Monday, December 5, 2011

Our five days away

We arrived at "The Camp" around midday on Monday and after unloading the truck we just 'veggied out' for the afternoon - I had a nap - and we had a casual Barbecue dinner, sat around in the warmth of the evening reading ( I was reading Douglas Reeman's, 'The Iron Pirate', a WWII nnaval novel) and had a few convivial drinks before an early night.

Tuesday, it looked like rain for Wednesday so after a cooked breakfast we got stuck into 'Camp Maintenance' - cutting the grass, clearing drains of leaf debris, weeding and trimming shrubs, etc and deciding what we would do on Wednesday, if it rained! We thought, perhaps, a trip into Cowra and some local shopping around town. Late Tuesday afternoon a thunder storm came in and we got 20mls of rain overnight. We had a homemade seafood marinara for dinner and we watched a DVD - 'Battle: Los Angeles', starring Aaron Eckhart ('Dark Knight', 'Neverwas') and Michelle Rodriguez ('Avatar', 'Lost') - (not to be confused with  the Mark Atkins directed 'Battle of Los Angeles' - a poor 2nd rate Sci-Fi movie) not a bad movie at all and worth re-watching 'cos the pace of the movie was fairly fast. Plot is: "A Marine Staff Sergeant who has just had his retirement approved goes back into the line of duty in order to assist a 2nd Lieutenant and his platoon as they fight to reclaim the city of Los Angeles from alien invaders." - I gave it a 6.5 out of 10

Wednesday, it was sunny in the early morning and Cowra trip was still on. As we enjoyed yet another cooked breakfast the forecasted thunder heads rolled in and it literally 'pissed down' -  41mls by the end of the day.

Cowra trip postponed!

The road gutter opposite on the high side was choked with soil and debris and the sheer volume of water coming down was such that it just poured across the road and turned our lot into a swimming pool. No water penetrated the building but it was a close thing. I was out in the rain and at first I merely drove the truck up and down the length of the gutter which made an indentation that allowed some of the run-off to get away, however, the sump drain further down was blocked and it just backed up and flooded across the intersection. Later I was out with a shovel cutting a trench through the dirt in the gutter which stopped 90% of the run-off coming down across our block and forced a furrow through the muddy gutter to the sump drain and sheer water pressure opened it up.

A barbecue dinner and we watched another movie, the Clint Eastwood directed  'Flags of our fathers' starring Ryan Phillipps ('Cruel Intentions', 'The Lincoln Lawyer'), Barry Pepper ("Saving Private Ryan', 'The Green Mile') and Joseph Cross ('Milk', 'Untraceable') - a fair drama/war history movie but a predictable ending. Still, I rated it a high 6 out of 10 if just for its stunning battle scenes.

Thursday and it was fine and sunny again. Rhonda had a sleep-in while Denny sat outside with me while I read for an hour and Denny enviously watched the rabbit kittens play and the kangaroos and wallabies wander through the park.

I spotted the Park boss doing a 'post-storm' tour so I stopped him, Nikon camera in hand as I photographed the choked gutter with the six inch deep furrow cut through it and told him about the flooding and the blocked drain and how my insurance company would not be pleased if we made a claim for any future damages caused by run-off from his blocked drainage gutters and sump drains! He promised to attend to it (again) and drove off.

Then (again) another cooked breakfast - boy those bacon, eggs, sausages and fried tomato breakfasts would require lots of activity to get the cholesterol levels down - followed by a long walk. We came upon nearby neighbours who were having a Digital Dish TV antenna installed - Surprise! Surprise! We knew that analogue TV is to be turned off in this area in June 2012 but we had been told no Digital Dish installations until after January 2012 and had been having trouble locating the government 'approved installer' for this region, so we've been holding off on TV antenna installations until then despite having a new 'digital ready' TV. We spoke to the installer who told us we could get the dish if we paid full price ($750) and completed the government paperwork, otherwise, we could wait until February and we may get a government installation subsidy of $200 to $350  (but he felt that as we were sited in a recreational area and not a residential area we may not qualify for a discount.) He told us who the government 'approved installer' for this region was - an electrical store in Cowra.

We also knew that everyone would rush for a dish installation come February! So, the Cowra trip was back on for the day. We drove into Cowra and went to the electrical goods store who were the only government authorised installer and signed up the paperwork. We should get our dish sometime in the next two weeks.

We went shopping, Rhonda bought some tablecloths and fitted bed sheets, I bought more DVDs and four novels from the Matthew Reilly series - 'Ice Station', 'Area 7', 'Scarecrow' and 'The Six Sacred Stones' - and we treated ourselves to afternoon tea from the local pastry shop that has a superb range of locally made pastries (more long walks on the listed 'Activities to complete') but if ever you are in Cowra the Calare Bakery shop is well worth a visit.

When we arrived back at "The Camp" the whole area was a hive of activity - two work vehicles plus a dump truck and four workers shovelling and hosing out the gutters and sump drains - Wow! Action at last! I gave the workers a six-pack of beer and told them to have a drink on us. While this was happening the Digital Dish installer arrived and said that as he was already in the area he would get up on our roof-top and measure our reception signal for best siting of the dish. He the explained that this was only a part-time job for him but he hoped to be back in the next two weeks and install our Digital Dish. I gave him my mobile (cell) phone number and told him to call me and I'd return to open up "The Camp" to access inside for him.

Rhonda, Denny (whom we had left home locked inside and whom had been going ballistic with all the outside activity) and I sat down and had a nice local tasty cheddar cheese and biscuits while Rhonda had a coffee and I had two James Squire brewed "Nine Tails" beers before going for another afternoon nap! Glorious, what a life!

Dinner was left-over Marinara and then we watched the DVD 'Neverwas', starring Aaron Eckhart (as previously mention for 'Battle: Los Angeles.'), Ian McKellen ('Lord of the Rings', 'X-Men') and a delightful Brittany Murphy ('8 mile', 'Girl - Interrupted') who was also the voice of the character Luanne Platter, the niece of Hank and Peggy Hill, from the animated TV series 'King of the Hill'. This was a 7 out of 10 movie and well recommended as a well executed fantasy drama revolving around the story of a well-educated and prestigious psychiatrist Zach Riley (Eckhart) who leaves an established academic career to work at a poor institution, Millwood, in New England, where his father, a novelist, lived before writing a renowned children's book, 'Neverwas'. Acclimating to his position, he encounters a schizophrenic Gabriel Finch (McKellen) who helps him to discover the book's secrets and his place in the story and more of his father and his own origins. Murphy plays an old flame, Maggie Paige, who is in the location posing as a botanist but is actually a journalist doing an expose piece on Riley's father for the 20th anniversary of his suicide - something that Zach Riley witnessed.

Friday, lazy day start, light breakfast and time to pack up and return to the real world. We left "The Camp" around Midday and were back home at 1.45pm. The time away had been very recuperative as well as productive.

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