Camped at Warren Gorge with Chris & Val Martins

Monday, 20 July 2009

Two years worth of travelling

Aussie Map

Who’s Bright Idea was This!!!

Can someone tell me why we decided we had to come to Western Australia in WINTER!  I haven’t seen weather like this in years – AND I’M NOT IMPRESSED.  Last night was probably the worst storm since we arrived here, 80-100km winds, rain, hail – and to top it off – thunder and lightning.  The van was shaking and the trees screaming.  Even the ducks and sea-gulls are hiding out.

OK enough whingeing about the weather.  Over the last couple of weeks, we have obtained a couple of house-sitting gigs, both in the same area (Baldivis) which is about 60km south of Perth.  One is for 10 days, and the other is 4-5 weeks.  They are both on acreage so we’ve got plenty of room to walk with the dogs, do a bit of gardening and just generally enjoy ourselves.  There’s also plenty of room to park the van.

Apart from that, there’s really nothing much happening at the moment, we are pretty much hibernating and trying to save money.  I’ve also spent quite a bit of time on the computer, reinstalling Windows Vista and investigating Windows 7.  That’s been a lot of fun – and a big learning experience as well!

Monday, 6 July 2009

House-sitting in WA

We have been looking out for opportunities for doing house-sitting while we are in WA, more as a way of saving some money than for having accommodation outside the van.  We visited a couple to the North of Perth this morning who need someone to look after the house and dog (American Pit Bull!).  They were really interesting ex-pat New Zealanders who are running a driver-training business.  They are also very interested in travelling and caravanning, so are like minded people.

They have other people to interview today and tomorrow and want to make a decision quickly.

Time will tell.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Woohoo – we have the Cruiser back!!!!


The morning started off well, and then got better.

We had made an appointment with Tow-Safe to come and do a service on Big Bird.  He arrived after lunch, and checked her out.  She’s in good nick, except for a hairline crack in something to do with the suspension??.  Rick tried to explain it to me, it needs a bit a welding, and I thought – OK nice, let’s just get it done!!

And then – Gregg from Toyota rang – the Cruiser could be picked up after 16:30 today.  HOORAAY!!!!

So, now, I’m finishing off the Lamb Shanks in Herb & Garlic Sauce and preparing the Potato Mash to go with it, while Rick has gone to collect the car.

All is well!!  The car is back, dinner (with a couple of red wines) is great and now the Cheese & Biccies and Port calls.

Also, we’ve been looking at doing house-sitting, and we are on the short-list for a person in Ballajura, about 14km north of Perth.  They are looking for some-one starting 19 July (and that will be 2 years exactly since we retired - 2007) for approx. 4 weeks.  And then possible some time in October as well, when they go overseas.  Looking after the house as well as the dogs.  Lovely.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

and still we wait!!!

And here we are, still waiting on the car.  We rang today and the parts still have not arrived.  Bugger!!!!!

The good news is the weather today is really great.  Sunny, not a cloud in the sky, and about 18-19 degrees.  Lovely.

I made my semi-annual trip to the hairdressers today.  And, I have to say I’m starting to feel like some sort of bad-news angel.  After waiting outside the hairdressers for 15 minutes waiting for the 10:00 appointment, the stylist rushed out with tears in her eyes to say that her salon had been flooded overnight.  Not by the weather, but her hot water system had failed and split.  The whole salon was flooded.  Poor little lamb, I felt so sorry for her.  She was really distressed by the whole incident and her mother was in contact with the insurance, but she still had enough professionalism to come and let us know and to worry if I was going to get my hair cut.

I ended up getting the trim in the close by shopping centre, but paid way more than I really wanted.  Good trim though.  I feel like a new woman.