Double check the program!

Monday was dedicated to work.

Let’s get this right!

We are installing the SpaceCalc application tomorrow at our client company and we will check and double everything.

The university still has not got their base data to us to load into the program so we will install it with “dummy data” and upload the real data to them when we get it.

Universities are so slow at making things happen.
It’s just the nature of the beast and we are well used to dealing with it.

As we won’t be available “in the flesh” to train the users we have decided to make step by step video tutorials and link them to each section of the program.

This takes all day and late into the night again.

It was worth it though as we found we needed to change a particular function significantly.

I hardly moved from my “office” all day and by the end both Kerrie and I were burnt out.

It was so nice to crawl into our warm comfortable beds!

A day of surprises

(By Chris) Today found us at the Victoria Markets in the city.

This place is a foodies paradise.

Victoria Markets

We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to sample a couple of items of food from the hunreds of offerings.

We explored row upon row of the freshest most amazingly presented food we had ever seen.

What an exciting, bustling place that.

(By Kerrie) The Queen Victorian Markets are a must see for anyone visiting Melbourne. It’s huge. The food courts alone are bigger than anything we have in Brisbane. Fresh butchers, seafood, delicatessens. The most amazing cheese selections and bakeries. Not just one or two but several of each variety all wanting your business, saying good morning and trying to lure you into their world. You can tell the tourist’s as we are all taking photo’s. Then you move out to the fresh fruit & veg area. WOW! Woolies have nothing on these people. There you will also find wineries selling you their wares. “But wait, theres more” Then starts the usually things sold at markets, in an area the size of the bag pavilion or bigger at the ekka.

I had seen winter hats last time I was there and had wanted to purchase one before we went to Tassie. So not being silly again, left Chris with his coffee and started to search out the hat I wanted. The only trouble was they still consider it summer and I only found one place that had them. Of course I found the stall early on but as they only had 2 hats to pick from I went to every other stall to see if there was a bigger range…nope. By this time Chris had rang and had decided to join me. Now it was a hunt to find the original stall to get the hat I had seen 2 hrs before.

Queen Victoria Markets

(By Chris) After spending a few enjoyable hours at the Victoria Markets and being amazed at the cruise ship which was berthed down at the port, we discovered that magic really does happen. We found some in the remarkable suburb of Williamstown.

What a wonderful, amazing place.

It’s steeped in history, heritage and charm.

This history is mainly maritime as Williamstown was the original port of Melbourne.

Chris was in his element. Every turn of the head bought something else fascinating to take in.

The commercial area is made up of mainly buildings that have been there since the mid to late 1800’s with the occasional “Modern” building from about 1910.

The houses, and there are a great many of them, are predominantly old. Many are cottages but almost all are maintained and renovated. There are very few dumps in Williamstown. The houses are mingled with churches constructed of the Blue Stone so predominant in early Victorian buildings.

The highlight of the day for Chris was a tour of the Second World War Corvette the HMAS Castlemaine, which was moored at Gem Wharf, the centre and focal point of the town.

This vessel has been meticulously restored and maintained and it was fascinating be able to examine every section of the vessel from the Commander’s cabin to the galley, to the engine room.

All the while the City of Melbourne was visible in the background with it’s scyscrapers shrouded in the low cloud that persisted for the day.

The huge magnificent trees, green velvety grass and roses where once again the features that filled in the landscape for us.

We felt like we could stay indefinately in this beautiful place.

A day in the beautiful Dandenongs

Today saw us off bright and early for a trip to the Dandenongs in what turned out to be a glorious day.

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The Dandenong ranges are a truly pretty part of the world with gigantic trees, steep hills deep valleys and breathtaking sights that constantly demand attention. There are parts that remind us of our still favourite place – Monteville.

Healthy, well managed farms and orchard are evrywhere

There are mile upon mile of incredibly well managed and productive farms and orchards, with a proliferation of berries, fruits and wine.

We started with a visit to the famous Puffing Billy steam train at the picturesque Belgrave station.

Puffing Billy – A beautiful example of our railway heritage

I enjoy watching these old machines and this one is a real treat as it is restored and maintained in pristine condition.

We then drove up to the little towns of Saville, Olinda, Sassafras and eventually to “Sky High Observatory” on Mount Dandenong. We passsed some truly beautiful spots but the highlight was when we discovered a hydroponic strawberry and tomato farm.

Hydroponic Strawberries – Huge and Delicious

The farm was so well managed

The Strawberries hydroponic trough

The owners were only too happy to talk about their 21 year history of commercial hydroponic farming after thay learnt of our hydroponics experiments and our desire to start up again when we eventually get back to Brisbane. This farm was so neat and well managed and the strawberries they grew were exceptionally delicious.

They don’t circulate the water as we did so we imagine the cost of nutrient would be high but they use no chemical in controling pests.

After the strawberry farm we made our way to Sky High on Mount Dandenong where we were given the most breathtaking views of Melbourne and it’s surrounds.

Panaroma of Melbourne from Sky High

The magnificent gardens were tranquil and pretty and Kerrie got some great shots as you can see in the photo album. She even caught a great shot of a bee in flight.

We were worn out but contented after arriving home from this lovely day.


A week on the road already

Well everyone a whole week has already passed since we left Brissy.

Even though we’ve been living in the caravan now for 12 weeks we’ve technically only been on the road since last Thursday.

We have adapted to life in a confined living area very well I think and we are actually enjoying the simplicity of our new lifestyle.

We don’t want for anything, we are both sleeping SO well and we are cooking and eating with absolutely no problems.

Even getting dressed in the mornings poses no problems. It’s just great.

On a relationship level we simply don’t believe the old saying “Familiarity breeds contempt”.

We have spent virtually no time apart for 12 weeks, living in a confined space together and spending every day together. Even though we talk to plenty of others our main converations are between ourselves. I can honestly say that from my perspective I feel closer to Kerrie each day.
I never get sick of her being there and I still miss her for the short periods we are apart.
Our converstions always seem to be new and we still have few silent moments between us where we have nothing to say to each other.

We don’t fight and any slight tension that arises is usualy mine and a word of encouragement from her will calm me down completely.
Kerrie is always smiling always happy and always positive.

I can truly say I love her more each day.

There are times that we have to pinch ourselves to make sure it’s all real – all the blessings God has given us and the way He provides.

As for the caravan we have set up the annex as we will do each time we stop for more than a couple of days.

We’ll use the annex whenever we stay more than a couple of days

It lets us spread out that bit more and it’s especially good for setting up the chairs and watching TV.

We should have the SpaceCalc programmed installed in our customers offices in Exhibition Street on Tuesday and the university has asked for a demonstration on some of the other modules of our Campus Operations Management System that they want “bolted on” to SpaceCalc.

There IS one big negative of course and that’s missing all of you!

Emily phoned me yesterday as she had a problem with her tax and I so much wished I was there to fix it for her.

There’s not one of you that we don’t miss dearly. Despite the excitment of our daily lives we never stop talking about and thinking about all of you.

We love you all.

A meeting with a good friend

After a very late night building a video for the university to demonstrate the extra programs they want we made our way in to Melbourne.

We were going to take the train but as we were running late we decided to drive.

Kerrie did a masterful job of driving through the city and it was actually very easy.

We met up with our friend Bruce who has been such a great help to us especially when we first installed our Campus Operations program at his campus in Melbourne.

It was a great feeling to walk up to that big smile and feel like you’d never really been away, he seems so familiar.

We had coffee and talked and will have dinner with him at his home next week with Denise, his wife. We are looking forward to it as they are not only great company their passion is gourmet cooking and their food is so delicious.

We also caught up our friend Tabatha who was a fantastic help in setting up the program in those early days. Turns out she lives just down the road aways from the caravan park we’re staying at.

On the way in to Melbourne I got a call from Rose, my sister, from Christchurch. It was a big relief as even though I knew she was OK I wasn’t able to contact her.

We will catch up properly in the next couple of days.

The inner city of Melbourne is an exciting place for sure.

Collins Street

Our image of Collins, Bourke and Exhibition streets where we had our business meeting today, will be of business suits, trees, trams and food outlets.

So much food and everyone trying to be the best.

It really is a wonderful atmosphere.

Kerrie walked her feet raw the full length of Collins Steet and then back to the University where we left the car. All in all about 8 – 10 kilometres. (From Kerrie) I only walked it for a bargain. Katmandu had the mircofibre towels I wanted on special from $59.99 down to $14.99. That was worth walking for.
I must admit I did hop on a tram for two stops on the way back but only had a note to purchase a ticket and the machine wouldn’t take notes, so I hopped off again.

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Housework – A women’s work is never done.

Got a phone call from the company this morning. They are looking at other programs we have and want us to send in quotes etc.

Funny, when you think of “business deals” being negotiated you conjure up an image of  business suits in high rise offices. Not in our business.

Chris was sitting there in his dressing gown and slippers and I was washing up in my trackies with both of us in our 40 yr old caravan.

Life’s great isn’t it.

After the “housework” inside I decided to give the caravan a wash and remove the road grime from the old girl. Chris was inside changing the programs around to suit their requirements.

After lunch I informed Chris I wanted to go shopping, real shopping you know the kind when you go into every shop to have a look. I wasn’t buying anything, there’s no room to. Rule of caravaning if you buy something, something else has to be thrown out.

So I looked on the internet to find a large shopping centre. Right I’m ready, then it happens, Chris decides he wants to come to. I warned him, “Are you sure. No whinging.”

So we went to Highpoint Shopping Centre. It’s lovely, 2 levels, I’m in my glory. Then I see it, my heart flutters, 3 levels, Yippee!!

I look at Chris, I just know he already had seen this. “When did you know?” “Before”. He thought “S%#t don’t let her go that way” Too late.

So I park him with a coffee and continue with my “exercise”. Mostly cinemas and resturants on level 3 but there are still shops.

Eventually I come back and we go home.

I have just finished cooking dinner, it’s 8pm now and Chris has decided we need to make another video to send off to them. It’s a great way to sell.

I get to bed at 1.30am he comes to bed at 2.30am. This is a working trip, but we have an amazing office. When you get sick of the view from the window, pack up and move on.

Chris’s version…

I can’t help it I just hate shopping.

Kerrie did a great job on the “housework” as usual.

A “tidy up” turned into a minor reno of the caravan, even scrubbing the the gaps in the windows with little brushes.

We could have palmed the van off as brand new by the time she’d finished.

I felt so bad (not), letting her do it all I thought I would support her, you know, do what SHE wanted to do and like it.

Being the SNAG, (Sensitive New Aged Guy), that I am I decided to go shopping with her and hold her hand and LIKE it no matter what. Just make it about her and let her enjoy herself.

As we got close to the shopping centre I could feel the excitment building and I could see her twitching with anticipation.

I, on the other hand, began to feel my trepedation growing as I saw the sheer size of the Shopping Mall she’d picked to visit.

Oh well, I thought, at least it’s Melbourne there’ll be new and different shops.

Once we had walked the first kilometre through the flouro lights I realised NAHHH they’re ALL THE SAME!

Same shops, same music, I reckon they were even the same shopkeepers and customers. I might as well have been at Chermside or Garden City.

After exploring 2 kilometres of the same shops as everywhere else in Australia on the GROUND floor, I felt self satisfied that I had kept up a good attitude and had done a reasonable job at appearing interested. Suddenly we came upon the escalater to the SECOND FLOOR.


Keep smiling, It’s HER time remember. It’s not about you. This is for HER!

Another 2 kilometres of the second floor and I swear they were identical to the shops on the ground floor.

Then I notice it!

There, right off to the side is another escalator to… wait for it… THE DAMNED 3rd FLOOR!

But wait.

She hasn’t seen it yet.

Quick steer her away.

“Look dear at this interesting little shop here”.

She must have caught sight of the reflection of the escalator in the window because next minutue it’s shaking with uncontrolled excitment, ” Ohhh look there’s a THIRD FLOOR”!

It was almost crying with delight.

What could I do.

My sensitivity and my genuine desire to see her happy just disipated into self preservation.

“Would you like a coffee before we hit the third floor darling” says I.

“That would be lovely Dear”, she says.

Now’s my chance!

“You are having such a grand time my darling, why don’t you explore the third floor all by yourself and that way you can really get the most out of this unique and rewarding experience. I will sacrifice my desire to explore with you so you can taste the full and unbridled enjoyment. I’ll just sit here with my coffee until you’re fully satisfied.”

“Oh, that’s nice of you”, she says.

Of course I know she knows that I’m done with shops.

Why do I get these stupid urges to do what SHE wants to do and put myself through the torture of “SHOPPING”?

A visit to Ballarat

Waiting for the university to get us the data we need to install the program, so we took a run to Ballarat.

What a beautiful city!

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You know, there is nothing that permeates the senses quite like the scent of a rose and Ballarat has PLENTY of them.

In fact our “enduring image” of Ballarat will be of roses, beautiful old cottages, large trees and colour.

Beautiful old cottages and roses – our enduring image of Ballarat

We started with a walk around the centre getting a feel for the city and then went up to see the ACU campus.

When we think of Ballarat we’ll think of vibrant colours and the scent of roses.

The ACU campus consists of specatcular old buildings set amidst huge trees and abundant flower gardens.

The lawns are so soft they feel like green velvet. Beautiful!

Then it was off to the Eureka Stockade and Bakery Hill where such an important part of our history took place with the cost of many lives.
Here is the story of the Eureka stockade.

A visit to the old cemetery was an experience as we stood first by the memorial to all the miners, (diggers), killed in the Eureka Stockade attack and then by the memorial to the soldiers in the attack.

The memorial to the Eureka Stockade miners, (diggers), who died in the attack.

Everywhere you turn there are magnificent old buildings and prolific gardens and roses, roses and more roses.

Tall English oak and elm trees line almost every street and in many places cover the road offering a picture postcard visual of lush, quiet,  green canopies. Coupled with the old cottages you would not be surprised to encounter a horse and buggy with the occupants dressed in Victorian attire.

The wonderful botanical gardens offered up even greater explosions of colour and beauty.

You cannot but be amazed at the wonders of creation in the flowers and the trees.

Tree lined avenue – Bacchus Marsh

On the way back to Rockbank we took a diversion through Bacchus Marsh and discovered yet more beautiful landscapes, interesting people and unusual places, like the tree lined avenue of hundreds of trees all with a memorial  to an Australian soldier.

Beautiful orchards and vegetable farms are everywhere and their crops are healthy and prolific.

This really has been a day filled with colour and beautiful surroundings.

Notice we now have an image gallery on the blog you can access it here or on the link in the right hand column.

I’ve also worked out why the mp3’s are not working so have fixed these up.

Love you all.

A Day of contrasting emotions

Today was “Business day” and we had meetings at the La Trobe University campus.

What a huge, vibrant and alive campus.

The central meeting point has cinemas, 4 banks, theatres, bars and of course many different food outlets with an amazing array of offerings.

Our meetings were fantastic and we met some genuinely nice people.

We came away with a sense of satisfaction because we are totally convinced that our SpaceCalc program will help the university plan for it’s future. I’m sure they also know this.

Unfortunately our excitment was tempered by the news we found waiting when we got home of the devastation to my home town, Christchurch.

The part that did it for me was seeing the cathedral in ruins with the spire collapsed.

As anyone from Christchurch will know, the cathedral and the square are the icons of the city. It’s what you see in your mind when you think of home. It’s the landmark that really defines Christchurch.

The Cathedral as I remember it

The Cathedral now

Apparently New Bighton is “unliveable”. I grew up in Aranui, about 2 km from New Brighton.

Also to hear of the damage in Lyttleton, close to the epicentre is disturbing.

I spent so much of my life around the port town of Lyttleton. As a sea cadet I spent every weekend here and any other time I possibly could, just to be around the ships. This is where I got my first job at sea on the fishing vessel “Blue Water” and it’s where I got my first “command” after getting my Fishing Skippers ticket – the old fishing vessel Kia Ora. We fished out of Lyttleton and I always loved the place.

My father used to walk the steep, now devastated, Summner to Lyttleton road every week carrying his groceries up to the old lighthouse keepers cottage at Godley head where he lived.

The old lighthouse keepers cottage at Godley head where my father lived.

As a kid I remember earthquake drills at school and also I recall many small earth tremors. It was just something that happened and you never paid it much mind. Nothing like this EVER happened.

I’ve spoken to my brother in law Ivan, but haven’t yet spoken to my sister Rose.

Ivan said he saw her in Halswell after the quake so she’s alright. Probably stayed with friends over night.

Ivan slept in the car after all his belongings ended up on the floor.

He’s adamant thats it for him, he’s moving to Australia.

Can Christchurch ever recover from this ? I don’t know, but it will never be the same again.

Cold weather – brrrrrrrrr

Well a very chilly night!

Mum alway said to pack your bed socks first when you go traveling. I did and I sure used them.

Why does the cold weather make you go to the toilet more. I have been very good for the last 10 weeks and we get down here and I wake up at 2am telling myself “I don’t need to go”.

That is until you are  busting and fully awake. Then it’s a mad dash to the bathroom and look out anybody in the way. Then back into bed freezing. I hate winter. Oh, that’s right it’s not winter yet!

Well we unpacked most of the winter clothes today and packed up some of the summer clothes. Don’t want to put them away too quickly, it’s suppose to be hot again by the weekend.

Decided to move the van around to face the other way. This way the annex will be more sheltered from the wind and won’t disappear into the sunset.

We did seek approval but they don’t seem to care as long as you’re not in the way. It’s a bit of a wierd set up here but we all seem to have plenty of room.

So now we can watch TV out in the annex and with the heater going it is very warm.

Spoke to the company we’re doing business with today to let them know we have arrived. We have a meeting with the University tomorrow so it’s out with the maps to find our way.

Chris will be glad when the meetings are over as he hates this part of the business.

Melbourne – Home for 11 days

Today we traveled from Finley to Rockbank,  a suburb 30 km out of Melbourne on the way to Ballarat where we’ll stay for the next 11 days while we install the SpaceCalc program at a University here.

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Our first glimpse of Melbourne as we came into the Rockbank area…

The skyline of Melbourne

After crossing the Victorian boarder the country side changed.

For one thing the “Rest Stops” become “Powernap Stops” Funny how that makes you feel. Like a Grey Nomad who has to have a “Nanna nap” to make it through the day. Oh, that’s right I am!

I try to work it that I don’t drive after lunch so I can have a snooze.

Well Melbourne has put on it’s usual show of weather changes. It’s rainy and cold. I am now wearing a jumper. The wind’s picked up and it’s brisk.

They said the change only came at 9.30am this morning otherwise it has been warm.

I have no idea what I’m going to be like in Tassie. Better start getting out the winter clothes already.

Chris has gone for a run to find a Tandy store to get a part for the antenna.

Kids; the best present you could have given me is that GPS. It lets us know what time we will get in to the towns, how far to go as well as keeps us under the speed limit when you hit the towns .

The limit through towns is 50kph.

We try very hard to keep it at 90kph on the road or the fuel gauge drops fast.

From Chris

A big shout out to Shawn Street who gave me a roll of wire when I left with the advice that it was one of the handiest things I could have.

It turned out to be true as I used it to “Rewire” the television arial which was broken and I was unable to find a replacement. It’s working fine and we  have all the digital channels back as well!

OOOOOhhhhh its cold!!!!!

Better get used to this before Tassy in 11 days!!!!

Just had some wonderul news from Emily who has broken all sorts of records at work during her tryout for advancement. ON YA EMS!!!!! LUV YA Darlin.

We won’t have the videos working on the blog for a few more days as I’m having trouble with uploads and downloads since we’ve used too much of internet allocation and our connection is pathetically slow for the nest few days. Sorry all.