Tuesday 31st Jan
Tarsh drove me and Jim to Swan Hill on the Tuesday and we went and bought our tickets to get to Ballarat where we would be staying for the night. When we got to the train station we found out that trains had been cancelled due to track maintenance and we would be getting a coach to Melbourne and then a train from there to Ballarat.
We left swan hill at 12:43pm and arrived into Ballarat around 7:20pm, jumped in a cab and went to our accommodation for the night which was also a fancy looking pizza restaurant. We checked in and went through to our room which was really nice and we had a TV. Turns out we were the only ones in the room for the evening which was nice.
Once we had showered and sorted ourselves out we thought we should get something to eat, but the pizza from the place we were staying at was actually quite pricy for us, luckily over the road was a take away pizza place that was much cheaper so we headed over there in stealth mode and then back to the room hiding our cheaper pizzas.
Wednesday 1st Feb
We woke up after a good night’s sleep around 8am and packed our stuff away, checked out and then went to the train station for breakfast before jumping on another coach which this time was going to Hamilton – the van is getting closer and closer!!
Di (Tarsh’s sister) came and picked us up from the train station in Hamilton and took us for a coffee and a drive around the kid’s school which was beautiful. They are so lucky to go to those schools.
We then drove back to Di’s where the van was waiting for me, looking beautiful as ever, although it had a lot of cobwebs on as not been used for a few months, so me and Jim did some cleaning of the van to get her ready for our journey to Adelaide the following day.
Not long after we got back the boys came home from school, and it was time to go and feed the sheep as it was summer all the feed in the paddocks had dried up so they didn’t have much to eat, so the boys job each night was to drive out into the paddocks and hook the Ute called Burnie (because there was a big fire a few years ago in one of the paddocks where the Ute was so it got burnt)
Jack went off on his motorbike and Jim jumped in Burnie with harry with harry driving, and I went in the new little go-kart type thing with Di to watch them doing it.
It was really funny to watch because normally sheep run away from you when you drive through the paddocks, but they were all running after the Ute because they knew they were going to get fed from it, so we all drove over to the big containers of barley and the boys hooked it up to the back of the Ute to start feeding it into the van, when it was full of they went and the sheep all following behind trying to get some of the seeds.
After watching the boys do that, we went back to the house for dinner and then me, Jim and Di decided to watch a movie. We watched girl on a train which I thought was really good, then it was time for bed when it finished which was after midnight and we had to be up and leave at 7am.
Thursday 2nd Feb
Thursday was just one of those days where anything that can go wrong will go wrong.
Firstly it all started off by oversleeping, not by long but I woke up at 7am instead of leaving at 7am, and we didn’t end up leaving until around 8:30am, which should still get us to the vehicle inspection place on time in Adelaide which we needed doing to get the van registered. Although on the way we had to stop a couple of times because the van got to hot so we had to leave it to cool down on the side of the road a few times.
We eventually made it to Adelaide and then noticed that our fuel and temperature gages and our indicators were not working, but we thought we should just get to where we were going as it was only 10mins down the road, so we did and then we were told we wouldn’t get the van in to be inspected that day – which in hindsight is actually a good job because they do more checking than I thought of just checking the van is what I have said it is and that it isn’t stolen. They do basic safety checks too which obviously it wouldn’t have passed without those working.
Before we left we asked some guys in the car park what they think it could be and they told me to check the fuses to see if one had blown. We drove out of the inspection place and parked it on the road and did some looking around at the fuses and we managed to find the blown fuse, luckily we had some spares in the back so I changed the fuse and to our surprise the gages were working again, quick high five feeling all proud of ourselves!
Get back in the van and fire her up, put in the locksmiths into the sat nav and off we go. I think we must have drove about 50yards and then the van started spluttering before just dying completely. WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON TODAY??
I ended up calling the RAA and signing up for a year’s membership of road assistance although I had to pay a joining fee because I wanted to use it immediately, but it didn’t actually end up costing loads considering a year’s premium membership was including in the price, it came to $258 and by the seems of things we may end up using it more than once.
While we were waiting for the RAA to turn up we thought we would make the most of a bad situation and fire up the soda stream and get our chairs out, we didn’t have to wait for long before he turned up to have a look at the rust bucket.
He checked everything around the engine first and couldn’t find out what was wrong and then he checked the fuses and the one to start the van had blown which sits next to the one we had just replaced, and that one was about to blow! He pulled it out and it was just a big mess of melted plastic, how did that happen after only driving it around the corner, for less than 10 seconds?? But he managed to sort it out and the van was now starting which was great, and we had enough time to drive to the locksmiths.
When we got to the locksmiths one of the guys came out and had a look at the only lock on the van but it didn’t work, so at the moment we were having to leave it unlocked which isn’t very good. He said he had a box of the same locks in the shop which had been there for a few years and no one has bought so we could have them for $50, but they couldn’t fit it for us so we just thought as it was nearly 5pm and everywhere was closing that we would get them and try to change it ourselves.
Onwards to my Nan and grandads friend’s house (Marie and Alec) and then what happens? Of course the fuse for the fuel and indicators blows again!!!
ARGHHHHHHHHHHHH…….this bloody van!!!
We got to Marie and Alec’s house which was really nice to meet them, as they are good friends of our grandparents and have been for years, but moved over to Australia around 40 years ago on a £10 ferry ticket from England to relocate here. We went inside and had a quick catch up and then we thought we better try and sort this lock out on the van while it was still light outside. When I say we….I mean Jim while I sit in the passenger side watching.
Alec came out to help Jim too and kept offering different tools for us to use, which is a good job we did this at their house because we wouldn’t have had all the tools to do this ourselves.
Well it eventually got done and we went inside for some food and to spend some time with them, and an early night.
Friday 3rd Feb
Alec had told us last night that there was an auto electrician just around the corner from them which was perfect, so we drove the van around to them and told them what was going on and they said they would have a look at it for us.
They ended up keeping it for an hour and it cost us $115 but they managed to fix it for us, they told us they had checked everything and found a dodgy wire by the engine which they have now fixed so it was back to working again! Yayyy!!!
Is our luck turning around??
We quickly raced back to the house and grabbed a few things and then headed straight back out to a different vehicle inspection place which was just north of Adelaide, when we got there we had to fill some forms out and I realised I had forgotten my driver’s licence, luckily Jim had his so he had to fill the forms out. We waited for a couple of hours and I thought I should call up the registration call centre to find out exactly what we needed to get her registered, and found out we needed a proof of address, which we could get a signed paper from the bank stating our address, and we both needed our passports. After the couple of hours we then got her inspected in less than 10 minutes.
We then drove into Adelaide city to go pick up my bank card from Australia post and then drove around for ages trying to find somewhere to park which was actually really hard as it was really busy and the van is actually too high to get into the multi-story carparks. We eventually found another commonwealth bank on google that was on our way back to Alec and Marie’s so we headed there.
By the time we had done all of that it was too late for us to get the van registered as we needed to go back to the house to grab passports and things, so we thought we would just stay for the weekend at Alec and Marie’s and get it registered on Monday instead.
So we went back to the house and had a stir fry with them while listening to some of their stories about their life which was fascinating to hear about all the things they have done and how much Australia has changed in the time they have been there.
Saturday 4th /Sunday 5th Feb
I went out on Saturday morning to go and grab some things for the van like oil and screen wash, and then I also got Marie and Alec some wine and flowers to say thank you for being so welcoming and letting us stay with them, which has been so kind of them.
When I got back from shopping which I almost didn’t because the van wasn’t starting and I thought I was going to be stuck, but Jim talked me through how he gets it started and it seemed to work. Thank god! I decided that I would clean the van up and let the airbed down so we had more room in there to store our stuff without it getting lost.
Then it was 4pm and we all went over to Alec and Marie’s daughters house who was having a birthday party for her 2 year old son called Bronx. It was really nice going round there and meeting everyone and Bronx was really cute.
Sunday was just a chill day, I caught up on my blog and also got all the documents together ready for the big day tomorrow of getting the van registered.
In the evening we all went out for food to a restaurant about 10mins away which was really nice.
Monday 6th Feb
We woke up nice and early and went off to the registration office to get her sorted.
When we got in there, we went to the front desk and they gave us a few forms to fill out and a ticket number. They were calling the numbers really fast and we didn’t even have enough time to fill out forms out before we were called up to the desk.
It turned out that Jim didn’t have enough information to give over to them for him to get registered so it’s only in my name, which is fine because he is still able to drive the van.
SHES REGISTERED!!!! WHOOOOPPPPPPPPPPP
When we had finished all of that and changed the plates over to the new ones we decided that we would like to stay with them for one last night and cook them dinner to say thank you, so we went to the supermarket and bought all the stuff for spag bol and then went back to the house to chill for the rest of the evening and also managed to fit in a facetime call to our nan which was really nice.
It was so nice staying with these guys, they are such fantastic people, so welcoming and kind.