News pic of Vic and Barbara

Victor's and Barbara's 2013 Happenings.

In January Victor and Barbara celebrated the completion of stage 1 of a new track which follows the contour of our hill. Victor placed a table at the end of the track with cold champers and a salad lunch, and we walked the track and then sat down to enjoy our lunch. Also in January, we had a very hot spell, reaching 40 degrees, and sadly, our 2 chickens died in the heat. There are more kangaroos than ever before in our place, many of them camp on our green lawns at night, and one made himself at home beside our flower bed. Unfortunately, another 'roo drowned in our pool this summer, and yet another old 'roo died fairly close to the house, causing a stink!

Opening our new trail A kangaroo makes himself at home in our garden
Barbara opening our new trail A kangaroo makes himself at home in our garden
In February Kim and Samantha visited us from Sydney, for a short stay of 2 days. 

In March Victor visited Karen and family in Queensland. In Brisbane we visited a dinosaur exhibition at the Queensland Museum on Southbank. Daniel was too frightened to go right in to the room where the moving, roaring dinosaurs were, so Karen stayed outside with him, and Mathew went in with Victor. Later, by chance we met Rob and Wendy on Southbank at the children's playground. Over the weekend we travelled to the Lamington National Park and stayed one night at the Binna-Burra mountain lodge. The accommodation was very luxurious with splendid views when the white blanket of  clouds cleared away. We went on two walks through the rain-forest and experienced the intense greens of the sub-tropical 'jungle', tramping along very slippery muddy tracks, and across fast-flowing streams and waterfalls.

Back in Ipswich Victor saw Mathew go to his new school, and Daniel display his athletic skills at the 'kinder-gym'. Olivia is working hard and long hours at Bunnings hardware, and she hopes enter the Police Academy in due course.  Karen and Lee have just bought an investment house in Ipswich, and they are very busy with their plans for its rennovation. On top of all this, Karen is studying part-time for a second degree in Education!
Daniel, Victor and Mathew at Southbank, Brisbane Karen, Robert and Wendy at Souithbank, Brisbane
Daniel, Victor and Mathew at Southbank, Brisbane Karen, Robert and Wendy at Southbank, Brisbane
(Movie - click arrow) Dinosaurs at the QLD Museum(Movie - click arrow) Binna-Burra in Lamington National Park
Daniel, Victor and Mathew at Southbank, Brisbane Karen with a stick-insect at the Queensland museum.
View from our accommodation at Binna-Burra mountain lodge. Karen with a stick insect at the Queensland Museum.
Daniel in a serious mood Karen with a stick-insect at the Queensland museum.
Daniel in a serious mood. Mathew outside his new school.
Bert Hinckler's Avro Avian at the Queensland museum.
(Movie - click arrow) Daniel at his 'Kinder-Gym'. Bert Hinkler's Avro Avian at QLD Museum (Uncle Roy's design)
Our internet ADSL connection failed completely in March, so we started trying to find another ISP. In the interrim we used the wifi service at the Tea Tree Gully library, 25 minutes drive away, for vital internet tasks.  In the end it took 7 months to get reconnected, this time by satellite, with a huge 4ft diameter dish on a ten foot pole in our lawn! This was installed eventually in October.

In April we started planning a big trip to Eastern Europe, hoping to follow the Danube, and tour through Vienna, Prague, Bratislava, Budapest, Belgrade, then Monte Negro and up Croatia Slovenia and back through Austria to Munich. On 1st May we set off to Paris on Emirates, with a 3 hour wait in Dubai airport. On 2nd May we picked up a leased Peugeot at Paris airport. We visited Barbara's Uncle's grave near Montay, then headed south through pretty French villages and the city of  Verdun. We crossed the Rhine into Germany at  Breisach, then continued to the source of the Danube at Donnauschingen. We experienced increasing rain, and it was  fairly cold weather.  By the time we had toured the Romantischestrasse in heavy rain, we decided to change our plan, and head south to Croatia to seek warmer drier weather. We crossed the Alps through northern Austria, and stayed in Zell-am-See for 3 nights. Then we crossed Slovenia, and then reached the Istrian peninsula in Croatia. We toured Istria, with intermittent rain and sun, then headed across to the Island of Krk.  Eventually we reached Dubrovnik, which is a marvellous walled city, and bathed in sunshine!  But we heard on TV that Prague, Vienna, Bratislava and the whole Danube was seriously flooded, with incessant rain. So we changed plans, abandoning entirely any more touring in Eastern Europe, and took the car ferry to Bari in Italy.

Here we found sunshine mostly, and uncrowded seaside places with empty hotels and restaurants in the Taranto region of Calabria. We then enjoyed Maratrea in the Golfo di Policastro, a pretty village by the sea. We climbed a hill behind the village to the old town, then higher up the hill to the summit. Here there is an enormous statue of Jesus, dominating this section of the coast. We then drove north up the west coast to Paestum where we visited the ancient Greek/Roman archeological site. We then experienced crowds and terrible traffic in the region of greater Naples, especially the Amalfi coast. We eventually based ourselves in Salerno and took a boat trip to visit Amalfi and Positano. We used a train to visit Pompei. Then we headed up the autostrada del sole, via Tuscany and Lecco (by Lake Como) to the Swiss border.

In Switzerland we stayed at Silvaplana, in the Engadine valley. This is a splendid place, by a huge lake and surrounded by snow-capped mountains. We moved on to Austria, staying in Landek, Rietel and Langenfeld. From our base in an apartment in the latter village, we toured the Otztal region of snow-clad mountains, fabulous valleys, enchanting villages and fierce rivers and waterfalls. Then we drove to Munich airport for our flight home on 28th June.

Kitzsteinhorn, near Zell-Am-See Above Steiben Falls, near Umhausen, Otztal
Kitzsteinhorn, 3029 metres,  above Zell-am-See. A fabulous Austrian village near Steiben Falls, Otztal

Winter back home in July and August was extremely cold! We had our wood fire lit every day. The Glenies visited us briefly in August, to attend Cameron's 21st birtday celebration. We decided to accept an invitaion to St John's Cambridge, for a 50th anniversary dinner in the college hall.

So we flew once again to Europe, this time to London, for the entire month of September. We spent a few days in London, then Cambridge for the dinner. We hired a car and drove via Cromer to Manchester, where we gave Uncle William's letters and medals to the Museum of the Manchester Regiment. We stayed a few days in Glossop, where it poured with rain a lot of the time. Then we went to a farm cottage near Church Stretton, and visited Auntie Stella and Rosemary. Then we took a trip through Wales, visiting Carnarfon, Harlech, Barmouth and Aberdovey. We then visited Oxford, then back to Cambridge for a very intersting Alumni Weekend organized by the University. Lastly we stayed in London for 3 days before catching our flight home.
The Bridge of Sighs at St Johns, spoilt by us standing in front The Westminster skyline from our window at ROSL Club.
The Bridge of Sighs at St John's, spoilt by us standing in front The Westminster skyline from our window at ROSL Club.

Barbara enjoyed the UK trip very much, but Victor was not very well, with terrible hip and back aches and a shocking cold/flu, which spoiled his enjoyment a great deal. This lasted 2 months after our return home, but gradually got better by December. In October we had a few warmer days, but it was mostly cold and we were still lighting our wood fire a lot, right up to 13th November! On 19th November we signed up with an Estate Agent to put our house up for sale.  We had to work hard to keep the house and garden immaculate for photographs and subsequent inspections.

On 20th December we drove 2015 kms north to visit Karen and family in Queensland for Christmas. En route we stopped at Broken Hill and Gilgandra, and we arrived at Karen's place about 6pm on Sunday 22nd.  We had a lovely time with Karen, Lee, Mathew and Daniel. Lee's parents Kay and Tony were with us on Christmas day. We feasted on home-cooked ham, and a rich trifle prepared by Kay. The boys loved their Mutant Ninja Turtle outfits, and their huge sturdy Tonka toy crane and truck. Mathew was happy with his magic science kit, and we made coloured crystals to fill his magic wand, and he fixed the stars to his wizard hat. Mathew gave us a piano recital playing 'Jingle Bells' and 'We wish you a Merry Christmas'.

Victor Barbara Daniel, at barellan Point, Xmas 2013 Canoeing on the Brisbane River at Colleges Crossing
Victor Barbara Daniel, at Barellan Point, Xmas 2013 The two magicians casting spells with Mathew's science kit.
Another day we took Karen's canoe to the Brisbane River, and Karen, Lee, Mathew and Barbara paddled up and down, and landed on a small island, on which Mathew planted a 'Beasley' flag to claim the territory. Another day Karen drove us around the district sampling a few rental homes to give us an idea of what might be available when we move north.
Daniel, Karen, Mathew and Lee Canoeing on the Brisbane River at Colleges Crossing
Daniel Karen Mathew and Lee, Xmas 2013. Canoeing on the Brisbane River at Colleges Crossing
After a lovely stay with Karen and family, we took 3 days to drive home, stopping overnight at Goondiwindi, Nyngan, and Broken Hill. We arrived home at about 5pm on 31st December (New Year's Eve).  It was an 'Extreme Fire Danger' day, so we spent the rest of the afternoon watering all around the house. We were exhausted and went to bed early, so we slept safely and soundly into the New Year.