Nov 18 - A Tortuous Path to Wollongong

The trip home on Sun 26 Oct started with something of a panic when Lynda, who was going to give me a lift, was unable to dig her car out, despite a morning of effort (which I did appreciate). Thankfully my landlady Marit kindly drove me to the airport, arriving with sufficient time to spare. It was also nice that Lynda and Priscilla managed to get there in time for a final chat and farewells. Thanks - that was appreciated. So onto the plane. I had a pretty goodset of flights. Stopped long enough in Oslo to ring Deborah to say farewell, then had a brief connection in Frankfurt onto the flight to Bangkok. I managed to get some sleep so was feeling pretty good. Another fairly short connection, then on to Jakarta and on to Sydney. Had some turbulence on that run, thankfully nothing too dramatic. Managed a bit less sleep, and finally arrived in Syndey just before 7am on Tues morning. Got through passprt control fairly quickly then waited for my bags .... and waited ....until at last was told they weren't appearing. It appears that they were mislabelled when checked in at Trondheim, and had headed off to Canada. Sigh! After assorted boring paperwork I headed off to get a flight to Melb at 9am. Finally arrived in Melb about 10:30 am and was met by my brother David. Was good to see him, and be driven home (about 1 1/2 hours from the airport). So I was home at last, but my bags were who knows where! The weather was also a very distinct contrast to Norway - fine, sunny, high 20's C. Made for a change from the 1/2m of snow I'd left behind!

Spent the rest of Tues and Wed recovering from jetlag and catching up on news with the family. After assorted calls to the baggage service I was assured my bags were being sent on to Hongkong and on to Australia. Hmmm.

I had planned to spend Thurs at SERC (where I started my sabbatical this year), but got to the railway station in Cranbourne to discover there were no trains due to a strike. Given the resulting chaos on the roads I gave up and returned home - subsequently went in on Fri and had a productive series of chats with Fergus, Maurice and Tobbe. Meanwhile my pack showed up late Thurs evening, all intact. However for reasons no one was able to explain to me, my other case had been put on a flight to Bombay instead of to Sydney with the pack .... the mysteries of modern air travel I assume!

So, comes Sat and I load to car to drive to Canberra. Head out, only to discover its suddenly decided to make some very nasty noises. Got as far as the garage where we assertained that it was jammed in 4wd (very bad karma for driving on sealed roads). So I had to hurriedly chuck all my stuff in Mum's car, and swipe it to get to Canberra (she was in Adelaide with my sister at the Adelaide 3DE - Robyn got 7th in the top level comp, which given the weather & conditions, she was reasonably happy with). After the mornings drama, I had a relatively good drive to Canberra. Kept the stops down, so I made the 710km in 8:45hrs, and was back to my home (admitted in the spare bedroom as my house-sitters were still there). The house was pretty crowded with all their stuff as well as mine - though they'd done a great job on my gardens (which needed work as gardening interest me not the least). Meanwhile my other bag had made it to Melbourne (after I'd left of course).

Ended up spending all the following week in Canberra. On Sun I went to church and caught up with friends from there. Also on Sun my other bag finally caught up with me - the base was rather the worse for wear, but at least the contents were all intact! I was glad to have everything (as all photos and many books were in it).

On Mon I headed back to ADFA for a seminar by one of my students (doing a Master's qualifying) and assorted meetings. Mon evening I went over to Lance & Gabrielle's for some dancing which was nice. Tues was Melbourne Cup day - the horse race which stops the country (not to mention being the perfect excuse for a party). We had our usual Melb Cup lunch which was a magnificent spread as always - rolled back to my room afterwards! In the evening I had dinner with friends Karen, Markus and their baby Aiden. Great to catch up with them. Thurs evening I went along to the Scottish Country Dance group and enjoyed the evening dancing.

On Sat 8 Nov it was time to drive to Wollongong the long way round (via Melbourne - funnily enough Mum wanted her car back!). Had a pretty pleasasnt drive down. The weather was quite nice, so I stopped and went swimming in the Cann river, and again at Lakes Entrance where I sunbaked for a while. Arrived home in the evening. It was nice to catch up with Mum & my sister Robyn though. Spent Sun relaxing before turning round and driving back round the coast to Kiama, south of Wollongong, where I was staying. It was a 880km and 14 hr drive, about as far as I ever want to drive by myself in a day. I'd arranged board with a friend of a friend - Yvonne. She has a lovely house just 2 min walk from Kendall's beach (a lovely wide arc of sandy beach with cliffs and rocks either side), where she lives with her daughter Cathy who's wheelchair bound. Got on well with them from the start which was great. I was staying out in a bungalow with its own bedroom & bathroom, both very nicely appointed. So the accomodation arrangements worked out well. It did mean a 35km drive each way to the Uni, but given the surrounds, I suspect its well worth it.

Tues 11 Nov I headed up the highway to the University of Wollongong. Spent several days getting admin details sorted out - not helped by the department being in the middle of moving buildings, ah well. Still just about have things worked out by now. On the Wed evening I went along to the regular Wongawilli dance (with music by the band Wongawilli, in the Wongawilli village hall!) It was old-time colonial and most enjoyable. Had a quiet weekend on Sat (weather was a bit overcast, so just walked around Kiama town for a while, and visited the famous blowhole there again). Sun was fine, clear and sunny. So went out for a walk round the town and some of the beaches in the morning. Then drove up to the Saddleback mountain lookout above town to admire the views before heading back to spend several hours lying on the beach sunbaking and going swimming - life is really very tough!

So, I'm now pretty well settled into life in Kiama/Wollongong. It will probably be relatively quiet for a while, though with a couple of regular weekly activities.

[Oct 24] [SSP97 Diary] [Dec 19]
Lawrie Brown / 18 Nov 97