Many years ago, I set up a website to answer caravanning queries and to sell my books. It grew to include such things as caravan manufacturers, caravan clubs, travel stories and much more.
Recently, there was an update done at the server and my website missed out. After a couple of frustrating days unsuccessfully trying to get it fixed, I decided Caravanning and RVing in Australia had reached the end of its useful service and decided to scrap it. There were a lot of broken links and updates needed and I didn’t have the energy to fix it.
This means my email address of email@example.com is no longer working. My current email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Looking back at some of the website content, I found quite a few articles about trips I had done and one in particular brought back some great memories.
I had a contract with a publisher for a new book and decided I needed to do a trip around Australia again to make sure everything was as I remembered it, and so my neighbour, Paul, and I set of on what turned out to be a 37-day epic. We followed the coast clockwise for most of the way, but went down to Alice Springs and back up to Three Ways before heading west from Katherine.
From Broome, we followed the coast all the way until we reached Port Augusta, where we headed north to Uluru and back to the coast to finish our journey back home in Mornington, Vic.
The publisher had agreed to finance the trip but after returning home and spending three weeks putting the finishing touches on the manuscript, I received a phone call from the editor I was working with. I was surprised he was ringing on a Saturday but he was bringing bad news. It seemed that every department of the publishing firm he worked for was making a profit except his so he and his boss were told to clear their desks and not to come in on Monday!
The real bad news for me was that they were not going to pay the agreed expenses! Two unanswered letters prompted me to engage a solicitor and the young lady who took on my case soon received a positive response from the publishing company. They said they would pay the expenses but would retain the copyright for the book.
She very quickly told them that the copyright belonged to the author so they couldn’t retain what wasn’t theirs in the first place.
I successfully published the book, Australia Calling, myself!
A SAD DAY
Here’s an excerpt from the website, written in 2008, but it’s still just as real today:
“The most important and hardest to cope with was that Vi, my companion and wife for 56 years, died on January the 25th and has left a huge space in my life and in our family. We did so much together that it doesn’t seem possible that she is no longer here. I doze in front of the telly and as I’m waking, look across to see if she has noticed. Then harsh reality kicks in and I know she will never catch me napping again.
“After our trip north for the winter last year we talked about what we would do this year and decided that I wouldn’t do seminars at the Brisbane Caravan Show as that had locked us into going up the east coast after the show for the past many years and we needed to do something different. It had been a long time since we had gone up the centre and I had a yearning to see those magnificent colours of the landscape again.
“We decided to go north via the centre and then head eastward and down the east coast to arrive at Casino in northern NSW in time for the second national muster and AGM of the Australian Caravan Club. I’m the national chairman so I need to be there at the end of September.
“When Vi had a massive stroke in January this year and died a few days later, I was stunned for a while and could hardly contemplate the future without her, although I knew she would have wanted me to carry on doing things without her.
“As time passed and I began thinking about the future, I decided that, yes, I would do the trip we had planned and I’m writing this introduction a week after leaving home.
“I’ll try to take you with me on the journey that started last Sunday. I hope you enjoy our travels together.”
I know Christmas has been and gone but I must share this with you. We thought we were having just five of us for Christmas, but Sue and Shaun got as far as the New South Wales border and decided it wasn’t worth the risk and turned around and came back home. A few days later they did go up to Ulladulla but scurried back when the Victorian border was closing at midnight on New Year’s Eve. They are now self-quarantining for 14 days and have tested negative.
I was wearing the chef’s hat and had a timetable that had everything ready to serve right on 1pm. Here’s the menu:
CHRISTMAS LUNCH AT LIONEL’S
- Roast Christmas chicken
- Ham on the bone
- Roast potatoes
- Cauliflower and broccoli bake
- Reindeer carrots
- Green peas
- Sweetcorn on the cob
- Brown gravy
- Christmas Pudding
- Mince pies
- Cream or custard
- Nibbles and fruit
- The highlight, though, was the fact that we had four generations present for the holiday. Little Saoirse, her mum and dad, and the patriarch – me!
How they make ‘Saoirse’ sound like ‘Searshaa’ is beyond me but the Irish know how to say it!
THE BIG CHOP
My daughter’s partner, ‘Duck’, has been busy during the holidays. Remember the tree that was cut down just before Christmas 2019? Well, it’s now split into lots of firewood thanks to Duck and our next door neighbour’s mechanical splitter – and yes, Duck still has all his fingers!
Although 2021 has had a slightly shaky start, let’s hope it improves and we all have a great year. Here’s wishing you good health and happy travelling – maybe I’ll see you somewhere down the track.