Humorous place names

I’ve been reminded today of the humour I found in some of Tassies place names, so thought I’d post this map I came across show casing most of the ones that tend to tickle ones fancy – if you’ll excuse the pun please.

Yes – these are all real places. We showed this to our grandsons recently and they couldn’t stop laughing. Hope you get a bit of a giggle too.

Last days in Tassie for a few years

We managed to get on a wait list for ANZAC day with the Spirit of Tasmania to ferry both us and our rig to the mainland. The booking was confirmed around 11am (at more than $500 extra to a normal price), so we sailed to the mainland last night.

Our last two weeks in Tassie were spent between Huonville in the South, and Ulverstone in the north. We loved both, apart from at night when the temperature was dropping too low for comfort in a caravan.

A pretty old church in the Huon Valley. Loved the yellow door.
A pretty old church in the Huon Valley. Loved the yellow door.

In Huonville we were camped on the banks of an inland river, in a proper caravan park with power and full water supply.

Reflections in the river.
Reflections in the river.
Paul enjoying a cuppa in the afternoon sun.
Paul enjoying a cuppa in the afternoon sun.
Pretty autumn colours and mountains surrounding the Huon Valley
Pretty autumn colours and mountains surrounding the Huon Valley

In Ulverstone we were camped in the grounds of the Blue Wren cafe, directly opposite from Moonlight Bay on Bass Straight. There is no power for the campers at the Blue Wren, and only one water tap. Power’s not much of a problem for us as we have two solar panels, and a generator for back up. We connected our hose to the hose in the grounds and filled our caravan tanks once daily, so water also not really a problem. At only $10 a night, and with an outlook to die for, it was worth forfeiting the convenience of being fully powered and watered up.

Having a drink in front of the fire as the sun sinks over Moonlight Bay.
Having a drink in front of the fire as the sun sinks over Moonlight Bay.

We’ve done lots of unpowered camping in the past, and generally prefer it to being within the smaller confined spaces in caravan parks. However, although we’re well set up for free camping, it’s much easier in places with temperatures conducive to wearing bathers all day and dipping in and out of the ocean regularly throughout the day.

We’re now in Ballarat, an old gold mining town an hours drive inland from Melbourne. After we’ve seen whats to see here we intend to mosey our way up through Victoria then out to the east coast and slowly wind our way up to Queensland. We’ll pick up the warmer weather sometime within the next three to four weeks and then intend to stay with it for the next two – three years, moving north during the winter months, and south during summer months. Lets hope we don’t get side tracked with other things – for a while at least.

All going well, we can now pick up where we left off almost a year ago. Back to living the Life of Riley on wheels.

Paradise, Nowhere Else, and The Promised Land

Tassie has some places with really quaint names.

A couple of days ago we took a drive around a small circuit close to Deloraine. Firstly we drove through Paradise.

Driving through Paradise.
Driving through Paradise.

Then we took the road to Nowhere Else.

Then on the road to Nowhere Else.
Then on the road to Nowhere Else.

And found ourselves in the Promised Land.

And into The Promised Land.
And into The Promised Land.

A not so pretty name on route was the village of Lower Crackpot.

And in the same area - Lower Crackpot.
And in the same area – Lower Crackpot.

The following day we found our way to a Hazelnut orchard for a very enjoyable lunch, followed by a half hour picking our own hazelnuts. Apparently they’re best kept for 6 – 8 months before eating, so we’ve kept most of what we picked. We couldn’t resist trying a few though. They were pretty damned good, so whether or not they last 6 – 8 months remains to be seen.

The hazelnut farm where we picked out own.
The hazelnut farm where we picked out own.

On the way home from the hazelnut farm we stopped and picked a big bag of apples from a laden roadside tree. Where else can you find apples growing on the sides of a country road – not on someone’s property, just there, on the verge. No one owns them, so no-one sprays them. They’re sweet, crisp and blemish free. Perfect.

Today we left Deloraine and are now camped on the banks of the Mountain River at the Huon caravan park. The caravan park is part of a working farm with a few sheep, chooks, pigs and a couple of house milking cows. The farmer makes a show of the cow milking at 4pm each day for happy hour, and will fill up containers of milk straight from the cow for those who want it. Needless to say, I now have a litre of fresh, unpasturised full cream milk in our fridge. Yum! I’ll find out tomorrow if I can either scrounge or buy some of the eggs from the chooks as well.

I love this place.

Spirit of Tasmania

Media reports have suggested there’s a back log for caravanners wanting to leave Tasmania of ‘up to one month’. Oh, how I wish this was true.

The reality is that we can’t get a confirmed booking until 20th July, more than three months away, and the earliest we can even get on a wait list is 28 June, more than two months away. The wait list is just that – a wait list, not a confirmed sailing date.

The booking office suggested people need to be organised and book their fares in good time. So, I would suggest that unless anyone has a crystal ball that can show them they absolutely will not have any urgent family business to attend to that may require a rapid departure by plane, don’t come to Tasmania with your caravan. To do so could mean you end up with a three month wait to get a booking to return to the mainland.

On the road again.

We arrived back into Tassie on Monday to pleasant weather and blue skies. My big sister, Wendy, picked us from the airport and has been a wonderful host to us for the past five nights. It’s been lovely to catch up, and it never ceases to amaze me how long you can live away from siblings, yet only an hour back in each other’s company and its like you’ve only been apart since yesterday. We’ve had a lovely five days catching up.

We’ve had new shockies fitted to the ute, and today have taken the caravan out of storage. We’re currently staying in Deloraine caravan park where we’ll stay for the next four nights.

It’s been a long time between sleeps in the caravan, not since last June. We had no problems with the hitch up, but it’s clear our communication for backing into sites is a little rusty. I’m sure it’ll come back in no time, but today’s attempt was reminiscent of the very early days. We parked up, then I left Paul to fit all the plumbing while I went to the local supermarket to restock the van.

While I was away Paul opened the fridge to find a colony of ants had taken up residence, so first he dealt with that. Then, he connected the water and a the pipe to our loo had become disconnected. So, after dealing with the ant colony, he had a minor flood to deal with. All good now, and really, considering the time the van has been in storage out in the open, it’s not to bad. Now all we have to do is remember where everything is.

Tomorrow is van wash day. I’ve completed a brief spider web removal from the outside. It was looking like perhaps it belonged to the Adams Family. Paul will wash the entire van tomorrow, and then we’ll polish it up over the next couple of days before we head down to Huon.

Early on Wednesday we’ll take the van in for the wheel bearings to be re-packed, then we’ll head down the middle to Huon, probably staying at Oatlands free camp site over night on the way.

Huon is a good distance between our friends in Middleton, and our friends in Magra, so we’ll catch up with both.

Whats after that, we don’t know. The buyer of Pauls dads house has had the necessary building inspections carried out and some problems have been identified. We believe he’s waiting for the detailed report, and some quotes. We don’t know yet if he’s going to proceed with the purchase or if he’ll look elsewhere. We’ve offered to reduce the sale price by the cost of the repair work. We have everything crossed, as if that falls through, we’ll have to go over there to get the house ready to go back on the market.

That’s our first hurdle to get over before we can resume our road trip. Next is the ferry, The Spirit Of Tasmania, to get us and our van across to the mainland. Currently the first confirmed booking date available is 24 July, and first available wait list date is 16th June. Crazy! They’ve taken off their twice daily sailings way to early leaving hundreds of caravanners stranded and facing at least a couple of months in Tasmania’s cold winter. It’s not going to do a lot to boost Tasmanias tourism once word gets out. It’s currently a hot topic in caravanners forums and in caravan magazines.

For now, though we can’t even contemplate booking our fare until we have a reasonable idea that we’re not going to need to go back to The UK. We just hope the availability on the ferry doesn’t become even harder. Winter will almost be over before we get to start our planned two year figure eight trip around the mainland.

Tonight we’re meeting a couple of friends we’ve made here in Deloraine for dinner at the local pub. Then, a long awaited sleep under our own roof. We’re so looking forward to that – windows slightly open on either side of the bed, a good cross breeze, fresh country air! I feel rejuvenated already just thinking about it.

Laying laminate flooring and other things

Last week saw a new roof put onto the shed, the flooring almost completed, the lounge painting completed, the kitchen almost completed, and some other small jobs finished, or on the way to being finished.

Don’t let anyone tell you laying laminate flooring is easy – it most definitely isn’t. Poor Tom and Paul would put anyone straight that would suggest it’s easy. It took them three solid, hard days, most of which was spent on their knees. They finished around 3.30pm on Friday, but at 2pm I seriously wondered if they weren’t going to curl over. They looked absolutely done in. It’s almost finished now, with just a small amount of edging quad to go in on Monday morning.

Whilst the guys were laying the kitchen floor, I finished off painting what I could in the lounge. After Tom went home each day, Paul would finish painting the bits in the lounge I couldn’t reach, behind the fire place and most of the ceiling.

The heat pump looks much better on white walls. The Eagle was only temporary for today's football final.
The heat pump looks much better on white walls. The Eagle was only temporary for today’s football final.

Last night with the painting virtually finished, and the floor almost completed, we moved the lounge suite, rug and TV unit back into the room, and we hung the curtains. What a pleasure it was to be able to sit in front of TV in a nice room, with curtains shutting out the world for an hour or two last night. None of it’s a perfect job. How could it be in a far from perfectly built house. But wow, what an improvement. We’re very, very happy with it.

So much nicer than dark wood walls.
So much nicer than dark wood walls.

Today Paul had made several tip runs to get rid of a weeks accumulation of rubbish. On the last one he brought back a trailer load of pine chip mulch. It’s not a mulch I particularly like, but it’s very successful at retarding weeds and lasts well. My sister, Wendy, came across from Lonnie for the day and helped me to cut old carpet into strips which we’ve laid around the edges of garden beds and then piled the pine bark mulch on top. Hopefully it’ll keep the gardens easy care and weed free for tenants. Then they’ll only have the lawn to content with, and hopefully when we can come back to the house, the hard work we’ve so far put into the garden won’t have been completely negated.

The kitchen is almost finished. Still to do is the tiling, a bit of painting around the windows and door and hang the blind. We have valances that match the lounge curtains but I don’t thing we’re going to get a chance to get them up. It won’t matter. Hopefully Paul will get those small jobs finish tomorrow.

Next week the guys will complete the shed ready to store our belongings at the end of the week. We have the real estate agent coming on Tuesday to photograph the house for finding a tenant. By Saturday it all has to finished, everything has to be in the caravan ready for when we can come back. All our other belongings have to be packed in the shed. Our caravan and ute have to be in storage and our bags have to be packed for the UK. Next Saturday and Sunday we’re staying with my sister in Lonnie before leaving for Melbourne on the Monday.

It’s been a hard, hard slog, but we’re on the home stretch now. Well, that’s the home stretch on this side of the world. We haven’t had time to think about what awaits us on the other side of the world yet. We just haven’t been able to let ourselves think further ahead than taking each day as it comes here, head down, bum up, and nose to the grindstone.


We’ve had a busy week-end painting.

Paul has almost finished painting the kitchen. There’s still some trims to paint around the windows, and the tiles still to lay above the bench.

Paul's almost finished painting the kitchen
Paul’s almost finished painting the kitchen
Fridge is still in hallway until after floor has been fitted.
Fridge is still in hallway until after floor has been fitted.

My sister Wendy and I painted some primer on the lounge room walls. The pantry was stored in a corner of the lounge until the painting was finished in the kitchen, so we couldn’t paint that corner. Also we couldn’t reach to paint above the fire place, or above the window and pelmet. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll get to finish the missed corner, and if Paul lifts off the pelmet I should be able to paint above the windows. I’ll try and reach the ceiling beams too as they have to be painted with primer before the ceiling white’s painted on. Paul will have to complete above the fire as there’s no way I’ll reach that, and he’ll do the ceiling. We’ll put the top coat on between the two of us.

Wendy and I couldn't reach above the Pelmet and window.
Wendy and I couldn’t reach above the Pelmet and window.
The remaining unpainted wood is where the pantry was being stored.
The remaining unpainted wood is where the pantry was being stored.

We’re happy with the progress made so far. We still have a long way to go though. We’re hoping at the end of this coming week that all the painting will be finished, the kitchen will be completed, the flooring laid and the curtains and blinds will be fitted to the lounge and kitchen. Plus we’re hoping the outbuilding is finished ready to store our belongings.

We have done soooo much, but theres still soooo much left to do. We’re whittling it away, and each job completed is another job less to do. At the moment though there’s a lot of jobs in progress nearing completion, so still feels like a momentous task. But it’ll only be a matter of days and there’ll be loads finished, and it’ll feel like we’re nearing the end.

Old houses have stories to tell

The end of day four into the kitchen renovation.

End of day four.
End of day four.

Today the remaining 70s brown carpet was removed from the dining end of the kitchen revealing some very colourful old tiles, and we’ve also found the remnants of some plain grey vinyl tiles in another part of the kitchen.

This would have been a colourful kitchen.
This would have been a colourful kitchen.

Under the carpet we found the remnants of what must have been the wood fired oven. The boys have had to chip away concrete from over the bricks and have poured in a self levelling compound to smooth over the floor. Unfortunately, the local hardware store were low on supplies of the levelling compound, so we’re hoping what they had will be enough. We can now see there once was a single door going from the kitchen to the lounge.

The remnants of the old wood stove fireplace.
The remnants of the old wood stove fireplace.

We can see the original kitchen was wall papered. Then at some stage the wood panelling was added over the original walls.

We keep asking ourselves why they didn’t do the job properly and remove the existing wall finish before adding the wood panels. Now, because we’re short of time and because we’re tidying the house up to be used for renting, we’re doing what the last people did. We’ve added another layer rather than remove the existing layers.

Some time in the future we may be re-doing the kitchen for our own use. This will include adding a wide verandah and cutting out french doors from the kitchen to provide access. At that stage the house will have been rented for some time, so a new kitchen, or at least a bit of a make over will not doubt be needed again, and that’s when we’ll do ‘the proper job’. If, however, we don’t get to add those touches for ourselves then I’m sure some future owner will be scratching their head and wondering what on earth possessed this particular owner to add ‘yet another layer’.

Paul’s dad has been moved from hospital to a temporary medium level care facility. He’ll stay there until we arrive. We’ve booked our air fare for 14th October. So, we’ll fly to Melbourne on the 13th and arrive in Manchester on the 15th. OMG! I hope we get everything finished.

Kitchen in progress

Tom the builder is here and has ripped out old kitchen. Paul is acting as his apprentice, and he’s loving it.



This is the kitchen we’ve been living with. The hole above the window and the unfinished wall beneath the window have only been there since the new double glazed window was fitted. We had to raise the window to allow for a bench to be fitted underneath.

Tom and Paul working in the gutted kitchen.
Tom and Paul working in the gutted kitchen.

Paul’s chipping away the remnants of some 50’s carpet that had been left in place under the cupboard unit.

Carpet that the boys found in place under the cupboards.
Carpet that the boys found in place under the cupboards.

We’re in speed mode now. Paul’s dad is in hospital for the second time this week and isn’t doing so well. We’ve been told medically there’s no urgency, but he’s not able to cope caring for himself at the moment, and it’s doubtful if there’s any chance for improvement. He is being assessed over the next few days. We don’t know what the outcome will be for the short, or long term.

We’ll be going back to the UK as soon as we can, to do what we can. Our hope is to assist his dad to live out the remainder of his time in his own home. Until we get there we hope the Social Services will perhaps place him in some interim care. If, however, the time has already arrived for permanent full time care, we’ll need to be over there to organise the sale of his home. We hope that’s a bridge we don’t have to cross.The joys and tribulations of either being an only child, or being married to one. Especially difficult when we live a 30 hour plane trip away.

Although we had been expecting this, the suddenness of the situation becoming urgent has us at sixes and sevens trying to get things organised here. We have two choices, the first being to take a short trip to the UK leaving this house vacant. We don’t like that idea for many reasons, not the least of which is, it would prove a costly drain on our finances.

The second option, which we’re pulling out all stops to make happen, is to get the house rented out so as to be able to stay for as long as needed in the UK. Tom, the builder fortunately has agreed to help. They should get the kitchen finished this week. Then Tom will patch the ceiling in the lounge. It really needs replacing, but we’re going to make do for now. We’ll be using our evenings to paint the walls.

After the kitchen is finished Tom is going to help Paul to get an outbuilding re-roofed and weather proofed. We’ll use that to store and secure our belongings. That will probably take another week if we don’t hit any hiccups. Then our laminate floor can be laid. Again, Tom has agreed to help if needed.

We’ve put our little car on the market, and later this week after we’ve taken the old kitchen to the tip, we’ll put our little trailer on the market. Hopefully they’ll sell quickly without us having to sell them at too much of a loss.

We’ll put the caravan and ute into paid storage, ready for our planned two year trip around Australia. Our original, tentative plan was to get the house ready and rented for the end of next summer, with our belongings secured on the property, and then we were going to set off around Australia for a good two year period. So, plans aren’t deviating to much, just not as relaxed getting to the departure date for Australian trip, and we don’t know when it’ll start.

We’re hoping 3 – 5 weeks will see everything finished, and see us on our way. We’re due for some good luck this year, so we’re hoping it arrives now. I hope we’re not hoping against the odds for that 3 – 5 week grace to get ourselves organised.