Holidays Our little holiday diary

Australia Part Four

Part Four.

Day 19.

We hadn’t planned anything for our first day with them so we just sat out on the veranda chatting all morning, Eric and I walked through the woods and down to the reservoir at the back of their house, had a good look round and went back for lunch. Then we all sat on the veranda chatting all afternoon. It was really peaceful apart from the Laughing Kookaburra, a beautiful bird; they are the largest of the Kingfisher Family, but sound like screaming monkeys. A nice lazy day was had by all

Day 20.

We got up late today, so in the afternoon, John showed us around the local area ( the town of Capalaba) to get our bearings, unfortunately nothing went in and we still managed to get lost every time we went out on our own! That evening, John took us to his local club for a quiz night, Marie was working. We were no use whatsoever to him. We came tenth in the quiz and there were only nine groups playing. However, we had a few drinks and a delicious meal which was very reasonably priced.

Day 21.

It was suggested that no visit to Australia would be complete without getting close to some Koalas so we set off for a long day at the Koala Sanctuary where we saw loads of Australian animals, kangaroos, dingo’s, emus, wombats and loads of parakeets and lorikeets, which are the most beautiful birds, flying freely. There are lots of containers with food in so that people can hold these and the birds fly down to feed. Eric had a go, but I chickened out, if you pardon the pun. It was a great sight to see. Oh! By the way, did I mention Koalas?  A nature lesson for you. Koalas are rapidly dying out because they are catching Chlamydia and more recently they are getting aids. (No, we don’t know how either). It’s a shame. On a brighter note, we both stroked a snake, (not what you are thinking!!!) how brave eh!

Day 22.

We are going up north for a few days on our own. On the way, we visited Steve Irwin’s (The crocodile man) Zoo. It was much the same as yesterday plus elephants and tigers. We were really looking forward to the Croc display. There is a specially built, big stadium. The show started with a flying birds of prey display, and then some water snakes were let into the pool. After they were all rounded up came the moment we had been waiting for. Considering Steve Irwin had built his reputation on crocodiles, we expected a great show of them. But no such luck, we were treated to the spectacle of just one, reasonably sized, lazy specimen who could hardly be bothered to eat a piece of chicken thrown at it. Anyway, onward and upwards continuing our journey to Noosa, a very “In” place to go. As usual, we got into a predictable mess, it was going dark, again, after a very long drive and we started looking for accommodation only to be met with “No vacancy” signs everywhere and it started pouring with rain. Haven’t we been in this situation before? So we went into panic mode and it took us ages to find a vacancy. It was the most expensive motel we had been in. Sod it! We had to sleep somewhere.

Wait for this: - we were both asleep and were woken in the early hours of the morning by water dripping on our faces and the air conditioning unit above our bed making ominous rumbling sounds like a noisy kettle boiling, it was switched off. (Very strange). We quickly pulled the bed away from the wall but not before we ended up with wet pillows and mattress. The office was closed. Head office is going to hear from Mr Angry of St Annes. Watch this space.

Day 23.

The first thing we did was complain to reception who promptly moved us to another room. We grudgingly accepted as there were no vacancies anywhere else in the area, but before leaving for the day, instead of nicking the soap which was on the desk in reception, Eric pinched a lovely box…. enclosed was a sanitary bag. I hope he finds it useful. That will teach him to wear his glasses.

We went and booked an “Everglade Experience” for tomorrow, then went for a paddle in the Coral Sea. The surf came in quicker than we thought, Eric got soaked up to his “bits” so imagine how much of me was left dry! Back to the motel to dry out and then out to find somewhere to dine.

Day 24.

Woke up dry today, in our new room, so that’s a bonus. Shot off to spend some time in a very popular market that we had been told about.  All the car parks were full; all the streets were full so no chance. Waste of an hour. What’s new? I didn’t want to walk round a market anyway.

On to the “Everglade Experience” to see the local wild life. Ha Ha! We were ushered on to a twelve seater rickety old boat for a four and a half hour trip. We sailed past dense trees, then more dense trees, then some not so dense trees. We then disembarked onto an island (full of trees) for afternoon tea. To be fair, it really was nice because there were various savouries and champagne included, so that saved the day. We saw the resident lizard and that was the extent of the wild life. On the way back, Eric and I spent a couple of hours playing I spy with my little eye something beginning with T. Had to get back to John’s cos we had booked to go horse riding tomorrow. In the dim and distant past, Eric had expressed a wish to do just this lunatic thing.

Day 25.

Eric’s version of the Horse Ride!!!!

I would first of all just like to say, that neither Diane nor I have ever sat on a horse before.

Marie had only been there once before but said it seemed like a good riding stable. She had to give our weights, to be kind to the horses. She described me as a tall, slim. athletic pilot (I think she meant pillock). What a wonderful woman, but she must need her eyes testing. The usual disclaimers had to be signed of course. They tried to kit us out with hard hats and boots. Hard hat I managed, but no chance with the boots. Diane had to tuck my laces in on my trainers in case they got caught in the stirrups, then it was off into the indoor arena. My horse was called Baron. On my first attempt at mounting, I ended up swinging horizontal from the stirrup, hanging on grimly to the saddle and gazing at the roof of the arena… to everyone’s amusement. The next attempt was more successful. Tuition comprised of start, stop, left and right. Off I went round the arena. It actually worked and I was rather pleased with myself. I was nearly ready for the open prairie. There were about a dozen of us varying in ability as we made our way out of the stables and along a woodland path. I was beginning to feel quite confident, riding one handed at times and even turning round and going to the back of the gang to see Diane, who was also riding (I’m ever so proud of her). It’s dead easy driving these horsey things. We had been riding for about an hour and a quarter, in single file, when I remember seeing the horses neck sort of twist to one side…..the next second, I was flat on my back, unable to breathe and wondering why!! I seemed to be ages fighting for my breath. It turned out the horses had been spooked by dogs from a campsite at the side of the track. I had a few scratches on my arms and back, but apart from that I seemed ok. I’m still having a little trouble breathing though. John was also thrown off and suffered some injuries to his side. A third rider (female) was thrown off but landed on her bum. She said she was used to that sort of thing.

Diane’s version of events.

I was terrified. I’m scared of dogs as you know, so you can imagine how I felt, getting up so high on a horse. My confidence was nil but thought I would give it a go. They decided I would be better being led at the back of the line. How pathetic!! I would have had more confidence if I had been held in place with a full body harness like the rides at Alton Towers. The young lady who was leading me asked me what on earth Eric and I were doing taking up such a dangerous sport at our age. (Cheeky bitch). But she turned out to be right, it is risky. The first thing I knew of the cuffufell was dogs barking and horses braying and rearing up, it was really scary and being at the back I didn’t know what was going on. My guide shouted, “everybody off”, then galloped off to the furore and left me on my own to get off my ‘orse which was acting like a bucking bronco. Yes I did say “bucking”. However, I’m still here to tell the tale of how Eric got hurt. I casually walked up, not knowing anything was wrong, saw John and asked if he knew where Eric was. He pointed to the ground and said “he’s there”. I looked down and saw E. He was as pale as a ghost wondering what he was doing on the floor. Apparently, he did a spectacular somersault when his horse threw him, luckily the ground broke his fall. When I looked at his back, it looked like he had been attacked by a tiger and his arm was heavily bruised and scratched. It’s a good job Eric had his hard hat on. Cos he really wanted to wear his new cowboy hat for his horsey experience. (Another nature lesson), Horses aren’t frightened by dogs normally, but the camp site was illegal and the dogs came from nowhere.  The owner’s wife came and picked us up in a 4 x 4 and took us back to the stables. When we all got home, John arranged to have an x-ray. I tried to persuade E to join him but E being so macho refused. John’s results were a number of cracked ribs and severe bruising, which he is still getting over. Since we came back, E is still a bit sore and has now been to the doc’s and sent for an x-ray. Watch this space. I’m a bit worried. As far as I’m concerned, horses are dangerous at both ends and extremely uncomfortable in the middle.

Later that evening, John and Marie’s son Russ and family came round for a BBQ. Loads of meat to eat, delicious, the company was really good as well. John and Eric were a bit subdued.   Shock we think. They can both be hard headed when they want to be. Just like men.

Australia Part Five is now available.

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