Thursday, February 01, 2018

Quail Hide-away ......

Christmas saw a few changes to the menagerie - Adrian took away the five young Lovebirds (there are another three on the way) and brought us two male quail (no females - quail breed like rabbits, so just two will do, thank you).  Male quail because they will add interest at ground level and they have a lovely call - looking for females which are not going to eventuate.

This led us to the realisation that we should probably provide them with a bit of cover, or at least somewhere they can hide away.  So, we installed two ground cover type plants. 

One, quite green has proved to be a bit of a fizzer as all the birds want to eat the leaves and branches.

The tussock style plant, however, is proving to be ideal for the purpose.  The quail are able to nestle in and under the foliage and this seems to provide them with a nice hide-away where they can rest and relax.

Hopefully, in a week or two, there will still be enough foliage between the two plants to continue providing the necessary protection.

The three new lovebird chicks are getting close to fledging.  Not surprising as it would seem unlikely that there is enough room left in the nesting box - the adults keep adding new filling to the box all the time.  Wouldn't be surprised if at some stage one or more chicks found they couldn't get out of the box.  Some of the new filling, of course, comes from our new plantings.  I guess you can please everyone, just in different ways.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Love is in the Air .......

Fischer's Lovebirds
Before Christmas, a regular "camper" at the Park dropped in and said he breeds Red Rump Parrots, and had too many - would we be interested?  Of course, we said, and figured that would be the last we would see of him.

This, however, gave me the idea of perhaps getting a pair of birds for Robbie, for Christmas.  When we were sussing out some other things at the local Pets Domain outlet, I noticed they had two Fischer's Lovebirds for sale.  I didn't do anything at the time, but the week leading to Christmas went back.  Since they were still available, I bought them and arranged for them to be picked up Christmas Eve.

Pair of Red Rumps

This all went well, so from Christmas Day onwards we have two lovely, gregarious, noisy Lovebirds in the aviary.  Robbie loves them especially since they are typical of that variety - lots of personality.

Male Red Rump
Then, about a week after Christmas, he who we figured wouldn't see again lobbed with a pair of Red Rumps.  The male is an Opaline variation and the female probably similar but with more green in her feathers.  These settled in quickly and are confident enough to hold their own with the typically aggressive Lovebirds.  They really "complete" the menagerie and we figure that probably eight birds we now have are enough for the area.  All of the birds are great whistlers and there is a constant chatter coming from the aviary - very pleasant when we are sitting in the sun room out the back.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

I Need to Buy my own Pharmacy ........

Robbie reckons I can no longer sneak up on people because I rattle when I walk - due to the quantity of drugs I find myself taking at the moment.

Setting up the Weekly Intake
There's a couple of supplements, a couple for blood pressure, three lots of pain killers, a diuretic, an anti-inflammatory, another to counter the side-effects of the anti-inflammatory, warfarin for my atrial fibrillation plus the occasional puff of Ventolin and need for anti-histamines.

She also thinks that my appetite has reduced.  I figure that's because my daily intake of drugs amount to an extra meal in themselves.

I'm still alive and kicking, so guess I shouldn't complain.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Tamberrah Cottage Getaway in Gippsland ........

We finally got away for a small break recently - and had a ball, in spite of mobility problems.  Took up one of those Travel Auctions deals and spent a few days at Tamberrah Cottages in Tambo Upper in the Gippsland (in between Bairnsdale and Lakes Entrance).

Very relaxing, great facilities, service and accommodation.  It met or exceeded every one of our expectations.  Comfortable, roomy cottage, beautiful surrounds and a picture perfect restaurant - in a windmill style with large water wheel capping off the large, trout-filled pond.

Basically spent our time re-tracing steps taken in the past, reliving memories from previous trips to the area.  Dined in the restaurant each evening, so there was no pressure to find and travel to other eateries in the area (Bairnsdale being the nearest).

First day was a day trip to Mt. Hotham.  What a picturesque drive as you wing your way up the mountain from Omeo, through Dinner Plain and on to Hotham.  No snow, of course, but great scenery all the way.  Stopped in at Dinner Plain for lunch - very enjoyable (egg & bacon savoury muffins).  Having never spent any real time there was really surprised by the level and density of development when you drive through the "back roads" of the place.  Then it was on to Mt. Hotham, once again a very developed area.  Great views.  We returned via a back road to Cassilis and bought some nice reds at the Ensay Winery. Then continued down to Metung.  Robbie wanted to see if we could locate the site of the old hot springs that we visited years ago with Adrian and Lorelle - this we succeeded to do, very little remains apart from a sign marking the spot.  A most enjoyable day was capped off with a great meal in the restaurant - they seem to specialise in pizzas, but on certain days (only open from Wed to Sun) a more varied menu is offered.

Second day we decided to head east.  Took a back route to Lakes Entrance and then went in search of Burnt Bridge - one of our old haunts from years ago, and the only place I have ever been able to catch large bream).  The road is a real bone shaker and when we got there, great disappointment. The bridge is gone!   And, it was a double bridge, at that - I used to fish off the older, lower span, not open to traffic.  We continued on and had a squiz at Marlo, Cape Conran and Bemm River - all nice, little seaside towns.  Robbie could remember seeing a place called Cabbage Tree Creek from past holidays, but couldn't remember where it was, thinking it was probably somewhere out our way, in the West.  So we found it, not in the West, but between Cape Conran and Cann River.  Then back to the cottage and a great pizza for dinner after buying some nice whites at Tambo Lower Winery.

On the return journey home, we stopped off to visit Robbie's aunt - Aunty Minnie - the last surviving member of her Aitken/Campbell side of the family, aged in her 90's.  She is an incredibly spritely person, you could be forgiven for thinking she was only in her 60's.

We topped and tailed our trip by staying with Adrian and Chrissy in Brunswick, so that minimised the driving to and from the Tamberrah Cottages.

Would certainly recommend the Cottages to anyone wanting a comfortable, relaxed stay in that area.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

I've Got Wheels - Look out World .....

Finally have done something positive about my mobility problems.  We've bought an electric scooter.  Little ripper it is!  Light enough to easily lift it into and out of the car (it just fits).

Scoots along at quite a rate (Should I wear a helmet?).  Robbie says she is going to get L-plates to put on it.  As for me, well I'm trying to source some racing stripes and a spoiler for the back.  Have already been out, terrorising the local neighbourhood.  Park Management has issued an alert to all residents to watch out and to be afraid, very afraid.  Think I'll also add a bull-bar to the front as well.

On the serious side, it should make a world of difference to me, allowing me to get around with much greater freedom and purpose.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Marrtians are landing ........

Checked out the garden and found this really strange vegetable - sort of a hybrid cross mutated thing-a-mebob.  I think it looks a bit like a Martian, here reconnoitring the lay of the land in readiness for the invasion.

This is what happens when I let Robbie have her head and she starts planting strange things in the Community Garden just down the road.  Eventually the aliens get to hear about it and they decide to retaliate.

The worst thing, now, of course, is that the outer-spacers have started something and she just won't be able to resist upping the ante.

Could be very interesting crops coming up this year!

Monday, March 02, 2015

Was it Worth the Wait? - Tomatoes Rampant .....

Following on from the last post, which detailed our newly planted garden efforts, here is the promised follow-up, showing the pleasing result.

The front flower beds have progressed a little unevenly - they are subjected to some quite wild weather and strong winds for much of the time.  The dahlias at the front have really taken off, and are displaying a wonderful array of colours and flower styles.  Really pleased with these although a little patchy is spots.  I would rate these as a success.

The front was to be alternating mixed-marigolds and white petunias.  The petunias have done okay, but the marigolds have not fared well at all, which is a surprise to us as we thought they were very hardy.  So, rather than a white and yellow feature at the front of the beds we have basically just a white feature - still, in contrast with the dahlias, this comes off quite well.

The back vegies are all about tomatoes.  These have run rampant and we find ourselves giving lots away.  The photos show the vegie bed after I had hacked into the tomatoes fairly severely, so you can imagine, hopefully, what a jungle they must have created. 

The lemon tree has Robbie worried as it has lost a lot of its leaves, but it is bearing quite a lot of fruit and these continue to grow and get larger - so hopefully everything is okay (she really wants to have a good lemon supply). 

The mandarin looks fine and is starting to flower, so it should proceed to fruit at some stage.  The chillies have all progressed and we are getting a good supply, some very hot ones, too. 

The aubergine (egg plant) has started to fruit, so we'll have to find out when they should be picked (never having had one before).  A few butter beans are also cropping, but we don't expect to get much from these.

That's about all there is to say - boring isn't it (if you have actually managed to read this far).  No more updates unless something really startling or weird crops up.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Four years in the making .........

Well, we have been at the Castle for a bit over four years now.  Throughout this time, Robbie has longed to have a garden in which she can "potter" to her hearts contents.

This was all planned long ago, but the deterioration of my legs and walking/working ability proved to be a spanner in the works.

One of our neighbours contracted a guy called Garry, from Winslow Handyman Services to set up his garden beds.  We were impressed with the quality of the work, so contacted Garry.  He was somewhat tardy in getting going, and possibly a little expensive, but since we were familiar with his work stuck with him.  We, or should I say, Robbie, now has two lovely garden beds out the front, and one at the back of the house - which I have purloined to form a vegie garden, of sorts.

We have planted over 100 seedlings in the "flower" sections, with a lemon tree, mandarin tree, various chillies, tomatoes, capsicum and egg plant in the vegie part.  They all seem to be going well at the moment, so we are hopeful of a bumper crop of not just vegies, but flowers as well.

Photos of the early stages are included here for you all to enjoy.  Just to ensure that we bore everyone completely, I will re-post when growth becomes really spectacular, so you can see the great progress the garden is making.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Family Just Keeps Growing ......

Not long after we moved into 'The Park' we noticed that there was quite a variety of bird life also making its home here - including a few magpies.  Even at Ziegler Parade, we had tried to coax the resident magpies down for a feed, but with no success.

So, we thought we'd give it a go here.  After placing tantalising tid-bits out for some time, we eventually succeeded in getting one to land and take our offerings.  It must have headed home and said "Hey, there's some good nosh available over at that house," because a few days later it was joined by what was obviously its mate.  They continued to feed from our offerings and the next season, all of a sudden, they were joined by a third, obviously their only young being reared at the time.

Magpies at Tiffen
This year the three have continued to be regular visitors, and then all of a sudden there were five - clearly they have had two youngens' this time around.  So, now we have five.

They are very demanding, arriving in morning and evening, perching on the sunroom roof, guttering, a light pole or anywhere else where they get a good, close-by vantage point.  If we are tardy, they will fly down and just look at you, as if to say, "Come on, where's our tucker?"  Occasionally, one or two will even wander into the sunroom, obviously in the hope of hurrying us up.  One of the youngsters that lands on the roof will pace backwards and forwards, even coming over to look down through the kitchen window.  If you go out to the sunroom and walk about, it will follow in your every footstep from above.

Just another experience from paradise.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

New Water Feature .......

View from Sunroom
Robbie loves water features.  Over the years we have purchased various units to be placed inside - so you can hear the pacifying sound of running water throughout the house.  We even had a pond and fountain in the aviary at Ziegler Parade, so the birds could also benefit from the soothing effects of running water.

Mt. Tambourine Feature
On one of our trips North, we went to Mt. Tambourine, in the Gold Coast hinterland, where we bought a fancy wall-hanging type of cascade.  This now sits proudly in the sun room, where we occasionally fill it with water so that we can hear the sound of the running water.

Well, we no longer need to rely on that feature, or any other, for that matter.  We now have a new water feature, effectively in our back yard, that far surpasses anything we may have bought.

The Park has installed a Resort Style pool, complete with cascading mushrooms, a cave, waterfall and water slide.  The first photo, above, shows our view of it from the sunroom; the second shows a closer view from the other side.  We love it, as it certainly adds interest to our view 'out the back' - botanical gardenish most of the year, with he added bonus of the pool.

Close-up of New Pool
Chloe loves both the older, conventional pool here, but she is absolutely rapped in the new one.  She has probably been down the slide 100 times of more.

I have even tried it out - ONCE.  I had a knee operation in November, and it is just refusing to come good.  When I tried out the slide, I wrenched the knee when I hit the water and tried to turn around.  Saw my whole life flash in front of me, but did manage to get to the side where I could hang on.  The slide, like the knee operation, is something I will probably never try again.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes ........

So far this Summer, that ever present danger of grass and bushfires has, fortunately, kept clear from us.  But this is not true, of course, for many others in this fire-prone State.

Even when fires are burning elsewhere, we sometimes see the resultant atmospheric indications.  This was the case on January 17th. when major fires were burning in the Grampians.

Even though we were over 100kms from where the fires were burning, a northerly wind brought home one of the realities or dangers of such large conflagrations.  Although never in any sort of danger, from either fire or smoke, evidence of the fires was clear when one looked to the skies.

A salutary warning - if we experience a lot of smoke (admittedly high in the sky) from such a long way away, what must it be like in proximity to the fire itself.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Strange Creatures in the Park ......

Had a couple of animal sightings recently - oh, sometimes you do wish you owned a gun.

Firstly, some silly cow was seen perambulating around the Park.  We've all heard, I am sure, of why some roads seem to meander in random directions, at seemingly random places.  Haven't?  Well, they say that years ago, cows used to walk along the paddocks in such a fashion, wearing a permanent track there-in.  When it came time for a pedestrian pathway, and ultimately a roadway, why, we just followed the old cow track.  This cow has obviously found a better means of transport, and the roadways are already built.

Today, Easter Sunday, we had the obligatory Easter Bunny do his/her rounds through the Park.  This one was pretty lazy, though, and needed a ride in order to carry the chocolate goodies and get round the Park.  All the little tots, and not so little ones, were enthralled  and took this advantage for some free treats.  Yours truly was too busy organising a camera for the "bunny shoot", so missed out completely.  Must remember to definitely have the gun next year.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Is this Global Warming?

Finally, a cool day - the first one for the better part of a fortnight.  In fact, as I write this entry, it is actually raining.  Not much - very light - and won't last long, but it is an almost forgotten scenario this year.  With the exception of one day, we have only had 21mm since January 1st (16mm on the 31st, January, so obvioulsy very little on the other 71 days.

To demonstrate just how dry and hot March has been, below is a table showing the daily maximum temperatures (no point in including rainfall as this has been zero every day)

FridayMarch 1st24.8°C76.6°F
SaturdayMarch 2nd30.5°C86.9°F
SundayMarch 3rd31.9°C89.4°F
MondayMarch 4th36.9°C98.4°F
TuesdayMarch 5th39.9°C103.8°F
WednesdayMarch 6th38.0°C100.4°F
ThursdayMarch 7th35.8°C96.4°F
FridayMarch 8th40.6°C105.1°F
SaturdayMarch 9th37.7°C99.9°F
SundayMarch 10th31.4°C88.5°F
MondayMarch 11th39.6°C103.3°F
TuesdayMarch 12th40.3°C104.5°F
WednesdayMarch 13th29.0°C84.7°F

On the old scale (or, the way those backward Americans express temperature  - °F) that is five days in excess of 100°F and that's not even including a 99.9°F and two others in excess of 98°F.  Whew, that must have been why it's seemed so damn hot.  Can't wait for our next power bill, should be a doozy given the number of hours the air conditioner has been running; which reminds me, time to clean the filters!

Certainly the hottest and dryest spell since I started monitoring the weather here.  Mayber, we'll get the mother of all winters to make up for it.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Mark Weber - Your Days are Numbered

The long weekend (ninth consecutive day over 30°C, including a run of six over 35°C) has meant that we have entertained Lorelle and the grandees, making use of the hairy-conditioner for a bit of relief.

One of the newer facilities at the park is peddle-powered cars (more like racing cars, in looks, at least).  Next stop, formula one, where at least you don't have to provide your own power.

Gave them a bit of a nudge today (well, at least Ben & Chloe did - younger, fitter legs than me).  Even though the Park is quite crowded over this long-weekend, there are plenty of safe, internal roads that can be navigated.  A vehicle is available for the princely sum of $5 per half-hour, so they were able to get a good go.

A fun time was hade by all.

Saturday, March 02, 2013

The Sport of Kings

Lashed out a bought a part-share in a racehorse - Robbie's birthday/Christmas/Anniversary present.

It's name is:

Personally, don't like the name - we put forward a number of better alternatives, but that's the one that was selected.  It's out of Cushion on the dam's side, so I guess there is at least some connection to its pedigree in the name.
Speaking pedigree; on the sire's (AD VALOREM) side it has DANZIG, NORTHERN DANCER and NEARCTIC and on the dam's (PAILLASSE) side it has OCTAGONAL, ZABEEL and SIR TRISTRAM.  So it is very well credentialed - but of course everything comes down to the horse itself.  Pedigree alone doesn't win races.
It is trained locally by Matty Williams (that's him in the picture - the one on the left, with two legs). He has a fantastic set-up out at Wangoom and a second site at the Warrnambool Racecourse itself.
It has trialled a couple of times and looks very promising.  Matt was hoping to give it a start in a 1000m 2YO maiden as a lead-up to the Warrnambool Carnival.  Unfortunately, has developed a bit of shin soreness and will now be spelled for eight weeks.  He regards SLEEP ON IT as an above-average prospect, so I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

A Long Time Flowering

It's been quite a while since I have posted - must make amends.

Almost 20 years ago, I purchased a fancy indoor plant for home.  A common-enough one in the tropics (seen many of them in the rainforests).  Anyway, this thing (forgotten its name after all this time) went ballistic.  Grew all the way up to the ceiling.  Somewhat top heavy with quite a sturdy, single trunk.
When we shifted about two-and-a-half years ago, in spite of taking great care, we ended up snapping the trunk right off, quite near the base.  We kept it and were about to throw it out when we noticed it was starting to sprout from the base.  Since then it has done quite well - as evidenced by the photos.
The photos also show that it has flowered - finally - after some 20 years.  I can only hope that I am, similarly, a late bloomer.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Spice Racks can be Expensive ......

When we were at Ziegler Parade, I attached a couple of racks to the inside of the pantry door.  Robbie found this to be an invaluable aid and was impressed with the pure artistry & professionalism of my work.

Well, we've been in the new house for a while, and just last night she said "I think I'd like to have spice racks in the pantry, you know, just like at Ziegler Parade".  So, today, the shopping trip was on, but it seems like spice racks are hard to come by.

Went to a few places - no luck.  Finished at Bunnings (now they would HAVE to have them).  Still no luck.  But all was not lost, for we did come away with something that could be hot (just like many spices) but certainly not suitable for mounting on the inside of the pantry door.

Turned out to be an expensive trip for something so simple.  Still, the sunroom has certainly been "spiced up".  We even had to have a couple (okay, three or four, but who's counting?) drinks out there just to check it out.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Continuously Sunnyside Up - At Last .........

Have finally finished off a couple of projects that we were keen to do in the new Castle - weatherproof the pergola (now officially called "The Sunroom") and increase our privacy by putting up continuous curtaining in all the main rooms.

Got Apollo Patios to do the sunroom, using clear "twin wall" at each end, insulated wall materials and "zip-track" blinds to provide the finishing touches.  Wasn't cheap, but they were the cheapest quote by far.  Their communication could be improved, but apart from that, very happy with the result and follow-up.

The room is fantastic on sunny, autumn mornings - a delight to just sit and relax in the area.  It will get quite hot in summer, of course, but as we found during the last "hot" season (did we have one?) the area gets very warm anyway, and with the blinds we can raise them as needed to catch any breezes that are around.

Inside, the continuous curtaining looks great.  It adds that little bit of extra privacy when the internal blinds are up, without losing any significant external light that may be around.  Next step, in the bay window area, is to set-up a nice reading area for Robbie so she can sit and relax - with South facing windows, especially on sunny mornings.

The Castle is definitely meeting every expectation we had prior to making the decision to build, move and finally settling in.  By far the best move we have made.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Final Word on the "big flood" .........

Okay, so it wasn't really a big flood around these parts a few weeks ago - but the river certainly threatened to threaten.

Have now measured with the water back to 'normal' levels.  May not sound much, especially when compared to the incredible rises they get up North, but our little stretch was running at a level of 2.7 metres above normal.  Given that the river widens out considerably at Jubilee Park, that's a hell of a lot of extra water passing us.  Most local opinion is that it's the highest level in living memory.

The good thing is that it still had a long way to go before it would have posed a problem to the Caravan park - so we are reassured by that.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

There goes the diet ..................

We are discovering all sorts of ways in which living in a Caravan Park can have advantages (so far, haven't found any disadvantages), however, the latest innovations by Park Management are certainly not conducive to good dieting.

On the weekends during the busiest periods (the Park is now relatively quiet and empty, and will no doubt stay that way until Labour Day weekend or Easter) we have had regular visits from a number of vendors plying their trade, to their and our benefits.

We have had the "coffee Man" who sets up and sells the usual fare in coffee to anyone needing their caffeine fix.  The usual array of styles and flavours are available, so you can satisfy whatever craving you may have at the time.

The "Spud Caboose" has been dropping in selling baked potatoes, hot dogs, etc.  He has been a little inconsistent with his visits; not calling in at advertised times and sometimes setting up outside those times - so he can be a little difficult to catch.  It has certainly cost him some business with us due to these irregularities.

My favourite, of course, has been the Ice Cream Van.  Beautiful, flavoured soft-serve in a waffle type cone.  I can heartily recommend the boysenberry from among the many, many flavours on offer, including strawberry which Robbie loved.

As well as these weakenders, a local butcher comes through a couple of times a week and you can buy direct from him.  A local baker also visits so fresh baked bread is always on the go.

Aaaah, it's a difficult situation - but someone's gotta do it.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Why do they rope areas off? ............

Still keeping a photographic log of the river level at Jubilee Park - but I won't bore everyone with constant updates here.  When it has subsided to normal level, I will measure (using the post that I have made infamous) the final distance and post that.

However, we were just down at the jetties to take the latest series of photos when one of them, badly damaged, suddenly and with a great "thud" fell back to something approaching normality.  The two pictures included here show that transition.  The really unfortunate thing was that I had just finished taking a video (using my new HD Digital Video camera) when it all happened, so I JUST missed getting the whole thing on film - or these days, should that be in memory?

But, it does show why the authorities cordon off these areas.  If anyone had been clambering over the structure at the time, they could have been seriously hurt.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What goes up, must come down ......

Monday, 8.30am
The level of the Hopkins at Jubilee Park continues to fall, as evidenced by the two pictures - the first taken yesterday at 8.30am and the second taken today at about 11.30am.  You can see by the position of the pole upon which the jetty floats that the waters are definitely receding.  In case anyone didn't realise, you can see a much larger version of any picture in this Blog simply by clicking on it.  Then use the "back arrow" on your browser to return to the Blog.

Tuesday, 11.30am
Did a bit of a drive around Allansford.  A lot of the sandbagged areas have been opened up, and the S.E.S is busy collecting all the bags - no doubt for storage so they are ready to be used again, if needed.

It would seem that the pending crisis is over.

As a matter of interest, I have purchased an HD Digital Video Camera - so any future movies should be excellent quality when compared with what's available on the mobile phone.

Monday, January 17, 2011

You just can't help the timing ......

Level at 0845am
Level at 5.00pm
Robbie & I went down to check the level of the river at 5 pm.  I reckon it has subsided by about 30cm, or one foot since this morning (see two pictures).  In the first, the post on which the Jetty floats has all but disappeared; whereas in the second, it is starting to protrude through the end of the Jetty.

However, that is not the point of this story.  On our way back, there was a Real Estate Agent (Lucas Wilson, to be exact - but I won't mention any names) showing a couple through one of the houses that is for sale on the Estate.

I imagine (just my purely evil thoughts at work) the conversation went something like this:

Agent:  "You'll love the environment here - so peaceful and quiet."

Prospects:  "Yes, it's nice to be so near the river, my husband loves fishing.  By the way, what are all those people doing down at the river's edge?"

Agent: "Oh, they are just checking on the condition of the water."

Prospects: "And why would they be doing that?"

Agent:  "Well, ah, aaaaaah, I guess they are worried that the whole place is about to flood."

As Sherwyn from 'The Big Bang Theory' would say - BAZINGA!!

Things that go bump in the night .......

Swollen River at Allansford
"Knock, bang, rap, thump, knock, knock ...."

Sandbagging in Allansford
"What the hell is that, I thought?" A check of the bedside clock shows it's just a little after 5 am. Go to window (in jocks and T-shirt), and there is Teresa, one of the Park Managers. "Well," I thought, "if it's my body she's after for an early morning romp, she's definitely got poor timing - Robbie was snoozing not 10 feet away."

Princes Highway Bridge, Allansford
"Prepare to evacuate," said Teresa, "the river level is of some concern. No need to panic, or anything like that, but just wanted to give you time to get ready."

Now, this is not the best of news for a notoriously bad morning person like myself. So, bleary eyed and bushy-tailed it was a flurry of activity - well as flurry as the Marr's can get. Shower, pack the computer (most important thing to save), a few clothes, all of our combined tablets and that was about it. We walked down to the river and though it was certainly higher than in the deluge of August last year, it was not looking as if it was of any immediate concern.

Overlooking Hopkins Falls
The consensus of the Park workers who had been monitoring it all night, was that the level was going down. We haven't had any significant rain in the area lately, so this was obviously the run-off from the storms in the Grampians about a week earlier. As such, high levels would obviously be around for a while as there was probably still a lot of water to come down the River.
Upstream from Hopkins Falls
With nothing really to do, we decided to do a bit of a tour. We had heard that parts of Allansford were preparing for evacuation so went to have a look around our old stamping ground. The level was certainly up on last August, almost up to the road bridge on the highway. There was some sand bagging in the town, but apart from one house, there didn't seem to be any imminent danger to other houses. From there, we took some back roads to check out the Hopkins Falls. These were certainly running a lot faster than last time, in fact it was more like a series of rapids coming down the river, rather than a waterfall.

View from Western Platform

We returned to Jubilee Park to get a look in the better light and the level did not appear to have risen. The floating jetties were in a bad state and the wooden jetty near the boat ramp was completely under water - not even the tops of the posts were visible.

Not so Floating Jetty, Jubilee Park
Then we did the logical thing - went and had a Macca's breakfast before continuing into town. The area just upstream from the Hopkins River bridge near the mouth was in some danger of inundation - Proudfoot's was definitely in some trouble. However, the rowing Club and others who occupy the Proudfoots area had obviously been very busy overnight and had moved a lot of their stuff to higher ground.

Rowing Club Gear High & Dry
We then checked out the River mouth at the beach, and discovered the probable reason why the levels were not rising significantly upstream. The mouth had been opened up completely, with the river occupying the entire expanse from bank to bank, even to the extent of forcing itself wider by washing out some of the sand dunes on the eastern bank. Have never seen the river mouth as wide.

River Cutting into Sand Dunes at mouth
Back home then, just in time to meet up again with Teresa who was advising people that the danger had passed for the moment. First task, re-install the computer so that I could get the Weather Station back on line and prepare this blog entry.

River Mouth - no longer blocked
Certainly a different start to the day.  We were originally going to go to Colac today - the exciting prospect of photographing more headstones at the Cemetery.  Given the circumstances, this has been put on hold, and anyway, there has been occasional drizzle here, so conditions may not have been ideal there.

Included below are three videos (phone quality only):

Allansford Bridge:

House on River Bank under Pressure:

Hopkins River Falls: