Today is Sunday. We left Brisbane on Monday having spent two weeks using an Airbnb apartment in the city centre as our base for getting to the Commonwealth Games and visiting friends in town and on the Gold Coast. We tried stand-up paddleboarding, did a bush walk, had steaks from the barbie, celebrated Cambodian new year, rode the local equivalent of Boris Bikes, hung out at the beach, had our faces painted, almost learned all the words of the Australian national anthem, and appeared on the BBC coverage of the Games back at home.
And all that time we were counting the days until we flew back to Sydney to collect Della. The anticipation was heightened on the Wednesday of our second week in Brisbane when we met Stephen and Ninetta who invited us for lunch in their motorhome, which is the same as ours, while Stephen was working as a volunteer at the Games. (Read more about Stephen (‘S’) in our last post here.) We spent a happy afternoon looking at their setup and adding items to our shopping lists for the hardware shop, the homeware shop, the camping shop, the BBQ shop, the bike shop, the supermarket and the bottle shop. (One thing we’ve learned pretty quickly is that you can’t buy booze in the supermarket here.)
Behind the scenes, the admin for the van purchase was picking up pace. We had the insurance and roadside assistance sorted and were deliberating whether to take out the motorhome dealer’s additional warranty for appliances just as they called to say that there was no second set of keys. Decision made about the warranty when we looked at the cost of getting new keys cut! Then we had to chase the service history (all came back fine). Then we got a phone call to say that a part from the oven needed replacing and wouldn’t be arriving until the day after we were picking the van up and were due to be in the Blue Mountains …
We had our flight to Sydney booked for Monday and a night in an Airbnb, so had to carry on regardless. But what we didn’t have, 24 hours before our scheduled collection at 11.30am on Tuesday, was any kit. The logistics of getting everything on our shopping lists without a car or much time was taxing both of our organised little heads. Despite a flight delay meaning we had even less time, we thanked the Uber gods for getting us round each of the stops on our shopping lists and arriving at Sydney RV with five minutes to spare.
We spent a happy few hours with the handover team, and were delighted to find that the oven issue had been fixed more quickly than anticipated, and finally set off for our first night at a site booked and paid for by Sydney RV. We got there to find our pitch was on a slope, dark was falling, and we’d forgotten to get any beer, but still managed to knock up some sausage sandwiches and washed them down with orange squash! We spent some time unpacking and getting the measure of the control panel before falling into bed, tired but happy. So tired in fact that Chris’s Fitbit registered more calories burned on any day since before we left home!
If you haven’t already seen it on social media, here’s a rough-and-ready video tour of Della.
Since that first night we’ve had two nights in the Blue Mountains and two nights at Wisemans Ferry. We’ve also had a text from Sydney RV to say the spare set of keys has turned up! After a bumpy ride today (in more ways than one) we’ve arrived in the Hunter Valley and wine country. You can follow our route here to see where we get to (and see more photos on Instagram here and see a short post most days on our Facebook page here). For now we’re hoping for a less eventful day tomorrow as we do some wine tasting.
New blog feature!
If you’ve been following our blog since it started, you’ll already have met LP. He’s offered us a regular contribution, LP’s Creature Feature, which starts today …
Wow! What a whopper! A beautiful pelican spotted at the creek in Kingscliff. Beautiful creatures, not at all nervous around people, and with beaks that can hold more than their stomachs. (Thanks to Peter for that factoid!)
Scary things count
Spiders: two small hoppy ones (not dangerous), three golden orbs (big and ugly but not dangerous)
Other dangerous stuff: Karen when she’s hungry (How did that slip through the editorial net? Ed.)