March 2012

March 1 — Vivonne Bay to Kingscote, 63.80 klms, Avg speed 15.4 kph, Cycling time 4.08 hrs; Total kms 26,317

First day of Autumn and a forecast of 50 kph winds today, crikey!  No cafes along the way either to break the journey so it was head down & keep peddlin’.  Plenty of undulations, plenty of short, heavy showers & in the end 38 kph winds gusting to 57 kph luckily not head but mainly side & right shoulder.  Weather wise it was miserable & really happy to arrive in Kingscote 4 hours later having a cuppa at our favourite cafe, Bella.  Also happy too that for the next 2 nights we’d be snug & warm staying at one of the local pubs, The Queenscliffe Family Hotel.  We dined both nights at Bella, great people that now run it and great food & service too.  We enjoyed our time more in Kingscote on our return visit, probably because we weren’t staying at the Caravan Park, 5 klms out of town, always good to be where the action is.  Greg made a nuisance of himself at the Post Office picking up replacement parts including new pedals for Crazy Ruby, tent pegs and a new pump.  He also sent a parcel to Robin (Ma) in Sydney with the water filter which he’s been carrying since we left Sydney but haven’t now used in over a year.  The wind howled and was clocked on the eastern end of the Island at Cape Willoughby at over 95klm/h.  Stuffed to the gills with food, wine and coffee it’s time we moved on.

March 3 — Kingscote to American River, 38.43 klms, Avg speed 14.4 kph, Cycling time 2.40 hrs; Total kms 26,355

After a last coffee at Bella  and a cheerio to a few bods and dogs we set of in full sun shine  with flat riding then undulating, only a mid headwind today, we took a short cut to American River so the last 15 klms was on dirt.  Wow, American River, such a pretty place, a quiet, fishing village nestled on a hillside, a bird watching & fishing paradise.  However, it’s neither American nor does it have a river.  It’s named after a group of American sealers who landed there in 1803 and camped alongside the narrow inlet from the sea—at the time mistaken for a river.  The council owned camp ground was excellent, beautifully located along the water, fantastic facilities including hot showers and so cheap, $3.00 per night.  We couldn’t understand why there were so few campers there & came to the conclusion they must have disappeared to Kingscote to see jazz musician, James Morrison.  Our nightly entertainment was at The Shed, the local community club where we dined on excellent hamburgers & chips, the food was that good we ordered another one to share!!

March 4 — American River to Penneshaw, 39.96 klms, Avg speed 15.2 kph, Cycling time 2.37 hrs; Total kms 26,395

Shock, horror this morning we ate breakfast sitting in the sunshine, could have been a first on KI.  Such a pity we only stayed 1 night at American River, we loved the place and declared it one of our favourite spots on the island.  Had a headwind as we rode the 10 klms back to Hog Bay Road then luckily a tailwind pushing us to Penneshaw, thank god we didn’t have a head wind with a couple of steep climbs before descending back down to sea level. The 11% grade down to Penneshaw allowed ’Ol Alberto to clock over 65klms/h, you can hear him laughing all the way down the hill.  Coupla’ quick coffees at The Penguin Stop Cafe, a bite to eat for lunch and then our attention was turned to some bike maintenance including washing the grime off Crazy Ruby & Horsey, no rest for us!  Greg splashes some oil around, put a few psi in the tyres and we tighten a few screws and hopefully that will do us for another few kilometres.  We catch the 7.30pm ferry back to Cape Jervis tomorrow and it will be sad to leave, having spent 3 weeks cycling 564 klms around KI we’ve come to love the place.  Our favourite spots?  There’s so many but could put Penneshaw, American River, Emu Bay beach, Stokes Bay & Flinders Chase and Cape Border at the top of the list.

March 5 — Penneshaw to Cape Jervis, 3.31 klms, Avg speed 7.3 kph, Cycling time 0.27 hrs; Total kms 26,398

Used the time waiting for the ferry to catch up on admin. Stuff, there’s always plenty to do-update web, expenses, make phone calls, send emails & general tasks relating to the upkeep of our unit in Sydney .  Forgot to mention another of our favourite cafes on KI, The Penguin Stop Cafe at Penneshaw, fab coffee & great, friendly service.   By the time the ferry pulled into Cape Jervis it was dark so rode the 3.3klms to The Cape Jervis Station with our lights on, can’t remember the last time we used them.  Boy it was a sharp, tough ride not made any easier by the heavy ferry traffic & our rush to set up camp.  We were shown to our grassy site and by  9.30pm were in bed trying not to think of the climb the next morning.

March 6 — Cape Jervis to Victor Harbor, 57.50 klms, Avg speed 14.4 kph, Cycling time 3.58 hrs; Total kms 26,456

Would have loved to have spent more time looking around Cape Jervis Station, seemed a great place, we love to stay on working station but there was that hill to climb.  It was a 2.5 klm long, slow crawl but like all the others it was conquered, don’t know why we sometimes suffer doubt cos’ there aren’t too many hills we can’t climb.  15 mins later we were stuffing our faces with coffee & kit kat at the Delamare Store, getting ready for the ride to Victor Harbor, relatively tough ride up & down, windy conditions, wanted to chat to two other touring cyclists heading the opposite direction but they were struggling upwards & we were flying downwards so not possible, pity as we love to chat to other touring folks.  With 19 klms to go, we stopped for a short break at midday, high on the range & out of the wind then decided we may as well have lunch—peanut butter sandwiches, banana & apple washed down with a cuppa tea, just what we needed as the last klms flew by.  They certainly flew for ’Ol Alberto proudly declaring he’d beat his last downhill record of 65kph, the record now was 67kph!  Even in print it makes me break out in a sweat.  We picked up the keys for our O’Nite Van for the next 2 nights, cheap at $40.00, not worth pitching the tent.  After picking up more parcels from the post office (warm cycling gear) we made good use of the van, watching the tele & cooking a lamb roast.  This van’s pretty old & small but it’s home for us, I gaze in wonder at the huge, modern things in the park but am not tempted, good thing too as Greg has declared in his next life he’s towin’ nothin’.

March 8 — Victor Harbor to Goolwa, 26.72 klms, Avg speed 14.2 kph, Cycling time 1.52 hrs; Total kms 26,482

Woke to blue skies & our ride today was all along the Encounter Bikeway, a 30 klm bikeway that links the coastal city of Victor Harbor and the river port town of Goolwa.  Breathtaking coastline views as we passed through the charming coastal towns of Port Elliot & Middleton too.  Goolwa’s just a lovely, relaxed, historic, pretty, river town and is the last town on the Murray River before it reaches the Southern Ocean.  A strong wooden boat building tradition continues here, there’s fantastic bird life and of course the Coorong National Park & the lakes system to explore.  Such a pity we’re only here for 1 night but our travel through the Limestone Coast calls, will definitely return one day.  We’re camping at the Goolwa Camping Tourist Park, it’s got all the things we love—grass, fantastic camp kitchen & very quiet.  We were going to eat out tonight but we’re eating in, BBQ & beer, a great day all round.

March 9 — Goolwa to Milang, 45.34 klms, Avg speed 17.7 kph, Cycling time 2.33 hrs; Total kms 26,528

A late start today as we enjoyed the morning sun and a chat with some other travellers.  It was warm that we could start the day with shorts sleeves, something we’ve not been able to do for a while.  We followed the rail line we travelled on The Cockle Train between Goolwa and Strathalbyn when Greg’s Mum Rob came to visit last January and then turned away and onto Currency Creek and our first coffee of the day at the Currency Creek winery.  Dreadful service and coffee to match, we don’t stay long.  Our next stop and coffee break, is the lake side town of Clayton.  Disinterested service and uninteresting coffee, seems to be a theme here....  Milang, a peaceful haven overlooking Lake Alexandrina, hard to believe in the late 19th century this place was the largest inland port in South Australia.  The paddle steamers are long gone but folks come here for the laid back lifestyle of fishing, bird watching, windsurfing & just relaxing.  Fabulous riding around the lake and with more blue skies, little wind & no hills another perfect riding day. 

We were counting on the Milang General Store for some supplies, ooops, the store had closed and its replacement, the Mini Mart, hadn’t opened yet,  so its jam sangers for lunch today.  Some caravan parks cater well for campers while the pickers are there, some don’t.  The Milang Lakeside Caravan Park fell into the former, the pickers are housed in caravans, not tents,  so the BBQ/camp kitchen is “picker free”.  Didn’t bother us anyway as we went to the Milang Hotel which advertised a “new chef”.  “New cook” might have been more apt, meal was fair, still we enjoyed our night at this local and even managed a twirl on the floor!

March 10 — Milang to Wellington, 49.74 klms, Avg speed 17.9 kph, Cycling time 2.46 hrs; Total kms 26,578

We had the 4 “F” ride today, flies, flat conditions, fast time & mainly favourable winds.  We haven’t ridden on such flat roads for ages, it was magical following the shoreline of Lake Alexandrina.  Only black mark to the day was being served coffee by Mrs Grumpy at an outlet growing horseradish, oh, those terrible customers wanting to throw money at her while she tried to finish her office work.  By lunchtime we’d arrived at The Wellington Hotel (aka The Welly) picked up the key to our budget cabin (donga) great value for $50pn with en suite, fridge, tele, toaster & kettle.  The Welly is one of the State’s oldest hotels established in 1848 & is located at the junction of the Murray River & Lake Alexandrina, it was the only point where travellers could cross the river for many years with a ferry service opening in 1846.  The free 24 hour ferry is still the only way to cross the river at Wellington.  The Wellington’s Barrel Tub Regatta was on the next day so we booked in for an extra night.  The weather is warm, the sun is bright, the river is chockers with water from Queensland, NSW & Victoria so the conditions for the Regatta are perfect.  We sat perched on a table on the grass overlooking the festivities.  The BBQ pumped out steak and sausage sangers and all attendees were being kept well lubed by the bar.  After the last race the band kicked off and keeped us entertained until the evening, we had a great day.  A great place The Welly, great pub grub, river views and service.  6 years ago we drove onto the Wellington ferry, who’d have thought we’d ride here, must be nuts.

March 12 — Wellington to Tailem Bend, 13.78 klms, Avg speed 15.1 kph, Cycling time 0.54 hrs; Total kms 26,591

Instead of catching the Wellington ferry we rode 14 klms & caught the Tailem Bend ferry, reason being it would be a quieter road and it was.  We rode through dairy country, seemed strange to be suddenly surrounded by lush & green pastures, those lucky cows.  Glorious cloudless day, booked into the Riverside Motel, room $50pn, better facilities at The Welly but still a comfortable, quiet room.  Tailem Bend lies along the Murray and has a strong historical link to transport, including road and rail which continues today.  Downside of Tailem Bend is that it links up with Highway 1, major road to Adelaide, we’re suddenly aware of traffic noise & seeing road trains, hopefully when we head down the Dukes Highway tomorrow it won’t be as busy.  We hope to be on the bikes for another 3 months but the mornings/nights are already getting quite chilly, not much fun camping, we might be renting a place sooner than we think.

March 13 — Tailem Bend to Coonalpyn, 67.40 klms, Avg speed 19.2 kph, Cycling time 3.29 hrs; Total kms 26,659

The Dukes Highway was busy but luckily there was a wide shoulder which carried us safely all the way to Coonalpyn, favourable winds too, today was our fastest ride since leaving Adelaide early Feb.  Coonalpyn is a small country town with a population of about 215, situated along what used to be known as the Ninety Mile Desert.  Wheat, barley, canola, beans and peas are the main crops grown in the area, and also sheep and cattle.  During the early 1950's, superphosphates and trace elements were introduced into the soil, creating the ability to use the land for cropping to its full potential.  Research is always high on our agenda, we tend to know about 2 weeks out what facilities are available in each town so when the chap at Tailem Bend Museum confirmed there was a supermarket at Coonalpyn we left Tailem Bend with few supplies.  Well there is/was a supermarket but it closed 6 months ago so lunch consisted of our trusty supplies of peanut butter, honey & bread washed down with half a banana.  No panic for dinner as we had a choice, either the take away or the pub, we learnt a lesson though when staying at small towns, ring ahead to make sure the doors are still open.  We set up camp at the council owned Coonalpyn Caravan Park surrounded by tall pine trees, nice setting but we thought expensive, $16 for unpowered with pretty basic facilities & no camp kitchen, the caretaker was a great bloke though.  We trotted off down to the pub, devoured fillet mignons, trotted back to camp & drifted off in a slumber listening to the radio.

March 14 — Coonalpyn to Keith, 67.32 klms, Avg speed 18.1 kph, Cycling time 3.42 hrs; Total kms 26,726

With rain forecast for midday we hit the road at 8am, exact riding conditions as yesterday, same distance, same Dukes Highway and another hot day too.  By midday we were having a really good cuppa at Keith (pop 1100), this district typifies “real Australian countryside” & is the largest lucerne seed growing area in the southern hemisphere, would love to be here when the crops are in flower.  The Keith Caravan Park is owned by the community & offers a lot more facilities than Coonalpyn including O’Nite Vans for $35pn.  With darkened skies & heavy rain on the radar we optioned up & booked in for 2 nights, raided the supermarket, left a huge spag bol bubbling away on the stove & headed to the pub dodging the rain.  Most of the heavy rain by-passed Keith, pity as we were longing to hear it on our metal roof.  Our Van was pretty upmarket, this one had a real mattress (not like some, just layers of foam) so sleep came easily especially with a belly full of Greg’s home made spag. bol ..yummmmm.  The following day we wandered around the streets and made a nuisance of ourselves at the cafe.  My bike Crazy Ruby is making ominous sounds from the pedal crank bearing.  My live-in bike mechanic ’Ol Alberto is muttering away to his self and is on the case, but I think he’s making plans to replace the bearings again probably in Mount Gambier when we get there.  ’Ol Alberto not happy......

March 16 — Keith to Padthaway, 64.46 klms, Avg speed 16.8 kph, Cycling time 3.49 hrs; Total kms 26,790

Today’s ride wasn’t boring, it was interspersed with 4 equipment breakdowns, 1) turned on my new radio, didn’t work (Greg declared the batteries had run out, I must have left it on!), 2) With no radio out came my iPod, couldn’t turn that on either 3) Dropped my new sunnies & the lens fell out & finally 4) Greg’s cycle computer decided to play up too.   Because I’m riding with a highly organised, practical human being everything was fixed later in the afternoon in our O’Nite Van at Padthaway, couldn’t resist another bargain after our damp ride this morning.  We dodged a huge down pour having our caffeine fix at Willalooka Store cum Cafe cum Tavern, not a bad cuppa either.  The friendly, chatty owner said he’d been trying to sell the place for the past year, some of the 300+ population have a drink/meal at the pub on a Friday & that’s about it, the town isn’t a huge tourist drawcard either except for a couple of boof heads on bikes, we felt quite sorry for the fella as we hopped on our bikes to battle more head/side winds.  Busy road today, little shoulder in some parts, loads of horse floats passed us by & we found out later they were heading to Lucindale to attend one of the biggest Field Days in the area the following day.  We love Field Day but it was 60 klms away, too far for a detour.  Padthaway Caravan Park was filled with huge gum trees & happy birds, we were happy birds too, snug in our Van & eating another huge portion of spag bol left over from Keith.

March 17 — Padthaway to Naracoorte, 48.96 klms, Avg speed 16.4 kph, Cycling time 2.58 hrs; Total kms 26,839

Today we celebrated our 4 year anniversary since leaving Sydney, hard to believe it’s that long ago.  Our journey will end in 2013, we have mixed emotions about returning but with Victoria, Tassie, ACT & southern NSW still to cover, we’re not thinkin’ too much about it.  We contemplated staying 2 nights at Padthaway but decided to plod on, not a huge amount to do there besides a couple of walks.  Such pretty scenery though, majestic red gums & rows & rows of vineyards filled with Chardonnay & full-flavoured spicy Shiraz vines. 

We’re still riding through open, flat country, after our hilly experience on KI we’re lapping it up although there’s now nothing to stop that rotten wind knocking us about.  Greg’s cycle computer was still playing up, fixed it this time with another new battery in the sensor that picks up and records wheel and pedal revolutions, hopefully our breakdowns are over although I do have a new sleeping bag waiting for me in Robe to keep me warm in the cooler months ahead.

Naracoorte—a picturesque town renowned for its Scottish heritage and historic buildings, we loved it and surprise, surprise it had a Chinese and Thai restaurant.  Our Saturday night’s dining was confirmed, table for 2 at the Chinese, Greg has finally fulfilled his birthday present to me from last November.  Not bad Chinoire either, we then walked back to the caravan park it was a lovely warm night and we both slept well.  We were umming and ahhing about how long to stay in Naracoorte.  Greg is keen to get the replacement bearings in Mount Gambier sorted so we decide to leave after two days.  We have a nice lazy lunch at one pub and dinner at another before making our way back to the caravan park to prepare for our ride to Cabernet Country... Coonawarra/Penola known for its great Cabernet Sauvignon.

March 19  - Naracoorte to Penola, 53.35 klms, Avg speed 19.9 kph, Cycling time 2.40 hrs; Total kms 26,893

There we were happily riding along the Riddoch Highway, with the greatest tailwind ever, yippee, and in short sleeves (best enjoy, the weather’s about to change for the worse) when a cop car stops ahead and suggests we ride in single file—no good morning, how yah goin’, where’ve yer come from? etc. etc.  Mr Happy drove away and my riding buddy suggested to me he had our best intentions at heart, just went about it in a most unpleasant manner.  We actually were riding in single file, me on the road and Greg on the shoulder and we are legally allowed to ride 2 abreast, however, it was a busy road so we followed his advise as we didn’t want to encounter him again.  10 klms before Penola we rode through the world famous Coonawarra wine region, a place we’d visited with 4 wheels 5 years ago.  I could hear sighs of delight ahead of me “Ah, there’s Zema Estate, ah there’s Wynns Estate, yep got some of that in my cellar, and that, and that, Bowen Estate, great drop, and there’s Hollick Wines, remember the fantastic lunch we had at their restaurant”  ..  I had a running commentary as we passed vineyard after vineyard covering the famous red terra rossa soil sitting atop deep limestone beds that have given rise to some of the nations finest reds.  Our research showed that the Penola Caravan Park didn’t get great reviews so we expected the worse especially as it didn’t have a camp kitchen which meant no fridge, nowhere to sit etc.  But what it did have were individual en suite bathrooms with shower, loo, basin, power point & a large area to sit & work & store the bikes so we booked one of those for 3 days.  For $30 pn they’re more expensive than a powered site, cheaper than an O’Nite Van but for us going into the colder months, there going to be ideal.  After setting up camp we walked into town to have dinner at one of the pubs, $14 for roast pork & veges so it wasn’t worth cooking it yourself, it was delicious too.  Tomorrow we’ll do the town walk of Penola, the Limestone Coast’s oldest town filled with many National Trust treasures including religious figure Mary  McKillop, recently ordained as a Saint.  We’ve been to Penola before and we can’t, much to Greg’s chagrin, carry any wine so there’s no point riding from winery to winery.  We will however have a good look at the town and enjoy the 30°C + temperature and sunshine as it’s been in a bit of short supply recently.

March 21  - Penola to Jim & Judy’s farm & return, 42.54 klms, Avg speed 14.5 kph, Cycling time 2.55 hrs; Total kms 26,935

We met Jim & Judy 4 years ago in a tiny country town in Southern Qld called Dululu, they lived in Coonawarra SA and we’re heading north to see family.  Being keen cyclists themselves we chatted away and kept in touch over the years so while in Penola we were delighted to receive an invitation for lunch at Kooraneen, their beautiful property 22 klms away.  We arrived at midday and were both very impressed with their beautiful home and garden and their very cute little dog Tinkerbell and big tough ginger cat aptly named Blok.  It was blowing a gale, but we sat outside in the sun protected by the house and enjoyed a leisurely lunch and chat before being driven down the road to Rymill Estate one of the many excellent wine producers in the area.  We stopped on the way back to look at Jim & Judy’s vines about to be picked in the next few days and also picked  some lovely fresh figs before the birds got at them. Jim and Judy loaded us up with fresh fruit and vegetable from their garden before we took off home into,  by now, a very stiff head wind.  It turned the 23 kilometre ride into a 1.5 hour epic!  I cooked a curry in our en-suite and we went to bed very content indeed.  The wind howled and there was some rain but we were snug in our tent as by now it was getting quite cool.  ‘Ol Alberto still not happy, too cold and bad bearings, we’d better get to Mt Gambier...pronto!

March 22  - Penola to Mount Gambier, 76.20 klms, Avg speed 17.0 kph, Cycling time 4.28 hrs; Total kms 27,011

We rode an extra 25 klms today to avoid the busy Riddoch Highway, but it was worth it, the route via Kalangadoo (great name) was rural, quiet & scenically beautiful.  ’Ol Alberto rode in his Daddy Long Legs (long cycle niks) cos is was that cold & wet during the day brrrrrr,  we’ll have to get use to this arctic weather.  After riding on the flat for the past couple of weeks we trundled up a couple of hills approaching Mount Gambier the “The Blue Lake City”.  It’s built on the slopes of a dormant volcano & iset amidst a unique landscape of volcanic craters, lakes, caves, sinkholes & underground waterways.  It’s SA’s 2nd largest city (pop 24,000) after Adelaide and will be the last big city we visit until we cross over into Mildura, Victoria in the next month or so.  So....while here we’re making the most of it, Crazy Ruby is sporting new cycle bearings which  ’Ol Alberto fixed without a swear word, we’re both sporting new winter fleeces & the last of our summer gear has been dumped in the charity bin.  We’d rather be running around wearing less than more gear but it ain’t goin’ to happen for the next 8-9months, bit depressing really!  We’re in Mount Gambier for 6 days, we think we’re going to like this interesting & beautiful city.

March 27  - Mount Gambier to Millicent, 58.86 klms, Avg speed 18.5 kph, Cycling time 3.10 hrs; Total kms 27,070

We left Mount Gambier after 5 days, such a pity as there was lots to see there but as we have commitments in Robe in a couple of days we need to push on.  Went the back way to Millicent  via the forests & the small, pretty village of Glencoe, the local store owner made us mugs of tea & we stuffed our faces with a fruit bun covered in icing & walnuts, wicked but what the heck.  With no wind, a virtually car less road & great scenery we had a fantastic ride arriving at our cabin at the local Caravan Park at 1.30pm.  Great, time for a rest but it didn’t happen, we both didn't stop until 6pm—the following can be typical of our afternoons—light spring clean of cabin, have lunch, hang out sleeping bags, have showers, do washing, take note of cycle stats, expenses & fitness programme on our phones (it’s working, tele tubbies no more), hang out washing, fire up laptop to answer emails & research future accommodation, make phone calls to latter, cook dinner for next 2 nights, bring in washing & fold, have dinner, wash up, update travel log, watch the tele then it’s light out about 9pm..what an exciting couple we are.  Sorry Millicent we hardly said hello, we’ll be back.

March 28  - Millicent to Beachport, 35.61 klms, Avg speed 17.8 kph, Cycling time 1.59 hrs; Total kms 27,106

From Mount Gambier you’d think we’d be heading east into Victoria but we’re not we’re doing a big loop so now heading SW to ride along The Coorong, after Easter, then heading up north along the Murray.  Reason being we wanted to visit Mount Gambier but also we’re hoping to get favourable SW winds when we ride long stretch of The Coorong.  So far ’Ol Alberto’s strategy seems to be working, we had favourable winds again today heading in this direction.  Could have ridden straight to Robe but why miss out on Beachport, haven’t been here before.  It’s nestled on the NW tip of Rivoli Bay & is an isthmus with the sea on two sides and Lake George to the N, felt good to hear the surf, see the long sandy beaches running into beautiful aqua water & surrounded by rugged coastline, it’s a mecca for nature lovers & families.  After a couple of coffees at the strangely named Bompa’s Cafe and a chat to some locals we made our way to the caravan park.  Beachport’s a  pretty spot but the quaint shacks are being replaced by ugly, monstrous houses which don’t fit in at all.  We walked the scenic drive along the cliff tops and it truly is scenic, before returning to our camp site for a cuppa tea and shower before dinner. Our camp at the Southern Oceans Caravan Park was great, lots of grass & few people here, in another week it’ll be bedlam & full to the brim, not only is it school holidays but it’s Easter too, best get the hell out of here.

March 29  - Beachport to Robe, 53.08 klms, Avg speed 18.3 kph, Cycling time 2.54 hrs; Total kms 27,159

We’ve been to Robe once before, it was the height of the summer season so the place was abuzz, cheek by jowl walking down the streets, we didn’t even get out of the car just did a loop around the main street and sped off into the distance.  This time it was different, the cafes had vacant chairs, the locals were chatting, the pace was slow, we were going to experience this charming, historic seaside town at its best over the next 4 days.  And, how lucky were we to be invited to stay at Jim & Judy’s holiday home, Polperro.  Polperro has been in Judy’s family for over 50 years after her mother visited the Cornish town, fell in love with it and decided to buy a house by the water on returning to Australia.  It’s the sort of holiday home you dream off, facing north, overlooking the water, a wooden character cottage painted blue & white.  Judy & Jim drove from their farm in Coonawarra to spend the night with us, having access to a kitchen we bought what Greg described as half a wilderbeast (it was actually a leg of lamb) from the local butcher, stuffed it with rosemary & garlic, shoved it in the oven surrounded by heaps of vegs (7 in total, Jim counted), went for a walk along the beach & spent the rest of the evening chatted & laughing with these lovely people devouring our feast washed down with local white & red wines.  Jim & Judy had commitments back home for the next couple of days so we were left to enjoy this piece of paradise by ourselves for the next couple of days, how lucky & privileged we are to be enjoying such generosity.  We walked, sat in cafes, went to the movies and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  This must stop!!  We leave tomorrow and head further north to a cabin for a week to escape to Easter hordes.  I’m sporting a new sleeping bag as my old one is now four years old and as Greg is want to point out “thinner than a politicians promise”.  So hopefully this newer and heavier sleeping bag will keep me warm in the coming months.