A new appliance for the caravan

My regular microwave oven in the caravan recently died and shortly afterwards I saw a new convection microwave advertised at a local store of just $149. I snapped it up quick.

It was my choice not to have an oven in the Robbiebago caravan when we designed and built it due to favouring the additional storage room it frees up and basically it has been the right choice for us. I have cooked (not just reheated or defrosted) food in a microwave for over 30 years and when we are connected up to power I love to use it. We have a covered gas BBQ in the caravan however this has been largely unsuccessful as we found that no matter what we did, there was always way too much bottom heat and the food would burn. To top it off the gas BBQ gobbles up a lot of gas and thus making it an expensive option.

I guess you can safely say we are glamping...a new term that keeps on popping up now a days that refers to camping with all the mod cons. We are certainly not camping purists. We don't believe in camping in the rough at our age! LOL

So any way, back on topic, now you can see why I was thrilled to replace the dead one with this beauty. As you can see it has a mirror finished door... I will just have to up the ante on my house cleaning. LOL

Now to experiment with it and cook up some beauties in it. I am hankering for cheesy meatballs, a potato bake and maybe a nice date loaf not all on the same day LOL .... yumm. My tummy is growling now. I just need to get to powered site so I can experiments. Watch for some more recipes to come.

What is your favourite camp recipe?


We arrived in Toowoomba just in time to attend church. Today we attended the Reformed Church. We have some association with the Reformed Churches of Australia with Rob having grown up in the Reformed Church in both Orange and Wollongong.

Being a relatively small and a very much family orientated denomination, we know many people right across the majority of the churches in Australia. If we don’t know someone in that church ourselves, we will come across someone who is related to someone we know and vice versa, they’ll know at least one of Rob’s relatives. This makes it very easy to assimilate and it opens doors of hospitality.

Toowoomba Gardens
We were invited to lunch with a couple that we knew from years back and from this we were invited to stay overnight in their driveway. It was great to catch up with John & Helen and do lots of reminiscing. Just as we were about to leave, Helen has a visitor whom we recognized, our wedding photographer who is also the sister of our best man at our wedding, so of course we had to delay our leave taking. We had also been invited to lunch before leaving Toowoomba by another couple from our past, or was it that we invited ourselves??? Anyway Liz is a sister to my husband’s cousin and as I said earlier, there is often a family connection somewhere. I actually like this as I come from a very fragmented family and grew up as a only child until my mother married when I was 8 and then my half sister was born. So to have this family connection is a big part of what clicked with me when I joined this church and denomination.

Toowoomba City of Flowers

I have since learnt that mostly it doesn’t really matter which church or domination I attend, that I am with a family of believers.

Sorry, we were so wrapped in visiting friends and it was not our first visit to Toowoomba, I didn’t think to take any photos of the town. It is beautiful with lots of flowering Jacarandas in evidence as well as lots of spring flowering plants including numerous roses. None of these photos were by myself. Credit given accordingly.

Altar Quilt photo by Helen Moes
The quilt in the photo can be seen at the Toowoomba Reformed Church. It is absolutely marvellous and was designed made by the ladies of the church themselves.  It is a marvellous blend of various applique techniques as well as embroidery. I would have loved to have had the opportunity to meet the designer, but unfortunately she wasn't in church this weekend. It truly deserved to have been exhibited at any of the highest quilting exhibitions within the country. I am no expert but I reckon it could have won at least 1 medal, it certainly is the best quilt I have ever seen and I have attended many quilt exhibitions at the Sydney Quilt Shows.

List Making

List Photo: Libarian
I can surely relate to this week's joke as I am definitely a list person. Especially for packing, shopping list and birthdays etc.

Whenever I travel I make a list & meticulously check off each item as I pack. Before my last trip, though, I was so frantic that I lost the piece of paper.

As soon as I got to my hotel, I opened my suitcase only to find that it had been searched by airport security. How could I tell? On top of my neatly refolded clothes was my list. 

Next to each item, someone had made a crisp tick mark.

At the bottom was this note: “You forgot the toothpaste.”

Fun with the crazy English language

Photo: teach-overseas
Rob & I were passing the driving time amusing ourselves with the silliness of the English language. Oh how the English language can be so confusing & even frustrating for us that speak it as our first language let alone for the multitudes that try to understand it as a second language. I admire their tenacity. English is so inconsistent it's actually fun to confuse non-english speakers.

Going crazy
How can one learn English when you have words that are the same yet have totally different meanings or are spelt the same and yet sometimes even different pronunciations? Others have the same pronunciations yet are spelt differently. Then there are words that sound this way when spelt like that and yet when you find another word similar and try to apply the same pronunciation you are way off beam. And this doesn’t even begin to cover the changes to the English language that computer technology has introduced. We’ll play with those words on another trip and write it up another time.

Here’s how we amused ourselves this time, actually we did this over a couple of days just for the fun of it...

  • The farmer’s bandage was wound around the wound.
  • The material witness wore a dress of fine woven material.
  • The corporal could lead his platoon if he could just get the lead out of his feet.
  • The frightened tourist decided desert his dessert in the desert of Egypt.
  • The accident insurance was invalid for the old invalid.
  • They were standing too close to close the door properly.
  • The dog‘s bark was directed at the intruder hiding in the ground covering bark.
  • He threw the ball right through the hole.
  • He consumed the whole cake even though there was a hole in it from mice.
  • My husband has a stake in the steak for his dinner.
  • Watch how low the men with the bow ties bow before the Queen.
  • She wont live long if she touches a live wire.
  • A spring in the suspension snapped last spring when we were near Kathleen Hot Springs.
  • The bear bares all.
  • He ate eight cookies.
  • She told me that Dave would get the wood for the fire.
  • Let it be known that a bee sting can be painful even lethal.
  • The hair on the back of the dog’s neck stood up whilst observing the hare just before chasing it.
  • A single scented rose was presented to the student who rose above the rest.
  • The old so & so is so very good at painting and he can sew as well.
  • The United Nations wanted a piece of the glory in the peace deal that was recently brokered by two former enemies.

So whilst we are travelling from one camp to the next in our caravan, this is just one of the funny ways we amuse ourselves. At least for this couple of grey nomads, we are keeping the grey matter active. All of us can do with a good dose of humour in our lives.

How do you past the time on long road trips?

Glass Hounse Mountains, Cruice Park & Hampton

First a stop at the Glass House Mountains

Mt Coonowrin, just one of the Glass House Mountains
We were heading to Toowoomba for church on Sunday and had a couple of days to fill in. We decided to have a look at the scenery that encompasses the Glass House Mountains however we decided not to stay here due to a memory of bad mosquitoes there from a previous camp in the area.

Shady Cruice Park

So we drove further west and stopped at Cruice Park. (Camps 6:512). The weather was really starting to heat up and the temperatures was in the mid to high 30’s (closing in at 90-100 degrees F). Cruice Park offered lots of trees for shade and relative coolness. The next day we went a little further west.
Free camping at Cruice Park

Another stop: Somerset Dam
Somerset Dam

We stopped by Somerset Dam for a short interlude.

Super hot at Hampton

Moving on a little bit more, we stopped and stayed at a little park at Hampton (Camps 6: 486). It is a nice little park with a playground too. The park part had lots of shade to sit in right outside your caravan which was marvellous as the internal temperature when we stopped at lunch time was 41 degrees. (106F) It was hot enough to fry an egg on the road!

We had little choice but to park the caravan in the sun though once we opened up all the windows and let whatever breeze in though, this soon dropped. It was lovely to sit under the trees until the sun started dropping and the afternoon shade of the trees fell upon the caravan. There was a gentle breeze to make it pleasant.

Hot enough: Pockafwye

Bli Bli, Sunshine Coast

An invitation too good to pass up

Maroochydore Beach
We were going to visit our friends in Bli Bli, whom we had met several times along the trip starting with the free camp at Walker’s Creek, north of Normanton. When we rolled up for a day of fellowship with Brian & Lorraine, we were pleasantly surprised to be invited to stay overnight in their driveway, which gave us a lot more time with them.

Sunshine Coast

They took us on a short sightseeing drive through the northern part of the Sunshine Coast precisely Maroochydore and Mooloolaba which are just like a mini Gold Coast, all shops and expensive apartments lining beautiful beaches.
In the evening, we all enjoyed a game of cards after I introduced them to an Indonesian dish called Bamie, very similar to Nasi Goreng.

Bli Bli is Aboriginal

By the way, Bli Bli means mosquito, mosquito in aboriginal lingo. That sort of name wouldn’t attract me to the area, no matter how pretty it is. Just as well we went for the great company!

Free camp at Brown’s Creek at Yandina

After Gin Gin we were heading south and east towards Maroochydore. We stayed in a free camp at Brown’s Creek (Camps 6: 168) just outside Yandina.

It was a reasonable sized area and flat with a long drop composting toilet. It is dappled shaded but you can find some sunny spots if you need solar power charging. There’s a large fenced off picnic grounds that surrounds the circular car parking loop and at least one spring handled tap but not suitable for topping up your water supply. It is not on the highway but it is on the old highway and you can see and hear the newer highway here. Not a brilliant spot for longer stays but certainly worth an overnight stop.

Nearby is a Ginger factory, but since neither Rob nor I are keen on ginger, we gave this a miss. A camping neighbour had been before and was going back for a kilo bag, they were so yummy.

Gin Gin

Dave & Di's place near Gin Gin
We had met a couple from Gin Gin back at Wuruma Dam and we had been invited to come and stay on their property just outside Gin Gin. So even though it was only an hour and a bit away, this is where we had decided to spend the first 2 nights back on the road. Dave met us in Gin Gin to guide us to his place 20km out in the bush.

Double Barred Finch
Their place is quite secluded and is an oasis for the wildlife in the area. They have numerous birds and the occasional wallaby come and pop in from time to time. Already I have come across some birds I am not familiar with such as the double barred finch. We also saw the bright and marvellously coloured King Parrots coming in to feed. Apparently one is brazen enough to go up to the kitchen window and chatter to let them know that the feeding bowl is empty. LOL. It is so lovely and quiet here. We are parked with the door facing a nice little dam. The early morning sun reflects off the surface like brilliant diamonds that God has scattered haphazardly across the surface.

Before we left we found out that it was Dave’s birthday on Saturday and so we presented him with the first first Nifty Camp Oven Lid Lifter. He was so thrilled with it that he insisted on making his own copies of our brochure and he is going to be promoting them to his friends and future camp neighbours. We may have met our sales rep.

As we left, we went back into Gin Gin to visit the Gin Gin Historical Museum where Dave and Di were working as volunteers a couple of days a week. A good look around identified many articles that one or the other of us remember from parents or grand parents’ days. We even saw things we have never seen before, including various tools such as an electric chainsaw with an huge 300mm round motor. The museum covers also the railway station and the old cop house and station, including medical memorabilia as the cop’s wife was a nurse and ran an outpatient unit out of one of the rooms. I also saw up close, some handmade dresses from the 1800s. The stitching was exquisite.

Gin Gin Historical Museum (source)
Gin Gin is very RV friendly with parking in the middle of the main street with picnic tables & toilets in a wide grassy median strip right across the road from the local grocery store, fish & chop shop and others. We stopped here to pick up some supplies at the grocery store and splurged out on a delicious barramundi fish and chips for lunch which we had in the mini park just outside where the caravan was parked.

Lip Smacker - joke

Photo: Jerine

I know this joke isn’t travel related but I love it anyway and when I saw it again, I just knew I had to tell you.

After applying their lipstick in a school’s toilets, some girls would press their lips to the mirror, leaving lip prints.

The principal decided that something had to be done. So she called all the girls into the toilets and explained that the lip prints were causing a problem for the cleaner.

To demonstrate how difficult it is to clean, she asked the cleaner to demonstrate how he cleans the mirror.

He proceeded to do so. He dipped a long handled squeegee into the toilet bowl and mopped the mirror.

Since then there have been no lip prints.

How to communicate with a deaf or hard of hearing person

As we get older there are more and more people suffering some form of deafness, many even to the point of needing a hearing aid or cochlear.

Having been deaf since birth I read with interest an article titled "Ten things you should never say to a deaf person by Charlie Swinbourne" found here. He has some very valid points where such comments are offensive to some deaf people. However I don’t necessarily agree with all of his comments though they are some obvious points to be made here and judging by the comments made.

Personally I believe the majority of people are certainly not meaning to be offensive. I like to use such opportunities to educate people about deafness when appropriate. Most misunderstandings come from ignorance and lack of understanding of what they said.

I think I will start a collection of some of the silly things people say. Here's the latest one that occurred as we were assisting a traveller searching for directions. When I had to let him know that I was having some difficulty understanding him with his accent, he later asked. "How is it that I can talk?" I just said. "It is easy. I don't need my ears to talk." Oh duh!

So what can you do to effectively communicate with a deaf person? 

Here are some points for consideration.

  • Ask them what they need to help communication go well. Needs vary from person to person, and you being willing to make the effort to meet someone halfway makes a HUGE difference. Really, you have no idea how much that is appreciated. Requirements can vary greatly from person to person, and you being willing to make the effort to meet someone halfway makes a HUGE difference. Really, you have no idea how much that is appreciated.
  • Try rephrasing your comment or question. Often we are getting stuck on a single word of sentence. There are some words that look alike, and sometimes the same word can be used in the same context in a sentence. It does take a little work figuring out things like this.
  • Deafness is not a sign of lower intelligence. Any misunderstandings are usually because of not hearing correctly in the first place. Don’t assume that the deaf person is stupid if they don’t respond in a certain manner or even give a ‘weird’ answer. They probably didn’t hear you properly. I can’t recall the number of times when I have assumed I have heard correctly, yet I have come back with an otherwise comical or ‘weird’ answer. When the correct interpretation has been implemented then we can laugh together if you have not made me feel embarrassed about my misinterpretation.
  • Don’t assume that a hearing aid or a cochlear means that we can hear very well now. We don’t. It assists us but we still need to interpret the sounds we hear or think we hear.
  • If you have an accent then please be extra patient with us. It is extra work for us. It is not your fault but neither is it our fault.
  • Eliminate all background sounds especially music when ever possible.
  • Good lighting is essential. Stand or sit with your face in the light. Direct overhead lighting throws shadows. Dusk is difficult as are flickering lights such as a campfire or bonfire.
  • Deaf people rarely have any depth of field where sound is concerned. We have no idea where the sound is coming from.
  • Don’t raise your voice unless asked.
  • Don’t assume that just because they ‘speak well’ that they are not very deaf. The two are not linked!
  • Don’t exaggerate your mouth movement when speaking.
  • If you have a beard or moustache, please keep your top lip trimmed so we can see the outline of your lips.
  • Understand that hearing and lip reading takes a lot of effort and we can become tired or even exhausted. We are prone to make even more mistakes at speech recognition when we are tired. This is especially true at conferences , lectures and classes etc.
  • Have a pen and paper handy if you get stuck.This can save a lot of embarrassments and misunderstandings.
  • Please be patient and repeat it often if necessary. Don’t say, “Never mind” or “It wasn’t important” if it was important enough to say it once, then we might feel unimportant if you can’t be bothered to repeat it. As mentioned earlier, try rephrasing it for us. We don’t choose to be deaf.Please, please don’t give up on us. We are apart of the community too! We didn't become deaf by choice and we have no other reality.


Photo: Woofiegrrl
Mostly you just need to take time to talk with patience and kindness. Make the opportunity to learn from each other. Wouldn’t the world be a much better place if we each took the time to get to know what it was like to walk in another person’s shoes?

Have you had any funny comments made relating to yours or someone's deafness? I would love to compile a list for a future post!

Back on the road

After a short flight home to see one of our daughters off to Vancouver, Canada for a year or two plus an extended family reunion, we are back in Bundaberg and our Robbiebago caravan. I’d forgotten just how cold Wollongong can get, brrrr. It didn’t help that I started off my trip with a mild migraine that washed me out for several days. The days were wonderfully warm though especially outside in the sun. Since our return, we have only had the evenings with my sister and her husband as they were both back at work. I did get to spend some afternoons with my gorgeous niece however as I picked her up from daycare. Now back in Queensland where it seems to be always warm, I had forgotten just how humid it can get, when the salt congeals in the shaker & clothes are dryer on the line than they are on your back. Good grief, the wet season hasn’t even started yet. Still I love it here at this time of the year. We even had a icy cold day here when the wind seems to come up from the south as it had been snowing hard enough to blanket some areas of NSW which is quite unseasonal for this time of year. I am grateful it really only lasted a day and no matter the cold early mornings, the day warmed up considerably.

Being spring, the pigeons and other birds greet us bright and early each morning with a cacophony of sounds as they seek mates and greet the sun. This delightful morning chorus is lost on my hearing husband who doesn’t want the noise as he desperately wants to sleep in. One advantage of being deaf, is that if I don’t want to hear things, at least I can turn off the hearing aid and cochlear! Got take it when I can. {big cheesy fat grin}

Bundaberg Ginger Beer Factory

This return trip was a longer but basically quiet and relaxing time. On the weekend we did visit the Tender Centre where we put in a few unsuccessful bids on some items that we thought would make a good gift for a brother-in-law. Wendy & Kerry were unsuccessful in their bids too this time. We also popped past the Bundaberg Ginger Beer Factory to pick up some drinks that are generally unavailable down south. We had done the tour years ago and can recommend it to visitors to the area. Same goes for the Bundie Rum place too which is close by!

On the Sunday I got up bright and early as usual and took myself off to the PCYC craft markets to browse amongst the lovely crafts on display and for sale here. This market is held monthly and there is a wide variety of crafts to choose from. Recycled jeans made into bags, a variety of handmade cards including ones with a lovely magnet as a removable gift as the feature on the card and some exquisite paper tole cards as well as the regular handmade stamped cards. There were numerous quilts and fabrics, timber works, jewellery and more crafts available too. I would have loved to spend more time there but I had to go back and get ready for church. We attended the Citicoast Church where they had a guest who explained his work with Red Frog which works amongst uni students, schoolies week and the poor and downtrodden members of society.

Bargarra Beach
After church we had a quick visit home to grab the supplies needed for our picnic BBQ by Bargarra Beach. We had hoped to catch the motor show that was on in Bargarra this weekend but apparently it finished at lunchtime on Sunday and thus we missed it. SO instead we spent a pleasant afternoon watching young Maevey in the sand and splashing on the edge of the waters. It was a lovely sunny day but the wind came up and the waters were too cool for a real dip in the ocean at this time of the year.

It’s Monday tomorrow, it’s time to start thinking about getting back on the road again…

Holding on

In the days when you couldn’t count on a public toilet facility, an English woman was planning a trip to India. She was registered to stay in a small guest house owned by the local schoolmaster. She was concerned as to whether the guest house contained a WC. In England, a bathroom is commonly called a WC which stands for “Water Closet”.
Photo: WC by Tracy Hunter

She wrote to the schoolmaster inquiring of the facilities about the WC. The school master, not fluent in English, asked the local priest if he knew the meaning of WC. Together they pondered possible meanings of the letters and concluded that the lady wanted to know if there was a “Wayside Chapel” near the house . . . the concept of a bathroom never entered their minds.

So the schoolmaster wrote the following reply:

Dear Madam,  
I take great pleasure in informing you that the WC is located 9 miles from the house. It is located in the middle of a grove of pine trees, surrounded by lovely grounds. It is capable of holding 229 people and is open on Sundays and Thursdays. As there are many people expected in the summer months, I suggest you arrive early. There is, however, plenty of standing room. This is an unfortunate situation especially if you are in the habit of going regularly.

It may be of some interest to you that my daughter was married in the WC as it was there that she met her husband. It was a wonderful event. There were 10 people in every seat. It was wonderful to see the expressions on their faces. We can take photos in different angle.

My wife, sadly, has been ill and unable to go recently. It has been almost! a year since she went last, which pains her greatly. You will be pleased to know that many people bring their lunch and make a day of it. Others prefer to wait till the last minute and arrive just in time. I would recommend your ladyship plan to go on a Thursday as there is an organ accompaniment. The acoustics are excellent and even the most delicate sounds can be heard everywhere.

The newest addition is a bell which rings every time a person enters. We are holding a bazaar to provide plush seats for all since many feel it is long needed. I look forward to escorting you there myself and seating you in a place where you can be seen by all.

The Schoolmaster 

The Woman fainted reading the reply…….. and she never visited India!!!!

I wonder why?????

This joke was originally seen at OzJokes