Wednesday, January 29, 2014

30 January 2014 - Riverside Caravan Village, Bli Bli, Sunshine Coast, Queensland

Three days closer to departure than we were when I last posted an update. I would like to say that we are biding our time in cabin-style accommodation with our bank account fatter for the sale of our caravan, however the whole business remains sluggish and still not finalised. If we are being scammed, it is a most involved affair. Our buyers are in the midst of family crisis, a more senior member clinging to the edge of his life, and for them, the urgency of the caravan purchase is secondary to all else. Last night the lovely little Jess came to see us after work and told us how matters stand up at the hospital, how “Dad” is heading south despite the fact he is not officially to fly out of his work for another week. Family crisis take precedence and hopefully he can facilitate the material matters.

On Tuesday we had headed into Nambour with the back of the landcruiser loaded up with possessions ready to move to new homes. Having identified where the local Cash Converters were located, we attempted to park close by to facilitate the transfer of goods, some fragile, some heavy and all once precious. The only park that looked promising was half taken up by a small dilapidated vehicle parked at an odd angle spanning two spaces. I hopped out to ask the passenger if they could move the vehicle or if the driver was returning soon. This spaced-out yobbo shrugged, grunted and would probably have told me to F-off had I not resembled his grandmother. I returned to tell Chris who was double parked waiting for a satisfactory outcome, upon which he hopped out and had a go at the yobbo too. But no sense was forthcoming, and as we discussed later in the day, this was one of those moments that gun carrying Yanks are no doubt tempted to blow the creep out of his seat with whatever arms they happen to have in their handbag, glove-box or pocket. I for one would have been tempted and decided then and there that it was a very bad idea for civilians to carry arms. There would be mayhem out there; grumpy old people sorting out the useless brain-dead youth. Instead we inched into position, me doing the hand signals on the pavement as Chris manoevred in very cunningly. I should have let him back up another few millimetres and puncture the front of the car with our butty towball! But I didn’t. For all my wild talk, I am really the most civilised of human beings.

After all that, when we made our way into the air-conditioned Cash Converters, we found only a bank teller-like arrangement where a queue of similar yobbos were lining up to do what losers do in these places. Now we do frequent second hand stores, but this was simply the finance booth for those underhand dealings between ruthless sharks and gullible victims. The shark assured us he would come and see what we had to offer, when he had finished with this motley crew, however we could see we might be there until late in the afternoon if we were to await his attention. We left.

After wandering around Nambour to see what the town had to offer, little of which impressed apart from the potatoes at the IGA selling for a fraction of the price elsewhere, we headed home, catching sight of the Vinnies warehouse on the edge of town. We backed into their loading bay and donated all that we had intended for such a destination plus a whole lot that might have rendered up some monetary return elsewhere.That w as Tuesday.

We left our camp at Yandina yesterday morning, with no regrets and with as much trouble as we had settling in. Fortunately my strident directions to Chris as he inched out from our tight site brought assistance from a fellow camper. Men handle directions from other males far better than from their wives, so I stood aside and let the men sort it all out, which they eventually did, with much messing about. All of this should have alerted us to the fact this was to be yet another one of those days, if the previous night’s non-appearance of Jess and her mother and the promised cheque had not already done so. Over breakfast, we had received a call from the garage down in Forest Glen to advise that the chap who was scheduled to do the Safety Certificate inspection had called in sick, so we would have to do it another day. I am sure the poor girl on the other end of the telephone was taken aback by Chris’s exclamation of the S-word. There also followed other words, less expletive but no less cheerful. This was indeed a very bad start to the day.

I suggested we check out the garage up in Yandina which I had seen advertising the same service, when we walked up into the village a day or two ago, and then remained silent because continual nagging, albeit with brilliant ideas, was not likely to change the tone of the day.

We did stop by the aforementioned garage where Chris explained the day’s frustrations and the young man in charge was marvellously accommodating, and although he had time to fit us in immediately, the Gas Certificate was required first. So we headed the fifteen kilometres of so south down the Bruce Highway, arriving early for our 10.30 am appointment at the Caravan & RV Works.  Here we explained our dilemma which we considered, quite unfairly, that it was their fault given it was they who had insisted that the Truck & Trailer place around the corner was the place to go. To placate us, they told us to back the caravan into the workshop and they would see if the gasman could do it a little earlier. We sat in the cruiser reading the day’s newspaper, then Chris wandered about the caravan watching the dithering technician go about his work. He took hours and hours, or so it seemed as I remained in the hot vehicle, having read the whole newspaper cover to cover. At one point Chris came over muttering about the fact this pain-in-the-bum person insisted we need a new regulator. There was nothing wrong with the old one, hardly old at three years! Eventually it was done, the basic charge before GST the quoted $88, but then there were the official stickers at $12 each, the regulator, and half an hour’s labour charge, all adding up to an exorbitant $220. Selling a caravan is an expensive business here in Queensland and this was just for the gas certificate! Chris was furious, and made sure the sweet young girl behind the counter knew it. The morning was not going brilliantly at all. This would have been another of those occasions best avoided by gun-toting oldies.

We retraced our way back to Yandina, where the same lovely chap efficiently dealt with the safety certificate. This was the best thing that had happened all morning, or day so far, because it was not yet after midday. It was this lovely man who directed us to an auto electrician in Bli Bli, who operated from home up Flat Camp Road. There is nothing, simply nothing, flat about Flat Camp Road! We crawled up the steep narrow road and parked out on the road above a very steep property. Chris was directed by a small boy further down the hill where the workshop apparently was, but there was no one there. We were just pulling away when the same small boy came running out waving a smart-phone; he had Dad of the phone and would we like to speak to him. Despite the brilliant service, from the helpful lad and the warm voice at the end of the telephone, our trip was a waste of time. We headed down the other side of the hill, the driver muttering about “flat” roads, and headed for our new camp right in the centre of Bli Bli.

We spent the night still hooked up on a site through the fence from the road, lovely trees overhanging the caravan, and lovelier birds dropping love-notes all over the landcruiser. It was here that Jess came to tell us the family woes and try to resolve the where-to-from-here. Their lack of business acumen has been partly solved by advice from all comers; they are not prepared to pay until they have the caravan in hand. We were not prepared to hand over the caravan until the cheque was cleared, a three working day process according to our bank. Stalemate.

We have bowed to pressure but set a time and place for the handover and payment; midday on Monday and we will not be messed about any longer. We spoke frankly about the fact that this would have to go ahead even if Granddad had expired the day before, the hour before or even was in the process of taking his last breathes. We could stuff around no longer. I think she got the message. It is all a big load for this diminutive twenty two year old to deal with; hopefully her father will step in to the brink when he gets down from “up north”.

When we checked in here last night, we had explained our situation to management, and they said we could come and sort the detail tomorrow. Tomorrow has come and we cannot still guarantee anything! Fortunately Mr Manager has been through the same mill, and suggested we pay just for our powered site until the sale is supposed to take effect, and sort out the rest later. Perhaps he shares the same doubts and pessimism as my dear husband.

We took the caravan into Maroochydore this morning and had one of the dodgy indicator lights repaired, or rather replaced by one that does not exactly match the original. This is unfortunate but unavoidable. The auto electrician we dealt with was just marvellous; at one point he sent us off with the yellow pages and a map in his ramshackle courtesy car to buy the part from down to a wholesaler at Kawana Waters. Part way down we realised it was nearly out of petrol; fortunately we managed to find a petrol station before we found ourselves drawing to a spluttery roadside stop.

We came on back to Bli Bli, still feeling all fuzzy and warm, a rather rare experience these days, and set up camp on the site where in theory we will end our caravanning days. The birds are quite wonderful here in the park; I have brightly coloured orange and green lorikeets in the cane palms beside me, melodious magpies wandering about and a huge variety of others tucked up in the lush foliage making sure I never feel alone.

Chris lay down for a nap, the days all too much for us, and was woken just within the last half hour by a telephone call from Garry in Darwin. Garry is keen to buy our landcruiser and we are two days from taking it down from the online advertisement. He says he’ll fly down! Well, that has set the cat among the pigeons! What say he does give us the money and set out on the road back to Darwin and we are left here with a caravan and that deal fallen through! There seems no end to the uncertainties! Now if we were stinking rich, we could simply donate the whole lot to Vinnies, or the Salvos (who are currently making headlines here for the nasty things they did to little boys in bygone years – there is no end to these sick histories – forget donating to them!!) or a Hospice shop, and simply fly out. Now that would be something, wouldn’t it?

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