Monday, 3 August 2020

Bedding upgrade / backyard camping!

Since purchasing our camper trailer almost three years ago, we've tried a few different bedding options - with varying levels of success.

Nick and I had an overnight stay in the trailer at home just before Easter and were very uncomfortable.  There were a few issues but the main problem was we'd recently upgraded our bedroom mattress (finally replacing the one that I'd bought new in 1997) - and had become used to much more luxury!

I don't know if you've bought a mattress lately but we were stunned at the starting prices.  After touring several retail outlets and becoming very confused by the choices, we opted to buy a mattress in a box.  It's been marvelous!

Given we'd only outlaid $800 for our usual mattress upgrade, we really baulked at paying similar money for low-profile/camper trailer specific options.  (And no, the mattress in a box wasn't an option for the camper trailer due to being too high and too heavy).

So the plan stalled again.  At some point though I'd found irrigation matting for a good price and we put a layer of that on the bedding area of the trailer.  (During our stint of caravan living we learned the importance of ventilation beneath mattresses).

Nick and I recently visited a local camping store to collect a product for another project (more on that later).  While there, we spotted a Blackwolf Mega Deluxe camping mat.  It was lovely!  Once home, I did some more research and sourced the same product for $289.00, delivered (a saving of $80 over store's sale price, and less than half the full retail cost).  While we waited for it to arrive, I washed down our four 4WD camping mats and chose two to use in the camper trailer.  (They rest on top of the irrigation mats and under the new Blackwolf mat).  We tested our good work for the first time last night and are extremely pleased to report success!  Hooray for us!

Of course, the benefit of this configuration is that it can still be used for tent camping if necessary.  The 4WD mats and the new Blackwolf mat are all inflatable and can be deflated/rolled for packing.

Monday, 6 July 2020

I do like Scrabble!

Although there is no mention of Scrabble on our Fun n Games page, it remains a firm favourite, so is regularly played at home and when we are away. In our very early days together, Nick and I were both quite broke.  We ate at home and played a lot of Scrabble!

I had a standard Scrabble set for many years (ie. long before Nick came along)!  We acquired Super Scrabble from an op-shop during our Victorian era - for the princely sum of $15.00.  We have well and truly had our money's worth from the game.  It does take a lot longer to finish, so both boards are packed cos some nights we prefer to use the traditional version.

We have tried travel editions of the game but find the letters too small for our fingers - and eyes!

Both Scrabble sets went away with us on our recent trip to Jandowae.  You can just see them in one of my hand-crafted shopping bags, packed in below Elmer's back seat.

Since coming home I've been working on Nick's Gladstone bag (and doing a little more to mine).  I was also scheming for a better way to pack our Scrabble sets.  For whatever reason it didn't occur to me to take them out of the boxes when looking for a single case to store them in.  Once I got past that sticking point, I remembered this $5.00 op-shop computer bag - and the project grew!

The two boards are stored in a back, divided pocket.  Rules and an op-shop Scrabble book are in the front pocket.  The more used components are in the main section of the bag.  I used an online tutorial to make two flat-bottomed zip bags to hold the tiles for each game.

The bags are larger than I envisaged, so store two racks each.  Usually it's just Nick and I playing, so four racks will be enough if all the family plays.  (The other four will remain "spare" at home).

And yes, the tile bags are lined with our wedding outfit fabrics!  Nick's shirt had a number of holes but I was able to salvage three dragon pieces (one is the lining for the larger dictionary).  My top is long-gone and the pants had a laundry accident but I have plenty of fabric for when I'm feeling like sewing slippery silk!

I bought a fat quarter of Scrabble fabric and used that on the tile bags and two book covers for our dictionaries.  We generally just use a notepad for scoring but I decided to print off some official score sheets.  (The Scrabble pencils were a past birthday or Mothers Day gift).  By checking through the old score sheets I was able to match some to particular places and that prompted the small photo album of game memories.  I expect future photos may well feature our new 70-cent trophy, rather appropriately housed in a Smash container, cos often it's my score that is well and truly smashed by Nick's!

I spent just over $30.00 putting our Scrabble bag together.  The largest single purchase was $8.00 for a new budget Macquarie dictionary from BigW.  (For many years we used a pocket dictionary that was at least 40 years old)!  I'd purchased the computer bag from an op-shop warehouse sale last year for $5.00 but have included that cost in the tally.  (The two official Scrabble books were op-shop finds bought long ago).  Tis a small outlay for all the fun we'll have!

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

More loo bags!

Given all the current (Covid-19) focus on hand washing, I was even more pleased than usual of having a loo bag (or two) in Elmer during our weekend trip! 

Although soap was supplied in the public loos I used while away, it's more usual that we need to BYO.

I've posted of my loo bags before.  These pics are of some others I made.  Nissa's (bottom left) was the prototype - pictured here with other items in her new car kit, including a rubbish bag. 

Di's colleagues liked hers so much that I made one specially to live at their ambulance station, for the paramedics to take on their traveling shifts (bottom right).

The pelican loo bag is a more recent creation and now lives in New Zealand with Kerry!  It's slightly larger because I've found it works better to house the toilet paper in a recycled plastic container.  The bags dry quickly if they are plonked on a wet patch at the hand basin.  The paper rolls don't fare so well!  I've used Staminade containers for my bags, which only just fit. I've also used slightly bigger, protein power, containers for more recent bags - and adjusted the sizing to accommodate the extra volume. 

Sunday, 14 June 2020

Lake Broadwater

I've seen the turn-off for Lake Broadwater on other trips, when detouring wasn't an option (due to time issues or because we were travelling with Bandit).  I'm glad we deviated this trip.  Even in the rain, it was a lovely spot.

There were a few soggy roos about and quite a lot of birds to entertain us.

We had thought we might dine at the "bottom pub" on our second night in Jandowae but opted to stay in, enjoy our splendid cheese platter - and play Super Scrabble!

We chose a picnic table near the water and set up to boil the kettle.  (Nick's good work on the stove the previous day meant it worked wonderfully, which was great).

I set out the leftover cheese platter goodies, so we had quite a flash picnic.  The crows were very keen to share our supplies.  One in particular was a pate fan - he/she was not at all impressed when offered sundried tomato as an alternative! Nick had left the tailgate down and needed to shut that again - cos two crows were on a mission to get in the back and rummage through our stuff! 

Soggy Sunday ...

It was a smooth pack-up on Sunday morning, albeit a damp one. We left a little after 10:00am, so as to have a last, quick look around town before starting the drive home.  I took a few pics (in the light rain).

The pink building is the Club Hotel (or "top pub").  It was the first two-storey construction in the town, though no longer seems to be in operation.

Saturday, 13 June 2020

Bell beauty ...

We found ourselves at Bell later in the afternoon.  I used the public toilet in the park and spotted a sign inviting visitors to view the church murals. 

As beautiful as the murals were inside the building I was quite taken with some of the other details, particularly the pressed metal ceiling and the bell design on the front step treads.

The church, grounds and gardens were obviously very well cared for, which was lovely to see.  We had a quick stroll around The Biblical Garden next door.  There were some interesting plants but we didn't actually realise the full significance of the garden till we were driving out of town and saw the sign stating many of the plants were from biblical times.  There's a great article about the garden, here

Dingo Fence Drive

We hadn't planned to do much while at Jandowae but did want to revisit the Dingo Fence Drive, so traveled in Elmer Fudd rather than our small, red car.

On the way out of town we pulled over to check some signs I'd seen the previous day.  They were not large enough to read as we drove past, so it was good to see one up close and view the grass around it.

As previously, we stopped to read the information board at the start of the track.  I think we might have been just as taken with the tenacity of a prickly pear growing in the upper branches of a dead tree, too!

We made our way to the Boiling Springs Lookout and set up our chairs and picnic table to enjoy a cuppa and some late morning tea.

Nick had packed two small stoves as one was being finicky.  He was able to do some minor repairs to it though, which was great work.

We sat for quite a while, listening to the wind in the grass and nearby trees.  It was a very pleasant interlude. 

A group of apostle birds visited briefly - and we caught a quick glimpse of a mistletoe bird.