Read below for mum's humorous account of her drive across Australia, amongst other things Hello Andrew, Darryl and Kylie, I hope you are all having a great time OS. We are going well. Mike came down with Sam(Henry) and Ajax last Wednesday night so they could have Australia Day here. I dropped Mike off in South Perth at 9.30am as he was going to his friend's house overlooking the park. (Red Dog's dad). A few nights previously the housemates had gone out with roundup, surveying equipment and`templates and made a huge Australian flag on the park. Mike reckons`it would have been visible for miles and it was mathematically perfect.I went rowing next morning and drove past on the way home to see if he needed a lift home. It was blindingly obvious which househe was at!! Among all the meticulous mansions and apartment blocks as a front lawn covered in country number plate utes and bombs, a half collapsed tent, a deflated giant pump up pool, bottles, cans, flags, streamers and ten young dishevelled men drinking bottles of beer on the front lawn and verandah for breakfast. In the middle was Mike. I parked on the verge and climbed out in my dirty rowing clothes avoiding the morning traffic going past my feet and wandered up the path. The guys looked a bit wary until Mike said "Oh, Hi Mum", then I was ok. He didn't want a lift home yet but they were having a great time. One of them is a really good drummer and another a good guitarist. Mike said they were playing great music the previous nightentertaining the passers by. Dadda and I stayed home the night before because we had three dogs to calm down. The RSPCA were inundated the next day with strays that ranaway when the fireworks went off. It was a fantastic display apparently. The police gave out 150,000 minties to people who were well behaved!! Mike and Sam went home Sunday afternoon after having a very good weekend. They went to a housewarming in Osborne Park and the beach heaps. Mike had a letter published in the Kalgoorlie Miner on Australia Day, has he sent it to you? If not I will send it on, it is really good. Dadda has been in Melbourne since Friday and comes home tonight. Heand Neville scored free tickets to the women's final at the Australian Open!! They had breakfast with Sare and Bill on Southbank before going to the tennis. Sare and Bill are going well, I left my camera there when we drove over and it has photos of our trip so when Dadda brings it home tonight I will put some phots up for you.Our drive over was really good. We left Canning Bridge after rowing at about 9.30 and got to Kalgoorlie at about 4.45pm as Mike would be home then. We fell into his pool as it was 44 at one stage on the drive up. As we went through Coolgardie we noticed a flood running down the roads, huge branches ripped off trees and workmeneverywhere. We had missed a mini tornado by about 10 minutes! We stayed in Mike's house and left at 3am next morning. We got to Ceduna that night after seeing a dead panther on the road between Madura and Mundrabilla (we would swear it was a panther - black, glossy fur about 2 inches long, just the right size etc, we just couldn't see it's head) I rang the Madura road house last week and the guy there said it would have been a wombat. As we leap frogged all the way with the road trains, they were on their cbs. After we stopped at Mundrabilla we swapped drivers so I was driving and got ahead of two of our friendly road trains. Next thing a police car came the opposite way and flashed it's lights etc and did a u turn. I stopped and said to Sare that I didn't think I was speeding. The young policeman came and said how fast do you think you were going? I said 115 or 120? He said this is just a caution and checked my licence while I could see his mate checking our rego. Thenthe road trains went by and he sort of waved and gave them a funny smile. I thought, What's going on here? so I said Oh, this is my daughter Sarah. He was very happy to be introduced and said we could go 120 on these roads but not in SA as they are stricter!! I said how fast was I going? He said 108!!!! They must get bored and listen to the truckies cbs and check out pretty young ladies!! We went on our way again and passed the road trains again going up the Eucla pass. One of them put his hand out the window and waggled his finger as if to say Naughty, naughty!! I said to Sare, this is why I love driving over East, everyone waves and watches out for each other. It is real Australia and you feel so cleansed and in touch with what Australia is really like. All the scenery, the heat, the people is justwonderful. It got to 44 again but the car did well, we only put the air con on for one hour. Nearly everyone else was like us driving with their windows down, singlets on drinking heaps. We left Ceduna about 3.30 and I showed Sarah where the Baxter detention centre is. I think it is in the most hell on earth part of Australia I have ever seen. Every time I go past I can't imagine how bad it must be for those people to be looking out at that desolate, barren, depressing scenery. Sarah was just as unimpressed as I am. We drove around Adelaide saving 1.5 hours by going through Gawler and through the ranges to Murray Bridge. That gave us enough time to keep going straight through to Melbourne. It got to 44 again near the border and we could see the possibilty of fires. Luckily for us the fires started the day after we went through. The fires have been bad and people have died where we drove. Sare drove into Melbourne while I navigated through the freeways and tunnel to Hawthorn. We pulled into Bill's driveway at 10.30. He came out and came to my door and said hello. I said 'hello, go and say hi to sare!!' as she had gone all shy. I busied myself collecting my things while she stepped out of the car. I just heard them both do this BIG sigh of relief, it was so romantic and happy. Then they took me to my motel (run by full on pakistanis)and I slept like a log! (Bill's house is small) So it took us 2.5 days which was good, the car didn't miss a beat, it's name is Leila. Sare and I had Friday together as Bill was working at the rowing sheds on the Yarra doing a school camp and that night we went to a Burmese restaurant in Richmond, it was yummy and authentic. I flew home Saturday then Dadda was back there the next Friday!! Now, Perth is much the same but Geoff Gallop resigned as Premier because he has depression and now Alan Carpenter is Premier. The Perth to Mandurah rail line is still headline material because nothing much else happens!! A shark bit a man 5kms off City Beach acouple of weeks ago, his mate used his shark pod to make it go away. They reckon it saved his life for sure. The weather is absolutely freaky, everyone is worried about it now and becoming more aware of climate change just because it is so cold all the time. Sarah and I had hot weather from Southern Cross east but Perth has stayed cool and mild all summer. Lake Grace is still flooded from a month ago and got even more rain three days ago. It is worrying. Love Mumma
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