Travels of the Gypsy May 2019

To keep reading June

Friday 31st May

Weather is a cold 19 degrees today. Not much sun as there is a thin cloud overhead and the wind certainly has a chill to it. So much so that Clive had his beanie on all day as well as socks. He even resorted to putting on long trousers at night as his knees were cold. Such a precious thing.

A lazy day, as we stayed in the park all day with the only trip out to get some Chinese for tea. The first place Clive went to was closed so off to find another one. Thank you Google. How did we survive before we had these things called mobile phones and internet?<./p> Clive spent most of the day getting all the web pages up to date and now that has been done they should be easy to maintain. He also mapped out our trip for the month of June, with some free camping in rest area and also some pub stays. This should be interesting.

Clive found a house for us to buy. Just what we wanted and plenty of room for a pool and space to park the van. It's a 4 bedroom, with 2 bathrooms, double garage, combined lounge, dining and kitchen with a separate family room. Only $329,000. WOW!! Let's hope that we are that lucky when the time comes to settle down.

Clive enjoyed a 38 minute walk all around the Point. It was a nice 3.2km loop along the foreshore and then back down some residential streets.



View at the end
of the street.

Meet the
Tourists.

Low
tide.

Interesting
reading.

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Thursday 30th May

Happy 81st birthday to mum. 81 and she is still going strong.

Weather coolish this morning around 7 degrees with lovely blue skies. Clive's been getting all the web pages upto date so we went for a drive in the afternoon around Hervey Bay and out to River Heads. You can also catch the ferry here if you are going to Kingfisher Bay or Wanggoolba Creek on Fraser Island.

Absolutely beautiful water views and lovely green paddocks. Quite a few new homes and housing estates being developed here. A few 'For Sale' signs are up but not a lot. Still plenty of vacant blocks too. You can see Fraser Island from most of the coastline. There is also a lovely marina where there are plenty of big boats and yachts anchored.

The shower is still not right as water banks up in it and it takes a while to drain. This will be a job for Clive to have a look at tomorrow. We were out driving for about 90 minutes so it was a very pleasant afternoon.



The Pier is
800m long.

At the
Marina.

River Heads
Ferry.

Nice green
Paddocks.

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Wednesday 29th May

So today I write/copy directly from Gai's journal. She sat there writing away last night and so here are her words. Clive's comments are in (brackets).

A bit cooler today - 4 degrees in the morning. Cardigan and ugg boots on all day. (Well I did have socks and a jacket on early but this soon became back to the shorts and T-shirt).

Off to the Big 4 caravan park at Vernon point. Very nice and tidy. Lovely swimming pool. Pity it's too cold to use it. $33.00 per night after discount for joining the Big 4 Caravan Parks. (10% discount and it lasts two years. Cost $50.00 so saved $$37.00 on this stay excluding membership costs.)

Clive commented that they have nice and wide streets here. We had the weight distribution hitch fitted and Clive noticed a difference straight away. (Cost $800.00). No more bumping around. They did it while we waited and I sat in the car while it was being done. (Clive was out there having a good old chat to the man who was fitting it and he was very thorough in explaining how to use it to hitch and un-hitch). Only took about half an hour.

(Well I seem to be missing a key. You know - the one that locks the securing pin to the tow bar to the car. Well I know we had two as when I got it and replaced the removable pin and I'm sure I put the keys on the key ring. Well, apparently not. After searching for nearly 15 minutes through my keys, Gai's keys and some spare keys this elusive key could not be found. So it's out with an angle grinder to cut off this lock.)

(Thinking about it later, I said to Gai it's Michael's fault. When I took the trailer to his place I also left the wheel lock and think I may have left the keys there - so he gets the blame. Anyway $28.00 for a replacement locking pin.)

(Rooking mistake - I've lost count ?? . Check that you have all keys to all locks before you go anywhere.)

Reversed into bay 10 straight off and hitched up from Maryborough first go. Then we reversed all the way out with one of the campers helping us by watching the back of the van. We were parked beside two large gun trees making it difficult to swing left , so we turned right instead and then had to reverse the rest of the way.(About 100 metres).

(I've decided to name the toilet canisters. You know - the ones that contain all the body waste. They will now be referred to as 'Poodle 1 and Poodle 2'. The spare one we bought has a fold out handle and wheels, so you don't need to carry it. It jut trails along behind you, so it's a bit like walking a dog. The one that came with the van doesn't have this luxury so it needs to be carried when going to the dump point.) See the analogy ?



Big 4
Park.

Gai's chocolate
stash.

Cabins on
the move.

Poodle
number 1.

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Tuesday 28th May

What a very peaceful night's sleep we both had. It really is just so lovely here.

Maryborough has so many old buildings that have been beautifully restored. They have a Walk Tour Discovery Trail that you can do, either by yourself or as a free guided tour. Clive decided to do this by himself so drove and parked in front of the Town Hall where he was yesterday. The guided tour was just leaving as he got there but he didn't join it as he didn't know when I would call to say that I was awake.

You need about 2 hours to do this walking tour as by the time you stop to enjoy the restored buildings and take photos time has certainly flown. You could spend hours in Queens Park enjoying the peace and tranquillity and the War Memorial. In addition to the buildings are bronze statues and there is plenty of seats to be able to sit down and watch the world go by.

After lunch we both went for a drive and Bear wanted to come to. He was howling and screaming as firstly I said no, but Gai relented and so we took him with us. He was well behaved, so that was a good thing. Both he and Gai are having a rest as I sit outside typing this in the BBQ area. It's a lovely part away from the main RV park overlooking the Mary River.



The Town
Hall.

Pedestrian
lights.

Mary
Poppins.

Hotel
Francis.

Modern
apartments.

Maryborough
Matchmaking Machine.

Bear comes
for a ride.

Gai, Bear and
Mary Poppins.

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Monday 27th May

Happy birthday Clive.

Lazy start to the day as we don't need to leave by 10.00am. So Gai gets an additional sleep in and Clive starts to read the paper and quietly pack up outside. There's no rush to get to Maryborough so we decide to take the scenic route. This means heading out on the Tin Can Bay Road again and then taking a left turn onto the Cooloola-Maryborough Road. We travel at about 65km/h and Clive keeps pulling over to let traffic pass.

He notices a truck behind him and starts looking for a spot to let him pass and then a voice comes over the CB radio to carry on as there is a straight stretch of road coming up , so he speeds up and sure enough, a B double goes past and thanks us. About a minute later he hears that another one is coming. So a big plus for the CB.

This trip takes about 2 hours and we get to 'The Wharf' RV park where we will spend the next few nights. This is a quaint little park with room for only about 10 vehicles, but include power and water in the tarrif.

Clive goes for a drive off to the bottle shop and then also drops into the tourist information centre. This is located in the Town Hall which is a beautiful old building. On the way back he also stopped into Queens Park, which has a beautiful war memorial. It also features Duncan Chapman who was the first soldier ashore at Gallipoli. This really is a beautiful memorial.



Fog in Gympie
this morning.

Maryborough
Town Hall.

Lt. Duncan
Chapman.

Sunset over the
Mary River.

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Sunday 26th May

Off to Mass today at St. Patrick's Church. This is a beautiful old heritage listed church constructed from 1883-1887. The tender of J Smith and Co. was accepted to supply the material and build the church for 3591 pounds. It ended up costing around 10,000 pounds. Mass was celebrated by Fr. Adrian.

In the afternoon we went for a drive down to Rainbow Beach and Carlo Point. This was a beautiful drive and the weather was nice and sunny. So a great day for driving. This is also part of the Great Sandy National Park that we were in when we stayed in Pomona.

So tried to book into the Maryborough Show Grounds for 2 days and it's closed from the 15th May to the 29th May. So now trying to find another low cost / free camp area in Maryborough.



The Cherry
Venture.

Rainbow
Beach.

Gai enjoing
the beach.

Gypsy's spot
in the van.

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Saturday 25th May

We both had a good nights sleep. You can hear the trucks braking as we are not very far from the main road but that didn't keep us awake.

As I sit here typing this I can hear the whistle of the steam train. It seems to be calling me - I don't know why? We did the Rattler ride many years ago but it was pulled by a diesel as the steam train broke that morning. What with floods they had years back and the fact it was closed while repairs were made to the track, we'll just head on down to the station for it's return to get a few pictures we think. Also the journey is only half as long as when we did it.

So Gai gets up early for us to be able to go to the train station to see the Rattler return from it's morning run. We get there about 11.40am and Gai spots they have scones with jam and cream. What a good plan she had - just what she fancied. So I order her that and get myself a chicken and vegetable pie. Well it is the first pie of the trip.

So while we're waiting the train comes in, so Clive forgets about everything else but taking photos. Once it stopped he's off to the top of the platform to go and take more pictures of the engine and also Mr. Have a Chat, gets talking to the drivers. They don't currently do a 'Driver for a day experience' but there is talk about letting people in on the cabin to at least experience that. Meanwhile the food comes. They unhook the engine and then drive off to the turn table to turn it around for the afternoon journey. About 15 minutes later, by which time Clive has consumed his pie, it's on the way back, so he's off to the other end of the platform to take more pictures. Meanwhile Gai is getting stuck into her scone with cream and jam.

They go to just under the foot bridge where they stop to take on water, so we decide to leave as the afternoon trip doesn't go until 1.30pm.

We bought a Valley Rattler T-towel and a mug for Clive for his green tea.



Here comes
the Rattler.

Gai enjoys
her scone.

Just passing
the carriages.

Refilling
with water.

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Friday 24th

A lazy start to the day as there is no rush to be out of the show grounds by 10.00am. Still we managed to finally get away around 10.30. So input the Gympie address in the Garmin and it wants to take us into town and out on the old Bruce Highway. No way we thought, so we do a U turn and try to head back out to the new Bruce Highway the way we came in.

Not such a good move as we go under a bridge that says 2.8m Clearance. We certainly didn't remember coming in under this bridge. Gai says how tall is the van. We keep all the specs for the Jeep and the van on a spreadsheet I made up in the glove box. Gai gets this out and the van is 2.69m. This is a height now firmly etched into our minds.

So I said to Gai we'll just follow the advice of the Garmin. So off we go and end up on the road of the old Bruce Highway. A bit windy in some areas and a drop off if you take the corners to sharp but some beautiful country scenery. All in all a very pleasant drive.

Arrived at the Park where we will spend the next three nights and all set up. I think it's going to be bacon and eggs for dinner tonight and I might sneak out early to get some pictures of the Valley Rattler.

Rookie mistake 4 - chock the wheels. The van rolled to one side as the jockey wheel was not in the centre of the ramp. I had to hitch it back up and onto the car so that I could get it centered on the ramp.

Thursday 23rd

Awoke to the sounds of birds calling and a whip bird doing the same. It is very peaceful here with the occasional train horn through the night. I've seen some long freight trains and we could here the rumble of them as they passed.

From here we headed to Elanda Point which is reached via the Cooloola Recreation Area. You can see that they have had a bit of rain in this area.

Next it was off to Kin Kin and a drive up and down the main street, then back to Pomona. A very pleasant drive at a very leisurely pace.



Clouds are starting
to clear.

Pelicans on
a jetty.

This was a great
park on the foreshore.

Heading to
Elanda Point.

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Wednesday 22nd May

Sunny and 24 degrees today. Makes for a good day to drive. So it's off to Pomona once the van is all packed. It's a one and a half hour drive for around 114km. We got to the show grounds and was greeted by a man who told us where to park as the caretakers won't be back until this afternoon. He congratulated Clive on his reversing up the hill in 4WD as the ground is a bit bogy from all the rain that they have had.

The mower man said he would mow our area next before we put the awning out. So I took Gai to the van so she could at least have a comfortable seat in there.

We opened the door to discover draws open and what looked like water all over the floor with a glass bottle broken on the floor too. I realised that it was oil from the pantry. I had not locked this one either.

Rookie mistake 3 - check and re-check that all cupboards and doors are correctly latched before driving off.

Seems that 'someone' had not done his job properly so somewhere the pantry flew open, the oil bottle fell out and broke. If Clive had wanted to clean the floor all he had to do was say so. It cleaned up with an old towel and paper towels, then a wipe down with hot soapy water. I think that Gai will be taking over this job in future.

The show grounds are really nice and large here. They would have to be at least 6 times bigger than Mudgeeraba. They hold the Noosa Country Show here in September. There are about 8 vans in here tonight and I think more are planned as there is a special area for a group that is coming in. It's very peaceful.

No TV reception, but on talking to the care takers when I went to pay we need to re-tune the TV into the Sunshine Coast transmitters. Ahh - what beautiful clear reception we are getting on all stations. Something we could never get at home, even with three, yes three, visits from different antenna guys who replaced the aerials and put in boosters.



Driving to
Pomona Show Grounds

At the
Show Grounds.

All set
up.

The sign says
it all.

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Tuesday 21st May

The weather is lovely and sunny today. Looks like we will have tenants in our house by the week end. It's only been up on the web for a just over a week so we are pretty happy about that.

Clive caught up with an old mate from the Commodore/Atari days when he was a buyer at John Martins. They had a good old chin wag over a couple of beers as he now lives on Bribie Island.

We leave tomorrow for Pomona which is just south of Gympie. We are planning on two night but might stay for 5 depending on how we find it.

The wind must have changed today as we can hear the sounds of waves breaking on the beach tonight. That's a first since we have been here. A very relaxing way to go to sleep.

Monday 20th May

What is with this weather. It rained practically all day and night and was quite heavy at times. The news stated that we had over 25mm of rain the last 24 hours. Yep - we can believe it. So time to get the books out and do some reading.



Yes, it's
still raining.

Sunday 19th May

Beautiful sunshine so this means a walk along the beach while Gai has a rest.

The dis-abled showers are good and well equipped with seats and chairs. We hope that they are all that good.

Cooked roast chicken marylands on the BBQ for tea tonight and tomorrow.



Walking along
Woorim Beach.

Old gun
placement

Clive has
his beanine on.

Smile
Gai.

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Saturday 18th May

Weather - heavy rain at times on and off most of the day. A cool 17 to 24. Another lazy day.

Clive cooked his first curry on the van. It made 7 meals and there was only just enough room in the freezer for them all. The van now smells a bit like and an Indian spice shop.

Our quarter of the park is now pretty full but it is the weekend. You kind of lose track of what day it is. We're packed in like sardines as there is very little walking space between the vans if Clive parks the Jeep where he is meant to.



Bear drunk
again.

Another blanket
completed.

Chicken and
zucchini curry.

Sunset
.

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Friday 17th May

Weather sunny one moment and then cloudy the next. Some really heavy rain about 8.30m and then this just stopped. A lazy day today as even Clive slept in until 9.30am. Something very unusual for him.

Gai gets stuck into her reading - she is currently reading a book that Deidre lent her call The Vanishing Point. Clive started on the web pages for our Blog. A few more vans arrived today so more chatting and a noise from children. Why with all the vacant space do they put everyone right next to each other ?

Thursday 16th May

Showers overnight and early morning, so no walk first thing today. Maybe lunchtime when Gai has her nap.

While lying in bed I thought I need to write a blog about this trip. We have our web pages but to post pictures every day or even weekly takes time so words and a few pictures each day with this is the idea.

Gai normally keeps a daily diary of what happed when we have done trips in the past and this will be incorporated into these writings. Yes, if you have read this far you will see that I have put in the good and the not so good, but it just shows that no one is perfect least of all us. If someone else learns from our mistakes then all when and good, if not we will have learnt along the way.

Off to have a shower this morning and no hot water - REALLY!! What do people not understand - I do not like cold showers.

So, it's about 7.30am and I'm sitting under the awning. Rain is falling from the heavens and it's all quiet, but from some birds chirping away in the trees. Suddenly I see a noisy ELGAS truck and it's heading to the shower block. Maybe this is the problem with the hot water. Next time I go to the toilet there is hot water. So it appears that they ran out of gas.

The clouds are clearing and our washing is dry. Seems at least it will turn out to be a fine day. I plan to finally get to read the farewell card from the Community and have a lazy afternoon. Maybe even get to reading the Sunday paper - but after all it is only Thursday today and there is always tomorrow to enjoy it.

Today is the third time I've cooked in the van. Well does boiling eggs for Gai's lunch count as cooking ? If it doesn't then a real cook might have to wait until the weekend as this Muchamore house has no curries left. What is the world coming too.



Gai enjoys
sunshine.

Bear getting
a tan.

Woorim
Beach.

Where we have
previously stayed.

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Wednesday 15th May

Time to move today. Van loaded and stowed. We started making a check list of what needs to be done when we travel. You know, simple things like lock all cupboards, lock all windows, wind down TV aerial etc. as it's easy to get distracted by a neighbour when packing up.

Rookie mistake 2. Van was all hitched and off we set to leave the park. Gai says have you got the keys. Well I know I did have, but where are they now. PANIC. Anyway, pulled over and into a parking spot and started hunting for the keys. Walked the van route we had just come and they are not on the ground so they have to be somewhere.

I get to Gypsy and find that I haven't shut the door..,der. My helpful neighbour came to say good-bye and wish us all the best, so the lock up procedure was interrupted.

Anyway, back to the keys. Maybe this was why they got lost as the door wasn't locked. Re-searching the car I found they had fallen between Gai's seat and the T-Bar console. Note to self. Gai to have park keys in future. Another job for her.

Now it's off to Bribie Island where we plan to spend the next seven nights and really slow down. Only a short drive of 48km. We've been 'Expressed Check In', so it's just a question of when we get there to key in the access code and drive to our site. Well this park is just around the corner from where we once stayed with mum back in 2016.

By comparison it's quite a large park but it appears to have a lot of on site residents around the perimeter and the 'blow ins' get to use the centre of the park. We can see this is the low season here because there is only one other van and a couple with a tent. Reversing was an easy job but with the narrow roads it would have been totally different if this was the high season and the park was full.

It's very peaceful here and kookaburras are laughing in the trees. Set up is at a casual pace and then it's time for some lunch. I head off to the hardware store for some clips and hose fittings, as I need to put some guy ropes onto the awning to tie it down and one of the hose fittings that connects to the van leaks, so it needs to be replaced.

Constructed a clothes line as I plan to use the washing machine later on. It's been drizzling and showering all day, so jobs get done in between the showers. Something is wrong with the plumbing. When the sink is emptied it backs up into the shower and just will not drain away unless I release the grey water hose. A job to investigate when the rain stops.

Tuesday 14th May

Today we drove to Redcliffe. After seeing the Bee Gees Way on one of the many travel shows that we watch and having grown up with their music this was on my hit list.

Set the GPS to the street and thankfully Gai spotted the murials on the wall or I would have just kept driving. Found a park and then gently walked back to the Way. WOW. The TV show really didn't do it justice. You need to be there to experience the feeling of it all.

The moment you step inside the Way you hear the sounds and music of the Bee Gees. The history on the wall is but a brief outline of their lives but a great way to spend a few hours or more if you have the time. There is a large screen TV that I'm sure you could spend hours watching and listening to their music and interview commentary.

Photo opportunity - at one end there are three bronze statues of the group so a good time to have that photo taken for another memory. Across from the Way are tables and seats where you can sit and enjoy the serenity of the Bay and the sounds of waves gently lapping the shoreline. At night they have a light show that runs every half hour, commencing at 7.00pm. We unfortunately didn't get to see this so maybe something for next time.

We drove leisurely back to the caravan park and along the way stopped at Settlement Cove. This is a beautiful area with an amphitheatre and stage and in the middle of this is a basketball court. There is a memorial dedicated to John Oxley who was tasked with finding a new settlement for the convicts in November 1823 and which was realised in September 1824. Unfortunately the area was infested with malaria carrying mosquitos and was difficult to defend if attacked so a decision was made to move the settlement in May 1825 to a triangle of land that was bounded on two sides by the Brisbane River and an escarpment which is now known as Whickham Terrace.

Rookie mistake 3. When the red light on the toilet comes on it is nearly full and needs emptying. This normally happens at night just before we are going to bed. Why? You may ask. Well I don't know. We bought a spare canister that is in the front of the van, so it's not even like I need to go and empty it immediately. Anyway, needless to say, Gai flushed the toilet in the middle of the night and hence a clean up job became required. Note to self - just change the canister.



Bee Gees
Way.

Gai enjoys
the view.

Clive tries
to sing along.

Settlement
Cove.

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Monday May 13th - Let the Gypsy journey begin

Well D-Day has arrived. After re-working the travel plans it looks like we'll only get to Townsville for late July to be able to fly back to the Coast for August. This will give us time to travel slowly and 'smell the roses'.

We plan to leave about midday and head to Clontarf for the first few nights. The weather is over cast and drizzly rain. Not heavy but just enough to be annoying. Travel distance is only 109km but we sat on 80km/h on the freeway and arrived at Bells Caravan Park just before 2pm. This a pleasant compact small caravan park and there are no jumping castles, pool, games room or any of the modern entertainment ideas one expects from today's 'Holiday Parks'. This to me is a caravan park of old. It's well maintained and clean and tidy. We will be here for two nights.

A kind neighbour came over to ask if this was the first time I'd put up an awning. Yes I replied - I'm a virgin at this game. He gave me some advice as I'd put it up too high so there was no slope on the roof for the rain to fall off. He also explained about the anti-flap bars you can get and gave me details of where to get them which was close by.

I thanked him for his help and advice and said that I will take any hints and tips along the way, as I'm always keen to learn. Rookie mistake number 1 dusted.

Where has the day gone ?

The last time I towed a caravan on holidays was when we borrowed Mary and Jude's van. This would have been the mid to late 80's. It had no mod cons like today's van. The microwave was taken from the kitchen and travelled on the van floor. There was no on-board water, toilet or anything like that. Just a basic van with a kitchen and beds. Maybe they were the simple days?



Bells Caravan
Park.

All parked
up.

Beach
.

The
Bridge.

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May 12th - Mother's Day

Today is the last Sunday I'll be celebrating Mass at St. Benedict's for a while. The community made last week's Mass all about me. Jay gave a wonderful speech which I recorded and will listen to again as it was an emotional morning.

The community gave me a beautiful printed T-shirt with the church on the front and a lovely card which I am yet to sit down and read through - but more on that later. To the many people who under take the tasks, no tasks or jobs is not the right word for this, I would like to say a special thank you. I hope that you get as much enjoyment out of doing them as I have in serving the Community and the Parish.

A final trip to Michel's house with the trailer full of the balance of the garden tools and things for Alister as well. The trailer will now live at Michael's house until it is needed for it's next assignment.



The furniture
has gone.

Us on the
new floor.

Back
garden.

Front garden
all planted.

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May 5th to May 11th

Time to start cleaning. This week we had new timber laminate floors laid and new carpets in all bedrooms. A new range hood and stove also went in. The house was sprayed for pests and also windows, showers and floors cleaned by a professional cleaner. Paths water blasted as were gutters, steps and the back patio. The house looks better than when we first bought back in 2003 as there was nothing new in it at that point in time and with fresh painting in every room it's certainly looking fantastic. Sad to leave in a way, but who knows where this journey will lead us.



A gift from
the community.

Bear settles
himself.

May 4th

The St. Benedict's community very kindly organised a farewell lunch for Gai and I. It was lovely that so many people attended and there were many others that could not be there for various reasons. I wanted to just quietly go off into the sunset, but this was not to be.

This was kindly held at the Merrimac Tavern which is just in front of our house so walking distance for Gai and as always the food was great and everyone had a wonderful meal. A special thank you to those who organised this and also to Fr. Saji for attending.

May 1st

The removalists have arrived. 4 hours later the 20' container is bout 7/8th full and is leaving. Hopefully the next time we see our stuff will be when we re-settle in Hervey Bay, as this is our planned new living location.



Lots of
boxes.

Our bedroom
all packed.

Boxes in the
garage too.

The furniture
has gone.