Fri July 1

I arrived safely in Melbourne about 45 mins late. Good to see my friend Val again. After a cuppa I was off to the bank to organise my finances, then into the city. I then started playing with my new iPad, which the Vestry gave me as a final farewell gift. A quiet evening watching the footy on tv, & a good sleep.

Mon 4

Thinking of all my San Diego friends today 🙂

The weekend was relaxing. Saty morning I went into the city to find an apple store. I had some questions about using the iPad, & also needed to get an Aussie adaptor. Then to the footy at the MCG in the a/noon, as also on Sun a/noon. There is nothing like going to the footy in Melb! Sunday morning I went to Mass at St Silas’, Albert Park, where I met up with an old friend. This is a good parish – however the choir was woeful & the liturgy average. I yearned for All SS, esp the music. It was also a freezing cold day, tempting me to think: Why did I leave SD?

Today (Mon) I spent organising practical things, like finances, future accomodation & a PO box for mail. Then to the city to find a computer to update this blog. The iPad doesn’t give me access to my website, so the blog will not be updated daily from now on.

Thurs 7

I spent Tues & Wed finding a place to live for the next 12 months. I just want a base in Melbourne – something I can come & go to whilst I adjust to retirement, & can use as a Melb home whilst continuing to travel. l eventually found a nice studio flat in St Kilda, just a few mins walk to the St K station. From there it is a nice 20 min tram ride into the city…..& to the airport express bus stop. Very important 🙂

This morning I signed the lease I got the keys, & will move in Aug 1st. Then I went to the airport to catch a flight to Adelaide. I am spending 4 days here, staying with my old friend, David Dornan. We served at the altar together at St Paul’s, Port Adelaide 40 years ago!

Sun 10

I have had a relaxing w/e in my old home town. Despite a cold, on Friday I caught up with several old friends. On Saty David & I drove up to Sevenhills, where there is a 160 year old Jesuit winery (the only one in the world, I am sure). By coincidence, nearby is a B&B run by an old friend of my brother’s, so we called in. It was very nice to see him again – & what a wonderful place he runs. Sunday morning I went to Mass at St Paul’s, Port Adelaide, my old home parish, & sat in the congregation, where I sat over 40 years ago! It was a nice experience – good to see how the parish has grown in recent years after declining in the 1980/90’s. I met some young men who have come into the church this year….one is being baptised next Sunday & is being confirmed with 4 others in a few weeks. A contrast to the rest of the diocese, which is slowly declining. It shows that the catholic faith attracts people when expressed in worship & teaching, despite current trends & bishops!

In the a/noon I went to watch Port Adel play St Kilda in the AFL. They were thrashed……it was awful. On Monday I drive into the Adel Hills to visit my cousin, Joy. Then onto Goolwa to stay 3 days with the Rector of the parish, who is an old friend. Goolwa is a pretty country town in wonderful countryside along the beautiful coast at the mouth of the Murray.

Thurs 14

I had a lovely relaxing 3 days with Fr Reg. He drove me around the area, showed me his churches – both 19th cent – & hosted dinner with 2 former Fitzroy parishioners, Sylvie & Marc. I particularly enjoyed seeing the waves coming in on all the beaches…..memories of winter in Sema4.

At 11.30 am I caught the plane to Darwin. I have always wanted to visit Darwin – & Port Adelaide’s game there on Saty gave me the opportunity! The weather here is tropical & warm….a sharp contrast to Adel, & much like SD is having right now. After checking in I wandered along the front of the harbour, & observed some WW2 sites. Darwin was attacked by the Japs in Feb 1942, called Australia’s Pearl Harbor – tho there were more Jap planes, more bombs & more ships sunk. My father was stationed here after that. I finished the day by watching the beautiful sunset from my hotel balcony.

Sat 16

Yesterday I watched the sunrise from my balcony then walked around the city, incl the interesting botanic gardens. Today I will watch the big C/wood v Carlton game from Melb on TV, & then go to the football for the Port Adel vs Melb game. It is a small stadium by AFL standards, & I will be standing for the whole game. With the tropical heat it will be an interesting experience.

Mon 18

Today I am being collected at 6.45 am for a tour to Litchfield. This is 100 km from Darwin & is one of the many beautiful nature parks that tourists come to see. The tour includes feeding crocs & ends with prawns & champagne at sunset 🙂

Tues 19

The Litchfield tour was one of the best I have experienced in all my years of travel. There were 20 of us together for 12 hours – half of us up here for the footy. Our guide was a real Aussie, who talked & talked about everything, with a good sense of humour. I had forgotten how funny & laconic we Aussies are, & heard some coloquialisms I hadn’t heard for years! Our 1st stop was the Adelaide River to feed the crocs. It was exciting, as they came right up to the boat & jumped up in the air. Cruising up the river was just lovely. Then it was on to see some termite mounds in Litchfield Park, followed by visiting wonderful waterfalls in the middle of nowhere. The day finished with champagne & prawns as we wached the sunset over Fannie Bay…..a wonderful way to finish my stay in Darwin.

Wed 20

I flew from Darwin to Brisbane yesterday – just an overnight stay. This morning I went to 7.45 am Mass at All Saints’ – the traditional Anglocatholic church in Brisbane, where I have visited several times over the years, & preached. Today I catch the train to the Gold Coast, staying for a week with a good friend. I was last here in 1988… it has its own AFL team, & I will be going to see them play Collingwood on Saturday 🙂

Fri 22

I am having a lovely time…..the Gold Coast is like a mix of San Diego & Honolulu, with the climate to match. Yesterday I went for a walk along the beach. The weather was beautiful, & as I looked out over the Pacific Ocean I imagined SD was in the distance. I did this in reverse in SD, of course! In the a/noon Loretta drove us to Byron Bay….once the hippie centre of Australia.

Today I walked along the length of the coast finishing up at Southport, where an old friend is the Anglican priest. Fr Harry was pleased to see me……we hadn’t seen each other since I was ordained. He kindly drove me home.

Wed 27

I had a wonderful week on the Gold Coast. The footy on Saty night was fun….was impressed with the new stadium. Sunday I went to Mass at St Peter’s, Southport & afterwards joined Fr Harry, his wife & 5 parishioners for lunch. I flew back to Melb Wed. Went straight into the city to buy myself a bed. Then drove to my storage (where things have been stored since 2003) & filled the car with boxes of stuff for my flat.

Thurs 28

At 9.30 am I drove to my flat along Melbourne’s busiest road, Punt Rd. It was a nightmare, even a that time of the morning. Unloaded the car, & then had fun going thru all the things I had in the boxes, & things brought out from SD in March & July. I won’t have to buy sheets, towels, cutlery, crockery, etc – but will need to get a kettle! Went back to storage & got some furniture. Very satisfying day.

Fri 29

I had a few things to do in connection with the flat, but all is ready for me to move in on Monday. Took more things from storage & then went shopping at Target & Woollies. Retired hire car & will spend the w/e in the lovely apartment owned by my friends Ian & Dale. Tonight I am off to the footy…don’t care who wins!

Sat 30

Helen picked me up at 10 am to go & get the dropside table from my storage – the last thing I need for the flat.