Monday, September 25, 2006

Vicki reporting

I didn't want to leave you all wondering if Flat Stanley made it home safely to Trevor and his family.

I recently received this email from Stanley's family.


'Dear Vicki,

Flat Stanley has arrived back home safely, and we wanted to thank you so much for doing such a great job entertaining our little guy. We have really enjoyed looking at all of the adventures he went on, and it has been very educational for us. I'm sorry I have not responded sooner.

We have been working on getting our wonderful pictures in the scrapbook. You did such a fantastic job!!!!!!!!!!!! Trevor's teacher is excited about seeing his scrapbook and is giving him extra credit when he brings it. We are going to turn it in at the end of the year so that we can have more time to add more countries to it. Austraila will be well represented thanks to all of your hard work on Trevor's project.

Once again, we can't thank you enough!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Love,

Angela, Trevor, and Flat Stanley '

It was my pleasure to have Stanley visit me in Australia and I am sure I had as much fun as Stanley did while he was here.

I missed having Stanley around after he left and my friend Gaelyne said the same when she posted hime back to Trevor.

Vicki



Friday, August 18, 2006

On my way home!

Trevor, I am on my way home!!!

I am so excited. See you soon.

Watch the mailbox.


Saturday, August 12, 2006

Still in Saginaw

G'day mates, I am still in Saginaw MI with Gaelyne. You should see Gaelyne! She had one bonza haircut after we got back from Canada

I have been hanging out with Gaelyne and her assorted family. Her daughter draws exceptionally well. She is one cool chick.

Gee I miss my family even though I am having a great adventure.

Monday we are back on a plane to Georgia and then Gaelyne is sending me home. She flies back to Australia and arrives there next Saturday.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Another Country!

G'day mates. I am so excited!! I am going to another country for a couple of days.

Gaelyne's daughter is in the Tittabawassee Valley Drum & Fife
Corps. and is doing an event in Canada.

She asked Gaelyne and me to come along and we are going Friday night and be back in Saginaw Sunday.

That will be fun. And so I get to visit another country and have a little 'mini' holiday. I am really looking forward to it.

Luckily my Travel Log will act as my passport.

Canada here we come!


Friday, August 04, 2006

Hot!!!

G'day mates, it is SO HOT!! We arrived in Saginaw and we met up with Gaelyne's daughter and youngest son. There was lots of hugging and tears and laughter. It was so hot and there was no airconditioning where they live. So Gaelyne and I went to Gaelyne's oldest son's house where there was airconditioning and we slept well. I am still dealing with the effects of the jetlag.

The next day I went along with Gaelyne to watch a family photo session with Gaelyne and her 3 children. I was very pleased with the family's final choice of photo, and it was a picture taken when something funny was said by someone behind the photograher that put a twinkle in Gaelyne's eye.

After the photo session we went out to eat at a new buffet place that featured American, Chinese and Japanese dishes. They had crab legs, and at least 3-5 different types of shrimp dishes including garlic shrimp, coconut shrimp, hot and spicey, and plain cold in the shell. Yummy. We played the 'fortune cookie game' where you say your fortune aloud and add 'in bed' at the end of it. It was silly.

Then we went back to the airconditioned house and Gaelyne and her 3 children talked for many many hours. I fell asleep listening to them. It was a great day.

I wonder what we are doing tomorrow?


Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Into the heat

G,day mates, I have had serious jetlag, it has not been fun. But things are improving.

I have met Gaelyne's other sister Pam and her brother Steve, all in Georgia.

Then Gaelyne and I got on another plane and we are going to Saginaw, Michigan. It is hot there, about 90+deg. This is not overly hot by Australian standards but hot for Saginaw.

We are meeting up with Gaelyne's 3 adult children.

I am very excited. I wonder where we will end up staying?

Saturday, July 29, 2006

We have rocked up!

G'day mates, as you have read in my last journal Gaelyne and I seem to have been to Woop Woop and back and I am stoked to tell you that it all came together and we are now in Atlanta. We didn't even lose our luggage and we were met by Diane, who is Gaelyne's sister. Diane has been to the airport several times waiting for us. Thank you Diane for getting us. You are a bonza sheila!

And guess where we went for some tucker? One of Gaelyne and Diane's favourite places - Arby's.

After we finish here we are going to shoot through and go to Diane's home to use the sleepout and have a sleep. I am stuffed after what seems like a zillion hours of travel!


Friday, July 28, 2006

Stranded in Chicago

G'day mates, well the best laid plans of mice and men and airplanes. Gaelyne and I are stuck in Chicago. We were originally due in Atlanta late Thursday night. That didn't happen.

It seems Murphy's Law and Mother Nature have played havoc with the best plans, and now we wait for the new flight plans. There were severe storms in Chicago and they actually closed O'Haire Airport. The storms must have been really awful, because it is rare to close that airport. We were finally back on a plane, but it sat on the runway so long that it used up too much fuel and, even worse, the pilot reached his mandatory stop flying time. The airlines could not locate a different pilot to fly the plane, so the flight was cancelled.

We then stood in a line of about 2 thousand people for Customer Service to reschedule our flight. Then, they CLOSED the Customer Service. We are now finding food, a little rest, then back in line to get another flight.

We heard rumours that it may be SATURDAY before we can get a flight to Atlanta. All hotels near Chicago are full, so the airline is not putting us up anywhere. Let's hope we can get out on an early FRIDAY flight instead of the rumoured Saturday.....

More when we have any news.

We have been in the air for 20 hours and are very tired and hungry.


Thursday, July 27, 2006

Homeward bound

G'day mates, this morning Gaelyne and I boarded a plane at Adelaide airport to fly to Sydney. We change planes and then fly on to San Francisco. We will change planes again and fly to Chicago and change planes again and fly to Atlanta. We will be 20 hours in the air flying half-way around the world. I will be going from winter in Australia to summer in USA.

Stanley at Adelaide Airport

I am coming home.

A surprise goodbye

G'day mates, I have been with Vicki and Dave for 2 weeks now and I was expecting Vicki to put me in my envelope and post me back home to Trevor soon but Vicki had a surprise for me today.

She told me that instead she was sending me to a new home to visit Gaelyne who is her best friend. Gaelyne lives with her husband Rod at Maslin Beach, a suburb of Adelaide, which is the capital city of South Australia.

Vicki, Dave and I have had a bonza time while I have been here and I am sad to be going.

Vicki and Stanley say goodbye

The last morning I was with Vicki I watched the sunrise.

Stanley's last sunrise

I am excited to be visiting Gaelyne and I asked Vicki how long I would be staying with her.

Vicki had another surprise for me.

She told me that Gaelyne had just booked a flight to go and visit her children and sisters in the USA.

Gaelyne was going to take me home.


My new friends

G'day mates, I have been hanging out with the best 3 young Australians you could ever wish to meet. They are Lakita, Jordan and Samara and they are Vicki's grand-children. They live in Goolwa and they are the ones who have chooks in their backyard.

Jordan, Samara and Lakita with Stanley


I chat with Lakita.

Lakita

Jordan and I hang out.

Jordan

Samara shows me her toy dog.

Samara




A present

G'day mates, I got a present!!!! Yes!!!! I got an Aussie swaggies hat with corkscrews on the rim. The corkscrews are to keep the flies out of my eyes. I am very pleased with my hat. Just after I got my hat I met up with some more Australians. These guys were Freddo frogs.

Freddo and Stanley

They sure were a sweet bunch of guys.

Views of the world

G'day mates, do you know that Vicki gets postcards from around the world? She is part of the Postcrossing experience and she sends and receives postcards from all around the world. This week she got postcards from Finland, Israel, Russia, Austria and Germany.

The world through Postcards

And gee mates there are so many different birds in this area.

More birds

I saw a Great Egret, a Pied Cormorant and more seagulls sitting on the jetty. The Egret has a really long neck and sits with it in a crook shape.

And there are fishermen in Vicki's road who catch and sell fish. Yummy.

Fishing around

Some of these have funny names too. Coorong Mullet, Mulloway and Bream.

I got to stop at the highest point on Hindmarsh Island and look at the monument that has been erected to commemorate the sighting of the Murray River exit to the ocean.

Stanley at the monument

And I spied the Murray River in the distance as it finally finished its long journey through Australia and exited to the ocean.

I see the Murray Mouth

From its source in the Snowy Mountains in New South Wales, the Murray River flows 2,530 kilometres west then south to meet the Southern Ocean in South Australia.

The Murray is continuously navigable for 1986 kilometres from Goolwa to Yarrawonga Weir. In this length there are thirteen weirs incorporating locks. For the last couple of years there has been 2 dredges at the Murray Mouth dredging to keep it open to the ocean.



A Bridge view

G'day mates, these days Hindmarsh Island is joined to the mainland at Goolwa with a bridge, so Vicki is able to drive all the way home without stopping for a ferry. The ferry closure and bridge opening in 2001 was a big tourist attraction. The building of the bridge was very controversial and was a saga in Australian politics, there were several Royal Commissions and became known as 'Secret Womens business'


Hindmarsh Island bridge


The bridge is quite steep and high, this is to allow boats with tall masts to still be able to go under it. The bridge also has 2 curves, one up and the other to the right, this was so the ferry could still keep operating during its construction. The ferry was hauled across on fixed cables between Hindmarsh Island and Goolwa.


Hindmarsh Island viewed from bridge


I am so excited Vicki let me take the pictures from the bridge. I think I took good photos and I wasn't scared at all with it being so high and windy.

Goolwa viewed from bridge

I had a bird's eye view of Goolwa and Hindmarsh Island from the top of the bridge.

Goolwa viewed from bridge




Paddling around

G'day mates, did you know that Goolwa means 'elbow' and that is an Aboriginal word. Goolwa is on an 'elbow' of the Murray River. By 1853 paddle steamers were operating on the Murray and Goolwa was officially proclaimed a port (the first inland port in Australia) in 1857. These days the only paddle boats at Goolwa are tourist ones and tied up to the wharf is the Oscar W.

A paddleboat visit

Tied up next to the Oscar W at the wharf is the barge The Dart which is part of the interpretive display for the wharf area.

Barging along

Also at the wharf area is a ferry. It is no longer in use. The ferry used to be the only connection to Hindmarsh Island from the mainland and this was the only way Vicki could get home.

Ferry and more strange birds

And I saw some more strange birds while we were looking at the ferry. They are called Swamp Hens.




Tuesday, July 25, 2006

We walk around town

G'day mates, Gee this town of Goolwa is full of interesting things. We went for a walk down the main street towards the wharf area. We came to a lovely park area which has lots of memorials for Goolwa people who died in the wars.

Memorial gardens visit

Across the road from the Memorial Gardens was the Returned and Servicemens League building which originally was the stables for the horses who pulled the 1st Railway carriage. Dave is the Vice-President of the Goolwa RSL. Dave was in the regular army and served in the Malaysian war. Vicki and Dave go there after work every Friday night.

RSL building


We went down a path and saw an old house that Vicki told me was originally the Railway Superintendent's house. The first public railway in Australia started in Goolwa and the superintendent lived in this barrel-roofed house.


Old Railway Superintendents house

And next to there was the Signal Point Interpretive Centre. This has hands-on displays of the Murray River and Paddle Steamer trade from Goolwa.


Signal Point


Pick me up

G'day mates, while I have been with Vicki I have had lots of books to read. She has heaps of books at home and at work. But when Vicki has finished reading a book she gives it away! She has encouraged me to do the same. Vicki is a member of Bookcrossing and has over 4000 books she has registered and she has given away just under 4000 of them. Whew that's a lot!! I wonder if she has read them all?

Stanley helps with BookCrossing

Right next to Vicki's work is the public library for the area. I went in and checked out all the great books and other things that the library has.

There's some great reading there!

The library is part of the Alexandrina Council offices and there is a great display of the items from the area next to the library and it is in front of the council chambers. I had a look at some of the display.

Council display




Monday, July 24, 2006

Animal capers

G'day mates, I got to hang out with Ceri while I have been visiting Vicki. Ceri is one of Vicki and Dave's dogs and she is so lovable and loves to eat! Ceri is a labrador/spaniel cross and she is about 6 years old.

Ceri

The other doggie person in this household is Dimi. She is the matriarch of the family and is a long-haired Chihuahua. Dimi is about 11 years old and likes to relax a lot.

Dimi

I also went to visit some chooks. They live at Vicki's daughter Melanie's house. They were a lively bunch of ladies and lay lovely big eggs.

Chooks

And the last of my animal capers. I saw another bird I didn't know! Gee there are lots of birds at Vicki's place. There is a Little Pied Cormorant with its wings open drying. The big white bird is a Great Egret. It stands with it's neck tucked into its chest and some seagulls. Gee it's bird watching paradise here.


More birds

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Church Musical devonshire teas

G'day mates, I went along to Vicki's church- Holy Evangelists. The foundation stone was laid in 1867 and the church was concecrated in 1870. It is an Anglican Church and used to be called the Church of England, at home in USA it is the Episcopal Church. The building was one of the first built in Goolwa and has a lovely tower and town clock in it.

Stanley went to church

They also had a Musical afternoon and Vicki and I made scones for the devonshire afternoon tea. We had hot scones for breakfast as Vicki and I made 4 dozen scones before she went to work.

Hot Scones



Saturday, July 22, 2006

Hanging out with Kangaroos

G'day mates, I am really having some fun here in Oz. After leaving Maggie I went and visited Coppa, Cody, Rosie and Nicky.

They are the best bunch of kangaroos I have ever met! They live with Debbie, who is a member of the Wildlife Welfare organisation. I got to share some tucker with them.

Hanging out with Kangaroos

These guys are so soft! I got to snuggle up to Rosie. Fair dinkum.

Kangaroos are so soft

I am leaning on Rosie (female) then to the left is Coppa (male), Cody(male) is on the right at the back and in front to my right is Nicky (male).

Debbie met up with these fellas when they were babies and their mothers had been killed. Debbie raised them to be the best Australians you could ever meet.


Into the Lions Den

G'day mates, I went on a visit the Honorable Maggie Harding. She lives in Goolwa. Maggie is the Consul for the independent state of Hutt River Province. Maggie has a consulate in her home and has visitors visit from all over the world. I learnt that Maggie can issue Hutt River Province passports as well. Maggie is also South Australia's first Lady Towncrier and she loves going out for special occasions.

But the best part of visiting Maggie was going into the Lions Den!

In the Lions Den

There were 900 of these scary beasts. And none of them ate me! Whew!!

Lions everywhere

Lions were not the only thing I had to watch out for at Maggie's. Her cat Chester was interested in me as well.

Another ferocious beast



Wednesday, July 19, 2006

New experiences

G'day mates, I think I might be turning into a real ocker now! I had vegemite for breakfast on my crumpets and it was YUMMY!

Stanley tastes vegemite

After breakfast I spotted some more strange Australian birds in the water in front of Vicki's house. This was a Heron and on the jetty were some more Pied Cormonants (do you know the other name for them is Shags?) and there were some swans further out in the channel.

What bird is that?

Later on we went to the Goolwa Fire station and I got to go on a BIG fire truck. The volunteers who are the firemen and women give their time and learn lots of skills to put out fires in Goolwa and on Hindmarsh Island. They were a great bunch.

Stanley and fire truck

Another emergency vehicle lives in the same shed. It is a sea rescue boat and is also manned by volunteers. They rescue people who get into problems on boats.

Stanley with Sea Rescue

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The day in the life of....

G'day mates. I got to go to work with Vicki. She has a shop in the main street of Goolwa (the nearest town to Hindmarsh Island).

Stanley at work


I helped serve some customers that came into Vicki's shop.

Stanley talked with some customers


The postie came around delivery mail and I got to help him It was so exciting.

Stanley delivered mail

Monday, July 17, 2006

Weekend

G'day mates, we were going to do some tree planting on the weekend but it ended up being very wet and miserable and Vicki and I decided to stay home inside. There hasn't been much rain lately so it was appreciated. The weather on Hindmarsh Island is temperate and no snow but can get quite hot in summer, over 100degF (which is at the wrong time of the year for me - they have summer in December, January and February)

I stayed inside and looked at the water.

Wet day


While looking out the window I saw another bird that looked funny. It was going along the shoreline getting food out of the shallow water. It had a long, thin beak for poking in the sand and long legs for wading through the shallows. Vicki said it was an Australian White Ibis.

What bird is that?


There are so many strange birds here in Australia.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Meeting the locals

G'day mate, Vicki is teaching me some Australian, I am so excited that I am learning another language.

I got to meet some local Australians today. We stopped in at the River Dolls of Goolwa museum and I hung out with the Australian's.

Stanley visits some Australians


They were a friendly group even if they included Feral Cheryl, some Swaggies and a group of Aborigines and Colonial soldiers. Australia was discovered by the British in 1770 and became a penal colony for Britain with the first convicts arriving in 1788.

After I said goodbye to my new Australian friends we went to the supermarket in Goolwa (the nearest town to Vicki's home and where Vicki works) to buy some groceries. I learnt another Aussie word. 'Snags'. It is on the specials advertising board on the supermarket wall but they spelt it wrong there. And what is Berri and Kleenex, Arnotts Creams and Spree? Gee these Aussies speak funny.

Stanley visits the Goolwa supermarket


When we had finished shopping we went to go home and Vicki's car wouldn't start so we sat and watched all the other people in the carpark.

Stanley waits in the Goolwa supermarket carpark


Vicki's car started shortly after and we went home.


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