Diary for Australia 1979

Diary for Australia 1979

by John Dickenson (Jack) and Robin Staveley (Roo)


    Map of Journey
    Friday 28th December (arrival in Sydney
    Saturday 29th December (arrival in Currendooley)
    Map of Currendooley
    Map of Nungatta
    Thursday 28th February (return to Sydney)
    Tuesday 18th March (depart from Sydney)
    Friday 21st March (arrival in Adelaide)
    Sunday 6th April - Easter Day
    Wednesday 16th April (depart from Adelaide)
    Monday 21st April (arrival in Perth)
    Thursday 24th April (off to Port Headland)
    Thursday 1st May (return to Perth)
    Thursday 8th May (departure from Perth)
    Monday 19th May (arrival in Darwin)
    Tuesday 3rd June (departure from Darwin)
    Friday 6th June (arrival at Ayres Rock)
    Friday 13th June (arrival at Cairns)
    Friday 20th June (departure from Cairns)
    Tuesday 1st July (departure from Rockhampton)
    Saturday 5th July (arrival in Canberra)
    Sunday 13th July (arrival in Sydney)
    Monday 21st July (departure from Sydney)

      Friday 28th December (arrival in Sydney)

      (Roo) We landed in Sydney at around seven am. The first Aussie we saw sprayed us on the plane (a customs official). We picked up luggage and John got the saw, confiscated by the UK customs, back. Said goodbye to Vicki, a girl from Wimbledon we met at Bahrain transit lounge, who came to our area of the plane to have a smoke (she was a non smoker).
      Took airport minibus to Qantas house in Sydney (NB we didn't know anyone or anywhere to stay in Sydney). I left my passport, wallet etc on the bus. We staggered down Hunter Street, re-packing on the way, and bought a map of the city. Met an old man who suggested we camp off the south east coast (great!). Walked half the length of Sydney to reach the British consulate, only to find we couldn't register (and it was on the tenth floor).
      Took luggage to central quay, where we attempted to unravel the mysteries of the Aussie phone system - failed dismally. Found luggage lockers, and discovered passport was missing - temporary attack of panic, soon overcome by clear-headed, level minded chaos.
      Return to square one, do not collect £200. Found a minibus who radioed the airport, confirming the passport was there. Got a FREE lift to the airport; went up and down escalators(fun, fun, fun)until I discovered the lost property office. Got my wallet etc back (less $50). Had a celebratory coke, returned to Sydney and began our holiday once more.
      Got out at Central Station, walking past Hyde Park (something wrong here?) and found a Bank Commonwealth. There we spoke to a helpful lady (of over 30, shame) who wore far to little for common decency. An hour later, we left the bank, having deposited far too much money.
      By now (3.00pm) we were somewhat esurient (peckish), so we had hamburgers, cheap and good.
      Urged on by our cultural yearnings, we made a bee line for the Opera House, pausing momentarily to view the magnificent lump of metal that was the Harbour Bridge (very big). The Opera House was very impressive and we wandered round taking photos and admiring females wandering round taking photos and admiring us (and the Opera house I suppose).
      It should be noted that Sydney girls are unlike any others; over breasted, very underdressed in a word "wow" quote John.
      We returned to Central Station to get train tickets for Bungendore. Only possible train left at 7:30am (ugh) next morning. Decision time - PANIC. Bought tickets, phoned Currendooley to check timing was OK. Had a stimulation conversation with an answering machine instead.
      Then retreated to Circular Quay to reclaim our luggage, it was by now 4:30. We still had no idea where we would stay that night. Decided the YHA might be worth a go, so got bus to George street - both of us promptly fell asleep. The conductor jabbed us in the ribs at Ross St so we got out "so where the hell are we now" - quote John. Eventually found the YHA, which of course was full (great!) - PANIC. Met a 60year old pommie who got us a lift to a new hostel at St Andrews. We arrived to find it closed (bugger this, we'll bloody well wait - quote Robin). At 5pm it opened, cost $5 a night. They refused to let us use normal sleeping bags, so we had to use the sheets provided. Showered - (Ahhhh, luxury), found a place to get food, returned and collapsed.

      Saturday 29th December (arrival in Currendooley)

      (Jack) Up at 6am, re-showered and set off afresh (well nearly) for the station. Found the train and rang Currendooley ( a human voice answered this time!). Got on the train loaded with Coke and Mars bars (breakfast). We chatted to our local drunk who consumed half a bottle of whiskey in two hours.
      The train journey was uneventful and boring, except that our drunk turned paralytic. We arrived at Bungendore at about 11:30 on a scorching day. We waited to be picked up while unsuccessfully fighting off the flies. A pick up truck (aka a "ute") arrived complete with Sally (Mum), and Jim (younger son) and we went to Currendooley via Bungendore shops. On arrival, we dived into the swimming pool and then met Catherine, Rachel and Harry as well as Pat (Dad).
      After a swim and another unsuccessful fight with the flies, we changed and had lunch. After lunch, I fell asleep while Robin had tuition on how to use the resident petrol pump. He drove the Toyota pick-up (fun-fun-fun) and jump started a Chrysler car. Robin then woke me up, apparently others had tried unsuccessfully!, we changed and went to a dinner party. On arrival, we were introduced as John and Robin; Aussie logic prevailed, and we were re-christened Jack and Roo, as in the Aussie word Jackaroo for a cowboy. This was to create great hilarity for the rest of our trip. We met our first Kangaroo, and Roo then suffered from a sever attack of jetlag. After an uninteresting supper (chicken casserole), we went to a games room to discover a full size snooker table. We chatted and attempted to play snooker (Roo and I both fancied a girl called Emma Gordon) till about 12:30. We push started the Chrysler and returned to the homestead. We fell asleep instantly.
      Random Note:
      Currendooley is similar in layout to Little Redlap and we have been treated as one (or two) of the family. The two girls are not the same as the Sydney girls (reference to "over breasted and under dressed" from Sydney! - ed) but are very friendly. We have our own rooms in the main building as well as our own bathroom. The old Jackaroo's house has been converted into a multiple garage, containing two cars, a petrol land rover, a diesel Toyota land cruiser and a 100cc Honda motorbike (fun fun fun). We have decided that Roo has not bought enough clothes and I have bought too many. For the moment I have stopped shaving (joke!) and life will be very relaxed until the holiday season ends. All Aussies are very straight forward in the speech and always say what they think. There is so far, no evidence to support the existence of subtlety.

      Map of Currendooley

      Sunday 30th December

      (Roo) We did very little early on, read, talked to Harry, found a picture of the "Bells of Ouzeley" (Jack's local) in a magazine (Hurrah). Pat came in and muttered something about sheep, ending with "D'ya wanna come along?" We said yes, and with Harry piled into the back of the Toyota land cruiser. We drove into a paddock and after about a mile stopped by some sheep at a waterhole. The sheep dogs immediately cornered the sheep. Pat, while explaining the ear markings on the sheep, grabbed a year old ewe. He dragged it out by a hid leg and tied its two front legs together. Jack and he then heaved it onto the back of the Toyota. Jack got a trotter in his face for his efforts. We all piled back in tied it's hind legs together. The drive back scared the shit out of the sheep, literally. We drove to a hut which turned out to be an abattoir. Our curiosity was further roused by the appearance of Pat brandishing a knife and sharpener. The penny at last dropped - very heavily. We realised what we had let ourselves into. ("oh god - oh god - oh god" etc etc quote Jack and Roo together).
      Holding the ewe by the scruff of its neck, Pat drew the blade across its neck, causing the sheep's eyes to widen somewhat, and creating a bit of a mess. Having located the jugular vein and severed it, Pat twisted back the neck and broke it. Jack and I had by this time asserted that beyond all reasonable doubt the sheep had indeed snuffed it. This theory however, was temporarily in doubt when the sheep began to kick furiously in a vain attempt to get more blood to its brain. An unfortunate mistake really, as it was totally unaware of the large hole that had replaced its arteries, from which more blood came squirting out, making a less than pleasant noise. However, it soon belted up, stopped kicking (another equally fatal mistake) and was dragged by Pat and me (a "willing" volunteer who got the forelegs and a birds eye view of the neck, blood, jugular etc) into the hut.
      Pat then set about skinning the ex sheep, a truly fascinating sight (Jack sat down fast going a whiter shade of pale).When the skin had been completely removed and the lower part of each leg snapped off, Pat began what can only be described as plain butchery. Starting at the top of the rib cage, and with an amazingly deft action, he separated the two sides of the cage revealing in all its natural splendour the heart and lungs (somewhat deflated). He continued his delicate surgery down past the stomach and guts ( a yuckier shade of green) . The beast was then attached to some hooks by its hind legs. I positively leapt to the winch handle, a great way of getting the beast out of my line of sight., and winched it up. Pat then detached a few sinews, allowing the stomach and guts to fall to the floor with a loud soggy thud. I sat down at this point very fast looking a similar colour to Jack.
      Harry was volunteered to remove the stomach outside, an operation which caused it to split open (yummy). Other odds and ends were removed and thrown to the dogs who lapped them up gleefully. I was then volunteered to take the skin to the skin hut, where it was hung with other similar skins and sprayed with DDT.
      To take our minds off things (one or two things in particular), Harry showed us how to use the motorbike (100cc Honda). Jack decided to try it out, having never ridden a motorbike before and kept it upright. I then had a go ( note my past less than successful experience in these things). I drove down the drive into some sand and ended up horizontal, but unhurt.
      Lunch was called, not lamb chops, mutton or sheep eyes thank God.
      After lunch, Jack and I took the Toyota into Bungendore to pick up supplies for Pat. We returned to our rooms and began this diary.
      Later, a dozen or so locals walked past our rooms, most of whom we had seen the night before (the locals, not the rooms). We all sat around and talked and drank. The they left, all except Emma (wah-hey - great etc etc). We had supper then retired to bed.

      Monday 31st December

      (Jack) Today started at 7:45 with eggs and bacon for breakfast; Roo, an hour later only got cereal! I then proceeded to help Pat grind some butcher's knives. This involved me turning a handle while Pat did the sharpening. My knife also received a good sharpening, this took about 3/4 hour, with Roo turning up about 15 mins before the end (great timing!). After this we went to spray some blackberries. We were under the impressing that this was for the benefit of the blackberries, how wrong we were! We drove out in two land rovers, one equipped with the spraying apparatus. We had a long yellow hose each, and while the land rover wandered in a random pattern in-between the bushes, we sprayed them with the herbicide, a derivate of agent orange. It was "bloody hot" (quote Roo) and after three hours, including filling up from a pool which Harry said was "quite drinkable", we returned to the homestead for lunch. After another "lesson" on the bike, we did not much all afternoon - lovely.
      About eight pm, we drove to Lakelands in the Toyota for a New Years Eve party. Lakelands is Mike's house (Pat's younger brother) and Mike said he would help us find a car. New year was seen in amongst drinking and swimming, Emma has a gorgeous body. Party finished at one thirty am and I drunkenly agreed with Willi, another Pommie, that nearly all the girls are too young (compared with Sydney).We separated Roo from Kate (Davys), and we drove home and hit the sack.
      Random Note:-
      It should be mentioned that during the gory scenes of yesterday morning, Roo's camera was clicking at 90 to the dozen.
      Blackberry spraying - this is done to kill the bushes as they are a pest over here.
      The whole area has an excess of grasshoppers. They appear to breed like randy rabbits, only worse (or better!). There are almost as many grasshoppers as there are flies.
      Aussie Beer - is sweet, fizzy and completely non alcoholic. We drank as much as we could on new year's eve and remained perfectly sober. This was a great disappointment, but I suppose we will get used to it eventually. (editor's note - yeah right!)
      Randy Note:-
      There is a beautiful girl staying here for two days called Emma. She is causing a severe attack of frustration as all attempts to chat her up are proving completely unsuccessful. Like all Aussie girls, she is well blessed.

      Tuesday 1st January 1980

      (Roo) Happy New Year Folks !

      Both of us got mid morning, had breakfast and promptly fell asleep again. At midday we woke to find the house once again filled with visitors, this time Bedford and Molly Osborne, Ping and Christopher De Vries, and some other old biddy whose name I never learned. All except Bedford arrived in time for lunch, though none was surprised by his absence, as he wears no watch, preferring to use the sun as his time signal (with little success judging by his promptness).
      We both chatted at length to Elizabeth and Ping (who is a great, if a little domineering character) They advise us on where to go in Aussie, i.e. the Barrier Reef, Alice Springs (who sounds nice) etc.. Half way through lunch Bedford arrived, to great cheers. He is a marvellous man. He insisted that Jack and I visit him in Bowylie, and Elizabeth invited us to Sydney with something about sailing and Brian Monkton being involved. After lunch, we "helped" Harry with his train set (fun).
      At supper we were once aging hurled into the high flying social life that was Bungendore. Five more people turned up to be fed and watered, all of whom were our age and some of whom we knew (inc Kate Davies, who I got off with at the NYE party). After a rather morbid pre-supper talk about blood and guts (sheep's mainly) in the light of our recent experiences, we moved into the dining room to be confronted by the topic of our conversation. It tasted great !
      After supper, we unsuccessfully challenged the electronic chess machine, lost dismally then gave up and dispersed to our various homes and bed.

      Wednesday 2nd January

      (Jack) Happy New Year from Me ! First day of work (money, pay etc.) up at 6:45 am !! and breakfast. We went down to the machine shed, met Godfrey, the Welshman, Mori, the 'bastard short arse' as he calls himself and Mark, the foreman. Roo went off with Godfrey and Mori to mend a floodgate and I went with Mark to cure sheep of blowfly. This involves catching the sheep, shaving it's arse and pouring a milky looking substance over the raw skin. This causes the sheep much pain, but saves its life. The difficult part is spotting the sheep in the first place.
      The men have accepted us as part of the workforce and are very friendly. Mark can b a bit officious for the sake of it at times. Godfrey is a great bloke and trains his dogs to catch deer for supper !
      Back to the homestead for lunch and then out again to put up a gate. The weather has turned cold, even rain (help - memories of mother England).
      At supper we were joined by Tine McFarlane, sister of Sally, who is staying for a few days. I was absolutely knackered and almost fell asleep through all the meal, much to Roo's embarrassment which I didn't notice ("not bloody surprising", quote Roo). After a few hours of desperate struggle against impossible odds, I retired to my room to collapse into bed. Roo once again fought the chess machine, and as usual, lost. The machine however, if losing, refuses to accept the opponents winning move and a compromise of giving away one's queen appears to be the only way of repairing the machine's hurt feelings!!
      Runny Note:
      Both of us are suffering from bad colds, due presumably to the sudden change in climate.
      Random Note:
      Cockatoos here are a pest (at £250 a piece in England). It is infuriating to see and hear £3000 flying around as a common sight ! There are also many other beautiful birds including Parakeets and Loris

      Thursday 3rd January

      (Roo) (one week away from the good old UK) Started work in the sheering sheds today (uck). They are incredibly antiquated, making the invention of the wheel look relatively modern. In the sheds we were confronted by shit ridden wool. Mark the overseer, with his usual encouraging smile, pointed to the mouth watering pile and muttered "sort it, shit from wool". Eager as ever, we both dived in hands first and busily set about sorting it as instructed. Five seconds later we recoiled clutching our noses in abject horror. For the next two and a half hours we gingerly picked at the sole destroying pile (about five feet by four by two), singing to keep ourselves amused (e.g. 'it's getting better all the time - Beatles and Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen').
      Mark returned and cheerfully admitted that he had made a slight mistake. "No point sorting it really, just put it all in one bale" (grr, sodding bloody, son of a bitch sheep's arse etc etc.).
      Back to the homestead for lunch, then back to our favourite shed and an afternoon of sweeping and more sweeping. Then Jack went with Godfrey, and me with Mori to fence. We checked mile upon mile of fence, looking for holes. Sheep, being unbelievably dumb creatures, get everywhere, especially through holes. Then, in Mori's land rover, we tried some Kangaroo "hunting" which consisted chasing the thing in the land rover, but this was short lived. Jack meanwhile had found an ants nest with one and half inch ants (yuk!). He and Godfrey fixed holes made by bulls.
      At four thirty we returned home, drank gallons of tea, and took the Land cruiser into Bungendore. I discovered how to skid up banks, nothing serious. Jack went white. We stopped at Mike's (Lakeland) to deliver a letter from my mother. After supper, Rachel and I beat the chess machine !!! This woke Jack up from his usual snooze and after much jubilation, we adjourned to bed.
      Wrecked Notes:
      Land rovers and land cruisers. The 'remains' they drive around here deserve a note. Mark's Toyota has no instrumentation what so ever. The door needs the force of a sledge hammer to close it. He says its in much better condition than when he got it. It needs a new carburettor and coughs like a choking dog.
      Mori's land rover makes Mark's seem like a spanking new Rolls. It has no brakes at all, no shock absorbers and needs to be facing downhill to start. It consumes equal quantities of petrol, oil and water, emitting a thick black smoke. As the exhaust seems to end somewhere under the bonnet, the smoke creates an unfortunate hazard for the driver, precious little vision and asphyxiation while driving.

      Friday 4th January

      (Jack) The day started as usual at 6:45am. We went to the sheering shed where we were each given a hammer. This was to nail down the slatted floor. This work continued till four pm, albeit with three quarters of an hour off for lunch. Both of us were to have somewhat stiff and blistered hands, to say the least, the next morning. We returned for tea and after showers, sat down in front of the telly. The Kenny Everet Video show was showing, followed by the New Avengers (Purdy etc). We then had dinner (lamb again) and collapsed into bed.
      Random Note: I have a feeling we will be hammering again next week. We used about 50kg of 3" wire nails and got about 3/4 of the floor done. We worst bit is that the floor is covered in sheep shit (ugh!)
      For two days we have had a small Praying Mantis in our bathroom. He is called Humphrey.

      Saturday 5th January

      (Roo) Today we intended to head into Queanbeyan ( a town between here and Canberra) in the Toyota. However, we knew that Pat had captured a sheep ready to be slaughtered. Would we risk searching for him, to find ourselves face to face once more with the sheep's internal details (NO!). Gingerly we looked around, eventually picking up the courage to look in the abattoir and there (Yikes) was ..... a live sheep staring at us - ("its alive, its alive" - quote Jack) - panic run for our rooms.
      Eventually we found Pat, who merely warned us not to drive too fast (us, little us, drive too fast? Honestly, some people). He muttered something about the Toyota being full of diesel (or so we thought). In we hopped, and sped off to Queenbeyan. There, having parked, we bought a hat each (both looking as ridiculous as the other) for $2.75. Saw the rest of Q. and debated whether or not to fill the Toyota with diesel, the indicator having been on empty all the day. We decided that the gauge was bust, and left for Bungendore (initially going the wrong way).
      We called in at Bungendore to pick up an order, drove back to the station. Just past Lakelands, the Toyota came to a sudden halt. (Oh shit !) quote Jack and Roo simultaneously, shortly before exploding into laughter. Considered predicament for a while, then walked back to Lakelands, interrupting a game of croquet, to beg a can of diesel from Mike. He kindly also lent us his Suzuki pickup. Despite the fuel, the bloody Toyota wouldn't start, (more panic) so we returned tails between our legs to Currendooley.
      Initially we couldn't find Pat. While explaining our problem to Catherine, Pat's voice exploded from a nearby building.
      "Where is he?" - Jack
      "In there, in there" - me
      "Howd'ya get in there?"
      "Jack its.."
      "How the hell do you get in?"
      "Jack it's a bl..."
      "Where's the door?"
      "Jack it's a bloody bog!"
      Meanwhile, Pat was still exploding. Why hadn't we filled it up when he told us? God he had explained it so clearly, etc., etc..
      We disappeared to have some lunch (screams still emanating from the little white hut). Then, when the noise had died down, we all returned to the scene of the crime to start bleeding the engine (technical details to be supplied). Thank god, the bastard started . We returned Mike's Suzuki and headed back in disgrace.
      Pat said "Come on, we've a small job to do". Both of us at once went white at the thought of molesting another sheep. To our relief, Pat pointed at a blocked drain. We then spent three quarters of an hour digging a nine inch hole in solid concrete (getting us nowhere). Unperturbed by failure, we commenced systematically digging up the patio in three places, to discover the offending soil pipe. This we cut open. The pipe, revelling in its new found freedom, emitted vast quantities of semi liquid shit in varying degrees of decay.
      He next few hours were spent thrusting fire hoses, pieces of wire, wood, steel piping etc down the pipe in an attempt to shift the blockage. Eventually, about seven thirty in the evening, we succeeded. Shit stained and exhausted we retired for a shower. We had supper and went to bed.

      Sunday 6th January

      (Jack) In the morning we cleared up some of the shit from Saturday and then at about midday started to clean the sand filter of the swimming pool. This we found was full of calcified sand which is as about as runny as concrete. After half an hour of hammering, we gave up and went to lunch. After lunch, we removed the whole cylinder with a tractor, it weighed about 2cwt, and cleaned it out with a high pressure hose. We then sifted some fresh filtering sand, replaced the filter, (breaking a plastic pipe in the process) and returned inside. The filter is a thick metal cylinder about three feet tall with a pump bolted to the top.
      In the middle of the afternoon we gave Jim a swim. He wasn't best pleased!

      Monday 7th January

      (Roo) Back to work :( We started the day by going with Mori in the land rover to check fences. Pat and the boys had gone to Adelong (some way away)and Sally and Cath went out for the day. When we returned for lunch therefore, we had to help ourselves basically. After lunch we again went out with Mori fencing, then some blowflying. This involves catching a sheep (sometimes quite a laugh, because dumb as they are, they can sometimes shift quite fast), bringing it to the ground and shaving its arse to reveal the maggots in it's skin, and treating the skin. It can be fun, especially catching the bastards, because bringing them crashing to the ground is fairly satisfying (yuk! yuk!). we spent all afternoon at this.
      When we returned we found the "going away party" photos had arrived (yippee!!), much to the interest of Sally, Catherine and Rachel (who is she?, who is he? etc etc)

      Tuesday 8th January

      (Jack) Today I went off with Mori for more blowflying as well as rounding them up for sheering. This was quite fun, driving the land rover, without brakes, over bumpy ground, chasing sheep. At one point we got the thing bogged down in mud and it took about quarter of an hour to free it. I saw the sand mining area (Pat sells sand), not terribly exciting.
      Roo spent the day helping Mark with a spot of welding (Roo's terrible pun), generally a boring day getting knackered (quote Roo)
      After work we went to Bungendore to pick up Catherine and one of her friends called Fiona. We also bought a case of Coke ($9.60). Fiona is not too bad looking and has a nice character.
      The whole family (except Catherine) went to Nungatta today, so we have the place to ourselves until Friday.

      Wednesday 9th January

      (Roo) Up this morning at four thirty am (!!!) to start mustering the sheep. We got to the paddocks (fields in English) before sunrise. After the sun had risen we began the muster (collecting up the sheep and driving them towards the sheering sheds). We took one of the land cruisers, six dogs and four of us. We worked from five am till nine thirty.
      Mustering is tiring, involving a lot of walking, and also hurts the voice. You stand behind the sheep, waving your arms, legs, hats, etc., looking like some sort of mechanical scarecrow, trying desperately to get the lazy creatures to move. The more the temperature rises, the more the sheep sit down. This seems to be some sort of unconscious move by the sheep because once down, not even four thousand volts up its backside would move it. We managed to get most of the way before this phenomenon began to occur, a trip of some four to five miles.
      After this, we returned for a second breakfast, then back to work. We both prepared the seeder for action, (I got the chance to drive the tractor, fun ! fun! fun! crunch!!). Jack meanwhile, did his best to mend a punctured tyre of Mark's. He got it a bit wrong though, burning a sizable hole in the inner tube. When Mark saw his sizzled tyre, he (thank god) saw the funny side (I couldn't because he was in the way - groan quote Jack). We had lunch and were then allotted more tasks. Jack was given a fascinating, new and brain staining job - cleaning out the carpentry shop (snore..quote Jack). I got more sheep chasing which is great fun. It involves leaping out of the land cruiser to bring the sheep crashing to the ground, but no often than not ends up with me charging across the paddock in hot pursuit of the ewe, practising my slightly altered rugby tackle on it. Having dived at some twenty sheep (successfully I may add), we returned to the homestead.
      Having failed to get a motorbike working, I took Jack and another bike down to the garage. Jack mended the first machine (well, fitted a spark plug - brains), and we roared off to open a gate. Somehow we managed to make it a very long journey (fun!), then returned and did very little for the rest of the day.

      Thursday 10th January

      (Jack) First work today was very exciting (not), clearing out the sheep spraying equipment room ! Roo meanwhile attacked the welsh plugs on Mark's Toyota. The both of us then went sheep catching with four of Mark's kiddies (about half his family).
      After lunch, Roo "parked" the Toyota on a hill. Unfortunately he didn't quite put the gear fully in (that's his story) and when he left the vehicle, it decided to go for a walk into a tasty looking lump of rusty machinery some 30 yards down the hill. After 25 of these yards, we noticed its disobedience, but alas it was too late. Mark was not there to see the front wheels of his machine leave the ground (Thank God" quote Roo). Mori thought it was very funny. We reversed the naughty machine and parked it firmly. We were then ordered to remove the stones from a paddock which had just been ploughed. We took it in turns to drive the tractor with the loader attachment (fun fun fun), even though it took about quarter of an hour to get it going. It was good fun and we worked past four thirty ! ( well, three minutes past..)
      Random Note:
      An interesting habit of the Aussie sheep station worker is that ALL work ceases when a single drop of rain appears.
      One bit of bad news. Godfrey's horse broke a leg badly and had to be shot.

      Friday 11th January

      (Roo) After helping Mark dispose of two dead sheep in the creek, we went to the sheering shed where we met Mori. Jack took the motorbike (a 125cc Suzuki), and Mori and I took the tractor, along with Mori's two dogs Nell and Boff. We went off to some paddocks where Mori got his dogs to muster the sheep and walked, leaving me with the tractor and trailer. Jack and he went off while I unsuccessfully at first, attempted to start the damned tractor. We spent three hours charging around the hillsides mustering the sheep. Due to the unfortunate lack of suspension on the bike, Jack, who had to travel over hard ploughed fields, suffered from painful crotch ache all day (a missing piece of elastic was partly to blame, so he tells me). Jack, immensely proud of the fact that he hadn't yet fallen off the bike, zoomed around while I 'semi-zoomed' in the tractor, almost capsizing the thing many times and succeeded in a wheelie on one hill.
      Pat and the others returned at lunch time (end of beautiful silence!).
      In the afternoon we moved a few rocks (see yesterday), and did sod all else. We chatted to Godfrey and after work took Fiona to Bungendore station, having to experience Catherine's somewhat erratic driving ( she's just learning, and not too fast!!).
      We returned to meet the infamous 'Chekki' ("sigh" - quote every male within ten miles of Currendooley - see note below). She, her husband and child were all at supper (I sat next to her !!! - my God those eyes !!)
      Random Note:
      My tractor wheelies today need some notice. Tractors, though not specifically designed to rear up on their back wheels, do so particularly well on steep hills. However terrifying, it is great fun (yuk yuk!)
      Randy Note:
      Ten years ago Chekki was an au-pair at Currendooley, attracting the attention of most of the male population of Bungendore, including Mike and Pat. She made a habit of wearing next to nothing on her legs and shirts that were incapable of doing their job. Harry and Jim used to play with their dinky toys up and down her "hills", while Pat sat enviously in the background and stared ! Returning from work yesterday, we notice that Mike had some very important business that required his presence in Currendooley... all evening!! She still wears next to nothing, her beauty is beyond my vocabulary.

      Saturday 12th January

      (Jack) lay in bed till about ten thirty LUXURY !! After breakfast, we panicked at the thought of rain and rushed off to get the sheep under cover. I took the green bike (Suzuki) and half way there ran out of petrol ! I arrived at the sheds just as most of the work had been completed. We crammed the sheep indoors and made a speedy retreat, picking up the bike on the way, to the homestead.
      We all went to Bowylie (Bedford and Mollys' place) for lunch. Spent most of the afternoon playing croquet. Ping and Christopher and their kids were also there.
      At supper that evening (chicken), Chekki made the all time statement "I love stuffing!" ( she was of course referring to the chicken, but......)
      Random Note:
      The cars here all have enormous engines. Most are either three and a half or four and a half litres and very few have less than six cylinders. When I mentioned that my car back home had a one point eight litre engine, it caused much amusement. The cars themselves over here are also generally much bigger.

      Sunday 13th January

      (Roo) Rose late again (becoming a habit - two whole days!). At noon, three more guests (the Richards) arrived for lunch. Chekki, Toni and Tom (their child) were also still here. After lunch and many photos, Chekki and family left (shame shame), taking Rachel with them. The Richards also left.
      Pat, the two boys, Jack and I went over to the sheering sheds while Sally and Catherine prepared to leave for Sydney. We spent till six pm "draughting" the sheep in the pens. This involves sorting ewes from lambs. We seemed to go round in ever decreasing circles, separating and mixing sheep, chopping and changing. There were far too many sheep there and it was a miracle that only one got smothered.
      Whilst sorting the sheep, which involves picking up the creatures and heaving them over a fence, I managed to shove my fingers up a sheep's bum, not an experience I would go far to repeat. It should be noted that (a) it was raining, therefore imperative to move the sheep under cover because (b) shearers will not shear wet sheep.
      The smothered sheep, when we returned, was skinned then cut up for the dogs who destroyed all else! With no females in the house, supper was non existent !

      Monday 14th January

      (Jack) In a word - boring. After we had hung around the shearing shed for an hour and a half, I went off with the tractor and Mori to... muster sheep. Roo meanwhile, worked at the sheds, moving sheep around the pens for drenching. After lunch we swapped jobs and didn't finish till past six thirty, (almost a twelve hour day!). The females returned today so we got a good supper before collapsing into bed.
      Random Note:
      Drenching is the art of sticking a metal tube into a sheep's mouth and squirting some milky fluid into it's throat (anti worms, poisonous to humans). One carries a plastic container of the stuff on one's back, connected to the gun by a plastic pipe. We have to do every sheep individually, all eight thousand of them !

      Tuesday 15th January

      (Roo) We started in the sheds again, doing little for an hour and a half. Then Jack went with Godfrey, the old tractor and the loading attachment, to put up a gate in the middle of a fence. This involves putting two posts about four feet into the ground, then attaching a fourteen foot gate. They had a frightening moment ( well two actually, as will be revealed). While removing the first old post, a Tiger Snake leapt out ( if snakes leap) into the grass. The Tiger Snake is a venomous and deadly snake with incredibly sharp fangs. It's bite is usually fatal. Having searched for the snake unsuccessfully, they gave up the snake for lost and went back to installing the first post.
      After lunch, they returned to complete the gate and while removing the second old post, had a 'close encounter of the second kind'. The snake leapt (again?) from under the post Jack was holding and landed about two inches from his foot. With amazing suppleness and speed (so he says) Jack dropped everything screaming "Aargh snake!!". Not wishing to be belittled by Jack's quick reactions, Godfrey dived in, spade in hand and severed the venomous creature's top three inches of head from the other four feet of snake. The head then did its best to retaliate by squirming towards Jack, whereupon Godfrey cut off a further inch. At last the snake gave up. They examined its fangs, urged on by morbid curiosity (which also killed the cat) and found out just how needle like they were. They flung the bits well away (Tiger snakes are still venomous twenty four hours after death), then finished the gate.
      The tractor has an interesting addition, dubbed "the screwer" which looks like an enormous corkscrew and fits on the back of the tractor. It drills a very neat five foot deep and two foot wide hole. This was used to drill the holes for the gate posts, and the job was finished by about five pm.
      I spent all day near or around the shearing sheds. I did most of the drenching on my own, as well as mustering without the aide of the tractor. Mark helped at times, and the shearers sheared away until lunchtime when they voted the new batch of sheep "wet". Every new batch is preceded by a vote. The shearers decide on the condition of the sheep and have to have a majority voting dry in order to continue. Today it was 5-3 "wet" and against continuing.
      Having finished off the drenching on my own, I did some mustering with Mori and the other tractor. Mark Mori and I then moved all the sheep from inside the sheds to the pens, to let them dry out. The was intolerably dull, tiring etc etc and took till six thirty, after which I remember very little, collapsing asleep a hour or so later.
      Random Note:
      Shearers are an odd breed. Their job demands that they stand bent double nearly all day. They shear for about four months a year and go else where for the rest. Our team is eight strong, with one "gun". He is the best and fastest of them, setting the pace. They are also very "macho and masculine" as Sally puts it, none wanting to be the weak one. This keeps them going when it's hot and tiring. The competitiveness of the job is very strong and can lead to fights between the shearers. They are paid about sixty five cents per sheep, and nothing else. A good shearer can shear about a hundred and twenty sheep a day. It's highly paid, but when they vote the sheep wet, they don't get paid.

      Wednesday 16th January

      (Jack) To start with I went off with Godfrey to finish off the gate we put in yesterday. This involved levelling it and straining the fence it was attached to. While doing this, we came across a friendly sort of creature. He had eight legs and was black with a distinctive red stripe. This was the "Red Back Spider", a poisonous spider that gives an extremely painful bite, although not 'usually' fatal. We killed it and destroyed its eggs (today we didn't see any more snakes).
      Roo started the morning with drenching (for a change) as well as draughting. This afternoon we were both at it. This was very tiring and thirsty work due to all the dust and heat. The weather is turning Aussie style. It was extremely hot today and thirty five degrees is predicted for tomorrow as well. We shall see.

      Thursday 17th January

      (Roo) Did sod all for the first hour and a half, waiting for the first batch of sheep to be sheared and counted. Then we drenched all morning as it got hotter and hotter. After lunch we drove the old Toyota back to the shed and waited and drenched some more.
      While waiting we decided to begin our suntans (!?). We lay stripped from the waist up for about half an hour. Our tans are very brown on the forearms, reddy brown on the upper arms, and pretty pink everywhere else! We'll soon have an all over brown tan though, just wait !
      Today we also gave a bit of a hand inside the shearing sheds. We caught and dragged sheep over to the shearers for a bit (thrills and spills!)
      One small anecdote of today that could have been headline news in the diary: while we were filling up the Toyota with diesel Jack managed to snap the handle on the pump right off "but I only pulled it a little" quote Jack. We all shivered at the thought of telling Pat, who then turned up. While Harry and I battled for a place to hide behind the pump, Jack spluttered out an explanation for why the handle was in his hand and not attached to the pump. Peering from behind my place of refuge, I could just make out Pat's expression though the mist that Jack's sweat glands were emitting. Instead of receiving the brunt of a hundred and twenty decibels worth of "Hell I can't trust you with anything", Jack was greeted with a smile and a joke from Pat. We mended the pump (sort of) and drove away very quickly. Somehow Toyotas, diesel and us just don't seem to get on that well (see Sat 5th Jan).

      Friday 18th January

      (Jack) Another "exciting" day, drenching.....On the other hand, Roo spent all day driving the Toyota at two miles an hour while picking up rocks as Pat wouldn't let him drive any faster ("bollocks" quote Roo). Later on in the afternoon it looked like rain so there was the usual panic to get the sheep under cover. Since we succeeded in completing this task, it didn't rain!
      One minor drama, Roo managed to get the Toyota bogged in with Mori ( he claims Mori was driving). After twenty minutes of intense thought and hard sweat and toil, they managed to free the machine.
      All I can say is thank God for weekends (I hope we don't have to work!!).

      Saturday 19th January

      (Roo) We got up early enough to drive the Sigma into Queanbeyan. We looked around the disposal store (army equipment, camping etc) and bought a second hand paraffin primus stove which we're very proud of !
      I got my haircut (at last) and we bought about thirty postcards. We had a "fingerlickin' good" Kentucky chicken n chips and drove back. All except Pat had gone off to lunch before we returned. We spent two hours writing twenty three cards, some of them very silly, and as it was hot , ventured down to the pool to swim and sunbathe. When everyone returned we drove off to the Davy's for drinks, supper, croquet. Molly Osbourne was there, beating everyone in sight at croquet as usual. Most of the others were new to us. We met a girl called Kate Stoddert (I think!) who turned out not only to be the daughter of the senior lecturer in Business Studies at Oxford Poly (the course and Poly I'm going to), but also was the niece of Archie Crawford who had introduced me to United Biscuits who will hopefully be sponsoring me through university. We met a nice Kiwi girl too, but failed to remember her name. Jack tried very hard to get stoned, with more success this time ( I think the Whiskey and Port may have had a little to do with it), and it was really quite hard to get him to leave the party ! We were forced to leave at eleven because Pat was driving home, far too early really.

      Sunday 20th January

      (Jack) This morning we replaced most of the damaged pieces of pipe from our drains. Roo found this incredibly boring, but I quite enjoy that sort of work. During the afternoon the Davy's came over for tea, just as we finished the drains. In the evening we went to Brian's house, called "Ellendon", for supper and I met someone who had lived in Englefield Green. By eleven thirty we were both dog tired, and we had to take some water over to the shearers' quarters. This took till a quarter past twelve by which time we were both pretty fed up and very, very tired,

      Monday 21st January

      (Roo) We took the Nissan truck and water tank to Brian's having filled it from the underground tanks under the courtyard. Jack started drenching sheep again (boring)while I took the water carrier over to the shearers' huts to fill their water tanks even more. The little petrol pump was a bugger; I had to restart it again and again. I refilled it with petrol and water at Currendooley, soaking myself when the hose jumped out of the tank.
      We both drenched some more, returned for lunch, then drenched and draughted in the afternoon. Later in the PM, Mark and I caught a sheep, took it to the abattoir and killed, skinned and gutted it. It was for the shearers. This time it had no effect on my stomach and I was able to play an active part in killing it. After it had been finished with, I dragged the guts a few yards and threw them away (whereupon the split, releasing a green soup like liquid - digested grass). Scraps attacked the head alone, quite a sight.

      Tuesday 22nd January

      (Jack) This morning Pat, Sally and the rest of the family went off to Nungatta to conclude the shearing there. The morning was the same as it has been for the last week or so, and at lunchtime we decided to go into Bungendore. As we were a little short of time, I fear we might have broken a speed limit or two (trivialities).After spending about $10 on letters and stamps (we stuck on 30 stamps in the post office), we returned to the homestead. Lunch was biscuits, ice-cream and toast, eaten very quickly, and we returned to work.
      At last the shearers finished. I gave the cook a lift to the railway station at about 4:30 and Roo and I went back to the main house. After a swim and a meal, we hit the sack.

      Wednesday 23rd January

      (Roo) A prompt start this morning, three shearers weren't staying behind today so as not to do the sheep that had not been left over from yesterday (you're excused if that muddles you). The whole set up today was totally illegal, going against the contract and union rules of the shearers that left yesterday, i.e. the shearing that happened today was not supposed to happen at all.
      At last we have had a change of scene!!!! We worked in the sheds sorting the shorn wool into good, bad and ugly. Then in the afternoon we drenched, then let the sheep out. Unfortunately I let the sheep out into the paddock we let all the other sheep into, not the one they should have gone into (oh sorry Mark - cringe). We then had to spend about an hour mustering and drenching the buggers again as they had been mixed with the others. We shot off pretty fast after that!

      Thursday 24th January

      (Jack) And now for something completely different ! Today we were lumberjacks, well almost. We spent the whole day with a man who cannot be described, he was so boring. He wasn't an accountant, he was the next worse thing. "Double chin, glasses, drawling speech and fat arsed" quote Roo. A more boring person cannot be imagined, let alone exist. He seemed to find the idea of trudging through a hot pine forest, measuring the diameter of ten trees every 50 yards an exciting one. We also had to measure the height of five trees every fifty yards (to do Pat a favour we added a metre or two to every tree!!) . Pat is trying to sell the forest. I had a bit of fun in the afternoon. We split up, Keith (Mr Exciting) and Roo went on by foot, while I went back to get the Land Cruiser. We agreed to meet at a certain gate. Unfortunately, I misunderstood him and went to the wrong gate. After waiting 20 minutes, I decided they were lost and after going back for more fuel, I went looking for them. This meant going through the forest at great speed in the 4WD, dodging pine trees, on a surface not unlike fine sand. I enjoyed that very much, and it got me off measuring trees for an hour!)

      Friday 25th January

      (Roo) We began today by sorting the shearers bed gear out. Then we took the Toyota to the road leading to the sand pits, looking for stones with a square face to build a hut. We spent till lunch zooming around there. After lunch we attacked the garden, helping Mori cutting the grass etc.. Jack also cleaned out the chicken sheds, then fed the chickens with marrows (?).
      Random Note:-
      an odd coincidence happened today. We found out from the papers that a school friend of ours, Mark Stacpoole, is on a station near Queanbeyan. We ran him and he told us that another OW, Pete Edwards, was on the station next to him. What a small world, no doubt these two will appear in this diary in the future.

      Saturday 26th January

      (Jack) Got up, and did sweet BA all morning., i.e. wrote letters, listened to music, helped Pat, only a little, with the paving slabs over the drains. After lunch, we continued what we'd done all morning - very hard! This having been done, we went to Bungendore and bought maps of Queensland, NSW and Victoria. Back home, we had a swim.
      ( What a boring day - Roo)

      Sunday 27th January

      (Roo) We expected to be leaving for Moruya, and the beach, to camp for two nights. Sob sob - the weather was overcast.
      We did very little, Jack watched some bowls on TV, could it get any more boring?, even beats cricket! I read some enthralling book. After Sally and Rachel had finished their nude sunbathing by the pool ( and they had removed the barbed wire fences and mines) we went for a swim.
      In the evening, we dashed for the movies in Canberra. I saw Papillion, some others saw Rocky Horror. Canberra is a beautiful, tidy city to which we will return one day.

      Monday 28th January

      (Jack) Rose early in order to go to the beach. The weather had cleared so we loaded up the Valiant and the Toyota and set off by about 10am. On the way, we managed to loose the top of one of the cold boxes ( the drink one as luck would have it) but Pat didn't seem to worry too much. I drove down a stretch of road called the cliff road to town called Moroya. The hill was a little nasty to say the least. It wound its way down a steep hillside in a series of hairpin bends most of which had a 25kph speed limit on them., and some as low as 15hph. I had been told not to use the brakes so I took most of the hill in second gear with the poor Toyota engine screaming.
      We arrived at the campsite and discovered (to our delight!) some nude bathers near where we pitched the tent. However they left after lunch. The sea was a mass of white water with very strong waves and currents.
      The campsite was made just behind a sand dune on a grassy area surrounded by trees. Having put up the tent (a large piece of canvas draped over a rope between two trees), we made a fire and had lunch. We then sunbathed, both Roo and I got badly sunburnt, but Roo was worse off.
      This family seems to like nudity. Pat wears nothing at all at the beach and Sally and Rachel wear only the bottom half of a bikini, very painful if sunburn was encountered!!!.
      After supper (burnt sausages) we all bedded down in the "tent" and attempted to get some sleep.

      Tuesday 29th January

      (Roo) Most of us were up at three am, hurriedly putting stuff under cover as the skies opened and it bucketed down. I said "most", as Jack somehow slept through the whole affair!
      After breakfast (more burnt sausages), everyone zoomed over the sand dune to the beach. My sunburn was far worse that I had realised. The back of my legs we red, but more importantly my muscles contracted into what felt like continuous cramp. I spent the whole time in the shade of the tent. After lunch, we began packing up, put out the fire and said goodbye to the sea. Harry Jack and I took the Toyota straight back to the homestead (about two and a half hours) while Rachel was dropped off elsewhere. I plunged into the pool then a shower, Jack only the latter.
      Random Note:- on Monday I had the misfortune to drop my camera while I was carrying a pile of stuff. It landed right by the waters edge and was presumably swept away before I noticed it missing. With it went a film with eighteen pictures (R.I.P.)
      Randy Note:-
      Rachel, to put it bluntly, has enormous tits which she revealed while swimming. In this case it is "too much of a good thing".

      Wednesday 30th January

      (Jack) This morning the family, mainly Pat and Sally, just found jobs to keep us occupied: by eleven o'clock we were sent down to the machine sheds to "clean up" there, i.e. to escape P&S. After lunch, Roo did some gardening and had great fun on the ride on mower, tackling three foot deep cabbage plants and the like, both in forward and reverse (!) gears. Meanwhile I did some fencing and kangaroo chasing with Godfrey and also learnt how to weld, which was very pleasing.
      At four thirty, just as we thought we were knocking off, Pat called us to go and work in the sand pit. We spent a further two and a half hours drilling five metre deep holes into the ground by hand to take soil and sand samples. In the process, Roo managed to damage the face of his watch because the handle of the bloody drill was loose.
      Random Note:-
      We are both very depressed at the moment. This is due to many factors: the loss of Roo's camera and his broken watch; the sunburn which makes sleeping feel like lying on sandpaper; I'm annoyed because I paid to take Rachel and Jim to the cinema last Sunday ($2 each) and I haven't received a single word of thanks; and to cap it all the family are getting on our nerves. Harry is God and orders us around like slaves and Sally nags all the time over petty items. We are now hiding the diary more securely.

      Thursday 31st January

      (Roo) We set off early to continue where we had left off yesterday, i.e. drilling five metre holes and collecting samples (snore, yawn...)
      After lunch we returned to the sand pit and drilled some more. The weather, to begin with, was boiling and we sweated non stop. Just after four pm, the skies clouded over and went incredibly dark. A bank of rain/mist came towards us and a storm broke out with forked lightening everywhere. Having been boiling hot, we got soaked and packed up.
      Later on we got our new (well second hand) Primus stove alight, a great success, it works wonderfully

      Friday 1st February

      (Jack) Mostly similar to yesterday with one notable exception "it pissed down" quote Roo. At about eleven thirty the heavens opened. About quarter of an inch or rain fell in half an hour. Since then it has rained continuously and at about six pm it again got very very heavy. Rain like this would even be unusual in the UK! We rang Mark and Peter (OWs) and tomorrow were all going to Canberra as Roo and I have been ordered out of the house till after dark.
      PS Because we will be away all tomorrow, the diary is being hidden in an incredibly safe place ( for fear that we might not see it again!)

      Saturday 2nd February

      (Roo) Left in the Sigma at nine-thirty am for Queanbeyan, where we wandered around for about an hour. Then we followed the directions given by Mark Stacpoole headed out of Queanbeyan for Googong. After ten miles or so we did a "u-ee" (a U turn) and returned to Queanbeyan to try again, this time with more success. We found Googong and picked up Pete Edwards. The homestead he is in is very different form ours - modern looking, all neat and tidy and quiet. Then we picked up Mark Stacpoole from "Little Killarnie", speaking to Ken Stumbles, his employer, for a bit. We all piled into the Sigma, and headed for Canberra where we found a hamburger place.
      We then decided to visit a war memorial, a museum of relics from the wars which the Anzacs have participated in. On the way there, it suddenly pissed down. The car park was far to far from the museum for us, so we parked in the staff car park, making a sprint for the door. Inside was interesting and full of planes, bits and pieces, uniforms, guns, remains from Hiroshima etc. etc..
      The weather recovered its former respect for us and had a look at the giant fountain, which must have been easily over two hundred feet high. With Mark navigating, we then got thoroughly lost in the outskirts of Canberra, jumping red lights ("purely advisory" - quote Pete), going one way down a one way street, the wrong way (but only one way) etc.. We kept on driving in and out of Canberra like a homesick yo-yo, not quite sure what we were looking fore, but determined to find it.
      We had a good cultural look at some buildings, cheered at some cyclists, used another gallon of petrol and eventually decided to visit the Cotter Dam and Tidbinbilla Reserve outside Canberra (which considering our lack of navigational success was pretty ambitious). We found the Cotter, but no dam. Instead we found a picnic sight, (ugh) and a pub (yippee) which we relieved of a dozen cans of KB Cold Gold. Next we found Tidbinbilla nature reserve.
      Tidbinbilla nature reserve is basically a valley, surrounded by fences and rangers in Toyota Land Cruisers, full of Kangaroos, Emus and Koalas. We stopped first to see an audio visual thing about the place, quite a laugh with some rather obscene OW heckling in the dark. Then we drove on to a hanging rock (mind splittingly enormous). Returning from this we found some small lizards. The other three who had cameras then proceeded to crawl over the ground grasping their Instamatics, trying to charm the poor creatures into smiling for a photo.
      Next we found the kangaroo enclosure which was closed. Quite undeterred, we drove away from the entrance, and climbed over the fence. This was great because we were on our own in the enclosure, able to take photos etc without being disturbed (except for the odd moment when a ranger drove past and we leapt behind trees, bushes, kangaroos or even each other !
      After climbing out again, Mark decided to mount a large female Emu (about his height).It refused him (it was probably queer anyway) just as a ranger turned up. We left, four seconds before closing time, doing about eighty mph. Returning to Canberra, we got some food and looked for a good cinema (fruitlessly). We found a drive in, but gave it up as it was showing a bad film.
      We decided to return to Queanbeyan to find a pub, which we did (about eight pm by now). We had a few drinkies then returned to Mark's place. At the gate, we found two totally paralytic blokes (friends of Kens, who was also paralytic most of the time).
      A game of pool began, but was short lived when Henry and someone else (the two drunks) arrived. The inevitable Aussie v Pommie conversation began, but surprisingly didn't get too heated. Then Ken and wife turned up in their car, with Ken out for the count. Mark opened the door, Ken slid out horizontally. Ken, between burps, hiccoughs etc., got peeved about the Pommie-Aussie conversation - it was all rather pathetic and ended up with the two others throwing Ken's cats and puppies around.
      Pete, Jack and I left after eleven thirty, dropped Pete off, then went back to Currendooley. The rains had made the drive treacherous, and while crossing the creek in six inches of water the car stalled, (probably under impact), it was a nasty moment, but all was OK. I saw my birthday in skidding in three inches of mud as the car battled up the drive.

      Sunday 3rd February

      (Jack) !!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY ROO !!!
      Today was Roo's birthday and both of us had a good lie in. At breakfast Roo was given his birthday presents, including an Eskey (a cool box), two freeze blocks for the above, and a radio from the Osbournes. This was an incredible surprise for him and he was a little embarrassed. Anyway, they are very useful presents and it was very kind of the family.
      After lunch, Pat, Sally and Jim left for Geelong grammar, it is Jim's first term there so P & S drove him down. Very little else happened till supper when Roo was presented with a birthday cake, complete with candle, baked by Rachel. We all toasted Roo's health and ate the cake which was an "exceedingly good cake".

      Monday 4th February

      (Roo) Back to work today, if you can call it that ! Although we had virtually finished digging holes in the ground, as Pat was away we managed to space the work out over a very long time. The little radio I got given yesterday was a great help.
      After lunch, we quietly nipped off into Bungendore and found a heap of mail for us - letters, birthday cards, even a telegram. We returned to our drilling, then at three thirty, hit by a pang of conscience (and boredom) we returned to the homestead and helped Rachel and Catherine clear out an attic. Lucy Osborne and a friend turned up to supper and we all talked till about eleven thirty. Lucy is very nice (and so say all of us!).

      Tuesday 5th February

      (Jack) At two thirty am Pat and Sally returned from Geelong. We rose as usual and actually did some work (help!). We finished painting a room the girls had started months ago, and also cleaned out the Toyota. Then, some mustering, and lunch.
      After lunch, Pat gave a good plan to enable us to plough a paddock. Unfortunately, we spent two and half hours trying to get the tractor started and finding a missing trailer. Just as we got everything ready, it was time to knock off; such a shame...
      We returned to find (cue Beethoven's 5th) Shades, and a letter from Zounds Inc (Tony Love)(competition help - where's Neutron Disco?). We spent a blissful hour, deep in memories with a generous touch of homesickness, listening to the music cassettes. And now for something completely different.......

      Map of Nungatta

      (Roo) Spent most of the morning preparing to leave for Nungatta (Pat's other station in the south) - we were told yesterday pm that we were to be going (great warning). On the way to Nungatta, we stopped off in Bungendore to check out a VW Beetle being done up by a garage. It turned out to be a 1959 model, but was basically sound, needing new upholstery only. $750 was the asking price, so we decided to take it on our return from Nungatta. It is blue !
      The drive to Nungatta took about five hours. The station itself is about 40 miles from the nearest town, Bombala, in the heart of the bush. Tit is surrounded by tall dark mountains, leaving the valley, most of which has been cleared for paddocks. The valley is not however flat, but is very hilly and full of burnt dear trees and new wattle trees.
      The homestead itself is unbelievable, totally absurd. It has no furniture, curtains, carpets, wallpaper or even electricity. The lights run off a yucky diesel generator and the fridge is powered by kerosene (paraffin in the UK).
      In the evening we began painting one of the rooms. After three hours or so the lights suddenly died - panic! In the dark, Pat, Jack and I (only the three of us down here) groped for torches. The bloody generator had given up - we did the same and went to bed.

      Thursday 7th February

      (Jack) We spent the whole day spraying blackberries (see 31st Dec.) - how exciting. I am extremely fed up, annoyed, depressed etc. because I have managed to lose both my camera and my knife. On the way back from the paddocks we looked for the knife and camera, but without success. This evening it took a long time to get the generator going, but it eventually fired. After supper we went to bed, no painting this evening.

      Friday 8th February

      (Roo) Guess what - we sprayed blackberries all day today. We stripped the pump down, reassembled it, and sprayed some more. At about five pm it got too windy to spray, so we had a last quick look for Jack's camera and ( drum roll....) we FOUND it !!! (clapping, cheers etc)
      At supper someone turned up unexpectedly - quite a surprise out here. He was thinking of buying some of Pat's woods. In fact, he turned out to be quite a rare breed, he trapped Dingos (wild dogs). Very few people can, and weighted snares are used so that the dog has to drag them. He was very loud, but interesting. Wouldn't mind seeing him at work.

      Saturday 9th February

      (Jack) Today was the same as yesterday, and the day before... blackberry spraying. We saw quite a few black snakes today, tried to coax two of the together, but failed. The black snake is fairly slow as snakes go who doesn't often bite, but we still kept our distance. One of them was about five feet long.
      On the return we saw a dozen or so Emus.
      (another great day - Roo).

      Sunday 10th February

      (Roo) Blackberry spraying on a Sunday - sacrilege. No rest here, but more pay ! - We've decided to work till about twenty third Feb.
      Had lunch by a creak with a wood fire. Pat and Sally left for Currendooley at about four pm. We're staying on here ( :) ). After they left we painted for a bit, had a visit from Reg and Tom (station hands) and John the "Dingo Man" showed us his .243 single barrel rifle for finishing off dingos.
      At work we saw a couple of Kangaroos up close, and Emus (we chased them!) plus the odd black snake. Supper was different too - we put four legs into the oven; they came out a dark red colour - taste wasn't exactly mundane either !

      Monday 11th February

      (Jack) We were woken (help!) at seven am by Reg. We did yet another day's blackberry spraying, including a one and a half hour lunch break when we did our best to get each other into the creek. At one point we came across a few Emus. Roo decided to become the great white hunter and proceeded to join the spiders on hands and knees and "stalk" the unfortunate creatures (the Emus). The Emus, far from fleeing in terror, decided to stalk Roo and carefully wandered him! He took a photo, stood up, and the Emus disappeared on seeing that he was as tall as them. We also came a cross a blind calf, about two feet tall, which ran in circles when we approached it.
      Back at the homestead, we stoked up the fire in the oven and it proceeded to go twice round the dial, reaching an estimated 800deg (the dial only goes from 250 to 550 deg.). After supper and a bit more painting, we hit the sack.
      Random Note:-
      Tonight, just as we had put a piece of lamb in the oven, Tom and Reg came in and told us how to cook it. We did as they advised and have had the best meal since we arrived in Aussie-Land. The was "tons and tons and tons and tons" (quote Roo) of beautiful lamb (it was less than a year old when killed), and some beautiful water melon afterwards. We both feel really bloated and satisfied and really good.
      Random Note:-
      Amongst the wildlife at Nungatta we have been lucky enough to see a pair of Wedge Tailed Eagles who glide in hot air currents between the mountains. We also saw several foxes and hawks quite close.

      Tuesday 12th February

      (Roo) Today was a "whoops" day. We made the odd howler ("understatement of the year" quote Jack). We sprayed as normal on our own in the morning. After filling the water tank (on the back of the Toyota) we dropped a rather important piece of hose without noticing. After lunch when we next came to fill up - panic - "Oh Christ!" After ten minutes searching, the mutinous piece of plastic was recovered and soundly spanked (I think).
      We sprayed (and sprayed) and sprayed until three fifty-one precisely when suddenly (drum roll).... Nothing happened !!! i.e. the water pressure gave up. We revved and revved, still sweet f.a. Then we noticed a small milky puddle in front of the Toyota. OOPS!! The pump's metal casing had cracked open under the water pressure ("Jesus, what's Pat going to say now?" quote someone within a few feet of the mangled metal). We returned home, tails proverbially between our legs. Pat, who was meant to have returned wasn't there (phew!). We dismantled the jagged remains of the pump and started painting the inside of the homestead.
      We plucked up the courage when Tom told us that Pat had rung, and we (Jack)rang him back. "Pat?, um, yes, hello .. err.. yeknow the pump?.... its .. um.. it's (whispering by now) um... bust ?"Having delivered his delicate message to Pat (who actually took it rather well), we painted some more.
      Unrandy note:-
      We are both suffering from a severe case of frustration (which is making Jack go cross eyed).
      Random Note:-
      Flies here are reaching phenomenal, blockbusting proportions. One fly, the "March Fly" is nearly an inch long. It also bites, giving a nasty itch.
      Random Note:-
      I've just killed the most horrible furry spider you're ever seen. It was in our room on the wall. After about half a can of Mortein had slowed it down, I finished it off with the shoes. It was about five inches in diameter. YUK !!

      Wednesday 13th February

      (Jack) We painted on and off ("more off than on" quote Roo) till about six pm, making three quarters of a can of paint last a very long time. At lunch time, we discovered an old .303 rifle which took me half an hour to get the dirt out of the barrel. It was however very rusty and probably useless.
      We have now run out of paint and the spraying equipment is out of commission, so I fear (!) tomorrow will temporally become a Sunday, i.e. a day of rest.
      I would like to point out that at the moment I am not cross eyed and that Roo has taken up talking to the sheep !!!
      Random Note:-
      Emus grunt
      Random Note:-
      Perhaps the most serious thing is that we have run out of Alcohol. HELP !!! ("Is this the end of civilisation?" quote Roo).

      Thursday 14th February

      (Roo) Rose late today with no work to do (shame!). We messed around with the old rifle with a buggered up barrel we had found in one of the outhouses. Its bolt action was identical to the school rifles. We also found a .22 rifle with a good barrel but a slightly messed up firing mechanism. We had fun with these, taking photos of "Great White Hunters" etc. etc..
      We had nothing to do so we read. Around five pm Pat returned with beer (at last!) and food and a pump, which turned out to be too small. Pat used one expletive * again and again becoming quite irritated. He had driven to Canberra (nearly two hundred miles)to collect it. We spent two hours fiddling with the pump, then adjourned for a well earned supper.
      Oh yes, Jack got a Valentines card from Annabel - very funny as we had both forgotten about it's existence.
      I must point out that contrary to reports on the subject, frustration is making Jack go cross-eyed, for the same reason that Chinese men are slant eyed and buck teethed. My "conversations" with sheep are limited to the odd loud bleat in order to remove the animals from our path when they are in the way of the Toyota. They are nothing compared to Jack's tête-à-têtes with the Emus.
      * this word is banned by the house rules (ok?) of this journal.

      Friday 15th February

      (Jack) After taking a further two hours to fix the new pump on, we went blackberry spraying. Since we were short of fuel, we stayed near the homestead. We stopped at about four thirty. At lunch time we were both soaked to the skin by the water from the creek - LUXURY !. We stayed cool for most of the afternoon.
      This evening Sally appeared with fresh milk, bread * etc. I put in two new panes of glass, getting attacked by a cloud of mozzies in the process.
      P.S. Emus make better conversation than Roo most of the time.
      * As usual, she complained about the general mess of the place !!

      Saturday 16th February

      (Roo) Spraying quite early today, this time with Sally. It was a blisteringly hot day, hot enough to melt a brass monkey's balls! Our throats were nearly sandpaper by the time it came to refill* and have lunch. We cooled down by filling our hats with water and placing them on our heads (bliss!) We also got hosed down (mega bliss!).
      We continued spraying in the afternoon, getting more and more knackered. At five thirty we ran out of water (great - time for home) but no ! More water, more spraying. We spent over eleven hours today spraying. After supper Pat treated us to some Port !

      Sunday 17th February

      (Jack) Started early again (Pat proved that he can't make omelettes). It was overcast, but extremely humid, not very nice. Pat and Sally left at around five pm. During the morning, Roo was a "walking zombie" (quote Roo), I think he was a little tired. Pat left us a pea rifle, a .22 short barrelled rifle with no kick what so ever. Roo had his first swim in the creek while I washed some clothes. We then went shooting in the Toyota. We managed to shoot three rabbits in about half an hour, and took photos to prove it. I killed the first one, then Roo, the me again. In total we hit three out of the six rabbits we shot at, not bad we thought for a first go. We returned after dark as it was getting difficult to see the rabbits by them.
      Roo decided to operate on one of the rabbits. He proceeded to skin the unfortunate corpse, pausing only to look at the blood on the kitchen table, on which we eat, had a beer and then cut off the head and four feet. I then found a piece of wood, on which he continued his investigation of the internal workings of the rabbit. He sliced open the ribs and belly and the guts, a putrid green colour, fell out. We removed these outside (after taking more photos!!), and I had supper. Roo, perhaps understandably, wasn't so keen. I must admit, I don't feel like tackling the skinning and gutting yet. Roo is determined to make a rabbit stew. He has even hung the carcass in the meat room (by its arse!).
      Random Note:-
      We are both very tired. Since Pat has gone, tomorrow will be a day off.

      Monday 18th February

      (Roo) We got up late today, feeling exhausted after the last two days. We did bugger all in the morning, and after lunch took the Toyota, rifle etc to Yambulla paddock inn search of blackberries and rabbits. There were plenty of the former, all of which we disregarded and none of the latter.
      We shot a few pieces of wood, including an old wooden spoon, and returned home.
      I went for my second swim in the creek (Christ it was cold, but felt great) while Jack, in his usual vivacious manner fell asleep for three hours. We baked a cake in the evening (well, put some ready mix stuff into a bowl and heated it !).
      After a scintillating supper, we crashed out.

      Tuesday 19th February

      (Jack) We had another lie in today (it's getting to be a bit of a habit!) and went out spraying in the morning. No sooner had we unleashed half a tank of herbicide on the doomed blackberries, than I discovered a hole in one of the high pressure hoses, from which was squirting the liquid. We attempted to fix it with tape but failed, so we returned home and rang Currendooley. We then had a swim, lunch and did a bit of painting. I think we have done less work in the past few days than ever before !

      Wednesday 20th February

      (Roo) Pat arrived at some early hour of the morning. The first we saw of him was when we got up (usual early time!) and he poured a torrent of abuse at us for not helping load the lambs at six thirty (thanks for telling us in such good time Pat!).
      We mended the pipe (well Pat mended it actually, we just sat around getting hotter by the minute), then we attacked the Blackberries once more. At lunch by our favourite creek (after Pat and I had both had our ritual swims) we discovered that the pump had once again cracked under the pressure that it claimed it could manage with ease. Oh dear, what a shame - can't do any more work (tee hee hee!).
      Back at the homestead, we once more attacked the pump - Pat with his god dammed ingenuity found a way of keeping everything in one piece. When we tried it , it worked (grooaan, more work!). We did another hour's spraying and returned for a beer.
      We had our usual supper roast and hit the sack (with vengeance!)
      Random Note:-
      Life here is getting deadly (!?). Our hopes of and early retirement from Nungatta Pastoral Co., were raised today by the pump failure. Pat's success is therefore rather depressing. We now don't leave till Friday (ugh).

      Thursday 21st February

      (Jack) We woke up to very high winds. We both assumed that this would put an end to any hope of spraying, but no, Pat still dragged us out to Top Yambler. On the way we picked up the fire trailer, which contained another pump and engine.
      After we had emptied the first hundred and forty gallons, Pat started up the fire pump to refill the tank as the old pump couldn't prime itself. Unfortunately (!) it didn't work, but Pat, being his usual bloody resourceful self, managed to fix it. However, it did give us an hours rest.
      About three quarters through the next load the small pump again failed so (at last) we gave up. We returned to the house and after saying goodbye to Tommy and Reg we finally went back to Currendooley.

      Friday 22nd February

      (Roo) Despite our exhaustion, neither of us slept well (sympathy here please). We waited for Pat to wake us call us to breakfast (i.e. work), but it never came. Relieved that work was at last over, we rose and soon had two handsome cheques from Pat. He had paid us $25 a day for Nungatta!!. We hitched a lift into Bungendore where we took a lot of the Post Office's time getting cash. Then off to the garage where.... We bought the VW (Yippee!!) at $770. The handling (steering) is beautiful, it's lock is good too. The little 1092cc engine, being twenty one years old, has a bit of a time on hills. Anything more than a slight incline and it requires third gear. Anything more than one in eight and it's second gear at twenty miles per hour. We took it into Queanbeyan to begin collecting together all the bits and pieces we needed. We now have a hurricane lamp, cooking pots, billys, and everything we need for camping (except a tent!). We spent all afternoon in Queanbeyan.
      Going up hills in the VW could actually be quite embarrassing if you didn't like the trail of cars impatiently queued behind you. We found it quite fun!!!! We overtook no one ( :( ), but were overtaken by thousands. Never mind, we'll get used to it.
      Our pride and joy now has a great bumper sticker - "This VW is really a pregnant roller skate!".
      Tomorrow we head for Canberra.

      Saturday 23rd February

      (Jack) Up early again, and went to Canberra. We toured round in our Beetle (Cheers!!!!) and bought yet more camping stuff, except a tent. We decided to have a good look at the market before making that investment. We got back for lunch, rang Pete Edwards O.W. and arranged to meet him tomorrow.
      During the afternoon, we fitted all the "car accessories" to the Beetle. Roo fitted the roof bars, we both fitted the leather steering wheel cover. We had bought the cheapest cassette player we could find, and I bolted it to the car with a couple of home made brackets. I wired it into the car's (6v) electrical system. We now have both storage space and music so are extremely pleased with ourselves.

      Sunday 24th February

      (Roo) This morning we spent most of our time writing letters, and mowing the lawns. The afternoon was similar, mainly finishing off the lawns. At four pm we jumped into our Beetle, which I must add we have christened "Socrates" (therefore definitely a HE machine) and shot (??) off to Googong. We planned to pick up Pete Edwards from his cricket, but got lost ! A quick U-ee, and a check with Mrs Gorman (at Pete's place) righted us.
      On arrival at the cricket ground, we were confronted by a mixture of stares and giggles - Socrates affects people that way ("going round Aussie in that! - you'll be lucky to make it to Tarago!"). We then all went back to Googong (Pete's place) and had tea, which turned out to be supper - never refused.
      We played snooker, swapped a few addresses then said our au revoirs.
      It was by then dark, and our first night drive was quite an experience. Trouble began because we could not get the instrument panel to illuminate. We scratched our heads, pushed and pulled buttons and suddenly found the light switch had a dimmer (which was full down) - and there was light !
      * a small town about five miles from Currendooley)

      Monday 25th February

      (Jack) In the morning, we went into Bungendore in the hope that Freddie, the German garage owner, would be able to fit a new lining to the roof of the car; however, this was not to be, so we went on to Queanbeyan. There we bought many items, another eski, some velvet, and we looked for some carpet for the car. We found a piece marked at $15. After a bit of bartering we agreed on a price of $10 for four square meters of two inch deep cream carpet.
      Back at the homestead, we tackled the inside of Socrates. Having removed the seats, we installed the luxurious carpet, this took about two hours and we achieved a very excellent finish. Next we removed every switch, knob, screw, nut and bolt from the dashboard, including the fuel gauge and ashtray, and fitted, or rather glued, the deep red velvet to the metal panel. This we did meticulously, and though it took about two and a half hours, the result is extremely pleasing. The dashboard is a very awkward shape, but we managed to get away without any folds or creases. We finished by sticking Socrates name on the dash in metallic gold letters.

      Tuesday 26th February

      (Roo) This morning Jack was besieged by a torrent of complaints and abuse from Pat and Sally, mainly about the mowing we had (or hadn't) done on Sunday. We therefore had a late start off to Queanbeyan because of more mowing.
      In Q. we bought odds and ends, then moved on to Canberra where we finally bought a tent in Fyshwick. After wandering around the war memorial and having some lunch, we went to pick up Granny (Rachel Lambert) from Pippa (??) Gray in Reid. A quick wiz around Canberra and then back to Currendooley.
      Jack took Socrates to Freddie in Bungendore to do the roof. I took Granny to Lakelands for drinks with Mike and Cassy (who is very similar to Lucy, I think). We all returned to Currendooley where Brian and Marsha had already arrived, for dinner.
      The dinner was good fun, with all three Osborne bothers there.

      Wednesday 27th February

      (Jack) After breakfast, and showing Granny our photos, we started to load Socrates. We found out that we didn't need the roof bars (yet!), and we still had room for a passenger in the back. After saying our goodbyes to P&S, we finally set off at eleven forty-nine precisely.
      At Queanbeyan, we picked up a film, and some food, and much to our surprise bumped into a girl we had met at Pete's cricket match (sun 24/2).
      So our main journey began, through Captains Flat, Braidwood, Bateman's Bay and north along the coast to Jervis Bay. It was seven thirty by the time we arrived at our first campsite and supper was cooked in the dark. We had driven some two hundred miles in about six hours.
      Our campsite was a small grass patch in a wood, a few yards from the sea. We were very pleased with all our camping equipment (so far) and supper was excellent. We were in bed by about nine thirty.

      Thursday 28th February (return to Sydney)

      (Roo) We rose when it got light this morning, packed up, sorted out Socrates and after a cooked breakfast left Murray's Beach (nearly forgetting the flysheet) for the road to Sydney. On the way to Nowra, we picked up a boring hitch hiker (more trouble than it was worth). Basically, we drove and drove until we reached Sydney. The "Princes Highway" (our road) runs by the sea and we had some good views, great countryside.
      We parked in Sydney, found a phone and started trying to find a bed for the night. Elizabeth de Vries, Ping, the Middletons, Sue Dunn, the Froshwaigs, all were unsuccessful for many reasons. So we decided to knock on the Froshwaigs' door (friends of Jack's parents) who we had been unable to reach by phone. Mrs F was delighted to see us and insisted we stay for supper (half way there we thought). We showered, then she asked if we would like to spend the night on the floor (hurrah, success!) . Mr F then turned up, he was very cheerful and great fun. We were taken around the leagues club he belonged to - a fantastic place.
      Both of them showed us wonderful hospitality. On the floor I, surprisingly, had a great nights sleep.

      Friday 29th February

      (Jack) This morning we were greeted by a cup of tea in bed, an almost forgotten luxury. We rose, and after a shower had breakfast on the balcony of H&Ms flat. From this vantage point, we had a marvellous view of the bathroom of the flat next door where, to our immense interest, three stunning young girls had showers (Harry told us they were nurses!).
      We set off at ten am and went past a road called Junction St. This name rang a bell so we took a look. Very luckily, we found the house where Catherine (Osborne) was living. I knocked at the door and was greeted by Lucy (very pretty) wearing no more than a shirt... we stayed.
      After a cup of coffee, Catherine went to work and Lucy, Roo and I went into town. There we went to see "Life of Brian" by Monty Python, a fabulous film to say the least. Back at twenty five Junction St., we had a bit of supper then hit the town again. We went to three different pubs, each of which had either a Jazz or a Rock group playing. Since pubs closed at eleven pm, we bought a bottle of whiskey and returned home. We finally were too drunk to stay awake, so we bedded down at about two thirty.

      Saturday 1st March

      (Roo) We left Twenty Five Junction St. midmorning to meet up with Granny at her motel. After an unnecessary and unexplained tour of Sydney, we found Elizabeth Bay, and Granny along with Elizabeth DeVries. We all jumped (well, squeezed) into Socrates and drove over to Vancluse (a very expensive Sydney Area, over looking the harbour) to have drinks with Sue and Dudley Dunn.
      Their house was undoubtedly extremely expensive. Dudley's very rich - in airlines, duty free booze, sheep, etc., etc.. After a drink we went on to Double Bay, expensive again, to have lunch at a restaurant. We went to some boatyards hoping to find jobs there, but in vain.
      Having dropped G and E off, we started looking for a bed for the night. We found the Ross St YHA, finding it booked, but got mattresses on the floor at an "overflow" house in Rozelle. We ate, then took Socrates out to see the Opera House.
      We strolled into the OH, up the stairs to the auditorium and could have walked in and sat down, literally paying nothing!
      Then we moved on to some of Sydney's night life; when we returned to the Beetle, we realised the petrol was dangerously low. While searching for more, we had to use some of the reserve tank. We also got lost and had to ask an Italian for directions.

      Sunday 2nd March

      (Jack) We rose at what we thought was seven thirty, but it was in fact six thirty because the Aussies had put their clocks back and hadn't had the heart to tell us, and drove to Rachel's motel. There, she very kindly gave us some money to fill up Socrates with fuel, so we drove off to find a garage. We found one, we had to queue for half an hour, and in the process went up a one way street, the wrong way!
      We spent the whole day visiting the various beaches of north Sydney and at about four pm went to tea with Don and Phil Wilson, friends of Bedford. They were fascinating people, with many interesting and amusing stories about their experiences at Muwo, in the Trobiano island group.
      In the evening we returned to the hostel at Rozelle.

      Monday 3rd March

      (Roo) Today was a job hunting day. We started by trying a McDonalds restaurant which was advertising vacancies for night shifts - we were given pretty non-committal answers. So we tried some building sites and boat yards - they were all laying men off. We then went to an employment agency "Commonwealth". They said come back tomorrow at seven am.
      We decided to join the NRMA (Aussie's AA) then get lunch. We went to Granny's room for a drink and then in the yellow pages found a youth hostel on the other side of her street, which was $3.50 a night, unlimited stay, etc.. We booked in and met an odd assortment of people. An old Etonian, some Spaniards, a Kiwi, and many others.
      At seven pm, we went back to Rachel where Elizabeth DeVries had turned up. After a drink, we all went to Ping and Christopher Davies' house in Woolahra for supper. Two others were there, real "manicured finger brigade". They were in the antique trade, as were Ping and Christopher, and despite the limp wrists and neck scarves etc., they were interesting, having travelled a lot in their business. Ping's cooking was marvellous.
      During the meal we had a stroke of luck. Jeffrey Kitto, one of the dealers, wanted some help moving piles of rugs in his shop. We had our first piece of work. Granny also passed on news of Sue Dunn needing some gardening.

      Tuesday 4th March

      (Jack) After visiting the bank, we went to Jeffrey Kitto's rug shop. We spent the whole day moving rugs around and generally re-organising the shop. We didn't stop for a lunch break, but we did stop every time a customer appeared for a cup of tea! We must have had at least a dozen cups of tea during the day. At the end of the day, Jeffrey explained he had some more work for us, something to do with cement and concrete I think, and he then paid us sixty dollars, five bucks an hour each.
      In the evening, five of us (three poms, a kiwi and a cannuck) went to the Opera house and surrounding area far a drink. We drove through King's Cross playing "spot the non tart" and singing at the tops of our voices - a generally fun evening.
      We had planned to go wine tasting today, but because of the work the trip was cancelled. However we got Jonathan Booth, an old Etonian, up at seven thirty anyway!!

      Wednesday 5th March

      (Roo) We were all set this morning to go to the Hunter Valley (home of all good Aussie wine). We had planned to go with Martin (known as Mar'n), a Kiwi, and Jon B, the Etonian Pom. However, Mar'n had to work today so it was just the three Poms.
      We soon realised that the Hunter valley was a good two hundred miles away, so we changed our minds and decided to see the Hawkesbury River. We hired a covered boat and outboard, bought some beer and lunch and set off.
      We putt-putted around, checking all passing boats for passable females, then DISASTER struck. The acceleration disappeared. We drifted into a jetty where we found an outward bound place. After half an hour we phoned the boatyard who had rented us the boat. Sometime later, someone form the yard came over with another engine, so we shot off again, managing to get the boat successfully beached on some mud (my contribution!).
      Jon B managed somehow to collide with a bridge pillar (something to do with a dare I gave him to get as close as he could). We spent all afternoon zooming around, returning at about four thirty to the yard. There we were confronted by an irate owner, claiming that we'd buggered his engine (for which we lost our fifteen dollars deposit). Because of this, when we returned to the hostel we had no money, and therefore we had no supper! Still, we had an interesting talk about male parrots, hitch hikers and other odd topics.

      Thursday 6th March

      (Jack) We went to the Dunns' house today and did some gardening. Sue (Mrs Dunn) asked how much Jeffrey Kitto had been paying us and when we said about five dollars an hour, she said "Oh well, I better pay you six dollars an hour then" (great - yippee etc., etc.). We worked till midday when we went into town for twenty minutes to cash a cheque and buy a steak sandwich (the latter being almost the more important). Back at work we had lunch then toiled till five.
      In the evening, we went to Elizabeth (DeVries) for dinner. There we met a history teacher (help - quote me), Bill and Mrs Sweetapple, and a lady whose husband runs a catamaran hire service at weekends. She was quite attractive and we were both quite surprised when we discovered she had just turned forty.

      Friday 7th March

      (Roo) Back to work again (What's happening to us?). We gardened, swam more, cleaned the car (a beautiful Mercedes) and got paid! For one and a half days we got fifty seven dollars each.
      We returned to the hostel and with Jon B went to MacDonald's for lunch. We then got a blank tape, returned and recorded it for all at home with news 'n' views. Only one way to describe it - very silly. This took most of the afternoon.
      We nipped down to the post office and sent a telegram for Anabel's (my sister, Jack's Girlfriend) birthday, then after a stroll round "the cross" we had supper and returned to the hostel for a game of bridge.

      Saturday 8th March

      (Jack) We went to a place where Jon B had left his tapes and were given a cup of coffee and a beer. There we met the mother of the boy who lived in the room next to Roo at school. We then went on to the Opera House for lunch and followed this with a trip round the harbour on a fifty foot sailing boat.
      In the evening, we went to Warriwood to a drive-in movie (fun fun fun) and saw tow films. "Semi-tough" was possibly the worst film ever made, but "Carrie", the main movie, was amazing. It was a horror movie, and one of the best I've ever seen.

      Sunday 9th March (Anabel's Birthday)

      (Roo) A day of rest for one and all. We decided it was about time we had some cards of our own, so we went into the Cross and bought some "interesting" ones. Well WHY not !!! We've been in the area for a week, so we must have some memento !
      With our new cards, we sat down to bridge, pontoon, cheat, more bridge and more pontoon. We MacD'd for lunch and supper, settling down for King Kong (part one!) on the telly. After that, we played yet more bridge (what a day).

      Monday 10th March

      (Jack) Yet another day without work (alas no money). Since we had "not a lot to do", we drove into the Cross to look for a toy shop to buy a monopoly set. About five of us piled into Socrates and off we went. We dropped Roo and then I was stopped by a policeman (help, panic!!). I got out of the car not knowing what I had done. I'm still not sure what I had done, but I think I had changed lane and he couldn't see the indicator. I was scared to say the least, but I claimed diplomatic immunity (!) , i.e. said I was English so he let me off with "when in Australia do what the Aussies do OK?".
      Back in the hostel, we played monopoly for hours then went to bed.
      (I won.. Roo)

      Tuesday 11th March

      (Roo) We returned to work for Jeffrey Kitto today. In the morning we worked in his rug shop, moving more stuff and drinking more coffee and tea. By twelve, he had run out of things for us to do, so we sat on some rugs and waited. He was visited by a "friend", some bloke with extra limp wrists and the latest news on who had had an affair with whom ("quite the most ghastly match. I mean, I nearly died - ooh my dear!") etc., etc.
      We retreated hastily, but not before one of Jeffrey's customers (an old girl) said we were to meet two Pommie girls who were staying with her. The idea was, not surprisingly, attractive, but the way she sold them was a touch overdone.
      We returned to the hostel for more cards etc.. We had heard of a free barbeque which we disappeared off to. On arrival, we sensed an somewhat dodgy atmosphere, so dived into the nearest MacDs! Half an hour later, five of our room mates from the hostel trooped in for exactly the same reason. Back to the hostel, and bridge till late.

      Wednesday 12h March

      (Jack) As yesterday, we rose at about eight am to go to work. At Jeffrey Kitto's we cleared the shop garden and (for a change) had a MacD's for lunch. After lunch we returned to JK's shop and agreed on pay. During the afternoon we played bridge(again!).
      In the evening, a man was beaten up just a few yards from the hostel, so the police were everywhere and we all had to say what we had seen (nothing). Just to add injury to insult, the man who was beaten up had had his car driven into that same morning.
      Random Note:-
      Two bad things - the weather had been bad for days and there is a petrol strike on. We don't know when we will be able to leave Sydney.

      Thursday 13th March

      (Roo) We arrived at JK's home at nine am, and after waiting an hour for him to change, shower and generally poof around, we attacked the garden. It was a holy mess, bits of grass, stumps and glorious mud all had to be cleared, then the earth levelled. We took till midday, leaping indoors when it rained, to finish the garden. Jack did some work in the shop, then we were paid and we left.
      Because of the petrol situation, things are getting bad. We need petrol. We played Monopoly, generally lazed, and watched TV.

      Friday 14th March

      (Jack) Another lazy day on the whole. We did virtually nothing all morning and in the afternoon we went to Maroubra beach. The surf was fun and we brought a tennis ball to play with. The weather was beautiful so we had a great time. In the evening, we packed Socrates in order to set off tomorrow and later we played bridge. While we were playing, an old man turned up and took a bed in our room. He was "not a pretty sight" and none of us liked the look of him.

      Saturday 15th March

      (Roo) We were up at seven thirty and off soon after, hoping to find the fuel which would get us out of Sydney to where petrol was flowing like milk and honey. All stations were closed, yet people were still queuing outside them! After twenty five miles we were forced to turn back and return to the hostel.
      Our 'fears' about the old bloke were found to be true. Jon B's wallet was missing.
      After lunch, Al (a pom), Jack and I decided to go to the beach. At the bus stop we tossed for going either to Coogee or Marouba, both south of Bondi. Coogee won, but the Maroouba bus came along so we went there.
      Marouba is a long sandy beach and today the surf was quite good. We swam a lot, mainly body surfing. This is great fun and quite an art. You choose your wave, clench your fists and lunge forward riding the crest of the wave. It's great speeding towards the shore five to ten feet above everyone. When it is crowded you keep your fists in front of you as battering rams. You generally leave a trail of bodies behind you.
      When we got back to the hostel and played bridge. At midnight, Jack and Jon B decided to search the Cross for the bloke who had taken Jon B's wallet (I was asleep by then), God knows what time they returned.

      Sunday 16th March

      (Jack) For a change we went to Coogee beach today. It was hot and after playing ball, the surf was very good. Then we went to the 'local' and had three jugs of beer. There were five of us, Roo and myself, Jon B, Al, and Jem (two Cornishmen). When we got back, we played a bit of bridge (for a change) and watched TV. I went out to buy breakfast, and Roo went to bed.
      Random note:-
      It is possible here to buy a "bus-rail" ticket. For forty cents, we rode three stations on the underground, then met a bus and rode about twenty minutes on that. Al managed to throw away his ticket somewhere in between the train and bus and had to buy another ("that was bright" quote Al).

      Monday 17th March

      (Roo) This morning we had to get money out of the bank because we owed everyone money. I had a hunt for a camera and eventually bought a Ricoh for fifty five dollars.
      Good news - we found petrol at last, albeit only five dollars worth. Later, Jack was asked to take a Swiss bitch (don't tell him I said that) to hospital - not his doing though (at least, I don't think.....). Luckily, he found petrol there, so we leave tomorrow.
      We played bridge, chatted and eventually gave up the ghost.
      PS Ester, the Swiss girl, happened to be a beautiful twenty seven year old who had pneumonia. All I did was take her to the hospital and then visit a few times to cheer her up (honest).... Jack

      Tuesday 18th March (depart from Sydney)

      (Jack) At last we were to leave Sydney. We had enjoyed it, but have got itchy feet again. We drove all day, pausing to see Ester once again and going into town for last minute supplies. While in town, we went up the "Skywalk" in Australia Square. This is the top floor (forty eighth) and it give a marvellous view of the city. The list took thirty seconds to go from bottom to top.
      Our journey took us through Paramatta, Katoomba, Bathurst and we have camped at a fine site, although perhaps illegally (I'm writing by paraffin lamp). There is no moon and the stars are quite incredible to see. We have driven about a hundred and seventy miles in four and a half hours.
      We went to bed at about seven thirty, darkness forced us to!

      Wednesday 19th March

      (Roo) We were up and left early this morning, wheels were turning by seven thirty. I did the first stint through Cowra, Grenfell and West Wyalong. The scenery the whole day was very flat, compared with Tuesday which was relatively mountainous. As a result, we were able to keep up good speed (around fifty miles per hour). The roads were also very straight, and at times the heat got so intense that the haze made the roads disappear in the distance while the land appeared to continue.
      At West Wyalong Jack took over and we continued. We drove and drove in a very flat barren area with no habitation. Towards six pm, in the middle of nowhere, we found Hay, complete with Olympic pool and showers!! You can imagine our surprise, we swam, showered (bliss) and moved out of town, to find a camp site. We found some bush and woodland at the roadside which we drove into.
      We are camped about four hundred yards from the road under some trees. The sunset as usual was breathtaking ,and bright orange.
      Random Note:-
      We pass a lot of 'truckers' on the road, virtually all of whom give a wave. Cars tend not to, though we do !

      Thursday 20th March

      (Jack) We were rolling by seven thirty again, having got a bit more sleep than yesterday. Roo drove the first few hours up to Babranad, then I drove through Robinvale(!), Hattah, Ouyen and Walpeup until being relieved at Pinnaroo. Roo then did the last hour or so to Lameroo. We have covered an amazing three hundred and twenty one miles, a record so far, especially considering that Socrates top speed is about fifty.
      The road as usual was littered with dead Kangaroos, Emus and the odd rabbit (all very smelly). As yesterday, we paused around five pm for a shower and a swim, but this time it cost us seventy cents each.
      Our campsite is just past Lameroo, and as usual it is very hot (the weather).

      Friday 21st March (arrival in Adelaide)

      (Roo) We set off early again after catching the sunrise on film. We drove the last two hundred or so miles to Adelaide (capital of South Aussie) and parked in the city, drew money, had a look around for jobs and accommodation. Casual work was not available, though we found the Salvation Army hostel offering beds at two dollars a night. It's open to all males, therefore is full of drunks and dropouts. We took Socrates to the beach, then returned to eat and watch TV.

      Saturday 22nd March

      (Jack) We got up at about eight this morning after I had had a very good nights sleep, whereas Roo had moved beds halfway through the night to avoid a drunk.
      We spent the morning dismantling Socrates front wheels. He had been having a bit of trouble free wheeling, so we were adjusting the brakes and the bearings. This was the first serious bit of work we have had to do on Socrates.
      In the afternoon, we went to the beach, but it was a bit cold so we didn't stay long. In the evening we watched TV and had an early night.
      We discovered this evening that Adelaide is half an hour behind Sydney. It was a bit confusing when we arrived as the banks didn't appear to open till ten thirty!

      Sunday 23rd March

      (Roo) We went over to West beach then on to a shop to get breakfast. Then we came back to town and tried to find an open shop. As elsewhere in Aussie, everything closes at noon on Saturday, not to open again till Monday morning at ten.
      We found a telephone and rang the only number we had in Adelaide, Margaret Davies (who I had met in the UK at Redlap). She was delighted to hear from us, and told us to go to stall twelve at the Adelaide "Life, be in it" old fashioned festival which was on at the botanical gardens today. So we rolled up - there was an amazing assortment of clothes. Everyone had dressed in Edwardian clothes, there were cars, bicycles etc. We felt really out of place in jeans. Margaret was selling pheasant pâté (!!) . We spent all day watching jugglers, singers, and many performers etc., then went in Socrates to Margaret's house where we had been invited to supper.
      One of the people at her stall has told us he'd see if there was any grape picking in Barossa for us, we hope there is. Supper was wonderful, Margaret's sister and brother in law were there, as were her neighbours.

      Monday 24th March

      (Jack) Had a lie in this morning. Eventually we went into town and bought a microphone and tapes. We then recorded all of the diary so far which took about two and a half hours. In the afternoon we did "not much in particular" and at about five we went to Margaret's again and had supper. We stayed there while she and her relatives went to see Spike Milligan and watched TV - Faulty Towers, Mash etc. We hope to know tomorrow whether or not we have some work in the Barossa Valley.

      Tuesday 25th March

      (Roo) After a good nights sleep, we contacted Margaret who had no news of work. When we turned up at her house, she was out, but we were told to ring someone in Barossa. He said he had work, so off we trundled in Socrates to Nuriootpa and the Barossa Valley. We went to a battery pheasant farm where we met Colin someone, who was at the festival. Then we went on to see Mr Spom and his vineyard. It was very hot, and we began grape picking immediately. We had mini clippers and walked down the rows snipping or pulling away the bunches. The vines are about three feet high and the grapes grow over the whole thing, it is back breaking work.
      We worked from eleven to about four thirty with ten other people. Everyone talks and talks as there's nothing else to do.
      After that was over, we found a caravan site with a place for tents - in we went (at about $2.80 per night) and almost immediately bumped into Mark Stacpoole - it's unbelievable how he keeps turning up !
      We had a swim and crashed out.

      Wednesday 26th March

      (Jack) Went to work at eight am, we were picking larger grapes today so it was a little bit easier, however it's still very tiring. As yesterday, we rushed into town during our lunch hour (as we needed some money). We've bought a cool bottle, this is a plastic bottle surrounded by half an inch of expanded polystyrene. We fill it with ice in the morning and it stays cool all day.
      Work finished at four thirty as usual, and after going into town to send a telegram, we returned to the campsite for a shower. We had supper, not hamburgers for a change, and went to bed.
      There are hundreds of Possums in the camp. This is a cat like creature, with a large furry tail, large ears and round eyes, and a snub nosed snout.

      Thursday 27th March

      (Roo) We picked grapes again today, the weather wasn't as bad as yesterday, making it easier to pick. We picked both black (i.e. red) and white grapes, the black ones being the easier.
      In the evening we went to Colin and Maggy Biere's Pheasant farm for supper. They run the farm themselves, battery style. Their house is right by a lake in a beautiful setting.
      They gave us Quail for supper, Jack had an enormous amount to eat (!!). C and M were wonderful and we talked for ages. I had a "conversation" with Saskia and Eliette, their two daughters aged six and four. They, C and M, were instrumental in finding us our present work, so we owe them a lot.

      Friday 28th March

      (Jack) Work again. God I felt awful this morning; I think I ate too much, it was just like a hangover! We were quarter of an hour late for work this morning, although the boss didn't seem too annoyed. We were clearing up after the picking machine this morning. It leaves about a quarter of the grapes behind so we picked these up. It was easier than normal picking as most of the leaves have been removed. At lunchtime however, we returned to normal vines, the boss saying that we would finish by three. However, he changed his mind and we worked till four as usual.
      For supper we had hamburgers and... cheesecake ("specially brewed by us" quote Roo, "from a packet" quote Me). It was very rich, but tasty. As usual we were in bed by about seven thirty.

      Saturday 29th March

      (Roo) !!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY JACK !!!
      Today was Jack's nineteenth birthday and he got his present of three whole Mars bars! We had a good lie in, then rang Margaret. We did little before lunch (which was a great spaghetti) and attacked Socrates afterwards. Jack fitted an alarm system* - i.e. when the door opens, the horn goes off! He attached the horn to the electrics of the inside light switch. He also added an indicator light to the dashboard, showing when the alarm is on.
      We decided to go wine tasting and set off with Carmel, an Aussie Sheila from a nearby tent. We went to Kaiser Stull, Penfolds and Tollana Wineries, sampling the different brands - we ended up buying some Sangria. Back at the campsite, we cooked supper and along with Carmel and Tom (another neighbour), we attacked the grog.
      * It should be noted that Jack added a switch to the alarm so that it can be switched off from the outside. This is under the front wing. To stop it getting wet, it therefore needed waterproof cover. We could only think of one readily available source of thin rubber - there is now a switch encased in a UK Durex above the front left wheel of Socrates !!!

      Sunday 30th March

      (Jack) Another lie in this morning, and after breakfast we cleaned and sorted out Socrates. We also washed the outside and the engine.
      Being at a loose end, we had a game of Monopoly then had lunch. Then, Roo went for a swim with Mark Stacpoole and I had a siesta. We then played cards till supper.
      We still don't know if we will have any work after Tuesday; I expect we will have.
      Random Note:-
      We still haven't had any mail; this is very depressing, one from Roo and one from Sarah Gibbs who had sent hers early. What's more is that if we get work, it will be very difficult to get to Adelaide, some fifty miles south of here, to pick up the mail from the post office (on the assumption it's left Currendooley!).

      Monday 31st March

      (Roo) We had a nasty fright this morning when Socrates wouldn't start due to a flat battery. We use the headlights for illumination sometimes, obviously too much last night. We managed to push start him and went off to work.
      I had a change of scene today, collecting the buckets of grapes and tipping them into the lorry. Jack had a go later on. We had an early knock off, about three thirty, so we decided to shoot off to Adelaide to pick up any mail. We made it to the general post office with two minutes to spare before it closed ! Only one letter ! from Elizabeth DeVries saying she had sent all our mail to Perth "AARRGH" - shouted Jack, pulling out his hair ! Adelaide happens to be about fifty miles from Nurioopta, therefore we were slightly annoyed.
      The mail is now being sent back again - it's going to have a great collection of postmarks !, having travelled over five thousand miles around Aussie.
      There'll be no work from our 'sources' - we hope to find some elsewhere.
      Jack got a telegram from Dad and Mum saying "Happy Birthday" etc.etc..

      Tuesday 1st April

      (Jack) No trouble starting Socrates today, we were even at work five minutes early ! At work we were picking "Shiraz" grapes, they are a small dark grape and are the worst to pick as they take about four times as long as most other varieties.
      At lunch we filled Socrates with fuel and after work we bought a couple of t-shirts.
      We have discovered that we now have work tomorrow, possibly till Thursday and definitely next week after Easter.

      Wednesday 2nd April

      (Roo) More bleeding Shiraz today, they are without doubt the hardest to pick! The only thing keeping us going is the conservation. All the pickers are cheerful (luckily) and everyone is joked at for something. Ken for the hairs on his chest, Lynette for her blood pressure when someone makes a rude remark (often), John (another one) for continually cutting himself, Jack and I are "cousin Jack", therefore OK and of Devonshire descent, or so they think! We picked Shiraz all day, getting two more t-shirts from the local winery at lunchtime.
      At the campsite, we had to move the tent (groan!) before retiring, for caravans! (yuk)

      Thursday 3rd April

      (Jack) and yet more.......... Shiraz - but only for two hours in the morning. At ten o'clock we knocked off, and were paid, a hundred dollars each (and hopefully no tax). We were also invited to a BBQ next Monday evening. After work we bought a bottle of wine for Margaret and phoned the Adelaide GPO. After sixty cents worth of delay, they told us nothing, i.e. they weren't allowed to give information about the mail over the phone.
      We banked our money and went into the local post office. A man there kindly rang Adelaide for us only to discover that there wasn't any mail anyway.
      After adjusting Socrates' clutch (it was a bit loose), we did not much all afternoon and early night.

      (Good) Friday 4th April

      (Roo) With no work today, we had a long, long lie in. We then played cards (from within the tent) and began a "first to fifty thousand" game of Rummy. We should finish by the time we leave!
      During the afternoon, we heard the tannoy system in the park say "Would Mr Dickenson please visit the park kiosk". We thought they had found out that we hadn't paid for the last week (or so!). Luckily, it was a message saying we were to go to Maggy Biere's Pheasant farm for supper - great !
      We turned up at five thirty at the Bieres' and went with Maggy to a creek near the house for a Barbeque. Colin and the two daughters were there already. However, the mossies were too much for us so, after sausages, we retreated to the house for Quail (yummy) and hot cross buns! It was an odd mixture, but who were we to complain.

      Saturday 5th April

      (Jack) After breakfast (well almost) we drove to Adelaide. We had a look for an open electronics shop (unsuccessfully) then went to Margaret's house.
      She suggested that after lunch we drive to Mount Lofty for a marvellous view of the Adelaide area. The view was great, but the sun was in just the wrong place for a photograph. We then had two hours to kill, so we had a game of monopoly (I won).
      In the evening, we went to the Adelaide Festival Theatre to see a play called "The Mystery Plays of Wakefield". This was a fourteenth century mixture of the creation and Jesus Christ Superstar. It was very enjoyable and I didn't notice the length of time it went on for - four hours.
      During the second part I investigated the sound box and managed to get an invitation to look round the technical side next Monday. The equipment was incredible, and almost totally automatic.
      There are two theatres in the festival centre, one holds eight hundred and the other about two thousand. We were in the smaller one. The acoustics were excellent and the chairs were extremely comfortable, they even had arm rests.
      After the play we drove back to Margaret's, where we stayed the night.

      Sunday 6th April - Easter Day

      (Roo) We were invited with Margaret to go for breakfast with the Fishers, Neighbours of M's. There we had the most incredible meal of dyed eggs, chocolate eggs, cake, biscuits and even wine! Ursula is German, and the whole meal was her doing - totally German. It began at eleven am, and ended at about one pm. I felt so full and sick that, like Jack and Margaret, I collapsed into a chair and did nothing.
      Later I did a portrait of Jack to pass the time, and eventually sat, still bloated, in front of the TV. The duck M had bought for supper was off, so we had a simple meal.

      Monday 7th April

      (Jack) This morning we went to a nature reserve near Mount Lofty called Cleland. There we saw Koalas (at last) as well as a lot of other wild life, all of which was actually very tame. Both of us were a bit trigger happy with the cameras.
      After lunch I went to the Festival Theatre for my technical tour which was amazing (details on request!). Meanwhile Roo did a drawing of the festival complex from the outside. It was vaguely reminiscent of the Sydney opera house (the building, not Roo's sketch).
      We drove back to Nuriotpa at about four pm and went to the Barbeque. This turned out to be for Mr and Mrs Sporn and their daughter, and husband, .. and us. We had a very enjoyable evening and I even discovered an address from Englefield green in their visitors book !
      Very tired, we went to bed at about ten.

      Tuesday 8th April

      (Roo) Back to the grindstone - we were picking Shiraz once more. We picked all day, except an hour for lunch, then we returned to the caravan park (minus a few caravans) to ring Margaret.
      We thanked her for the weekend, and found out that we have some mail (yippee!!) - not the Perth stuff, but more recent.
      We put supper on, went to have a shower, and heard two voices coming from one shower(??). It turned out to be Tom and Carmel (yes, female!) in the same (male) shower !!! fun fun fun......
      It's very cold at night - we have even taken to wearing socks at night - not ok - "I feel like a granny" quote Jack...

      Wednesday 9th April

      (Jack) Same as yesterday, except we were picking Shiraz grapes the monster had left behind. Last night, the ....ing* Possums ate all our bread and a whole packet of biscuits, so we had to take an hour at lunchtime to go and buy some food. The Possums are everywhere at night, but we have learnt our lesson now. This joint showering is catching on, our neighbours were trying it today!
      Mail tomorrow afternoon, just can't wait, but I suppose we'll have to !

      * censored by house rules

      Thursday 10th April

      (Roo) Our frustration over the mail boiled over. We found out that Margaret will not now be in the GPO before Friday. I was therefore "ill" this morning (as far as picking was concerned) and I drove into Adelaide. I shot down King William Street, screeched to a halt and hurtled into the poste restante - sod all, not even one letter.
      I returned to the picking and at the end of the day's work, both of us went over to Maggy Biere's to get what mail had arrived in Adelaide; one letter from home for me, one from Jane Millar for me, one for Jack from "Auntie Lulu and one for Jack from neighbours. i.e. not much for six weeks of waiting.
      We decided that tomorrow is the last day we will be picking.

      Friday 11th April

      (Jack) More grape picking, but only till about eleven forty five. We have now finished work, at last. After work we wandered into town and stocked up with food for the weekend. We also arranged for a complete oil change and tappet adjustment for Socrates.
      In the evening, we (Roo) cooked a couple of chops which were delicious. We drank five bucks worth of "stubbies" (beer) and met our new neighbours - "hot lips" and "deep throat", as they call themselves on the CB radios - which we tried, great fun! We sat around drinking and discussing the various merits of Pommie-Land v Aussie and listening to assorted car transmissions!
      At about midnight we went to bed and our new neighbours lent us two airbeds - luxury! The two girls (in their mid thirties) are doing the same sort of round Aussie trip that we are doing, except they have a VW campermobile.

      Saturday 12th April

      (Roo) We lay in till ten thirty, then got up and tried hard to do nothing. After that, we went to Mr Spoorns house to collect our pay. Having admired his pet Kookaburra (!?), we were given about a hundred and seventy five bucks each. He even gave us a flagon of Sangria (we had subtly explained it was our favourite at the Barbeque - well remembered Mr Spoorn).
      I bought a bottle of good ole Aussie wine - I'm going to try to take it home for Mum and Dad.
      With nothing else to do, we had a look in the games room in the park, up to now rejected as being too "grockly". We tried to have a game of pool with really understanding how to play. We stopped the balls going into the pockets and tried again. Then we had three games of table tennis (three - nil to me... hero, champ.. etc). We had supper, then stuck an enormous map of Aussie to the roof (inside) of Socrates. We are charting our route in fluorescent green!
      In the evening we sat and chatted with our neighbours, Rose and Val and two other Kiwi Sheila's until it started getting overcast. Suddenly the skies opened and South Australia got it's first rain this year. We, like everyone in the park, panicked, ran in circles, and shouted at each other a lot, getting very little under cover in the process.

      Sunday 13th April

      (Jack) "We had a bloody great long lie in", quote Roo, then had lunch (bread rolls without butter, sympathy please!).
      During the afternoon, we played a lot of table tennis, with Roo wining all but one game. The usual score was about twenty one to fourteen. We also played some pool and watched TV (MASH!)
      In the evening, we were invited next door to the combi to finish off some Irish stew (they had cooked too much). A pretty lazy day really.
      After the stew, the two combi-ers lent us a couple of airbeds again. Spurred on by the thought of such luxury, we adjourned to bed.

      Monday 14th April

      (Roo) This morning was taken up with packing Socrates and taking him to the local garage where we had arranged for an oil change and tappet adjustment. After the engine had cooled down, he was raised on an hydraulic pole and emptied of the dirty oil.
      Meanwhile, the valves were adjusted and the transaxle (gearbox) oil topped up. We watched it all being done and managed to get two hub caps for a buck each.
      We drove back to Adelaide, where we bought some stuff from "Dick Smith" (electronics etc) and supplies for the Nullabor. This included a couple of airbeds (see yesterday!). Then we went on to Margaret's and chatted with the Fishers. We watched Faulty towers (as usual it was good) and went to bed.

      Tuesday 15th April

      (Jack) During the morning, Roo did very little while I fitted a new speaker to Socrates' hifi. I also fitted an indicator to the dash which glows red if the alarm is NOT on, i.e. if the lamp shows, it is safe to open the doors.
      After lunch, we finished our "food supplies" shopping for the Nullabor. This cost about thirty bucks, including drink. Roo also bought a flash attachment for his camera from a pawn broker.
      After chicken and chips, Roo rang home (about ten thirty am, their time). We found Anabel and her mother at home and we spent eleven minutes talking (me one, Roo ten!). We passed on our news, and were told of a break in at home - not good. They were, or at least sounded, pleased to hear from us as Roo hasn't written home for two weeks (he did send a postcard two weeks ago).
      The Fishers had invited us out to a play at the Festival Theatre called "I'm getting my act together and getting it on the road". It was a feminist play, but very enjoyable. It was all done in a cabaret style and we were all sitting at tables with drinks in front of us. The acting was excellent, as was the music.
      After the play, the five of us (Roo and me, Margaret, Simon and Ursula) went "frog hunting". i.e. we went along to the university department of frogs where Margaret works and had a look at the frogs - fascinating: frogs of all different shapes, colours and sizes. The place was also crawling in very large cockroaches (frog food). After a liqueur, and being given some more supplies and books, we retired to bed.

      Wednesday 16th April (depart from Adelaide)

      (Roo) We were up at eight am in order to leave by eight thirty. Margaret left for work, so we thanked her (very much) for her great hospitality and generosity. Looking back on it, we would either have already been in Perth or be stuck now if she hadn't been so kind.
      We nipped out at nine to get a few more bits, then back to M's. Eventually, at about ten forty five, late as usual, we left Adelaide, stopping off on the way to fill the metal petrol container Margaret had insisted we took as a swap for the plastic one we had.
      On the road once more, we went through Port Pirie and Port Augusta, turning north to the Flinders ranges. We left a lot of memories behind in Adelaide - all the people we met showed more hospitality than any others we've seen so far.
      Soon after lunch we hit the Flinders Ranges. They stick out of the plains in a huge long line, with Wilpena Pound, an oval of mountains, being the most prominent.
      Just south of the pound, we saw a sign saying "Yourambilla Caves". We went up a dirt track, then walked the last bit to some openings in the cliff face. We climbed right up to one which had some Aborigine paintings on it. They looked like charcoal signs.
      Then we drove on a bit, past Rawnsley's Bluff, and camped in a parking lay by just off the road. Over supper, I managed to spill some boiling water over the diary - see the last few pages!!

      Thursday 17th April

      (Jack) Having camped the night at the southern end of Wilpena Pound, we drove to the Pound itself. It is a circle of hills, formed by a fault in the Flinders range of mountains. Roo has attempted to draw this: We climbed one of the mountains around the pass, (a climb of about a thousand feet - by foot, not in Socrates!) which made me feel incredibly unfit!. The view was incredible, a saucer like area of ground surrounded by mountains, most over three thousand feet.
      Back at the bottom, after scrounging a free shower in the campsite, we drove the scenic route via Blinmen and Parachilna. The first sixty miles was rough dirt track, up and down hills with many tight corners, but the scenery was breath taking. It was a great relief to get back onto the bitumen roads. We then headed for Perth, a mere two thousand miles away.
      This drive took us through Quorn, and Port Augusta. After "Iron Knob", (great place name!) we camped. I decided to try sleeping in Socrates, and after a fight with the passenger seat, a reasonable sleeping position was obtained. The only problem was that it got very hot and stuffy.
      During the scenic drive, we ere twice nearly destroyed. Once by a touring bus, and the other time by a looney in a pick up with huge Roo bars, doing about sixty round the tight bends. That shook us a bit and we took to using the horn on most corners.
      Random note:-
      Nullabor Supply List:

      2 5 gallon Jerry cans of petrol
      4 5 gallon Jerry cans of water
      15 cans tinned food (Irish stew, Steak and veg, Lamb and Veg etc.)
      3 packets peas, dried potato
      Butter, eggs, bread, biscuits
      5 litres sangria
      6 stubbies (beers)
      3 litres Coca-Cola
      1 litre Lime and lemon concentrate
      We buy ice on route and anything that needs to be kept cool lives in the Eskys.

      Friday 18th April

      (Roo) After getting little sleep last night, we left the campsite at about eight thirty. We went through far fewer towns today as we headed out to the Nullabor Plain. Apart from one incident, we drove, drove and drove. The 'incident' happened after lunch while driving along about twenty miles out of Caduna. Suddenly there was an almighty clang and the horn cover bounced out behind the car. Then, bang, bang bang....and the horn itself came off. We salvaged the bits, and after we had camped, Jack refitted it. I meanwhile cooked supper and threw it into a bush (accidentally!)
      At six forty five we saw a magnificent sight, a thunderstorm and lightening in the distance behind some clouds. All I could see was bright flashes and sparks erupting from within the clouds, giving them a bright orange flare.

      Saturday 19th April

      (Jack) Another real driving day. Today we have covered an amazing four hundred and seventy eight miles, the record so far. I did a seven and a half hour stint in the middle of the day while Roo covered the two ends. We set off at seven twenty and finished at six fifty, including an hours time change, i.e. over twelve hours of driving. Our trip took us through: Nullabor, Eucla, Mundrabilla, Madura, Cocklebiddy and Caiguna. We have camped about twenty miles past the latter.
      Again today the scenery was breathtaking. The road spends a lot of it's time running along side some very high cliffs called the Great Australian Bite. The plain itself is absolutely flat and the road just goes on and on into the distance. Between Mundrabilla and Madura we descended about two hundred feet onto another absolutely flat plain called Hampton Tableland. The two plains are both very flat and there is this steep step between them - a fantastic sight. Most of the "towns" consist of a petrol station, a motel, a small shop and no more. They are not usually more than a hundred and fifty miles apart.
      At about eleven am we passed a dear Kangaroo. As we did so, an eagle took off from the carcass, it was enormous and a wonderful sight as we were so close to it.
      While looking over the cliffs (very carefully), we saw a school of dolphins in the water beneath us. There were about twenty or so swimming in the beautifully clear water.

      Sunday 20th April

      (Roo) after the cloudless sunset last night we were expecting to be greeted by the sun this morning. In fact, we were hurrying to pack before the rain set in. All day the weather was miserable. When it didn't rain, it spat and when it didn't spit. It was just overcast. The rain settled in puddles on the road, attracting kangaroos whom drank from them. Yer average Kanga is too dumb to run from an approaching car (even a ferocious blue Beetle with flashing lights and blaring horn). As a result, we constantly had to be on the lookout for them.
      We followed the road off the Nullabor, reaching Norseman at about eleven am. Here we were checked for fruit and veg (flies etc), then we took the north road to Perth via Coolgardie. This route is shorter but doesn't go via the coast, however we are too tired to bother with more coastline in weather like this.
      In the afternoon the weather worsened. By dusk, the rain was pouring in torrents. We drove till seven pm, when just past Meredin, we found a campsite down a track off the main road, near a station. We drove over five hundred miles today beating our record, especially good considering the weather.

      Monday 21st April (arrival in Perth)

      (Jack) Up at six am this morning, it has continued to rain during the night so everything was damp. We had breakfast, and were on the road by seven. Roo by the way, had his breakfast in bed since I cooked it, very unusual !
      Soon after seven it started to rain again and it rained on and off all day, getting very heavy at times. We reached Perth at about eleven, which considering the road conditions was pretty good. After buying a street map, we went to the GPO and collected some mail. A letter from parents for Roo, and a parcel from Anabel for me.
      We went to "Hungry Jacks" for a hamburger for lunch. We spent the afternoon wandering round and found a youth hostel for three and a half bucks a night.
      The evening was passed writing postcards and getting to know the other hostellers. So far, phone calls to contacts (looking for work) have drawn blanks. One is away for six weeks and we can't find the number of the other. We are really alone in this city.

      Tuesday 22nd April

      (Roo) I woke this morning at about seven, stumbled down to breakfast then into town to get the mail (two letters). We found some stickers ("We crossed the Nullabor") then returned to the hostel. The letter from my father was about travel - we spent all morning seeing various travel agents. Cheapest turned out to be about seven hundred dollars (to get to the UK) and we are going back together in mid July.
      In the afternoon we went out again (it's still raining) to get food for tomorrow and check out some job ideas. CES and Pollit had ziltch - very little work anywhere. We're moving out to go north - we've had enough of rainy Perth - got a twenty dollar parking fine also (ignored) and returned to find we had missed the chance of a sixty dollar a day job up north.
      After doing some maths, we assessed our financial situation. We dragged ourselves out of depression and listened to someone playing a "dulcimo", chatted and looked at the maps again given to us by the RAC.
      Next, with Robert, Greg, Jill, and a couple of other hostellers, we headed down to the "Loaded Dog" - a wine bar with live entertainment. It had a great atmosphere and a very good girl playing the guitar. We all passed the time till midnight then headed back to the hostel.
      We've decided to stay a day longer in Perth. We may leave the day after tomorrow now.

      Wednesday 23rd April

      (Jack) A bit of a slow start, but managed to get into town and bought a spark plug spanner, grease gun and tappet keys for Socrates. Back at the hostel, I filled the grease gun with grease (ugh, slurp!). Severe depression has set in today. We've decided to leave Perth as a bad job and head north looking for work. We arranged for mail to be forwarded to Darwin.
      At about lunchtime, a man rang from Poon Brothers Ltd. looking for labour. We arranged to meet him at two pm. While Roo took the dirty laundry to the laundrette, I jacked up Socrates and pumped grease into every orifice I could find. Then we went to see Alex Ward of Poon Brothers.
      We were greeted in an office by an ex-Yorkshire man, who had left the UK about twenty years ago. He described, in true military style, the catering and cleaning department in the mining town called Port Headland. It is a self serve system, with all the food cooked in a central cookhouse. He said we might be doing jobs like cleaning floors, shifting garbage cans, cleaning accommodation etc.. He wouldn't know if the job was on till after five pm, after the union meetings. It appears that the usual staff up there are on strike and we were to be shipped up there to take over until the strike finishes.
      During the afternoon, we sorted out Socrates, and read, till at five we rang Alex - good news! He said to come round in half an hour and find another person as well. We drove round, having dragged around an Israeli called Jacob. Ales Ward set out the details of the job and said he had flights booked to leave Perth at midnight. We are to be paid sixty bucks a day, and all cash - tax free !. This marked the end of depression. We arranged for Alex to 'keep' Socrates for us while we are working.
      Back at the hostel, after eggs and beans for supper, we chatted with the other hostellers.
      At about eight thirty, after getting cloths ready for the trip, I decided to have a look around Perth's night life. I went to a few discos, including one called "Carnabys". The dance floor there was a giant Union Jack, with glorious sound to light underneath it. There, to my immense surprise, I met Lisa, who we had met in Sydney. I hope we will meet up with her again after this work.
      We took a taxi to the airport, where we picked up our tickets and met a Mr Fox, who was travelling with us. We boarded the plane at twelve thirty (am), it was a Fokker F28, a twin engined sixty seater.
      Our financial situation ha taken a turn for the better. We calculate we will need a minimum of four hundred bucks for fuel and five hundred for food. Before this job came up, we had about three hundred in the bank. Even if wee only get a week's work, we will be over eight hundred bucks better off. So long as the strike holds out, we may even have work for a couple of weeks.
      There has been no sign of the mail posted in March. We've given it up now for lost.
      We arrived at Port Headland at about three am.

      Thursday 24th April (off to Port Headland)

      (Roo) The flight to Port Headland was uneventful; Kobi (Jacob), Jack and I were met off the plane by Brian reside, an executive of Poon Brothers. We were driven the ten kilometres or so to Cooke Point where we were given the keys to our rooms (one to a room) and shown to them. The whole place is set out like an army barracks, with rows of sleeping quarters, a mess hall and a recreational area.
      Jack and Jacob went straight to bed (it was three am), but my room was occupied so I was put on a night shift in the mess. The mess is kept going twenty four hours a day because the miners come in at all times from work. Obviously three am is a slack time, and I was given odd things to do like slicing up cold meat on the electric slicer, washing up some pans and operating the automatic dish washer.
      The people working here are a great mob, being a wide collection of different types, all rushed in from Perth to help the situation. As we are "scabbing" there are no union members, though we've had no bother from them.
      At seven am our shift ended and after breakfast I crashed out in my room. The rooms are square, not very large, with a bed, a cupboard and a window. There is a shutter in front of the window, permanently fixed, as protection against the cyclones which sweep through this area. About twenty yards from my window is a pile of sand dunes, then the sea.
      I slept through till about three pm, when I had a shower and wandered around the area. Jack had been put to work on the loos at midday, working through till five pm when he and the rest of his shift shot off to the pub. Returning to have some food before my shift at seven pm, I met Jack's lot, most of them loaded with alcohol.
      The work was similar to before, washing, cleaning and chopping. I chopped quite a lot of onions, not much fun. The night shift is great as there's so little to do, and we all eat drink and talk far more than anything else.
      During the day the news came that the strike would be stopped on Saturday, as all the workers have been given enough of whatever it was they wanted. However, this evening there were more problems because either the management or unions have tried to pull a quick one on the other in the settlement. Whether this means the strike will continue I don't know, though people are saying it's perfectly possible.
      I left my shift at midnight (early) because tomorrow I start at nine am on the day shift.

      Friday 25th April

      (Jack) Got up at six fifteen to start work. After a hearty breakfast, the food here is wonderful, Jacob and I set off to clean the showers and toilets. We do about sixteen blocks in all, finishing somewhere around lunch. We usually have about fifteen minutes off mid morning for coffee. After lunch, I spent the afternoon with Jacob polishing and sweeping passages as well as emptying the rubbish bins. I finish at about five pm.
      The people I am working with are amazing characters. Max, the foreman, is a Greek Cypriot who has shaved his head completely and grown a beard. He reckons this makes him more sexy to women over thirty, but not under thirty! Jacob is an Israeli we met in Perth hostel, he is thirty and has been travelling for over five years. He is very knowledgeable and tell amazing tales of his travels. John is a Canadian who is doing the same sort of thing.
      Last night, Roo did the night shift till midnight, then changed to a day shift and worked seven till seven.
      In the evening we all went to the pub where a group called "Spliff" and a disco called "Scallywags" (original name isn't it!) were playing. I walked down the beach with Julie, about half an hours walk, which was very pleasant while the others got a lift. Julie is one of the girls working in the mess. It was a good evening and everyone had a fun time. Half way though the evening Julie bumped into her boyfriend who she had thought was in Perth, coincidences never stop in this land. We all had far too much to drink for our own good and caught a lift home in the company bus.

      Saturday 26th April

      (Roo) My shift began at seven am as usual, in the 'pot wash'. When the pots were cleaned, the floors swept and mopped, and the plates cleared, everyone sat down. There was as usual lots of talk about when the strikes going to end, the disco tonight, etc., etc..
      Jack was working in the loos again, doing his usual sixteen loo 'units'. I was assigned to the odd tasks today, like cleaning a van (which of course I had to drive), scrubbing the floor, helping Lucian (a body building Kiwi) with the pot wash and mopping the floor of the dining room.
      All the people working here in the kitchens, in the hall and on the loos are 'scabs' - the curse of the union. There are five cleaners; Jack, Kobi (Israeli), John (Canadian), Dave (another Pom, who was born in Tidworth), and Max (Greek Cypriot) who shaves his head while growing a beard!
      The kitchen staff are more numerous; there are three chefs in the day (one called Gordon wears a Capital Radio t-shirt - great bloke!!); there are a couple of oversee-ers, some general kitchen hands and some stewards and stewardesses. After work, we all piled into the minibus to go to the disco at Port Headland, Jack and Gordon had to return for a shirt with a collar (uncivilised fools). We had a ball of a time, everyone was there, management, the boss of Poon Brothers, kitchen hands and all !
      Jack danced a fair bit with Julie O'Neal (Kiwi), and I with another Julie (Canadian) whose birthday it was (twenty fourth). Champagne somehow appeared from nowhere (actually care of the management!). We all boogied till about two am. Above the disco equipment was a small stage; every hour or so a very well proportioned girl in a one piece would dance up there - everyone just stared! They played "Crazy Little Thing called Love" by Queen twice (beauty!) (Jack says he only noticed once - oh well!). We all staggered back feeling very sore and tired.

      Sunday 27th April

      (Jack) Same work as usual. In the afternoon, Julie (Canadian) went into hospital with a bad back. She has been confined to bed till further notice. Roo went to bed in the evening, while I learnt (or rather re-learnt) how to play Canasta. As usual drink flowed and I finally got to bed around midnight.
      During the day, Roo did his first stint of stewarding, and in the afternoon he cleaned out then drove a refrigerated truck about the size of a Transit (fun fun fun). I did my usual shift of bog cleaning and hovering etc..

      Monday 28th April

      (Roo) We both continued in our respective places; I got a Poon Brothers uniform for stewarding (less pot washing!!), Jack worked with Kobi for a change.
      In the kitchens, the pressure is mounting. Some of the chefs have been there for three weeks, working six am till nine pm every day, and this tells on their temper, which in turn tells on us.
      In the evening I talked with Julie (bed bound because of her back) for a few hours - we all had a dry night for a change !

      Tuesday 29th April

      (Jack) There was a union strike meeting today and a lot of rumours, for and against going back, flying around. It is possible they might return tomorrow, we don't really know.
      A new bloke arrived today called Dave, so he worked with Canadian John, and I worked with Israeli Jacob.
      One of the cooks got the sack today. He (Gordon) had apparently only a few months experience and wasn't too hot on cooking for five hundred people. It was a pity as he was a good bloke.
      During the evening we went to Julie's (Kiwi) room and drank a bottle of Kaiser Stull Rosé. Roo left to talk to Debbie and Julie (Canadian) and I finished off the bottle with Julie and Shane and then went to bed. Shane (who didn't work for Poon Brothers) stayed the night, a free roof!

      Wednesday 30th April

      (Roo) Jacks day was as slack as usual, working in the morning, sunbathing in the afternoon. Mine was slightly more eventful. I cleaned out the kitchen, (floor, walls etc) and ended up cleaning the drains which were covered with cast iron grates. With all the grease and shit on the floor, it was very slippery and one of the iron grates slipped sideways as I levered it up. It made a meaty job of crunching my left little finger. Blood spurting everywhere, I rushed for the nearest sink and immersed the finger in cold water. On the point of collapse I was rescued by a chef who plunged the finger into ice (that hurt!).
      Geoff the financial manager of Poons (at the time on the plate wash) drove me to First Aid where I was told I had a contusion under the nail (i.e. the nail had been ripped off). I was given a dressing and told to stay off work (good!) I was even paid for today's lack of work (off by one am). Julie and I consoled each other on our various pains and returned to the mess for supper - where I was treated as though I had had a heart attack or something!
      Tomorrow the strikers return to work, so tonight we all went to the pub for drinks on Poons. I drank brown cows (making the most of the offer) with John(Canadian) and Lucian (Kiwi). The bill for the evening came to a hundred and thirty seven dollars ! between about twenty of us.

      Thursday 1st May (return to Perth)

      (Jack) A lazy day. I got up early to watch the sunrise, then spent two hours over breakfast (luxury). My flight was at five forty five pm, and Roo's at about seven thirty. During the morning we lazed around, Roo played 'frizbee' and I wrote letters. After a long lunch, the afternoon was remarkably similar. At about four, the two Julies, Debbie, Canadian John and I (plus a few others) went to the airport. Since we had an hour to spare, we hit the bar.
      Julie's back is still bad so I carried her pack for her (fool that I am!). We boarded (or staggered) onto the plane and took our seats. The flight was uneventful, Julie stood most of the time because of her back and I got the usual earache when we landed. It was the same plane and the same stewardess (Hilary). We had steak as a meal, nice, but not much of it.
      When we landed we took a taxi back to the hostel, then we went to the Loaded Dog.
      Roo's flight left two hours later and he didn't get any food, which was TAA, unlike the MMA flight I had taken. He appeared at the Loaded Dog and we celebrated our new found wealth. It was the pub's second birthday and there was free chicken flowing (does chicken flow?), so we fed well. I returned at about eleven thirty with (Kiwi) Julie and the others got back at about one am. There is live music there every evening and it's a great evening's entertainment.

      Friday 2nd May

      (Roo) We rose just in time to be thrown out of the hostel (which closed at ten am) and met up with Canadians John and Ron, and Kobi. All of us went over to Poon Brothers to collect our cheques. Then, into town, to cash them :). Jack, Kobi and I got four hundred and eighty dollars each (i.e. we were even paid for yesterday!) We all spent the morning with a feeling close to bliss (money in the pocket) and sat in the Mall admiring the Perth birds. They all waltz up and down with gorillas on their arms (such a waste).
      We slowly returned to the land of the living and went to Scarborough beach in Socrates. We frizbee'd, swam, and lazed on the beautiful beach.
      That evening, we went back to the Loaded Dog with most of the hostel - good music, great company and loads to drink. That night (while I was asleep) one of the hostel girls dislocated her knee - there were screams of agony, then the ambulance, stretched, men in white coats, the whole works.
      Random Note:-
      Socrates door has magically fixed itself and can now be opened from the outside. I think Alex Ward (the Poon brothers boss in Perth) probably thought he broken it and got it mended!

      Saturday 3rd May

      (Jack) Random Note additional:-
      This is a pain as we now cannot lock the door !
      The morning consisted of a trip to Scarborough beach for four of us, Roo and Me, Kobi and a German lady called Ursula. We sunbathed and swam, the surf was fabulous and we returned at about one thirty.
      When we got back to the hostel, a Barbeque was just starting, for which we had paid two dollars on Friday. The food was marvellous, not surprising as all we had had since Thursday was a hamburger. There was steak, sausages, potato salad, salad etc.. and fruit salad afterwards. There was also plenty of beer.
      The party went on, and on, and on... Eventually after refilling the beer supply with about forty cans, and emptying it again, we decided to abandon and go to the Loaded Dog. We arrived at about seven and were already fairly inebriated. I then stopped drinking and just enjoyed the live music. It was the only time in my life I have arrived at a pub drunk and left sober! The pub was virtually overrun with hostellers, mainly due to the fact that they gave us a discount on cider and wine. At about ten thirty Roo left, while the rest of us stayed till about eleven thirty. At about that time, I went back to the hostel and took Socrates to the Dog. The girl whose knee had slipped out of joint was there, so I offered her a lift back to the hostel.

      Sunday 4th May

      (Roo) This morning consisted of lazing on Scarborough beach with the two Julies and Debbie. We all did some surfing with the airbed - dangerous 'coz the waves are very strong. We lazed in the sun 'til it clouded over, when we returned to the hostel. This afternoon we played frustrating games of Canasta and other card games, talked and wrote letters - a generally lazy day.

      Monday 5th May

      (Jack) We went into town, picked up a film, and checked the post office for mail. There wasn't any for Roo as his has been forwarded to Darwin whereas mine hasn't. the clerk had told us we could put two names on the form, this we did before we left for Port Headland. We now find that this isn't possible, hence Roo's mail only has been forwarded.
      We played cards in the afternoon (I played bridge in the early evening) and spent the rest of the evening in the Loaded Dog!

      Tuesday 6th May

      (Roo) We went into town again, checked for mail and couldn't decide whether or not to go to the beach. The weather was a bit dicey so we played cards instead. Kobi told me a fair bit about Bangkok, what to do and where to go.
      Later on I met a Pom called Sandy Spiers who lived in Richmond, went to St Paul's in Hammersmith and knew quite a few Sheen-ites. *
      We dined in style this evening, around a table in the hostel. The was a wonderful lasagne cooked by Gill (a Pom), wine (and our Sangria) and a cheesecake. There were eight of us and loads of food.
      Kiwi Julie was heading north so we said our goodbyes before heading off to the Loaded Dog. Where Cathy Hole (!) was playing her guitar (beautifully). One of the Canuck hostellers plays well also, and has a beautiful voice. We listened for hours to her.
      * Macalisters, Campbells and Tomlins for anyone who is interested.

      Wednesday 7th May

      (Jack) The morning was used collecting supplies, and the afternoon in playing cards. Like yesterday, we ate well in the evening; Ted, the warden, cooked up a "left over stew special". We then discovered that one of the hostellers (Gordon) was pretty skilled in making jewellery from gold plated aluminium wire. This kept us occupied till about nine thirty, making earrings, badges, rings and pendants.
      We had heard that Cathy Hole was playing at Sacelles, a tavern in town, so we all went there. She was just as good as last night, this time accompanied by two other people. They played some of Kate Bush's songs beautifully.
      When the tavern closed, we went to the Dog for a night cap, then headed for King's Park. There we had a fantastic view of Perth's lights. There is an observation tower, about a hundred steps or so, which was fun to race up and down.
      Back at the hostel (about one am by now) we all piled into Ted's room and sat around listening to music and talking. At two am I went off to the phone and rang England; to begin with it was engaged! Eventually I got through and discovered that we will be heading home on July twenty fourth. I then returned and went to bed.

      Thursday 8th May (departure from Perth)

      (Roo) I didn't manage to get any sleep (!) and consequently was semi conscious all day. Jack was up at eight am and began preparing Socrates to travelling. I said goodbye to Jo (Canadian) and packed. We left the hostel at midday, said goodbye to everyone, and went into town to draw money (which took a very long time) and get last minute supplies.
      We finally set off from Perth at about two pm, sad to leave it with it's memories. We took the costal highway through Gingin, reaching Geraldton by about six thirty. There we knew of a hostel and found it in the dark. We sat around a wood fire with tinnies, talking to the other hostellers. If tomorrow is sunny we will maybe stay around and recuperate from our lack of sleep for a day.

      Friday 9th May

      (Jack) After a very comfortable night's sleep, we left the hostel at about nine thirty, having left a message for Julie and Debbie (Canadians). We only went though one town today, called Northampton, and we camped about twenty five k's short of Carnarvan. The scenery is pretty uneventful, though we had one marvellous view from a lookout, a hill of about fifty feet with a road going up to the top and a small flat area to park.
      Today has not been a good day for tyres; to begin with, we discovered the front right tyre had a leaky valve, so we bought a new packet of valves. Then, at about midday, we stopped to fix the tape recorder fuse (it blows now and then) and ran over a piece of glass. The back tyre immediately hissed with rage and deflated itself. Mild panic - we jacked up Socrates and tried to undo the nuts holding the wheel on. After the thread of the spanned burred, we decided it was going to be difficult. We flagged down a passing land cruised and borrowed his spanner. One bent spanned and a lot of hammering later, we did get the wheel off and put on the spare. We set off again (carefully) and will go into Carnarvan tomorrow for anew tyre and a new spanner.
      Unfortunately the weather this morning was awful, so we decided to move on up north, rather than hang around in Geraldton waiting for sunshine. During the latter part of the day, it has been quite sunny and warm.
      Random Note:-
      There is an air of contentment in the campsite tonight. It is good to be back on the road, in peace and quiet under the stars after all the hustle and bustle and noise of the city. There is something rather special about sitting around the gas burner, reading and writing by the light of a small hurricane lamp, in the open.

      Saturday 10th May

      (Roo) We had a cooked breakfast and decided to try to undo Socrates' sump nut - he needed an oil change a few hundred miles ago. The spanner couldn't get a firm enough grip, so we decided to get a better one in Carnarvan.
      We drove the twenty five km's in and bought a spanner as well as getting the tyre from yesterday fixed. It is now the spare (having a fairly weak tread) but it saved buying a new one.
      After that, we bought some food and went to the bank. We realised to our horror that it is Saturday (an easy thing to forget on the road). We did not have sufficient money for the petrol needed to reach the next town. That meant staying in Carnarvan till Monday. We found a beach on the map and drove there, initially finding the road blocked by cascading water - the beach was about twenty miles north on a dirt road.
      When we got there we found an area flattened for parking and three cars. There were sand dunes beyond, stretching to the sea. When we walked over them we couldn't believe our eyes - the sea was red !! It was a kind of brick colour, probably caused by the sand it stirred up off the sea bed. The sand around was red too, and the beach stretched as far as you can see.
      We lazed around, getting tanned, reading, writing letters and changing Socrates' oil. We have decided to stay here all weekend. In the evening we lit a fire and cooked supper on it. The sun set over the sea and was beautifully clear. As the hundreds of flies left, we were invaded by mozzies and so abandoned to the tent.

      Sunday 11th May

      (Jack) I was up in time to see the sunrise, but it was hardly worth it. Roo got up later, much more sensible ! It gets quite cool at night and it was definitely "fresh" this morning . We spent all day lazing on or near the beach, walking for a couple of hours this morning.
      There were quite a few people here today, but they have all gone by dark, driven away by the mozzies which are making a feast of us.
      During the afternoon we wrote letters and lay in the sun.
      We seem to have adopted a dog, a mixture of Border Collie and Kelpie we think. His master drove off and left him on the beach so he (the dog!) is sitting outside our tent. The Aussie who left him was quite drunk when he drove away.

      Monday 12th May

      (Roo) Our friendly left behind dog was collected this morning by a very hung over owner who couldn't even get his mouth around "get in!". We packed up, wiping sand off everything. In Carnarvan we withdrew money, bought provisions, sent a telegram to (Canadian) Julie wishing her luck with her back operation and promptly drew some more money.
      We left Carnarvan at about eleven thirty am, driving through Minilya, and on to Namutarra Roadhouse, where we turned onto a dirt track heading for Wittenoom, Tom Price, and the Hamersley Gorges. During the afternoon we saw thousands of termite hills sticking up everywhere, most about ten feet high. There were strange outcrops of rock, some thousands of feet high, and wide flat plains stretching for miles.
      Petrol today has been expensive, thirty five percent higher than in town and only 'super' !
      The dirt track we joined at about four thirty is corrugated in places. We had to remove the wheel hubs for fear of losing them, and when truckers go past on this road, vision is lost completely, and regained only slowly over the next forty to fifty yards.
      Our campsite is off the dirt road, very quiet, with a clear sky and stars, and a cool breeze.
      Random Note:-
      At around midday we crossed the Tropic of Capricorn, marking the southern boundary of the tropics. We are therefore officially in the Tropics !

      Tuesday 13th May

      (Jack) Rose before six this morning, and didn't bother with a cooked breakfast so we got on the road quickly. The first thing we passed was a dead kangaroo with a Joey still suckling, quite a pathetic sight.
      Around mid morning we passed what looked like a log on the road, till it moved. It was a Goanna, a giant lizard about three feet long. It moved very slowly so we screeched to a halt and let fly with camera triggers.
      About midday we passed a turning for Tom Price; "Shall we go there?" "no", "yes", "no", "yes", did a U-ee and went to Tom Price. There, in the post office, was a telegram for a Mr Stacpoole, surely too much of a coincidence. We found out it was for an L.R.Stacpoole, so it wasn't for Marc (who we had met in Canberra) after all.
      Next stop was Hammersley Gorge. This is a gully, eroded by wind and water, about a hundred and fifty feet deep with a stream running through the bottom. It was spectacular. During the afternoon we visited other gorges in the Hammersley range of mountains, each one as breath taking as the other.
      We filled up with petrol at Wittenoon, just north of the ranges, and after exploring just one more gorge, we set off for Port Headland.
      This evening we had a cause for celebration. Aussie roads are covered in floodways, a section of road that washes away every time it rains. These occur frequently, sometimes only a few hundred yards apart. After crossing many hundreds of these, we still hadn't seen one with water in it, till tonight, when we crossed about half a dozen, all actually with water in them.
      We are camped at the roadside about eighty miles short of Port Headland. The road has been dirt all day today, but we still covered about three hundred and thirty miles. Some parts of the road were badly corrugated.
      Random Note:-
      Socrates horn has been a cause for concern. Ever since it fell off, it has not behaved at all well, it has to be adjusted frequently and always fails at the critical moment. Tonight it did one worse. We were driving quite peacefully (as peacefully as possible on a dirt road!) when clouds of smoke poured into the car from the dashboard. This proved to be the wire from the power supply to the horn melting, due to a short circuit in the horn. The wire was ruined, but luckily nothing else was burnt. When we get to Darwin it will be replaced.
      Random Note:-
      During the last four hours of driving, we saw a grand total of three other cars!

      Wednesday 14th May

      (Roo) We were on the road, still dirt, by seven am. We found that we were crossing several floodways and creeks that had spilled water over the road. On one, a river stretching about a hundred yards across, we hit mud and started sinking in. Socrates decided this was not a good idea and stalled. His read wheels were about six inches under water. Luckily, we were pulled out by a passing MRD (Main Roads Dept.) truckie. We managed to start Socrates and continue.
      About an hour later we found another large river instead of a section of road. A diversion led us up a slope and we crossed the river by using the railway bridge!
      We arrived at Port Headland around ten thirty, passing Cooke Point, the disco and many other reminders of our great eight days there. We found a caravan park and showered, then bought a sticker of P.H. for Soc.
      Back on bitumen, we drove on to the Goldworthy turn off (dirt again). We drove to the post office and missed it by one minute (groan). So we waited for two and a half hours for it to reopen. Goldworthy is a town built solely for miners and is owned by the Goldworthy Mining Company. While waiting, we bumped into a Perth Hosteller we had met at the Dog and the hostel. He was working in the mines.
      Having got money from the post office, we continued our journey filling up en route. We soon hit dirt again, as the Perth to Broome road is still being "tarmaced".
      Driving on dirt is far more tiring than bitumen. Your eyes are continually strained, searching well ahead for tell tale signs of potholes and crevasses full of sand, while also checking closer by for small hidden trouble spots. You have to make quick decisions, relying on reactions usually. Hitting crevasses, produces axle crushing thumps which shake Socrates and force the two ends of his shock absorbers together with a crash. Then there is the noise as well, the corrugated ground sees to that.
      Now we are camped on eighty mile beach, about ten kilometres from the road. The name speaks for itself. There are several Land Cruisers and Utes here with generators, caravans, the lot... YUK !!
      Before the beach we managed to get another puncture (probably from hitting a pothole). Once again we are without a spare therefore.

      Thursday 15th May

      (Jack) Up and left early this morning, but not before the other caravaners had started up their generators. We had a look at the beach, (not all eighty miles of it) and set off at about seven thirty. The road was bitumen as far as Sandfire Flat roadhouse where we got the puncture repaired and filled up with petrol. The bitumen continued for another forty miles or so then it reverted to an unsealed surface. At about nine thirty we came to a low flat area of land that had flooded. The road went, or attempted to go, right through the middle of it. There was one section of about fifty yards of road washed away and a queue of about six cars on each side while in the middle some trucks and graders were attempting to make it passable. It was an hour before they succeeded and meanwhile we chatted to the other drivers and helped one guy remove his radiator (it had been damaged when he got a truck to tow him through).
      At about twelve, Socrates started to swerve all over the road, his way of saying "I've got a flat tyre"(oh no, not again, what a pain" quote me). Flats are really getting a bit frequent and boring by now. We replaced the offending wheel and, again without a spare, set off. At about two we reached the bitumen and so we thought we were safe. At two fifteen Socrates again started to swerve over the road. We were forty miles from civilisation (Broome) with only three good tyres. Roo hitched a lift from a passing panel van and I sat down to wait for his return. I put up the tents fly sheet for shade, and after making a full bottle of iced cordial, I waited..... and waited.
      It was five thirty when Roo returned, with a brand new tyre, sixty dollars worth!, and almost more important, tins of beer. We fitted the new tyre and set off. While Roo was in Broome, he drew a hundred bucks then waited three quarters of an hour while the garage decided the old tyre was useless. The garage then had to go off somewhere to get the new tyre which cost us an extra five bucks as he didn't have it in stock. Roo then had to wait about an hour and half before he got a lift. He was picked up in a '62 Ute (a youngster!) to the junction, then another lift out to Socrates. We decided to drive late and just after dark we crossed a cattle grid. There was a metallic clang and one of the hubcaps left the wheel. We searched for it for ages but in vain. It hasn't been a good day really.!
      We reached a roadhouse about eight'ish and after filling up and after helping unload a jeep from a semi, we set of again. We have camped at the roadside about a hundred and tem miles short of Fitzroy Crossing.
      On the journey this evening we saw a dingo cub crossing the road and also a lot of "burning off".

      Friday 15th May

      (Roo) We were driving by eight, heading for a town called Fitzroy Crossing. When we arrived, we spent about half an hour looking for a post office. Eventually, after stumbling on a Abo reserve, we found it and drew about fifty bucks each.
      We had decided to get another tyre to replace our old spare, after yesterday's walkabout. The garage in Fitzroy found a fifteen inch tyre after a bit of searching, and also a hub (giving us two spare tyres - good). It took about two hours for them to find fit and patch all our spares.
      We chatted with a family who owned a large Toyota 4WD, a vehicle full of females (except one). We even had sandwiches forced on us (we are very charming and courteous when it comes to scrounging or females or both).
      We gave Soc a present of a new set of spark plugs and set off at twelve forty on to dirt again. We banged and crashed our way over three hundred kilometres of terrible dirt tracks between Fitzroy and Halls Creek.
      We reached Halls Creek just after day. It, like Fitzroy, was full of Abos. We filled up and bought some drink (Jack got a face full of coke without even opening his mouth in time).
      On bitumen again, we headed for Turkey Creek. The road was quite treacherous because of straying cattle who wandered everywhere, and even sat across the road. The cows are dark brown (not too fluorescent) and we came within two inches of one who was strolling across the road and nearly got a nasty nose bleed. As we drove past I heard the grass in her mouth scrape Soc's side. We've camped in a parking area about sixty kilometres from Turkey Creek.

      Saturday 17th May

      (Jack) Moving by seven thirty and first stop was Turkey Creek for fuel. Around eleven we discovered a lake, with a proper swimming area, so we dived in. The lake was formed by a dam. A couple of miles later was Kununarra, where we refuelled and picked up ice, bread etc.
      We crossed the W.A. / N.T. border at about midday and promptly decided the dead cattle of Northern Territories and smellier than any others so far. We then put forward our watches by one and a half hours, bringing us to Central Standard Time.
      About seventy miles short of Timber Creek we passed a pickup. The road is only wide enough for one car, so when two vehicles pass they go partly onto the gravel at the edge of the road. When we passed the Ute, a stone flew up from his wheels and had an argument with Socrates' windshield, which promptly shattered. We stopped, and after putting a sheet down to cover the inside of the car, knocked out the shattered glass then removed the rubber holding strip. We closed all the other windows, then set off again. Surprisingly, it doesn't feel any different to the driver with or without the windscreen, however it does make a difference to the passenger, as Roo proved:- As I drove, he slowly got more and more of his body out of the car. By the time we reached Tudor Creek, he was sitting on top of the spare wheels on the roof, slowing us down by five miles per hour, and then we passed a police station ! He jumped off the roof (well almost, I was doing forty miles an hour) and clung to the running boards on the opposite side of the car to the cop shop. A mile later we stopped and he got off...
      At Timber Creek we discovered that a girl we had met in Perth (Gail Wilson) was working at Victoria River Bridge Roadhouse, about sixty miles further on. Off we went, and arrived at about six fifteen. We found her and were immediately asked out to a barbeque. We went with Mike and his wife in a Hillman Hunter estate, also minus a windscreen.
      When we arrived, we were given a tinnie each and told to help ourselves to food, a grave mistake on their part. "They" were the local army reserve, out for a week's practice, and having a last night barbeque. The food was great and we had quite a few steaks and sausages each. The army guys got very pissed and some pretended to do drill in wheel chairs, much to everyone's amusement. When we left, Mike was pretty well sloshed, and his driving along the dirt track left much to be desired. His wife took over when we reached the main road.
      We stayed the night in the parking area next to the roadhouse.

      Sunday 18th May

      (Roo) We rose late (seven-thirty) and showered, then wandered over to the roadhouse to swap addresses with Gail, and say goodbye.
      We left at nine thirty and headed for Katherine, still with no windscreen (or money to buy one). The scenery changed again, from the huge rugged outcrops of rocks that form the mountains around Timber Creek and Vic River Roadhouse, to open flat plains and expanses of bush.
      We filled up at Katherine (getting 'standard' for the first time in a week) and turned north for Darwin. On the road out of Katherine, while I was sitting on the bonnet with my legs in the car, I took a photo of Jack driving - he retaliated by getting on of me on the bonnet!
      At three fifty, we drove off the road to park - we were now fifty miles from Darwin. After half an hour, we had disassembled Soc's carburettor, cleaned and reassembled it. W e are trying to locate Soc's lack of power, guessing it might be a problem in the carburettor. We'll investigate more in Darwin.
      Information Note:-
      Australia's petrol set up: there are two grades of petrol, Super and Standard (or Regular). Soc takes Standard (around two star), and complains somewhat with Super (around four star). Up north petrol is expensive and usually only Super is available.
      Random Note:-
      The vegetation around here, from Broome onwards, has changed. Now we are in the tropics, there are mini palms etc. We've seen a lot of Boabs, short stocky trees whose fruit when dried, is carved by Abo's.
      Post Script:-
      Some digger has just driven past with a large search light mounted on top of his Ute. He scanned the side of the road, seemed to miss us and stopped about fifty yards away. He turned round, scanning our side again, then drove away. It's a bit worrying, being after dark, but I doubt much will result. The dingo's have started howling at the moon now ! An eerie noise, though they are very wary and quite harmless.

      Monday 19th May (arrival in Darwin)

      (Jack) Got up and drove the last hour into Darwin. While Roo sat in the car, I located the Poste restante and collected quite a lot of mail. I also put some films in and drew some money. We then started searching for windscreens, specifically a new one for Socrates. We tried every windscreen shop, wreckers yard, scrap dealer and VW dealer in town. No luck. We also want a new gasket for the carburettor and haven't been able to find one of those either. About lunch time we were returning to the city when Soc switched himself off. We pulled to the side of the road and tried to restart - no go. So we rang the Northern Territories equivalent of the AA, the AANT, and after an hour or so they turned up. The excuse for the delay was "sorry, ran out of petrol!"
      He cleaned the points, and recommended we get a compression test. We drove into town and after an hour and a half's wait, finally got the test done. This showed two cylinders were very low on pressure, due to worn valves. We also fitted a new set of points while we were about it. DISASTER - because of the lack of compression, we are going to have to have new valves fitted, about three hundred bucks worth!
      Back at the hostel, actually an ex borstal, we did a bit of maths and rang home. We asked for a hundred bucks each to be sent out.
      We went to the pub with the other hostellers in the evening (fun) and when we got back sat around with the others singing songs till the early hours while someone played a guitar.

      Tuesday 20th May

      (Roo) Somehow I didn't wake till ten am, when we went into town. We did three weeks worth of red dust coated washing and looked around Darwin, which is very small.
      We were back in the hostel early afternoon, where we played cards, Canasta, Fingers and Canasta. By evening we had worked up a thirst and twenty of us hit the local pub till closing time.

      Wednesday 21st May

      (Jack) I rose at seven and drove into town to the C.E.S. (employment services), giving a bloke a lift on the way. I too my place in the queue and was still there two and a half hours later. Not a single job turned up. I drew some money and picked up six films from the developers, costing sixty seven bucks. Slightly depressed (well very depressed actually), I returned to the hostel. We spent the rest of the morning writing letters and writing on the back of the photos.
      I the afternoon we drove Socrates onto the YHA forecourt and took everything out. It took about three hours to thoroughly clean and sort him. When we were nearly finished, a guy came in who reckoned he might know where we could get Soc fixed cheaply.
      In the evening we played more cards and showed our photos.

      Thursday 22nd May

      (Roo) We had a seven am start today, driving into Darwin's CES for casual work. When we arrived we were about fifteenth in the line of people waiting for jobs. After about twenty minutes, Jack was called and he disappeared off with the car to do some labouring jobs. About twenty minutes later, I got a job in a Darwin brewery with someone called Steve.
      Jack's work was being a brickie's mate on a site. He shifted bricks and rubble, and moved scaffolding around all day. He was mixed cement ('muck'). Mid morning and afternoon "smoko" is supplied by a van selling food, he finished at six thirty.
      My job in the brewery began with washing kegs and taps, then continued with loading the kegs into a mechanical washer. That took most of the day, with two "smokos" and lunch. We also slid more kegs down a chute to begin cleaning them. The work wasn't too hard and I got forty bucks for the day. After work, the beer "Northern Territories draught - the taste of the territories", was free (say no more!). I finished at four thirty.
      We played cards with Greg (Cannock), Roy (kiwi), Wynn (kiwi) and Kevin (aussie) in the evening till eleven pm. Tomorrow Jack is on his site again, - me in the CES.

      Friday 23rd May

      (Jack) Back to the site again, dropped off Roo and Marita (a fellow hosteller) at six forty five then went to work. I worked without a break till three o'clock as the other labourer didn't turn up. I was labouring for three brickies and didn't finish till about six.
      Roo waited till about nine am at the CES before getting a job as a labourer at the local power station. He finished at four thirty.
      When we returned to the hostel, we had a couple of beers then supper.
      At lunchtime, Roo picked up some mail, including three postcards posted at the beginning of April. Roo picked up an estimate for the work to be done on Socrates, about two hundred bucks, slightly better than the "at least three hundred mate".

      Saturday 24th May

      (Roo) Jack and I left for work at six forty five, both in nearby sites. Socrates found this far too early and conked out. I hitched into work at the power station while Jack went back to the hostel, found someone with a land cruiser and got a tow into the BP garage in town, where he left him (we'd already arranged for the repair job on

      Monday). He hitched a lift back to his workplace, where he found nobody, so he returned to the hostel. Two hours later he did the same again, with again, no success.
      I got into work on time and did similar work to yesterday. I spent time with a tape measure and a spirit level in hand trying to look busy measuring the depth the grader was digging.
      Then I shovelled, moving this pile of earth from one place to another and back again, and again, going in little circles, and looking very busy, I even attacked the pile with a pick. I'm doing roadwork at Darwin's Auxiliary Power Station, erected in case another cyclone Tracy hits Darwin, shifting gravel, guiding graders and diggers, and generally labouring. There are two other blokes labouring with me, both Greeks. One gave Jack a lift on a huge eleven wheel road roller he was driving to the site, when Jack was hitching to work. Jack apparently looked pretty surprised when the huge yellow vehicle drew up and the bloke shouted down "you'll have to jump on while she's movin' mate, I've never driven one of these before" !
      While on the job, a water main burst. Great fun and an excuse to do even less work. I'm paid five bucks an hour except today which is seven fifty till nine am then ten bucks an hour after that.
      At two pm we knocked off and I went to the hostel. At about five four of us went to the local shop for food. Jack and I got some rump steak (yummy).
      We played cards as usual, talked, played pool, and generally messed around.

      Sunday 25th May

      (Jack) "We didn't do anything", quote Roo. Rose late and did surprisingly little all day, played cards, wrote letters etc....

      Monday 26th May

      (Roo) We both hitched to our various workplaces. Jack was a couple of miles beyond me, as a bricky's mate again. I was in the power station doing more road work. Today I got a soft cushy job, following the grader and digger, making sure they didn't dig up and electricity cables or water pipes. It was still boiling hot and sweat poured off me. Five minutes of shovelling in the sun and you look like you've just come out of the shower.
      We both crawled back to the hostel, into the showers, then sat around feeling dazed. I had a couple of drinks with Paul and Con, the two aussie Greeks I'm working with, before returning back to the hostel.

      Tuesday 27th May

      (Jack) Roo went into work again today and about two hours later I hitched into town. I went to the BP garage to discover that the damage to Socrates is worse than we thought. The cylinder head is cracked and needs replacing, more money. I collected the mail, and had my hair cut. I gave my watch to the jewellers who had damaged it last week while replacing the battery. I also got two t-shirts printed with Neutron Discos".
      Roo returned to the hostel at about five thirty, then at seven we went to the pub for a meal (rump steak - yummy).
      I went to bed early as I'm working tomorrow, and Roo played ping-pong.

      Wednesday 28th May

      (Roo) Both of us were stricken by a bug. Jack went to the brickies again today, worked till smoko, had his break then regurgitated it. He went home.
      I got up and hitched into town (a truckie gave me a lift). By the time I had reached Smith street I was going green. I crawled out of the cab and stumbled over to the Bank Commonwealth, where I deposited a hundred bucks (yesterday I was paid a hundred and seventy bucks for four days work). I immediately dived out of the sun into a flower bed where I almost brought up all I owned. After an hour of nothingness (I sat against a pillar) I eventually caught a cab back to the hostel where I discovered I had a very runny tummy.
      I sweated out most of the day horizontally. Jack went into town, got some stuff, and found out the total damage for Socrates new head - three hundred bucks. The head has to come up from Adelaide by air (fifty bucks!).
      In the evening, Jack went to bed early, while I sat up chatting about skis ! I found someone who had been selling them as well.

      Thursday 29th May

      (Jack) I rose late and went into town at about ten. I discovered that Socrates probably won't be ready till Saturday, or even Monday.
      It took me two hours to get back to the hostel, walking for one and three quarters of them. It was one of those days when no one wanted to give me a lift.
      When I eventually got back, Roo had left for East Point, where there is a war museum. He half hitched, half walked to the museum which is where there was some bombing during the war and where cyclone Tracy hit hardest in nineteen seventy four. The museum is fairly small and is run by a really interesting Scottish bloke. Roo found his Dad's name in a magazine (The Gunner). He too had to walk home as lifts were off today !
      Back at the hostel we did a wash and then not much for the rest of the day. We're now waiting for Julie and Debbie (the Canadians) to appear.

      Friday 30th May

      (Roo) Neither of us was up early, again. We were given a lift into town where we drew some money, bought some food, and went up to the Vic for a drink (having been "hello'd" by Rand fro the balcony). Then we wandered around the mall and looked in camera shops for a replacement for mine which has 'gone' from the hostel, or the car.
      We went on to Socrates in the BP garage in Smith Street to collect a few bits, and there on the floor, was my camera! How it got there, I have no idea. Jack had checked the car three times in the week for it, and yet there it was. We hitched separately back to the hostel, Jack getting a lift from Smith St. back to the door - lucky bugger! As usual we played ping-pong and pool, and chatted till midnight.

      Saturday 31st May

      (Jack) I rang the garage in the morning. Good news, and bad news. "Yes, the parts have arrived and no, Socrates won't be ready till Monday" .
      Not much happened all day. An interesting facet of Darwin life occurred during the evening. There is a political party here called the Marijuana Party; they held a party. We didn't go (honest), but apparently it was 'fun'.

      Sunday 1st June

      (Roo) After playing cards for an hour, Roy (kiwi) Jack and I decided to go to the Royal Australian Air Forces' open day at the airbase nearby. We hitched in separately and met at the entrance. I got a lift from two oddities who cruised at thirty mph and were trying to get someone to talk to them on their C.B. They had no success, so they gave me a go. I said "breaker breaker, there's a pom here wants to talk to someone". The response was daunting, as about twenty voices, all giving a stream of abuse, replied. The oddities couldn't believe it - "Jeeze mate, I never thought 'a that!".
      It was very hot by the time we reached the display. It was a mini Farnborough air show, with planes (F111, Canberra's etc.) on the ground and some zooming around in the air. We saw parachutists and some really odd planes. One could almost do a vertical take off. All of us, and most of Darwin - who turned up -, tried to snatch photos of fighters doing speeds faster than sound as they swept past us. The results no doubt will be fuzzy pictures of the tail ends of jets, taken into the sun. The three of us wandered around till about three pm. Just before the end, an enormous helicopter flew over the airfield and hovered there with a car suspended from it. It was dropped (the car) from about two hundred feet, making a great cloud of dust. Seeing the remains later was interesting, the car was about two feet high, very very flat.
      After it had finished, we all hitched back to the hostel. There we played cards and talked till about eight, when we went with the two Canucks and a Dutchman to east Point. Ray and Johannes(Bavarian) came with us. We drove to East Point, to the Gun Turret for a folk music evening is held every Sunday. The audience all sat around the outer edge of the Turret and the performers played inside.
      The music varies from traditional English and Scottish ballads, to Aussie folksongs and poetry. For a dollar, it was great value. Everyone there was young and it had a great atmosphere.

      Monday 2nd June

      (Jack) We went into town first thing, catching a ride in the back of a "sin bin", i.e. a panel van, very soft and cosy but very hot. We arrived at the garage, he was reassembling the motor and said Soc. would be ready by lunchtime. We wasted four hours collecting food, going to the Vic etc..
      Back at the garage, Socrates was almost ready. He wouldn't start at first, but after fiddling with the fuel supply, he went ok. We were given the bill, four hundred and twenty one dollars and forty cents - PANIC, quickly followed by depression. We drew the money, and after being let off the one dollar and forty (how kind!), we drove away. The mechanic had told us that Soc also needed new wheel bearings, so we bought those. When we got to the windscreen shop, they had just stopped work. We found a second shop, but they wanted eleven bucks more, so we decided to wait till the morning.
      At the hostel, Roo booked us in for another night and I attacked the bearings. When Roo appeared ten minutes later, I hadn't got anywhere. The outer nut was on very firmly indeed. It took half an hour, hammering and levering with a three foot long lever, to move it. Even then, we bent the handle of my monkey wrench. Another half an hour of sweat and muscle and the other bits came out. Panic - we hadn't the faintest idea in what order they had emerged! The new bits (twenty dollars worth!) didn't seem to fit either. By this time a fair amount of oil had also poured out of the axle. To make matters worse, the axle had come half an inch out, and refused to move, in or out!
      We decided to ring the AANT, and got no answer. We left it till the morning. We did however, manage to get the axle back into place.
      I went to bed early, while Roo hit the high life of Darwin. He and Johannes(Bavarian) went on a motorbike (Honda 500cc single) to the Darwin casino. On arrival they were refused entry because they were wearing cords, so after Johannes had failed to phone Germany, they returned to the hostel to scrounge a couple of pairs of decent trousers. On their return to town, they stopped at a pub where one of the hostellers was working. This time, they were allowed into the casino, where they bumped into one of the pommie hostellers who was working there. Upstairs, they found the main gaming area; a lot of black jack, roulette and other assorted gambling outlets. They wandered around for over an hour and a half watching people gambling over one of our weeks wages on a single stake. One player gambled over five hundred bucks on each hand, and seemed to be winning. There were "lots and lots of very pretty girls there, very well dressed", quote Roo.
      They left at about one am, it stays open twenty four hours a day, and had to push start the bike down Darwin high street ! They then returned to the hostel and to bed.

      Tuesday 3rd June (departure from Darwin)

      (Roo) Waking up this morning, I wished to God I hadn't. We had the bearing to refit, and a gearbox with very little transaxle oil. We had to work out what to do, so Jack went into town to draw a diagram of VW rear wheel bearings while I attempted to find a garage with the right oil. I had no success, but when Jack returned we were able to fit our new bearings.
      We packed up our things, loaded Socrates and set off to find a garage. After failing at three, we found a VW garage who filled our transaxle immediately for just two bucks. With that fixed, we headed out of the city, not entirely sure that we'd make it.
      We drove all afternoon, going through Pine Creek, where we stopped off to find Elaine (Devonshire hosteller from Perth and Darwin). She was working in the shell roadhouse, and that was where we found her. We chatted a bit then moved on. One interesting thing I noticed was a sign nearby saying "Devon Cream Teas - opening soon" - in the middle of the outback ?? Elaine's personality must have made a strong impression in just three weeks !!
      We drove through Katherine (after dark); we had already decided we didn't have the time or the money to see the gorge (twenty bucks each) - pity.
      We drove on past Mataranka, and camped off the road, down some track. It was cold (being after dark) and we had supper quickly - the first can we cooked was off, and smelt of paraffin, so we tried again and got to bed by ten pm.

      Wednesday 4th June

      (Jack) last night it was a bit on the "chilly" side, so we waited for the sun to rise before us, i.e. about seven thirty. Today we drove through Larrimah, Dalywaters, Dunmarra, Elliot, Renner Springs, Three Ways, and have camped about ten kilometres north of Tennant Creek.
      When we first set off, Socrates had trouble reaching forty mph, let alone fifty. We stopped at Larrimah and cleaned and checked the ignition system. He went a lot better, but there is still a pfetting noise and we are losing power. At one service station, the man reckoned it was the exhaust at fault.
      We stopped at Renner Springs and met Wynn there (a hosteller from Perth and Darwin). She gave us two cans of coke, very kind of her, and we chatted a while.
      Tonight we had ChouMein for supper - extremely delicious.
      I nearly burnt myself lighting the gas ring this evening. It is paraffin fuelled, but it uses meths to start it. I poured too much on at the whole thing burst into flame, with me six inches from it. Apart from singed beard and hair, luckily I wasn't burned.

      Thursday 5th June

      (Roo) We were driving (oops - wrong colour, it was dark!), here we go again, we were driving by nine am. Socrates was grumbling somewhat, making a horrible gurgling noise and losing a lot of power. Oh no, we though, not more cylinder trouble. At the BP garage in Tennant Creek, we borrowed a compression tester, and did a compression test. All cylinders were over a hundred psi or more. We removed the bottom plate of the engine, revealing the right hand exhaust pipe had been split apart. We bandaged it with muffler tape and drove on. The noise had gone and some of Soc's power had returned.
      Later in the morning we passed enormous boulders piled on top of each ther in the middle of a flat plain. These were the "Devils Marbles" - they have a great significance of some sort in Abo mythology.
      We drove all day, with Soc's performance fluctuating. We camped at about five thirty, supper was spaghetti bolognaise. We are now about forty kilometres north of Alice Springs. As we head south, the nights are very cold.

      Friday 6th June (arrival at Ayres Rock)

      (Jack) After eggs, beans and fried bread for breakfast, we drove into Alice Springs; we only just made it, limping in third gear. More by luck than judgement, we found a VW garage, where we left Socrates. By the time we got there, he was backfiring very frequently and struggling even in third gear. We walked into town with visions of high bills appearing.
      In town, we bought a couple of t-shirts each, as well as more provisions.
      Back at the garage, about eleven by now, we were informed that the trouble was a loose nut on the vacuum pump: one lousy loose nut ! They fixed up Socrates, tuned him and tightened up the wheel nut (where we had changed the bearing), all for just under five bucks. He now runs magnificently, and we have to concentrate to keep him under fifty mph. We drove a hundred miles south of Alice Springs, turned right and drove another fifty. We then filled up with fuel (at over forty cents a litre!) and hit dirt road. This lasted for the remaining hundred miles or so to Ayres Rock. About sixty miles from Ayres Rock we saw a lonely mountain over on the left. "It's Ayres!!" - rushed up the bank at the side of the road and took a photo ! It was 'Mount Conner' (!!).
      We arrived at Ayres at about six thirty, paid five bucks, (one and a half each, plus a dollar per night) and drove to the campsite at the eastern end of the rock. Being very short of paraffin ("Kero" in Aussie land), we built a wood fire which took Roo three trips in Soc to collect wood. As soon as we arrived it started to rain so we dived into the tent and ate sandwiches. The camp fire was a great success and we later cooked rice and peas with spices for supper.
      The rock is awe-inspiring, almost frightening. It stands over a thousand feet tall out of an otherwise flat countryside, an incredible sight. Tonight there has been a thunderstorm, and very bright lightening. The sight of lightning behind the rock has to be seen to be believed.

      Saturday 7th June

      (Roo) We had a leisurely breakfast around eight am as it couldn't decide just how much to rain. We got into Socrates and drove the half mile to the road which surrounds the rock. We passed the "little ayres rock" (boring) and stopped at the 'Kangaroo's Tail'. This is a naturally formed pillar of rock, about a hundred feet long, which sticks out from the main Rock. We passed some more shear cliff faces, some with incredible markings form the wind, sand and water corrosion. One area, called 'The Brain' had been potted and chipped by the elements and is indented in the Rock's face.
      Then we came to the climbing slope to the summit. On a warm day with a cool breeze, this climb, which is about one point six kilometres and takes you a thousand feet up, could be moderately hard and leave you tired. However, on a very cold day with sheets of pouring rain and a howling force six wind bringing clouds over the Rock, it's bloody murder. We set off in a drizzle, but soon found ourselves soaked by the torrents pouring down the face. The first half of the climb is undoubtedly the hardest and we were stopping every thirty or forty steps to rest our lungs (sore form the cold air). There is a chain, which stops after the first half, and lines of paint thereafter. We started at ten and were up at the top by ten forty five. There, the clouds kindly parted for us and the two or three others who made it up (There were about fifteen people who turned back). We could see for miles, to the Olgas (about fifteen miles away), to other mountains, but most spectacularly over the miles and miles of perfectly flat plains. After signing our names in the visitors book (in the cairn's plaque), we went back down, again pretty tiring , though at least the weather improved. We piled back into Socrates and tried to recover, then we drove round the rest of the Rock.
      The Olgas - a bunch of enormous boulders (each mountain sized) are nearby Ayres Rock and we decided to give them a try. The thirty kilometre road was one of the worst we have driven one. At one stage, Jack lost control of Socrates as we hit a patch of smooth mud. Socrates skidded at forty mph, sideways into a dirt bank, rode up over it and shot over to the other bank from the momentum. We hit dry ground in time and avoided damage, but the total lack of effect in the steering was quite frightening.
      We drove up to the Olgas - they are just phenomenal. They protrude from the plain looking like heads (the Abo for the Olgas means "many heads")and Mount Olga, the tallest is higher than Ayres Rock at five hundred and fifty metres above ground level. They were all shrouded in cloud when we got there, making them very mysterious. Because of the road, we drove back without going all the way round the rocks.
      We passed the rest of the afternoon covered from the rain, playing cards and writing letters. Supper was spag-bol. Again tonight there was a thunderstorm with lightning seemingly all around. The Rock is even more impressive and awe-inspiring under these conditions. I spent about ten minutes leaning against Soc trying to grab a photo of the Rock as forked lightening flashed around it. I had two attempts - Jack was standing in the way of an obstructing light. Unfortunately it started raining again, but we stood there, blankets over us for protection, in the pouring rain not wanting to give up. It must have looked a funny sight. (ps - I got the photo)

      Sunday 8th June

      (Jack) Lay in again, then went over to the Barbeque for breakfast. I was chatting to our 'next door neighbours' and she said she would like to buy the beetle (i.e. Socrates) when we got to Sydney: good news we thought. I went off to fill Socrates with fuel and while I was gone Roo overheard her talking to her husband. They were prepared to pay four hundred dollars for Soc - not such good news. Oh well, if we can't sell him elsewhere...
      At lunchtime we went into the local Abo camp to buy souvenirs. We bought a boomerang for a dollar and said we'd come back later. We did, and bought two more boomerangs. One Abo said he'd make some animals for us.
      During the afternoon I fixed all the irritating things on Soc that didn't work brilliantly - windscreen wipers, the horn and one of the indicators. We cleaned the windows as well.
      We have decided to stay one more night and make an early start in the morning.
      In the evening, we went to the west side of the Rock to watch the sunset. We drove about a mile away from the rock, I went a bit further as my camera has a smaller field of view. Sunset was at about six and while there, we bumped into Johnannes again (see Darwin). After a very spectacular sunset, we returned to the campsite and build a large fire. We sat around drinking and eating toast till about ten. The weather has at last changed for the better and the clouds have gone. Hopefully we'll get a good sunrise in the morning. Trouble is, without clouds, it gets very cold at night.

      Monday 9th June

      (Roo) Johannes and I rose early this morning to find a place from which to view the sunrise on the Rock. As we were about to leave, Jack stumbled out of the tent, pulling up his trousers, and jumped onto Socrates roof for the ride. We stood in the freezing pre-sunrise cold, waiting for something to happen. By the time the sun finally rose, we were almost shivering too much to take photos! Like sunset, the colours at sunrise are captured beautifully by Ayres Rock.
      We returned to the campsite, discovered we had no food for breakfast and packed up. Before leaving for Alice Springs, we went over to the Abo camp to see our 'friend' from yesterday. He had a variety of items to show us, and we bought five for five dollars (very cheap, each would have been over five bucks in the shop, the larger ones maybe ten or twenty bucks). We bought a "snake", about two feet long, a bowl, a ladle/stirrer and two "lizards", one about a foot long, the other about half that. All were carved with decorations burnt on.
      We said goodbye to Johannes and set off on the dirt. The road was better than we expected, but still held (nasty) surprises. I lost control when going round a bend at about forty mph and hit flat mud. Soc skidded sideways, covering the windscreen in mud, and careered up the two foot high bank where he sat quite happily, and refused to move, all four wheels in the air.
      One couple stopped and were of absolutely no practical use; the CATA bus we had just overtaken rolled up and towed us off with a chain. There was a very nice looking stewardess who got off the bus - when asked if she would like to hitch a lift with us she replied with "not the way you drive !" - oh well, worth a go I suppose....
      A motorcyclist stopped to see how we were doing, and turned out to be a pom. After chatting with him, we continued on our way and reached Alice Springs by three thirty. We stocked up with food, money etc., and were on the road again within an hour.
      Socrates is now maintaining sixty mph with ziltch effort, so we're making good time. We are about three hundred and fifty kilometres from Tennant creek, camped off the road in a cow paddock near Aileron.

      Tuesday 10th June

      (Jack) Breakfast included poached eggs today - luxury. We tried to cook some toast but it took so long that we gave up. By lunchtime, we reached Tennant Creek, passing through Barrow Creek and Wauchope on the way. Turning right at the Three Ways Roadhouse, we headed for Queensland (our last state). At Barry Caves we filled up with fuel (forty five cents a litre! - it's thirty cents in the cities) and pulled away. Two hundred yards later, chug... chug... fut. Socrates just stopped. We checked the oil - PANIC - it was below minimum. We went back to the roadhouse and filled up with oil. We have camped about five miles past the roadhouse in a main Road Dept. gravel dump. Today we covered four hundred and thirty six miles.

      Wednesday 11th June

      (Roo) We awoke to howling winds this morning, which forced us to eat breakfast inside Socrates (quite a feat). We set off at about eight thirty, making good time to the Queensland border. We hit our last state at ten am. In Carnoweal we drew sixty bucks each (both of us now have under a hundred bucks in the accounts) and tried to work out where and how Soc was losing oil (unsuccessfully).
      Much of the time today was spent driving through plains of yellow grass which stretched, totally flat, to the horizon in every direction. As the road was also dead straight, it was mind bogglingly boring. Every now and then the landscape was relieved by a dry creek, or an exceptionally smelly cow carcass, or even (if you were really lucky) an expanse of termite hills, looking like a graveyard. One particular termite hill by the road had it's top lopped off; Jack noticed this - "Terminated" he said.....
      When we reached Mount Isa, the main town between Townsville and Threeways, we found a VW garage who reckoned a piston ring had failed and the consequent compression leakage was forcing oil out via the overflow pipe - remedy: (1) cheap, keep putting more oil in or (2) expensive, remove engine and replace ring. Before leaving Mount Isa, we stocked up with oil...
      We drove on, stopping to pick up a grader driver whose tyre had run amok, dropped him off three miles further on, and then stopped in Cloncurry. Next we reached Julia Creek (around sunset); after there the road began to fall apart - side tracks and detours appeared, taking us over cow infested dirt tracks. Eventually we got so fed up with these forced detours, we disobeyed the signs and plunged into road supposedly covered in "wet tar" - rubbish, it was one of the best roads we've driven so far.
      Whilst on one of the detours (doing fifty mph), I notice some shapes zooming past me. Jack looked back, then turned very white. " Ahhch.... Cows - yiikes!!" Next second I found myself doing fifty or so thorough another herd of the animals(specially designed with a matt brown hide for night fighting with motorists). I somehow slalomed my way through the creatures, who thundered around hitting each other (not Soc luckily) and was out of the other side. When Jack took his hands away from his eyes we looked for a campsite, choosing a track on the side of the road. We covered four hundred and fifty miles today.

      Thursday 12th June

      (Jack) Moving by eight thirty. Our route took us through Richmond, Hughenden, Charters Towers, and Townsville. At the coast, we turned left and headed north through Rollingstone and Ingham, eventually camping twenty yards from the Pacific Ocean at Cardwell. The scenery has been getting greener and greener all day. Since Townsville, we have been driving through dense, humid rainforest, typical of the tropics. Also typically, the mozzies are getting very bad.
      We have camped at the end of a caravan park (not paying of course). Unfortunately the showers are blocked so we'll have to wait till the youth hostel tomorrow.
      Randy Note:-
      When we stopped in Townsville to fill up with petrol, we were served by an extremely (mind stunningly) attractive young lady. This made us realise how long we have been on the road. On the same subject, quote of the week from Roo, talking about airports, "They turn me on!" (just after passing a sigh saying 'Airport turn off').
      Random Note:-
      Socrates is now drinking about a pint of oil every three or four hundred miles. This is probably due to a damaged piston ring, according to the VW garage in Mount Isa. As he is not losing power, we'll leave it for the time being.

      Friday 13th June (arrival at Cairns)

      (Roo) After eggs and beans (not again!), we set off at about nine. We got petrol in Imisfail, then drove into Cairns where we found the hostel (not YHA) recommended to us by everyone at 123 the Esplanade. It was full, so we went into town, drew money, stocked up with food and drove north, after some lunch to find a beach. We intend to camp till Monday when we'll return to Cairns.
      We drove for thirty five miles, stopping off to look at Trinity and Ellis beaches - "No Camping" and "$4 a night" signs made us head further north over some mountains.
      We found a beach and drove Soc to within twenty yards of it. Three or four other families are nearby in the dense undergrowth, hidden from view. The weather, as in Cairns, was raining, but as the day drew in it cleared up.
      Jesus ! there's a beautiful girl walking alone the beach near me - totally nude. Tally ho chaps, oh damn - there's her two children and gorilla like husband, p'raps I'll just look for now...

      Saturday 14th June

      (Jack) Rose late (as always on the beach!) and had cereal for breakfast, forth the first time since Adelaide (excluding Port Headland).
      At about nine thirty we went to Mossman and rang the youth hostel. We arranged to stay on Monday and Tuesday and checked there was plenty of room on their boat trip. We also filled up our water containers. By the time we returned to the beach the clouds had gone and the sun was shining so we sunbathed. Roo lay on his airbed in the sea, I stuck to solid land.
      Suddenly, our attention was held to the north. About twenty yards away, three beautiful young girls had stripped off and were getting an (all over) tan. Unfortunately, there were two boyfriends with them. Roo sat bolt upright on his airbed, and promptly capsized. They hung around till lunchtime, much to our pleasure. At lunchtime, it pissed down, the heavens opened, and we were forced to abandon to the tent. It has been overcast for the rest of the afternoon.
      When the rain stopped, we put more putty on Soc's exhaust and adjusted his tappets, an exercise requiring a lot of patience. We had supper, then went to bed.

      Sunday 15th June

      (Roo) We rose late (no!, not again?), thought about having lunch and settled for breakfast. We attacked Socrates with sponges and screwdrivers. I cleaned him and Jack mended the horn once again. He also adjusted the windscreen wipers. So with Socrates clean and efficient, and us dirty and tired, we decided to visit our local gorge to take our minds off the bad weather.
      The Mossman Gorge is just outside the town of Mossman, in the thick rain forest. We went up a walking track to where we could view the gorge. It runs down a mountain and has a large, very clear, river running down it. Surrounded by overhanging trees, creepers and tropical plants, it looks quite impressive. We verged off the beaten track into the rain forest, got cold feet and wet clothes, and returned.
      On the way back, we spotted "Coconuts, 20c". Soc screeched to a halt and we bought two. Back at the camp, with saw and screwdriver, we prised off the outer layers.
      This all provided much amusement, but little grub, so we abandoned to the beach as the sun appeared. The sun got shy as we stripped off, and hid behind a cloud - so we gave up and cooked supper. We dived into bed, sprayed 'Mortein' and, after recovering consciousness, lay awake sweating with boredom.

      Monday 16th June

      (Jack) We had packed up and were in Cairns by nine am. Of course, as soon as we left the beach, the sun shone and has done all day !
      At the hostel, we were short of money (what a change!) and the hostel wasn't prepared to wait till later for payment. Luckily, after searching the town, we found an agent for the Commonwealth that was open (for today is a bank holiday), and drew some money. We now have about twenty five dollars to our name.
      Back at the hostel, we paid for two nights and booked our passage on a reef trip (fifteen bucks each) which leaves at six am tomorrow. We then gave a couple of people a lift to Ellis beach.
      We spent the whole day lazing on the beach under a very hot sun. The two hostellers, Charlotte and Keith (a Canadian we had met in Darwin) are also staying in Cairns. At the beach we attacked the other coconut we'd bought in Mossman. In the evening, we had a barbeque then an early night.

      Tuesday 17th June

      (Roo) Today began with a rude awakening at six am ("Huh? Whassammadda? Geroff, I'm sleeping". etc). Eventually thirty or forty hostellers stumbled out and began sorting the gear for the snorkelling trip we were going on today. We walked down to Platypus Wharf after being supplied with masks, snorkels and flippers. We boarded the 'M.V.Melawond' and by seven we were on our way out of Cairns harbour. We had a two hour journey past Green Island to Michaelmas Cay.
      The sky was clear, save a few clouds on the horizon, and there was a moderate wind which made the sea a little choppy. Five of us spent most of the time with our legs dangling over the side, getting wet (Jack, Keith, Craig (Canucks), Anna, Lottie (poms) and me). Jack's gun was beginning to ache as the journey went on.
      We reached Michaelmas Cay after nine. The Cay (an island of sand which remains about sea level) was minute. At high tide, it was no more than a hundred yards across and three hundred long. The particular Cay acts as a bird sanctuary and, even from a distance, you can see the hundreds of birds as they sweep around. Most of the birds were nesting, and there were chicks and eggs. The birds (all seabirds, terns etc.) were dully coloured, but, stuck out in the middle of nowhere as they were, it didn't matter - the spectacle itself was marvellous.
      We anchored off the island on some coral and all swam/snorkelled in. The coral was fantastic- there were huge stretches made up of so many different types with deep gullies and channels in them that you could swim through under water. The fish and other sea life were interesting too. All five of us swam around together - Jack unfortunately couldn't master the snorkel and his gum was getting worse.
      We saw giant clams, about three feet long and two feet wide (when open). Despite what James Bond movies show, they eat only plankton, not human ankles (not even Ursula Andress'). They do 'clam' up if nudged. It was fascinating to prod the brightly coloured inner "gum" of their jaws. They took about three of four spasms to close fully, but locked with incredible strength. One enjoyable prank was to swim to the bottom, pick up a stone or similar, and drop it into the jaws of the clam. It would close itself, decide the stone wasn't too tasty, open up and spit it out, sending it three feet into the water!
      There were bright electric blue fish about an inch long, incredibly colourful. Also, we saw blue starfish, that looked as if they were made of tubing - they stuck out against the coral and seabed.
      Having wandered around the island looking at the birds, Keith and I snorkelled some more. The boat was anchored for two hours at Michaelmas Cay and I was one of the first in and last out.
      There was also a beautiful white schooner anchored just off the cay. It looked perfect against the brilliant turquoise of the sea surrounding the island.
      Another hour of motoring and we reached a reef on the Great Barrier Reef itself. We anchored again, and saw some really fantastic coral. The edge of the reef was so sheer - it just dropped down hundreds of feet. The fish were more spectacular than at the cay - yellow Angelfish, some with rainbows across their bodies, some with orange, greens and blues. Again Keith and I swam together, sometime with Anna and Lottie when they ventured into the water. Poor Jack by now was stretched out on the ships deck in the shade. The whole side of his face was throbbing from what seemed likely to be an abscess. There was little to do - sweat it out and get what sleep he could.
      At one stage, when Anna was with us, we dived under some brown coral and saw a Ray, flapping to keep itself just off the sea bed. It was about three feet long, including two feet of tail. It was grey with purple spots. I was surprised, having only seen them in films etc., it was a beautiful sight and I got within inches of it as it snuggled into the coral. I surfaced and called to Anna "Moray eel - just under the coral - take a look". She was not too enthusiastic, even when I explained it was only a Ray. In fact she made a point of going in the opposite direction at a fair speed. We all swam on, exploring other parts of the reef. One bloke (a South African) saw me diving through holes and tunnels in the coral and called me over to one he had found. He went down.... and down... then into this hole which I had totally missed. It was very long and wide. Once he had surfaced, I went down. By the time I reached the entrance my ears were cracking and hurt. I slipped into the tunnel, the sight was amazing - sunlight was pouring through holes in the coral and great shoals of fish were darting to and fro. Beyond the dark shapes of the coral ahead was a beautiful blue haze. I swam towards this, in and out of the coral and the fishes.
      It is an incredible feeling to be under water on your own with no human in sight. There is only the squeaking of your flippers and the funny crackling noise the coral seems to make - otherwise silence. But when you are also in a tunnel of coral, totally surrounded by the beauty of the reef, the effect is mind blowing.
      Coming out of the tunnel, I found myself suddenly out of the claustrophobic atmosphere and into the agoraphobic atmosphere with blue everywhere. I had come out on the edge of the reef and ahead was what seemed like nothing. Behind and below me the reef fell vertically to the sandy bed which stretched out before me as far as the eye could see. Being so suddenly confronted with the extremes of tunnel then open seabed mad the effect of the dive doubly stunning. Only when I had taken this all in did I feel the pain in my lungs, and I shot to the surface.
      As the day drew on, I returned to the boat and checked out Jack (who was asleep, or as close as he could get) , still on the deck. He took some disprin to relieve the headache, but was obviously in a great deal of pain. I rejoined the girls, did some diving off the top of the boat, and saw some dolphins. Unfortunately I could get a mask in time to get over to them.
      Before we left, Keith Anna, Lottie and I went out again. Keith nearly stood in a clam, which was very funny. He stepped back, treading across the jaws, which began closing in. Only after repeated signs from me, did he realise his mistake - and did he shoot upwards!
      At about three the boat up-anchored and set off for home. The waves were a bit choppy, and Jack, whose resistance was very low by now, was seasick. Again, there was nothing to be done except to give him water to clear his mouth. We sat out the three hours to Cairns rubbing our sunburn. I luckily had worn a shirt while swimming, it had saved my back, but not my legs.
      As we disembarked the boat, the sun was setting behind the mountains, silhouetting the palms on the Esplanade. We went straight back to the hostel where I drove Jack in Soc to the hospital immediately. At 'casualty', he was given pain killing pills and told to see the dentist tomorrow. The doc was free, but we guessed the dentist was going to be expensive.
      Back at the hostel, Jack slept, thank God. Keith, Anna, Lottie and I decided to have a meal in Cairns. We went to the "Steak House" in town. The rump steaks we had were enormous, over eight inches long and three inches across - and with as much salad, rice, peas, coleslaw etc as you could fit on your plate, and all for five bucks. What a meal - we were all starving and wolfed it up.
      Lottie then began to feel ill (not another). She had caught sunstroke of some degree or other. We walked back to the hostel - I did some drawings of the reef, then all went to bed.
      Soon after we go back Jack woke up and never got back to sleep all night. I stayed up till one thirty to help him with his tablet dosage, getting ice, water etc.. I got some sleep between two and four until Jack again needed ice and water. I slept then till six am.

      Wednesday 18th June

      (Jack) The day started by going to the hospital at nine am. I was in agony, and when the dentist gave me a local anaesthetic, it was bliss. The only problem was that during my euphoria, he pulled out a tooth ! Luckily it didn't cost anything, and with my mouth full of bloody bandages, we returned to the hostel. We then went to the bank and discovered that the money I had written home for hadn't arrived - bad news.
      Back at the hostel, I stayed in bed for the rest of the day, recovering from my 'operation'.
      Roo went into town with Keith, Anna and Lottie, and after buying some "veggies" for supper, had the most amazing ice cream he'd ever had. It was passion fruit, pineapple and rock melon - mind numbing. He then bought a real pineapple and returned.
      They spent the rest of the day lazing around and doing not much in particular.

      Thursday 19th June

      (Roo) Today, we intrepid explorers decided to give Kwanda a check out. Lottie, Anna, Jack and I piled into Socrates and shot along the Cook Highway north towards Mossman. Kwanda is situated in the mountains of rain forest less than twenty kilometres from Cairns.
      We drove up the winding road through the mountains, with a marvellous view down over the sugar plantations and out to sea. We found a "honey-house", selling ten different types of honey, with free tasting. Some were really great. After looking around there, we drove on to try to find the Baron Falls which are supposed to be beautiful. We found a lookout point hundreds of feet above the gorge and opposite the falls.
      The weather was great and we were all taking photos left, right and centre. We then found an even better place on the railway which passes by the falls.
      It was getting hot, so we decided to find the swimming area above the falls. After many wrong turnings and back tracking we found the place. We crossed across the top of the dam controlling the falls (which, by the way, are turned on when a train passes!). We climbed onto some rocks and found a beautiful pool where some others were swimming. It was the most beautiful place - totally surrounded by rain forest, and with an enormous vertical drop fifty yards away where the falls trickled down.
      We swam in the cold fresh water and lazed around talking and sunbathing. After some hours we returned to Soc and headed back to Kwanda, then on to Cairns. Jack checked into the dental clinic who told him he needed a few more days to get better.
      Lottie and I went into town to get some liver for supper. It tasted delicious and again we sat around talking till late.
      Then I rang home, and found out that no money was on it's way out. We decided to drive to Townsville with the girls tomorrow (they are lending us enough to get there - very sweet of them).

      Friday 20th June (departure from Cairns)

      (Jack) Said goodbye to everyone at Cairns, packed, repacked and packed again, as we were giving Anna and Lottie a lift down to Townsville. Eventually, we got everything in and set off at about ten. As we drove away, Anna sat on the roof while Rob (Pom) took a cine-movie of us (Rob Films Inc!)
      After getting lost in Cairns, eventually ending up in the dock, we found the road out. Roo stopped on a railway track, and then moved very quickly as a massive freight train thundered towards us. We also missed a few semi's and assorted vehicles. Anna and Lottie turned white....
      The road was lined with sugar plantations, and we stopped at one and begged a few pieces of cane. It was very tasty, but also very rich. The area is also cris-crossed with a narrow gauge railway system that transports the cane to the processing plants. We saw one of the trains and screeched to a halt, taking photos of the machine. I think the driver thought we were mad.
      Just outside Cairns there was a clank and a bump as one of the hubcaps ran off into a ditch. When I recovered it, it had been run over, and was definitely not circular any more!
      At lunch time, we stopped at "BananaLand". I had a pear, a chocolate milk and a crunchie!. Roo bought a pawpaw and decided it tasted like unwashed feet on a bad day. The unfortunate pawpaw was thrown from the car in no uncertain manner.
      Later in the afternoon we passed a pineapple plantation, did a U-ee and went back to it. We piled out of Soc, grabbed a saw from the tool kit and cut off a pineapple (or six!). Convinced an angry farmer would find us, and unable to stop laughing, we drove away, all the pineapples piled in my lap.
      Reaching Townsville, we found the ferry and having locked up Socrates, we headed for Magnetic Island at about five forty five. We sat on the ferry, eating pineapples and generally making fools of ourselves.
      It was dark when we got off the ferry, and we took a taxi to the youth hostel, which was full - PANIC. The taxi driver then took us to the United Christian Hostel which said they would take us. We are the first hostellers to stay here. Originally it was build for children's holidays, but it seems to have just become an associate hostel. We paid (three bucks each)and had full use of the kitchen, which was stocked full of food. We had a fine supper - to say the least. The people who run the place are really kind, they even lent us sleeping bags as we had forgotten our blankets. We got to bed at about ten.

      Saturday 21st June

      (Roo) We were up late. We 'borrowed' some eggs from the fridge, and had a mixture of English and tropical breakfast: boiled or poached eggs, followed by pineapple - really delicious. We were given directions to a nearby beach (Nelly Bay). The beach had odd muddy/sandy patches which stretched out to sea. It was a beautiful setting and we lay out on the sand, taking occasional dips, eating pineapple and getting very sore mouths from it ! We messed around having a mad time till the sun went down, then we slowly drifted back to the hostel, picking up a coconut from the ground on the way.
      The 'Mediterranean Village' was just down the road from us so we thought we'd give it a try. Although we weren't residents at the hotel, we were able to get into the bar where we systematically got happier and happier on Pimms, Lemon/Lime Bitters and carafes of white whine. Next door there was a band and a dance floor, so we tried to get in - "Sorry sir, not till eight pm", come eight pm," two dollars a head please"
      No way ! So we danced outside - "Sorry sir, the patio isn't a dance floor" - so we stripped of to swimming gear and Lottie, Anna and I plunged into their pool. Jack wasn't so keen - he got the towels. It was freezing, but we really didn't care then. Once out, I gave Lottie a piggy back ride back to the hostel which I think ended in a pile on the grass by the hostel. The warden was looking from his window, unbelievingly.
      We all piled into our room, and after the ritual pineapple throwing session, collapsed asleep, well, sang, and messed around, first...

      Sunday 22nd June

      (Jack) Today we decided we should move to one of the proper hostels. We had breakfast and packed up, and after giving the warden and his wife a pineapple (they have been very kind), we left at about ten thirty.
      One the main road, we waited at the roadside, hitching, for about an hour. We separated into two pairs, Roo with Lottie, and I with Anna. While we were waiting, Roo and Lottie ate a pineapple (cheek - they didn't leave any for us !!!!). A guy in a truck stopped and we discovered we were on the wrong side of the road! So we moved... and waited. Eventually we got a lift to Arcadia, only to discover the hostel was full. We left our gear there and went on to Horseshoe Bay where we spent the afternoon on the beach. Near Arcadia, Roo ran into Julie and Debbie (see Perth and Port Headland) which was a nice surprise. We thought we had lost them as we didn't see then in Darwin, Alice or Cairns. We hitched a lift in a Mini-Moke (all four of us and two people in the front!) back to the hostel in Arcadia and picked up our gear - it was still full. Roo and Lottie got a lift quickly, while Anna and I sat down to wait. Two girls, both with very long blond hair came out also to hitch. Kindly, they walked further down the road so we would get first lift. A truck came along, passed us, and stopped for the two females !!! God I was furious, "it isn't fair!" I shouted at the retreating van (or words to that effect).
      Eventually we got to the other hostel and found that that was also full so we returned to the United Church, where one bloke gave us a "you should believe in Jesus" lecture. In the evening we retreated to the pub (again).

      Monday 23rd June

      (Roo) Pineapples and eggs again for breakfast! We all stumbled around for the first hour, achieving very little. I had been kept awake by some Yank snoring all night, he sounded like he was felling trees with a chainsaw and must have got through most of a forest before I slept.
      We packed up and got some supplied from the freezer and larder (our source of food for the past three days). Then we all trudged over to the main road. Lottie and I went ahead of Jack and Anna, and sat down with thumbs out. Along came a jolly hiker who plonked himself down by the other two and began enthralling them with an account of how he got from Mackay to Townsville (all of four hundred kilometres) in four lifts. They got fed up with him after a minute and with the aid of subtle hints - "go away" - "we need a lift not a story" etc.etc., passed him on to us. E had just polished off the last of the pineapples when we were confronted by this monotonous, pre-recorded, uninteresting, mind-numbing, irrelevant story about the thrills of hiking. "Go away, we're hitching... please?" Fifteen minutes later he departed. Lottie and I got to Picnic bay after the others. We sat around eating biscuits till the ferry came.
      After the trip back to the mainland, we split up again. Jack and I went to the bank (Jack's money was there, mine wasn't). We repaid the girls what had been lent and we all headed off to the Greyhound bus terminal to arrange their journey to Rockhampton. The girl behind the counter caused problems, the busses went at awkward times and they cost more than the train, so we gave up ("If only there had been a man behind the counter!"- quote the girls, with a fair degree of justification).
      Next stop the railway station. Lottie and I went in Socrates, the others going to the mall. We deposited to backpacks in the cloak rooms and found out that the train today was booked. There was no train tomorrow. "What do we do now??" back at the mall, we tried to find an idea - zilch.
      We decided to stay the night at the hostel in Townsville 0- which was full. After a little chat I managed to persuade Jack that Rockhampton would have better job prospects, being larger than Townsville and that we could save money by sharing costs with Lottie and Anna. We had planned to go to MacKay tomorrow and Rockhampton the day after, but we ended up, after carefully repacking Socrates, driving out of Townville at five pm. We stopped off at the station, argued the station master into opening the cloak room and recovered our packs.
      Off we drove into the dark, aiming for Mackay when suddenly, we saw this huge cane burning off session. Being curious and wanting some good photos, we turned off the road and drove towards the fire. The road became dirt as we passed some houses, and soon we found there was not fire, just a lots of smoke, and tractors and land cruisers zooming everywhere. "U-ee time" we thought. We took some short cuts and soon found a land cruiser following us. When we hit the highway, he flashed his lights and turned back - we assumed he was an irate farmer.
      We drove on through Ayr and were about ten kilometres on when lo and behold, a blue flashing light appeared in the mirror. Oh my God, what have we done now ?
      We pulled up (I was driving) and a policeman came up, told me to switch off the engine, then took the keys.
      "Have you come from Giru?"
      - "Where officer?"
      - "Sargeant; are you driving south?"
      - "Yes"
      - "Over every property in the district?"
      - "No...well.. I beg your pardon?"
      - "You were reported acting in a suspicious manner by three farmers in Giru"
      - "Oh sorry" ....
      Out came the driving licences, passports etc. Another police car screeched to a halt, blue lights flashing. What had we done to deserve this ?
      I ended up driving Socrates back with one police car in front and one behind as an escort. Jack, Anna and Lottie were locked into the back of the first police car.. At the police station we were escorted in and details were taken. We waited till the Giru police sergeant arrived. The moment he came in I knew he had to be a b**tard. I, as driver, was ushered into another room and questioned. Where was I born etc., then asked for an explanation... which boiled down to curiosity. "Curiosity eh? - doesn't sound too good, do it sir ?" was the reception. Lottie was also questioned. One policeman checked through the car and packs, (the girls were scared out of their minds) but found nothing. Out came bra's, knickers etc.etc.. "I've seen worse and I'll see worse before I'm through" said the policeman.
      After it became obvious that we weren't arsonists or activists etc., the police gave us a pep talk and let us go. "Damn", muttered Jack, "I was looking forward to the free accommodation in the clink here tonight!".
      As we drove away, very carefully, Lottie said "Lucky they didn't find the grass in my bag!". We burst into giggles, sighs of relief etc., bordering on near hysteria!!
      We couldn't now get to Mackay with the petrol we had so we looked for a caravan park. Anna took over the driving (I'd had enough for the evening!) and we reached Proserpine at eleven thirty. The night life was non-existent (we were too tired anyway) and eventually we found a park (after half an hour of ringing from a phone booth). It was closed, so we pitched our tent on the edge. Then it started raining. We cooked a hasty supper, the girls insisted on taking the car, so Jack and I slept in the tent.

      Tuesday 24th June

      (Jack) Got up to more rain and had boiled eggs and beans for breakfast. We drove out of the back end of the park and "forgot" to pay. We drove all day, taking turns to drive, stopping every now and then to take photos, fill up with fuel, buy fruit etc.. At lunch time, w stopped at Sarina for 'Steak and Vegies' at a pub. Everything of interest we passed had to be photographed, Boab trees, a short tree called a black boy, and acres of gum trees.
      Eventually we reached Rockhampton after dark and booked into the youth hostel. The hostel is a custom built place with excellent facilities. Exhausted, we had more boiled eggs then went to bed - my God, the bunks were comfortable.

      Wednesday 25th June

      (Roo) The girls decided last night not to get the 6.45 bus to LongReach this morning, but to wait and get the train. We all lay in bed until about nine, then we had breakfast and walked into Rockhampton.
      We met up at the post office and went over to "Captain Nemo's Submarine Sandwich Base'. I had a 'super sub' - an enormous cheese, ham and salami roll. Then we went window shopping - what a mistake! The girls disappeared into one clothes shop after another. Jack and I waited and waited - how can females take so long to buy absolutely nothing ? Across the road was the 'Rockhampton Automatic Exchange' - "I wonder if they deal in female shoppers?" muttered Jack. There was a very loud and indignant "I heard that!" from a dress stand near the door.
      Culture Time:-
      We went to the Rockhampton art gallery. After nearly being knocked out by the automatic doors, which hurled themselves at you with a positively sadistic lunge, we had a look around. It was quite interesting and held several Australian landscape paintings (which can be quite beautiful). Upstairs was devoted to these. We sat down on the floor of the gallery and chatted about Art, A-levels, A level art, etc etc, then wandered back to the hostel. We passed a butcher's and like all travellers (hungry by definition), gazed at the steaks lovingly. We went inside, and stared even more lovingly, eventually buying four steaks at a buck each.
      We had a look in some bookshops, and saw some really good Aussie books. Then we returned to the hostel and cooked the steaks with onions, carrots, cabbage and zucchini - you name it, we had it.
      We shot through the food, with not long till the train left, then piled into Socrates and sped off to the station. Anna and Lottie were in the front, Jack had the packs in the back, and I was trying to drive with Lottie virtually sitting on the gear stick (I wasn't allowed to use second gear!). We reached the station at six fourteen, the train was in the station and due to leave at six fifteen, one minutes time. I stopped the train, Jack got the luggage, and the girls bought their tickets - what a mess! They piled on in a jumble and the train left immediately.
      Jack and I drove back to the hostel. It suddenly hit me - one of our most enjoyable weeks full of mad fun memories had come to a very abrupt end as that train pulled out of the station.
      We talked to an American guy for a bit, then went to bed.

      Thursday 26th June

      (Jack) After breakfast, I rang the UK, reverse charge. We discovered today that our air tickets are being held by a Mr Tabor in Sydney and that it was eleven pm in England. We went into town, looking for work. That was unsuccessful, so we drew some money and went to the local paper to place an advert to sell Socrates.
      We went to Captain Nemo's for lunch and bought some body wax for Soc. Back at the hostel, we spent all afternoon cleaning and sorting Socrates, pausing only to go and get the transaxle oil checked at the local VW garage, which they did for free. They also said that a tappet adjustment would cost about seven bucks, so we might get that done soon.
      Roo's money still hasn't arrived and at the moment we have ten bucks to our name. Being in such a bad financial state, we only had one veg with our steak for supper tonight.

      Friday 27th June

      (Roo) Jack decided to try for a job at six am this morning. He took Socrates to the Meat Works (main employment in the area), where he was given the job of meeting warm, steaming (because they were freshly plucked) cows offal, tying a loop of string around the end to stop excrement coming out, and lifting the whole mess into a chute. Our hero took one look and decided that keeping breakfast down was worth more than this - can't say I blame him, I'd have left too.
      When he returned, we cleaned out Soc's engine and received a call from someone interested in buying him. Jack went out to get some spray paint for the scratches on Soc, and while he was out, the caller arrived, reckoned we were asking too much, grumbled, left his address and went.
      When Jack returned, we sprayed away the scratches, then went into Rocky with another Pom. On the way out of the hostel, I was introduced to a Jap, his name (I couldn't believe it at first) was Suzuki - poor bloke! In Rocky, I discovered the money cabled from the UK on the 19th still had not arrived. We have six dollars between us (twenty cents in my account) and nowhere to spend the night tonight.
      Back at the hostel, we waited around, ate a packet of biscuits (lunch), and then went into town again. Jack drew his last six bucks, his account is now empty.
      For supper we had mince and rice, a combination of three peoples food. I rang home at five forty five pm, (seven forty five am in the UK) to enquire about the money. The reception was one of surprise, then irritation - phone bills and cable costs are not cheap. I guess the money has been held up in Perth.
      Jack is now making a house of cards (he must be bored!). We are now staying at the hostel and repaying them on Monday.

      Saturday 28th June

      (Jack) Got up late and spent most of the day just hanging around, waiting for someone to phone for Socrates. We've had a few calls, but no one yet has been to see him.
      We are living on borrowed money. The warden is allowing us to stay and has been very kind. We're just praying the money arrived on Monday.
      This evening Johannes turned yup at the hostel - coincidences never cease. We met him at both Ayres and Darwin. Mid afternoon a girl turned up who was in pain, something to do with her gums, so I gave her a lift to the hospital, then later a lift back to the hostel. That earned me two dollars - very useful.

      Sunday 29th June

      (Roo) We waited around more today, really just looking forward to leaving, getting money and a change of scene - i.e. tomorrow we hope. We played cards, read books, re-read Mad magazines, played ping pong and sunbathed. At one pm, we wandered over to 'Kentucky Fried Chicken' for a finger lickin' meal of all grease and no chicken.
      Jack kept getting wolf whistles from passing vans and bikes. Somewhat perplexed, he searched for the reason. A very white section of buttock was in view from behind because a rip had appeared in his shorts. He developed a complex, and draped his hand behind him in a very unnatural position till he reached the hostel!
      After supper I played ping pong with a Dutchman. The ball developed a split, then a crack, then separated in two. We played on with half a ball ( and twice the energy!). It kept rolling under the door toe the dining room. People got rather a shock when a hand appeared and began groping wildly, slapping the floor and calling "ball please!"

      Monday 30th June

      (Jack) Went into town, and got a telegram informing us that the money had been sent. In the bank we were informed of the opposite and they suggested that we go back later. We went back to the bank three times but to no avail, we have nine cents between us.
      The warden is now advancing us money for food, luckily, or we would be much hungrier than we are.
      I phoned home in the evening, unfortunately, I mistimed it and missed Dad.
      We're stuck here till we get some money, very depressing. Rockhampton as a place has sweet f.a. to offer in the way of entertainment, especially if you are broke.

      Tuesday 1st July (departure from Rockhampton)

      (Roo) We got some breakfast off the warden on "our account" - people think we're elite with this privilege - little do they know we are completely broke. We paid the bank Commonwealth a visit (again). A different girl drew the short stray today and put on a brave face to serve us. The bank had received a cable from Perth stating categorically that no money had come near them for me. After another argument with the manager, we managed to persuade him to pay for a call to Sydney, to check Jack's account. He agreed grudgingly, they said they'd ring back so we returned downhearted again, to the hostel.
      We waited and waited - then at two pm the bank rang to say Jack's money had arrived. We couldn't believe it. We drew seventy bucks and had lunch at Captain Nemo's - our first good meal for four days. After leaving a message for Lottie and Anna in the GPO and sending a telegram home, we packed up everything in the hostel.
      As a thank you to the warden who had bent the rules for us, we donated our monopoly set ( in the way anyway for us) to the hostel, as well as our spare water container (also no longer needed). Kind, aren't we?
      We set off at about four, and drove from Rocky to GinGin, and Maryborough, and are now camped about thirty kilometres north of Gympie in a rest area. Tomorrow we will collect our mail from Brisbane, about two hundred kilometres south of here, and head for Tamworth.
      Random Note:-
      We stopped for some milk on the way and to our delight and surprise were confronted with pint bottles !!! The first pint we've seen in six months. God, I almost feel homesick - well, not quite.

      Wednesday 2nd July

      (Jack) A real 'driving' day today. We drove from seven thirty am through to ten fifteen pm, covering five hundred and fifteen miles. We went through Gympie, Nambour and Redcliffe and reached Brisbane at about eleven am. There, we picked up our mail, at last, and also got a letter from the bank. This informed us that Roo's money had arrived and would we please pick it up. A very successful morning. We had lunch at a milk bar just outside town and then headed south, via Ipswich and Warwick to Deepwater, where we phoned Gladys Graham, a friend of my parents who lives in Tamworth. The weather turned nasty around sunset and we drove the rest of the way through continuous, sometimes driving, rain. Socrates has developed a loose wire in his ignition system and every now and then one cylinder stops firing. This means we have to jump out and re-attach the wire, not very nice in the driving rain. We reached Gladys in Tamworth at about ten fifteen and were given a cup of tea - marvellous. We chatted for a while and went to be at about eleven thirty.

      Thursday 3rd July

      (Roo) First thing I knew this morning was when Gladys (aged eighty) brought in porridge and toast for Jack and I. Breakfast in bed - I had forgotten what it was like !
      We got up at about eleven thirty - shows what a full day's driving does for you. The house was freezing ! - just like a fridge. We went into Tamworth with Gladys and helped her buy food etc.. She walks slowly, with the aid of a stick and was grateful for some help.
      Gladys is a compulsive talker. In her life she has seen as much of the world as you could, and told us all about it. Only this year, she rounded Cape Horn in a cruise ship and visited South America.
      Jack put an add in the local paper, The Morning Daily Leader, for Socrates. We're giving him till Sunday to be sold (for six hundred bucks). After the shopping. Gladys went to see her hairdresser and doctor, and we got some lunch.
      At about five, Annette, one of Gladys' daughters, shot in, had a very rushed conversation, collected the dog, Tara, and shot out again.
      Gladys insisted on taking us out to the West Tamworth Leagues club. There we had the "Smorgasbord". Jack and I, given the chance to take as much as we wanted, piled out plates with spaghetti, chips, cold meat, fish, bread, rice, carrots and other veggies - anything we could get on one plate - what a meal ! Afterwards, Gladys gambled away a couple of bucks on the one arm bandits, and Jack and I played snooker on the full size table, really good.
      Back at the house, we heard more about Rio de Janeiro, Port of Spain, Barbados, Tonga etc.etc.. (the list is endless!) - exhausted, we collapsed to sleep at about eleven thirty.

      Friday 4th July

      (Jack) In the morning, we cleaned out Socrates, piling all our gear on the back veranda, what a pile ! We also cleaned the engine, which was covered in oil, and tried to get him started. He refused to start, so we re-cleaned all the spark plugs, ignition contacts, fuel filter etc.. He still wouldn't start so we put more fuel in and he started ! This was all done in pouring rain, it was freezing. After that, Roo gave Tara the Doberman Pincer a walk, or rather the other way round; meanwhile, I mended some of Gladys jewellery.
      During the day, we had four phone calls for Socrates, and at about four pm a man arrived to look at him. After driving Soc up and down the road and then doing his best to pull the front wheels off, he said "thank mate" and went away. One down, three to go.
      At five, two ladies arrived and asked to see Soc. After a drive, they offered five hundred bucks. We said we'd split the difference and eventually agreed on five-fifty. They drove away and came back half an hour later with the cash. As we watched Soc go, there was a definite sadness in the air, it somehow marked the beginning of the end.
      We phoned the railway station and discovered there was a train leaving at nine thirty for Sydney. So we sorted and packed our stuff, ending up with five articles of luggage. We had to abandon a lot, which Gladys kindly said she would get rid of. That took a couple of hours, after which Gladys gave us a delicious supper (meatballs and veggies). We had to be at the station by nine, so at eight thirty we got ready. Gladys continued telling her stories and then couldn't find her visitors book. I thought we'd never make it, we reached the station at five past, and bought two tickets to Bungendore, fourteen dollars each.
      We got on the train, and after dropping oranges all over the platform and saying goodbye to Gladys, the train pulled out at nine thirty.

      Saturday 5th July (arrival in Canberra)

      (Roo) Our friendly conductor (couldn't stop cracking appalling jokes) switched out the carriage light at eleven pm and we managed to snatch the odd hours sleep before reaching Sydney at six am. The train was bitterly cold and it kept you awake.
      At Sydney, we got out and looked for the Bungendore train (NB Our arrival in Sydney marks our circumnavigation of Australia). The train had no cancellations, and so after being refused a ride in the luggage compartment, we decided to take the Goulburn train.
      It set off at five past eight, I managed to phone Currendooley and tell them (on answering machine) of our plan to hitch from Goulburn to Bungendore. IN the train we were steadily forced further and further down the carriage as people claimed their reserved seats. We reached Goulburn at eleven am, and found a phone to check if Pat and Sally were at home - but only got the answering machine. After getting some take away lunch, I phoned Mike and Cassy, who also didn't answer. Then Marsha, who did answer but was going to England tomorrow, said Pat and Sally were apparently in Nungatta (great!).
      Change of plan - we decided to go to Canberra instead. Slowly, we trudged along the Yass/Canberra highway, loaded down by our packs. After ten minutes we got a lift from two guys our age going to Canberra. We hopped in and Jack instantly fell asleep.
      We were dropped off at Civic in Canberra (I left my O.W. scarf in the car and neither of us in our zombie like state noticed). I rang General John Stevenson's house (contact from parents, return of hospitality etc), Mrs S answered and informed me it was their silver wedding anniversary, house full of relatives etc.,etc.. Luckily Susie, their youngest daughter, offered to put us up.
      She picked us up in her car and drove us to the Stevensons' where we received a very warm reception, great lunch and beer. There was a sudden influx of relatives and Susie took us back to her place which is beyond Gundaroo towards Yass. It's a marvellous semi run down place, with ski sticks as light switch cords, open wood fires etc.etc.. We settled in and were left for the rest of the day.
      Later on, Tom Gordan, who shares the house, came in. He didn't know we were here but took the explanation well ! He knew Pat and Sally, he is a Gordon, cousin of Emma, etc.. We sat in front of the fire all evening, Tom went out.

      Sunday 6th July

      (Jack) We got up very late as it was much warmer to stay in bed, and didn't do much before lunch. After lunch, we sat around the fire reading till Susie arrived and took us over to her parents house in Canberra for dinner. There, we met Ann's (Mrs S) two sisters and her brother in law Tom, and Susie's two sisters were also there. We had a marvellous dinner, by candle light, Mrs S is a great cook. Tom gave us a lift "home" at about ten and we sat around the electric fire chatting and drinking.

      Monday 7th July

      (Roo) I rang Bedford Osbourne at 'Bowylie' today to see if we could say hello before leaving for Sydney. We'll possibly go onto him later in the week. We also tried again and again to reach Currendooley, Pat was continually out (busy day!).
      On the radio (the famous 2CC), we heard that Jasper Carrott was going to be on at the Canberra Theatre on Wednesday (he is an English comedian - very good). We're going to try to make it. We also found out that the All Blacks plat ACT tomorrow - we'll try to see them playing against NSW in Sydney.
      Jack hitched into Hall (a nearby town) to get something to eat. The weather is still cold, though a little better. Later in the day we got through to Currendooley, had planned to go there tonight, but had to postpone till tomorrow due to lack of transport.
      Tom came home later and we cooked chops over the wood fire. We got the TV going, just, and saw the Queensland v All Blacks match, which was good.

      Tuesday 8th July

      (Jack) I was rudely awakened at seven thirty by the phone ringing - Sally O, "We're going to Sydney tomorrow so you'll only be able to stay one night". Oh well, we went to Currendooley anyway, at about eleven Mrs S gave us a lift to Bungendore. There, we rang Pat and waited for him to pick us up. We arrived at Currendooley and immediately had cheese on toast and a cup of tea.
      During the afternoon, we re-sorted our gear.
      Sally arrived at about six, and we chatted about our trip and life in general till past eleven, pausing only for dinner.
      It was a strange feeling returning to Currendooley, it was a though we had only left for a short time and nothing had changed. We caught up on the photos we missed last time!
      There was also mail waiting for us when we arrived. Roo got some slides, mainly of the Nullabor Plain, and also a bank draft, making us fifty dollars better off ("Yippee!!" - quote Roo). I got a birthday present from Anabel, sent on Twenty fourth of March, it probably would have been quicker to walk here with it!

      Wednesday 9th July

      (Roo) We packed up and had breakfast before eight. I had a last go in the Valiant station wagon! Sally gave us a lift to Civic in Canberra where amid blaring horns and frustrated drivers we said our hasty goodbyes. We left our luggage in the tourist bureau and found out about skiing in Threadbo on weekends, all for about thirty five bucks a day.
      We walked to the Mall, and put eight films in for developing. We rang the Stevensons, Susie answered and said she wanted to see a photo exhibition, inviting us along. While waiting to pick her up, I booked two tickets for Jasper Carrott tonight at the Canberra Theatre.
      Susie took us to the Uni where we found the exhibition was open... tomorrow. So we picked up our luggage, discovered Jacks bank balance was a hundred bucks better than we had thought, and after umming and ahhring, booked one day bus seats for skiing on Saturday (five am departure - uck!). With nothing else to do, we returned to Patey St. and after lunch, drove over to Jeir Station. Tom was there, as were scores of cats and dogs.
      Back in Canberra, a few hours later, we collected the eight films (from Darwin, Ayres, Kuranda, Cairns, Magnetic Island and Rockhampton) and spent some time back in Patey St looking at them. We waited around, watching Dr. Who etc (twelve thousand miles from England on tour and all we can do is watch Dr. Who... we must be mad).
      At seven thirty, Susie gave us a lift to the theatre where, after a wait, we took our seats and listened to an Aussie singer with a nice voice, but little style. Then, on came Mr J. Carrott. Jack and I haven't laughed continuously for as long since we've been out here. He was brilliant. His smooth midlands accent was no problem for the Aussie audience, who loved him. He attacked such institutions and Vegimite and the Queensland police. There were many references to England, and a few digs at the USA. When we left at about ten thirty, our sides were aching from the laughter. We took a taxi back to Patey St.

      Thursday 10th July

      (Jack) Got up fairly late, I went into town at lunch time to get some more photos printed, but unfortunately it would have taken too long.
      During the afternoon, we went to the Royal Military Memorial which overlooks Duntroon and gives a fairly good view of Canberra. Duntroon is the Aussi equivalent of Sandhurst (military college). We then went for a tour of Duntroon and met the commandant and his wife. Albie and MargeMorrison are friends of Roo's parents, they met at R.C.D.S. On the tour of the house, we saw the most mind bogglingly amazing four poster bed, over a hundred years old and with amazing carving.
      The Morrisons and Stevensons then had an argument as to who would put us up on Saturday night, eventually the Stevensons won. We had a drink then returned to Campbell.

      Friday 11th July

      (Roo) Susie took us up the Black Mountain Tower which overlooks the whole of Canberra. We went to the top lookout gallery, an amazing view. The tower was opened in May this year and was built with much of Pat Osbourne's sand. One floor lower, there is a revolving restaurant, similar to the GPO tower in London.
      We then drove back down the mountain and over to Fyshwick where we looked up Susie's friend working in the Ski hire shop. The shop was totally hired out, but we (ie Susie) pulled some strings and we were fitted with ski's and boots (Rossignal and Erbacher 180's and Cabor boots). Jacks boots are a hideous fluorescent green - good only for identification in snow drifts!
      With that sorted, we went to the Australian National Union's photo exhibition at the Uni. It was very modern and most of it went over our heads. Some of the contributors were vaguely famous (ie David Hockney) but it was worth a look. Back at the Stevensons, we stomped around in our boots, making a racket and trying to get used to them. We had supper and prepared for tomorrow.

      Saturday 12th July

      (Jack) Woke up at four am to the alarm and ignored it. Re-awoken at four fifteen and climbed out of bed. We pulled on layer after layer of clothing, pyjamas, t-shirts, etc., and were just about to attack some muesli when the taxi arrived. I put the muesli away and grabbed an apple - a great breakfast.
      At the bus depot we checked in and put our gear in the bus which departed at five. The journey took three hours, and we tried to catch a bit of sleep on the way. We were (of course) delayed by a traffic jam.
      By the time we had bought our ski lift tickets (sixteen bucks each - rip off!! ), got our gear on, and reached the slopes it was about nine thirty. There was a large number of slopes, and about a dozen or so lifts, including a triple chair lift which held three people.
      On my first attempt at a T bar lift, I fell off, much to Roo's amusement (I had never skied before).We tried again and this time made it to the top. Then began my first skiing lesson, with Roo as instructor. The first thing I learnt was how to fall over, as the day progressed I became very skilled at this art.
      Skiing is a strange sport. In order to turn to the right, you have to put your weight on the left foot and NOT lean into the turn, against all natural instincts. This is most confusing.
      We skied till about three forty-five, with a break for lunch. We tried different lifts, Roo went to the top of Mount Perisher (great name eh?), while I contented myself with falling over on the easier slopes. We stayed together in the morning, Roo attempting to teach me the basics. In the afternoon, Roo "did" the higher slopes, some of which were pretty tricky.
      At one point, I was going up the T bar lift with a girl, and I fell off. Naturally, she fell of too. I apologised and she headed of down the slopes in a fairly good criss cross manner. I then went down the slope, completely out of control, at a speed most professionals couldn't reach, and ran over the same poor girls skis! She made a hasty retreat for another slope....
      By the end of the day I was coated in snow, and if it hadn't been a nice day, I would have frozen. Wearily, we got back on the bus and arrived in Canberra at about seven.
      Back at the Stevensons, we had a hot shower (luxury) and then dressed for dinner. We were taken out to a seafood restaurant, owned by an old friend of Maj.Gen.S. and we had the most amazing meal. For entrée, Roo had Scallops and I had King Prawns. The main course was enormous, Roo's Sole was the largest I have ever seen. I had a sea food platter, which was a bit of everything. During the meal, the four of us consumed three bottles of wine and I have no idea what time we returned home. Exhausted, both of must have fallen asleep instantly.

      Sunday 13th July (arrival in Sydney)

      (Roo) I crawled out of bed, crawled down from the landing and slumped into a chair for breakfast at eight. There was a mad rush to be ready at nine as Maj Gen S wanted to leave at nine ten. Somehow we made it and departed on time, giving Mrs S a tin of Twinnings Orange Peking Tea (!!??) as a thank you. We were dropped off on the Hume Highway to Goulburn and Sydney, where we said our good byes to the Stevensons. After half an hour's wait in the cold, an orange campervan picked us up and said he'd take us to Sydney. Jack climbed in the back and fell asleep while I sat in the front and chatted to our driver.
      His driving was interesting; several times I thought I was a gonner, and was at the point of jumping out quite often. He kept overtaking large cars and trucks, usually in the path of on coming traffic.
      We were dropped off in Liverpool, where we got another hitch to Parramata station. We got to Bondi Junction by train and walked to 25 Junction St, Catherine Osbourne's place. Alex (kiwi, see early March) saw us and said we could stay. I rang the house where Anna and Lottie were staying immediately, Anna answered and we filled in news since Rocky. Lottie came on the phone and we decided to nip around to Killara to see them. An hour and several trains later, plus a very long walk, we got there.
      The house was huge, owned by a Dr. Pittar, but the Pittars were out. We showed them the photos of Cairns, magnetic Island etc and generally had a fun chat. Seeing the two girls again brought back a flood of memories, snorkelling, pineapples and police chases mainly !!. They were on great form, they had met an O.W. since we last saw them and we worked out that it was the ever re-occurring Marc Stacpoole!
      Then Dr and Mrs Pittar returned, they were most kind and asked us to stay to supper. After that we chatted a some more, and played cards etc.. When we left at about eleven, the train was late which meant we missed our connection to Bondi Junction. No busses ran, it was now twelve fifteen, so we got a taxi back to Junction St. We were let in by Alex's sister, and we collapsed into bed at one am, totally zonked.

      Monday 14th July

      (Jack) We went into town at about eleven, after spending about one and a half hours sorting negatives fro photo reprints. We put the photos in, and then went to Barclays House and collected our air tickets from the thirtieth floor. We then went to the airlines office and confirmed our tickets. After lunch, we returned to Barclays House and met a Mr Tabor, a friend of my uncle's.
      We spent the afternoon searching for presents to take home, very exciting... grackles of the world unite !
      In the evening, we stayed at 25 Junction St again, and drank wine and watched TV all evening.

      Tuesday 15th July

      (Roo) I was up at seven to get the eight am train to Katoomba. Alex gave me a lift to the station, but the train was postponed till eight fifty-five. The two hour ride was uneventful, except that the scenery became very mountainous towards the end of the journey. The mountains, all covered in trees, were very steep with clouds below in the valleys.
      When the train got to Katoomba, I found a tourist office who said a bus left in two minutes. At the stop, I met two Tasmanian girls waiting there, called JoAnne and Sarah. We all went over to the cable car point in the bus and took a ride in it.
      The chasms/valleys around us formed a Y and the cable car went over one of them six hundred feet up. It was a long long way down, and sheer. Some waterfalls trickled down and the greeny-blue mountains stretched as far as you could see. Then we walked along the edge of the chasm to Witches Lookout, then a mile of two on to Echo Point where you could see the famous three sisters. They are three enormous formations of rock sticking up from the cliff face. The range is called the Blue mountains, because of the incredible greenish-blue colour they seem to emit. We all had lunch then began walking back to the train. I saw a Youth Hostel sign and decided to check it out in case Anna and Lottie were there. I went round one corner, then another, and another. The hills were very steep and after a couple of miles I gave up, running back to the station and nearly killing myself in the attempt! After all that, the train had left half an hour before hand. JoAnne, Sarah and I had a drink, waited around, then caught the next (three-twenty) train to Sydney. The journey was uneventful, that is except for on occasion when both girls decided to launch an attack on my ankles(??!!). The carriage was very full of people, none of whom seemed impressed by my cried of "I've never seen them before - honest!". We said goodbye, swapped addresses etc at Sydney Central, and I took the underground to Bondi Junction, and Junction St.. Jack was there. He had been over to Harry and Marie Froshwaig and arranged for us to stay there on Sunday night and for them to take us to the airport on Monday. Then he went to Barclays, and dropped off some letters for England (going in the Barclays bag). He collected some of the photos we had left yesterday. He went to the Cross, and left a message at the hostel there for Debbie and Julie, in case they arrived.
      Maj Gen Stevenson had kindly taken one of our cases to a hotel in Rushcutters Bay when he was up here, so Jack collected it and took it back to Junction St.
      When I returned we went over to Harry and Maries'. They took us to the Eastern Suburbs Leagues Club where we bought them supper. Back at the flat, we showed them some photos, which took a very long time.
      Random Note:-
      We received a letter from Anabel inviting us to a "welcome home" party on August second. I wonder who that's for ?
      Random Note:-
      Being back in Sydney is odd. The trip already feels like a load of memories - as if we've left... very weird.

      Wednesday 16th July

      (Jack) We spent the morning around town, going to Thai airlines, Grahaems bookshop (to buy Australian Homesteads), Dick Smiths to buy a couple of amplifiers and also picked up some more photos.
      After lunch, we caught the train to Redfern, and after a walking tour of the area, eventually found Mabel Davies flat. Mabel is a friend of my parents, they met on the cruise ships when Dad was Captain. She is a dwarf and her flat has been adapted to help her. We looked at photos and showed her our photos and had a wonderful tea.
      During the evening, we arranged to meet Anna and Lottie tomorrow and watched a very good horror movie.

      Thursday 17th July

      (Roo) Jack went into town to sort out tax returns with the bank. He spent half an hour in the tax department, then went to the Post Office where he bumped into Anna and Lottie. Back at Junction St., I chatted with Febes (Alex's sister) and then went into town with Jack when he got back from the bank. We collected some more reprinted films and wandered over to the Opera House a little late.
      Anna was there waiting, but not Lottie; so the three of us got rid of a fair bit of cider in the meantime, sitting in the Harbour bar, overlooking the harbour.
      Lottie arrived, running (just for effect) and we consumed some more cider.
      After umming and arring we decided to take a guided tour of the Opera House. It was very interesting, i.e. the outside shell is totally self supporting. Then we all went back into town to see the NSW Art Gallery. There were some really beautiful Australian paintings. We spent some time looking around, there were several by Tom Roberts, an Aussie landscaper who did many on the early pioneers. I bought a print of one of his.
      It was about four pm when we left, so we headed for the city centre and got something to eat, said goodbye to the girls till tomorrow and went to Junction St. to pick up our luggage. Loaded up, we said goodbye to Catherine, Febes, Alex, Anthea and Trini and staggered over to Bondi Junction, taking the train to Lindfield.
      We found the Middletons (who we had arranged to stay with) without trouble, and had a very long welcome supper. We have been given a very nice, totally separate 'granny flat' to ourselves. It's got a "beautie" hifi and TV, kitchen etc..

      Friday 18th July

      (Jack) We got up very late and started recording on the amazing hifi there is here. After lunch, we went into town, to the taxation office for Roo, to the bank to draw all our money and picked up yet another film. We also had some reprints done (in three quarters of an hour). We spent hours looking for "Durex Tape" ( the Aussie equivalent of Sellotape, but unsuccessfully.
      We returned to Lindfield at about five and rang "Peanuts" and "Pittars". "Peanuts" is a local disco, where they serve steaks downstairs and have the disco upstairs. There is a great atmosphere there and I reserved a table for four. Anna and Lottie are staying with Dr. and Mrs. Pittar, so I rang and left a message for A and L who were out for the day. At six Anna rang and Roo asked her and Lottie to be here by seven, an impossible task as they had only just got home! However, they arrived at seven fifteen (interrupting MASH !) and after meeting Paul and Lyn (Middleton) we all headed up to the granny flat where Roo and I are staying.
      Between the four of us, we downed about two litres of white wine, which put us in quite a good mood (!) We caught the train, after Roo had watered one of Aussie Railway's trees, nearly missing the train.
      We arrived at North Sydney station, and had to run to get out of the train in time, reactions were a little slow. We found "Peanuts", it was locked so I rang the bell and a bounced said he wouldn't let us in. I insisted I had reserved a table, and eventually he grudgingly let us in.
      The inside can only be described as sleazy. We sat down at a rough wooden table and I bought a carafe of white wine - five bucks, but a very large carafe. After a couple of those we had a meal, rump steak and all the veggies you can fit on the plate (accompanied by more wine). There was a live band and they weren't too bad, but we didn't care much anyway.
      At some unspecified time (the watch was by now out of focus), we went up to the disco, with another carafe of wine. Roo visited the men's room and had a bit of a collision with a wall, which he claimed attacked him. We danced and danced the night away, pausing only for refreshment, until about half twelve, when we left as Anna and Lottie had to be up at seven to catch the plane home.
      We staggered around for a few minutes, Roo gave Lottie a piggy back, somewhat unsuccessfully, until a taxi appeared; we said something about Lingfield and a very amused taxi driver set off in what appeared to be the right sort of direction. We stopped at Lingfield Station, and while we were saying goodbye to the girls (they had to go a little further) the meter went up by thirty cents!
      We fell into bed, more by luck than decision, at about one am and fell asleep instantly.

      Saturday 19th July

      (Roo) Despite the pint of milk last night before going to sleep, I still had a pretty sore head this morning. As a result, I didn't venture from my bed till at least ten, and Jack looked pretty bleary eyed too. We got a totally unsympathetic attitude who found us hiding behind glasses of disprin.
      We spent the morning recording some of the records from the private collection in our granny flat. Once we had recovered enough, we ventured downstairs. Raj, the ex-police dog Alsatian here took an instant dislike to Jack who tried rather gingerly to pat him on the back. Jack came within a skin of a dog's tooth to loosing two fingers. Ever since then, Raj has given a growl and bared his teeth at Jack whenever he comes close enough. It's turned into a large cat and mouse game.
      We had a barbeque for lunch; steak and sausages. The sarcastic comments never stopped being hurled across the table at us as we refused wine with lunch (I'm never going to drink another drop of that poxy stuff!).
      Kent then invited us to a party tonight, probably just to hear us say no, which we didn't ! He then tried to get some sleep before hand - he didn't stand a chance! We let him get some sleep, not much ! Before we left I rang England to say Happy Birthday to my mother - they all sounded surprised to hear me!
      Chris, Kent's "bit", turned up and we all piled into a car and sped off to a "Bring Your Own" party, in a flat. We didn't know anyone, but made a brave effort taunting everyone. There was a slight female shortage, I nearly crashed out after ten minutes but we staggered on till about eleven when Tania, Kent's sister, and I went home. Jack stayed on, got totally pissed and at about two am managed to find someone to drive him home, nearly puking out of the window on the way.

      Sunday 20th July

      (Jack) I got up early just to wake Kent who reckoned "Pommies can't hack the pace"! By lunch time I regretted the move. We spent the day repacking (again) and recording more music and by four pm we were only four kilos overweight. At lunch we had a barbeque cooked outside, but eaten inside.
      After my usual fight with Raj the Alsatian, we were given a lift over to Harry and Maries' (see last Tuesday). There, we met Harry's sister Mary, and had supper. We went to be at about ten thirty, we didn't sleep well. I slept badly because I've a bad cold and cannot breathe easily and therefore snore loudly (!) and Roo slept badly for exactly the same reason!!! He moved out of the room into the corridor in the early hours of the morning.

      Monday 21st July (departure from Sydney)

      (Roo) Marie came in at eight with a cup of tea this morning. As I was in the corridor (thanks to noises last night that sounded more like the soundtrack to King Kong than snoring), Marie nearly fell head first over me.
      We got up and had breakfast (we couldn't face much) then said goodbye to Marie and, with Harry, went down to the car and drove to the GPO. Lottie and Anna had asked us to pick up mail, which, after an argument with the postmasters, we did.
      The then went to Goulburn St. bank. Jack's tax return wasn't there, so he got them to forward it to the UK.
      We reached the airport at quarter to eleven (after Harry had several near misses in the car). We checked in (only just overweight but with seventy pounds of hand luggage - we forgot to weight that - oh bother) and at about midday we went through customs and the departure gates etc.., having paid our ten bucks each (departure tax). At the X-ray there was the usual fuss and bother when Jack's toolkit was checked. The customs took it and said we could claim it in Bangkok. Great, we even had our hand luggage carried for us! A twelve fifteen we boarded the plane (Thai International DC10), preceded by a grumbling junior customs officer, carrying the forty five pound toolkit.
      At one-oh-one precisely, we took off.