10 November 2008
Melbourne, Australia
37°47'7.30"S 144°48'18.22"E


I can't believe we've been in Australia for seven weeks. It's gone by in a blur for both of us. We got in to typical Melbourne weather - freezing one day, boiling the next. The weather forecast even said rain, but sadly the only rain we saw in the whole time we've been here was yesterday. The dams are a lot lower than they were when we left last year, the government is going ahead with a questionable desalination plant and long term forecasts are saying no rain in the water catchment areas for some time. It must have drizzled a bit though, as some of the hills were greenish - just enough to fool people into thinking things must be getting better.

Having the ute in storage for 13 months meant a dead battery. The storage place charged it for us and told us whatever we did, don't stop the engine because it wouldn't start again. We stayed at Rick and Fran's house for the first few days, and fortunately Rick's cousin is an auto electrician so a replacement battery delivered to the door made things easily. As soon as we had the new battery in, Peter filled up. $123!!!!! And we're told petrol has come down a bit in the last couple of months. VB has gone up but Crown has come down - go figure.

I picked up a really nasty cold just as we arrived, and when we got to Numurkah - Peter dropped me off and headed back to Melbourne for the weekend to go to the motorbike racing at Philip Island - I just went to bed and pretty much stayed there for the whole two weeks we were there, and most of the next week when we were at Torquay. I just couldn't shake it, but almost everyone I spoke to told me they'd had the same thing and it had hung around forever. I guessed that I'd spent well over $100 on cold and flu tablets, cough medicine, nose sprays and throat lozenges.

The camera didn't go to Philip Island - in fact the camera didn't really go anywhere or do anything. I bought a new one today, the same one just more megapixels as the one I bought as we were leaving Melbourne last year and smashed the LCD screen on when I fell over in Vietnam. I've been playing, and it's sooooo much better. Don't know what it is about the Sanyo one I bought in Bangkok. OK, it was cheap, but it's still point and click. Other digital cameras give me a high ratio of good to bad pictures, the Sanyo gives me one useable picture out of several dozen taken. I have a backlog of photo's to sort out going back to July - there aren't that many of them as I knew they would be no good so I didn't bother carrying the camera with me most of the time. The ones that turned out OK (OK being relative) need so much editing to make them presentable I've kept putting it off and off and off. I need to go somewhere where there's nothing to do, no internet, no TV, no English language newspapers and I'll get around to it.

I thought I might have had a shot at it this week, but I'm back to feeling as though I'm at death's door. I have a sore throat so bad I actually went to see the doctor - turns out to be some kind of infection and he said the anti malarial tablets we were due to start taking today would clear it up. Fingers crossed.

Peter stayed a couple of weekends at Ron's, meaning he didn't have to drive back and could have a good session or two. I think Ronnie is coming out to see us quite soon which will be good. I actually didn't get to catch up with him - the only time I was in the vicinity was when I was scared of spreading the horrible lurgi around so avoiding people.

Several people have asked us what it's like being back, and to be honest it's strange. I've put on heaps of weight, eating out far too much and accepting portions far too big and having all of those things we haven't had for a year - everything that's bad for you for so nice you can't resist. Peter's put on heaps of weight due to more than occasional drinking - catching up with everyone means lots of big nights. We've done no exercise, not even walking, so it'll be good to get back into Asia where you get tiny portions of food - which after eating you realise is more than enough to fill you - and do a bit of walking and sweating.

Catching up with everyone was fantastic, and we ended up staying with Rick and Fran for another week - I'm sure the house will be a lot quieter without us. Peter tried his hardest to convert Christian to supporting Middlesborough, and I was really surprised when I showed him how to spin coins on the table and he was more interested in playing that than sitting the Playstation or Wii or computer - maybe my thoughts on kids are totally wrong.

Sitting here in Kyenton, watching a family of roos munching on the grass just outside the window is heavenly, but I really can't wait to get back on the road again.