Posted by bronbatten

Hay Hay it’s Saturday

Hay

The Tasmanian convoy is currently situated in Hay, on the very flat Hay plains. Driving around the streets of Hay a friendly competition ensues about using the town’s name in a pun, eg ‘Let’s make Hay while the sun shines’, ‘Hay (Hay) you (you) get offa my cloud’ with the eventual winner being ‘Hay Hay it’s Saturday’ (because it is actually a saturday).

We drove to Hay from Deniliquin across some remarkably unremarkable landscape, apart from the odd interruption from free range cows wandering across the road. There was however, the occasional sign advertising viewing platforms for ‘The Long Paddock’. Thinking this was some kind of exciting tourist attraction we speculated about what this wondrous ‘Long Paddock’ could be- eventually deducing that it was indeed just one, very long paddock.

We have noticed since crossing the border that the caravan park clientele in NSW are decidedly well dressed, not letting restricted access to showers and laundry facilities dampen their style. We have called them the ‘Park Glitterati’, identifiable by their gold jewellery and pastel attire.

The best op shop purchase from the last couple of days comes in the form of a one piece jumpsuit in fuchsia and aqua and the most disturbing culinary discovery in the form of a Red Bull and fruit smoothie. The current soundtrack in our car is stirring renditions of classic rock/pop power duets including ‘Under Pressure’ with alternating Bowie/Mercury lead vocals, George Michael versus Elton John in ‘Don’t Let The Sun Go Down on Me’ and the Kenny/Dolly tour-de-force ‘Islands in the Stream’.

Our site in Hay is on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River. While pretty to look at, the banks of the river prove treacherous. One member of the convoy is nearly sucked deep into the soft mud on the riverside, with ankle and a good stretch of lower leg consumed by the thick green-brown goo. It feels wonderfully cool and refreshing before drying to a crackly grey crust like elephant skin.

There has also been a nightly tradition of storytelling around the fire or BBQ. Themes have included The Murray River, Swimming and tonight’s theme- Fire. We are slowly learning about each other and these tidbits help, as memories, anecdotes and shy revelations are offered forth to the circle. We are having a nice time.

Border Crossing

Murray

 

 

Thursday October tenth sees our fair caravaners depart Castlemaine and head inland to Echuca. Our night in Castlemaine passed fairly uneventfully with quiet activities such as caravan decorating, reading and writing. Though the peacefulness was interrupted somewhat by a large scary sounding animal we eventually deduced was a irate possum, not some sort of man-eating, bush-dwelling monster as was first suspected.

The cafe stop over in Bendigo yields coffee and cupcakes and the op shop in Rochester bestows us with a somewhat impractical banana holder modelled on a very specifically shaped banana.

As we drive into Echuca we realise if you say Echuca repeatedly but without the ‘E’ it sounds like a train noise ie. ‘chuca-chuca. ‘chuca-chuca, ‘chuca-chuca’ and so on. We spend a good ten minutes making this noise without any diminished amusement at our clever discovery.

The sing-along soundtrack in our car today comprises of Paul Simon, Paul Kelly and The Police. There are less flamboyant dance moves and more introspective folk moments but the vibe is still tight as we roll past the flattening landscape towards the border.

When we get to Echuca we go off road and find a spot by the Mighty Murray to camp for the night. There is no electricity or running water or nearby toilets… but the excellent views more than make up for any lack of modern conveniences.

A very pleasant night is passed by the campfire as tales are shared, red wine is passed and the sun sets over the river.

The Victorian convoy arrives in Castlemaine

long weekend 2

 

 

Wednesday October ninth sees our intrepid caravaners depart Melbourne on a blustery spring morning. Venturing forth from the suburban depths of Coburg and out onto the Calder freeway we speed towards the green bush and yellow hills of the Macedon ranges.

The sing-along soundtrack in our car comprises of Fleetwood Mac, Tina Turner and The Kinks and the van wobbles occasionally as hands depart the steering wheel to execute sweet synchronised dance moves. There are three vans in our convoy thus far, The Fossicker, The Crusader and Rebecca. We cause quite a stir with the locals as we pull into Kyneton for mid-morning refreshments and the purchasing of kitchen implements.

After a slight mechanical hitch is solved (one of the vans wheels wasn’t quite attached properly) it’s onto the leafy hamlet of Castlemaine, which will be our resting place for the night. Several members of the team quickly and efficiently obliterate the town’s op shops, moving with military-like precision amongst the 2 dollar bargain bins. One caravaner emerges with a bizarre relic of kitsch 80’s Australiana, involving a well known pink ostrich puppet from a well known weekend centric variety show. Said ostrich is depicted in a compromising and slightly disturbing pose on the front of what can only be described a children’s night gown. Needless to say it is snapped up immediately.

We set up camp and get ready for an afternoon tea and viewing session for local caravan enthusiasts, catered by the excellent and formidable ladies of the CWA. We promptly stuff ourselves with scones, jam and cream and chat to the lovely people who came to see the vans, hearing stories of long ago holidays and current caravan dwelling. One lady lived in a vintage van as her granny flat was being built, much to the consternation and horror of her grown up children. Another tells a tale of being five years old and travelling to the beach, only to discover an entire jar of honey had spilt all over the caravan on the interim journey.

As we struggle to consume the mountain of orange cake and egg and lettuce sandwiches the CWA ladies have come armed with, the light fades on our pond-side picnic. It is the first properly balmy evening of the year and locals and travellers alike drift away to enjoy the dwindling strains of rosy twilight.