If you remember, in my last mail I said that after settling down for the night I wasn't troubled until morning. Anyone think after that, that there might be dastardly things to come?

Well if you thought that you'd have been wrong! I was disturbed but not seriously.

I'd noticed about half a dozen piles of boxes on pallets, shrink wrapped, with covers over the top. Close investigation showed they were stacks of beehives, and just round the corner there were about 50 active hives, 30 or 40 yards away, no problem.

That is, until morning. I'd got up and was washing last nights pans etc - I was late last night, and if it's dark when I have finished dinner, I wash up in the morning.

So I was doing this, and a pickup came down the lane. G'day I said, am I in your way? No you're OK said one of the guys, but if you could move forward a touch, so that we can reverse in? No problem I said, and did it.

My fridge hadn't been working well, I'd earlier tried to get it fixed, but the only result had been a phone number in Bateman's Bay, the next town along from this night spot. I reached the edge of the town and phoned. Come along says the guy, it probably only needs a bit of a shake up.

I checked the fridge on the way. It was ice cold. Isn't that the way? You only have to threaten some inanimate machine with the repair shop, and they immediately start functioning correctly. But it was a pretty drive along Bateman's Bay, and the man fiddled with it a bit, and fixed a couple of minor faults, and charged me a modest fee.

I went back along the pretty road to the centre of town, bought provisions, including a padlock and chain to secure my lap top. Most lap tops have a Kensington lock slot and I'd noticed an inexpensive widget advertised to fit this slot. So I needed padlock and chain. The one I bought was for a bike, but the padlock hasp was too big a diameter to go through the hole on my widget. I'm not going to tell you the name of this widget, super idea though it is, because their customer service is appalling, and when I finally got the widget, it took me an hour with a file to get it to work. Having said that I might as well tell you the name, it's a Slotlox. You can look it up with Google, but if you buy one, you have been warned!

I continued along the coast, leaving the Princes Highway, and stopped at several lookouts with super views.

They have wonderful beaches in NSW. I stopped taking photos of beaches. They're all the same. Beautiful stretches of clear sand running down to the sea, waves lapping, rocks and a headland in the distance, just a few people on the beach. Boring!!

I headed back up the road a little, to a roadside rest area, where I talked to the couple from Dorset. He'd tried to find a van like mine, hadn't had any success and finished up converting a regular van. I think they were here 6 months and were about to start looking for temporary jobs to eke out funds - they'd had a couple of breakdowns with the van, and funds were lagging behind expenses. They'd been given some fish, eaten some, then gave me the rest, they didn't have a fridge. They said I should cut it thin, it had been a bit tough.

I was at Moruya. I hadn't travelled very far, what with the fridge repairs, and stopping to admire the gorgeous views.

Next morning was the Saturday market. I bought some grapes, and a silly present for Eleanor. I'll not say what it is, because she's on the list too and this might be one of the rare times she catches up on my chronicles. I tried to buy a small padlock, and took a combination one back to the van to see if it would fit. It did, just, so on the way back to pay for it I read the instructions and reset the combination. Oops! Now it didn't work. I tried all combinations one up and one down from my new number, no luck. Not to worry said the stallholder, I'll send it back to the wholesaler and say it doesn't work. I have a go said his wife. Last I saw of her 10 minutes, she was still trying to crack the combination.

I then went to the town museum. It started out just great, then sort of fizzled, with exhibits not placarded correctly, and many needing some TLC (Tender Loving Care, for the benefit of those readers whose natural language is not English)

Can't remember what I did after that. I found a couple of nice photos though. Just a little to the right of the gorgeous rocks below

is a tiny deserted beach, with a much larger, almost deserted beach in the distance.

I said almost deserted, just round the corner there were about 50 kids having a great time in some form of organised activity, including learning how to surf. It's still Easter holidays from school.

I stopped at another rest area for the night. There was a wild bush walk down to the lake, 2 km, so I took it. Yep, it was good, along the side of the lake I was followed by what looked to be a black swan. But I've noticed, Australians seem to have long legs when they measure distances. That 2 km seemed over 3 km to me, and I've noticed I have to drive longer distances than is marked on signposts. Maybe they are trying to reduce the size of their massive island just a touch?

I'm am reliably informed, by the way, the friendly bird I photographed, is a kookaburra. My sister Helen got all poetic, writing

Kookaburra. They laugh....

Old camp fire song ...

"Kookaburra lives in the old gum tree, merry merry king of the bush is he. Laugh Kookaburra, laugh Kookaburra, gay your life must be"

Well, more later............

Best regards

David Barker
Currently parked for the night right in the centre of Canberra

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