Ship Ahoy – 11th and 12th March

The last few days have once again been a bit of a blur. Our first port of call on Monday was to visit our Accountant who just happens to be in Maitland. Sheree has done our dastardly taxes for over twenty years now and we thought it might be a wise idea to pop in and say hi and get her to answer a few questions for us. How many people get to say they made a point of seeing their accountant while on an overseas holiday.

in the afternoon Fraser went out to see an old work colleague Gary who use to be the Mine geologist at Bayswater Colliery in Muswellbrook. He also had ended up working in different countries over the last fifteen years but is now kinda retired to a beautiful old home in Maitland.

Di meantime spent the afternoon looking at ways to get home to Calgary as we only came out on a one way flight as we were thinking we might try to catch a cruise ship back to North America. We have been tracking a couple of ships of which one is now completely sold out so we decided we had best book the other one which was our preferred option anyway. We did get it a little cheaper by leaving it for the last minute booking but not as cheap as we would have liked to. It will take us 24 days to go from Auckland to San Francisco with 12 ports of call. From there it is a two hour flight up to Calgary with no jetlag – YES!!! We will be back in Canada on 7th May in time for summer.

Yesterday was an absolute scorcher at 37c. Carol and Pete were on grandparent duty and had Alexandra and Nara for the day. Everyone spent a lot of time in the pool under the umbrellas to try to cool off.In Canada, kids are born with ice skates on; in Australia they are born with inbuilt fish gills. The rest of the day was spent inside in the air conditioning.

In the early evening we drove the 60k back up the valley to Singleton as we wanted to catch up with Andrew and Heather-Lea. Fraser use to work with Andrew at the mine and we developed a close relationship with them. We had gone down to the snowies for a weeks skiing with them and their five year old daughter Merrin. After one day on the slopes, Merrin was tearing off down the slopes passing her dad and Fraser which you could imagine didn’t go down that well. Merrin  is now about to turn 30 which of course made us feel like fossils.

During our dinner and chat we discovered that these guys have got the English Canal bug. They have done a two week trip around the Oxford Canal and are very keen to return and do more. We told them of our two month trip later this year on the canals and they were indeed envious. Ooops, looks like plans might be ahead to do something with these guys in the future. Actually, a little plan is forming in the head about a potential French canal cruise with friends who have the Canal bug. Watch this space.

Our drive home was in the dark which we do not like doing but it reminded us just how different it is driving at night in Australia as opposed to Canada. There are cats eyes all along the edges of the road as well as in the middle with reflective marker posts along the sides of the road also. This makes it very easy to distinguish the road and lanes especially in country areas. In Canada, none of this reflective stuff is able to be used as the old snow plough would just come along and rip it all off. If there is one country that needs to have good lane definition in the evening, it is Canada. We have scratched our heads many a time trying to come up with idea as to how they could do this.

We are off tomorrow for a three day camping trip to Hawks Nest which is up on the north coast by a couple of hours, with Carol and Pete. Not sure about wifi so might be off the air.


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