Maryborough

I had an interesting day today. Annie worked night shift last night so I didn’t want to disturb her. I was going to go home today. She would be sleeping most of the day so I chose to stop at Maryborough overnight and have a look around.

Parked comfortably on the river’s edge, I wandered up the road to find a cafe for lunch and sat with a lovely lady with a huge backpack by her side. Of course it came up in the conversation that she was a Camino pilgrim.

We parted ways and I went for a wander around town, past the war museum and several closed restaurants. It seems most of the town is shut down. Hardly anyone is serving food.

I walked to the park, a beautiful sanctuary surrounded by ancient trees, most notably, ‘sausage trees‘. They have these weird things hanging from long vines…they looked like something else to me!😳

I pushed on past many bronze war statues and memorials and wondered at the significance to this town. Tomorrow, I think I need to visit the War Museum and see why there is so much memorabilia here. However, I have no idea what Richard Sheridan did for the Maryborough!? Was he a frog?

And then there is Maryborough’s desperate clutch to the fact that the author of Mary Poppins was born here. The street lights have her image instead of the little green man, there are murals everywhere and bronze statues on street corners. Out of sheer curiosity, I will go to the Mary Poppins museum tomorrow.

I walked on thinking I’d sit and read my book with a glass of wine in a pub somewhere. Pubs are on every corner but apparently because of Covid, they only really open for the weekends. I entered one that had been recommended, but after filling out the Covid form confirming I have not been in contact with or have had the virus, I was asked to leave because I didn’t have ID to prove the address and name I had provided was correct! It’s been years since I’ve been asked for ID and normally I would be chuffed but not this time! I decided to go back to the bus and cook instead. I’m sure I have a bottle of red stashed somewhere.

I am now back in the bus after having rather an entertaining hour or so sitting by the dock listening to ‘old salties’ talking rubbish about their day’s fishing. Beer in one hand, ciggy in the other and insulting each other non stop as Aussies do as a sign of affection and mateship. I wanted to take a photo of the three bum cracks peering out from their undersized shorts but it felt a bit pervy 😂 and then I left when the hawking started and the spitting and coughing. They were getting rowdy.

Perhaps I should watch Mary Poppins tonight 🤔

A Trip to Bargara

I packed up yesterday and headed north to visit my friend Dawn who has a B&B in Bargara.

Intending to park in her driveway, I was told I was to be a guest in the Fraser Room, a beautifully refurbished bedroom with en-suite and a balcony. I’m always a low maintenance guest, and thought I’d just keep out of the way because she has other people staying here, so I had dinner planned in the bus. However, I was treated to drinks by the pool and a magnificent barbecue, followed by more drinks and lots of talking and catching up. We hadn’t seen each other for two years so we decided I should stay another day.

With Dawn as my guide, we bundled into the car and headed down the road, towards town. The sugar cane is being cut, leaving rich dark red soil to colour the landscape. It’s barren but beautiful and not a cloud in the sky. We passed the flower farm, the sunflowers drying up ready for the harvest of seeds, the watermelon farm, the strawberry farm, the zucchini farm, macadamia nut farm…. so much food is grown around here.

First stop was Bundaberg, a short 15 minute drive away. It has changed since I was there as a kid. We bought some clothes, visited the chocolate shop, and then did the obligatory visit to the Bundaberg rum factory. A sugar cane train was arriving, a great backdrop and well timed for our visit. Inside the cavernous brick building there was merchandise galore and shelves stacked to the brim with rum. I gazed around marvelling at how many things can be made with rum as an ingredient! Dessert sauces, marinades, jams, etc. It was fascinating. Of course, With Australia’s obsession over ‘big’ monuments to local produce, there is the Big Bundy bottle out the front for a photo opportunity.

Then on to the Big Barrel to purchase some Bundy Ginger Beer. This was a weird experience. Every flavour under the sun offered at discount prices at the moment but you can no longer taste test. We weren’t even allowed in and had to communicate with the sales person through a crack in the door. Anyone would have thought we were buying drugs or something. It was so strange but people are living in fear of Covid. Of course, out the front were some Big Bundy Ginger Beer bottles, done in a slightly different way.

Next stop was a real treat…..a visit to Mon Repos Turtle Centre. This is placed at the beach where the turtles come to lay their eggs. Some travel from as far as South America but most of them just travel the coast of Australia. If you haven’t been there, it should be on your bucket list. At turtle hatching time, you can go to the beach and watch the babies making their way to the water. Usually there are heaps of people, but now with restrictions, it will only be 14 people, so it will almost be a private experience. Maybe I’ll bring the grand children in hatching season. We learned that global warming is affecting the eggs. Some were actually cooking last year in the severe heat of summer, so they never hatched. 😢 Now they have a sprinkler system to cool the sand, they dig some nests up and move them to safer ground, shade cloth shelters are installed and wire cages are put over some to protect them from the goannas. Wow! I learned a lot today.

Shaded area for keeping the sand cooler
One of the cages to keep predators from digging up the eggs

Next stop was the township of Bargara for fish and chips on the beach, washed down with Bundaberg ginger beer and lemon, lime and bitters.

On the way home, we went to the strawberry farm and Dawn bought a huge punnet of ripe, juicy strawberries for dessert. Once again, there were shelves and shelves of produce made from strawberries.

Im eyeing off the hundreds of sweet potatoes ready to be plowed back into the soil at the farm next door to Dawn’s place. May have to do a quick midnight visit and pinch one or two, but right now, Im buggered and ready for a siesta.

5. A Few Days ‘Respite’

Like I really need it!😂

I’ve spent two days in town at the local Showgrounds. It’s really inexpensive, and the showers and toilets are really clean as they are part of the swimming pool complex. I’m surrounded by grey nomads with their huge Winnebagos but the sites are large and I don’t feel crowded. There are heaps of people here.

A short walk up the hill is a rustic bakery that is famous for its donuts, and I’ve stocked up on more supplies at the supermarket. My bus is proving very cosy and I’m slowly learning where to put things to make life easier.

The town is really quaint and I’ve really enjoyed it here. I’m about to wander up the street again for a coffee, so I’ll leave you with some general photos. I’ll be out of range and off air again for the next week as I head back up the mountain to go back to work.

2. The Maiden Voyage. JULY 2020

I didn’t sleep last night…I was excited. I’ve spent a couple of months replacing all the kitchen stuff I had given away 🤦🏻‍♀️ , and I’ve been adding my own touches to my new home on wheels.

I have a large scallop shell to somehow attach to the front, and I added the word ‘ULTREIA’ above my bed (Spanish word for ‘let’s go…keep going’.) It’s a pilgrim greeting along the Camino and predates the words ‘buen Camino’ that many people use.

Ended up sleeping in and blew the early start right away, but as I pretty much live in the moment these days, I packed my clothes and of course, some wine, and just hit the road when I was ready.

The old girl hurtled down the Highway, pulling over occasionally to let people pass because she chugs up hills much like me on the Camino! …. Slowly! Drives like a dream though, and with the breeze flowing through my hair, I sang my lungs out to songs of Leonard Cohen, John Smith, Gregory Walker, Tom Porter, Marvin Gaye, Michael Franti and Rosalia. (It was a long drive)

Stopped for a break by a billabong at Apple Tree Creek, used my pee bucket and prepared a snack from the fridge. Did my first petrol fill up on the approach to my destination, and noted that the old girl is quite economical on the petrol front. Not bad for a 1988 model that still requires the use of a choke and gear changes to slow down.

Love the rainbow around the bus: billabong : view from the couch : bush turkey

Pretty proud of myself because I get lost in the supermarket, so making it without a hitch was very reassuring. I’m right near the beach and I’ve been for a long walk to see my surrounds. Apart from the beach warnings, it seems a lovely spot to park for a day or two.

I have gas cooktop and oven, so I whipped up a meal, poured some wine and now have the trotters up. Happy as a 🐷 in 💩

Goodnight

4. Hard Work Never Hurt Anyone?…

Day three of my new adventure and I’ve settled in well. “Hard work never hurt anybody” is a myth! Cleaning dunnies and mopping floors is literally back breaking and I’m hurting. I’m no stranger to this. I once had a cleaning company, cleaning offices, holiday rental units, and the local bowling club. ….something you probably didn’t know about me.

The amenities needed a really good scrub. I can see why they need help here. My first day was tough as it was really hot, but satisfying as well because I could see results. Gagged at the stench of the men’s urinals, I also noted that the “ladies” was way dirtier! Go figure!

Anyway, the cleaning (3 times a day) only takes a few hours of the day, and I have the rest of the time off to enjoy living in my bus. There is no phone reception and no wifi, so it’s also an enforced rest from the internet. Lots of time for reading, wandering, talking to the pigs and watching the deer. The bird life here is very varied and I enjoy sitting outside under the stars at night with a glass of wine soaking up the peace.

Post note:…… I now have 3 days off so I’ve travelled down the mountain to town and I’m staying here so I can get phone coverage. Loving this experience but I probably won’t stay on after the appointed two weeks because I can’t cope without being able to talk to my friends and family. Feeling for my Victorian peeps who are in severe lockdown right now. 😢

I do wish my Victorian friends could have this freedom and I send you all big hugs and lots of love. Covid is a bastard!

Found some comfort food. Tea cosy made by local CWA 😋😃

3. When Opportunity Knocks…

Funny how life goes….Laying in bed the other morning, flipping through FB and emails, feeling kinda stagnant, I was thinking it was time for another adventure. ..and, I kid you not, my computer lit up and an opportunity presented itself in the form of a temporary job….. in a caravan park. Now, for my American friends, they are not like your “trailer parks”!

So, here I am, nestled into a forest in the hinterland of the Sunshine Coast, about to embark on my new adventure. The poor old girl (my bus who doesn’t have a name) valiantly tootled along the Bruce Highway, through Gympie and Kennilworth, then chugged and crawled up through the mountains to my new hideaway. Doesn’t look much from the road, although the coffee shop (a small shipping container) was noted at the gate. Adam (the owner) came to greet me and led the way through the property to an area at the side which is for the workers, permanents and what will be a Tiny House Village. He and his wife have only been here for about 9 months so they are still working on a few changes.

My closest neighbour, Ziggy, a lovely lady of the same age, has just moved her Tiny home here and it’s gorgeous. Adam joked about the small village of old ladies up here on the hill, so I’ll store that comment for future retaliation.

I’ve just cooked dinner and been for a nighttime stroll. All the campsites have fire pits and the sparks are floating up into the sky, a backdrop I have to say, which is quite breathtaking. There are so many stars twinkling tonight and I feel I could reach out and touch them. It looks like a fairyland here too with many vans and tents lit up with fairy lights.

This evening, I sat outside listening to the birds and absorbing the ambiance, trotters up and glass of wine in hand. Tomorrow I will explore the 75acre property after watching the kids feed the pigs, chooks and deer that make up the “family” here.

I think I’m going to love it here at the aptly named Kookaburra Park. Photos to follow because I have virtually no reception here 🥺